Tuesday, February 09, 2016

For as long as philosophy has existed ... it has been concerned with the relation between self-reflection and freedom. Yet it has never been clear what self-reflection is, or what freedom is, or why the former should make any contribution to the latter.

Jonathan Lear, 1990

Monday, January 25, 2016

Saturday, December 26, 2015


women like me
like us
are always teetering
on fault lines
always hitting sharp
the constant grating
of becoming
on the surface
metallic gold
by fools
unable to decipher
the weight
of what they carry

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

now & now on

I am...disenchanted in what one might call a "new" way, which is to say that I can't remember the last time I felt this apathetic in general. Before I may have been apathetic but at least romantically distracted, or employed. Right now I feel as though my time aware, awake has been minimized. As if every sensation is a dull tap on my skin begging to pierce the surface but hesitating before the prick. I waver between anger and dismay in brief episodes but have plunged headlong into a rut. But this time I want the silence, I need the quiet. I need the rest. I need the noise of other people to settle into a minimum and stay ferociously static as a background instead of a constant. Things are changing for me, I need the space to think these things through.

If I could describe this year, I'd describe it simply as an "upheaval" - of values, morals, life decisions, infatuations. Things were flipped and thrown, reassembled. People came and went. Lovers did the same. I often think of myself as a solitary person and this time is no different - but this year I feel...fortified. I've sloughed off the pretty skin of naivety and tumbled head first into the yes and no of living. For every gain, there was a loss but every loss was necessary. I've been straddling a balance beam, praying for composure since.

What kind of woman am I?

I wear more and more black until I feel enveloped in the color. It's not an abyss to me - it's simple. It's not chaotic. It requires no more effort than absolutely necessary and yet feels unparalleled. My hair, the same color, grows longer and longer. I sit in front of the mirror and brush it each night. Feel the strands fall from the brush  - is it age? Deficiency? Loss. Skin, hair, external indications of my bodily presence in the physical world. Each day I grow more aware of my numbering imperfections, each day I grow closer to not caring.

Maybe that's a lie. I've become simply too busy, too tired, too...bored of my body dysmorphia. It's too draining to wallow in self hate, so I don't.

My birthday always feels like the end of the year, it's fitting anyway. How else would I associate the new year but with my birth? The dates are less than a month away and I am a child of Jupiter after all. My vision translates to the orb I've built around my presence - like the moon, I go through phases of growth and regression. I'm beginning to accept that not all growth is positive, and not all regression is negative. It's a careful balance that I used to find disconcerting as I allowed each phase to antagonize and exacerbate the presence of the other rather than exist in harmony. I'd like to think I'm rounding out this decade wiser, more mature, more true to myself than I've ever been before.

My only goal for 2016 is to, once again, become a poet.

Friday, October 23, 2015

It's been unwise of me, I think, to be so temperamental. I am constantly caught between extremes, a fish caught by luck and lost by accident; a snag on a line but not a bite hard enough to reel. Fickle. Torn between the yes and no of life and love, trying to play into a duality that may only exist just this once. Can't I have both? I appease my desires on both a whim and as a lifeline, fumbling forward toward whoever shoves me down the fastest. I give in. There is no such thing as restraint. & yet. 

I've been spending more nights both alone and in company so much so that they divide themselves exponentially into entirely different equations in my life that leave me in need of both solitary confinement after and craving companionship nonetheless. It's a terrible thing; this need to inhabit and embody mutually exclusive ideals while attempting to reconcile the chaos that ensues. 

New York this time around felt easier. The air was cool, the sun was mild. The train was haphazard as always but the time spent waiting felt shorter and the trip, as a whole, felt quick each time. The days drifted lazily into night and as I made my way through the Park, G. next to me, I felt a pang run through me with a chill. As though one had been struck very quickly by inserting a bobby pin into an outlet. It was both violent yet subdued - a strange illusion of motivation tip-toeing into my mind; inspiring dreams of a future spent nearby. Nearby. I had suddenly gone from giving up to creating plans. The rush of coldness and the winding pathways of the park had lead me astray. When I met up with M. two days later at the Park again, I felt more pessimistic as we conversed at length on the rock; couples photographing each other while we complained. Their happiness seemed to be a natural example of an emotion we were both unfamiliar with - at arm's length, nearby, but just out of reach. 

The days are getting shorter. Yellow leaves drift into my porch and remind me of the curving branches that lined the pathway from G.'s apartment to the train. Yearning. 

That's a fair word for the way things feel. Almost there, just never quite.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Lesson on Self Care

2015 is the year of the Diagnosis. The endless blood tests and prescriptions; vitamin supplements and homeopathic treatment. How does one find a "cure" for an ailment that seems metastatic? My mind is wandering; my memory seems unfettered by short term nuances. I've been clinging on to visions of my childhood in what feels like a haze of a timeline, not quite sure of years or age, or even what I felt back then, only how I feel now going back. It seems useless to try but I insist on downloading the "brain games" and vocabulary apps as my spine continues to curve in disregard. Who knows how many cells I've lost along the way as the column has bent; a serpent cowering into my hips.

"I'd be amiss..." plays in the background of my romantic endeavors; my ex boyfriend haunts my desires and thwarts any self confidence I have. Sometimes, still. Relationships seem impossible to navigate these days, I am not quite sure what I or anyone else wants and so I move from failure to failure. I suppose that's "modern" - attempting to "figure it out" like anyone else is, all of us fumbling with hands out, seeing who will hold on for the night and who might stay a little longer. The concept to me has become tired. After what feels like stepping into so many mishaps willingly, I'm more inclined to refrain right now and go back to square one. I think I need to reassess who I am and who I need. I've been fumbling now for too long.

A mug with Yellowstone etched onto it sits on my desk with coffee and then tea. It's been just a few days since my visit and I already miss the air, the elevation, the way the green and yellow valleys seemed endless. It's getting harder to picture myself staying happy in a city setting after my trips to Vermont and Wyoming. I find myself gravitating toward the isolation and the reprieve from social niceties. I don't feel like I really belong anywhere sometimes and that this is my best option. I like the idea of being alone in a cabin somewhere living simply. It just seems easier than forcing myself to conform to people I don't understand or admire or want to be around.

I know I'm jaded, or misanthropic, or bitter, or any word that seems similar but I've been trying to be optimistic for a long time and I think I've finally come to a point where I don't see the point in this anymore. Reality is what I should be facing and accepting and I think for a while I became absolutely delusional about my future with out of reach daydreams and wayward hopes for a romantic partner. The reality is that I actually don't feel lonely and sometimes when I lay on my sofa and watch tv, tea nearby and fresh out of a bath, I actually even feel grateful. I know someday I will look back and realize this was one of the most peaceful times of my life.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The element of truth behind all this, which people are so ready to disavow, is that men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus [man is wolf to man]. Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures. In circumstances that are favorable to it, when the mental counter-forces which ordinarily inhibit it are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien....

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

the haunting

There was no doubt in my mind that this body, my body, belonged to a woman. My hips are softer yet still punctuated by sharp bones. My hair has begun thinning and regressing into the hair of my childhood, smooth, slightly wavy;  stark white strands peeking through the varying shades of brown. My age surfacing in random pink spiderwebs along my legs; the lines under my eyes deepening. This urge. This urge is real. 

I had begun to silently inventory his features. His straight teeth, the way his back sloped, the lighter irises, the darker pupils. The way he used his hands so often in conversation. His habits. His music collection. His book collection. All of the details that we so often gloss over had now become magnified the longer I sat in his apartment and looked over what he called his. There was so much right, there was so much wrong. Spread all over the table. Microcosms. My legs crossed on the sofa. Cold. 

I had, rather recklessly, become attached to the idea that the only way of achieving a true semblance of human balance was through the violent clash of complete and total opposites. Perhaps this was the work of my parents doing. Perhaps this was because I had unwittingly subscribed to this belief through inherent narcissism. But it was there, fermenting deep in my psyche regardless. Could this be it? A union of light and dark, black and white, right and wrong that nestled itself deep into a beautiful gray? Strange to find myself planning for such a storm. 

My history tells me that I am naive and far too gullible for long term relationships. Too immature for craving and expecting unconditional love and worship. My body tells me that I am too impatient to abstain. My mind knows that I run the risk of losing it with this one, that learning to trust someone again can only end one way. And would it be worth it? To trust him is to trust myself. 

All this time I have been growing, expanding, compressing, realizing, fighting. To become. Who I am, who I will be, who I need to be. 

Could he possibly ever know? 

New York. 
After dinner, I sit across from       and think of him. My palm tucked under my thigh and the wine beginning to settle in, jazz playing in the background. Gin and tonics perched precariously on the small round table. In the morning when I walk down Christopher, I find him again in a coffee shop. I see him in the museum. I want to kiss him in a cab. I want to hold his hand on a train. I carry souvenirs with his name only to place them back in place. I crave him beside me and for the first time that I am here, in this city, I want to be home

Is this what it feels like? Is that what this feels like?
I hope so.

Continental Drift

It's been a mean year. Transitional, persistent, cruel and tedious. The skin on my body stretches, widens, then relents. I look for answers in other bodies, trace my fingers along the outlines of other figures only to find myself yet again, a stranger, hardly content, fumbling. Contact becomes a social tactic to maintain appearances. I smile and nod because I should, it's expected. There are brief glimpses of normality that dissipate into the sun rise.

I have no one to blame. I am hardly cautious. I stumble forward into the Unknown: the black hole that occurs where optimism and expectation meet, a persistent tourist. A spectator. All my life I have been Other, running counter, opposite, at angles, at a planetary misalignment. Nothing has ever been quite right, symmetrical, stationary. My existence hinges on the foreign. I grow more perverse as I age, the extremist. My opinions gaining slow but steady momentum into a singular spectrum. My body too growing and evolving. I cycle forward into the coming era unhappy, but all the wiser. Maybe.

In my mind I am grandiose, staged, a product. But I know in person I am a hapless fool with a curated facade. Weak, impotent, particularly annoyingly worthless - a human with an unremarkable carbon footprint sucking up oxygen and water. what privilege to feel disdain for. What a burden it is to feel so alive.

It took me a while but I went. As I sat across from him, this man with his white hair and speckled skin, I felt a shift in my composure. I stuttered through my narrative and watched him as he took notes. When something was particularly interesting, he furrowed his brow and uncrossed his leg to stop me. Later, when reviewing the assessment he would trace the lines shooting up on the paper to explain the words on the scale: "anger", "resentment", "depression" and express a tinge of concern when he would lament, "we need to work on these". Three appointments deep. Not enough time to go through years of cataloging disappointment. What was the point I wondered? The diagnosis was validation. Proof.

I am addicted to the Unfortunate. I don't believe in repentance, anymore.

"We create problems to resolve them." I ponder over the text from M. It's true. Craving the turbulence of conflict, adjusting to the dynamic of pain as it cycles through and back, as it becomes the only constant. What a weary thing I've become, hardened. Old. Unwilling. Maladjusted to human life.

I wonder what it will take. What's it going to take to finally break me?