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New Journal

I started a new blog to go along with my new life.  If you're interested, read me at http://hudsys-girl.livejournal.com/.

How do you solve a problem like Kel?

In The Sound of Music, either Maria or the Reverend Mother or maybe both at different times in the movie say something along the lines of "Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window." Anyone who knows me knows that I don't believe in God, but I'd like to think that even with Him taken out of the equation, this statement is true.  I'd like to think there's not just one path for everyone, and that if mistakes are made, even huge, life-altering mistakes, these mistakes won't damn us for the remainder of our time on earth.  I'd like to think that if I'm making a huge mistake, and jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, there's a good chance I am, the rest of my life won't be ruined.  If--when--the Glenn door slams shut with a fnal, deafening thud, I hope that someday, somewhere, a window will open for me, even if it's one of those jalousied windows with the little slats that would be extremely difficult to squeeze through.

I have to admit that I'm really scared that no window exists.  I'm scared that once Glenn is gone, I'll be alone forever.  It's true that I feel like I'm alone now, that I've felt like I've been alone for almost the entirety of my twelve and a half year marriage, and that's one of the main reasons that I'm ending it, but being alone when there's someone right next to you and being alone when you're the only one there are two different things entirely.  At least with my loneliness now, there are moments, glimmers of time when I feel solidarity with another human being.  Once I'm truly by myself, those moments will be gone.  I'll be left with an empty yellow couch, an empty seat at the end of the dining room table, and an empty spot on the left side of my bed.  When I come into the house, I won't hear guitar playing coming from upstairs, and when I go to the grocery store, I  won't have anybody to kiss in the aisles.  I won't have anybody to scoot closer to in the middle of the night when I have nightmares, and I won't have anybody to tell me that I flap my arms every time I look in my full length mirror.  I won't have anybody to make fun of my taste in movies, and I won't have anybody to go back and forth with over where we order pizza from on Friday nights.  Once I'm truly by myself, what I won't have most of all is anybody to love me.

Unless there's a window.
Please let there be a window.
And, um... if it's not too much to ask, can it maybe be unlocked?

Rotation

I'm about to go to bed like I do every night.  Like I do every night, I picked out my clothes for tomorrow; I washed my face; I brushed my teeth.  Unlike every night, however, before I picked out my clothes, before I washed my face, and before I brushed  my teeth, I told my nine-year-old son that his father was moving out of the house.  I watched  the tears run down his face, I listened to him cry and say that he didn't want his father to go, and I silently cried along with him when he clutched his father and sobbed.  Afnd after all that, here I am, having just picked out my clothes for tomorrow; having just washed my face; having just brushed my teeth, ready for bed just like I am every night. 

How is it possible, after everything that happens in our lives, that life just goes on? How is it possible that I sit here and type, having just picked out my clothes for tomorrow; having just washed my face; having just brushed my teeth just like I do on every other night? How is it possible that the earth didn't pause, that for a moment, for the time it takes to take a breath, the time it takes to blink an eye, the time it takes to sneeze a sneeze, for just one solitary slip of a second, life didn't stop? How did I pick out my clothes for tomorrow? Wash my face? Brush my teeth? How can I sit here and type? How, how, how can life go on?

An exercise in description

One of the things we talk about in my workshop is how difficult it is to convey a feeling in writing.  Feelings are abstract, and, as a result, indescribable for the most part.
I, however, am going to try.  I'm going to try to convey the feeling of a particular kind of sadness.

Imagine a lead peach pit in the middle of your torso, roughly a third of the way up from your belly button and two thirds of the way down from your clavicle (for girls, this would be just a little bit below the breasts). This peach pit, being a lead peach pit, is large enough so that you're aware of its existence and heavy enough to be uncomfortable, but not quite large enough or rough enough to cause physical pain--it causes merely discomfort.  From this peach pit emanates waves of coldness and nausea--almost like morning sickness.  You have that sick feeling, that feeling that you could vomit at any given moment, but you don't; instead, you only feel sick.  These waves are strongest around the lead peach pit, but they reach  up to the chest, enshrouding your heart in a feeling of coldness, not unlike the feeling you get from smoking a menthol cigarette or inhaling Vicks Vapor Rub.  It's not, however, cold enough to numb your heart or the entrails within your bowels; your viscera is very aware that things are not as they should be.  The coldness and nausea does not stop at your heart.  It funnels together, rising up through your throat, up your esophagus, filling the sinus cavity, but somehow, when it gets to the sinuses, the feeling is no longer a cold, nausea-inducing feeling; once it gets to the sinuses, the feeling is a feeling of pressure, a feeling right behind the eyes and nose and mouth and cheeks.  If you give into this feeling, to this pressure pressing on the eyes, and nose, and mouth, a feeling of panic will ensue, a wild feeling of helplessness, a feeling that you have no control whatsoever over your body, over your actions, over your emotions, over your life.  If you give into this feeling, the mouth will quiver, veering downward at its corners, the tears will come, the nose will run.  You will have no choice but to allow the feeling to reign over you, and so you must ignore the feeling, you must act like it's not there, despite the pressure in your sinuses, the cold, nausea-inducing feeling that is climbing up your throat, enshrouding your heart, squeezing your viscera, and sitting right in the middle of your belly, like a peach pit made of
lead.
Today I came to the realization that I'm much more boring that I look.  I was talking to this teacher at school today, and when I mentioned a party that I went to this weekend, he said, "Man, I bet you're fun to party with." I assured him that I wasn't fun at all, that I was actually pretty boring, and he laughed and said, "Yeah, right.  I can't picture that."  Well, it might not be easy to picture, but anybody who knows me can vouch that it's the truth.

I suppose that since my head is often shaved and the hair that I do have displays an ever changing spectrum of blue, red, purple, pink, and now green; since I have several tattoos, and some pretty big ones at that; since my lip is pierced; and since I dress in a way that could be described as quirky, I may give some people the impression that I'm some sort of wild thing or fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of girl, but Christ on a bicycle, that notion couldn't be further from the truth.

The truth is, I do almost every single thing the same almost every single day of my life.  I don't wing anything.  I pick my clothes out at night, I write a week's worth of dinners on a dry-erase board in my kitchen, I eat almost the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day of the week, and I go to the same Starbucks and eat and drink the same thing every Wednesday between day school and night school. I love to organize my pantry and medicine cabinet, and nothing makes me happier than throwing things away because anything that detracts from order makes me uneasy.  When I go to a club or a party, unless I've been hitting the bottle, I do a whole lot of standing or sitting around and a whole lot of nothing else.

I am boring with a capital B, and rational or not, I totally blame that on my sign.  In a Google search for Capricorn, these are the words that come up most frequently: responsible, serious, inhibited, reliable, unimaginative, and self-disciplined.  I also found these absolutely discouraging tidbits: Capricorns "evaluate everything and they don't take daring chances without weighing the advantages and disadvantages first," "The sign Capricorn is one of the most stable and (mostly) serious of the zodiacal types," and "Mostly cautious, confident, strong willed, reasonable and hard working, Capricorns are a rock upon which to build." I'm a fucking rock.  How party animal is that?

Also according to websites, Capricorns don't care about being what others perceive as boring because they thrive on tradition and routine.  This Capricorn cares, though, and for that, I blame the fact that I'm not completely Capricorn; having been born on the cusp, I'm a little bit Aquarius. 

Oh, Aquarius, you water-bearing bastard, how you ruin my life.

How you and your enthusiastic, lively, activity-loving, sense-of-adventure filled, idealistic, exhibitionist tendencies rock my rock.  I'm just enough Aquarius that I long to live this life--throw on my dancing shoes? fuck yeah; see where the night takes me? bring it on; devour the banquet that is life? I'll have seconds, please--but so much Capricorn that I can't make myself do it--throw on my dancing shoes? I don't have comfy shoes; see where the night takes me? I'll just get lost; devour the banquet that is life? I'm already full from too much bran.

Surely you can see the problem.

God knows I can. 

Now which of these damn signs is keeping me from fixing it?





 






Kel is having a meltdown

Right about now is the time when I need to scroll down and read that post I wrote about the things that were going well in my life because everything is feeling pretty crappy in the present.  I'm in no mood to go into a laundry list of details, but Glenn and I are precariously teetering on the edge of disaster; I twisted my ankle running and have a 5k in two days; my hair is a mix of brown and blond roots, pink, and some unexplainable orangeish hue that's sort of colorless, and I lack the gumption to dye it; I have to spend three hours a week for seven more weeks in a class that leaves me both disgusted and disgruntled ; and to top it all off, I'm fat. 
Oh, the trials and tribulations of being me.

Jul. 28th, 2010

Every month another one of my magazines has some blurb or article about how negativity can damage one's health and how having an optimistic outlook can not only lengthen life but up the quality of it, too. Since I'm trying to be an all-around healthy person, I realized that working on my physical health isn't enough; I have to work on my emotional health, too.  I'm such a curmudgeon so much of the time, and I know it can't be good for me, so with that realization, I decided it was time for me to start being nice, not just on the outside, but on the inside, as well. 
     In my quest toward finding the positivity within, I started with my mother because, as much as I hate to acknowledge it, I'm meaner to her than to anybody.  For the past two days, when I've wanted to snap at her or point out some obvious truth at the expense of her feelings, I did the opposite of everything I've ever done in the past: I did nothing.  I let her kvetch until the cows came home without once pointing out her hypocrisies or shortcomings; I listened to her talk about people I absolutely cannot stand without saying one bad thing about said people; and I kept quiet when she passed judgment on people who really don't deserve to be judged right now.  And I have to say, it felt good.  It felt good not to fight, of course, but even better than that, it felt good not to get all tense and on edge inside, to not feel like a balloon floating too close to a rafter, precariously ready to pop at any second.  
     Since phase one of Being of Better Kel went well, I was ready to move on to phase two, put positive energy out into the world/don't judge. So this morning while I was on the treadmill at the gym, this oldish, heavy man was on the treadmill two treadmills down from me, trudging along like something akin to Frankenstein. Sometime during my five-minute warmup, he turned his treadmill off, and really, the only reason I even noticed is because a girl wanted to get on his treadmill, and he was just standing there with the treadmill off, doing nothing.  Okay, fine.  He just finished, he was catching his breath (because trudging along like Frankenstein takes so much out of a person), and he was going to get off the treadmill.  Except he didn't. Every time my eyes fell on him in the mirror, there he was, just standing there, either mildly stretching some random part of his body--ankle, hip, leg, neck, arm, wrist-- or doing absolutely nothing but breathing with his head down. Ten minutes into my run, fifteen minutes into my run, twenty minutes into my run, twenty five minutes into my run--there he was.  Monopolizing the treadmill whilst doing nothing.  Nothing.
     Now let's not forget that I'm trying to be a better Kel, and because I'm trying to be a better Kel, every time I focused on the man and my first instinct was to be annoyed, I told myself that I was being silly.  The man monopolizing the treadmill had nothing to do with me--I mean, I was already on a treadmill of my very own--and so there was no reason for me to let him bother me.  His standing there like a big, dumb galoot was none of my concern, so why waste energy thinking about it? Why put negative energy out into the world with uncomely thoughts? And so I stifled.  I stifled and stifled and stifled. All during my run, I stifled, and what happened? My run suffered--big time. I struggled through a run that shouldn't have caused me any trouble at all.  The usual groove I fall into during the ninth minute never came. I blamed it on being tired, lengthening my intervals, slightly increasing my speed, but it wasn't any of that.  It was the stifling of my annoyance.  
     How do I know? Easy.  A little more than twenty minutes into my run, three youngish blonde girls in short shorts and tank tops came in, and despite my vow of positivity, I couldn't contain myself.  I turned to my husband, made a retching noise, and proclaimed, in my typical curmudgeon-like fashion, "Look at those girls.  They're exactly the kind of blonde girls I can't stand.  They're all like, look at me everybody, I'm so blonde, I'm so pretty.  They sicken me.  And what the fuck is wrong with that freak of a man? Who just stands there on a treadmill like that? What the fuck is he doing?" And just like that, I felt better.  I found my missing stride, and when it was time for me to quit running, I felt so good that I ran five extra minutes.
     What did I learn from this experiment? Being nice has to be more than well-meaning; it has to be genuine. Being nice to my mom felt good, but that's because I love her and don't want to hurt her.  Thinking positive thoughts about that man felt awful because he was an idiot, and he deserved to have me think bad things about him.  I may not be the nicest person in the world (understatement of the year, I know), but I'm me, and clearly being me, no matter how fucked up and grumpy I am inside, is healthier than trying to be someone else.

Griffey, baby

Eleven years ago today, I went in to work my shift at The Cheesecake Factory, had a dull, nagging pain in my lower back, and ended up going into labor with Griffin five weeks early.  Eleven years ago tomorrow at 2:36 in the morning, he'll have been born.  

Time is going by so fast.  
Griffin is going by so fast.

I'm not sure why eleven feels so monumental.  It's not like he just moved into double digits and became a preteen--that was last year. It's not like he's actually a teenager, either.  I suppose if I had to articulate it, it would be that twelve is the year my best friends from that time and I completely lost our innocence--C had sex, M, H, and I all came pretty close--we sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night, we watched porn, we smoked, we drank, we tried stealing my dad's motorcycle and car--we did everything twelve-year-old kids most definitely should not do.  I suppose my thinking is that, if he follows my calendar, Griffin only has one year of real childhood left, and the thought that Griffin, who still wants to snuggle with me and his father in our bed, who kisses the dogs good morning and goodnight, who still believes in Santa Claus and just left his lost tooth in a special pillow for the tooth fairy is on the brink of young adulthood is heartbreaking.  
I'm not a total fool. I know that my friends and I delving into the world of sex, drugs, and rock n roll when we were prepubescent doesn't necessarily dictate that Griffin will, too, but because I'm not a total fool, I know what can happen. I know what's lying ahead.  Maybe those things won't happen when he's twelve or thirteen or even fourteen, but they'll happen, they're waiting, and one day my little Griffey will find them, and he  won't be my little Griffey anymore.

And that makes me oh so sad.

Kel can't decide

After a really, really long break, I started writing my book again yesterday.  Before summer vacation began, my goal was to finish it by the end of the summer, but I'm thinking that's not going to happen.  It's not that I'm lazy--I mean, of course I'm lazy, but when I get on a writing kick, my laziness dissipates--it's that I don't want to write this damn book anymore.  It's that after having a year to get past and move on from the things that I'm writing about, I'm not overly anxious to revisit them.  It's that now that my life is finally beginning to look like my normal life again (as normal as it will be, anyway; G will never look at me the same again (sometimes I don't blame him, and sometimes I do, but that's another blog entirely)), I don't want to disrupt it in any way.  

The problem is that if I stop writing this book, I'll feel like a quitter and a failure who can't finish what she set out to do. It's also that all the time I've invested--151 pages and several revisions--will feel like a waste.  And, finally, another problem is that the book is really good, and that's not just me being conceited about my work. It's been read by enough people for me to know how good it is--plus, I just know. It has the potential to get published, and that's what I've always wanted, to publish a book--to be an author--to write for a living.  But if I go on with the book, what will be the cost? I already know that I can't publish the book under my real name, and yes, it does matter to me that people know I wrote it.  Personal satisfaction and sense of achievement isn't enough.  I want recognition, too.  But with this book, I can't have that.  

So what now? Write it? Don't write it? Overlook the fact that I lived a potentially bestselling story and just happen to be a writer? 

Why don't I ever know what to do?

Me, All Me

This blog is to serve as a reminder to me that my life isn't always in shambles like I seem to think.  The next time I'm feeling like nothing ever works out for me, I need to work my way over to these lists.

In the past two weeks, I:


  • found out that the first lyric essay I sent out is being published in a literary journal
  • got the copy editor position at the FAU literary magazine
  • finished the class that put me officially halfway through my MFA program
  • started talking to my mom again after a four and a half month period of silence
  • have gone more than two days at a time without getting in a fight with Glenn
  • was told by a cashier that I look shockingly young and have skin like porcelain

Currently, I:

  • don't have to go back to "real" work for eight weeks
  • am about to make my last car payment
  • have really nice arms
  • can run two and a half miles easily
  • am (dare I say it?) happy

Like I said, sometimes life isn't so bad.  
Sometimes, it's actually pretty okay.