Monday, July 30, 2012

Anxiety Nightmares (& Dreamscapes)

Anxiety isn't something that you can turn on or off. If you're like me, it persists well past the awake part of your day, and shows up, frustratingly, in your subconscious. Nothing says "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" like a night full of anxiety fueled nightmare, right? Right.

Snippets from my anxiety dreams this past weekend:

- I pull into the Einstein Bros parking lot. Some dude in a Nissan Cube is blaring Beastie Boys. Everyone in the shop is singing along. Dude looks at me, glares, and swings his car in front of mine (both of us still legally in the space) and glares at me some more, then pulls out. The rest of the shop glares at me, keep singing; I have no idea what I did wrong.

- I walk into the (same but different) shop, catching a climpse of someone who may be my bff of the last 27 years through the window. I walk in and, yep, it's her. Only she's doing (statistics?) homework with a pretty blonde girl, and won't tell me why she's in Colorado. She barely speaks to me, and seems put out that I'm speaking to her. She promises to call me later, but I don't believe her. The bagel counter has closed while I'm talking to her, so I walk out, hungry and unsettled.

- My apartment, but not my apartment. Bigger, prettier. As I settle in, I realize that small things are oddly out of place. My computer is at a strange angle, and has a bunch of those wrist/mouseguard pads strewn around it. My dresser is askew. There's an overhanging lamp where there wasn't before. I walk into my living room, and my coffee table is gone. I walk outside, and everything seems normal (except for there being 8 units in my building instead of 6), my coffeetable is out on the walk way. No one has seen anything, no one knows what's going on. Eventually, a van pulls up around the corner (a corner that doesn't exist in real life) and a tall, thin, scary looking contractor-dude comes out. He tells me that he's replacing all my furniture. I question him intensely, he is hesitant to tell me that my landlord sent him. Eventually my landlord shows up, in a truck, with his mom and sisters making christmas decorations in the back of it. They angrily insist that I help them while the men empty my stuff out of the apartment. The sister is angrier and angrier that they're not repossessing my car as well, even though my landlord has no claim to it. They try to take my computer as well. I tell my landlord I'm going to need a formal notice of eviction, and he laughs at me. Inside, 3 people my age (2 girls, I think I know, 1 I don't know, 1 friend of a friend who is in an improv troupe back home) are planning what they'll do with the property when they move in. They discuss calling my friend B to live with them as well. I'm appalled that they'd even consider him, let alone laugh about me being homeless, while I'm right there. They continue laughing at me.

- A different my apartment/not my apartment. A friend that looks like S (in bad overdramatic gothish makeup), too tall for the boyish, 1800s-esque clothes he's wearing, is yelled at by his mother. We go outside where a woman who looks like the evil fairy from Sleeping Beauty is standing regal and tall. She informs him that he is her real son, and will be coming with her. I am left alone, and informed by the groundskeeper that her other son, the human son she stole (not S, the changeling/real son) from the 14th century, is buried under the house. I will be joining him/taking his place. As I walk down the stairs to the sub-level apartment, I see credits rolling for a movie that is a collection of adaptations of short stories by DH Lawrence. I am, apparently, actually in this movie.

Is there a common theme running through any of those? Besides not understand what's going on as a participant in each dream, I'm not sure. Stress about fitting in? Maybe. (Are you a dream interpreter? Let's chat.)

The good news is that with time and distance, I can shake the cobwebs of residual reality that these dreams leave me with. My best friend doesn't hate me. I'm the maid of honor at her wedding, for chrissake. I'm not getting evicted. I've been living in the same place for the last 4 years, and my landlord thinks I'm a super easy tenant. And I'm definitely not a bit player in a crummy adaptation of a D.H. Lawrence story (though S definitely might be.)

I just need to remember that as real as they can feel, anxiety dreams do not, cannot, manifest in reality. 

Unless I let them.

Which I have no intention of doing.

Because D.H. Lawrence is awful.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Update: Aurora

I had a blog post ready to go, in the midst of everything on Friday. But it didn't feel right. It felt speculative, inconclusive. Like I was missing something.

So I followed the newscycle, saw some roller derby, and kept thinking about it. I ate some kale chips, and kept thinking.

In the middle of those kale chips, I got an email from a friend. One of our friends was in that theatre in Aurora. He didn't make it out.

Now, I don't know what to think. Everything I was writing before still feels like it was on the right track, but now I have bigger things to contemplate.

I only knew the dude in passing. We played some Fireball Island, maybe shared a drink. The media vultures want to know what kind of person he was: he was the kind of person who went to Starfest and midnight movie premieres, and nerded out just as hard and as deeply as the rest of us. And then what. I have other friends who were, are, much closer. I'm more worried about them.

Mostly, I wait with the rest of Colorado, for answers that will be slow in coming, trying to make sense of this terrible thing. I hug my friends, and try to live the lives we've always lived. We're too far too be devastated, close enough to be walking around half-dazed. I cuddle the dog they're looking after, til his parents and girlfriend have the time to think about all the little details that his absence leaves.

I wait for details about funeral arrangements, avoid vigils that will make me uncomfortable. I try not to pick fights on the internet with PEOPLE that have OPINIONS who are hundreds, thousands, of miles away, a billion degrees removed. Everyone has a solution, a reason. I think about Koa, fancy-free, passed around from human to human this weekend, oblivious to everything, excited about new people, new dogs, new food and new smells. Does he know something is different? Or is he just going to keep trying to facefuck his new buddy-dog?

No answers. Just more questions.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blast From the Past: Strangers in Paradise

I wrote a super detailed post, then realized that all of the stories I was telling, weren't mine to tell.

I had an email exchange tonite with a dude that I haven't thought about in forever, about things that I hadn't thought about in just as long. I didn't think that there were loose ends surrounding any of it, but - well, I guess there were.

After spending the day with a low-level panic attack for about 12 hours, it's not what I was expecting, let alone expecting to snap me out of it. But there it was. Resolution over a situation that I hasn't even thought needed to be resolved.

It's strange, in some ways - I'm emotionally earnest with this dude in a lot of ways that I'm not with many other people. And really, we barely know each other, despite this huge thing we experienced together. Maybe that's why things worked out. I think we're both genuinely concerned about the things we're going through surrounding the way we met - and we can't really talk about them with anyone else. So if we're not honest with each other, who else is there?

As nervewracking as it was to actually write him back and to talk about all the stuff he's been going through, I'm glad I did it. I dealt with everything as carefully and respectfully as I know how to, and I'm pretty proud of me, for that. I don't think I'd've been able to do ANY of this a year ago.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Greatest Rape Joke Ever Told

No, really.

No, ok, look. I know there's been a lot of talk about rape, and rape jokes, and certain comic who (point of personal preference) has never actually been funny, this week. And all the rest of it. And then Jezebel, of all places, actually published a really great article that sums up the issues around rape, and jokes, and rape jokes, really well. If you haven't read it, go do that. I'll wait. (If you're lazy, the Cliff Notes: Yes, you can joke about rape, because most anything, in the right light, can be funny. It is extraordinarily difficult to joke about rape when you are making rape survivors the butt of the joke. Victim-blaming? In this situation, probably actually never funny. Moving on.)

Which brings us to: This past weekend, when my friend S accidentally spit out what might be the greatest rape joke I've ever heard.

Walking up the street to a bar that is hosting a rather hipster-centric dance night, S and Q and I notice a construction crew on the street we need to cross. They're resurfacing the crosswalk, laying down new crosswalk "paint" - actually strips of white asphalt-like substance that are more wear-resistant than paint. They do this by scrubbing/airblasting the old crosswalk off, then cleaning the space with a flammable cleanser, which they burn off with FLAMETHROWERS. These FLAMETHROWERS are single barreled, duel-nosed contraptions that send off an incredible burst of flame that flares out in a K-shape, with comically perfect flames, about 30 inches in whatever direction it's being pointed. Somehow, the flames always manage to extinguish just short of the operator's toes. This heats the street asphalt and gives the crosswalk asphalt something to adhere to. They lay the strips of crosswalk asphalt down, then go over them with the same flamethrower to melt the asphalts together. Another worker follows behind the flamethrower operator, spreading glass beads over the new surface. These give a tiny bit of traction to the crosswalk, as well as making it more reflective to drivers.

While this is all happening, the flames are spewing from the dueling flamethrowers (two dudes wielding a flamthrower each), a handful of hipsters, S + I included, are staring, fascinated, by SCIENCE happening. The construction crew, in neon yellow construction vests, glances up once or twice (especially at S and I, as we're standing on the same side of the street that they're working on, not 4 feet from their workspace) and glares. Clearly, giggling twenty-somethings are not the usual sort of nuisance they run in to while on these projects.

As I'm slackjawed at SCIENCE, two of the older, more bearded members of the crew look up at me staring like I've never seen a flamethrower before - and in turn, look at me like I'm some sort of fantastic buffoon, S turns to me and states, very matter of factly: "Well, if they didn't want anyone staring at them, they shouldn't be dressed like that."

And then I lose it and die laughing. Because THAT, universe, is what a funny rape joke looks like. You're not trivializing the victim. Heck, S didn't even need to say "rape." But by taking a well known trope of rape prevention/avoidance (even though, as most women know, how you dress has very little to do with whether or not you will be raped), and flipping it around at at a bunch of fully clothed burly men WIELDING FLAMETHROWERS (who are, in fact, attracting attention by wearing neon yellow clothes. Also, FLAMETHROWERS), you reach that glorious intersection of the Benign Violation Theory where humor takes place.

No one is hurt. No one is threatened. And we all got to see some really cool flamethrowers.

Comedians of the world, take note.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fear is the Mind Killer

I have no less than 20 entries queued up, but they're all crap. They're woebegotten crap. They're customer service epic fail crap. They're rambling stories that make no sense crap. I save them, shove them in the vault, and swear that I'll come back in a few hours, and edit them to something vaguely resembling coherency.

I never do. Because I'm a perfectionist, and they're crap.

All the while, the quadzillion other blogs I read keep racing past me, and 50 Shades of Fucking Grey is a bestseller.

I almost maybe totally believe that even the first draft shit I crank out is better than 50 Shades of Fucking Grey.

So. I can either:

Keep convincing myself that I'm a shit writer, and never write anything, ever. (This plan is awesome, insofar as it satisfies my Freeze instinct, which gives me that mild pleasure of base satisfaction by doing a thing that my body is naturally inclined to do when coping with difficulties, ie, nothing. It is largely a shit plan.)

Keep writing, sporadically, and burying everything I write in a poorly tagged, poorly organized slushpile where it will never see the light of day, but, hey, I WROTE things! (This plan is awesome, insofar as it satisfies my Flight instinct, where I see something wrong then scamper away in the other direction, because dealing with things is haaaaaaaard. It is also largely a shit plan.)

Publish ("publish," lol) things anyway, even if they're not perfect, because some content is better than no content? I don't know. I can't bring myself to subscribe to that one, because putting imperfect, poorly constructed entries (like this one! Oh, the irony!) out towards a bunch of internet strangers (web crawling bots) makes me feel like I'm failing. Letting someone (mostly myself) down.

I try to cram this in to last year's mantra of Do One Thing, and my brain overloads. How can I Do One Thing, when that one thing isn't good enough, isn't coherent enough? Of course, if I listened to that part of my brain while I was skating, I'd never do anything, ever.

So I'm publishing this, even though it's self indulgent and whiny, and I'm hoping that something about that action will break the gates, and allow me to start actually pushing out some of the writing that I've been doing.

It can't be worse than 50 Shades of Grey.