Sunday, September 30, 2012

what a shame that you came here with someone

Today is too good to wake up with a gooey right eye and a sore scratchy throat. And even though, this year, I've been getting sick every other month, I'm going to declare, "Not this time!!" And if it has to happen, it's not happening today. I have too many things to accomplish: too many Vietnamese foods to eat, too many friends to hang out with, too many sunshines to soak up, too many other fun things that I don't have the energy to list... So, I won't.

But before I completely vaporize into the sunny day that's awaiting me, full of positivity and happiness, I'm just going to ask:
What the fuck?

What the fucking hell is happening to me? Why do I get sick so damn much these days? I used to only get the sniffles like once a year - and if I did succumb to sickness, it was ONCE - NOT ALL THE TIME.

I have one, and only one, conclusion: The Library. And I stand by that shit.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I'll See You in Heaven (if you make the list)

There are big things to write about all the time. And mostly, I don't do it. There are HUGE things that should be completely unavoidable: meaning of life, ancient atoms forged in the sun, Buddha, Gandhi, Jesus..all being born from the same mother - you know, big stuff like that. Mostly, I'm all selfish and little and petty and "my problems this" and "my problems that".

Today is going to differ this way: I'm going to talk about good, solid, salt of the earth stuff. And it's going to revolve around my mom.

My mother was a tile setter - one of the first women in Indiana to move past her apprenticeship and become a full fledged Journeyman, you know, Master. Not kidding. She worked hard as fuck for the money she made; she'd haul bags of dry concrete mix up and down stairs, she'd work in the freezing cold or smouldering heat surrounded by construction men, who, more than once, taught my worldly mother a new colorful phrase or two. My mother essentially became "one of the guys" by working her hands to the bone.

Before that, she was a hairdresser. Before that, she was a teen mom. And before that she dropped out of high school to ran away to Texas, following a boy with blonde hair and big teeth.

She decided to have me, despite having made an appointment for an abortion. Can you believe that? She was actually IN THE WAITING ROOM before she and my dad decided, "you know, we can do this..." And they did do it, people. Here I am.

She has given me her work ethic. She taught me to fry an egg perfectly, in bacon grease. Devotion and loyalty and to utterly lose my shit when a bee or a mouse or a moth is around. I know, because of her, that I'm strong. Even though mostly I'm insane, I know I could take this world on. I have learned through observation that we can all move past our pasts. She was beat, emotionally and physically, and while I was young, she was better to me. She always told me she loved me. There wasn't ONE NIGHT that I spent with her that she didn't give me a ridiculous amount of "good night"s, and "sleep tight"s, and bed time kisses.

She instilled in me a serious drive to always have clean sheets. She never once told me I was ugly, or a whore, or stupid like her dad told her a lot. She only spanked me with a belt once. She let me listen to Nirvana and Violent Femmes and Green Day. She didn't ever give me permission to date that older boy, I mean, I did anyway - but I also got that from her.

So, what I'm saying is this: most of my life was good. The "men standing around with one foot on the truck's bumper drinking beer and women gathered around clucking about weather and kids and men" good. There were some hard times - some of my deepest wounds are from her, but some of my strongest characteristics were cut from her mold.

This post is for my mom - and if I'm ever a mom, I can't wait to tell my daughter about the good things her grandma has done.

Friday, September 21, 2012

wrap you in my colors and keep you warm

Yesterday was the day - the last of our rabies vaccines. And for celebration, Andy and I went to the zoo with our closest friends. Then had pizza at our favorite pizzeria. After that, we came home and slept. The vaccine turns our legs to stone after a few hours, and causes our blood to slow slightly and we get SO tired. (*NOTE: I don't think that's what *really* happens, but it does make us sleepy). After this, you know, Rabies Summer 2012, I've learned lots about the proverbial self. I have. However, I can't really piece those together to make coherent thoughts... the one thing I do keep coming back to is: I'm very happy I'm not dying of rabies.

I feel at ease knowing I won't have to watch my partner die of rabies.

No hydrophobia. No inflammation of our brains. I won't have to ask someone to shoot me in the head. You know, lots of things to be happy about.

I'm often very afraid of death - this was no exception. Especially during those sleepless nights. I would lay awake and JUST KNOW that my hallucinations were rabies-induced. I thought the incubation period sped up and I for sure had the full-blown, very mature virus eating away my central nervous system. I thought about my brothers and my mom and what me dying would do for them. Are my grandparents going to miss me like I'd miss them? Would they think about how I learned to water ski just to impress them? I would stew about Andy, would he stay in our apartment, would he move back to Missouri and help his mom around the house? Is he going to sell my clothes? Would his next wife want babies? Please fucking tell me he wouldn't date someone in this neighborhood. Would my little black cat pine for me? And I'm not kidding, I worried about dying in a hospital room... and as I would cry and cry and cry, I would swear there were bats just flying around trying (TRYING!) to get in my house.

I know. I'm crazy. It's true. (And really, really selfish.)

I know death is close always. It may be in 20 years, 2 days or 6 decades... it's still close and scary. I know these things pretty intimately, but never have I courted the idea that it was actually happening. This was sobering. The anxiety caused everything to be urgent. And true. But guess what, dudes?

I feel better. And honestly, do me a favor... IF I DO DIE, do NOT let Andy date a hipster.

Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Would Not Leave You in Time of Trouble

I'm up early on purpose. To write. If I'm going to live up to a label that I have plastered over my heart, it seems like I should carve out time and space in this little life of mine to work towards it.
Rewind a little: I actually talked about myself using the word "writer" yesterday.. I mean, I was utterly uncomfortable doing it and was talking with someone who is also a writer, so I felt safe(ish). But I did it.
I'm scared about doing that, though, you know? "Writer" implies creation; emotion provoking words being strung together with intention. I mean, I suck mostly, but I like the idea. So, I'll go with it.

Which, then, brings me back to this moment - this quiet, calm moment. It's early, the curtains are still closed and the cats have disappeared back to our bed. My tea is getting cold, but I'm not. I'm okay. At least, existing in this wonderfully dim-lit space in time, I'm okay.
My brain keeps lining up things for me to do, to accomplish today or this week or ultimately forever. But I can't right now. All I can do, all I can imagine myself doing today or this week or forever, is to write. Write away.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

my darling, dear, love you all the time

Oh, Jesus Christ, summer. I pine the year away waiting for summer and it's here and then it's gone - just like that. To be fair, it's still summer, but autumn is teasing me. "Right around the corner," I hear her saying. I'm devastated. Broken-hearted, they say in some parts of the country. But it's fine, you know, cycles and spinning and life and all that mumbo-jumbo.

This summer will always be the bat summer, you guys. 2012: The Summer of the Bat. Rabies-Summer 2012. The summer where we learned that yes, in fact, Andy is the brave one of the two of us. The summer where we learned that I know exactly what a bat sounds like, even in my half-awake-kinda-drunk state. We found out that despite Andy being in somewhat mortal danger, my ass will HIDE in the bathroom, lock the door and shut the transom. We learned that rabies is not eradicated from the human species and that the vaccines are incredibly expensive. I discovered that panic attacks can actually make a person long for alcohol, valium, in-patient mental care and sleep... boy, did I miss sleep. But, it's over. We're four days away from completing our Post-Exposure Rabies Regimen. I can chill the obsession of reading about what it's like to die of rabies. I can STOP the google searches "Indiana Brown Bat Flight Patterns", "Brown Bat Rabies", "Bat Babies"... I *can* stop, but probably I won't.

Other things happened this summer, too. Seriously. I took a badass southwestern vacation. Stomach viruses caused me to get a meth makeover.(SPOILER ALERT) A blind girl won Master Chef. I did stand up comedy (not very well). I was invited to participate in a poetry reading. Darth Vader visited the library. And you know, other things, but let's face it. Rabies is scary and I can't get it off my mind. I know the chances of us actually having been bit by that damn bat are really low, but not low enough to where I'll put my life on the line to actually test it. Which means one thing, guys. I actually care about my life.

So, use that. When I start to bitch, tell me, "don't start that belly-aching, girl. You like your life. You got that rabies shot."

And I'll have to agree.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

all farewells are sudden

Not once today did I feel rushed. For a moment, a panic attack teased my heart - those have been happening a lot since the bat got into my house - but I managed it. I took a few deep breaths and called wildly for my cats and realized that, at 10 am, there was no bat. And if there was a bat, I said, you'll take care of it. It worked. I calmed myself - a morning lake. But that was the only moment I felt anything outside of the parameters of good.

Moving slowly is purposeful. I meant to say "powerful" - but I'm going to keep purposeful. I might start doing it at work. Everyone expects us to hustle around, cloud up dust around our feet and beckon to every call. I'm going to have to quit that. And quit it soon. I'm honestly and fearfully at the edge of my current status. Which is to say, I need to stop this anxiety, I need to stop this rehashing every word to make sure no one is upset with me, I need to just stop. I need to calm, I need to be a morning lake. I need to wade like the Great Blue Heron. I need to saunter and smoothly glide. But beyond all this need, let's just say I want to. I want to do these things.

I'm mostly scared to not carry about pounds of stress and fear. I don't know who I'd be without it. I'm certain, though, in my most optimistic moments, that the Erica without all broken bones mended by negativity would be the best version of myself. So, let me start with that. Let me start with not gnashing my bones against all my anxieties.

Tomorrow, I'm moving slowly. Watch me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

her eyes were clear and bright

Can I just let you in on my life for a moment? These past few weeks have been absolutely bat shit crazy. I'm not even kidding in the slightest. In a nutshell: rabid bat, quarantined cats, rabies shots, panic attacks, insomnia and dissolving friendships. That's enough to fill a year, huh? I won't go into extreme detail, but just let me tell you it's bad when the only option you can muster is: beg the love of you life to leave you. He needs to divorce me, I told him, because I'm nuts. I'm crazy and I'll only drag his life down the tubes and he deserves better.

Sounds like a goddamn party at my house, huh?

It hasn't been. 
But, I'm going to tell you about a few good things. I'm going to bottle up my exhaustion for a few minutes and harness the good. You know, block the jive, baby.

1. Don't you just love it when birds run across the road? I do. I know I've mentioned this somewhere on the internets before, but seriously. It's one of my favorite things.
2. Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. Gimme that americana all day long - I'll sip it through a straw in the afternoons and take shots of it after dark. I can never tire of these dudes. I love them. I think, somehow, they know I've devoted my life, in a small way, to them.
3. I got lots of new (free) amazing makeup, two pairs of sweet earrings and two new dresses. This is fabulous, you know, for vain people like me. I like how I look mostly, except for that 3 pounds that just won't budge. (Hey, I told you I was vain).
4. Even though my job sucks all my life force through my nose, I'm still pretty damn good at it. I was spotted at a local farmer's market by a little girl who just stopped, dead in her tracks, and said smugly, "I know you. You are the librarian who did the Star Wars program." Yes, girl. Yes, I am.
5. I have this person in my life who will do things for me without check the house 6 or 7 times a night for bats. He will let me sob on his chest at 330am. He puts his hand, spread wide, over my sternum with just the right amount of pressure and reminds me, "breathe in. breathe out. breathe in. breathe out" when every single thing in the whole wide world is exploding my body apart. When all I want to do is die, he reminds me that it's okay to be alive, mostly. He doesn't mind how badly I sweat when I cry. He doesn't care that I have all the building blocks in place to be absolutely insane. He doesn't even mind that stubborn 3 pounds.

He likes me enough to not abandon me, even when I beg him to. And even after ten years, being together is a joy. And despite the uneasy few weeks, I have a constant.

I'm lucky.