Tag Archives: different

When You Are Raised In An Outline

17 Feb

I was raised in an outline.

No, not under a rock. Yes, I was sheltered, but not quite in that sort of way. Rocks prevent you from seeing the sky or the grass or the wind or the stars or the storms or anything, frankly, that isn’t already under that rock with you.

No, I could see more than that. I knew what else there was. I saw the stars and the storm and the lust and the poverty and the decisions and the choices and the birth and the death and the lifestyle and the beliefs and the very different ways of breathing out there. From my own little prescriptive outline, I could see all these other formats. Most I considered mere variations on the theme and format my limbs were propped up against. While I made my points in A-B-C some other person with really the same main header even if they said it differently was arguing for it as I-II-III. It was all right. We were really writing the same essay. We just said our oh so neat and oh so powerful five paragraphs differently. But we each still had our patterns, our expectations of our personal rise and falls and the great shape that our lives and humanity were supposed to take.

Everything else, the remainder of non-outline chaotic confusion, I just assumed was a deviation. An outlier. Those were not-even-essays where the structure had gone horribly, horribly wrong. They clearly didn’t work. They babbled. Said nothing. Destroyed their own sentences or tripped up their points later. There was no way anyone could consider them valid. There was no structure. No logic. No empathy. No – anything. No, this could not be a sufficient response to what the world, I assumed, expected of us all. This, as my outline out-dolers had told me, was unacceptable.

Imagine my shock and utter confusion when I discovered that these rules and regulations, this structure, this expectation I had molded myself to and excelled at filling – that it was not the norm.

I was the outlier.

I was the deviation.

My expectations were wrong.

The world was easier to get by in than that. It was crueler, more inattentive, it cared not for courtesy or protocol or forethought for one’s fellow humans.

Get your words out on the page; it matters not how.

So many babbling idiots – I understood then why the world so often wrote in blood.

But still – my ink, it glistened so.

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I need to write a story.

7 Jul

I need to write a story. I need to write a story where the characters don’t die, or wind up ground on the pavement in a bloody mass – literally or figuratively. I need to write a story where everything works out.

But I need to write a story that’s real.

I don’t know how to fit those last two sentences together.

My story has already seen its characters die, so many now that I’ve stopped ticking off the number of funerals I’ve attended and let the number stretch vaguely into oblivion. My story has characters ground up meatily on the pavement – though mostly figuratively, on that point.

I think I’m one of those characters.

Life is confusing to me. It’s perhaps why I’ve been having such a hard time writing stories, lately. Everything’s on hard mode, and I don’t understand why. I have tried. I have stayed. I have fought. I have pushed. I have kept going.

Why hasn’t it gotten any easier yet?

I see people – former classmates, neighbors, random interviewees on the news – who seem to have gotten the soft route. Yeah, everybody’s got shit to deal with. But these people, they seem to have gotten the milder, nicer-smelling brand of shit. They prance around in their pastel-colored world with high-end fabrics and bleached hair and sunglasses the size of mating saucers on their face, and… it’s not that I want their lives. I don’t. At all. But… they seem happy.

They have their success, their fame, their goddamn fucking fortune – and they are satisfied.

I want to be satisfied.

I have all this hard work, all this trying, all this hoping and hurting and hacking away at all the obstacles life’s chucked at my nose, and for it all, I have only…

loss.

The little bits of satisfaction I find slip away, taint with time or fade so that the blaring wrongness of this story is what comes out stronger than the former salve of the moment’s calm.

I don’t like this story anymore.

I’ve been trying to write a different one for such a long time.

I worry there isn’t any different story to write anymore.

The Last Day

24 Mar

Well, lovely readers, this is my last day in the US before I head out to the Galapagos. This time tomorrow, I’ll be on a plane to Quito. Or to Texas, where I think we might have a layover… In any case, I won’t be in California, and I won’t be in Missouri, and I won’t be in Florida (those other two places in the US I tend to frequent). I’ll be going some place entirely new.

Honestly, right now, I don’t have any profound words of wisdom about this last day before embarking on the most exciting stint of travel in my life to date. I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet… I’ve just been sitting here, at the table, in a vague state of shock and awe which might in part be attributable to the Spotify station I’m listening to (which is basically the “here, let me play soft mellow Indie-ish music that will lull you into peace and then tear your emotions out through your soul” station).

Things haven’t really felt “settled” for a while now, anyway, so it’s kind of hard for me to be jolted out of normalcy right now. The past two weeks have been so much in flux, so strange on their own… I’m in school, I’m packing, I’m studying and taking finals and writing a thesis, I’m driving to Santa Monica and back every other day to move my stuff or hang out with Kim, I’m almost finished with school forever, I turn in my thesis, my boyfriend leaves for his visit to Miami, Kim leaves for San Francisco, it’s just me, shuttling back and forth between Caltech and the apartment in Santa Monica in some kind of waif existence, I hang out with new people, I’m at the beach for the first time in months, there are new streets everywhere, Kim’s back from San Francisco but now I’m living in the apartment too but I’m also leaving in two days and packing again for a different trip…

Everything has been strange for what feels like such a long time now. A weird mix of me moving on but also retaining connections from my life “before” and not quite having a new platform to step onto and a weird stasis time of exploring some islands on the other side of the equator to prepare for… There’s been so much difference lately. And those things I’ve clung to, trying to maintain some sense of solidity, of continuity in my life – they’ve mostly been those odd, transient connections made to people I know and people I don’t know over the internet. Chatting with people on facebook, reading the tweets headed by familiar names that I started following back when I still had a room in the dorms at Caltech, visiting the same sites like Tickld and the OhJoySexToy webcomic because it’s a voice, a community that’s cropped up like mist or smoke in my memory… I’ve been carrying the pillow from my boyfriend’s couch that he let me take eons ago around from room to room, clutching it between my chest and my knees while I clasp the first stuffed animal thing he ever gave me back when we first started dating in my hands, a physical proxy for his existence, a reminder that he is still connected to me, that this thing called “us” is still alive in the universe…

I’ve been lonely. There’s been a lot of strangeness – which in some ways I crave – but I haven’t had anyone, really, to share it with. I require another mind, another body there with me to turn the mere slipping by of seconds into experience. I think that’s why this trip to the Galapagos feels like a step back towards “realness” to me. I’m going with classmates I’ve interacted with all term, professors who have been to the Galapagos before and have a level of familiarity with the place they’ll bring. We’re not just being cast off on the sea to who knows where.There’s a structure – an itinerary – a tangibleness to this exploration, something to bring it out of the realm of ephemerality and wayfaring into the place of wanderlust, something I can hold onto more. There’s a someplace we’re going to. A something we’re going to do. It’s adventure. A real kind of magic. Not just… hand waving.

Well then. Maybe some of the words were profound. They were true, a lot of them, at least. So readers, if you don’t hear from me for a while, don’t fret – I’m just galavanting about with marine iguanas! Or sitting on a plane being bored. Either way, I’m still here. I’m still real. I haven’t gone away. I’m just going to be in a different realness for a while. I guess I’m leaving this blog behind, for you all, as the anchor to me, the thing of attachment or proxy or reminder or whatever that I’ve been searching for, for everybody else, for a while.

I’ll see you around the third of April, lovely readers.

Bon voyage.

This is not different.

26 Nov

Eating disorders tell a lot of lies. There really is no area of life, whether it’s looks or self-worth or grocery shopping or fitness or school or parenting or relationships or anything else, that an eating disorder will not lie about.

Eating disorders will even lie to you in recovery.

This is because eating disorders are self-obsessed fuckers that will do anything to try to get you to take them back, to pay attention to them again. They will tell you that they’ve changed, tell you about all these new options and choices, trying to make you believe that things won’t be the same as before.

Whatever new lie an eating disorder is trying to hook you with, I promise, it is no different than before.

It’s something I’ve had to be wary of, myself, throughout recovery. I know that my eating disorder will try to come up with new images to try to get me to strive after. My ED will tell me that where I am, right now, is not good enough, that there is still something I need to do, even in recovery, to be better. Because the thing with ED’s is, as Amber of “Go Kaleo” puts perfectly, enough is never enough.

Let me be more explicit about what precisely I mean by ED’s “different” lies:

1. You don’t need to focus on losing weight, just being toner!

Aah, the “toner” lie. This is the one that ED tries to hook me with most often. “We won’t focus on cutting down calories or losing weight,” ED bubbles optimistically, “we’ll just work out more so that you’ll have more defined muscles instead!” ED goes on and on about how I won’t look lazy, with all that muscle definition. How I’ll get rid of some of that treatment pudge that comes from being forced to gain weight while not working out. (You know, so the weight can turn into fat cushioning your internal organs LIKE YOUR HEART and allow for better myelination IN YOUR FUCKING BRAIN instead of just becoming muscle that’ll further metabolize you to death.)

Uh hunh. We’ll just make my arms look toner. And then my legs, and then my butt, and my abs, and to do that we’ll just cut out a little bit of dinner here, skim off of breakfast there, just to give a little edge to the muscle cutting. And then we won’t worry about how we’re tired all the time and attached to abductor machines by the hip and have maybe dropped a few pounds since this all started…

Yeah. I see where that’s going.

2. You don’t need to overexercise, just be more regimented about your fitness plan!

“Ooh, let’s download this gym tracker app!” my ED suggests. “Then we can keep track of how much weight your lifting, and how far you’re running, and how long your aerobics circuits are going!”

Yup. And then perfectionist me will see it all before me, and decide it could be better. And so I’ll lift more weights, run farther, work out longer.

And longer and longer and longer and longer.

And I’ll have to keep track of every fucking little detail, every day, looking up ways to get better…

Mhmm. I know that neuroticism. Sure, it’s just getting transferred from calories to weight reps, from low-cal recipes to track laps, but it’s still the same. It’s still an external valuation of my self-worth.

And you know, I’m pretty sure I’m worth just a bit more than how many push ups I can do.

3. You need to eat more healthily.

Uh, wasn’t this the same crap that got me into all of this to begin with? Good foods/bad foods? Eating celery instead of pretzels, a banana instead of fried rice? Sure, maybe I had a cheese quesadilla from late-night coffee house every night this week. I’ve still eaten spinach and strawberries and some more spinach too (dear college board plan, can we change up what vegetables are both offered and edible? thanks much.)

You know what? Next week, I might have a cheese quesadilla every night too. And I’m gonna be just fine.

4. You need to shape up your body some so that you’ll be more desirable.

Anybody else getting bored with? Sounding the same yet to y’all too? I almost fell into this trap over this summer. My boyfriend was away in Japan, and my ED attempted to fill my head with visions of thinner, firmer arms and six pack-esque abs. “Ah, how you’ll turn him on,” ED whispered in my ear.

Lemme tell you about how in the end I didn’t buy into that plan. Yeah, since Japan boy’s gotten back, haven’t had any problem turning him on.

Mmmm, no problem whatsoever. 😉

5. You need to prove you’re still driven.

“Remember when you got up at 7 am every day to go to the gym? Even when you’d gone to bed only three hours before? Man, you were tough. What happened to that will power? What happened to that drive?”

Um, I think I diverted it to doing things that actually make me happy. Remember that whole thing about moderation and taking care of myself and learning that “indulgence” is not in fact a four-letter word? Remember that whole thing about life not being a contest, and “proving that I’m better” than everyone else, proving that I am “extraordinary” not actually making me any stronger or safer or happier?

Oh, apparently you forgot. Well then it’s a good thing I reminded you.

 

Fellow recoverers, eating disorders are liars. No matter how good a plan whatever new proposal they’re trying to throw at you may seem, I promise, look at it closely enough, and you will find the exact same things your eating disorder beat you down with before.

Because when it comes to being “good” for an eating disorder, there is no difference.