One of One

collage

The price of freedom
isn’t even loneliness.
Companionship can cause isolation,
and connection isn’t binary.
I admitted I don’t even like people
with reluctant attachment.
I know I’m better, and yet,
here I am again.
And I could be anyone
even if you are only you.
I step back and keep falling,
and he repeated,
“I told you about stairs,”
while trying to rewind time.
Quadrants are alien and confuse
and yet I chose to be one of four.
Adapting has only made things less clear.
Being truthful in inner conflict
is staring at several reflected, fractured shards.
I’m one of one, regardless of who I see.
I’m one of one, on my own and making it through.
I’m one of one, no matter who stares at me.
I’m one of one, with or without you.

Journey of Journaling

My first attempt at keeping journals was unsuccessful. You get these ideas from people that things must be done a certain way. You say, “Dear Diary”, keep a record of events and thoughts, and write daily. You start on page one, you always write the date, and for the most part, you write.

When I was in high school, I was given another set of ideas behind journaling. Instead of a book of lined paper I was given a book of acid free, white paper that was as great for drawing, writing, or pressing fall leaves. I was told to fill it up with whatever.

The art teacher showed us his. Some pages were writing, some doodles, some serious sketches, and some contained nothing but a business card and some notes. There were saved napkins, random thoughts, lists, and newspaper clippings. He explained that a journal was for all kinds of things. It was there to help us record whatever and it didn’t matter what it was as long as you filled it.

Other journals I would start and write a few dated entires, not write for awhile, begin the next with an apology and a new commitment. Maybe I’d get to page ten.

The first book I filled was still from page one, but I filled it to the end with writing, drawing, painting, collages, clippings, thoughts, doodles, ticket stubs, and anything else.

These days I’ve found that I loathe page one. The pressure of beginning and end doesn’t lend itself to capturing a moment, or any space of real time. You can’t chronical it all in a time line, because when it’s happening we’re out there living it. To try to relive the exact thing on a page is tedious, boring, pointless, and really impossible. Instead I collect bits, reflect, and reassemble. It wasn’t before long that I started keeping a collection of paperish stuff. It didn’t matter if I didn’t have the time to say “Dear Diary” every day. When I went to a concert, I would keep the ticket stub. When I made an elaborate doodle on a post-it, I kept it. Ever wonder what to do with the cards you get, the packaging that seems too pretty to throw out, or the best fortunes you get from cookies? What about the posters that are too ragged for the wall or the wonderful color you saw in the hardware store and you grabbed a swatch of it?


Who ever said that they needed to go into the book the same day?

Years later, my first few folders are now a large leather case and a small plastic box. The big case has full pages and stuff I just haven’t looked at. When I am journaling, I can grab something from the case to put in. I usually cut it up and collage it. The small box is for the little pieces that are left, but I don’t want to throw away. That bit of gold paper might work on another page.

I befriended glue sticks and scissors, magic markers and pens, a utility knife, a glue gun, and colored pencils. I don’t like to be idle while watching TV or a movie or listening to music. I might be giving the book my full attention or just my subconscious.

I have more than one book going at the same time. I add to old pages as often as I start new ones. A bit from 1998 might be on the same page as 2008. I care more about the order of composition than the order of time. It’s how real life works anyways. In a weeks time you won’t remember the exact order of everything you did last week. It doesn’t matter either because you today are parts of your past, but not in any kind of time order. The events from 1998 sit beside those of 2008 in how they’ve shaped you. If that makes sense, they can make sense on a page next to each other.

Why do we try to make a strait line when a journey has twists and turns?

Rest

When I stop,
time when the dust settles
streaming through the sunbeam,
is when I can’t hold my
hopes up any longer.
Rest.
All I need is rest.
When the chase ends,
when the sweat settles on skin,
I feel cold, icy burning to run again.
When I’m working
there is no shame if I’m
not yet there.
I’m moving,
even if it is in circles.
The what ifs cascade into silence.
I must keep moving
with the babble of the brook,
the river of time,
for there is no time
for rest.
Instead I shall humbly plan
for all the things I’ll never do
and forget to enjoy the
moment of stillness.
Never still,
never silent,
never stop,
never rest.
Never.

Current Current

Closer we fall inward to forever clutching fleeting faces
touching the nape of my neck and holding tender too tight.
Your teasing whispers testing passions, telling me it’s all right
saying all the while by your stance and smile
as we get closer, we can fade- things can change.
People drift and people flail, I look for footing but know I will fail
and fall again, the wind whipping past, looking to the past and bidding it not repeat.
I stand on two feet, fearing the fall, knowing the fall, seeing the fall
tipping to the edge and facing your face and taking your embrace and tumble
caress, holding to my breast a place and a feeling- comforting touch caring outside of time,
sensual touch taring and taking what’s mine,
together touch, taking steps as two equals together in time
fairing well in the silent hope that the weather will hold as we hold tight together under night.
We fold our fears in tight so their small packages are tucked in each others’ arms
out of sight and out of mind as we mind nothing but he banter and the bubbling over
the falls splashing down, the excitement plummets into the base of my stomach, creeping to my fingers, extending to touch your lips as they laugh ideas and smile sentiments into my ears.
Rolling down the rapids, drifting down the steady trickle not knowing if the current will bring us closer or carry us apart.

Laundry List to Take Out to Dry

Maybe when I was spending all that time avoiding dating, maybe I should have spent that time figuring out how to prevent the worst things from happening when I went to date again.

In general, I like me more when I’m not with someone else, and I have to figure out why.

I question myself more.
I defer to their opinions, let them win arguments for the sake of keeping peace, say I’m sorry when I should hold my ground (and hold my ground when I should let it go and change the subject), and think things are my fault when they aren’t or it’s not important.

I think about the other person too much.
At any time I am acutely aware of what they want and what I can get from them. I become a little obsessed, wanting to know everything about their thoughts, day, past, etc.

I go into hopeless story-book romantic mode.
My soft center under the hard shell starts to show, which is okay, but it’s too much. I start to trust and idealize the other person too much, opening up myself to being hurt easier. I start to have a hard time seeing myself without that person.

I start to lose a strong sense of self.
In deferring some of my opinions and identity to the other person, I become passive pre-feminism Cindy who constantly wonders what he might want.

I become afraid to be honest.
Normally I’m blunt and crass. I’ll still be honest, but I’ll be less sure about it. I’ll suddenly wonder about potential consequences that normally me and my life code don’t give a rats ass about. I start to fear what fully disclosing some of the crazy, negative, unstable thoughts I sometimes have. The temptation to hide my flaws and pretend I’m more normal than I am suddenly occurs to me when I’m normally not a self-conscious person.

I expect to spend more time with the other person than I should.
When I’m with the other person, I try to get too much out of each moment with them. I can follow the person around, touch a lot, become clingy. I constantly want to do things for the person and set my own stuff aside in anticipation of spending more time with them or doing something for them. I begin to spend less time with friends.

Okay, now that I have some things I’ve identified about the past, how can I turn that into things I need to make sure I do?

Don’t question the person you put forward.
This is the same person that a guy initially saw something interesting and good about. Whatever it is about you that made them want you was real. If they don’t still see it after they get to know you better, then it’s okay. Turns out you aren’t for each other and things have naturally run their course. Not everyone you date is potentially someone you’re supposed to be with or be with for a long time. If they potentially are that person, you don’t have a lot of control over that manifesting. You can’t force what isn’t right, and changing yourself to fit better will not lead to any kind of happiness. Keep your identity and remember how awesome you are even with the flawed, human bits. If they can’t handle you on a bad day, it’s doomed anyways. We all have bad days. You don’t need to be constantly proving yourself as worthy of their respect.

Your opinions are as valid as theirs.
Maybe they are even more so because they are yours. You don’t need to agree on everything to be with someone. You date geeks. Geeks like to argue and be right. Still, two people should be able to respect each other’s views enough not to argue a lot, or not to let a discussion get out of hand.

Don’t blame yourself.
It’s probably not all of your fault, if placing blame is even worth it. Move past whatever it is rather than wasting time on arguments, hurts, and negativity. If you start to see a pattern you don’t like, address it calmly. If you can’t live with it, let it end things rather than caving. Focus on your own needs, after all, you are number one. They should also be that to themselves. If they are strong enough to be with you, they will make their wants and needs known calmly and reasonably while standing on their own.

You don’t need to know everything.
Yeah, this person must be cool if you’re with them. Knowing everything won’t make them more cool. What are you looking for exactly? Are you trying to read the future? Let things happen at a normal pace and get to know them as they open up to you, not as you pry at them. Intense doesn’t equal better always. There’s no need to cling on, as it might take away from the specialness of an intimate moment.

Embrace that you don’t know how long the good times will last.
All good things come to an end. Life ends. Make sure you’re still there to find something else after it is. I’m not saying plan for it to be short, but plan to be able to exist beyond this.

Don’t lose your friends.
Make plans with the friends. Invite him, but if he’s not up for it, still go. Don’t cancel plans for him unless it’s an emergency, rare occasion, or you really don’t want to go out. If he hates a friend of yours, tough noogies. If he makes you feel bad for your friends or for going out with them, it’s a clearly marked warning sign.

Do more self-full acts than selfless.
You like taking care of people. You’re a big-sister at heart and a motherly type. That’s okay to a degree. You need to work on yourself first, and if that’s going well, feel free to give some of the extra to the person you care about. If you suffer, you both suffer. You’re not actually mom. You still need to come first.

And with that pep-talk I feel a little better. If I draw these things into the open for myself, it makes it that much harder to go into bad habits.