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Fermata March 30, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
1 comment so far

Tonight, I am sad, and imagining terrible things.

I am sitting on the bench outside the real estate office stealing wireless and staring blankly at bushes and sidewalk and fearfully at passers-by. I jump at the sound of cars, sure I will be Atlantic Avenue’s first drive-by shooting victim. Pedestrians are sure muggers, and stealers-of-laptops.

I am aware my paranoia is a bit ridiculous.

It’s windy out and I can hear the palm fronds rustling…and I tell myself it’s the ocean, which is really only a short walk away. I’m convinced it’s high tide, and sometimes that dry scratching of a leaf across the pavement draws my eyes, wondering when I’ll see water cresting over the hill and run into the street. I like the white noise, it’s comforting.

Did you know that there are noctunal sparrows? I didn’t, but one is hopping around near me and making me jump when it becomes just a shadow in my perephrial vision.

All the stoplights have changed over to pulsing yellow, and the ocean sound gets louder and louder. I’m sure it’s the waves.

Today, someone tried to break into the real estate office near my place of work. Not the one I sit outside, but one near a jewelry store (Yes, I can’t figure that one out, either). I was sad so I took a long drive that didn’t do anything but waste gasoline, and then bought pizza I knew I should be hungry for. I laid on my bed with my glasses on and watched Donnie Darko, which really was the wrong movie for the mood.

Or, the right movie, depending on whether the goal was enhancing or diminishing.

So, now I have that trapped-inside myself feeling, where my eyes are deep inside my head and sore and tired of taking in cars and trees and people and things and my head feels like only the pressure in my temples is keeping it from simply unraveling. I feel all elbows and knees and laughter feels very far away.

I went home early from work today. There was nothing to do.

Coda.

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Literally. March 28, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
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Today, I smelled a rat.

I could just tell, you know?

Last night before I went to bed I got a wiff of…something. Sort of…not pleasent. But, I figured it was the air conditioner. It's kind of a sketchy AC, I routinely spray bleach into it because, frankly, its secret inner depths frighten me. So, I crawl into my bed and fall asleep, sure everything will smell right tomorrow.

But, everything did not smell right.

I routinely wake up 15 minutes before work, belying my girlie-girl exterior. I roll out of bed, brush my hair and teeth and wash my face, apply mascara, deoderant and perfume, find hose and skirt and shirt, pull them on, pull hair into ponytail, put on shoes and out the door. So, I'm locating which particular skirt-and-shirt combo I'm going to sport today, and catch That Smell once again. It's driving me nuts, so I narrow it down to a corner of the room where a locked door would connect my room to the neighbor's, should the door ever be opened. I move a backpack, and there….

was a rat.

Or, more specifically, the /head/ of a rat who had tried to come into my room from the neighbor's room, gotten stuck under the door and died.

I did not scream, though I'm sure my eyes widened comically as I backed slowly away. How absolutely horrible. I'm sure he was trying to escape the rain, or perhaps the pesticides that had been sprayed recently…living in this area of Florida, especially at ground level, you begin to accept the fact that sometimes, things are going to travel through. But I sincerely wish he had chosen to travel through somewhere else. And not die. And make my room smell. Because, really. How. Awful.

And now, I have to look forward to going home to dead rat and figuring out how to dispose of it.

This, of course, is the downfall of living alone. I can't call someone to remove the rat for me, as there is noone to call. I have no relatives nearby, no friends around…if I find a rat, I have to remove a rat. This realization…that 'living alone, eek, eek, eek' sack of rocks that falls on you sometimes, is very unsettling. This was really driven home a few months ago when, on a return trip from Montreal, my alternator died completely over an hour from home, while travling on I-95. I was stranded, noone to call but work (Hi, I can't come in tonight…), nowhere to stay but a motel a short drive from where my car was towed. I spent the next day freaking out in the repair shop waiting room – my car was fixed, but the bank was closed and I could not pay for my new alternator because I could not access my savings account.

This. Totally. Sucked.

I did eventually manage to get everything sorted. I borrowed money from a coworker, drove home, went to work, transfered money, repaid coworker, got my car serviced. On my own. And once everything was fixed, settled, once my car was working and I looked back on all the steps I'd taken, I felt triumphant. Excited, even. I was a problem solver, I lived alone and drove alone and had a problem and fixed the problem without any parental help.

And there's the other side of the coin. Sometimes, I love my life. Especially when walking home from work…a job that I found myself, do well at, am proud of. The air is soft and a few shops are still open, and occasionally I'll stop for ice cream…knowing that there is no 'late', that noone is standing in the doorway tapping their foot, leaning against the frame and wondering where I am, when will I, did I remember to, she had to have… I can turn right instead of left and take a walk, should I desire. My self-indulgances effect only me – my occasional splurges into seven dollar ice-cream double shot coffees are inconsequential, buying yarn with no immediate plans? – Also fine. Noone can take me to task for leaving cups in the sink for a day, or keeping my shoes in four different places, or keeping a wool comb clamped dangerously to a chair for a week straight without actually combing any wool. Walking home is presented as a possibility instead of an ending. 'What can I do tonight' is more often swirling around my head than 'What should I do' or 'What do I need to do?' or 'I hope I don't have to…'

It's nervewracking to constantly live on that divinding line between exhilarating, intoxicating freedom (I have $2000 in checking! I could buy a second laptop!) and terror (I only have $2000 in checking! If I break a leg I will be broke /and/ homeless!). But in a way it's the fulfillment of that very typical 'when I'm a grownup' dream. Where I don't have a bedtime and can buy all the candy I want and sleep in my clothes or never wear socks or eat only purple things for two weeks (no, I've never done this.) I really can jump on the bed if I want, and be impractical with purchases and say 'hello' to strangers. I keep a few bottles of liquor on hand should I have a late night craving for a White Russian. (Few things feel as grown up as actually having a few bottles of nice alcohol stored away and occasionally indulged in…empty bottles are too 'underaged binge', but being able to offer people 'a drink' when they visit is a lovely tingly 'what a grownup' feeling). I'm a bit tickled when I step behind myself and see that I'm living 'the grownup life' I'd envisioned at 12.

I know that my years of 'the grownup life' are fast dwindling…going back to school would crush it, as would marriage and children should that ever happen. So, I am pledging to try, very hard, to appreciate the leniency I have now to sleep twelve hours a day, eat cookies in bed, take an hour to walk home. I know, in my mid-twenties way, that at 35 I'll look back at me deciding to take the wrong turn on my walk home and getting ice cream instead with amused envy, I know that I'll never be able to appreciate my decision-making freedom now like I will in hindsight, in later lives and situations. But I can certainly try, and be aware of it, and laugh at myself when I swerve too closely to the 'terror' side of the balancing act and realize that I havn't had a checkup for three years and what if I have cancer, heavens to Betsy!

I'm not very good at keeping promises to myself, though, so you can look forward to pleanty of rambly agonizing about my life choices yet. Hooray!

And I still have to get the freaking rat out of my room.

Hour by Hour March 25, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
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1:00am

I’ve just brewed a cup of Jasmine tea, one sugar (can’t find the honey), and am waiting for it to cool to gulping temperature. It’s quiet, save for the murmur of the TV in the lobby, and the constant chugging of the water pumps above me.

 Two men just checked in…in my preoccupation, I’d forgotten to give him room keys. Whoops. Now, I look like a complete idiot, behind the desk in a coat, forgetting to give people keys to their rooms. Poor tired man.

My reading material surrounds me, and I have a few hours before I need to start my printing binge.

 Page 37.

 

2:00am

Page 49. Shameful. But, the security guard here keeps on trying to initiate conversation, which really makes it hard to absorb the parallels between various literature and life in Tehran in the 1990’s.

My tea is gone. It was lovely. I had a group of men pass through seconds ago, buzzed and joking and talking occasionally, apparently here for a bachelor party. Low maintenance. Hooray.

The wind is blowing, and every time it rushes through the crack in the doors I look up in alarm…we are short on rooms tonight, and I am very, very anxious – either everyone will show up and I will have to work computer magic, or I’ll have ten no-shows on a declined credit card, which will be a huge loss of revenue. I miss the nights where everyone is safely in house, and all I need to do is babysit the desk for a time while sorting through paperwork.

 I wish I had a glass of very cold juice. At least the lobby is warming slightly. I had to turn off both air conditioners.

 

3:00am

I’ve just slipped into the breakfast room to find honey to slip into my tea…magically finding the right key on my second try. Serendipity. This particular honey reminds me of the color of my hair…brown en mass, the red reveals itself when dissolved in water. (The honey…thankfully, my hair has yet to dissolve in water).

Another hour, another check-in…quick, easy and painless. I have a very strong suspicion that my other nine arrivals will just never appear.

I dipped my finger in my tea, and am now stamping teastains over the keys that finger touches. My fingers now catch odd typing textures – tacky, dry, sticky, smooth.  The tea seems appropriate to my reading…I like matching my books to my intake. Jasmine tea for ‘Reading Lolita in Tehran’, wine for ‘Bridget Jones’, coffee for my Margaret Atwood.

It’s so quiet here. In a half hour I’ll start reports.

Page 82

 

4:00am

So, the first of my reports are printed, rates have been checked, adjusted, lists scanned, and now the audit is running and I have no paperwork to do for the next twenty minutes or so. I love it when the system is occupied and I really don’t have the ability to do any work at this moment, so that little hint of guilt that tickles the back of my mind when I’m sitting, reading, sipping my tea with my mind far away is banished. Because…what can I do? The program is at work and I am unneccessary.

 My feet are cold.

 This book is making me long for school…for that ‘used textbook’ smell of paper and mildew and ink, and sitting in a big classroom trying to ease a big uncomfortable shape of a new idea into the smoother, rounder shapes in my mind and smooth it over and make it mine, turn it around and shave off other, smaller ideas to blurt out in group discussions at inappropriate moments because…well, it came to me and could not be contained. I recognize this feeling from many many first days of school, with new notebooks (perfect for writing down all the thoughts I was sure to have), erasers with their corners still crisp, pencils with the /right/ kind of lead (no squeaky grey marks…only smooth black ones, please) and the one expensive pen I convinced my mother I must have, along with the twenty pack of black and blue mixed rollerballs. That feeling of promise, things being different, the motivation to get homework done and delighting in my small round print and looking forward to Chorus and reading at lunch…. Of course, three days later my homework wasn’t even written down, and afternoons were spent either in long, solitary naps or long insomnia-fueled nights of reading. Mornings filled me with dread, and I would will the car to be slower, slower…anything but leave me at school. That sense of anticipation, motivation was so breif, but I seem to catch it again and again these days…that longing to be somewhere designed for learning, and to be able to immerse myself in all those bulky ideas again.

 That was very long winded. The girl came in to make breakfast a minute ago, and I jumped…just not expecting anyone!

Page 103

 

5:00am

Deep into paperwork now, papers scattered all over the desk, pens uncapped and laying across piles, a million things half done and I feel a bit guilty for sticking to my resolution to write something every hour while at work tonight. My tea is rapidly cooling and every now and again I recall it’s there and gulp at it while bending carefully over indecipherable reports, trying not to spot them with brown crinkles.

All that’s left is the printing and the faxing and the sorting into various people’s boxes and paperclipping and giving stabby eyes to the phone as it starts to wake up and ring and interrupt me in the middle of sentences. I enjoy the end most of all, when I file away the last stack of reports and the desk is once again clean and new and I am done and free to read again, and free to put my elbows wherever I like without the fear of knocking something over and having to re-assemble it into some kind of order.

page 105 (Hey, I’ve been busy! Working!)

 

6:00am

I finished a few minutes ago, and was surprised I had. Suddenly…the papers were piled, papercliped, stacked, enveloped, labled and cleared away. Faxes went through, emails were sent. It was an exciting hour and a half, let me tell you. And now it is over and I’m here with my book again.

 This is always the strangest hour…quiet, but sitirring, people beginning to come down, to checkout or get directions or ask about breakfast, their voices still too loud for the hour, light just now creeping in from the outside.

Half an hour ago, a man stopped in asking for a room. I had one, he asked about a military discount. No, sorry…but what branch? Army, he said. I’m on leave from Iraq for two weeks. Aha! Iraq, something I have a certain interest in, and a definate opinion on! We had a lovely fifteen minute chat, after which his brother came in, yelled at him for spending so much money, he cancelled the room and left. It was a nice talk all the same, and he left with two URLs in his hand. It’s nice when the early hours give a chance for something less hurried than your everyday transactions and check-in questions. As always, I talked too loudly and flung my hands everywhere, but no papers went flying, so at least there was that.

 I’m out of tea. But my book calls!

Page 117.

 

6:45

Manager’s here, time’s up, it is time to pack up and go home. Not a terrible night. Peaceful.

 Page 137

Beautiful Things March 23, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
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I bought the most lovely bowls two days ago. Black and textured on the outside, glossy and honey brown with a crackled glaze inside. I only have two, a small bowl I use as bowl and cup in one, and a larger, shallow bowl for bigger things. I love them, and find myself passing by to turn them over and over in my hands, admiring their heft and the rough/smooth transitions under my fingers, carefully removing the stickers. It’s bittersweet (the story of my life, eh?), I love my two, but long for a full set, and a table to set them on, and people to surround that table and things to talk about.

I’ve had a lovely work schedule, two days off, two days of work, another day off and then two audit shifts. So, I’m at home now with no particular bedtime, sipping wine from my bowl/cup, cartoons turned low on the TV, sites opened up on the computer for random reading. I bought two books on my shopping expedition, and have finished with one and am trying to put off the other…I go through books quickly, and have missed having them at hand. All of mine are stowed in my trunk, as I have no room to put them in here, and no real desire to drag them out and then load them back into the car in a month. And in my head I’m imagining a home and drawing bookcases on the walls and big windows and wishing I weren’t such a nomad. But that is neither here nor there.

Walking home from work is one of my favorite times of day lately. Work is done, my time is my time…even if I have to immediately sleep for a shift in eight hours, it’s a wonderfully lighthearted feeling. I’m realizing that this time in my life is unique. I know I’ll look back, at thirty, at forty, and envy myself, with my own money, in clothes I bought for myself, going home to a little room that I share with no other person, my personal belongings scattered about, no safety net but no leash, either. A time in my life that is completely, truly, wholeheartedly my own. I’m greedy, hoarding my time…shutting myself away, true, but indulging in long showers, long naps, long sessions of reading and idly turning pages and sitting on my bed with the ceiling fan ruffling the sheets eyes closed and daydreaming. Selfish, selfish, but wonderful.

I’m trying hard not to think of this as time wasted – but imagine all the things I could do with at least eight hours to myself every day! Spin pounds of yarn, read valuable books, learn at least the skeleton of a language, keep things clean, write something more than personal ramblings. I do end up feeling guilty in quiet moments. There’s no internal end note for this…I have no conclusion, no balance here. I’m still trying to decide if I deserve to waste my time without guilt, if long naps and daydreams and idle page turning are worthwhile, despite being non productive. ‘Should’ and ‘want to’ constantly battle, but isn’t that the essence of life? What you want to do and what you need to do trying to edge each other out, only rarely overlapping?

I’m sitting back against my pillows wishing for a spike of energy right now. I’m not sure what does it, but sometimes…life just seems so /possible/, and colors gain a more vivid edge, clutter seems more like art and my life becomes an amazing, multi-faceted thing just waiting for me to turn it to catch the light and cast an array of rainbows on the wall. My bones vibrate and I feel a voilent joy…I want to throw myself into something – a crowd, a bar, the ocean – and yell and jump and clean and create something all at once, my chest feels tight and I’m namelessly excited, joyful, anticipating something, something, something….

Occasionally this feeling will last days at a time, and I’ll feel like I’m flying…other days, the tiniest thing will pop the joy-bubble and it’s like time slowing down to normal and colors regaining an edge of grey and my usual weight easing back into my body, grounding me, erasing my happy little shine and instead pointing out imperfections. And that one little thing is what I dread…the stubbed toe, the tangle, the failed download. Anything. When I’m happy, I’m aware of the tiny sad self I keep around, hugging her knees in the depths of my mind, worrying about that one tiny thing that will knock me off my tower. Which is silly…because sometimes the worry /becomes/ the tiny thing, and besides, how silly to worry about being sad again when you’re happy?

Bah.

I think when I’m casting around in my head for something else to say, it is time to stop typing. This box is becoming the tiny thing – I hate feeling empty, like there are no words waiting to sneak out of my fingers and onto this page! But, the rush of words has ended. So has this.

Bandaid March 17, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
3 comments

I was once engaged. Christmas day, 2001. Off and on that relationship went…for almost four years. Give or take. Days of crying at the end. I’m sure everyone knows this story. Everyone has /lived/ this story, in one way or another.

Tonight, I found out he is engaged. To a girl he met while we were still together – in name, at least.

I figured I’d get the punchline out of the way so you don’t end up reading and reading wonder ‘why is she going on and on about some guy? Sheesh’. =)

And, I’m sure if I told anyone in particular this news in person, I’d get the face-fall, the scrunched-brows sympathy, maybe a half-offered hug and a ‘are you ok?’. But…truly, apart from initial shock and then some anger and then a bit of numbness, I’m fine.

It was exactly like yanking off a bandaid that’s been hanging just to one side of the wound, only half attached, hardly noticed these days. A bit of pain, and then….oh, look. Already a scar, even the scab is already gone. And, as angry and sad and depressed and…oh, so many negative things this relationship has given me, I’m surprised at the lack of impact. As level headed as I sound right now, this was the relationship that destroyed my sense of self worth for a time, that made me seriously doubt my value as a person, screwed with my head and left me with deep-rooted fears and several glaring insecurities.

It’s tempting to see this as four years of my life wasted, anticipating, expecting, preparing for something that would never happen. My mind does drift back to all the things I left behind…my checkmark shelf I love, my magnetic knife block he got for us for Christmas, the couch we got as an engagement gift, all these things she will now use. And, for some reason, that hurts more than the actual relationship does. That she will be stepping into my place, into a little hollow I had tried to prepare for myself to fit me, and taking over.

That idea of being replaced and somehow failing where another is thriving is humiliating. It ends up not being so much ‘I want him, I want to be with him, I love him, how dare she’…but ‘Why was I so wrong, why is she better than me, why did I fail so badly, I suck as a person’. The embarrasement lingers longer than the hurt and betrayal and sadness does…admitting to people that yes…there was once someone, and you messed up by just being yourself, and now someone else has slid easily into your place and they are happy, and you – well, you’re not anything. Flawed, used, set aside as an ill fit.

Noone likes being replaced.

And, truth be told, I was horribly unhappy for a long time. I simply refused to acknowledge anything negative. We were like a venn diagram with just enough overlapping to convince me that we could make it work…but not enough for it to ever, really. I was quiet, he is dynamic, I am sleepy and drapy and he is athletic and active, I am messy, he is neat…and on and on. And these are little things, so little…but caused so many arguments my head hurts just thinking about them. And he would be angry and I would collapse crying, which would make him more angry and nothing ever got fixed. I found myself doing things with the intention of distracting him from real problems…if I spin this yarn, he will be impressed and see I’m worthwhile. I will make bread, and he will be happy and glad to have me around. I will ride my bike, and he will see I can be active and have hope.

This is a very sad way to live.

I wish he had told me he had found someone important six months earlier than he did.
I wish I’d had a clean breakup without months of feeling adrift with only a lingering feeling of dread.
I wish I hadn’t knit so many things, made so many things, done so many things, thinking ‘If this is perfect, if I give him this, he will continue to love me’
I wish I didn’t have a wedding dress in my mother’s closet…waiting for something that will never happen.
I wish I hadn’t let so many things go in hopes of making things work.
I wish he hadn’t told me he wished I had a nicer family…that hurt more than he could possibly know. Even more, considering he mentions how lovely her family happens to be.
I wish I hadn’t tried to edit so many parts of myself away in an effort to please him.

I’m glad I feel free now.
I’m glad that I know what I need – unwavering steadfast fidelity, laid back patience, constant talk talk talking, lack of belittling sarcasm. And I have the courage to demand it.
I’m glad that, despite the ragged, painful breakup and turbulent relationship we can still talk, and enjoy the conversation.
I’m glad I didn’t get married only to endure a bitter divorce.
I’m glad I proved to myself that many of my faults in the relationship are not intristic – I am not lazy, I do well at work, I can be responsible, I can be happy.
I’m glad that, by learning what didn’t work for me, what made me sad and unhappy and distressed and hopeless…I’ve also learned what makes me happy, what I can gladly give, and what I cannot tolerate.
I’m glad I didn’t throw a hissy fit upon hearing the news. =)

In the end, he is still a good person, though combined with me I become depressed and lazy and he becomes a little emotionally cruel and thoughtless. I have discovered I am not boring, I am productive, I am creative, and others value me for things I value in myself. And, it’s ok for me to be imperfect – trying to conform totally to someone’s preferences without insisting on your own only sets both parties up for a messy, accusation-filled fall. I’m tired of pretending I don’t like stupid TV shows, that I read only ‘valuable’ books, that I will ever be a morning person or that I don’t like wearing jeans. As bitter a pill as it is to swallow, I’m much more comfortable in my skin these days – and, that in mind, I know I would irritate the crap out of him in my current incarnation. Because I use phrases like ‘oft-read’ in conversation, I admit to loving Bridget Jones, and I do find the Sims fascinating and I do throw my clothes on the floor and wash everything on ‘hot’ and will eat chips and salsa and sour cream as a meal, thank you.

Is it odd to realize that you, being yourself, would never attract someone you once agreed to marry? Maybe.

But, it’s also a relief to settle into yourself, however lonely the circumstances. And as bitter and pissed off as I am and will be about his current engagement (I’m still thinking to myself – so fast, was I really that bad? How neatly things worked out for him – I’m sure he’s glad to be rid of me.), and as embarrased and slightly ashamed I am at being so wrong, so imperfect, that I was discarded for another, better, more interesting person (regardless of how things actually are, this is how it feels, so no corrections please), I am secure and confident that I am and will be happier, in the long term. Regardless of how things work out for him – it’s time to be selfish, and declare this good for ME.

And so, I am trying to drown out my usual, past-relationship litany of ‘why Brianna is terrible’ that creeps back when I find myself feeling sad about the past. I’m trying to erase the part of me that insists ‘if you had only done better you would be married and happy now, why did you forget this so many times, why could you never keep things clean, why weren’t you more interesting?’. (Why does that part of myself sound like an irritated grandmother dissapointed that I blew it with ‘that very nice boy’ in my head?). I’m trying not to worry about what his family thinks of me now, or what he says about me – oh, the torture of knowing that…you have no idea. I found out once, and the knowledge still haunts me. Because it DOES NOT MATTER anymore.

Though I’ve lost what was good, I’ve been set free of the bad, and now it’s my responsibility to continue building myself into a person I am happy with.

And, if someone should find they are happy with that Brianna, too…

I’ll have succeeded.

Plum on white. March 14, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
2 comments

Rain scatters plum petals:
Weeping stains the earth.
One can only take shelter
And wait for the clearing
Let us be sad;
it is feeling that makes us human
Deng Ming~Dao

I am sad. Melencholy. Palest grey purple frump-lump.

Do you remember being outside and laying on the grass in the sun during that first truly warm day in the Spring and soaking the sun up and feeling your skin warm and smiling in limp happiness….and then feeling the abrupt draining of color as the sun passes behind a cloud and suddenly you’re cold, and the rock nestled into your shoulder is suddenly jabbing and you slump back inside to do…oh, homework, work-work, wall staring – just a little less happy than before?

That is me right now.

Thankfully, stepping into the night is like sinking into tepid bathwater on a hot day, and I love that feeling. That’s one nice thing about overcast Florida days, that muggy neutral heat that hugs my arms, and the tossy wind that separates my frizz into curls and chases my skirt around my legs and brings an odd feeling of contentment in sadness.

And I couldn’t even say precisely why I’m sad…is it that I’m sitting alone in a small room and want to talk and talk but have noone to do so with? Is it a slight feeling of abandonment…though I was in no position to be abandoned in the first place? Is it the feeling of treding water, or the feeling of slowly being sucked under? Is it a mysterious combination of all of the above with a bit of anxiety thrown in for good measure? Who knows.

It is, however, a general feeling I’ve grown familiar with and almost fond of…something familiar, like a horrible old blanket that smells a little but you refuse to throw away. Hello, blanket of darkness! Cover me in your beautiful torment! Let me lose myself in the ink-dark unctuousness of your melodrama!

I’ve been looking at old pictures of myself. Specifically, Eric’s (of Evolving Beauty) pictures of me, and my eyes and my expressions and weird awkwardnesses of my shoulders and elbows and how much I love the shape of my feet and hate the bump of my chin. And, as always I’m poking and prodding my mind…who is this, who was I then, why was I that, am I still, was I ever…and that is the torment of photographs. The ability to look at that moment past and stare at yourself and ask…what were you thinking? What was in your head? And ideas I’ve forgotten? Concepts I didn’t explore? What was bothering me?

And then, the other questions…why does it matter? How arrogant of me to even bother looking back at these, who cares who am I and who I was, when what I am when relating to them in the present is what matters? But it does matter, to me, because maybe if I knew about then I could learn about now and sketch out some sort of picture for myself – to guide me and help me feel complete, to go back to and feel the edges of when I’m feeling lonely or sad or just need refreshing or reminding. 18 year old Brianna was silly and lazy and playful, 19 year old Brianna was in over her head, 21 year old Brianna was badly fitted into a boring puzzle, then struggling to hold breaking strings that were someone else’s responsibility…22 Brianna ran away and learned how to work. And now, we have 23 year old Brianna writing too much and being 23 and feeling time slip by too quickly and remembering that at 18 I thought I’d have some semblance of a future by now. And at 31 I will roll my eyes at myself, and even that thought marks me as someone in my early 20’s.

Sigh. By struggling against stereotype I become the stereotype.

I just wish this self-construction was a chemical reaction, cells dividing, water crystals forming jackfrost patterns on glass…something easy an spontaneous and interesting in any configuration. Not the slow and tedious house-of-cards building I’m doing, where every little tremor knocks parts down, and the rebuilding is never as nice as the concept.

Baaaah. I’m just tired….working on god, working on me, working on love and work and art and never getting anything, really – they’re all on the tip of my tongue and I almost, almost have it and it will all slip away for want of a conversation, a feeling, the barest tip in the right direction. And then the next morning it’s all gone and I feel as far away as ever.

In other news, my Romney is completely spun up, and is glorious in its pink and purple goodness. I wish I knew what to make with it. I wish I felt like making something! Or, I do feel like making something but am at a loss as to what to make. I was a good fourth of a way through a lovely sock before realizing it was too large and ripping it all out. I can’t work on my cashmere unless I’m feeling happy…because I refuse to knit bad, sticky grey feelings into something for someone else…no use looping thousands of sad stitches into a gift of the heart.

I have a letter I wrote three weeks ago I’ve yet to mail. One, because I don’t know where the post office is. Two, because I lack motivation, though I wrote the letter with the very best of intentions…I never write letters! I will bring it to work tomorrow and hope I remember to send it along. Maybe I’ll send my personal little stormclouds along with it.

Asterisk March 13, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
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Well, I had a good two paragraphs all typed here and then Safari crashed and they went away and I was a very annoyed panda.

So, a summary of the lost paragraphs – I have been putting off writing here for a variety of reasons. I am fairly annoyed by this but only think of things to write at inconvinient times and then just never actually set them into sentences and paragraphs here. Work has been wonky and screwing mightily with my sleep, and I am greedily waiting for Tuesday so I will be able to pay bills, buy food and purchase phonecards as CERTAIN PEOPLE are busy and never email.

Hrmph.

So, at this moment I am arranged cross legged on my bed nibbling on semi-sweet chocolate laced with ground espresso beans. It is fabulous. Last night was a socialization night, as my friend from across the courtyard brought his daughter over for a spinning lesson, and then went to do laundry as we (the daughter (who is nine) and I) danced like idiots to Depeche Mode. I don’t dance at all, really, but somehow it is easier when you and a nine year old are giggling and flinging your arms all over and singing to ‘John the Revelator’. It was awesome. I’d put on Daft Punk and she seemed kind of bored and asked if I knew Depeche Mode. Do I know Depeche Mode?! Of course, I’ve only seen them twice and have almost every album of theirs on my computer. And then she asks….do you have John the Revelator? AUGH! Only my favorite song. So there was alot of bouncing…and then we got caught dancing like fools by said friend.

Strangely, I was not embarrased.

Then I went down to Hollywood with them to drop off the kidlet, and then sushi happened! And I ate sooo many soybeans. I heart me some steamed soy beans. And then Sex and the City was on TV and I made him watch it. And it was a completely splendid night.

So, socializing! Me! Amaaaazing.

A few days before I took a long walk to the yarn shop, and then to the natural food store for salsa and chips and tea and chocolate! And as is my way, I brought the laptop and set up at the tables outside after purchasing my goods and taking advantage of the wine and cheese sampling station (oooh, yum. Mmmmm). So, I sit and type with someone and eat my chips and salsa and watching families walk by, when one three-unit family sort of slows down and the dad goes ‘Hey, is that Enrico’s salsa? Oh, look, it’s Enrico’s. Do you like it? That’s the salsa my family makes’.

And I sit and blink for a few seconds and stutter out something like ‘Oh, it’s great…this is sort of weird…um’.

Yes, I did say it was weird.

And then off they went. So, I met the guy who had a hand in the salsa I was eating, as bizzare as that was.

I also had a myriad of people slow and stop and ask me if there was wireless in the area (yes), if this was a Mac (yes), where Starbucks was (One block west) and if there was Sushi in the area (Yes, keep walking west, it’ll be on your right). I have developed the ‘talk to me, ask me where things are’ aura apparently. My life here seems bizzare. It’s a totally ordinary life, but it’s more like someone else’s totally ordinary life that I’ve dropped into – where, instead of being the quiet girl who never talks to anyone and people sort of tiptoe around who has odd hobbies, I am the quiet girl who strangers talk to for no reason and gets invited places and people bring other people to so they can watch said strange hobbies. I’ve gone from ‘reclusive’ to ‘ecclectic’, and I’m sort of enjoying it – slowly beginning to realize that I might be considered an interesting person by some people. Wow! People want to spend time with me!

Fantastic.

In other news, I’ve begun to hate various commercials. The axe ones about regrettable hookups (How about….just not getting sloppy drunk and sleeping with various people? How about that, hmm?) I HATE e-harmony commercials. Hate, hate, searing anger. The people on those commercials are…possibly the most annoying people you could ever be neighbors with. The ones who glomph together in grocery store lines and babytalk each other. The ones who, whenever you express a single relationship problem, roll their eyes fondly at each other and then give you the most freaking pat idealized advice ever, and then the next day their pastor shows up at your door because ‘they’re just trying to help!’. I want to stop and pout like a toddler when I see those freaking things and yell at the TV that LIFE IS NOT LIKE THAT YOU ARE SCARY…but I don’t think they’d hear.

It’s a little irrational, but having glossy Stepford perfection rubbed in my face is irritating.

Oh, oh, there is a horse on Dharma and Greg….I miss riding. I miss the glossy boots and breeches and the jumps and the grooming and the fun of wandering through the woods on horseback looking for logs to hop over and so forth and so on. Sigh. Unfortunately, horses are expensive. More expensive than cats. Maybe one day I will get to do the horse thing again! Though, after typing this I feel more like a twelve year old squeeing over pooonies and pink ribbons, etc etc.

But, speaking of Dharma and Greg, I want to /be/ Dharma and Greg. With the wackiness and the fighting that manages to resolve and the happy dancing about. Probably my favorite TV couple.

I am ashamed of having a favorite TV couple. I’m sure I could go on and on about relationships and things and so forth, but the idea of waxing on for paragraphs about TV couples when a few weeks ago I did the same for Disney characters is a little frightening, so I just….won’t.

I’m spinning a very uncharacteristic yarn these days. I usually spin a tight, uniform two-ply. Good for socks or gloves or what have you…but also time consuming and a little boring at times. These last few days, I’m spinning lofty bulky two ply. I took a chunk of Romney fleece, washed it, combed it, dyed it, and am now spinning it. It’s fast! I did a huge skein in less than a day, and am working on the second. I’m so proud of myself for spinning ‘thick’ yarn…it’s hard to change from a ‘default weight’, so huge accomplishment here. It’s pinks and purples and would be fabulous felted, or as a hat…I don’t really need a hat or anything, though, so I have no idea what I’ll do with it. Perhaps there will be a picture later, when I’m done.

I’m still knitting cashmere and have started a sock as well. Fascinating.

So, now I will finish my chocolate and go back to spinning and feel a little more accomplished as I’ve actually written something, and also spun something, and also…um.

Well, nothing!

Kindness of Strangers March 9, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
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Total miles walked on Monday: 7 or so.

Number of bandaids on feet: 20+

Number of places stopped to acquire said bandaids: Two! A church and a house.

It’s hours later. I walked and walked tonight…to slow my mind and to stretch my legs and to caffinate!

And now it is two days later, and my mind is dead, dead, dead. My feet still hurt from my long walk, and my back is sore. I decided to find a yarn shop, because that is an important thing to find in a new community. Those are the first places I seek out in a new town, and there are at least three here in DelRay – one that the yellow pages stated was just over a mile away! Lovely, completely walkable. I got dressed and found shoes and packed my bag and set off with a nebulous sense of direction – if I got lost, I could just turn around, right? I had a lovely time at first, window shopping and getting the aforementioned caffine, but after turning off the main road and no yarn shop immediately apparent, I began to worry. Half an hour later, I was seriously doubting my mission – where on earth was this place?

I borrowed the Yellow Pages from a perfect stranger. The Yellow Pages swore the yarn shop was 3xx. I? I was at 2000. Confused and tired, I limped across the street to a church. I’ve not voluntarily set foot inside a church for some time now – they make me feel paniky and paranoid. But, in I walked, requesting bandaids. And lo, bandaids were provided, along with directions! For the nice lady working in the office was a knitter. A knitter who knew where I was trying to go! It was a miracle. I discover that the yarn shop has MOVED. To a completely different street. Which is actually much much closer than even the original location.

Bother.

So, I set off in the way I came, feet appropriately bandaged. Twenty minutes later, the bandaids started to slip off.

Bother.

My feet are hurting, I’m hot, I’m out of bandaids…my day, at that moment, was not good. I start looking around for an occupied-looking house. Now, the South used to be known for its hospitality, but these days it seems noone ventures outside their homes. people don’t really socialize in yards or over hedges…on my walk through a residential area, I saw no kids playing, noone having tea in a back yard….no signs of life. So I was a bit apprehensive in knocking on a perfect stranger’s door and demanding bandages. Yet, that is exactly what I did. And, surprisingly, came across a very polite and helpful young mother and her children who waved excitedly at me from their window, and was provided with many, many bandaids.

Hooray!

Those bandaids lasted another ten minutes. Walking in the head really does not favor bandaid durability. Finally I reach a pharmacy and end up /taping up/ my feet with elastic cloth tape. This works, and is weird looking, and I make it to the yarn shop intact.

At the yarn shop, I find heavenly sock yarn impregnated with jojoba and aloe, and handyed silk to spin! Delightful! The owners are busy unpacking, but are helpful, and once they learn I spin they show me samples the fiber artist who dyed the silk sent them. And then….they let me spin the samples. So, after my ordeal I found myself sitting on a weaving bench (Did I mention their shop is geared towards weaving, something I want to do for a living? No? Well, it is) at a sturdy spinning wheel, spinning silk into wabi-sabi thick and thin singles. While I’m doing this, the person who dyed the silk calls, and I end up talking to her while spinning. Then, I’m told I can keep what I’m spinning if I spin some blue silk for the store owner…sort of a trade.

It turned into a good day. But a frustrating night, as I lost about a third of the silk in a gigantic tangle later, and the frustration is still hanging on as I am feeling drained and tired and it’s taken me forever to write this very factual and boring accounting of events that is just the sort of entry I hate.

I think this is my least favorite attitude, emotion, mood…empty dull scratchy head, lack of motivation. Not tired, not energized. Staring at the screen, contemplating fingernails, no energy to even daydream, lonely, blah. Today was a bad email day, and last night I basically whined for an hour due to bothersome insecurity that I’m sure gets tiresome, before trying to snap out of it and actually…you know, Make Conversation like I used to.

I’m lying in bed, fully clothed, skirt and hose and shirt still on for some reason as if I think I might leave this room before noon tomorrow.

I am so frustrated.

I am going to stop typing because it is not helping me feel any better.

I thought I would eventually stop feeling like this.

Poof March 5, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
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Poof goes the hair. I swear, it’s standing out six inches from my head on both sides. And people wonder why I don’t like the south…the humidity makes me look like Bozo!

 

It’s been an exciting few days here, crime-wise. Last night there was a drunken screaming match in the parking lot across from the hotel entrance that we had to call the police about. Today, an hour after I come into work? A Mercedes is pulled over for speeding….and then gets towed due to lack of registration. While that’s going on, one of the golf carts in use for a local restaurant’s deliveries is pulled over for not having it’s lights on while speeding and having its music on too loud. While /that/ is going on, I’m being filled in on the stabbing. What stabbing, you ask? Apparently, while I was sleeping, someone got stabbed in broad daylight right across the street. Absolutely bizzare, as this whole area is West Palm Beach Rich. So, in two nights I see more of the police than I have in two summers in Maine!

 

This is my second night here alone. I love this shift – the reports and organizing and free time in between – feeling useful and competant without having to stand for eight hours and look alert. This is the fourth audit I’ve learned – not too bad. Every property and system is a little different, so I’m pretty chuffed about getting this one under my belt as well. By far the best job I’ve had – and this one is not even math intensive like the others are! My last property actually technically required an accounting degree for the position. That was a huuuuge audit. Amazingly complicated. But! I learned what takes most people six weeks in two, so, hooray for me.

 

I’ve not felt like writing much lately…an odd combination of greyness and just having too many things in my head to actually be able to arrange them into letters and words and paragraphs…like trying to pour a gallon of water through a straw. Religion and politics have been heavily on my mind these days, which perhaps contributes to the greyness? Who knows. Religion tends to make me feel guilty and frightened and uncomfortable, while politics just makes me ANGRY. I can’t watch the news, because I try to yell at the people who are really just reading off a promptor.

 

Let’s get the bare bones of politics out of the way first. This is just frustrating. I, personally, consider myself leftist…mostly because my ideal is ‘Let people do what they want so long as it does not hurt other people’. Yes, that is impossibly idealistic, but then, isn’t everything? How many products of the mind work exactly as in theory? None. Even the dreaded-by-Americans communism isn’t in itself bad, but is bended to selfish means through various people. As is any particular political party. Right now, I tend to vote for Democrats…often not because their platform is the only one I believe will work, but because the current Democrats running strive for particular things I believe will do more long term good than things Republicans are striving for – a more secular government (some of these things might be marginal, but I’ll vote for marginal rather than theocracy), environmentalism, a slightly better foreign policy, and social benefits (which I think we need, as nice as the whole ‘pure capitalism’ thing would be if it worked…). Bare bones, though – stripping away current party members and looking soley at declared platforms…either party seems equally good, when taken just as is. Both seem like they would work equally well if not tainted by human greed and ambition. They’re very different, but each stated purpose benefits the people. Great!

 

Now, I’ve also been reading blogs. I inhale these – I love to learn about other people, what they do, what they think, and if the writing is engaging, I’ll read them from top to bottom in a few hours. The blogs I’m reading currently center around a particular issue, and as they deal with a fairly politically charged situation, people tend to fall on one side of an issue or another. If you read each blog as an individual, each side looks equally convincing. Just like those bare bones platforms…each way seems like it would work well if you took away that whole ‘greed and advancement’ issue, and each side makes convincing points. I am very interested mostly because my media gives me a really odd picture, and also I, as a bleeding heart liberal, need to find a place to stand among it all. =) I’m tempted to say ‘both sides are right’, as much as they would likely violently disagree – from the outside looking in, both points of view make excellent points, and either side could likely settle things if they could only remove those human factors.

 

I am aware, though, as someone totally outside the situation, that I am in no position to judge or declare someone right or wrong. Because I simply have no way of relating.

 

My huge frustration here (I’m sure someone was reading that thinking a) ‘what the hell is she going on about, stop speaking in riddles!’ and b) Is there supposed to be a point in here somewhere?) is with the people in my position, way outside, in no position to relate at all, sitting in front of their computers declaring one person or another WRONG. Blink. Wrong? How on earth do you know? How can you tell? Have you ever been there? Besides, how can a viewpoint from someone living in a particular situation be declared incorrect and misguided by someone whose situation has never approached, touched, come into contact with, smelled, seen, or felt the other’s circumstances?

 

It would be like me trying to write a blog about what it’s like living in France by watching news about Paris, reading some newspapers, and reading a few blogs written by English speaking residents of France. Boy, would the French be pissed if I did that. So. If you do not live there, have not lived there, have not visited…please have an opinion. Please! But. Please do not mock, discount, or dismiss the views of people who know a hell of a lot more about it than you do. Also, calling them pessemistic liars probably isn’t the best course of action.

 

Thank you.

 

Did that make any sense? Perhaps not, but I feel a bit better.

 

Now! Religion.

 

Ha. Ha Ha. I don’t know why this particular subject has been on my mind lately, as I’ve pretty much avoided it for the last eight or so years. It frustrates me, it just always seems that the ideals put forth by religion would be so lovely if only for the people screaming at the other people who think the ideals are something else. I grew up Baptist, and I remember sitting in Church one day and thinking, out of the blue ‘This just makes no sense’. The pastor wasn’t trying to enlighten, or bring about revelation or peace or have people think on certain matters…he was using verses to decry society (which I don’t find useful at all – anyone who truly holds that set of beliefs already knows which bits of society they do not agree with), and started going on about sex on TV and how they use it to sell laundry detergant. This example has stuck in my mind for years. The whole thing made me uneasy – I never felt that sense of peace and joy various pastors and teachers predicted came with belief. I was scared. I recall freaking out when I was about eight years old…was I saved? How did I know? Perhaps I was fooling myself and I thought I was but I wasn’t and the next day I’d be killed and be in hell forever, but I wanted to be saved and I said the prayer but every Sunday all these people would stand up and talk about how they thought they were saved and realized they weren’t and if they thought they were perhaps I did too…. These are not issues an eight year old should have to deal with, and noone could give me a satisfactory answer. In my mid teens, I had a Sunday School teacher tell me it was bad to think about the Bible when we thought it didn’t make sense, because it was ‘Stinkin Thinkin’ (Yes. This is what she said), and was the devil trying to make us doubt. By that time I was highly suspicious of anyone who told me to /not/ think…and to not think about this thing which was supposed to guide my entire life? That seems rather foolish. If this path was correct, and I had a doubt, and studied the thing that was giving me trouble…logic says that, if I truly believed, I would eventually emerge with an answer and even stronger in my faith, correct? So, I peeled away, left with the fabulous Baptist guilt complex and an even more fabulous total repulsion for the church and how it made me feel.

 

God, any god, isn’t supposed to twist a person into knots, right?

 

So, now Brianna is drifting in limbo. She rarely meets someone in these United States who can speak about their particular religion without sounding rabid, vapid, brainwashed or pompous. Perhaps she is meeting the wrong people (and perhaps she should stop writing in the third tense!)

 

I would /like/ to be able to believe in something. But right now the concept of god is just a ball of neutral light in my head…directionless, faceless. Like the concept of ‘peace’, or my mental image of neutrinos… I can’t take religion and trust god will follow – doesn’t that cheapen the concept altogether? And there’s also the lurking secular college late night ‘religion is a sham’ convictions lurking around…and sometimes that thought seems to have merit. Not the belief in god itself…but the surrounding beliefs, and the actions taken place because of them. The sort of things that triggered the pastor’s fifteen minute rant about sex and laundry detergent, or the public humiliation of a girl in my church who got pregnant by her boyfriend and was made to stand in front of the whole congregation and apologise (for what? She offended god, not the church…), the picking and chosing of text to back personally held beliefs…augh, it makes my head hurt.

 

So, for the first time in years and years all of these conflicting thoughts are floating up and battling it out and I am so, so frustrated. I’m sure there are countless people who would love to ‘lead’ me to someone…but I also find myself violently opposed to being someone’s ‘conquest’…an attitude I saw time and time again while growing up. No, thank you.

 

The day is almost over for me…soon it will be time for me to sleep again. Work, sleep, I have no life…but I have two blissful days off in a row! Fabulous, whatever will I do? Nothing usefull, I’m sure, but oh well. I finished a third of some lovely dyed wool so perhaps I’ll work on getting another third done. Perhaps I’ll actually go and look at the beach – I’ve yet to venture down there.

 

This has been unusually issue-laden for me, and largely incoherant…but ah well. I’ll send it out into the world for people to roll their eyes at and just be happy that my word count for useless drivel is steadily increasing. Good morning, soon it is time for me to sleep!

Twilight March 1, 2006

Posted by brianna in Verbosity.
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I am sitting in a bistro, drinking a cup of coffee in a wrinkled skirt and a wrinkled shirt rolled to my elbows, one button buttoned, reading the journal of someone I used to wish I could be.

And I know, right at this moment with a candle on my table and butter-yellow stucco outside in my careless clothes with my water with lemon on the table and some knitting near my feet, I am living…a transitional scene in a movie, an advertisement for a laptop…someone’s flashback of 23. But still, I’m feeling the odd sense of melencholy her writing used to give me, the little tinge of sadness and wistfulness, though no longer that stomach clenching soul-tearing jealousy. Thankfully, most of the bitterness has faded.

This girl was someone my boyfriend had chosen over me. Someone who wrote (writes) beautifully. A dancer, and someone with taste not prone to awkward ramblings and social inappropriateness.

But oddly, now I find myself able to appreciate her words…reading them for the story rather than the torture. Life is odd, things you were determined to hold on forever slip away and the unintentional meetings stick – I have my accidental job, my serendipitous Someone, in an unexpected location, while all my carefully planned and engineered goings on are far past and long forgotten, or just obviously never going to work. And I am different and the same, happier and still melencholy but infinately better able to orchestrate my life and be content with my workings.

So, I read and I smile and watch the sadness and jealousy stream away.

Thank goodness for coffee!