Caution: Books ahead

One day you’re sitting on a deserted beach surrounded by beauty and crying because you have no idea where your place is in the world, and you realize that you don’t really have one. You make one for yourself around where you are. A space that is you-shaped but was not made for you. The world is given to you to find a place in yourself. No matter how much you travel you won’t find it because it’s not there. You have to make it.

I had this realization lately, and it was sad, and exhilarating. But mostly sad. I wanted to travel to find my place, and in my head I was going from here to there and everywhere looking for that environment and lifestyle that was cut out for me. As though I could find my perfect fit in some shop somewhere, and all I had to do was keep looking. And figuring out that I will never find it…well, at least it might save me the looking. But what a shame…

So I also realized why I love books so very much. I don’t like my story right now, and rather than create a new one with sweat and tears and hard work, I escape mindfully down into other stories – into places where I can be more excited and happy following a fake life than living my own… I don’t like my story, so I go to someone else’s.

I guess there’s another reason why novels were once considered sinful. They may make your own life unbearable.

A new warning on every great story – Caution: May make real life unlivable.

 

Cracked; I’m cracking

They witnessed her destruction,

Then were left to wonder why,

She saw nothing but darkness,

Though the stars shone in her eyes,

But maybe they’d forgotten,

When they failed to see the cracks,

That a star’s light shines the brightest,

When it’s starting to collapse.

Erin Hanson

on being sick

I am the type of person who, when sick, strives to look vaguely sick but in a way that shows I’m not trying very hard, but rather trying hard to bear up under a great burden. So, definitely suffering, but not definitely looking for sympathy. I have no idea if it works, but I can usually get people to know when I’m sick.

I mean, having the flu is actually being sick, and the dead voice and hacking cough and clogged nose pipes go a long way…

But I am the type that wants all this for the sympathy and the taking care of and the letting off early from work that goes with it…and then feels terribly guilty and also wishes people will just let me get on with business because nine times out of ten I am really capable of doing things.

I guess what I really want is for me to appear perfectly fine on the outside and be performing normally, but for everyone around me to notice that really I am not okay and to then force me lovingly to stop and go home. And if it were a big muscly man who would tell me with a pained look to please stop doing this to yourself and go rest, I’ll do everything, honey… I wouldn’t scoff at that. The problem is, people are people and not characters in a sappy fluff piece and aren’t watching other people that closely on account of them being too wrapped up in their own lives…

What do you call that type of person? A reluctant hypochondriac with vague romantic crazies? Kind of like a lazy perfectionist. Always in inner turmoil.

Better to call me a giant baby.

a book of poems

…that I do not own.

I wish I had found the following lines in a beautifully leather bound book of poems I keep by my bed and read every night, a little faded, the pages I love most creased.

Instead, I found it on Tumblr, where I get most of my culture. It seems to diminish the impact, somehow, but it shouldn’t. Just as words delivered from an unworthy vessel do not make them less true.

March is a month of storms and lust. Spring looks on, like a thought between two people,

  • Mahmoud Darwish (via theperfumemaker)

At any rate, the words are true, this week into the third month, the transition. Especially here, in Korea, where Spring is truly breaking slow and stealthily, in the wind that carries a smell of heat, in the red of my allergy-sensitive nose. It’s coming, and it has brought storms, and lust indeed. Lust for a single life, for the hot deserts, for adventure and escape, again.

You can keep your pedantic lusts and let me have my opposites. A lust for running away.

another bad egg; blogging drunk

I’m boiling eggs now. I may also be drunk. I don’t know. After not drinking for a long long time, will two beers make me drunk? Or tipsy. But I haven’t misspelled anything yet. That either says a lot for my ability to hold alcohol or my ingrained English prowess. Also I just used a word like prowess.

And why am I tipsy or possibly drunk? Because, my friends, I had another bad egg date. I think I could turn this into a funny and relatable blog about dating. Cause boy do I seem to pick em. Although, to be fair, the other one was a blind date setup by a coworker and this was someone off a dating site…so not guaranteed to win on either counts. I hadn’t met either one before.

I need another sip, hold on.

Okay, so the last one wasn’t touchy or close enough. It was like an interview, right? And bad. But this guy, this guy who had been texting me emojis and dear and such crap all the time and who I thought was super sweet…yeah, he was super touchy. We watched Deadpool, not quite a movie to get cozy with, and I wanted to fucking watch it, fuck it all, but he wanted to hold my hand, and damn me and my inability to say nooooo.

I actually had the shitty thought that hey, he paid for everything, shouldn’t I let him hold hands with me? Fuck. Shit. Am I a whore? Balls. I’m swearing a lot because I couldn’t even concentrate on the movie, I was panicking too much. I don’t like people touching me that much on the first date. First meeting, fuck it. Don’t kiss my hand, you desperate douchebag. Just leave me alone to enjoy the blood and gore and witticisms. Shit. I thought I was past all that. I wanted to practice with a guy who seemed into me. Turns out I wanted to pull a Deadpool on him and shoot him up the ass.

I got home and cried a lot, which makes me sure I need that counselor. Damn. “I cried because he held my hand and I couldn’t say no. What do I do, counselor lady m’am?”

Yeah, cause that’s totally a conversation I’m dying to have.

At least the movie was good. I know that, even if I was only half concentrating. Fuck him. And fuck me and my stupid boy problems and past trauma and all that crap that makes me now convinced I’m not ready to date for another five years. Bye bye, boys I’ve been chatting to. Bye for another long long time.

Thanks for listening, pal.

in the world, in my head

I never really used to have a social life. I used to watch shows like How I Met Your Mother where the characters were all incredibly good friends, who would hang out all the time and help each other and knew everything about each other and were basically family. To me, that’s what family was. People who hung around and you fought and made up with and were always there.

But my friends were different. My one best friend who remained with me for over a decade (and to this day), never dropped by unannounced – she was too polite – and while always there for me, it was a different dynamic to the ones I saw on TV and read about in books. Even other bloggers seemed to have this different breed of social life. I didn’t know enough people to have Friendsgiving, for instance. Or even to host a good White Elephant party. Aside from that one good friend, I had acquaintances, and place friends. The friends at work whom I hung out with there and never outside. The friends at college. Those friends were a bit more tight; I hung out with them outside a few times. But we didn’t live close enough or have enough time to be super close or involved.

So I spent a lot of my time happily alone, working on my own creative projects and dreaming about old books and cottages and fluffy cats, dark shorelines and rainy days and forest walks with boughs dripping.

These days, I don’t dream like that.

And the reason is a social life. I have one now. I have two close friends, which isn’t much of an upgrade, I suppose, but we hang out all the time. At school and after, since we work together. We have a dedicated girls night. We drink wine and giggle and gossip. We cook Mexican and tell each other about our dates. It’s just like what I saw on TV and those blogs. I could see us realistically having that Friendsgiving. We’re going on vacation together next month, so why not?

But it’s strange, all the same. I love them; they’re my support group, and I was able to share some darker stuff from my past comfortably. In this foreign country, that’s really valuable.

But when I take a step back and look at myself, I’ve changed, and I’m not at all sure I like it. I think about going out more than creating a life I like. I think about dates and fashion and how well my makeup sticks at the end of the day. I gossip about everyone, and we tend to complain a lot. Solidarity maybe. Negative influence? Does it matter?

I feel like my life has taken a prosaic turn towards fun. I mean, I love hanging out with them. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a group. And we know each other really well. But I’m very into this world, and not so much into my head, and honestly, the world is kind of a strange place to me. I like my imagination better.

But once you get in the world, it’s hard to get out.

dear imagination, dear limitations

 

I grew up surrounded by limitations, as most children are. Rules from parents, teachers, church leaders, siblings, friends, signs, conventions blatant enough to penetrate a child’s understanding…and I accepted it. I was a tractable kid, always wanting to please, terribly afraid of being wrong, of doing the wrong thing. I never tested the bounds. I learned to lie early to escape being found out in my sins.

As I got older, the limitations morphed, but did not disappear. I learned to make my own limitations upon myself, and added layer after layer of soul-binding straps to lock me into the path and personality I thought best suited for me.

So it’s no surprise how much I enjoyed reading. In books, I found a way beyond myself, outside of the limitations, a way to escape the bindings I and others had created. I’ve been reading a book called Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, and there’s a line that really stuck out to me.

She speaks of the;

 “dependable, out-of-body sensation of being somewhere else…”

She’s talking about how much she herself loved fiction as a kid, and when I read that, I knew it described me perfectly.

I read to be in that somewhere else, and it was amazing how many somewheres I found. Even in nonfiction, as I got older, I found a life different than what I imagined. People were discovering things and sharing them, and stretching my knowledge and awareness was as exhilarating as  stepping into a fantasy world. (Yeah, I was basically a huge nerd.)

In those days, I read to escape my childishness and inability to create my own life. You can’t do much independently when you’re twelve. Now, as a fully-fledged adult, I am totally in control, yet I find myself still incapable of doing what will bring my desired life into being. So I continue to read; to fuel my passions, to encourage me in the darkest times, and to escape into lives and somewheres other than my own.