“Our doubts are traitors
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt.” ~ William Shakespeare, from Measure for Measure (I,iv)
Monday afternoon, partly cloudy, 55 degrees.
Monday misgivings . . .
I was so eager for the internet to be restored, and then when it was, I think that I froze internally. I stared at the posts that I had written on Word, and then realized that I didn’t have images or poems or songs, and I immediately became dismayed, and then distracted, and then I ended up playing hours of spider solitaire.
Later, I was so angry with myself that I decided I would post everything today, with or without images. I compromised with that perfection side of myself and settled for adding an image at the top of Friday’s and Saturday’s posts, even though it makes me view them as being incomplete, somehow. I tend to think that since I’m so heavy on verbiage that the inclusion of images helps to break up everything and make it easier to read. (Does it?)
But I did have a good idea about which music to include, and the poems were actually easy as I keep a collection of them for future posts; it’s just a matter of marrying themes, if possible.
Anyway, that’s what happened to my big plans for back posting yesterday. Whatever . . . . . . . . . . .
“So I fill my hands with the shards of infinite ardors. A generous cargo of ohs and oh wells. And a strange half-wish to be a ghost.
It is the thing I wish for most.” ~ Jill Alexander Essbaum, from The Devastation
Monday afternoon. Partly cloudy and warmer, 70 degrees.
I had a full-blown Caitlin dream last night. I haven’t had one of those in a very long time. By full-blown, I mean, I saw her, held her, fed her, talked to her, called her by name. I cannot begin to express how much this hurts my heart. And to compound the ache, my father was also in the dream in a very active way: we talked about something, he smiled, I kissed his cheek.
In the first part of the dream I was in a medical center with Caitlin. Our nurse was very nice, and she was trying to get us a private room so that I could breast feed Caitlin. There was a lot of noise in the hall, and I peeked out and saw soldiers and people running. The medical center was being stormed by someone, I don’t know who. I looked around the hallway to see if there was a way out, and there wasn’t.
I went back into the room and closed the door quietly. I told our nurse what was going on. Other people came into the room with their babies. Everyone was scared. People were looking to me. I fed Caitlin and ignored everything else. My ex wanted to know how I could have fed her. I told him I breastfed her; he wanted to know where the milk came from. I told him that it was just there again, like it had always been. Then I went to the windows and said that we could try jumping to safety.
“Sometimes fear grips me that these fragile moments of life will fade away. It seems that I write against erasure.” ~ Assia Djebar, from “Assia Djebar: The Tireless Walker of Memory,” trans. Erin E. Brady and Guillaume Basset
In another part of the dream I was having an affair with my second cousin at Great Bridge. Everyone knew, but no one said anything. I was still married to my ex. I had four children, and one of them looked like my cousin. My ex wanted to know if he was the father or if my cousin was the father. I lied.
Then, I was talking to all of my cousins about the cars I had when I was a teenager, and I remembered when I spun my VW Beetle into a ditch (this really happened). My cousin said that he remembered, but the ditch was in front of my mother’s house. I said that there were no ditches there, only in Great Bridge.
Then we were singing karaoke. I signed up to do a duet of a country song, but when the music started, I realized that I couldn’t read the screen with my contacts in, so I didn’t know the words. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were part of the group I was with, and they wanted to do a sing-off. I said that I couldn’t because I couldn’t see the words. They said that I was just making an excuse. Then two of the women in the group said they would sing with me.
At some point in this sequence, I was sitting outside with my dad. He may have been working on a fishing rod. I told him that I was really glad that he was my father. He smiled.
I awoke with a pain in my heart and a completely empty feeling.
“Because the body is so ephemeral and corrupt, what is beautiful today may not be so ten years hence, I give you words. Because my thoughts are strange and dreamlike and not to be trusted to icon or art, I put them into words for you” ~ Shaindel Beers, from “I Give You Words”
Today has been completely out of whack. My doctor’s office called to say that they had to cancel my appointment today because they hadn’t gotten approval for my shots, not the Botox for my migraines, but the cortisone for both of my wrists. Unbelievable. The Botox has finally been approved, but not the cortisone? What gives? I really need shots in both of my hands because they hurt all of the time.
Then my dermatologist’s office called and wanted to know if I could come in at 8 in the morning instead of 2 in the afternoon. Really? No. I made these appointments to work around Brett’s school schedule. He has an exam tomorrow. And besides, I’m not even conscious at 8 in the morning. Of course, I didn’t tell them that.
In between, Brett found out that an exam he thought was on Wednesday is actually today. Yep, major freaking out ensued.
Then I paid some bills, and I tried to create an online account for my life insurance, and the site kept saying that there was no policy in existence. I called customer service. Policy is in existence. Associate took all of my information and said to give it a bit and try again. He had a hard time with my e-mail address. I bet he put it in wrong because I still can’t log in to the site.
So much fun. Love days like these. Just want to do nothing, but no. I’m a responsible adult with responsible adult obligations………….. whatever……………
“In one way, causeless emotion reminds me of melancholy: when we have sorrows without a name.” ~ Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, and Honey
For Mother’s Day, I ordered myself a couple of books and a one-pound bag of Chimes Mango Ginger chews. These things are addictive, and the ginger is very good for your heart and digestion, or so I tell myself, but they’re impossible to find in grocery stores. So yesterday, Brett went with me to T. J. Maxx, mostly to get out of the house, and I tried on clothes, which always makes me feel fat and ugly, and there on the shelves in the gourmet section were Chimes Chews, plain ginger, mango ginger, orange ginger. Unbelievable.
I’m trying not to think about it too much because I already justified to myself ordering the one-pound bag. I’m also trying not to think about the shirt that I tried on that was too tight in the—wait for it—ARMS. I have fat arms. How does that happen? Why does that happen? Why do women lose tone in weird bodily appendages and men don’t?
So the trip out of the house to lift our spirits ended up making me feel fat and ugly and inefficient. Now here’s the real rub: I can’t stop thinking about how I paid x amount to order this one-pound bag, when I could have paid y and gotten them at T. J. Maxx. My never pay retail mantra is kind of stuck, like LP’s? Remember that, how they would stick in a spot and play the same sound over and over again, and sometimes, this would happen at night when you would put on an album to fall asleep by, and then you’d fall asleep, and something would nudge you in your sleep, and you’d wake up to the sound of the record stuck on a scratch or groove? Am I the only one that happened to?
“This is the solstice, the still point of the sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future; the place of caught breath . . .” ~ Margaret Atwood, from “Shapechangers in Winter”
So, no relief in the wrists, no sassy red capris with white polka dots because they looked stupid on me, no cute lavender denim shorts because, well, the stupid thing. I did come away with two pair of really gauzy yoga pants and a new bra, so I’ll just stay at home and wear my yoga pants and hide my arms.
Ack. What am I going on about, anyway. That my arms are flabby is no surprise. That I didn’t look all chic in the red capris is no surprise. That I found Chimes locally is a surprise. I think that I’m just trying to keep my mind from dwelling on my dreams last night. I did so many things, saw so many people, touched on so many memories. I think part of what caused such emotional dreams were two things I saw yesterday: the movie Boy A, which is heartbreaking, and then a short film on Tumblr about a wolf looking for her cub. Ack. Set myself up, I suppose.
The reality is that the dream of breastfeeding Caitlin was so perfect and so very, very painful. That is something that will never happen again. That baby that I held in my arms with the dark hair, the one who looked up at me in contentment—it’s not real. What is real is that I feel like I picked and picked and picked at a scab, and now it is raw again.
The scar that had faded to a pale grey line is red and aching, and it’s going to take me months to heal from this, and why can’t I be better about this? Why does the pain caused by a dream have to be so immediate and so real? Once again, I am among the walking wounded, and no matter how many of these damned Chimes I chew, I fear it is going to get better later rather than sooner.
“In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real.” ~ Libba Bray, from A Great and Terrible Beauty
Wednesday afternoon. Cloudy and cold, low 40’s.
Things I believe in:
the Oxford comma
friendship on a daily basis
dreams (as in sleeping) as reflections of our lives
the inestimable power of music to move
the unmistakable humanity of dogs
the existence of true good and real evil in the world
there is always hope
“We all walk in mysteries. We are surrounded by an atmosphere about which we still know nothing at all.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, letter dated 23 July 1820
Things I know for certain:
Turning 40 changes your life in ways you cannot fathom for years to come
Melancholy is a way of life
Being different is both hard and easy
Revenge is counterproductive, which doesn’t lessen its desirability
I belong in front of a college classroom
I will always miss Caitlin, my father, and Mari
I have lived through momentous points in history but have failed to notice
The mirror is not my friend
I have surprised myself with the quality of some of the things I have written
I did not win the lottery
“There are so many lives of which I know nothing. Even my own.” ~ Jane Hirshfield, from “Unnameable Heart”
Things I don’t know well enough—yet:
How to choose a friend wisely
How rain sounds on a tin roof
My own soul
How to believe in myself
How to be still, really still
How to be comfortable in my own skin
How to make and apply fondant on a fancy cake
How to renovate a house from top to bottom
How to find a literary agent
Where to find my place in the sun
“. . . the compulsion to repeat what one has experienced is like gravity, and it takes special equipment to break away from it.” ~ Edward St. Aubyn, from The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind
Things I will never do:
Parachute out of a plane (used to be on my bucket list)
Have my picture taken while a snake is wrapped about my shoulders (I would die of fright first)
Go back on a promise (as long as it is within my power)
Race in the Tour de France (well, duh)
Dye my hair blond
Dance on a table (again)
Ride a big wave
Be sorted into a house at Hogwarts
Travel in a TARDIS
Not have a dog in my life
“We all want to take our lives in our own hands and hurl them out among the stars.” ~ David Bottoms, from “Coasting Toward Midnight at the Southeastern Fair”
Things on my bucket list I may actually achieve some day:
Photograph a feeding hummingbird
Photograph a hawk in flight
See the New Year’s Eve fireworks show in Sydney
Fly a glider (yep, still want to do this)
Go to Ireland
Retile a room, walls and floor
Relax in a natural hot spring
Go to the Louvre
Go back to London and visit the places I knew as a child
Read everything Virginia Woolf ever wrote, including diaries
Have floor to ceiling built-in bookshelves filled to the brim with books of poetry, fiction, and some science and history
See the Northern lights and the Great Barrier Reef
See Hadrian’s Wall and Stonehenge and all of the stone circles across Europe
Publish a real book that people will want to read
“The heart is forever inexperienced.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Things I will love until the day I die:
A mockingbird’s song
The smells of fresh lavender, lilac, and rosemary
A cup of hot tea
Fresh bread still hot enough to melt butter
Black leather boots
A long, hot bath scented with bath salts
A neck massage
The smell of the air after a spring rain
The feel of fine, soft, squishy leather purses and jackets
Paper in all colors and weights
Handwritten letters and notes
Books, books, books
The certainties of cemeteries and waterfalls, mountains and oceans, and the moon in the night sky
“Amazing Grace” played on the bagpipes
The smell of 4711 cologne
Music by Bruno Mars (feat. Lindsey Stirling, Alex Boye’, & the Salt Lake Pops), “Grenade”
All images are mine, my concept of chiaroscuro.
As I Grew Older
It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun—
And then the wall rose,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky—
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams