If

You walk back into my office.

Entire universes live and die on the fingertips of choice.

“I feel like an asshole–”

I stop breathing. Look you in the eye for the first time in a year smell the warm denim jacket skin unscented soap crushed lavender from across the room. In the winter of your pause I am in suspended animation living the memory of my arms around your perfect waist, soft, pulling you back into bed.

You aren’t looking at me.

I’m looking past every time you said I was something that could be fixed and into a future where kickstart apologies sputter into something bruised burning wilted growing up out of ashes the way forests do after wildfires.

“– I didn’t need that appointment after all.”

The splitsecond hairsbreadth moment passes.

I exhale.

“If” is the biggest word in the English language.

rlb 4.11.17

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The Slough of Despond

Now I saw in my dream that… they drew near to a very miry slough that was in the midst of the plain; and they being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was “Despond.” Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt… because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.”

— John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

The Slough of Despond is a nasty, miserable bog of guilt that sucks people in and is almost impossible to escape. In The Pilgrim’s Progress it’s an allegory for sin but I think it can be more accurately described as Depression. Yes, capital-D, clinically-diagnosable Depression.

Knowing someone stuck in the Slough of Despond can be difficult, draining, and generally lead to depression itself. I know this because I am scandalously intimate with the Slough. It’s my Unhappy Place. I’ve lived with it since I was 8 years old.

Continue reading “The Slough of Despond”

Reliable

I joined a dating app.

After all,  I’m a terminally single lonely gay girl so I figured why not meet other lonely gay girls and maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll all end up less lonely? It’s a pretty good idea, in theory.

… Right up until the point where I had to Pick Three Things To Describe Myself. You know, like “has a good sense of humor”, “adventurous!”, “loves kids”. Except I can’t say any of that because  I have never had a sense of humor once in my life, my idea of an adventure is wearing pants out of the house, and I think children are disgusting, screaming sacks of protein and unfinished cerebral cortex best left to the care of others.

So, when faced with this particular dilemma I did what any sensible girl would do in this situation and asked my best friends how they would describe me. They had some good ideas. Warm. Intellectual. Vibrant… and the one that really stood out was “too stubborn to die.”

Too stubborn to die.

It’s hilarious, you can laugh at it, you should laugh at it because I’ve tried to kill myself three times in the last ten years– don’t ever put that on a dating profile by the way, don’t let them know you’re absolutely crazy before they get to talk to you– but it’s true. This body I inhabit is tenacious. Obstinate. Stubborn.

I was born 4 months too early and every time my mother touched me I would get so excited my heart would stop so the nurses made her stop touching me. At 3 I contracted meningitis and screamed so loud I scared off a horde of medical residents. By 10 I’d had 6 major surgeries around my cranial nerves. From puberty onward I would attempt suicide three times because I was and still am so goddamn tired. Last year I had a stroke. I was 23 and I almost died from a freak blood clot in my temporal lobe..

But here’s the kicker: none of that has managed to kill me. My heart continues beating in defiance of fate and my own free will. I’m not going anywhere any time soon. I guess I must not be allowed to.

I can’t put all of that on a dating profile, though. There’s a character limit. So I guess I’ll just have to go with “I’m reliable”.

communion

I found religion in the heart of Missouri in August at a college populated by girls too smart or dumb or scared or queer to go anywhere else on a campus bisected by a highway frequented by drivers more than happy to run us down.

I never knew it could get so hot. Summer clinging close like that girlfriend or boyfriend or friend in high school who followed you around between classes and wrote you poetry about slipping into and under your skin that you thought was romantic and maybe illicit in a thrilling way instead of making you think of Ed Gein.

Sweat in places I forgot I had and heat rash forever breaking out red and cruel across the soft expanse of my inner thighs. Unforgiving wet heat. No fleet of box fans could move that heavy air. Secretly we all worried our hair would start to mildew– it never seemed to dry between showers.

The thermometer climbed so high the cicadas couldn’t stop screaming their protests. I took shifts with my suitemates in voluntary ice baths to keep the hysteria of heat stroke at bay. We didn’t go outside. The brave fought for prime real estate on granite bathroom tile or the cool marble of the parlor foyer, bare skin sticking to, warming the stone in exchange for a few minutes of bliss.

On a black day the cicadas fell silent. At dusk the storm hit. Without preamble or wind there came the rain sweeping across hot, soft asphalt and we followed like creatures possessed. Shedding sandals before the ground could cool. Careless feet running across concrete for the grass island before the chapel driveway. Shedding shirts to soak the downpour into our skin. Shedding skirts to move easier through the air and water. Shedding something we didn’t realize we carried until we set it down. Wave after wave of dancing girls screaming to the beat of thunder and strobing lightning laughing wet skin in the dark. Raging frolicking riding the wind and gale until our bones caught chills so deep we thought even Missouri couldn’t make us warm again.

Then, the clouds parted. The moon shone on the still debris: heaped, sopping clothes and naked girls breathless, dazed. The halls gave off their yellow glow and like moths we floated home.

rlb 4.27.17

Reliable

I joined a dating app.

After all,  I’m a terminally single lonely gay girl so I figured why not meet other lonely gay girls and maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll all end up less lonely? It’s a pretty good idea, in theory.

… Right up until the point where I had to Pick Three Things To Describe Myself. You know, like “has a good sense of humor”, “adventurous!”, “loves kids”. Except I can’t say any of that because  I have never had a sense of humor once in my life, my idea of an adventure is wearing pants out of the house, and I think children are disgusting, screaming sacks of protein and unfinished cerebral cortex best left to the care of others.

So, when faced with this particular dilemma I did what any sensible girl would do in this situation and asked my best friends how they would describe me. They had some good ideas. Warm. Intellectual. Vibrant… and the one that really stood out was “too stubborn to die.”

Too stubborn to die.

It’s hilarious, you can laugh at it, you should laugh at it because I’ve tried to kill myself three times in the last ten years– don’t ever put that on a dating profile by the way, don’t let them know you’re absolutely crazy before they get to talk to you– but it’s true. This body I inhabit is tenacious. Obstinate. Stubborn.

I was born 4 months too early and every time my mother touched me I would get so excited my heart would stop so the nurses made her stop touching me. At 3 I contracted meningitis and screamed so loud I scared off a horde of medical residents. By 10 I’d had 6 major surgeries around my cranial nerves. From puberty onward I would attempt suicide three times because I was and still am so goddamn tired. Last year I had a stroke. I was 23 and I almost died from a freak blood clot in my temporal lobe..

But here’s the kicker: none of that has managed to kill me. My heart continues beating in defiance of fate and my own free will. I’m not going anywhere any time soon. I guess I must not be allowed to.

I can’t put all of that on a dating profile, though. There’s a character limit. So I guess I’ll just have to go with “I’m reliable”.

Not Today

Outside of vague poetry I’ve ignored the stroke. I want to pretend it never happened as if, maybe, that will undo the brain damage and emotional trauma that comes with going toe-to-toe with Death. I’ve spent a lot of years flirting with Her and I guess Death finally decided to flirt back.

Continue reading “Not Today”

The Slough of Despond

Now I saw in my dream that… they drew near to a very miry slough that was in the midst of the plain; and they being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was “Despond.” Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt… because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.”

— John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

The Slough of Despond is a nasty, miserable bog of guilt that sucks people in and is almost impossible to escape. In The Pilgrim’s Progress it’s an allegory for sin but I think it can be more accurately described as Depression. Yes, capital-D, clinically-diagnosable Depression.

Knowing someone stuck in the Slough of Despond can be difficult, draining, and generally lead to depression itself. I know this because I am scandalously intimate with the Slough. It’s my Unhappy Place. I’ve lived with it since I was 8 years old.

Continue reading “The Slough of Despond”

carpal tunnel syndrome

my wrists ache and my doctor says it’s from typing too much but i think it’s because of all the stories i’ve left untold. my carpals are swollen and burning with narrative that i’m too frightened to let loose from my central nervous system to my peripheral nervous system so i do repetitive, stressful things instead like reading others’ arguments on twitter and wondering why i can’t manage to start conversations with my best friends. a brace will treat the cause, sure, but not the symptom.