1:29 p.m. - December 27, 2003
Spring 2003: Misplaced entries, or, The Entries I Hid And Forgot For Good Reason
Cleaning up abandoned or lost files on the hard drive and came across these entries, a penumbric gasp between abandoning and resuscitating my journal. They gave me goosebumps and a profound sense of relief and heaviness.
March 29, 2003 5:44 p.m.
Andy was right: I couldnít stay away.
I canít deny the need to write, to talk myself out of the thoughts running amuck that scare me. The other journal loomed and I lost myself somewhere, or rather, hid myself, worried about readersí opinions, nice guestbook messages, a loaded guestmap, how many readers visited each day. I took validation and comfort in the thought that if these people read my writing then I counted, I had substance, I was okay. And I wrote to be okay, to shrug things off and smile, be Iím fine when asked.
But I am not fine. I think about suicide and itís not a matter of time but more a matter of nerve. Iím scared to do it and as the gradient of the slope rises the more desperate I become and the less frightened of the eventuality. Iíve failed in the enterprise of being human and maybe I can find myself again. I have trust and hope in writing and such little trust and hope in myself that this journal, too, seems destined for disappointment.
I am afraid that I am going crazy. I am scared to self-diagnose but the DSM-IV appeals and thatís against cardinal rule one: You donít self-diagnose; you see a therapist. I spend hours at my desk looking out the window and I lose track of time and only when I reach back to flip the lamp switch do I realize Iíve lost a day; I shrug my shoulders and sleep, and lately, for some time now, I havenít had my dreams and worries, just slumber. Maybe this doesnít look like craziness but it does to me; I barely recognize myself now. Iím lost within my skin and I exhaust myself when I open my eyes.
I hope here I can let down my guard and wake up and go back to normal which wasnít much to begin with but was better than what I have now.
March 30, 2003 7:52 a.m.
The best time of day is the hour before people arise when you open the doors and windows and that cool front moves in, quiet and stealthy, refreshing.
I called L. last night to allay her fear (?) that in addition to walking away from the other journal that Iím also reneging on these cyber-influenced relationships, and it was a mistake. I felt like a fool immediately after she answered and I muttered something inconsequential and half-hearted. The thing is, I donít know if I want to maintain these familiar readers, as if those who know the inside of my life are more dangerous than those who know only the exterior. But in real life, these readers of mine wouldnít be so friendly or interested and while there is certainly truth to the internet encouraging social relationships, itís easier to have nothing than a pale imitation of the Real.
Thatís it, you know. I crave people, friends, people who know me well and despite that, want my company, people whose company I look forward to. Closeness. And for a long time now the only people to whom I was open were online and that stark contrast between the real and the internet-ish is too cold. Itís my own doing, I know; I push people away, donít give them room to maneuver. But thatís only half-true because nobody comes close enough for me to push them away. Does that make sense? Iím a loner, period.
And I hate it.
March 31, 2003 9:21 p.m.
I have this friend whoís divorcing and I find myself feeling down when I talk to her, not because I hoped the two of them would work things out or because I wish I myself were married, but because sheís on the rebound and going out, three dates over the weekend and I can barely get out of my house. The blazing contrast between her get-go and my let-go is overwhelming. Her life, my life, everything, is different. Iím happy for her Ė donít think Iím jealous of her because thatís inaccurate; but I am jealous of these guys sheís going out with, jealous that they have or know something I lack. Apparently one of them told her he wants to kiss her some time soon and I thought Damn, I could barely tell that to a girlfriend much less some woman with whom Iíve just had a first date. Itís the self-confidence I donít understand, the inside joke for the cognoscenti to which Iím not privy. Like the tired joke of being in line for parts during personality assembly, Iím missing a few things Ė Iíve missed the male experience it seems, especially when my women friends tell me about guys who hit on them in bars and flirt in class. I think how do these guys know how to do this? When and where did they learn?
How do men become men and quiet guys quiet guys? And itís not a consolation to think guys like me win in the end, especially not while I wonder what itís like to live, to feel that flush, to know women play with bad boys but marry the quiet, plodding, secure ones. Itís weird, but I donít feel like a man at all most of the time. Iíd chalk it up to childhood but thatís both too Manichean and reductionist for me; what I am lacking is not unobtainable providing I have the key and am looking for the lock. Not to belabor the obvious, but I probably donít even have the key or know where to look for the lock at all.
I worked all day on the book and I should be writing more now, but my vision is blurry and it feels warm to sit here with my eyes shut and listen to music, thinking that any moment now Iíll crawl into bed and function per custom. In other words, do nothing out of the ordinary, nothing new, nothing at all. Isnít it a matter of locating the kernel somewhere which yearns for change and following up, doing so? Isnít it about saying Enough and changing your life? Of getting off your ass to pursue what little happiness you seek? I donít care about any of that. Thatís inaccurate; I care, I care that Iím in this pitiful mental state, that Iím ugly, I care that Iím pushing away further than ever before, I care that Iím unhappy. This cognizance extracts a heavy price: Iím aware and the realization looms like the scent of carcasses heavy on the air.
Whatever that means. But in this place Iíve given myself permission to write what comes to mind and it feels good, it does.
I am tired.
I think about suicide and death throughout the day, almost in a major band beat in disarray, from out of this noise emits a sibilant whisper calling my name saying Rest, rest, shut your eyes and how badly I want that, I feel stymied and betrayed by my mind and body, both of which focus on the details and not the destination. I worry about life insurance policies forfeited for suicide, about my debts becoming someone elseís problem; I worry about not being able to do it because Iím afraid of why my plan appeals though I donít know if I could pull it off. Why am I thinking about this? Why am I talking about this?
Iím in the prime of life, so itís said, and I havenít had a pulse yet. Iím 27 years old and I feel like I was born at 50. Iím exhausted by keeping up the pretense of living. Do you understand? My thoughts fixate on this, Iím tired of looking out the window and seeing the world revolve but isnít it sad, Iím not tired enough to open the door and join the pulse, the beat. No, Iím more like a forgotten pet that seeks out a dark place and nobody notices until afterwards when tongues click and heads shake and the next video comes on and thatís the end of a half-attempted life.
April 1, 2003 4:22 p.m.
Had a conversation earlier with a classmate, a wandering Teutonic busybody, about great Southern California beaches and I nearly said Last spring I camped for a week with my boyfriend but a shudder Ė a spasm?- broke my thought in time to substitute the anonymous friend. Even that bland shadow is inaccurate; he is neither boyfriend nor friend, not even someone in my life. I wonder if he thinks about me as often as I do him and I know the answer before I conceive the reply.
The last time he hit me, the same night he choked me and I thought please God never again, we were on two sides of the room, breathing heavily when he sat down on the bed and began to cry. He asked Do you think I want to hit the man I love? and I was dumbfounded not by the statement but by the coldness with which I received his words. I didnít believe him, I never did when he said he loved me. I meant it when I said those words. I think thatís a fundamental flaw of mine; I distrust otherís words and emotions, donít see what they do. I loved him but for my own good and his I had to be done, I had to hurry along the course towards termination. I didnít believe him but what if he was sincere and I threw it all away? Sometimes while Iím driving I think of the time we spent in my truck driving the California highways laughing and listening to music and yet always underlying those good times was fear and uncertainty, fear and loathing, and it was on those rocks that we attempted to create a relationship of sorts. It didnít take because Ė of me? Because weíre too different? Because I think too much? Because I hated myself for not being his ideal?
Sometimes when the phone rings and nobody replies to my Hello I imagine briefly itís him. But I know heís done, Iím done, but still, I think about the good and the bad and itís a lesson to remember.
It does little to make me feel better, but itís good all the same.
Last night I thought about my intransigence, what I call my granite personality. Unmoveable. Unshakeable. Always the same. Whatís the phrase? A creature of habit? This afternoon I went to the grocery store and planned to pick up the same (the only) frozen dinner I eat, but this time I thought instead of Lean Cuisine glazed chicken, the only frozen meal Iíve eaten for years, one I eat three nights per week on average, instead of this routine and predictability and accompanying dehydrated personality, instead of all this I chose something new and I smiled like the gently medicated and I was thrilled, thrilled enough to pick up Ė gasp Ė two chicken pot pies as well. It was hard to do and it was another bullet in the gun that reminds me of how I am. But it was good, I smiled and am pleased with myself.
One point gained for defiance; one point lost for thinking of him.
April 1, 2003 7:50 p.m.
I donít know what Iím saying or doing.
April 2, 2003 8:17 a.m.
Yesterday I bought a quart of Dreyerís mint chocolate chip ice cream and finished the quart this morning at 1:15 a.m. An entire quart. When I woke at 5:00 I was nauseous. It will be a while before I want to smell or taste ice cream again.
Iím incredulous that I ate the quart. I am beyond ashamed of myself. I just donít care any more.
April 2, 2003 9:41 p.m.
Fairly low-key and uneventful, but Iím feeling much much better, grounded, focused. Worked today Ė Iím so glad I got out, listened to traffic, opened my eyes. Arrived home, overnighted the latest chapter to the editor. L. hasnít responded to the email I sent her the other day and I am trying not to let it bug me. I am failing miserably.
In the truck this morning, parked under a tree that shed blossoms across the windshield, I thought about the old Romanticist view of suicide, a noble end to conflict and little more. I donít think my thoughts about suicide were Ė are? But notice the past tense, notice the past tense Ė noble and this is good, thinking rationally again.
Feeling lonely tonight.
April 3, 2003 3:22 a.m.
I amended the will Ė the word is codicil, what a waste of an English major Ė and itís in the refrigerator. I read somewhere once thatís the best place to put important documents. Itís a will and a road map Ė insurance papers are in the filing cabinet, top drawer; deeds filed under Property, power of attorney papers under Emergency. Today I sat in the truck for a few hours near my secret spot and I didnít want to go out, didnít want to leave.
I feel silly now.
Iím waking up, I can feel it.
I donít know where to go for help.
Again, very tired, too tired to sleep, Iím out of cleaning supplies.
I think about God and am angry.