Don’t just sit there; tell me what I wanna know!
I don’t know how to cure this ache without being irrational
I started really bawling today out of anger and fatigue and frustration but after a while I didn’t want to cry anymore so I stopped and was still sad but I moved on because you can’t do much else when you’re crying. It’s pretty consuming. So basically I was thinking I could be doing better things than crying. I don’t know if that’s fucked up or smart or what.
La la la I hate everything
I just went back and read some of my old posts and I’m remembering how sad I was all the time. It makes me sad to think about how sad I was.
that time i discovered self-awareness at aunt barb’s house
My aunt Barb used to babysit me and my sister after school. Her house was a mint-green ranch with a concrete porch. Uncle Frank kept the windows isolated with shrink wrap. He liked to play card games on his IBM.
Aunt Barb (she’s actually my great aunt, but who has time to say the “great” part?) made dinner while Aimee and I did homework in the kitchen. We sat in hard wooden chairs and laid our notebooks and pencil pouches on the glossy dinner table.
I had a chunky paperback workbook to fill out, and in fifth grade, I was assigned a few pages at a time. The first sections of the page were easiest, but then I had to read a passage and answer questions based on it. You remember, don’t you? Reading comprehension exercises: the beginning of my long struggle with procrastination. I’d zone out instead, looking through the sliding glass door to the measly backyard covered in crabgrass. Her tiny terrier clicked across the linoleum floor, his jangly collar pulling me away from the reading and into my own distractions.
I’d circle the tip of my pencil on the margin, creating a black hole of shiny graphite as the lead burrowed into the paper. With my other hand, I’d press into the dark circle I just made with my index finger, smoothing the lead into the bumps of my fingerprint and then rubbing my finger over the page to get the gray off. I’d flip my pencil and rub my eraser over the pencil I’d left behind, seeing how much evidence I could destroy. Flakes of rubber fell into the book’s crease. It fascinated me, so I tried to make more, seeing how many little rubber rolls I could create with each movement. My eyes widened with a deep focus and I kept going. I glazed over, and my mind went blank as I watched the black hole disappear and more dirty mauve eraser crumbs form, warm from friction.
Something — maybe it was Cocoa lapping from his water bowl — brought me back to the present. And I realized I my face was inches away from the pulpy paper, eyebrows raised, pupils without focus, staring into the margin of the page. I realized I looked totally ridiculous but felt unique in that moment. I wasn’t doing my homework, like I had set out to do, but I was insanely concentrated on something completely meaningless.
I gripped my No. 2 again and started on a self portrait in the bottom corner of the page in an attempt to capture how I felt. I drew two ovals for my eyes. Two parenthetical eyebrows. I scratched in two pupils. I wanted to remember that face I was making — and that one moment where I became aware of how easily it was for me to zone out. Would it ever happen again? Has it been happening all along?
Daydreaming is part of childhood, you just don’t know it when you’re a kid. When you become aware of that… that’s when childhood starts to slip away.
Did you ever play with stuffed animals? I did it with my Beanie Babies. I made them into kitty doctors and bear patients. If I did that as an adult, I’d script a scene for them to play out. But when I was a child, I was speaking through them. It just happened; no need to think what would come next. If Dr. Fluffy wanted to perform surgery, that was a decision I made at that very moment.
Think about how easy it was to completely immerse yourself in your imagination. Now, you can try to channel some creativity from time to time, but you’re always going to have other things on the mind. And you’re always going to KNOW you’re trying to be creative. Kids, they can block everything else out while they’re sitting in the grass, digging at a tree’s roots to make room for a fairy town. They don’t know they’re being creative. They’re just being a kid.
The moment you realize what’s going on in your imagination — the fact that you’re IMAGINING in the first place — and pull back is when you space yourself from your innocence and become a little more self-aware.
I still remember drawing my eyes on that workbook page, and I think it’s pretty amazing that I recalled that part of my adolescence. Not only was I reflecting on my 10-year-old self in that moment, but I was looking into the future, hoping to document that seemingly meaningless moment so I could remember. And now I realize it was so much more.