“why do you live in your body like you will be given another? as if it were temporary. you starve it, you let anyone touch it, you berate it. tell it that should be completely different. you tug at your soft flesh, wish it thinner, wish it gone. you fall in love with those who praise the way it sighs under their hands, but who praises the way it holds up your weight, even when you are falling apart?” ~ Warsan Shire, “Praise the Soft Belly”
Tuesday evening. Cloudy, high 50’s.
I woke up saying this sentence: “Tyler, I want a tin of bears and Oreos.” Don’t ask me what it means because I have no idea, but I was actually singing it as opposed to just saying it. I have such a very strange dream life.
Olivia, who is over today, is currently napping. I expect her to wake up any minute now, especially because I just sat down to write. I kept postponing, thinking that she would wake up, until finally I decided to hell with it. I’ll just start writing and see what happens.
I called my mom to let her know that Olivia was over here, and she came over for a visit. As my mother was holding Olivia, she was remarking on how fat she is (she isn’t). I won’t even delve into how upset that made me, but I just kept my mouth shut. Olivia is too young for the words to stick, but as I said to Corey after my mom left, is it any wonder I am the way that I am. Corey’s response was that she starts young.
“There is a theory of crying that tears are the body’s way of
releasing excess elements from the brain. There is a theory of
dreaming that each one serves to mend something torn, like
cells of new skin lining up to cover a hole.” ~ Lisa Olstein, from “That Magnificent Part the Chorus Does about Tragedy”
So I finally finished the taxes and Brett’s FAFSA, at least for now. I still need to do Eamonn’s taxes, but those will be a piece of cake after what I just went through. I had to do an amended return for Eamonn because last year I somehow claimed him as a dependent on our return (legitimate as he was still in school full time), but when I did his return I forgot and gave him one exemption. The IRS sent him a letter saying that he needed to do an amended return. I have to say the 1040x is a stupid, overly complicated form, and I went through all of these steps to get the same amount that I had pretty much calculated in my head.
And that interminable wait to speak to an IRS person? She told me that she didn’t know a lot about the 1040x, but it sounded like I had it right. Then she offered to transfer me to someone who was an expert in that form, at which point I was told that the wait would be at least 15 minutes, this after being on the phone for 59 minutes, 54 of those on hold.
No thank you.
“Word by word, the language of women so often begins with a whisper.” ~ Terry Tempest Williams, from When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice
Thursday evening. Cloudy and cold, 47 degrees.
By the time Olivia left on Tuesday, I had run out of things to say, so I never got back to this post. Yesterday, I was bedridden, nauseous, dizzy and weak. Too tired to read, even, better last night, but Corey and I stayed up until 5 a.m. watching season 2 of “Walking Dead.” It’s a highly addictive show, and we’re trying to finish season 2 and the beginning of season 3 before he is scheduled to ship out on February 16.
We’re in countdown mode again. He decided to sign on for half a hitch (45 days) since none of the companies in which he is interested have openings at the moment. Perhaps something will become available once he finishes this hitch. Neither of us are terribly excited about him going back, but we want to make sure we don’t get caught up in a domino effect again with our bills, and this is the best way to ensure that does not happen.
I think that I was in denial about it, telling him that I was fine with him going, and then I realized that I wasn’t fine, but there really isn’t anything that can be done. I just have to try to keep things together for six weeks or so. I think I can do that, should be able to do that, don’t know if I can do that . . .
“Into what waters do we fall
when we leave, if time does not exist?
What is the depth of heaven?” ~ Manuel Ulacia, from “The Stone at the Bottom”
Corey has spent the last five days cleaning fish. During his last trip he caught lots of fish, red snapper and other kinds with which I am unfamiliar. They were all frozen whole in garbage bags. So he finally decided to clean and fillet them. We had fresh fish twice in the last week. Not complaining. Everyone in the family loves fish. My dad used to cook fish all of the time, fried, baked, however, but he did not often fillet it, which meant fish bones. If there is a bone, I will find it.
I am reminded of something funny that my father used to do. If anyone was choking on a fish bone, he would pat their head in a circular motion. Apparently it’s some kind of Filipino wives’ tale: patting the head clears the fish bone. I can attest that it does not work. Actually, now that I think of it, I think he was pulling my leg . . .
So during this massive cleaning Corey has taught Brett how to clean fish, something he’s been wanting to learn. Eamonn, who knows how already, decided that he did not want to participate in the cleaning. Go figure.
Anyway, now that we’re in countdown mode, it seems that Corey is trying to get all kinds of things done before next week. We’re going to try to go to the movies one more time before he leaves. I had wanted to see Anna Karenina, with Keira Knightly, but I don’t think that it came to any theaters in this area, and if it did, it’s long gone. I think we’re going to see Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, perhaps this weekend.
“Why am I afraid, I who am not afraid? Why must I pretend to scorn in order to pity? Why must I hide myself in self-contempt in order to understand? Why must I be so ashamed of my strength, so proud of my weakness?” ~ Eugene O’Neill from The Great God Brown
I’m very worried about Brett. He is unhappy with one of his classes and seems set on not going. I was really hoping that this semester would be a break for him, only classes he likes, 12 easy credits.
He’s distressed because he had originally signed up for a film class and then at the last minute changed it to a short story class. Now he hates the short story class and wishes that he were in the film class, especially because a friend of his is telling him what a great class it is.
Signing up for classes is often a crap shoot. If you don’t know someone who has taken the class or someone who knows the professor, you don’t know what you’re getting. I had more than my share of crap classes, but there’s really nothing you can do about it once you’re past that drop/add deadline, which he is.
What is worrying me is how focused he is on his perceived mistake. I know that I dwell, but he is completely fixated, to the point of obsessing over what could have been. I so wish that none of my children had inherited the family propensity for depression, but alas, was not to be. All of them, to one degree or another, suffer. But I’ve been doing this dance with Brett since high school, and at times, I feel so utterly helpless and useless that I just want to put my fist through a wall.
“So, now I shall talk every night. To myself. To the moon. I shall walk, as I did tonight, jealous of my loneliness, in the blue-silver of the cold moon, shining brilliantly on the drifts of fresh-fallen snow, with the myriad sparkles. I talk to myself and look at the dark trees, blessedly neutral. So much easier than facing people, than having to look happy, invulnerable, clever. With masks down, I walk, talking to the moon, to the neutral impersonal force that does not hear, but merely accepting my being. And does not smite me down.” ~ Sylvia Plath, from “Cambridge Notes”
How does the depressed aid the depressed? How does one who is herself in a free fall pause long enough to prop up one for whom she feels completely responsible?
Depression goes hand-in-hand with low self-esteem. One causes the other, and it is hard to say which is the precursor and which is the result. My youngest son suffers terribly from a sense that he is not good enough, that he cannot get it right, whatever it may be. And because I carry around enough guilt for a monastery full of self-flagellating monks, I fear that I have caused him to feel less than worthy somehow.
Depression and low self-esteem are a sharp knife, and the cuts may be invisible, but they are still there, and I hate that I know about the cuts but can do nothing to help them heal.
I am distressed that he has taken a dislike to this class so soon in the semester, and I don’t want him to take any action that may hurt his overall GPA. Yet at the same time I want him to do what will best help him as regards his mental state. I fear that the planned trip to New Zealand will not come soon enough, and I fear that it will come and he will go and not come back.
Why is life always so damned hard, even when it isn’t?
More later. Peace.
(All images from National Geographic Sense of Place are of local fishermen in Myanmar (Burma): The fish population in Inle Lake has dwindled as a result of overfishing, environmental waste, and invasive non-native species, and fishermen such as those in the pictures above are turning away from their trades, sustaining themselves instead by demonstrating traditional fishing methods to tourists. Local fishermen use tall nets to trap fish and then use spears to catch them. They are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style that involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. The reeds and floating plants covering the lake make it difficult to see above them while sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds and frees their hands for fishing. However, the leg rowing style is only practiced by the men. wikipedia)
Music by Tindersticks, “Sweet Memory”
Admonitions to a Special Person
Watch out for power,
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.
Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you’ll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.
Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.
Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.
Watch out for games, the actor’s part,
the speech planned, known, given,
for they will give you away
and you will stand like a naked little boy,
pissing on your own child-bed.
Watch out for love
(unless it is true,
and every part of you says yes including the toes),
it will wrap you up like a mummy,
and your scream won’t be heard
and none of your running will end.
Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can’t be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.
if I were you I’d pay no attention
to admonitions from me,
made somewhat out of your words
and somewhat out of mine.
I do not believe a word I have said,
except some, except I think of you like a young tree
with pasted-on leaves and know you’ll root
and the real green thing will come.
Let go. Let go.
Oh special person,
this typewriter likes you on the way to them,
but wants to break crystal glasses
when the dark crust is thrown off
and you float all around
like a happened balloon.
~ Anne Sexton