Archive for June, 2009

Where it leads

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

There is a woman sitting in the doorway at the back of the house directly opposite my kitchen window. She caught me staring through half opened blinds at her. It is after 6:00 PM, and I still had not changed from my bedclothes. Slowly, I closed the blinds.

Maybe someday I’ll know that this isolation is unhealthy. No. I know that already. Maybe someday I’ll know better than to accommodate this loneliness, maybe I’ll flee from this urge to isolate every time it returns, having learned, by then, where it inevitably leads. Assuming, that is, that I survive.

Solstice

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Yesterday, at 1:45 AM EDT (or 6:45 AM UTC) the Earth reached the point in its orbit where the inclination of the North Pole toward the Sun is most extreme. From an Earth-centric perspective, the Sun has moved as far north as it will this year. Today the Sun begins its long journey south, and the days in the northern hemisphere begin to shorten. Likewise, today is the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere with days steadily lengthening until midsummer returns there.

I find it curious that the Summer Solstice here is the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Or that the Summer Solstice occurs twice every year—once in the north, and once in the south.

Everything is meaningless. Everything is an aching endless agony of unfulfilled desire.

I am alone.

Friday, June 19th, 2009
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Rose and panties

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Not much time. The chemical restraints are tightening, the floors and walls are doing a slo-mo undulation. Light and dark are trading costumes. And everybody’s cool. There’s a tiny Philharmonic Orchestra playing just under the hum and whoosh of the A/C and the computer fans. You can’t hear it unless you listen carefully, and focus on it.

The roses, a few, are in full bloom; several hanging very near the ground, and an occasional one about midway on the bush. None on the tops of the bushes are blooming, but everywhere are dozens of splitting buds. Nearby, the rhododendron stands embarrassed by the youth of the roses, its own lacy pink garments lying torn and soiled on the ground beneath it, like delicate silk panties at a rape scene.

I have to get up early to start capturing these once-a-year beauties which will only bloom this week, and then they’ll be gone.

Precious discontent

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

When I start to brood over what to write here, I never get started. Saying so gets me started.

I never read. My ever-soothing friend Lynne says, “That’s OK,” and then says (I can’t really remember) something about how most people don’t, or how it is not really necessary, or something just generally soothing. But I still think I should. Read.

I buy books. Usually something fad-y; a physical health or emotional health book, an obscure book related to an unusual incident, or several books on the revision of prehistory. But I never read them. I can’t find any classics in my house, and only a few by writers I like—Mailer, Capote, and maybe one other. Those I have read.

I know about The Lord of the Flies, and even handled a copy in high school, and actually started reading it but never stayed focussed long enough to finish. I did read The Hobbit, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s subsequent trilogy, Lord of the Rings, long before those novels became a novelty. No Shakespeare, no poetry–though I do have two ancient books of poetry of unknown provenance into which I have fallen entranced once or twice. And magazines, like books, I buy but don’t read. Though I was getting—and reading—National Geographic for a couple years. I’m almost ashamed to admit that.

Which, as always, brings me to now. I am semi-stupefied from having taken an Ativan last night. Likely the reason I was so slow getting started up at the top there. Ativan, the insidious chemical soother. It makes going gently into that good night as easy as pie. Just another reason to both love and hate it.

There is a precious discontent, an anxiety about all things—whether it be not reading while one has time, or not socializing when one has the chance, or anything to do with living for that matter—that is both ally, and enemy. I have an anxiety disorder but I think that is a misnomer, as it really is a resistance to anxiety that is the problem. If one sits in the street, one feels anxious at the approach of traffic. One focuses on only the anxiety and wishes for it to go away. Failing relief by death, since traffic stopped, one now becomes the object of the great consternation of many who have been inconvenienced. One focuses on the resulting anxiety and wishes for it to go away. Police come. They yell loudly. One’s anxiety increases even more, and one wishes it would all go away. One covers one’s face and curls into a fetal position. One is picked up by the police and removed to jail. One’s anxiety increases.

A patterned response to anxiety develops in which anxiety initiates a paralyzing fear which, in our little vignette, worsens the situation, increases the anxiety, and perpetuates the cycle. Without modification, such a patterned response can only end when one dies, though it will probably not cause that death. But when the anxious one dies, who will know? And will not the end of his agony be a relief not only to himself, but to the whole world as well?

Anything is possible. But what is likely? A fly stuck in a glass of milk swims around, claws at the glass wall, might get a wing free of the sucking surface tension. He might even, miraculously, fly free of his doom. But most likely he will die, drowned in a sea of nourishment.

That post yesterday was not about what I wrote, exactly. It was about the ecstasy of walking onto the beach, after the ordeal, not dead. I had responded effectively and intelligently–cleverly, even–to the anxiety of my near-drowning. What an exhilarating joy, not only to have survived, but to have joined in intimate battle with anxiety, my perpetual abuser, and won.

I have spent my entire life avoiding conflict, hiding, isolating, and letting anxieties dictate my inaction. Unfortunately, it is not a life and death kind of conflict, for if it were, I would have handled it promptly and without hesitation. Instead I am this; inactive, avoidant, and un-actualized. Something is lacking, and I don’t think I need to be in a perpetually life-threatening situation to be cured. Indeed, the cure is to find a cause for action that is something less than life-threatening.

Still looking.

Hello, World.

Monday, June 8th, 2009

So much for writing a little every day.

I have been intractably depressed for ten days. I am not managing life very well–and have not been, for many years.

I picture a surfer on a medium-sized wave, his movement is swift, but not heart-stopping. He has control; he seems happy. I see myself floundering in the froth of a breaking wave, not far from the competent surfer, not moving any faster than him, but flailing about, and headed for the rocks.

I got caught in an undertow once at Hampton Beach. The livid panic was amazing. The beach there at low tide is shallow for quite a distance. I was easily a hundred yards from shore, but even at that distance, the water was only just up to my neck. I had been hoping to body surf in some of the waves, which were considerable that day, and were breaking at about that distance from the shore. The first wave I chose to ride tossed me up–which is the joy of body surfing–but then under when it broke. I was swept away, literally, by the massive flow of water near the seabed and caught in the churning caused by the inbound breaking wave and the outbound receding flow. In the moment of hesitation between the two conflicting flows, I was barely able to get a breath before I was flipped under and tumbled by the next wave.

The first time this happened, I am sure I thought my desperation was embarrassing, but that I should probably move a bit closer to shore. By about the fifth time I was sucked under, my desperation was in earnest, and it was clear I was moving much further out, into deeper water. If I had the breath to call for help, I would have. But I was being so frequently overwhelmed that survival lay in being seen from shore, or saving myself. Since rescue was not assured, I resolved to save myself.

Standing on the seabed is what got me into trouble, with an inbound flow near the surface and a ferociously outbound flow deeper down. And since I didn’t know how to swim any other way, I got into a position of floating on my back, and using a modified backstroke, started splashing away from death, vaguely toward the shore.

In the dynamics of the undertow at Hampton Beach, which sent three victims to the hospital that day, my rescue was realized by simply staying near the surface. My feeble swimming efforts helped, but honestly, swimming was just something to do while I stayed out of trouble, which was deeper down.