I do this thing where I worry. I have always been this way. When I tell you I don’t remember a second of my life when I wasn’t afraid, that’s not hyperbole. My parents used to have to hide the newspapers from me when I was a child because I would read about diseases and convince myself I had them. You’ve only heard me tell this story when I’m drunk and my guard drops off - no one cares how young I was when I learned to read.
I did this thing, when I was a kid, where I would explode over the slightest things. Crying on the seesaw because it was too high, screaming at the bullies when they went too far, weeping in the lunchroom over a solo I didn’t get. I was told that these behaviors were wrong and bad. I heard “loose cannon” and “melodramatic” and “high strung” a lot. I learned to shut up about it, but it took me a long time. Now when I am upset, I am like oatmeal on a stove, bubbling up under the lid until it explodes around the edges and gets everywhere, burns onto the counter, impossible to wash away. I see people’s faces when I behave this way, I see how uncomfortable they are. They don’t know how many times I didn’t explode, they don’t know how much heat I contain. I am a very good girl now. I understand everyone’s perspectives. I do not shout. I do not ask questions. I don’t express my disappointments. Bullshit, you’re thinking, you do that all the time. Bullshit I retort, you have no idea how much I’m not saying. No one cares how upset I am over nothing.
I did this thing, in my early twenties, where if I gained a half a pound or a centimeter around my waist I would slap my own wrist until it bruised. I hate blood, so cutting was out of the question, but I hate myself too so something Needed To Be Done. If you knew me in my twenties you were unaware of this, I literally never told anyone. Maybe people noticed, but no one ever asked, so to the best of my knowledge my arsenal of long-sleeved cardigans was fully effective. I don’t mention it now because I don’t do it anymore, which means it can’t have been that bad, if I could get over it on my own. No one cares about my half-assed eating disorder.
I do this thing where I fixate. I decide that something is true, or soon will be, a friend will leave me, a job will fall through, I am sick and dying and unaware of it. I can’t stop thinking about it, I can’t push it from my mind, I need constant noise and distraction to make it go away. When I go to bed I put on YouTube, when I wake up I put on podcasts, I need other people’s voices, I need literally anything other than the sound of my own voice inside my head. I don’t want to tell anyone, particularly the people I am afraid are leaving me, because this is not their responsibility. I know these fears are in my head, I know it, so I don’t tell people I have them because I should be able to handle it on my own. The people I love deserve better than a friend who is constantly begging for reassurance.
But the longer the fears stay trapped in my head, the more they rattle around in there with no place to go the harder it becomes to separate facts from reality. Then I become frightened that my thoughts will affect the people around me, that I need to do a better job of hiding them because no one likes a person who is a constant open wound of fucking need. So I get weird, and I pull back and then push forward, I cry at strange intervals, I make promises and break them. It gets very, very bad. I am constantly exhausted. I stop eating. You’re so skinny, they say. I’m malnourished, I think. Hey, at least I’m finally skinny, right?
I do this thing, when I start to bottom out, where I wake myself up in the middle of the night into fear. It’s like my body relaxes, but my mind remembers that I have literally never been relaxed, so this can’t be right DON’T FORGET YOU DIDN’T HEAR BACK FROM NAME REDACTED DON’T FORGET YOUR BOSS HATES YOU DON’T FORGET YOU SAID THAT THING WHEN YOU WERE DRUNK DON’T FORGET YOU’VE AGED OUT OF MOST OF YOUR DREAMS. I jolt awake and lay in bed, half conscious, sick with worry until dawn.
I did this thing last night where, desperate for a different choice to make, I sat down a good friend and asked him if I could just say my irrational fears at him. I figured at the very least, as I’m spiralling out, as I have been for weeks, if I start getting weird (weirder?) he’ll have some context for what’s going on. At the very least I can erase the meta-layer of anxiety where I think I need to pretend I’m not anxious. He said yes, because of course he did, because I’m not actually fooling anyone when I try to tamp down on this shit. He already knew everything I told him. I told him I’d probably wake up this morning convinced that I had been a burden and that he’d never speak to me again. Guess how I spent my day?
I do this thing where I prepare monologues, write letters I don’t send, speak to myself in the mirror about problems I made up on my own, then decide I can’t possibly say that. I don’t want to worry anyone, I don’t want anyone to feel inconvenienced by me, and this is clearly all my fault anyway. I don’t want to see the looks on people’s faces when I react too strongly or feel too much. But I’m beginning to wonder if I’m not making things so much worse by waiting to boil over. So basically what I’m saying is, I’m going to do this thing where I try to correct my overcorrection. I just figure there has to be has some middle ground between shrieking sixth grader and emotionally repressed 30 something. This area is under construction. Please excuse my dust.
Ok, team, I'm trying something a little new today.
Ordinarily the following is not something I would share, but I'm feeling both self indulgent and emotionally fragile, so here goes. I'm working on a new album - not sure exactly where I'm going with it yet. The inciting incident for the themes behind it was one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. I feeI it's important to say that I was not physically harmed during this incident in anyway, so please don't read my reticence to discuss it as trauma. I'm ok, mostly. But I don't talk about it much - when I do, people tend to say "Oh, but that'll be a really funny story someday". It's been a year and a half. Still not funny.
The lyric book I'm on right now - the one where this album will be assembled -was purchased right before my life fell to shit, as previously referenced in this blog. On the first page there's an address. It's for a hotel in London where I spent New Year's Eve 2016. New Years is my favorite holiday - that year I slept through it because the idea of being awake at that moment was ludicrous. It set the stage nicely for the year to come, to be honest.
I cant erase the address. It feels important to this record, somehow. So Friday night I as I was waiting to perform with my friend Chris's band in Queens I drank half an old fashioned and vomited out the emo trash at the bottom of this page. I'm sharing it here because I want this next album to be emo trash. I want it to reflect my actual fears and feelings, the opposite of the clever way I present my feelings in lyrics about things I've moved past. I want it to be tragic and immediate and overwhelming and horrifying and nauseating. Here's where I am so far:
Anyway. In the spirit of forcing my uptight self to be more emotionally transparent, FOR THE SAKE OF THE ALBUM, here is some unedited stream-of-consciousness about some Feelings I had the other day. Enjoy!
This book begins with an address where I went when I was displaced. When I had no where else to go. It was too clean, but his house was too dirty. His house was so cold. Every surface felt wet. I didn't sleep. I had no way to sleep. I slept through New Years in that tiny hotel room like a fucking coffin. I couldn't find the light switch. Where was all the good tv? They have great tv in England and I couldn't find it. I found a grocery store and got this shitty sandwich. I should have gone to dinner. I should have made him buy me dinner. I should never have come. His room mate was so nice to me. I'm sorry for the names I called him. Megan couldn't take me right away so I fixed it, I didn't stay. Why the fuck did he want me to stay? He wanted me to meet his mother. Who introduces some dumb bitch from overseas to their mother unless she matters? He begged me to see him again and then almost ditched me for a hangover. I'm glad he felt guilty. I hope he feels guilty about this til he dies. How in gods name does the universe want me to believe anyone ever again?