Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Only Gonna Say This Once

The perfect mix tape is an art form. When I've finished one, I feel as satisfied with that accomplishment as I feel with any art that I endeavor to create. Though I've forgotten it for many years, pushed it to the back of my consciousness while struggling to deal with the rest of life's realities, writing is like lifeblood for me. These posts, when they're done well. A poem. A song. And a mix tape, done right, gives me that same feeling of meaning, and accomplishment.

The one I'm listening to today, which I put together three or four weeks ago, is entitled "Only Gonna Say This Once." I designed cover art for it, but the whole thing never actually came to much of a physical reality. I never printed the art, or burned the mix to a CD, and I certainly never made it into a tape-- this isn't the early 90's. I use the term "Mix Tape" in the sense that Rob Sheffield, author of "Love is a Mix Tape", legitimized for me, as an homage to the first ones ever created, slowly and painstakingly pressing those mechanical buttons on one's cassette player.

This mix, which is really just a playlist, for now, was composed for someone that you, dear reader, know nothing of, because the entire overlap of his life on mine has happened in the months-- nearly a year-- since the last time I wrote an entry here. Given that, it's not so much the reader who has never heard of him, since the reader, at this point, is probably overwhelmingly likely to be either Emily or Jeff, or no one at all. More accurately, it's the character in my mind who doesn't know about him, the sentient version of the blog itself. Somewhere in my mind, I have personified the recipient of each and every key stroke, the reader of every word, ever since this whole damn thing began. Is it some amalgamation of everyone who has ever roamed these hallowed hallways of my mind? Is it some long lost friend, a sympathetic character who has some kind of imagined form, totally independent of the readers? Or is it just some strange reflection of myself?

Maybe all of the above. All I know is, I miss him. Her. It.

I miss him, too. The person I made this mix for. I made it as a means of mourning what I thought was the end of our relationship, determined to hand the physical version-- yet to exist-- to him as we said our final goodbyes. Shortly after it was finished, he showed up to tell me everything was fine, all my fears were just imagined. The mix didn't need to be made.

He showed up, one last time, to tell me that. And I felt like a fool for making the mix that I listen to now, alone in a room he'll likely never walk into, with him absent, once again, from my life.

Just goes to show you, kids. Always trust your instincts.

I knew at the time I strung the songs together that my reaction was premature. I know now it likely still is-- he may well be back. But, having lost him, temporarily, before, and seeing what the did to me the first time, I made the mix as a way to condense my mourning for the loss. I dove into missing him like an immersion course, hoping to come out on the other side quickly. Scars healed over, fluent in the language of heartbreak once again, and ready to move on.

I'm sure this all probably sounds super dramatic and a little overbearing. Full disclosure: I have been drinking.  Whatever it takes to write, I guess. Whatever it takes to be ready to talk about it.

The mix, and the mourning, they did their job. When, after that brief moment of coming back into the light and making me feel stupid for having doubted him, he never reappeared, I didn't fall apart. I was frustrated, of course, and angry at the deception, but I couldn't really give into sadness again. Who was this person, playing such childish games, and why should I weep for him anew? I'd done it all before, and very recently, so I mostly got on with my life.

He may well be back, even still. But that doesn't matter much. The next time he comes back, I will not be so starry-eyed, this time around, as to love him the way I did before. And I do love him. And I know that I will, when he comes back again, if he comes back again. So many things have changed about me, but that much remains the same, so far: when I love someone, I love them for good. In one way or another.

But the way I love him will have changed. I will not be so naive, not be so eager and innocent and childlike. I will not, I think, love him in such a way that I'll ever need to make a mix for him ever again, in his many comings and goings in my life. And many, I suspect, there will be.

The song now is "A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell...or it was, until just now, when it switched to a number by Bright Eyes. I was hoping to make some poetic parallel from the shots of Captain Morgan Cannonball I've recently ingested to the titular "case of you" that she sings of: "I could drink a case of you, and still be on my feet." But the moment has passed, as all moments do.

And in that way, the mix is doing it's job, yet again: I'll never love him the way I did then, but I can go back to it, now, listening to this. I can feel what I felt. I have captured some trace my younger self's heart, through a series of songs sung by a chorus of unrelated artists. And I capture this trace of my heart today, for an older version of myself. Maybe that's who the mysterious "reader" is.

So, whether he comes back or not, I will never have that moment again. This is all that is left of feelings I felt when I committed these songs to the memory of him, of us, of all that we were for such a brief, brief time. There was a lot to it, but, having aged and changed and matured-- no longer being someone who plays childish games or loves in starry-eyed ways, no longer someone who mourns every loss with a mix tape-- I haven't felt like I could talk about it here. Talk about who he is, and what we were, and what we could have been. There are consequences to that kind of honesty, and these would not have been mine alone.

Beyond that, so much time has passed, dear imagined friend.  How could you possibly understand it all with so little context?

There's not a lot I'm at liberty to say about how I felt about him, how I felt spending time with him and what I tried to make him feel, in return. There's not a lot I'm at liberty to say about the time we spent together, and what we hoped to accomplish, and the connection that brewed between us that made him, so quickly, the type of person I wrote songs for, and, so quickly, someone that I wrote songs with. And, most importantly in the context of this post, the type of person I wanted to share songs with, such that they became a perfect mix.

But if there's not a lot I'm at liberty to say, let me define him thusly: he was my partner. He was a creative who drew me out with his talent and believed in mine. He was someone I was determined to conquer the world with, me and him and our total brilliance. And, most importantly in the context of this post, he was the person who forced me to remember what writing and art really is to me. My lifeblood, whether it's a post like this, a song, a poem.

Or a mix tape, done right.

On with it.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Saddest Place I Know

I can't muster the will to be sad about you anymore, not in any real way. I reason that you're just a different person than you were: the one who was my friend would not have acted this way. But people change, you've changed.

Pain does that to people. And if you're getting along well enough without me now, then I can't blame you for doing what works. But I question if I would want to be the friend of someone who would write me off so easily, over so little, and I think, no. I think, that's not the person I loved.

So I've gotten past the sadness, for the most part. It doesn't really make me sad to think of you, the way it used to.

But sometimes, sometimes when something else has happened, I will get sad. I will get sad after an argument with somebody else. I will get sad when I have no one to call to talk about it, and no where to go.

And the sadness from that will bleed into all the other sadness in my life: the people that have died, the people that will. Sickness and age and disagreements that are no one's fault, but can never be resolved. The feeling of mortality, the feeling of loss. A profound mourning for everything, and nothing.

It'll all mix together and settle into my bones, and I'll want to go to the saddest place I know.

That's when I come here.

I drive across the river and down the road, and I turn up the hill and onto your street. I drive until I see the place you used to live; the place where we used to spend our time together.

I park my car, and I stare at it, and I sit.

Sometimes, you come here still. I'll see your car in the driveway. I'll see the light in the room we used to hang our in for hours. I'll think of how close I am to you, and I'm tempted to reach out for you: for the person who could understand my sadness. In that moment, I'll wonder if maybe you still are who you were. I'll wonder, and ill miss you.

Pain does that to people.

I don't know that I'll go inside again, see you again. But when things like they do now, when it settles in my bones, this is where I end up.

This is the saddest place I know.

On with it.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Life in Reruns

I've gotten off-track.

I don't even know specifically what I'm referring to as I say that. My lack of friends. My growing stress about my job. Or the goals I set in July-- like writing in this blog more-- and how long it's been since I've worked on them.

I'm not sure what I mean when I say it, but I feel like it's true, and the crux of the issue. I've gotten off track. Somewhere, somehow, I need to get back on.

Today, I decided to write the first draft of an essay I plan to pitch to xoJane, a website that features writing from expressive, emotionally vulnerable female writers who want to share their experiences. It seems like a good fit for me, because, at my deepest levels, at my selfie-est self, writing is important to me. I don't do it much anymore, and I guess that's because, well, sometimes it seems like a luxury. Taking time out of my day to write about my thoughts and feelings and experiences. About ME and MY point of view, and not about my son, and not about my job. That feels like something I could afford when I was younger. That feels like something I don't really have time for now.

Except that I can't afford not to do it not. My life keeps whizzing by me, my feelings and experiences, but I don't remember anything from the last five years as clearly as I remember the things that happened when I took the time to set put them down in words, to process them and work with them. And I'm falling, I think, into a pattern where what I am, what I want to be, seems secondary to...I don't know, the things I think I should want, maybe. Things that are other people's values, I guess.

I don't know. I'm all mixed up. But I guess, once you get to motherhood, life is so much about guilt. When you don't spend enough time with the baby, when the kitchen isn't cleaned. When you're more the breadwinner than you are the active parent, but you go to work too exhausted to really do a good job.

The point is, this site-- xo Jane-- and the idea of getting published to it, gives me a good excuse to write: some money here and there that can be used to pay for things that my family needs, and therefore makes the act of writing less selfish. Because I need writing. I always have. To get through my day, and then to remember it well. To internalize the lessons I learned. Or at least, when I don't, to look back them and realize that I'm repeating history.

And I am. I decided, after writing a draft for xo Jane, to flip randomly through some posts and try to find something that might be fodder for another essay, if they accept this one. And I found this post.

"Take a friendship, one that's seen better days. Two people. A connection. Maybe one or both of them has gotten off the track. Maybe one of them seems to have stopped trying to find it again. And maybe the other says some things that she can't frankly remember whether or not she was right to say.
What he needs to understand is the way it feels to watch from the sidelines as something you care about lets go. What he needs to understand is that not putting forth that effort is like spitting in her face, telling her that something she loves isn't worth his time. 
"Tough Love" is kind of the ugly stepchild of love. It's underappreciated, it looks different, and people act like it's not even a part of the family. There's this criteria to love that we, the media-minded, have put in play. It's gotta be soft yet supportive. It's gotta be intense but joyful. It's gotta be Barbie Dreamhouse pink and in frilly cursive lettering. It's gotta be a hallmark card or a teddy bear or a hug. 
Whatever it is, it's certainly got nothing to do with concepts like "the truth hurts" or "it takes someone who cares about you to tell you what you don't want to hear." It's not about making someone take their medicine when they're sick, even if it tastes bad; making them clean up a mess when it's theirs. It's about politely ignoring someone's faults, even if they're more like fault lines. Whatever it is, it's definitely can't be looking someone straight in the eye and telling them they not only can do better, it's their responsibility to. 
Later, if she is alone, she will wonder about all the things she was supposed to understand: how much he was hurting, how lost he felt. She'll have plenty of time to think about all the years between them and plenty of reminders in case she's not inclined: christmas songs they used to dance in the street to; phrases they used to use with each other over and over again, movies they watch, plans they made. Promises they made. She'll have plenty of time to think about those, and, without him there to force her to be defensive, she'll wonder. How much of what she said was below the belt, how much of what she did was in his best interest. How much of what she felt was really about him. 
She won't have answers. Without him there, all she has is the questions."

It's a post about Jeff and I, about a fight that we got into a long time ago-- more than eight years, apparently. The thing about it is, I purposely wrote it in very general terms, so appeal to my audience, to make it relatable to an experience they might be having.

I did a good job: today, I am my audience. Today, Jeff and I are once again not talking. And today, that post relates to us exactly.

There is absolutely nothing in those words that I couldn't have written today, or six months ago. There's absolutely nothing that isn't precisely how I would explain the situation, right now.

Maybe it's time to go back and looked at how it resolved all those years ago. Things have caustic this time, the way he acted makes me feel so angry. Like he's not the person he was, like maybe he's not someone worth going back for.

Maybe it's time to read more posts. About he and I. About what we were when we were at our best. About the things I reference in that post-- the dancing the streets, the plans and the promises. Maybe if I can find that, and remind myself of it, I can find the will to really be sorry, because I can't tell if I am, right now. I can't tell if I'm more sorry than I am angry.

Maybe if I go back and read the years and years of our friendship that this blog immortalized, I'll find the thing that is stronger than both my anger and his. Tougher than the "tough love" I talk about in that post and deeper than that hallmark card stuff.

Maybe if I go back, I can find the person who had more concern than she had anger, and more love than she had pride. Maybe, if I can go back, I can find myself.

Maybe that's the reason I need writing. The reason I've needed it all along.

On with it.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Years Things Might Not Get Better for Me

The post before last, I informed you all (read: maybe like three people, total) of my lofty goals for my thirty-first years. The list, which you can easily go back and see, included goals of varying kinds: personal, professional (though none specifically related to my current job, except for keeping my desk cleaner), health and fitness-related, and a few interpersonal/familial/world-at-large kinds of things, for good measure.

There's a lot I can say to update you all (read: a handful of semi-interested Facebook friends) as to how it's been going. Some things I've made considerable progress on:

  • Of the 3,000 pieces of liter I vowed to pick up, I have currently finished 1,357. (Cigarette butts count as 1/2 or a 1/3, depending on how many times I have to bend down for them)
  • I did a very thorough cleaning of my car, and since then, though it has gotten dirty again with a quickness that I think anyone would have to agree was impressive, I've kept up with some basic cleaning to the extent that it hasn't gotten nearly as bad, therefore, I think, earning the title of "cleaner-ish" so far.
  • In taking the first step of improving my credit score, which was getting my credit score, I realized that somewhere in the last ten years, I had already mostly accomplished what I set out to do this year: I now once again have good credit! I have thusly decided that, while there is room for improvement, I will be shooting to improve it by something close to 35 points, as opposed to 75.
  • I have been running quite a bit in my training for a 5k, and I can now definitively say that I can run quite a bit farther now without stopping than I ever have been before. Or...could before I got this cold. It's been maybe a week. I feel like I shouldn't be too hard on myself. I got a cold.

There are also things I haven't even started yet:

  • "Switch to capsule wardrobe." Ugh. I guess I sort of started this. It didn't go well. You're supposed to do it seasonally and summer was half over already. The goal is to start in October with my "fall capsule." Wish my luck. My closet is a wreck. I'm half-expecting to find some Korean aircraft in there.
  • "Learn Six Dance Songs Well." Oh boy. Yeah. On top of all my extra writing, running, cleaning and litter-picking-up-ing, I definitely have time to get my groove back. Thanks, July Linda. I'm sure I'll really enjoy your funky, spunky playfulness come April, when I've gotten through enough of these REAL goals to even start thinking about this. (Okay, this is judgmental. I get what you're trying to do here. It's about fitness and developing skill with a fun-loving, self-confident twist. But like...seriously. Maybe when it's too cold outside to run.)
  • "Read Le Petit Prince in French" - Well. I got the book out of my parent's basement. Seriously, it's on the coffee table right in front of me., I haven't been working on French. Which was clearly the point of this goal, to be a quantifiable measure of my having improved my french skills. Le soon.

Obviously, that brief overview didn't hit on all, or even most, of my goals. There is a lot more to say, but, damn, how these entries do get long. So let's see if I can get around to some of the bigger points.

In the first entry about my goals, I mentioned the two things that I hoped would prove to be the catalysts of the enhanced state of wellness that made these goals possible: tonsil reduction and Accelerated Response Therapy. I have now, to a certain extent, experienced both. Let' a bit more about that.

-I flew down to Dallas about ten days ago to have my tonsils reduced via laser. The actual procedure was only slightly more unpleasant than I had imagined, but I'm not sure yet how I feel about the results. There may yet be some residual swelling, and the aforementioned cold isn't helping things any, but I just have this sense that the doctor didn't reduce my tonsils as much as he said that he likely could. The marketing for the procedure led me to expect something along the lines of a 70% reduction; when I arrived in the office, the doctor told me he suspected he could do 50%. Seeing the results, my best guess is that it was closer to 30%.

What does that mean? I don't yet know. I believe that my sleep quality has been slightly better, though it's very hard to quantify and one never knows what sorts of placebo effect may be in play. As for the other effects I was hoping for-- a better quality singing voice, less sniffling and nasal congestion, and more energy through increased airflow-- they've been a bit hard to quantify so far, due to the initial swelling, and now the cold. I'll keep you updated as to how this turns out.

-I've been to several sessions of ART. I believe that there was some benefit when it came to addressing the trauma I remembered-- IE, the birth-- but when we started to attempt to address some other, less immediate traumas from my life, the benefit petered out. I took a break from therapy and will be going back early next week, to give it another try.

I would have expected that addressing the trauma from the birth would have been enough of a benefit to make a real difference in my life, but in the months since I had that session, many things have only gotten worse for me. I don't believe I still have a strong, traumatic reaction to memories directly related to the birth, but it does seem that discomfort when it comes to sexual issues is back and stronger than ever. I won't choose now to go into the details, but I will say that things are very nearly as bad now as they were at the height of my vaginismus, and this leads me to wonder if I somehow, in my therapeutic process, opened up something and then left it there, out and vulnerable. 

If I can accomplish nothing else when I go back to therapy, I hope that I can go back in stick in the oven that which has been left half-baked. Or, you know. Insert some better way of saying that here.

In my last blog post, as opposed to my second-to-last, I mentioned how I don't feel like anyone in my core group of friends has made significant gains in their lives in the last ten years. Not wanting that to just be "out there," I ended up having a conversation of that nature with Emily.

Emily was quite incredulous about my assessment. She said that I must not see things the way she does if I believe she has made no progress, and she went on to enumerate the many ways in which her life has vastly improved over the past decade or so.

The points she made were very good. She is in a better place professionally, in a more stable, loving relationship, and she's done a great deal of work in therapy that has helped her to address many of the problems that, once upon a time, defined her. On a very objective level, she is better off than she was.

She also made the point that it's possible my negative view of her life has been effected by her hesitation to share good things with me. She says that she feels she can't, much of the time, and I believe the implication was that it's based on my own depression, and occasional resulting bitterness.

This hurt, of course. Emily is, as I mentioned in my last post, my closest friend at this point; still, I keep her far more sheltered from the storms of my depression than I think she'll ever really know, mostly because I suspect-- based on her past behaviors-- that there's only so much misery she'll put up with before she will simply tire of me. I am as honest as I can be with her about what's going on in my life, but...I guess I don't feel like that's very honest, overall. I don't lie to her, certainly. But I don't feel like she has much use for me, the way I usually feel, and so I keep much of that hidden.

Probably what hurt more was the idea that she doesn't feel like she can share the good things in her life with me. Emily is the type of person who is honest-- often unpleasantly so-- about her feelings, and doesn't rank "niceness" very high on her list of desirable qualities. As such, she can be quite blunt about things, and I have, in turn, felt fairly comfortable being blunt with her about when I have, on occasion, resented her life. Most of this has everything do with her having money (access to her partner's money) and not having the burden of a child. That being said, I do think I've gone out of my way, for more than a decade now, to be incredibly supportive of everything in Emily's life. I have cheered on her relationship (though perhaps not as loudly as I often as I have acted as a sounding board when she needed to rail against its flaws), and even celebrated her previous relationship in appropriate moments, as much as I understood it to be a mistake. I have given gifts to celebrate academic tests and college acceptances. I have tried to take an interest in every job prospect, followed up on every interview, asked about every trip. I make a due diligence effort to keep straight the tertiary characters, whether they're co-workers or her girlfriend's friends or the husbands of her old high school friends.

I guess this was bothering me more than I thought.

The truth is, when her life is so glaringly better than mine in so many ways, it hurts. I resent that I can't be the one traveling all over the world, having extravagant birthday celebrations paid for by other people, and living in a vibrant city with all the time in the world to make the best of it's vibrance. I can't deny that.

But the biggest reason these things hurt is that it the distance between us-- both in the physical world and in the circumstantial realities-- leaves me lacking the best friend that I need right now. The hometown girl, always just a few minutes away, who can come over, even just for a few minutes, and sit with me and talk while the baby plays. Someone to run errands with. Someone I can go see when Dan's at his parents. Someone who could babysit for a few hours when I'm at my wit's end.

Someone who will actually be there if I start to slip, the way I feel like I might start to slip. And I would't have to minimize my depression for her, because I wouldn't be afraid she'd get bored. And I wouldn't have to minimize my depression for her, because, if she existed, things wouldn't be so bad.

Emily is my best friend, my family, and she means the world to me. And she's been there with me in as many ways as she can. But, the life she lives now, it's not just far away, geographically. It's also circumstantially in a completely different universe, and maybe not a parallel one, at that.

The thing is, she's not wrong when she says she feels like she can't share "the good things" with me, I guess. But I think it's because she feels like she is leaving me behind. In truth, the reason that all of this is so sad is that, for my own good, I may need to leave her behind.

I mean, not really, not totally. I just...I need someone in my life who can be more to me than what she is now. Not emotionally more-- but someone who is just more physically there. I need a real best friend.

So, jumping back 10.5 paragraphs or so: Emily made her points that she is, objectively, better off than  she was ten years ago. And as I sorted through all the various emotional reactions I had to everything she said, I found that I was still...not unconvinced, but unsettled. I told her, all of these things are very positive, but I guess I still don't get the sense that her life has improved, as measured by the fact that, overall, I don't believe her ratio of positive feelings to negative feels has changed.

She said that she supposed I was right about that, but that that's not what's important.

The thing about that is, well, it's what I've always known, right? The whole hedonc treadmill thing. People's happiness levels really don't shift that much over the course of their lives, no matter how much their circumstances change. I've more or less always known it, and psychological studies have more or less proven it. And here is Emily, with her life so much better in so many ways than it was ten years ago, living it.

So that leads me to wonder, what's the point of all of these goals? Do any of them have any shot at all at really affecting my level of happiness? And if not, what purpose do they serve?

Is life satisfaction different than happiness? I suspect that Emily believes it is. She's more satisfied with her life now than she was ten years ago, even though she's not really any happier. As someone who doesn't value "happiness" significantly more than she does "niceness," that seems, to her, to be a perfectly okay way to be.

But what about me, am I okay with that? Am I okay with the fact that I could accomplish all of the goals I set forth for myself this year-- every single one of them-- and I'd still be unlikely to be any happier than I am?

I guess that I suspect that the point of goals, if that's the case, is so that, when you're depressed, when your feelings are either too heavy or too absent to steer you out of bed every morning, your logical mind kicks in, and in that moment, you can count the things you did, and have some shallow, hedonic pride. You can, without actually experiencing any joy, count your accomplishments one by one and come to the conclusion that you are a worthwhile person who has done the things that they said they were going to, and you can believe in yourself that you will do more. Joylessly, in that moment, but hopefully you can feel a little something about it, from time to time.

Is that enough for me? No, I suspect it's not. But there's a difference between Emily and I, when it comes to these things: she is making it. I am not.

Herein lies the reason that the goals I have are so based on these two, fundamental changes, both of which relate directly to the overall health of my brain. I do not believe a change of job makes someone significantly happier in the course of their every day lives. Nor a change of relationship, nor a change of access to money and trips and travel, nor most circumstantial realities at all. I do not believe that these things make a significant difference, and both science and anecdote appear to back me up.

But I suppose I do believe that a healthy brain could make the difference. That, were my brain more rested, healed, and less addled, that it could change the very chemical foundation that my happiness is built upon.

It's not the goals that are going to change my life, and it never was. Go back and read for yourself, that's not what I said back then, and it's not what I meant. It was the things I was going to do to treat my brain that were going to make way for these goals to happen.

The goals were aspirational. The goals were a blueprint for the kind of person I want to be. But the healthier brain-- via better sleep and some resolution to the trauma-- that was going to lay the footprint.

So, okay. I've been writing a lot, and for a long time. And I guess this post is mostly just for me, because it's meandering in the extreme, and I doubt you could really follow my train of thought. But, okay. I know what I'm shooting for.

Will this be the year that things get better for me, or just another year when they don't, not really?

It's yet to be seen, so let's get on with it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We've Got to Hold On to What We've Got

Reading old blog posts has the dual effect A) of making me nostalgic for a period of my life when I had the time, drive, and emotional energy to regularly express my feelings in a way that was actively reaching out to the people around me, and B) making me realize how discouragingly similar my problems now are to my problems of yesteryear. It seems that nothing is changing, except for my youthful willingness to fight for change.

Or, I guess, that's not true. I am fighting for change: the last post about my goals for my thirty-first year is a testament to that. I'm just not fighting in the same ways that I used to.

But I regret that. I regret that writing, and reaching out to people, and this blog aren't a bigger part of my plan. They aren't NOT a part of my plan, as you may recall: Writing twenty-five blog posts is one of the goals, as is writing fifteen letters to people from my life. It's all about getting back in touch with language, and expression, and letting the people I care about know something about where I am in the world now.

But, come on. Though twenty-five posts in one year's time will be far more than most previous years (with the exception of the last, being that I made a goal one month out of posting every day), it would have been nothing to me for the first eight or so years of this blog's existence.

I envy that girl. She was so driven, so raw, and she somehow really saw the benefit of writing every single day about whatever self-interested garbage came through her head. It's this youthfully indulgent attitude, the kind we look down on as adults. But there was, I don't know, just something about her, about the process.

I can't say that writing every day actually made me happier: read the posts, and you'll see that that's not true. I suffered from the same breed of misery then as I do today, though my more practiced voice made my self-pitying rhetoric more bearable and, somehow, even charismatic. I was not happier, and, with the exception of having hours more to write every day and years more left to live, my circumstances were not better. There are some shockingly horrible feelings spelled out on those pages, some events that left very real scars on my psyche.

But I made it through.

That, I think, it was I envy about her: I know she's going to make it. I can't say the same about me.

Clicking randomly through the archives, I land on this post: aftermath of a conversation that a suicidal former me had with a sympathetic former friend.

I typed that sentence that way for the meter of it, but I find it uncomfortable. It's mostly true: Elorza and I rarely speak anymore. We're friends in the way that many of me and my old confidantes are: Facebook friends. It's such a concise way to explain what I mean, but I cringe just thinking about it as a definition.

In my heart of hearts, I believe that Elorza and I would still be there for each other, that the heyday of our friendship was so strong and so long-lasting that it's reached a kind of immortality. I used to say that there were some friends that I was so close to that our friendship could go into a kind of hibernation, with us not talking for months on end, but that it could wake up just as easily, and things would be as strong as they were.

But in my mind of minds, I understand that this isn't really the case anymore. This hibernation has lasted too long, and too many things have changed. Do I believe that he would be there for me if my circumstances got so that I really needed him, even after all these years? Yes. But I also know that I'd have to spend days, or hours, or weeks explaining everything that had happened to me before he could offer meaningful help.

I would say that it's this way with a lot of people, but...there weren't a lot of people who meant as much to me as Elorza. There weren't a lot of friendships that were that embedded in so many of the days that made up so much of my life.

Five, it seems like there were. Go back to the beginning of this blog, and you'll find five. The Fab Five.

(Or, uhm, don't actually go back. Having recently read the first entry which mentioned The Fab Five in any detail, I realize that it was smug teen-aged crap obsessed with honesty at the expense of everything else. The point of the post was to "make examples" of my best friends by pulling no punches in pointing out their flaws to the thousands hundreds dozens of readers that would come. I appreciate, in a distant, academic way that that post truly set the tone for the years of honest writing that would help me to navigate the rocky shores of my late teens and early adulthood. Still, it's cringe-worthy in it's naive self-satisfaction, and none of the five deserved my laying them out like that without their input or consent.)

The Fab Five consisted of Elorza, Emily, Andrew L., Jeremey, and Jeff.

Taking stock of my relationships with all of them over the years, it''s really not as bad as it could be. These must have been quality friendships, as the survival rate of some kind of relationship is uncharacteristically high for me.

And they were. Of the Five, the only one that really doesn't belong on the "best friends of all time" list is Andrew, who-- not to belittle the importance of our relationship-- more or less made the cut because he was my boyfriend at the time. Even so, in the past year or so, I've been making some attempts to re-establish a friendship with him, and though I can't say that it yet surpasses the "Facebook" prefix, we've had some pleasant conversations. He is, above all, a character, and while I can see where the endless show amusing pretense that he uses in lieu of deeper emotional connection could-- and, in fact, did once-- get old, I do still enjoy him.

My relationship with Jeremey is not unlike my relationship with Elorza, with the notable difference that, geographically, it's easier to occasionally actually see him. His mother, whom he visits on holidays, lives mere minutes from where I live now, and so we've made a point of getting together a couple of times a year. He attended my recent wedding reception and was really a very big highlight for me in an otherwise stressful and overwhelming event: in fact, he sensed my stress and offered this genuine, adult concern that made me feel better, in that moment and, ultimately, about our friendship.

In fact, it was partially his maturity and concern that day that lead me to the surprising realization that, of all the people who have been in my life for anywhere near as long as Jeremey has, he is the only one who seems to have grown in a meaningful and indisputably positive way. Everyone else, it seems, has done some variation on stagnating or going backwards, or improving their lives in certain ways while regressing in others. But Jeremey...he seems to have just...grown up.

Emily is now my closest friend, a possible tie with Zack, who I had not yet met at the time of the writing. Still, having been married to Zack for so long and still, in some capacity, thinking of him as more or less the love of my life (As opposed to the stronger, stabler partnership I experience with my current husband), I have trouble thinking of him as a "friend." So, that leaves Emily.

I don't think that it's a coincidence that the sole female of the bunch is the one who has proven best able to navigate the complications of the kinds of relationships I tend to foster. All of my close friendships have some degree of both familial and romantic feelings, either at some point or as an ongoing theme. For many, this has proven far too confusing to deal with. Emily, on the other hand, seems to understand that complexity in love does not tarnish it's value. One must put up boundaries and try to live by them, but these boundaries shift, and change, and crossing them does not make for a disaster that's any more bad than it is good.

I don't know if that makes sense, as the more I write, the more oddly, unintentionally poetic I get. But Emily and I are good, and we have been for a long time, with little interruption.

Still, a friendship such as this one can survive an interruption. Mine and Emily's did, a few years back. And one hopes that mine and Jeff's will survive the one we're currently experiencing.

Things are not good between us now. I don't know to what extent "things" between us still are, at all.

I won't go into it now: another day, perhaps. All I can say is, I still love him. That much won't change.

I'm fighting for change, and I'm fighting for things to stay the same. If that girl, who wrote all that came before this can make it, so can I.

To borrow a habit from her, I'll end the post on a corny song quote:

"You live for the fight when that's all that you've got."
-Bon Jovi, Livin' on a Prayer

On with it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Year Things Get Better For Me

It's nearly midnight on a work night, so I don't have time to write the post that this deserves, but one thing I have to learn to do to be a better adult is to just do things. Whether or not these things can be done to the ridiculous standards of my aspirational (but, as of yet, in no way actual) self, just do them, so that some version of the thing you wanted exists, instead of a just a big pile of nothing that slowly rots away until not even a hint of what you originally intended exists.

Or something. I'm not at my most eloquent tonight. But moving past that is sort of the theme of that last paragraph, whether you can tell that or not. And look, I did.

Things have been very hard for me for a while now. There are a lot of reasons for that. More than the two big ones I'm about to highlight now, and, in fact, more big ones just than just those two. But those two are kinda the point of this paragraph, so let's get there. 1) The birth of my son, 19 months ago, was super traumatic for me, in a way that has given me legit PTSD symptoms since then. (To be clear, I had been diagnosed with PTSD from earlier issues even before that, but I found out, the hard way, in the past year and a half the difference between a sort of latent, distant trauma that haunts you occasionally and at the least opportune time, and the kind that makes your whole life the least opportune time.  Number 2) My whole life, as many of you have known, I have been very, very tired.

I have a chance, I think, to finally address both of these. For the trauma, I am experimenting with a new therapy, Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), which is promisingly like EMDR, and is practiced by a therapist very geographically near to me. I'll get into the details at a later date, but if it is what it's cracked up to be, it's possible that I am already well on my way to recovery from this issue, and, maybe, from issues that have haunted me in the past.

For the tiredness, I have stumbled upon a hypothesis: I am in no way medically or scientifically sure, but I have reason to suspect that I may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea as a result of my shockingly large tonsils. Even if this is not the case, there is a very large possibility that the resulting restricted air flow is a big part of my rather consistent torpor. (Googled it: I used that word correctly! Awesome!) In support of my feelings of wanting to resolve this, Dan has agreed to allow me to use a large portion of the money we received as gift for our recent wedding (Yay, us!) to have my tonsils reduced in a relatively painless laser procedure called a Laser Tonsil Ablation.

It is my feeling that IF both of these two treatments have even half of the effect that I hope that they do, I will be, very suddenly, in possession of a great deal of energy, both emotional and physical. To have a well-rested and relatively relaxed brain for the first time in my's something to think about.

This could be the year things get better for me.

I have a strong desire not to waste this potential energy: not to let the years of dreams and aspirations that I have always pushed off until things were better turn to the proverbial pile of nothing, rotting away. As such, I have made a list of very specific goals for the next year of my life: convenient timing, as my birthday was a mere three days ago. Maybe I'll accomplish all of before I turn 32. Maybe they will be forgotten in two months time. For better or worse, herein lies, at least, the hint of what I intend, today. In no particular order:

Train for and run 5k with Dan
Be able to do one chin-up
Learn 6 Dance songs Well
Record 5 Original Songs
Finish Editing Zack's First Book
First Draft of Screenplay
2 College Courses
Keep Car Cleaner-ish
Keep Office Cleaner-ish
Switch to capsule wardrobe
Therapy for trauma
Learn to play 5 songs on the uke
Reduce tonsils
Put 500 in IRA
Improve credit score 75 points
Complete 3 large art projects
Pick up 3000 pieces of litter
Maintain nails/eyebrows/teeth/skin
Write/mail letters to 15 people from my life
25 blog posts
Put together Ezra's baby book
6 books (at least 3 non-audiobooks)
Read Le Petit Prince in French
Get Ezra caught up with speech
Be able to touch my toes

This list was written on my phone yesterday, though I added that last one just now, as it's absence on the list was an oversight.

I hope to have the time to explain my choices a bit better in the future, in some of the upcoming twenty-five (make that twenty-four) blog posts. For now, let me just state that I intend to share my journey here, and hopefully on Imgur, the goal of the latter being that it has the same feeling as a weight loss post, but with a more holistic (and less judgmental of fat people) vibe.

Today, I worked on the following:

-I had a very productive therapy session.
-I went for a walk and picked up forty-five pieces of litter, then cleaned a decent amount of trash out of my car (by no means enough to consider it clean) before coming inside.
-I used my Clairisonic and moisturized, then followed up with frownies on my forehead wrinkles (this is skincare-related)
-I did a few quick arm exercises before bed, some "girl-style" push-ups (soon enough, I will be back to the respectable ones) just so the day wouldn't be a total fitness loss.
-I wrote this blog post. Almost. It'll be done in a sec.

So...more to come. If you intend to join me on this journey, I thank you for being more interested than I have really warranted with this post. If you're checking back on this many months in the future to see how far I've come...well, good for me, I guess that means I'm still at it.

On with it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bare Branches and Stray Cats

A few doors down from our house, there is a building. It houses an elementary school, but it looks like no elementary school I've ever seen: certainly not the modern, unimposing, kid-friendly architecture you see nowadays. I believe it used to be a high school, back when high schools were something more institutional than they are today, and it shows: it's got a old, classic academic edifice with pillars in the front. It's set back on it's lawn with a path leading up to it, lined with lamps and mature trees which, nowadays, are bare. It was beautiful in the summer, with the leafy green canopy, and the autumn colors were especially fitting, with that changing-season back-to-school charm straight out of a college brochure. But there's something just right about the wispy, naked fingers, barely obfuscating your view of the place, and the snow on the ground. Something about the coldness that suits it.

I'm sure it's older than most of the homes that surround it, but even as the defining characteristic of the neighborhood, it's somehow so garishly out-of-place I can never help but stare at it. For me, it's beauty inspires only sad nostalgia of a life I didn't have. I think it reminds me of walking around the campuses of liberal arts colleges and feeling this sense of being where I belonged, but only as a fleeting visitor.

I was smart and artistic and I cared about learning; I would have done a thousand times better in college than I did in High School. Instead, with undiagnosed ADHD and terrible grades, I was rejected from the few colleges I thought to apply to, and I lived the first part of my adult life in the confusion that comes from being separated from your peers when they all go one way and you go another. I got a job, got married, and lived a humble life trying to convince myself that I'd done what was right for me. I don't remember if I did a good job at that or a poor one: it probably went back and forth. But when I walked around the campus at Bowdoin or took a day trip to Cambridge, I knew the truth.

It's not clear if my early marriage suffered from the longing of the life I should have had, as it was suffering from too many things to keep track of. Still, eventually, I somehow learned to commit to marriage, to define myself as a part of a couple, and to think of that as my life's most important goal. This dedication served me well, right up until the divorce. After that, having my sense of self wrapped up in my marriage was...less convenient.

There's something about this, the way I'm writing this, that really isn't working for me: it's hard, it's not coming out naturally, and it's not satisfying. Earlier tonight, I went out for a walk, as it was a very bearable 32 degrees: I like to make the point to people who use the term "freezing" to describe the winters in Maine that when the temperature is actually at freezing, that's a really pleasant change.

I started out with a practice called "mindful walking," part of my attempt to make meditation a regular routine once again. The idea is, as you might guess, to be present and in the moment, noticing sights, sound, smells, and the feeling of your feet on the pavement, one step after another, and giving your attention to the here and now. I did alright for a while, but found myself fighting off the narrator in my head that so often begins a post like this long before I ever reach a keyboard. It's something I've always done, since I was a very small child-- write in my head when I'm alone.

In the past few years, it's not clear to me how long, that has somehow happened less and less for me, less automatically, less often. I guess it's not clear to me why: is it because I have so little alone time now? Is my mind too crammed with anxious to-do lists to wander into essays and stories and monologues from imaginary films that have only the sparsest plot supporting them? Or has my head been narrating to me just as much all along, but I forgot to listen?

Regardless, as it always has, walking alone at night sparked it right up. Richly worded allusions to Counting Crows lyrics, and deeply complex metaphors about a cat that I stopped to pet, and how it symbolized the many ex-loves of my life with whom my relationship was ruined because I couldn't let my time with them be simply what it was. Full paragraphs about the building, and the trees, and the life I could have had, and what it is to always be living a life you feel is not your own: to always feel as out of place in your own life as that damned building is on my street.

And then finally, as I walked back to my house, the realization that while I might always feel unfamiliar in my life-- either as a wife that should have instead been a student, or a mother to the wrong man's child-- there is a way to find my way back to the one thing that does feel like me, at my very essence, to my very core: the voice of melancholy narrator, carefully crafting the story of my signature sadness.

I think, perhaps, it will always be there, it has always been there. I think, perhaps, it is really just for me-- the writing is in my head, is working it's way through me, even if I never make it as far as I've made it tonight. The feeling of my fingers on my keyboard is about communing with the voice of the narrator. Posting these words for all to see is my plea for the world to love her, because she is me, because she is all I really am.

But the voice, the words, the stories and symbols and stray cats...that's the part I really need, whether it comes out on paper or not. That's the part of me that is a writer in a way that no college could have ever made me one.

I hope that it's enough.

On with it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Rub(ble)

In the office, editing a spreadsheet, I'm listening to a podcast to make the days tolerable, as I have most days since my favorite coworker left. It's an old This American Life, as I've listened to all the recent ones: this one, from 1996. An episode called "Get Over it." It's about people getting over things, break-ups and deaths so far in the episode. Ira said something in the beginning about how you can't will it to happen, you can't know when it's going to happen. He related it to a passage in the bible about how the date of Jesus' return will not be known until it happens.

Then, there's this really sad story by George Saunders, about a man trying to get over his wife's death, doing so by throwing himself into the caretaking of an old widow. I won't get too much into it-- you should listen to it if you find yourself with the time-- but it's a somewhat sci-fi/futuristic story (except evidently written in and set in 1992, so think "alternative reality" futuristic rather than actual futuristic), so the method that he eventually uses to get over his wife's death and help provide for the old woman is a little...Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind.

There's so many directions I want to go in reaction to this piece, all interelated, all could be part of the same "This American Life" episode: they all have the same theme. But, like in "This American Life", they are all different stories.

My first reaction, the one that inspiried me to write this, was to the little clip of song they played after the story. My ears perked as I realized I knew the song, but not well: something I'd heard many times, but in a relatively short period of my life. As I tried to place it, the irony dawned on me: the song was from a mix tape given to me by someone that I cared very much for at the time, who I forced myself to get over by not letting myself think of him or what we had.

The idea of forcing myself to get over someone-- of not just openly and vulnerably letting myself feel whatever I feel-- is generally so foreign to me that the whole process of doing it was not entirely unlike a real-life version of this story: I had a life to save, or a way of life: not just mine, not just mine and Zack's, but his, and his family's. I had the greater good to consider. So I, in the only time in my life I ever mustered the will to do this, forced myself just to not think about him or acknowledge any lingering feelings.

It worked to the extent that I don't even know how accurate what I'm typing is. I know that I was much more strict about the process than I'd ever been before or since, but I don't know if that's truly what I can attribute the success to. I look back now, and, I know full well that I had deep feelings for him, but it's not clear to me the exacts of how or why. It seems to foreign to me now. Would I have been able to shut him out had I not already been fairly far into the process of getting over him? Or was it the process of shutting him out that makes me feel like I was over him, I must have been, I don't even know how strong my feelings were in the first place?

The reality of this, like the memories of the man in the story, is now lost to the ether.

There was a point I wanted to make about how Dan and I used to argue over how good a movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" was. I think, in the end, I made the point that there were far too many parallels to mine and Zack's relationship for me to find the movie anything but disturbing and sad. I forget my exact points...maybe I'll find and post the piece of conversation, sometime. I think it was mostly online.

I tried to write a post last night that somewhat related to all of this, but then, Dan came into the room. He was making a good-faith effort to check in with me before bed time, something I've asked him to do in order to help me to feel like we're really a couple, and not just a pair of co-parents who live together. I wasn't really in a good place to appreciate his effort though-- I'd been in a bad mood all day, and it felt, often, like he was oblivious to that.

The conversation we had, as is so often the pattern, started out benign, but quickly became a tour of all the different ways we fail each other as a couple: he often feels unappreciated, which is hard to combat, because, I often don't appreciate him. I often feel like he's disappointed in me, which is hard for him to combat because, in his words, "I think you try, I think you do the best you can. But I don't think that'll ever be enough to meet my standards."

So, there's the rub: I don't appreciate him, he's disappointed in me.

At least, it's part of the rub. I don't know how much of the rub it is. I don't even know if it's most of the rub, or the biggest piece of the rub. And I've said "rub" one too many times.

I'll end with what I managed to write last night before he came in and interrupted:

"I find neuroscience fascinating, and it's a fascinating time for it. They're doing all these image studies now-- using an FMRI to track the way a brain will actually physically change in response to events in a person's life. Actual, scientific evidence of the way a traumatized person's brain will respond to therapy, showing how parts that are overactive gradually become calmed overtime. Visual evidence to show that meditation strengthens pathways that allow one to access serenity. And whatever the third thing in my list would be if I were more well-versed on the topic. (I tried to look something up figuring, hey, a rhetorically satisfying list should have three examples. But then I got really bored, really fast. Evidently, I don't actually find neuroscience THAT fascinating.)

So, any neuroscientists out there, here's my suggestion for an experiment. Prove or disprove the following hypothesis: the brain changes after great heartbreak, making it actually, physically impossible to love the next person as much as you loved the first. Prove or disprove the idea that you'll never again feel anything like your first love."

So. A whole different piece of the rub. On with it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day Thirty

The last day of my thirty day writing challenge. I'm not going to miss it. Still, if I manage at least a paragraph here, and hit "publish", I'll have seen it through. A few of the entries were even not terrible.

I remember somewhere in there, I said that I'd feel some kind of satisfaction when I finished. Something about it not being super gratifying, but still, some since of satisfaction that I saw it through.

Actually, I think I just implied that satisfaction, in this case, would not really be satisfaction at all, but the avoidance of whatever negative feeling I would have if I didn't do what I said I would. Yeah, that seems about right.

It's a pretty empty feeling.

Writing isn't going to ever be what it was to me, all of my life, if I do it like this. If I try to fit it into some tiny chunk of time I have before I go to bed, knowing full well that every extra word adds to my growing sleep debt. If I have to keep myself level because I don't have the time an energy to get upset. If I have to avoid really getting into anything, really having any chance to process anything, because of that.

Dan and I got into something the other day-- I was pretty sure it was yesterday but now I'm thinking maybe the day before-- and sometime in the processing between that fight and the next (it must have been the day before, because I remember writing yesterday that we weren't actually fighting), I explained to him that I need for him to try to read my signals a little better, so that we can avoid me crossing a line of emotion after which I become useless for a while, after which all I can do is try to process that emotion.

That can be a very time-consuming thing. I suppose it feels like my posts are going to be subpar so long as I'm trying to avoid getting into this long, winding diatribe where I figure out some kernel of truth inside of my emotions. I'm not the type of person who can just open something up and then close it off again: once it's out there, it's staying out there. Until I've gotten something out of it.

Dan and I are fighting again. You may have been able to tell from my cheery tone. I suspect he thinks we're fighting because he disagreed with me. I suspect he thinks I'm mad that he disagreed, and that  he's mad that I didn't react well to that.

It's true, I didn't react well. It was one of those disagreements where the other person's position is so shocking and offensive to you, but only because they're you're partner. It's not that you couldn't respect the opinion coming out of a stranger or a friend or whatever. It's that, you can't see how you managed to find yourself in a relationship with someone who feels that way.

And yeah, I don't like that feeling. But I'm not MAD at him for it. That's not what I'm fighting about.

I'm fighting because, as I could tell that the conversation was getting me upset, I started to try to give him clues that it was, to prompt him to remember the conversation we had-- just two short days ago-- where I asked him to be aware if I'm getting agitated and pull back. I even said to him that I needed him to tread lightly.

I don't know if he tried. I suspect he would argue that he did. I don't know if I'd believe him if he said that.

Our fight the other day ruined the whole night, and then, last night was also bad, though not in a fighting way. So it was in this really desperate feeling that I couldn't possibly take it a third night in a row that I lost it and just interrupted him before the conversation could continue to upset me.

I wasn't tactful, I was just trying to get out of it before it escalated and farther. But then he snapped at me for disrespecting him or something like that. I don't know. Either way, he was demanding something out of me I couldn't give-- an apology or something like that. I can't do that when I'm not sorry, and I really, really wasn't. I don't think I am now.

There was something else I asked him to do, the night before last, something else he ignored tonight: I am sensitive. I do get upset. I am emotional where he is unemotional. I get triggered easily, very possibly a side-effect of the PTSD we both know I am suffering from, and when that happens, it can be hard to control my emotions, and his lack of ability to see that happening makes everything worse. So I asked him, the other night, to try, in the future, to cut me some slack when it happens. Let some things slide. Not take everything to heart.

The night I asked, he seemed to think it was a perfectly reasonable request. This evening, it seemed like he seemed to ignore it.

I walked away because there was nothing else to do. He wasn't going to get me to say "I'm sorry" because I genuinely wasn't, and I wasn't willing to let another night get lost in another fight.

Now we don't seem to be talking. A lot of times, I just think it's better that way.

Things were going...slightly better for a while. I don't know if it's that I was mediating for a while there, or if it had something to do with the fact that things were going really well with my job and I was happier than I had been, at least in that regard. Maybe it's something hormonal, maybe it's that I haven't been sleeping. Or maybe, just maybe, the difference him. It's not like he's going to be the one to volunteer that this could be something to do with his moods and state of mind, so I guess I'm going to have to.

He's down the hall and I can hear him typing on his computer, and it's going to make it impossible to sleep. When I fight with my partner, I can't really deal with the tension their presence brings me; I need to be as far away as physically possible. I can't live with someone I fight with this much.

We've tried fighting less. It's not clear that that's working. I don't know when the next phase happens.

Day 30. It's not pretty, but there it is.

Alright, people. I'll see you the next time I have something of interest to say. Hopefully in a few days or so.

On with it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day 29

Today is the penultimate day of my 30-day blogging challenge. "Penultimate" is one of those big vocabulary words that Dan likes to throw around whenever possible, which is a trait I find super annoying. It seems to be a family trait: I remember his brother once used the word "disaggregated" in some sort of casual, non-scientific, non-data-set conversation. A conversation where "separated" would have made a lot more sense, if I remember correctly.

His brother is a graduate of Yale Law. Really smart, really successful person. Clearly knows a lot of big words. But I think theres a little more to be said for knowing when not to use them.

Opening this entry with an attack on Dan's curious and pretentious vocabulary choices, however, is a misleading choice on my part, especially where yesterday's entry somehow meandered into rant territory about an argument we'd had. Dan and I are not arguing tonight. Tonight, I am suffering from a general malaise.

Or rather, I am suffering from a malaise most closely associated with some changes at work that I don't feel at liberty to write about freely in any context that might be tracked back to me, pseudonym or not. I don't think anyone's looking, but it wouldn't be particularly hard to figure out who I really am from this, or to find this if you were looking for things about who I really am. If that makes sense. Regardless, my work life has changed, very suddenly, and has become significantly less enjoyable and fulfilling for me.

I can live with this, except that enjoying my work life was a really important distraction from the fact that I don't really enjoy my home life.

I don't do well on any day where I don't get a good chunk of time sitting in front of the TV while eating: most nights it's dinner. Tonight, dinner got rushed and was sub-par and we ended up watching a particularly disappointed episode of the daily show: two of three, well, thirds of it were really disappointing, so, assuming the first, Jon-Stewart-covers-headlines-directly-to-the-audience part was fine, I probably got all of seven minutes of my rejuvenative food-TV ritual in, and it was heavily interrupted by both the baby and the dog. So maybe that's the real source of my dourness.

I suspect, as I so often do, a hybrid of things.

To salvage what's left of the very little time before I really should be asleep, I'll probably curl up with my phone and search the internet for some way to feel more interactive with Serial, the new spinoff podcast from This American Life. Are you listening to it, imaginary reader? It's so good, so addictive.

I don't want to waste my time explaining it. Just google it. Or better yet, just download the first 7 episodes, which are currently available. You have to listen to them in order, it's an ongoing story. I'm too tired to give you a hyperlink, maybe I'll edit in later.

Day 29. The penultimate day. If you were to disaggregate this body of work, you'd get 29 separate posts so far.

On with it.