Nobody feels right anymore. I just need to leave. The effort I’m exerting to care about people halfway isn’t worth anything at all, it’s all a waste and I want to know why I’m still doing it, I shouldn’t, I don’t want to be doing it, but I am. I just want to be something further than gone, all my elastic relationships snapped like rubber bands and lying in piles miles behind me, and I won’t spare a single thought for them, besides gladness…
I know it’s not supposed to change my view of you, and I don’t want it to, because you don’t need pity and all, or maybe you just don’t want it, I could see you with your clawing eyes right after you told me, daring me to look at you differently, even slightly. And I don’t want to, because you’re obviously still the same person…but it’s fucking hard, okay? And it’s like, I want to describe to you how overwhelmingly sorry I am, so so so so so so sorry, but I know it’s not enough, this isn’t about me anyway, and no sorry in the world could fix it, even if I tried. I just stared at your back, you know, as you started to leave, and tried to send a message to you through my brain waves, telepathically, to tell you how sad and fucking sick to the core I was that that had happened to you. You turned around to smile at me, and looked like half an angel as you stood there, trying not to cry, begging me not to. I know you’re not an angel, but you looked like one, then.
I miss the girl who lingered in doorways, who was afraid to start a song unless others had already begun. She wore perfume on her wrists even though it gave her hives and she was the last anybody voice left in the world, and her spirit still just reads and runs.
I didn’t believe it, but I said thank you, thank you very much sir.
There was (is) a man, and he had (has) button eyes and a smile that could (can) crack ice. He had cold hands, and he would run them up and down my bare legs and he would do it while the TV was still on. I remember listening to Obama when he was still a senator speak about the audacity of hope while my legs tingled and trembled.
The last evil that shall be eradicated is hope.
I wrote that on a Post-It in his kitchen.
“Why would you think something like that?”
“The Greeks thought so.”
“It was in Pandora’s box, wasn’t it? The last of the worst.”
He was endearing; he held his books like old glass, peering into them with bloodshot eyes, always was this slight expression of wonder, he would say he was looking through a kaleidoscope. He liked things with a shelf life, things that lasted.
It is easy to call someone normal, and I know this because so often he said that about himself and it was so wrong and sometimes I wondered if he really thought it.
We were bent together, the two of us. Hugging each other like scarecrows in a storm. But my straw smelled like urine and rats had nestled within my chest cavity, and he still had his felt hat.
I was not very nice, I’ll admit it right away. He grew tired of it. Still, I thought…
I thought it could have gone otherwise.
“You won’t know beauty till it punches you in the mouth, screaming for its money back.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Fuck it—call me when you’ve got a bloody lip.”
He kissed me and left, muttering something about Rhett Butler over the sound of his jerky engine’s tank.
For me, the journey of trying to write something that’s good has been filled with agonizing moments, so many that I’ve often wondered why I keep pursuing this dream; but it’s during those rare moments when I’m in it, truly in it, banging away at the laptop keys, chasing a fresh idea, bobbing my head as if I were a fucking concert pianist playing in front of a large crowd—all while I’m alone with my coffee in a depressingly quiet room—that I realize I want to be a writer for the rest of my life.
Don’t etch a sweet little story between your legs, love. The doctors won’t like it. They won’t like it at all.
But then, the doctors never like anything that’s fun.
Your heart rate is down to 40 beats a minute—I hope you know that you’ve reached that point now, my little anomaly. People have stopped looking at your baby bird legs with jealousy and now see half-broken twigs. They’re sorry for you, they’re worried for you, ‘that can’t be healthy.’ You know they’re wrong though. It is healthy, it’s so so healthy that they don’t even get it, with their inferior will power and stomachs that creep around the waistlines of their pants. You smile when they tell you to see a doctor. You smile at the doctor. You smile when she furrows her brow at the numbers on the scale. You smile because you’re a girl and you have a secret.
You drink tea like you’re British and also you read books and have this fashion sense that people used to talk about. But nobody sees any of that because they’re only looking at the one thing that isn’t even a big thing. People get so distracted and scared all the time. You don’t, you really don’t, and you think that’s why you notice it so much when others are.
People think that this is like any other disease. Like, you wake up one day and it’s all over, you’re cured. You don’t think so. It’s been four years and thirty-five pounds and you still are consumed and identified by it every day, even if other people can’t tell anymore. It doesn’t go away. I mean, nothing really goes away, but especially this. Sometimes people are surprised when you tell them, yeah, I used to be… and you never really understand why they’re surprised, because you didn’t used to be, you actually still are and if someone opened up your head they’d see that your brain cells are still starving. There’s no ‘over’ with this.
“No one could blame American women here if they all suddenly decided to leave the country saying, ‘That’s it, we’re fucking out of here, this is complete bullshit.’ There has been a debate on contraception in the last week so ludicrous that part of me was wondering if it was in fact a performance art piece, to make us all question how terrible it would be to live in a country where something like this could actually happen.”—John Oliver on American contraception debates, The Bugle
Hi Monday. How are you? I’m not well, Monday. This whole thing, it’s not going well. It overwhelms me too often and too much. This cast-iron world I live in, it does its job and more, Monday. It locks me up and I still find myself admiring the metal twists of the flowers on the gate. I know what I should do. You want me to be brave, or something. Because bravery’s always the correct solution. Whenever you ask rhetorical questions to yourself you know the answer even if you pretend there’s another: Don’t be afraid. You watch movies and you read books and you talk to your worried and depressed friend on the phone and you’re always shouting at everyone not to be afraid. I’m an American, Monday. I know you’re not, so you may find this hard to understand. But I was raised on courage. There are famous athletes on our cereal boxes, monsters in our closets, war heroes in our U.S. History 101 classes. It’s like, being scared is worse than being hateful or angry or broken. And I go with it, Monday. That flow. I believe in it, more than you can imagine. I say what I think, I do what I think. I look down on people who don’t. But here’s what I’m wondering: Is it really brave to be brave? To shove that twitchy emotion to the back of your head, or to let it lie out there in the open, whimpering pathetic little sounds? In the end it comes down to honesty vs. courage. A bit difficult to choose, don’t you think?
“…That the cliche ‘I don’t know who I am’ unfortunately turns out to be more than a cliche. That if enough people in a silent room are drinking coffee it is possible to make out the sound of steam coming off the coffee. That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place, and, like, hurt. That you will become less concerned with what other people think about you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That other people can often see things about you that you yourself cannot see, even if those people are stupid.”—David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
“At that moment I was sure. That I belonged in my skin. That my organs were mine and my eyes were mine and my ears, which could only hear the silence of this night and my faint breathing, were mine, and I loved them and what they could do.”—Dave Eggers
“We knew the pain of winter wind rushing up your skirt, and the ache of keeping your knees together in class, and how drab and infuriating it was to jump rope while the boys played baseball. We could never understand why the girls cared so much about being mature, or why they felt compelled to compliment each other, but sometimes, after one of us had read a long portion of the diary out loud, we had to fight back the urge to hug one another or to tell each other how pretty we were. We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn’t fathom them at all. We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.”—Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
It’s a Monday. I should still be asleep. Instead, I am driving. The sun’s already up and it smells like quiet morning. I’m driving through these fields, some with cracked wooden fences, some without. No one else is around. Just cows, horses. It’s like I’m the only person in the world. The sunlight is digging into my skin, and I’m laughing in a soft way that is natural because I’m alone. People only laugh loudly when they want people to turn their heads. I’m numb and sore. Last night my inhibitions collapsed and today they came crawling back.
I’m still half-asleep. I feel like I’m in a black and white moving picture, or a dream. I’m chewing a green Jolly Rancher I stole from his pocket. It tastes like him.
When I was in high school I was a loser. I remember my one teacher, Ms. Tiles, told me that made me an outcast and that I should turn that state of being into art. She showed me a list of who else had; Anais Nin, Andy Warhol, Emily Dickinson, W.B. Yeats, Edgar Allen Poe, Vincent van Gogh, Sylvia Plath. I nodded my head, then melted into the hallway in my overlarge clothes and mousy hair. I would hum to myself with my eyes shut. People gave me a wide berth because everyone knows weirdness is contagious. I minded but I also didn’t mind. Another memory: there was this Mexican restaurant I used to go to, and it was queerly lit and horrible, but I used to sit there alone at a table with plates of tortilla chips and I called it my jumping-off place, because I could always draw and write so much better there, I think because no one bothered me. At home, I never really got the privilege of being alone. So I wandered, looking for people who were both elegant and poignant, trembling with feeling. People who mattered, live wires draped in denim and semen, unrestrained and immune to the moral acupuncture our parents would pretend were vaccinations. Where were they?
Where are they?
I bite my lip. It’s like, if I admit I’m lonely that means I’m not good enough, because I want them and they haven’t wanted me. But if I want to be alone…like it, even…
I hope he takes me to another party tonight, a garish, metallic, meaningless one again tonight. So I can stand there and rot. I love rotting. I think it’s a female thing.
My stomach hurts. I want somebody to talk to. Or at least someone to believe that it’s always the very worst for me.
I am quite fond of The Beetles. The song Imagine by Paul McCartney is such an inspiration to me. The four Beetles, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger will forever be my mentors; they taught me so much. When I find myself in times of trouble, I get by with a little help from my friends. All you need is love <33
A funny thing I’ve noticed: an author never seems to be dead until you’ve read absolutely everything they’ve written. It’s like, as long as you don’t know every word, they’re still alive, still creating. I feel like novels are the only genre that works for; if someone’s dead but you haven’t seen all of their movies they don’t seem any less dead. Books are different though. The unread pages out there still breathe a little.
But then, there’s absolutely nothing worse than reading everything a dead author’s written. I remember when I was younger, and completely obsessed with Roald Dahl, I read absolutely everything—all his books, short stories, interviews—and about a thousand times. And I don’t know when it happened, but sometime shortly after that I became acutely aware that he was dead, in a way that he hadn’t seemed before. There would be nothing new. Everything I’ve read and listened to would always be all there was, forever.
It hits like a ton of bricks, or a hurricane. I think that’s a better comparison,
a storm, because most of the time you know when it’s coming. You can feel it in your bones, you’re like an old woman, the arthritis in your knee acting up again.
You batten down the hatches, board the windows shut with plywood. Hold your breath and grab some blankets from the cupboard. Remind yourself not to be afraid. Buy extra food so you won’t starve. You know you won’t eat it, but it’s nice to know that it could be there, if you wanted.
Try to concentrate on the here and now,
and when you can’t do that, sleep. When it’s coming,
you learn to leave no in-between time, no question marks
or empty hours. The rapist can only get you if you were alone in a dark alley already. So you avoid alleys. You
avoid darkness. But still your mind glares at you, flares at you. How dare you.
You try to be bare and open, next. A drawer of knives.
You dissect yourself. Attempt diagnosis. No human being
should be overcome by an emotion it can’t even feel.
This. It’s not real. It’s a foreign body, a cancer of the mind. Chewing away. It’s hungry.
But it is you, it is intrinsically laced within you,
it is just as much you as the rest of your more balanced body. An x-ray
would light up and show it everywhere,
even the places you wouldn’t expect, like your armpits or the backs of your knees.
You hate it. You hate it so much.
And you can’t stop its coming.
(You should sell your house. Hurricanes come too often around here. You think maybe your house isn’t worth all the repairs you put into it. But you are sentimental. The good weather is so good. You’re not brave enough to pull the plug. Even when you want to. Even when it might save you time and money, in the end).
when I was four years old they tried to test my I.Q. they showed me a picture of 3 oranges and a pear they said, which one is different? it does not belong they taught me different is wrong
but when I was 13 years old I woke up one morning thighs covered in blood like a war like a warning that I live in a breakable takeable body an ever-increasingly valuable body that a woman had come in the night to replace me deface me
see, my body is borrowed yeah, I got it on loan for the time in between my mom and some maggots I don’t need anyone to hold me I can hold my own I got highways for stretchmarks see where I’ve grown
I sing sometimes like my life is at stake 'cause you're only as loud as the noises you make I’m learning to laugh as hard as I can listen 'cause silence is violence in women and poor people if more people were screaming then I could relax but a good brain ain’t deadly if you don’t have the facts
we live in a breakable takeable world an ever available possible world and we can make music like we can make do genius is in a back beat backseat to nothing if you’re dancing especially something stupid like I.Q.
for every lie I unlearn I learn something new I sing sometimes for the war that I fight 'cause every tool is a weapon - if you hold it right.
“We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe. God or Satan, politics or grammar, topology or philately - the object seemed incidental to this will to give oneself away, utterly. To games or needles, to some other person. Something pathetic about it. A flight-from in the form of a plunging-into. Flight from exactly what? These rooms blandly filled with excrement and meat? To what purpose? This was why they started us here so young: to give ourselves away before the age when the questions why and to what grow real beaks and claws. It was kind in a way.”—Hal Incandenza, from Infinite Jest
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”—
Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934