The red, red rogue

NYE, time for intentions.

I’m listening to Joni Mitchell’s Blue album a lot lately. That album wouldn’t exist had she not fallen for a few wretched men. I’m sure they were great in bed, but they left her in the lurch, each of them.

She took that heartbreak and wrote exquisite poetry. Songs we still sing when we’ve got the blues. Songs we empathize with because we know the pain…if we’ve ever been amenable to falling in love with broken men. I’ve written enough about these broken men. High time to find ones who aren’t. Time to start looking for ones who don’t inspire poetry but do answer texts. Who do think of me when I’m not around. Who don’t treat me as another drug or a certainty upon which to build their self-esteem without considering what I might be going through on my side.

It doesn’t matter if they don’t even know they’re shitty. I’m done trying to reform them (let’s get real) because I couldn’t fix my father.

I’ll settle for a little less poetry in my life if it comes with men who aren’t shitty.

As Maddie said, 2022: time to take out the trash.

Feel free

Today is the last day of 2021. The last day I will love you. Three years and change.

Thank you for everything you taught me. For making me feel like I could ask for more. For letting me know there was more to you. For helping me see there was more to me. For making my heart skip a beat. For making the words solidify from the ether into poems that said more than even I knew was possible.

I have all these memories of you. All these associations with songs and photos and flotsam and jetsam. They make me smile. They make me swoon. They make me feel indecent and decadent.

There was heartache, alright. But it served a purpose too. It reminded me that I had one. That it had healed from pain unbearable. And now I use it all the time.

Thank you for showing me it was ok to be soulful. To express parts of myself I thought I no longer possessed. Thank you for not correcting me. Not reproaching me. Not making me feel like I was less than. Not dismissing me. I wanted to reach out to where you were and that forced me to grow.

I am more solid now. More in my body. Less fragmented. Less spacey. More real than I have ever been. More compassionate. More forgiving. More understanding. More realistic.

It’s time. It’s time. It’s time.

I don’t know what happens from here on out. Nothing every disappears. It’s just time to look forward and find a new muse. A new epoch. I’m excited for what will come. Thank you for all that you were. And all that you helped me become. I wish you the best. I wish you peace.

Ernest Elmo Calkins, Obsolescence and The Path to Hell, Paved With Good Intentions

If you’re an American who wants the latest and greatest, even when what you already have is perfectly adequate, you’re not alone. We have been trained as a society to not be ok with what we already have.

Consumer capitalism came about in response to the Great Depression. What you’re about to read (the attached pages) is going to sound like it was written by a villain with a curly mustache. But if you had been alive during that time, you’d be among the many great minds questioning western capitalism and wondering what could possibly fix a system that had broken, seemingly overnight.

It’s written by an advertiser in 1932, Ernest Elmo Calkins, and is a scheme to reinvigorate the national economy in the wake of the Great Depression. It was meant to help.

Keynsian countercyclical economics and consumer capitalism were meant to reinvigorate an economy in downfall by injecting capital into consumer markets. Government spending in infrastructure meant more people were employed, highways were built, giant swaths of the country were electrified, and people could buy goods again. The goods they would buy would be made by American labor, meaning more jobs and a stable economic cycle of earn, spend, earn, spend, earn.

It worked and, in fact, positioned the United States to become the war factory that built ships and planes and tanks to defeat Germany and Japan in WWII.

But then the unexpected happened, as it usually does.

Technological innovation meant less employment as machines took the place of workers. And then it meant overseas employment as multinational companies arose so consumers and labor were no longer one and the same, in a closed loop. Technological innovation also led to environmental degradation. And to the invention of widely available credit, which led to consumer debt spending.

At the same time, the “spread of communism” meant that Americans had to be fiercely loyal to capitalism. There was no room for dissent because the stakes were thermonuclear warfare and the end of democracy itself!!!

Not really, but the military industrial complex needed us to think that so we’d sign off on deficit spending and redistribution of wealth to private sectors, which led to even more credit availability and indebted consumers.

What we have now is an untenable situation. We have a massive trade deficit with China, which hasn’t been helped by Trump’s and Biden’s foreign policy. We are a country of Pavlovian dogs who have been trained to want fast food, fast fashion, and bargain basement prices. And we have yet to come to terms with “artificial obsolescence.”

The American economy is fundamentally based on flawed, outdated principles. And we are, for the most part, junkies who are addicted to buying things we don’t need. In the meantime, consumer prices are rising with inflation, wages can’t keep up, people are overextending themselves trying to buy houses because they’ve been told that owning a home means financial stability.

The dam cannot hold. The solution is above my pay grade. I’m just here to tell you that there’s a reason we’re here.

My constant companion and the love of my life

My worry is a marathon running man
It is a constantly teething toddler
A Jack Russell left alone with a new couch

It could power entire cities
Find the cure to pancreatic cancer
Or propel a jet to Mars

How I still find the energy
And the inclination to love you
Isn’t a mystery

At times it is the one thing that lets me
Put worry to bed
And walk out into the world

I picture your face
Smiling back at me
And I know that I must have been smiling, too

Set it free

This morning I woke up to good news and not so great news.

The good news was that a financial investment I made paid off quadruple.

The other news was Michael sending me a Page Six article on Mark Ronson’s upcoming wedding.

Just kidding. It doesn’t affect me one way or another.

Mark’s a running gag. I was never really in love with him. He was an avatar. A way for me to explore things in a safe way. Like an imaginary friend who teaches me stuff. It got me through these really lonely times in a healthy way. If I didn’t have any real friends to talk to, well, there was always Mark.

You can call it delusional. I call it a high creative index. I can create entire worlds.

As a writer, if I can visualize the audience I’m writing to, my writing gets better. If I think about it, the writer’s block isn’t about not having anything to write about. It’s about not having anyone to write TO.

For the past few years, there have been a few guys who have been my imaginary audiences. If I can visualize them, the voice gets locked in and the story just falls into place without a lot of effort. It sort of get birthed complete.

The stories I need to write lately won’t come out because I don’t know who would want to hear them. They’re painful. I need to get them out. But my fear is that I won’t be loveable afterwards.

I have to let that go. I have to give myself permission to write it all, perform it all, teach it all.

You’re no good

There’s this part in Clueless where Brittany Murphy tells Breckin Meyer that she wishes she could skate.

He tells her not to. She asks why. And he says something to the effect of, “Then what would boys have to impress girls with?”

I think about this line a lot. I’m still impressed by the same juvenile things I liked when I was 13: good hair, musical talent, nerdiness for the gods and a penchant for danger.

I blame, in large part, that antihero we all loved back in the day: Jordan Catelano.

You don’t marry the Jordan Catelanos of this world. You keep them in a time capsule of misspent youth. Those guys don’t grow up to be John Kennedy Jr’s. They grow up to become insurance agents or massive fuck ups who live in the past.

And yet the allure never quite goes away.

I’ve had things with a few Jordan Catelanos in my time. The strange part is that I end up taking on the parts of them I like and sort of leaving them for dust once I’m done.

I don’t want to be with the cool guy. I want to be the cool guy. I’m somewhere between an Angela and a Jordan.

At some point in these relationships, I’ve out guyed the guy. I can’t stand when they’re sorry for themselves and hold onto what could have been if not for all the intervening factors that kept them from being contenders. Self-pity is repellant. They stop impressing me and I get bored. And they get mad. Rightfully so. I’m still capricious.

Does the man exist who has a bit of mystery, great hair, encyclopedic knowledge AND is down to earth and hyper masculine who would not only put up with my antics but would find amusement in my Fraggle-ian energy?

If he does, maybe he lives in Wyoming. Or Alberta. Or Perth. Or Johannesburg.

Do call it a comeback

I’m starting to come back little by little. And the greatest thing Emily did for me was just keep telling me that I would.

When I couldn’t rely on my brain for the truth, I knew she wouldn’t lie to me or placate me. That’s not how our friendship works.

I’ve seen so many doctors in the past month and had probably eight mental health screenings (as part of intake). Questions like: in the past seven days have you felt

tired/angry/anxious

one day/a few days/most days/everyday

Lots of questions like that. I was honest in answering but I kept telling the clinical staff it was because of the anemia. Secretly, I was pretty sure I was descending into insanity and it was my job to stay out of a mental hospital. Trying to keep that to yourself is not fun. Explosive anger is not fun. A brain that won’t shut down but just keeps malfunctioning is exhausting in itself.

But it wasn’t true. If I’d been in the wrong hands I might have ended up being sent to a psychiatrist instead of a hematologist. I’d be on some new psych drug instead of returning to stasis.

It begs the question: how many times in the past did I think I was dealing with mental health issues when I was really dealing with physical depletion? And how long was it exacerbated because the mental fatigue looked like depression and mania?

Depression and mania don’t just go away because you get a single iron IV.

Maybe, and this is just a maybe, we need to be screening female mental health patients for iron deficiency anemia a whole lot more and making sure their prolactin levels are in the safe range.

Now to heal this body that is hurting and leaky. Step by step. I don’t know if I should resign myself to middle age and the gradual decay of a post-peak fertile body. I don’t think so. And not because I’m afraid of getting old. I just don’t think this much pain is necessary.

Irredeemable

I’m paring things down. I don’t want many friends. I don’t want to socialize. I don’t have the energy to love anyone. Food tastes like nothing. I don’t look forward to anything. I just want to withdraw from the world.

I want to get rid of stuff. I want to live in a place with simple things: clean water, lots of sunlight.

No phone. No Internet. Just a laptop and a bunch of DVDs to watch at night. No other people. Not ever again. Self-imposed isolation for the rest of my life.

I’m so broken. Physically, yes. Does anyone understand what it feels like to be trapped in a body that isn’t weak enough to die but not strong enough to live? I merely exist. Mostly in pain. Most of the time.

I don’t get to forget things the way others do. Every memory comes with intensity of feeling and loss of safety I felt in the moment. All the early memories are like this. My first ones are all of danger. All I knew were rushes of adrenaline and a cry that got stuck in my throat. How could a life begun that way lead to anything but the perpetuation of damage and terror?

Every night I pray for mercy. Mercy on my victims. Mercy on my friends. Mercy on me. Swift death without more suffering. Swift death sooner than later. I don’t want to keep living. I’ve played my role. Stop it now. You don’t need me. And, really, what good could I possibly do now at this late date? Haven’t I shown abundantly clearly that nothing good comes from me?

I don’t have anything to contribute. And I’m so tired. All I can do at this point is spread the hurt. Contain me, excise me, eradicate any trace of my existence here. But set me free.