And So It Is

You learn to use the voice inside you that you tried drowning out with booze. You begin to say the things out loud that you told yourself you should never, ever say. And those things sound like:

What I need is….

What I want is…

What needs to stop is…

What needs to change is…

What hurts is…

What brings me joy is…

And you come to realize that you are the only one who can decide to fight for your own life to come forward and be seen, heard, and lived. The ripple effects of that are not up to you to try to control or hold back or spare people from. And so it is…

Drink of Me

I have been alone but seldom lonely. I have satisfied my thirst at the well of my self and that wine was good, the best I ever had, and tonight sitting staring into the dark I now finally understand the dark and the light and everything in between. Peace of mind and heart arrives when we accept what is: having been born into this strange life we must accept the wasted gamble of our days and take some satisfaction in the pleasure of leaving it all behind. Cry not for me. Grieve not for me. Read what I’ve written then forget it all. Drink from the well of your self and begin again. Charles Bukowski

I don’t know that there is any better way to express how I feel right now. Where my head, my heart, my tremendous pain, and my healing are. I am a recovering addict. That is as real and true as is earth, fire, water, and air. Whether it is acknowledged or not by others. I know. My soul knows. The one well I couldn’t bear to drink from is now the only one I want. The well of myself. It’s dark and deep, cool and life giving. And no one else can see into it but me. 

The Silencing

Withdrawal, fear, missed opportunities, indecision, suppressed feelings, blockages, sleepless nights, anxiety, ego issues, pride, low self esteem, mind over the heart, gossip, negative influence, lack of confidence, codependency, staying in the comfort zone, fear of rejection and confrontation, mask wearing, hiding behind morals, closed heart, depression, faking happiness, stagnation, work abuse, addictions, lying to oneself, denying own dreams and wishes, mediocrity, boredom, depending on the opinions of others, fear of vulnerability, inner emptiness, silencing the voice of intuition, running from oneself, inability to receive and express love….

Wading through the depths of the self is a dark, thick wood. Ready or not, I am in it now. I think the problem with optimism in the face of the cruel reality of the culture we live in is that it cuts us off from ourselves. It is a sickness. False optimism, this obsession with finding, faking, worshipping ‘happiness’ – it is a murderous endeavor. An attempt to kill off the truth of what is really going on inside. It is unsafe and insane to deny that the darkness is real. You can stab the truth as often as you like but it will never die.


Quote source: Karolina

It Comes and It Goes (audio)

He’s prolific – writing like a gushing faucet that just won’t shut off – and my writing mind is dried up as an old seed. Just as well I guess, at least someone is writing even if it isn’t me. And he’s a better writer anyway, although I guess that could mean anything at all. Or nothing. Nothing at all. We write or we don’t write but either way our minds are always going, going, going.

I scroll through images of women of various ages all sporting hair cropped in fresh pixie cuts. Only they aren’t called ‘pixies’ anymore they’re called mixies or bixies or some shit. God i would love to chop off my hair just to have done it. Just because it’s such a foolish ridiculous freeing thing to do and most people who think it through at all come to the inevitable conclusion that, logically speaking, it’s a bad, bad call.

Anyway I might still do it.

I know this might sound crazy because while I am now 209 days (!!) sober I can’t help but feel everything but also, at times, like now sitting alone in the morning light, I feel the realness of total nothingness. And not the poetic kind either. Not the sensual exoticism of a languid sort of freedom or the feline-like stretch of aimless curiosity. It isn’t arty or inspired or visionary or any of that. It’s just the kind of dead as if maybe somebody shot some Novocaine into my spirit and so even though I do believe I’ve got a spirit in here someplace, there’s absolutely no hope of actually feeling it.

We were at this party the other weekend, an outdoor summer whatever, and as I sipped my sparkling water the guy next to me was rambling on some misogynistic bullshit like a sixth grader when come to find out he’s sixty something. He’d been drinking all day slow but steady. And all I could think was this was also probably why I drank. Sure I have my own unhealed trauma and whatnot and I’m working on that but then there’s this foolishness of just having to live around other people who are so obnoxious it makes you want to scream. I think I drank to dull my natural impulse to slap somebody.

Just living is hard I guess is what I’m saying. We are surrounded by so many lies, so much ignorance, so much relentless focus on things that not only don’t even matter but which are crushing us underneath the weight of a culture that abuses us constantly. We are immersed in toxicity, submerged in it, steeped in it. No wonder when you stop numbing out the world, it all comes crashing in over you like the kind of thunderous waves you know no matter what you do you can’t escape or control or even try to push back against.

You Can’t Hold Me Forever

There is a lot to think about in early sobriety. Maybe that’s part of what starts it all, the over thinking, the addiction to the substance that can kill that off for a little while. Went to the Elton John concert last night in Philly. It was the perfect evening surrounded by people I love and cherish and adore inside out. He was phenomenal, of course. It’s his farewell tour, last time to perform in Philadelphia, on his way to perform his last time in any American city. It’s called his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Tour. It was my first time attending a concert sober.

When he played Candle in the Wind, silent videos of Marilyn Monroe flashed all across the jumbotron screens behind him. There were numerous sequences where she was drinking white wine from a long flute. There was always a hand pouring her more. She was so impossibly beautiful. In her anguished expression, you could feel her falling apart. She laughed and danced and winked. She smiled, or tried to.

I don’t have a lot to say at the moment except that I woke up sober this morning, just like I went to bed sober very early this morning. And I remember every single song he performed. I remember the chills that ran up my spine and the tears that fell down my face when he sang Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me as clips of photos and videos of his amazingly creative and wild life played out, one after another after another, all around him as he sat on stage in the spotlight, playing the piano as only Sir Elton John can. This giant of a man, in the sunset of his giant life.

We watched the sun go down over the stadium. We watched the supermoon glow burning orange over the river all the way home. I think of Marilyn and the beauty that lit her up and crushed her out. Of saying goodbye to the old road. Stepping on to a new one. He closed the concert with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. And then it was over. Waving, in his gorgeous fuschia floor-length robe and signature rhinestone studded square glasses, the Rocketman disappeared offstage into the darkness.

If You’re Gonna Play the Game (audio)

As pale peach light creeps along the leaves of the trees, a small bird can be heard fluttering past the window, swooping on the humid morning air to land on a telephone wire which slinks up and down our quiet street. The coffee grinder whirrs to life downstairs in the kitchen and I click off the alarm on my phone in the dark. Too much stress in my mind. Too much worry about how my day will go. I dream of being someone else with someone else’s life. A life where I am not tied to anything. Not a job. Not money. Not the east coast. It’s all a gamble, this life, even if you stick to what you know. Even if you cling to the familiar there’s still chance involved. The chance you’ll miss out. The chance you will die with regret.

And I know there’s old people out there who will lecture us and say ‘don’t waste it’ or ‘you only get one life, this is it’ and yadda ya, but they only think that way because they have squandered everything, too. They know the feelings they warn you about because they have them and you don’t yet. It’s the fact that you don’t yet that makes them mad or sad or whatever. In any case, I wonder what it is we are all looking for and cannot seem to find. I have a hunch it’s our own hearts.

I wonder if I have found it, here and there, and if I should try to get better at recalling those times so I can recognize them in the future. Today, for instance. Hot sticky gross July day in the middle of the week. Will I transcend the monotony of this day at least a few times during it? Am I playing too small, as they say, whatever the fuck it means? Am I to gamble bigger, more dangerously, daringly, recklessly? I cannot help but think that gamble was part of what I loved about drinking. It was stupid, yeah obviously, but after a whole day spent wishing just about everything was more beautiful, as the evening opened up wide in front of me, I wanted nothing more than to toss myself into the waiting arms of oblivion. To throw caution to the wind and myself out the window of the same bloodless scene and into the free fall of come what may.

Come what may after drinking was never pretty, of course. But I’m not drinking anymore. And what’s funny is the gambler in me is still alive and kicking, apparently. What is it inside that wants me to take a chance on myself? The chance of staying present. The chance of letting go. The chance of finally, once in a lifetime, taking a chance.

But Oh How Close We Came

I busted up my hand trying to open a window that didn’t want to open. Apparently. Whatever I did really messed up my knuckles and now holding a pen is painful as is lifting my insanely oversized coffee mug because the damage done is to the right hand. The most precious, the most necessary. This matters little if at all to you, it would seem, except that now instead of scribbling trails of wandering thoughts in my notebook, as I normally would before I started typing up a blog post, I can only scribble by typing. Typing is less painful than writing with a pen or lifting coffee, though only slightly. I very much hope this doesn’t last more than a few days. The irony is that I was just telling my son the other day how I keep giving myself the stupidest injuries completely by accident. How does one destroy her knuckles by opening a window, it’s so dumb.

I came across a small quote by Clarice Lispector which goes like this, “It’s inside myself that I must create someone who understands.” I thought how true that is and how it’s a little bit sad. I feel that way and I am sure so many other creatives do, writers, poets, artists. We find fewer and fewer people around us who understand the depth of our feelings, the breadth of our souls. It is impossible, it seems, to find another soul who meets you where your soul is. Like satellites drifting by one another in the dark vastness of space.

Perhaps the whole truth though is that we don’t actually want anyone to get too close. To be able to undo ourselves we need our own space, our own time, our own universe. So we can breathe. Remember our own minds, our own consciousness. People are noise, people open their mouths and it’s all static and distraction from what we have going on inside of our own world.

The world around us is collapsing it seems. I read a blog post by a woman who said she isn’t surprised because in all honesty, how else could this go? And I get that. We have been too brutalized, too abused for too long to have this unravel any other way. The way we have been living with our anger and outrage in each others faces constantly, this kind of arrogance and simulated interactions instead of real flesh and blood ones, it breeds all kinds of human devastation. We have lost something we never quite had but oh how close we have come to goodness at times. It is that hope to get close to goodness once again that keeps our little hearts thumping into yet another day. Thinking we may just find it in ourselves to make it, maybe not to rise above but at least to carve a new and more beautiful way through, to find the kind of magic we’ve been looking for all along.

Meanwhile, my hand is not happy with me for typing so much and my brain is wishing I had a point to make which was clever and clear but I haven’t the slightest of either. I would love another cup of coffee but I don’t look forward to lifting it.

And Baby It Don’t Stop

There are thoughts you think about but would die if anyone knew. You spend a lot of time hoping those thoughts are not you. That what you cannot speak about in public doesn’t mean you are a freak in private. Lust. Desire. Shame. Weakness. Cruelty. Confusion. Disgust. Hatred. Fury. Disconnection. Indifference. Dishonesty. Incompetence. Frustration. Fantasy. I’d love to talk about them all. I bet you would, too, if only anyone would give you the time of day or night or ever. People won’t though, they don’t know what the fuck to do with themselves let alone what to do with you and all your bizarre shit. But don’t you ever think that the more we hold back from each other the less we have access to ourselves? I mean are there some things that just have to come out, right, or they get distorted, crushed into regret or denial or addiction.

Or do we just like that feeling of those dark messy things scratching just below the surface of our palatable exterior. Do we get off on shoving them in, pressing them down. Like not being who we truly are, but revealing something just shy of that, is some kind of emotional edging. How explosive, how euphoric it would feel to burst into a trillion sparks of light, to come clean all over every damn thing that’s ever held you back or kept you quiet all these years. How long has it even been? Can you remember a time when what you were matched what you said you were? Before you started contorting yourself to fit in, to make a living, to raise the kids, to keep the peace, flash the fancy car.

Sure there’s the stuff you do all day and the silliness you soothe yourself with like booze or smokes or coffee or chocolate or whatever but underneath all that, below all that, in a place you think about like clockwork when the silent privacy of evening settles in all around, and the dust on the empty air twists and twinkles in the sifting, dimming light, do you ever wish you could touch yourself in soulspaces you have never explored before? I’m not talking about sex or sexual seduction, that’s so fucking tired and pedestrian the way it is , it’s so predictable and useless, it’s stress release, it’s not transcendant. I’m talking about something nameless, timeless, something so mindbendingly beautiful and haunting, almost frightening, at the same time there is no way of describing it coherently. Only the exceedingly rare artist or poet or musician can get you there but even then it is not the same as getting there yourself, by yourself. Doing it with and to yourself.

Someplace inside that has yet to be understood because it has yet to be uncovered. But it is there waiting, breathing. That thing you are meant to create. The words you have been meaning to say if only you could get at them, pull them up from the well inside that is you. And won’t stop being you, calling you, driving you mad with the living deadness of unrealized possibility. That deep deep well that you keep praying and wishing would stop because it isn’t you, isn’t you, isn’t you.

Can You See It In Your Mind? (audio)

I am Emily Dickinson with a smart mouth. I sit upstairs in this little room and write about staring out my window onto the same view day in and day out while thinking thoughts and dreaming dreams which come and go like the pink-streaked clouds, stretching and seperating at dawn, only to evaporate entirely by the time the noon sun reaches its cruel summer peak.

You don’t need much of anything to write, I guess is what I’m saying. You don’t need good looks or fancy equipment or any kind of flash or status whatsoever. You just need your mind in its purest form, a mind unshackled by the rules and norms and restrictions of this stuck-up world. You just need yourself and a keyboard. Yourself and a notebook and a proper pen and by proper I do not mean expensive I just mean one that fits your hand perfectly and from which the ink flows the way you want it to, feels the way you need it to, and lasts a good couple weeks at least.

These are the rules and I make them up and share them with you as I sit in my spot overlooking nothing spectacular but thick green lawns which are made possible by the relentless assault of the haunt of suburbia, the sinister invisible cripple of climate crisis, and those silly little decrative floral flags people are always putting up in the dirt at the base of their hedges. I suppose if you cannot grow actual flowers, wedging a more expensive painted-on version of some will suffice if you are in any case fully out of your mind.

I’m not really Ms. Dickinson, of course. She was a rare, exquisite, and eerie talent who truly never went out much and I am just some rando poet writer author blogger, typing away in the hopes of making a connection with whatever the thing is that calls me to the page over and over again. Writing has been my love and my lover since I first became aware of it as an activity one could perform that would transport and transform me in the blink of an eye. You pick up a pen and you are a completely new person, a person other than just yourself, somebody bigger, someone with agency and power. A wizard, a sourceress, a demon, a magician. Writing makes you real in a way nothing else ever did or will or could. Because when you can write you can create anything at all and no one can stop you. You can say anything and mean it and then the next day think better of it and rewrite it to suit you better and better still.

Why on earth I have gone on rambling about writing this morning I haven’t the slightest but I will say that it feels mighty smooth and rich and good like this coffee I’m drinking now. Do you see me drinking coffee in your mind? Across the street there is a perfectly manicured house with a finely trimmed green lawn in front and under a tree on that lawn there are two robins fluttering around, chirping and smashing into each other in the air about six inches off the ground. I do not know if they are sexing or sparring but they repeat their strange dance moves until one or the other gets too tired to carry on. Mating is exhausting and grows less and less interesting with time.

Anyway, it’s all about making a kind of connection with the wilderness which aches and cries and flutters and smashes within. And of all the ways to truly untangle and dance with the soul, writing is by far the most sincere.

Sticky Seedy Sloppy Needy

His high pitched shrieky howling is on my last nerve. It’s before 6am on a Sunday morning, not that he gives a shit of course, being unable to tell time much less understand what it might mean for the people in his neighborhood, and I have the window open while trying to write a cover letter for my manuscript submission. Truth be told I do not know if the dog down the street losing his marbles is a boy or a girl but for some reason my first instinct with dogs is to think they are male and cats female, which I am certain is problematic in ways I’m not quite sure of but should be, but it’s early and I’m only one cup of coffee in, and again with the dog and its relentless yapping. Is it in a yard? Bring it in and give it food, christ. Do some fucking thing.

My Sunday morning tarot reading tells me that a chapter of my life has now come to a close. This explains a lot about how I feel lately, to be honest. Last night we had dinner at an outdoor bar-restaurant which used to be where I would go as a young thing to get drunk and hook up with boys. The place has been renovated but only just enough for it to feel a bit more sophisticated and slightly less seedy than it once was. Still, the ghost of twenty-something me was there in the sticky hardwood floors and the giant wrap around bar that took up the entire front room. The guys throwing darts and speaking too loud and too sloppily could have been the same tools as were there twenty years ago. Sex and cigarettes, booze and lust and an idiotic kind of intoxicated plea for the return of innocence. Some things never change I guess. Even as we shed our old selves and slip into our new ones, we all carry with us our own hungry ghost.

I don’t miss the way it was and I wouldn’t wish its return for anything in the world. But the uncomfortable pangs of nostalgia are as real as the natural human instinct to pine for the cheap thrill of dollar beers and messing around in the parking lot with a sexy guy you’d never be able to pick out of a line up after the buzz wears off around sometime in the evening the following day which you’ll inevitably spend face down on a mattress ingesting cold pizza and cursing your idiotic – and for some inexplicable reason, repeated – poor life decisions.

The dog down the street has suddenly quieted. I hope he’s okay and I’m glad he isn’t mine. I’m fond of having fewer and fewer responsibilities as the days roll on by. My kid is grown. My dogs were gorgeous and now they are wherever the spirits of dogs go to frolic in the soft grasses of eternity. The day job is the job and it stays where I leave it at 4:30pm.

I used to care what those guys back in the day thought of me. I used to need them to find me attractive and all the rest of the silliness I held in such high esteem as only a young lady was brought up to do whilst being shamed for it all the while. If the ghost of past me could see me now what would she think? She’d think I was such a fucking cliche. Married in suburbia surrounded by dogs, lawn mowers, and expensive SUVs. Lacing up my running shoes on an early Sunday morning when most people are sleeping in like normal. Headed god knows where but headed there faster than I, or she, ever could have imagined.

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