peanut butter and nuthouses

As I’m writing this I am chewing a bit of peanut butter toast and I am not entirely sure of my name. My partner is currently in the nuthouse, where he is likely to stay for the next seven to ten days. Alone here, now, my anxiety is hitting new heights of absurdity; yesterday, after two days of working myself up to it, I finally drove the rent check (such as it is) over to the rental office, where I took a deep breath, walked swiftly/stiffly and eyes averted to the office door, dropped the envelope in the mail slot although the office was both open and occupied, then about-faced and ran away, suppressing a wild guffaw.

Yes, I am that person. At least for now.

So. Enterprise for Equity and Voc Rehab officially will support my self-employed writing endeavors- “officially”, now, as I stood breathing steam through impending snow early in the morning of New Year’s Eve, waiting to meet with the adviser of Enterprise and be officially recommended as capable. Which makes this an especially interesting time to quit, although I suppose in the end it makes sense, to care for the crazy before the leap.

Lately I don’t even write in my head. It is buzzing, oddly empty, swollen. I think cows, I think hot sun and dumb sweat, I think blood, teeth, fundus. Every now and then I think bullets and fists to the face, but I suppose that goes with the territory, and will yet for years to come. I dream, I’m sure, but I don’t remember anything. Glass salmon; raven puppets; vanilla-flavored Christmas Dots; long, quiet nights with my precocious and book-obsessed kid constitute my current comforts. Although the Dots, taken excessively, seem to give me the shits. I am willing to pay that price.

It is very dark in here, all shadows and lamplight. I vacuum too much. I hate the dog;  she stinks, she needs me, she watches me sadly and sighs. The fish is voracious, as usual; every now and then he convinces me that I am, in fact, underfeeding him, and so I pinch him off a bit more. But he is as full of shit as the cat, who spends long hours of the day loudly slurping clean her ass. I am told these animals are therapeutic- in fact, they are certified as such, except for the fish- service dog, companion cat- but it is only the fish I can stand, as he stays in his world and I in mine, and we are mutually disinterested beyond brief transactions of food and fresh water.

So far my self-care kick is characterized more by sleep disturbances and masturbation than anything else.  This, for me, is a radical turn, as I’ve spent the last three years imagining that non-stop rumination, planning, and internet certification courses were the key to pulling my family out of poverty. I hope that this is merely an ugly transition, a time of sloth and waiting. Others might call it “rest”.

I just remembered a dream. There was a curtain and I was in front of it and I was behind it, fucking someone I couldn’t see. I reached through the curtain and removed a fetal calf, split perfectly in half.

Maybe I was just fucking myself again. I’ve been reading too much Old Testament lately.

In Special Ed we had to fill out a form each day, signed by the teacher, that listed that day’s accomplishments, areas needing improvement, and whatever assignments were due. Today I found such a form where I’d listed my daily achievement as “a long, calculated walk down the hallway”.

Perhaps, 15 years later, this is how I will launch my new self-care program, although I may need to borrow someone else’s hallway. The one here is too brief and smells distinctly of mold.

4 thoughts on “peanut butter and nuthouses

  1. big sigh after holding my breath through this. How I absolutely love you. Im sorry for all the weight your heart and mind carry. I know what it’s like to feel like youve gone backwards and downwards and inwards. Or to not even know anymore which way is fucking up. But, you know that phrase ‘this too shall pass’? It usually does…..even if it comes back, it still always passes. I tell myself constantly how I’m changing my brain and life and heart through the miracle of neuroplasticity- I pin all my hopes and dreams on this, and on love. Anxiety and insomnia got a hold of me recently and all I could do was mindfully (with as little panic as possible, though it wasnt rarely possible) put one foot in front of the other and breath one deep breath at any given moment. I couldnt even cry. That’s when I know it’s bad. So I rode it, and continue to ride it, like a big fuckin wave that cant drag me under- that is there for the taking, not to take me. And I’m here still. and my heart is still whole and my body is healing, and my brain has a long way to go, but it’s getting there. A long calculated walk down the hallway is indeed an achievement, as it is many of those combined that will keep you going. And as usual, your words are incredibly moving, gutting, healing………..

  2. I read your reply in my inbox- I love you even more. I have total faith in you, in cassandra, in all of you, in parts of you, in your writer, in your non writer, in your pain, in the sparkle in your eyes,in your stunned silences and your uproarious wildbeastiness. ‘Wild things dance, warp time’- yeah, this is true. I don’t do this anymore, but I used to. I did the Time Warp when I was younger also, I still can sing every song. I was Magenta- in my mind, at least. I have a stunned girl inside of me also- she didnt share your experiences (which -when I hear about them- hurt my heart to no end, and ignite my tiger mama fury) but she had her own experiences which left her incapable of memory or speech, and still keep her body and heart sealed at the inner most places.
    Keep going. Write this book, let it flow. Youre not alone. Though each night we all retreat to our private sanctuaries/hells, youre not alone- I got your back. (as do others, I’m sure)

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