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Above the earth
I hate my period. Especially when it sneaks up on me because I didn’t watch the calendar. It’s been what, almost ten years? You’d think I’d know my own body by now. It was my bright idea to wear light underwear the day before. I woke up today, and I knew. I knew I didn’t want to get out of bed. I knew I didn’t want to go to the bathroom and see the blood staining my beautiful Victoria’s Secret underwear, to go looking for a pair of ugly underwear and a pad, and wait for the cramps to come.
Winterfest was weird. I sang with much more conviction and enthusiasm than in rehearsal, but it still felt fake. It’s like the difference between pulling taffy and watching the coins tumble out of those casino machines when you win. Shannon said the combined choirs sounded excellent. Lydia gave me lots of fierce hugs. They felt so nice. Why does she love me so much? We all had dinner at Eat n’ Park, thanks to Shannon’s employee discount. Oh, warmth, family, food, love, laughter, comfort, singing, cold, crisp air. Gibby’s dad was so moved tonight, I could see God in him.
I call my friends randomly on the phone from school, a very whimsical, expensive habit to keep. Today, I had the urge to call Martina about a picture Lydia gave me last night. It’s a picture of Santa and Mrs. Claus having a nice quiet evening at home. There are three stockings on the hearth: one for Santa, one for Mrs. Claus, and one for...‘Elves.’ Poor elves. Santa is drawn at a ¾ view from behind as he sits in a chair. It’s a recliner. Like her dad’s, except not broken. Kids are so cool. Do they even know it?
She’s a sucker for dirty hippies. Picturing running her fingers through that messy tumble of ringlets. Laughing uncontrollably. She’s over him. A harmless crush. It’s funny how “harmless” still means an occasional pang of lust or regret when she sees him. Harmless doesn’t stop her from blushing. Or from wondering what it would be like to kiss him. It means noticing when he makes an ass of himself and being able to laugh over it with her friends. It means knowing that one day she really won’t care, well, not that much. Because he’s a dirty hippie and she’s not.
I painted for four hours yesterday. A project for my yoga class. Quite an ordeal. Six tubes of acrylic paint. Primed canvas. Lots of newspaper to spread on the floor. Strip down to my underwear. Paint on my arms, legs, stomach, everywhere. The body painting idea’s not working too well. Acrylic dries like plastic. I give up and just use my hands. In the back of my mind, I keep worrying about how I’m going to clean myself off. Forget about creating, expressing, watching my thoughts become art. Forget about joy and delight, wonder and solace. I’m filled with dread.
It always surprises me when I speak up, especially when I walk away from a conversation feeling like a badass. Yeah, baby. I’m still practically a virgin to the bar scene. How can you tell if a guy’s making eyes at you? For the past month, I was convinced the lead singer of Spider Kelly was looking at ME. Tonight I heard another girl read my mind, “He’s been looking at me all night!” Shit. This called for drastic measures. Time to actually speak to him. So I did. Take that, other girl. I’m still one step ahead of you.
When I come home after graduation, T and I are going to play Barbies and read Nancy Drew. I talked to her on the phone today; the plans have been made. I can’t wait to brush Barbie’s hair..................... If you build it, they will come. What joy! A gingerbread house for Scotchmas. People actually helped and had fun. A pity it was too sweet to eat at 2 am. My question: who in their right minds would dare to ruin a sweet happy gingerbread house by adding a carport where someone is trying to commit suicide? Can you say “bitter?”
Lost. I’m not alive today. Sleep the afternoon away. On the phone long distance for hours. When I’m depressed, there’s nothing better than spending money. The battery dying on my cordless phone is a blessing in disguise. I don’t eat. I don’t move. Sing along to Leona Naess, my voice peals. I had no idea it snowed. That explains why as I lay in bed, the passing cars sounded like they were wading through rain. I don’t step out of the apartment till 11:30. I rent “Drive Me Crazy,” buy my first Belle and Sebastian cd. Adrian Grenier is yum.
Today is my lost yesterday. Hibernation tires me. I wake up at 5 pm. Darkness. Today is for eating Indian food, walking amid streetlights, plugged in to a good Samba beat. I am firmly convinced that fluorescent lights suck out creativity. Did I say that? Did I steal someone else’s quote? I’m glad “equal” rhymes with “sequel.” I need to buy juice. V8 Splash. Excellent. The floor in my apartment is uneven. I have about three rolls of film to develop. I’m trying hard to get back to the waking world. It’s easy to get out of practice. Ninety-eight words.
X-Mas List 2001
T—calendar, mix tape or cd, cute little box, Nancy Drew book
Gibby—clothing, movie? High Fidelity!
MK—something silly and cute. With bees. Mandi—something silly and cute. With bees.
Val—good books, something teachery
Lydia—art supplies? Clothing, jewelry, a good book (Harry Potter, hehehe)
Mr. and Mrs. Gibson—something Christian
Carlos—something Lord of the Rings-ish
Liam—good movie? I’ll think of something
Kat—something little. Maybe split the cost of an anime video with T.
Mrs. S—christmas ornament? Give A Clockwork Orange back
My favorite holiday commercials that still move me to tears: The first one’s an old McDonald’s commercial (“Old McDonald”…ha!) where these kids are skating on a pond but one little boy keeps falling down. The other kids skate ahead, and suddenly he’s left alone (Why? It’s a pond. Where could they go? Unless…it’s a RIVER). So he’s crying and shit, but suddenly Ronald McDonald appears, and he helps the little boy skate, and hooray! Happy Ending. The second is that Eat ‘n Park commercial (never heard of an Eat n’ Park? Poor you.) with the star and the tree. *sniff*
“Honey, put your legs down. It doesn’t look right.”
“But Mom, the sun’s peeking through my toes!”
“Right now. And stop looking at the sun.” “I’m not actually looking at the sun. And I have shorts on underneath my skirt.” She sighed and wiggled her toes. “It’s so pretty,” she murmured to no one in particular. “You try it, Mom.”
“Ha! That’ll be the day. Sweetie, what did I say? The ground’s still wet! You’re going to stain your dress. Now sit on the blanket and eat your sandwich.”
“I’m going to find some mud and squish around in it.”
And now, to the best of my knowledge…
“Jem. Jem is excitement. Oooo-oo-ooh Jem. Jem is adventure. Oooo-oo-oooh. Glamour and glitter, fashion and fame. Jem (Je-emmm) is truly outrageous, truly-truly-truly outrageous. Whoa-oa-oa Jem (Je-emm) the music’s contagious (outrageous). Jem is my name, no one else is the same, Jem is my name!—We are the Misfits, there’s no one better! We are the misfits (the misfits) and we’re gonna get her!—Jem (Je-emm) is truly outrageous, truly-truly-truly outrageous. Whoa-oa-oa Jem (Je-emm) the music’s contagious (outrageous). Jem is my name, no one else is the same, Jem is my name! Jem!”
I learned a very important lesson the other night: Don’t wear skirts in a bar. It compels disgusting, horny men to help you accessorize by planting their dirty hands on your ass. I hate bars. I hate the people who inhabit them. I hate drinking. I hate smoking. That stuff isn’t me. I am sweet. I like virgin strawberry daiquiris and Gatorade. I prefer small crowds to large crowds. I love people watching. I love the fact that everyone has an Us versus Them attitude, and usually they don’t coincide: “What do you mean I’m a Them? You’re a Them!”
I feel like shit and I don’t want to stop and there’s this voice in the back of my head spewing out positive happy talk and I just want to tell it to “Sod off!”
But Erin already used that line. I’m a copycat. I’m so unoriginal. Even for thinking that. Fuck!
Just tell me it’s going to get better. That through feeling like this all the time I’ll find out who I am and what my lines are and think my lines are great and not be afraid to say them. Just tell me that, whoever’s line that is.
100 words aren’t enough. I feel like I’m supposed to write a poem. Who is compelling me? Me? That sounds so lame it might just be true. I show off. That’s how I live. Perform for the audience. What do they want to see now? Let’s change it up a bit, shall we? Ugh. Shall. What a showoffy word. SpellCheck doesn’t like showoffy. Hey why don’t you spill your guts some more about yourself? Like they care. Uh-oh. Pity party. I could go on forever. Ugh. How pretentious. Just shut up. Who said anyone’s watching? No, 100 words aren’t enough.
Now that I’m home for good, I feel like a beached whale. Flailing helplessly, getting nowhere fast. I sleep till 4, stay up till 6. I knew this would happen. Self-fulfilling prophecy? I’m good at those. I can’t even feed myself. No motivation to make myself a meal. Thank goodness for Eat n Park. You can’t not eat cheap food made by someone other than you in a relaxing atmosphere with friends. Breakfast Smiles, keep them coming. Which is another thing. Will I ever learn not to be frivolous with money? My guess is no—another self-fulfilling prophecy? We’ll see.
I think shopping for presents is more fun than receiving them. I always want to buy everyone like four presents each. And there are some people who I’m really good at thinking up presents for. Like T. I can think of a million things to get her. (Of course, I can’t list them here; she might see them.) Yeah. Shopping’s fun. Books were a big thing this year. But that’s what happens when you make Borders your hangout. The pillow and blanket I made Shannon was my biggest sewing project since 8th grade. Now I see potential sewing projects everywhere.
T and Gibby have been so excited for the opening of Lord of the Rings. It’s cool and all, but I don’t think it’s quite sunk in. Today is when it opens here. We’re planning on seeing it tonight; who knows if we’ll get in. If it’s anything like Harry Potter, we’ll have to fight tooth and nail to get tickets. Actually, Harry Potter wasn’t so bad. Star Wars Episode I was much worse. And what a disappointment that was. It’s funny to hear the rumors flying about the next Star Wars movie. Like that N SYNC has a cameo.
I’m not looking forward to Christmas. It’s one of those “time for family” holidays. What if I don’t like my family? Why am I forced to spend the day with them on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter? What sucks is everyone else is busy with their families, so they can’t entertain you. And sitting in on someone else’s family is just as lonely as being with mine. Maybe I’m being a brat, but I wish I had a different mom and dad (mostly dad) and we’d grown up happy, healthy, and loving instead of all fucked up. Maybe then I’d like holidays.
I’ve been on a Jack Black/Tenacious D kick lately. It’s in the stereo when I drive around, in the background noise of my mind. High Fidelity was on TV not long ago. I cracked up when Jack Black made fun of Belle and Sebastian. I love Belle and Sebastian. So why did I laugh? There was something vindicating about making fun of “them,” the stuck-up “art fags” that listen to it. Then again, I am one of them. So it felt like Jack Black was pointing his pudgy finger into the audience and saying, “Hi. Hello. This is about you.”
The way things are.
Arby’s demands that I try their new Jalapeno poppers, and the phrase “God Bless America” creeps its way into every display. Even the electric road signs have gotten into the act. Don’t you get the feeling that it’s the other way around, that America is doing its darndest to bless God? “America Bless God!” Like it will stave off another attack. I tried praying on September 11th. I didn’t know how. It felt so fake. Who was I talking to? What did I want? “Please God, …” What? Anything I wanted was out of His hands.
High arches on feet. Long fingers. Scars. Pretty ears. Long eyelashes. Pale skin. Me. Except there’s more. Quirky sense of humor. (Doesn’t everyone?) Pessimistic. Optimistic. Nausea at least once a day. (Doesn’t everyone?) Listless. Energetic. Worried. Serene. Incomplete selection of cd’s. Fascinated by the night sky. Total internal mess in social situations. Constant dialogue with self that leads in circles. Never takes off watch. A bright blue tee that says “Aquarius.” A new ¾ sleeve baseball tee with Snoopy. New Balance shoes. A big smile. A frown line between her eyebrows like her mom and grandma. Wait, there’s still more.
Waiting for snow. Please snow. It’s fucking Christmas Eve. Where’s the snow? All year T was looking forward to coming home from school and having a real Autumn and Winter, unlike the constant 50 degree weather in Tallahassee. I have a feeling it will snow. It must snow. For T. I actually don’t mind the weather right now (well, except on Christmas). It means nice roads and no shoveling snow and not having to wear a coat. I hate coats. They make shopping a nightmare. Squeezing through tiny aisles, worrying you’ll break everything in the store. Yeah, I hate coats.
Christmas was odd this year. Almost pleasant. My friends say it was the best Christmas ever. Maybe so, but I was strangely unemotional. I would imagine the best Christmas ever to be pumped with emotion. Anyway, I got great presents from my family. That’s the best gauge of how good a Christmas it was. A computer from my brother. I didn’t squeal or jump up and down. Why not? It deserved a big to-do. A computer! Nope, still no response. I’ve mostly been using it to play spider solitaire and pinball. I’m addicted to those games. It’s kinda sad, actually.
Lalala. I don’t want to write. Nothing to write. But then it suddenly appears. Sometimes in winter, the sun shines fiercely, and it warms you up when you’re sitting in your car. I always say that that’s a summer sky in winter, because if you looked up and ignored all the bare trees, you could imagine it’s July. The Monongehela (I actually had to look up how to spell that. My spelling powers have dwindled since childhood) river looked deep blue today. A rare event. And every color seemed ten times more vibrant. Maybe that means I’m going to die.
Still. Just still. Hearing the wind gather and blow. I’d sit outside if it weren’t so cold. On the ground. Indian-style. Cheeks getting cold. The light is soft now, so it doesn’t hurt your eyes. But you squint anyway. Because everything looks clear. It makes you want to think things through and see if your problems get any clearer in this light too. Atmosphere. Serene. You just want to sit. And you hope not one car goes by. Nothing to break your concentration, the stillness. And you take deep breaths because you usually forget to. And you remember to smile.
We saw The Fellowship of the Ring. It was wonderful. Better than Harry Potter, as expected, but I still have a place in my heart for it too. Now I can’t wait to see The Two Towers. Or the second Harry Potter movie. I can’t even bear to watch any other new movies. Goodbye, A Beautiful Mind. Goodbye, The Royal Tenenbaums. I’m sure you’re great, but I just can’t see you right now. “The grief is still too near.” On the other hand, one movie I wish I could forget is The Heist. What a piece of crap that was.
A story by committee
“What’s a good name for a girl?”
“Like, what kind of name? Romantic, plain, slutty, what?”
“Plain. How about Alice? No, too common. I mean, like, common in stories.”
“No, too holy.”
“Anne. Sarah. Meg.”
“I like Alice.”
“Go for it. What’s this for, anyway?”
“A little story. Well, scenario.”
“These walls are too new” scribbled Alice. Not quite a conversation starter.
She sighed, resting her chin on her hands.
Her elbows made pink dents on her thighs as she sat.
“don’t you think?” she finally added.
She’d check later for a response.
I want to make babies. Babies babies babies. Babies like Lydia, Gibby’s littlest sister. You can tell she’s going to be beautiful, and she’s smart, inquisitive, creative, energetic, kind, and good. Do you ever wonder what your kids will look like? I do. But it’s pretty tough to wrap my mind around that one. Brown eyes are dominant, but could one of them have green eyes? Will they be skinny as a rail or roly poly? Will they be tall or short? There’s a tendency for both on each side. I just hope I think they’re more beautiful than anything.
New Year’s Eve was a mistake. But then again, it usually is. I always feel like I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like there’s no right place. Except once. And I always wonder why it turned out right. An invitation to a party. The breakup that rendered it void. The feeling I had to be in State College at that party no matter what, whether it broke every rule of breakup etiquette. I had to. I did. I met my soulmate. Destiny. Intuition. Magic. Whatever the reason, it was right to have gone. It was so right.
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