Pieces of thoughts

These are snippets from my personal journal. I’ve neglected this site for a few months now. In these months we’ve moved from Louisiana to Tennessee and I still have not settled into a routine.

September 14, 2020 just before lunch

I’ve always struggled with editing while I write, as if the act of saving an unedited piece will somehow haunt me. So in this document, I’m just trying to flex and work out my writing , something I haven’t done habitually for a while now. Social media takes more than hours away from me in attention. It also gives me the chance to write blurbs here and there, like letting out a bit of steam from a pot about to boil over, but this is detrimental to me actually writing, to NEED to write. And I’m doing it again. I’m already in my head thinking about what I’ve just written and how I could distill it, make it shorter, better. 

October 8, 2020 10:36pm

So much for daily writing. Is there anything I WILL stick with? If only I could chase “it” as I chased that high in my drinking days. I don’t even like calling it my drinking days because it was so much more and so much worse. “Drinking days” sounds so Oxford 1940s fraternity: Cardigans and argyle socks and pints at a pub. It wasn’t that. 

It was knowing I was too drunk for the subway. If I come down in that 2 hour wait and ride, I might come to at the end of the line. Six am and an impossible way to go. It was letting him feel you up, shove his filthy fingers into you in the back of the cab for exactly that, a cab back to Brooklyn. 

Oct 12, 2020 12:40am

My son is teaching me to love myself in a way I could never have imagined. Or perhaps, I could have imagined but never could have known until the experience. I’m struggling for the words to describe this, because much of it sounds trite or over worked into self help and best friend platitudes already.

It truly is simple: he is showing me what may have served as self protection to child Valerie, is now debilitating and standing in my way.

I’ve internalized being “other” for so long: undesirable, unwanted, in the way, a burden. No place for me. My sister’s voice still rings in my ear about how “needy you are Valerie”. How ”you can come across as love me love me”. 

Those things hurt at the time because I thought them true. Her word was gospel. Now she was also a child when I was, but she made these statements as an adult and to adult me. Today though I can say, if I was a “needy” child, it’s because I did NEED something I wasn’t getting. An adult blaming a child for needing attention speaks more to that adult’s self awareness, not the child’s. This is another thing I‘ve learned from being a mother.

Oct 15, 2020 9:46pm

A friend pointed out that I will name and vocalize the “unspokens” or energy I feel in a particular moment or interaction. Yes. Yes the subtext, the gestures. Pointing out the things people are saying but are not saying, is dangerous.

I think I just realized why disability , being a disabled person, may sit easier with me than others. I‘ve been practicing for this most of my life. I already feel a burden, a monster an other. This is a familiar place to be.

Petty

I do not like being manipulated. Who does really? I realize we all do it though, in some form or another. My modus operandi is retreating into victimhood when under severe emotional distress. It is a loathesome flaw I am also compelled to point out in others. For me, it stems from being an actual victim, first in childhood. When my “fight or flight” is triggered, I fight by trying to make my “attacker” feel sorry for me.

It did take therapy to own this behavior. Kudos to those of you who ferried across on a different vessel. I trust it was still excruciating.

I disgust myself sometimes. Disgust, shame, contempt. It’s hard to admit these things to myself, and here I am telling you. (Is this harbor safe?) Fuck it. Let these sentences serve both as my confession and promise to the world at large: I’m not a child anymore dammit!

Why am I telling you this? A recent messenger exchange. But I recognized the manipulation immediately, thanks to years spent curled and rocking behind my eye sockets.

Message I received:

“I’m fine. I had company over in the yard for dinner. My post was about RBG.”

Too busy for you

I know, seems innocuous right? Except, it isn’t.

“Too busy for you” (moniker by me) and I have actual conversations. We talk of dreams and desires, grievances and slights, pain and sentience. It has been a minute since we’ve had a late night exchange though. Instead, I’ve taken up letter writing again.

Who was this woman clipping these sentences with distinct periods? I wanted to scream:

“I wrote you a fucking letter- with pen and actual paper! Then I braved the fucking post office for extra stamps for the stupid oversized envelope, and this is how you respond?!”

And there it is; did you catch it?

Now, I am not saying there was no manipulation on her part, because it’s definitely there. But my visceral reaction: Child-victim, stamping my feet, begging for reciprocity I feel I deserve. What’s interesting though, it took my knee jerking to recognize her manipulation.

This is a pattern replicated in nanoseconds, netting all social media, (yes YouTube too). If I am overcome with some emotional response to internet content, (the goal is almost always outrage), there is a high probability this is manipulation by design. And “Too Busy for You’s” second line was designer.

You see, she had 3 days to respond to my first question and nearly 2 to my second, asking if she was “okay”. It wasn’t until I mentioned she could just tell me to “fuck off” if she didn’t want to talk to me anymore, she finally answered.

She had company “in the yard for dinner” for three days?

I refuse to feel embarrassed or ashamed for trying to connect with people. That line was aimed and sharp, its subtext being, “you sound desperate and have no life”.

You carve time for people you care about and you answer messages without persistent prodding, even if that message is to say, fuck off.

At least, that is what I do. I fight. I rarely flee.

© 2020

Let me start off by Complaining

I subscribe to a weekly newsletter of twitter pitch calls. Most opportunities listed are beyond my experience, but every so often, I find a gem. This happened last week, though technically not a pitch call as it required a 1,000 word personal essay-think community blog. To qualify, I had to be a parent (check) and a person with one or more disabilities (check check check check..). I clicked the links, found the blogs, and began to read. 

There is no nice way to put this so here it is: boring.                

They. Were. So. Boring. If I need a running commentary on what a person does during their day while managing kids and/or disabilities, I will actually read my friends’ actual facebook posts. I want to know how it feels doing all the things they each so dryly describe. I want to forget I am reading a blog post, but each was predictable. Surely, I could write a better essay than “Listacle Larry” and the Pollyanna of Grandmothers? 

They.Were.

So. Boring.

You only have to read one more; well, you only have to start it anyways

Sigh. And so I clicked the next title. My eyes kept darting ahead, anticipating the inevitable, no, the unintended drop, but it never came. It was, in fact, the most intentioned piece I’ve read lately and I read every single word.

My work is so precious

I cannot let it go.

I emailed my submission with mere seconds left on the clock. It’s absurd and stupid to do this because it is basically telegraphing, “my work is so precious, I cannot let it go”. In my defense, I found the opportunity late, have a five year old, and duh, disabled. I’m not sure I would have worked and reworked and made my submission though, without reading David Peydre’s piece (start here). 

I miss writing. I miss late night spelunking inside myself, looking for the exact phrasing and rhythm, refusing the trope of rhetoric Anaphora (more on this later). I want my readers to feel, and I want to take them there. 

“Now, when you’re disabled, you are taught repeatedly that you’re a burden. You’re made ashamed of needing things, of needing help. My wife and I call it ‘the shame of existing’.” David Peydre 

“The shame of existing”-now that is palpable.

© 2020