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and if we don’t hide here, they’re going to find us
and if we don’t hide now, they’re going to catch us when we sleep

i have changed enough in the past couple years that i can look at my past self with a devastating sense of dramatic irony.  in the syndrome of my self, a few symptoms appear chronic.

item 1. i am indecisive.
item 2. i am too trusting.
item 3. i am afraid of everything.

where is the rationale? where is the youthful trauma that conditioned these behaviors? as a child i was sanguine and brave.  i thought i’d made great strides in the last few years, but maybe i’m just rearranging myself so that the worse pieces stay hidden behind the ones that are steadier.

a depressing realization: just as i can look at my past actions with greater wisdom, i can recognize my own present-day folly, too.  i have the capacity to realize when i’m making the wrong decision.  just not the will to turn around and make the right one.

i was surprised at how little traffic there was on friday afternoon.  on a beautiful holiday weekend, i thought everyone would be clamoring to get up the maine turnpike.  but there were few travelers, and even at 5:45 on a friday i was making good time.

on that long stretch of I-95, i looked away for just a moment.  the moan of the rumble strip snapped me to attention and i thought a quick correction would put me back on course.

but a too-quick correction would derail me completely.

someone asked me afterwards if it happened in slow motion.  actually, it couldn’t have happened any faster.  i was barely aware of what was happening as it unfolded.  i don’t remember being scared and i don’t believe i even screamed.  after a second of futile steering i resigned myself to the next instants, and braced myself.

i don’t think i was aware of the moment the car tipped over the embankment.  all i knew was that one second i was veering and weaving across three lanes of a busy highway, and the next second everything was spinning and i was swinging disoriented and helpless in my seatbelt while the world turned around me.

and then everything stopped.

__

someone called 911.  someone had me lie down.  someone checked my spine for fractures.  someone offered to call my family and i yelled NO, because how could my mother hear “your daughter’s been in a car accident” without thinking the worst?  someone told me “it’s just a car, the important thing is that you’re ok” and i thought, that’s silly and trite and easy for you to say, you’re not panicking your family and you know how you’re getting home tonight and you know where you’re sleeping tonight and you’re not all alone here having to figure out what to do next while you grapple with a brush with death.

the ambulance came.  a kindly EMT chuckled at my jokes, my last standing defense mechanism.  a quick visit to the fine people at maine medical center produced a clean set of hand x-rays and sent me home with icepacks and bacitracin and gauze and information.  and after a few hours, with a little help from a couple of dear friends, i dealt with the logistics.

the next day i came home. phoned. cried. slept. showered. cried. got dressed. dinner. drinks. cried. slept.

the next day i reveled in the feeling of the wind on my skin.

__

i could’ve collided with another car.  i could have rolled another quarter turn and broken my neck or been trapped.  i could have hit a tree or a utility pole and crushed my skull.  i could have punctured my gas tank and burned.  i could have been on a bridge and gone over the edge.  i could have been the sort of person who doesn’t always wear her seatbelt.  there are a lot of ways that story could have ended without me here telling it.

but here i am, not even a stitch in me.  just some gauze and a band-aid, a sore tetanus shot, and some blue-brown bruises.

it doesn’t feel real.

there are gaps in our respective and mutual understanding, and the purpose of all communication is to bridge them. but it’s an unforgiving job.

sometimes we perceive gaps when they don’t exist, and so we behave as if they do. but sometimes the gap is larger than you realize and you can’t bridge it yourself. it makes you wonder if this business of communication, this relational drudgery, is just a lost cause.

persuasion is a mode i enjoy. but when the task seems sisyphean, the barriers unrelenting, the payoff seems hardly worth the effort.

things that have made my week bad, and things that have made my bad week worse:

  • obstreporousness.
  • inefficiency.
  • miscommunication.
  • days with 24 hours in them, and weeks with seven days, and two day weekends.
  • short notice.
  • unknown unknowns.
  • cross-purposes.
  • insufficiently unobtrusive overlap boxes.
  • ringing in my twenty-fourth year with a nosebleed.

things that have made my bad week slightly less bad:

  • listmaking.
  • herbes de provence.
  • my beloved coworkers.
  • incrementally nicer weather.
  • getting shit done.

i’ve half a dozen aborted attempts at posts hanging in my dashboard from the last few months.  ideas that just lurked beneath the surface, forever inchoate, resigned to insufficient vocabulary — mine; the english language’s.

i’ve had countless other thoughts, mind you, that never even made it as far as the blank page.  so let me get a few things off my chest, in the form of a list (here’s looking at you, DMM):

  • i am craving novelty.  strawberry and basil sangria.  springtime thrift store trips.  poetry writing.  home furnishings.
  • i am curious.  i told my beloved yesterday that i wished i could be a professional dilettante when i grow up.  “i’d be such fun at cocktail parties.”  things i want to dabble in some more: linguistics.  ukelele.  spanish.  container gardening.
  • i did it casually in high school, but i took it up again in college and got addicted fast.  my employer and several of my friends want me to quit, but i just have no motivation to kick the habit.  (i’m talking about french spacing… but you already knew that, right?)
  • i have resolved — not new year’s resolved, merely resolved — to revisit yoga (yes, to dabble), and i am incredibly excited.  for something that has given me so much calm on the single-digit times i’ve done it, i can’t believe i haven’t made more room for it.
  • i don’t know if i could bear children.  the pain, the spectacle, the already-questionable fertility, the knowledge that so many born children need mothers already.  i would love to have a little wild-haired genetic mini-me someday, but i don’t know if that’s a good enough reason for me.
  • on a related note, everyone in the world should read this.
  • all my life i have wanted to be enigmatic.  i am TERRIBLE at it.
  • not totally sure why i was curious about this, but i have just proved the “if you can imagine it, you can find it on the internet” dictum wrong, once and for all.

there is more, there is always more, there is so much more, but it’s been three freaking months already.

i’ve put words to something over the last few days, the last few weeks, something i’ve known for a long time but just haven’t articulated:

everybody’s got my back.

i work with incredibly devoted, competent, well-intentioned, exceptionally brilliant people who care about the same things i do, whose priorities and motivations are completely above-board and entirely aligned.

i have a loving boyfriend who appreciates my vocabulary as much as (well, probably more than) he appreciates my pretty underwear, who is an equally good partner at cranium and beer pong (even though, frankly, i am way better at spelling backwards than i am at throwing a ping-pong ball into a solo cup of bud light), who accompanies me to the symphony and wipes applesauce off my chin when i’m anesthetized and can’t feed myself properly.

i have friends all over the country, all over the world, who would, at a moment’s notice, pull out all the stops for me if i needed it.

i have a slew of sisters who are all incredibly different and equally supportive in entirely unique ways, who love me and are rooting for me and in whose footsteps i’m proud to follow.

and i have wonderful parents who are surprised and amused, i think, by all my crazy adventures, and who are exceptionally generous, intelligent, kind people.

i am the luckiest girl in the world.

my last few posts read as a little testy.  lately, it seems, i only have something to say when i’m pissed off.

this is not at all an accurate reflection of me.  ask anyone: i have something to say ALL the time.

so i’ll say some things.  in no particular order, except the order assigned by my own, hyperassociative mind.  i’d like this to be a little more representative of my train of thought.

  • with a little help, i recently discovered paddington bear.  as someone who adored a.a. milne’s winnie-the-pooh books (and hates the commercialized, squeaky-voiced version of them), i couldn’t believe i hadn’t met this raincoated, courteous gentlebear before.  i have some catching up to do.
  • i read about half of “american gods” by neil gaiman while doing laundry at dan’s house a couple weeks ago.  i loved it, but it threw me into a complete funk, and i’ve been a little afraid to re-approach it.  (for similar reasons, i watched only comedies for most of college because i thought it was plausible that with the slightest inducement, i’d enter another period of depression.  imagine my relief to come through unscathed and now have a very happy life, such that i can once again tolerate sad movies from time to time.)
  • i love being the person other people come to for help.  i crave it.  sometimes i want to remind people, in alanis fashion, “i am not the doctor,” but the truth is, i can’t give it up.
  • it is really impressive, and kind of appalling, how much i know about the x-files.  getting into something as a pre-teen is a good way to completely immerse yourself in it.  on the one hand, i wish it had been something useful, like improving my french, or fixing cars, or learning to play the piano.  on the other hand, i suppose it’s a good thing i didn’t develop an interest in heroin.
  • most of the time i don’t notice, but sometimes i have pangs of dismay about my poor right hand.  it’s functional, but as an indoor kid, i thrive on my fine motor skills. painting, drawing, jewelry.  these all require tendons that aren’t bound up in fascia and nerves that aren’t damaged.  i was a struck by this because a friend expressed surprise the other day when he realized i can draw.  it used to be one of those things that everyone knew about me, because i did it all the time.
  • it seems just yesterday that i was running out of light dresses to wear to work.  i wore my winter boots yesterday.  that was a wake-up call.
  • i’m extremely fortunate.  i think about this a lot (more than it seems, i guess, with all the bitching that’s been going on on this blog lately).  and often i think of it from a global standpoint — “this is a first-world problem,” i’ll remind myself whenever excel crashes or i miss the train.  but even from the standpoint of the people in my own life, i am really damn content.  it’s a nice position to be in.
  • i miss college much less than i thought i would.
  • i don’t enjoy teaching feminism 101. sometimes i wish everyone got the education i got at a women’s college.
  • my organization has furnished me with some great mentors, including women who make me incredibly proud to be a woman.  the first mentor i had here was excited for me when i told her i was being allocated to this project, whose director is female.  “there’s just something different about being managed by a woman,” she said, in that way women have — that voice that says, you understand, because we all understand.  my boss today gave me a little advice that i really appreciated, informed by her own experiences.  it was in that very same voice.  it’s refreshing to have that kind of immediate understanding and empathy.  i suspect that it is unique to having the particular experience of belonging to a society that isn’t quite ready for you, no matter how competent you are.  i’m sure there are men who experience this, too, but i suspect that white, cisgendered, majority-religion, heterosexual, economically-privileged, etc. men do not.  and even if they’re winning the game in plenty of other ways, it makes me positively gleeful that they don’t know that kind of support.
  • i drink altogether too much tea.
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