A Random Image

Dedicated to Adequate Girl’s superhero partner, who was the first to note in print how much I scare myself.

I’ve such trouble with the explaining sometimes, with the telling of the breadth and scope that my emotions occupy: Touching the dark places, conveying the echo of the conveniently empty ones, the fervency of the faith in Everything Will Be Okay, the corny-grody hug I have for the world in the moments of innocence that I should no longer possess, but still amazingly do. My horror is a thick, sucking sluice of a thing, my happy is spun of the sweetest pale yellow and bigger than the world, my sorrow is black cherry Jell-O, sweet and mock-dense and makeshift-cushiony. I make no sense sometimes, least of all to myownself, but still I try.

“Okay, this is something I’ve never really framed up in words for anyone,” I told a friend some two weeks ago (because I’ve a tendency further toward the grandiose with each sip of booze I draw into me), “but I feel like I’m standing and looking to some far-off place, and I’m straining for it, and I can so clearly see it, but I’m not there. That in and of itself is frustrating, not in a depressing manner, but in a ‘whyohwhy can’t I be there now‘ sort of fashion.

“…but that’s not even the crux of the issue, really. The meat of it is this:

” I want to point and shout excitedly; I want others to see it, and they just simply can’t or don’t and it makes me so infernally sad.”

I remember cleanly one other time, speaking to someone who’d never been truly, truly hurt, talking about someone who liked to stab with words mounted to a hilt of feelings (his and mine, melded there together, encrusted with stones of red rage and green envy, of hard white calculation and black, glittering distrust, stones of deeply purple guilt and muddy yellow shame) and then grind the barbed blade into the deepest parts of my emotional well-being.

“And you know, I would have begged to be struck, to be mowed down under his fists, had I been able to recoup my lost and failing breath….not because I am a masochist or was devoid of pride, but because I’ve experienced that and can grow new skin, voila!, but I cannot grow a new chunks of psyche where the originals have been ripped out.” She looked at me as if that were the most ludicrously insane thing she’d ever played witness to, like I’d suddenly smeared feces all over my belly and hopped up and down hollering OOgaBOOga at her.

So be it, I remember thinking as the realization of the look on her face settled into me, I’ll play Crazygirl to your Straightlace Goody-Goody. You and all the rest of ‘em. I’m okay with that, really.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I just kind of started laughing to myself a long time ago. It was merely an occasional chuckle at first, brought on by things that aren’t supposed to amount to anything, really: My favorite horse sold after my parents’ divorce, wearing the perfect skirt in fifth grade only to be mocked. There were weeks of hunger to move the chuckle to a giggle, there was my mother torn down and ragged with work (nineteen hours a day-worth) and worry (twenty-five hours).

Things like a remarkably vicious addiction to chemicals (“Can I just float? CAN I??”) at the doorway to puberty, a friend hanging from the rafters not long after, and more twisted loves than I care to count immersing me in clutching, tear-falling, full-on laughter, towing me toward self-preservation and –so much more importantly– steel-bellied perserverance.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I wrote something one time –supposedly for a grade, but for something more profound than that, really– and handed it to someone, only to be asked once, twice, thrice (and the cock crowwwwwed, motherfucker), “Did this happen? Did you really see this?” Yes, this is my experience, I answered patiently. Yes and Yes and Yes some more. It’s okay if you don’t live in that, because I live in it enough for both of us, and maybe then some. And there they were, hovering on the precipice between doubt and belief, waiting on me to give them the push into the latter while I had no interest whatsoever in doing so. Not having the need to fulfill a need is a wonderful thing in certain situations.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

When I was married to the person who assuaged his Philanderer’s Guilt by turning angry, then turning vicious on me, I used to comfort myself safely and successfully. I had my love for us –the mystical ‘we’– first and foremost. When that began to reveal itself as Not Studied Enough To Doctor, I needed to revert back to a lifelong practice. When he receded to the bedroom, when the pounding of his fists abated and there was only the pounding of my heart and the pounding of blood rushing to my skin’s surface, I would sit quietly in a corner, elbows on knees, and sing to myself. It was the one thing…well, it was the certainty in a world of variables. I’d always sung, at church and school and in competitions. If an emotion was worthy of having, then it could be expressed in song. Only natural, then, to make it a coping mechanism.

I sang when my father left us high and dry, I sang when my stomach felt like it was eating itself, when I was misunderstood and lonely. I sang on the float up (or the ‘windup’, depending on what version of The Blasted Sacrament was on the menu for the day) that grew less satisfying and through the indubitable crashes that grew more frequent. I sang to my tenebrous, itchy self from the part that was sane and still and waiting, assured, for trouble to turn from me. I sang reckless, irresponsible, incongruous and I sang reverent, earnest, flowing.

And so it would go, that after the person I loved more than any other in the world would take a swipe or eleven in my direction and wander away, I could be heard salving my own heart and doing a pretty okay job of it in more than one respect. So, as you were foolishly thinking I’d already told you the unfair part, I should get to it so that you’ll know the worst of it by far: There came a time when even the self-healing ritual drew his GuiltFuryGuilt eye and transformed it to GuiltFuryGuiltFury and I was silenced with more blows when I wouldn’t ’shut the fuck up with that fucking singing’. This, from the man who said, “The only things I want for our wedding one of those fuzzy feather pens and for you to sing to me, sweet girl.” in the once upon a time before you took his name. He was too young and he didn’t realize what he so carelessly held, and that is my excuse for him because I know pity where he is concerned.

He stilled my singing: I am always profoundly amazed at this, even now.

He stilled my singing.

One questioned my sanity, one doubted my experience, one stilled my singing, and they are all guilty. When I say it that way, it sounds as if I dismiss my own part in each; I don’t. Sometimes my lack of discretion curls my toes, it is so embarrassing.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

So I look tonight, in need of something to laugh at, and see a referral for the mechanics of spinning a top and I’m left feeling deflated, thinking, Oh. Oh my.

You can’t imagine how this impacts me, how it moves me: There is someone looking on the internet, trying to find practical advice on how to set a top in motion….and perhaps keep it that way as long as humanly possible.

These are the people that I wish would find this place and stay awhile for a little assiness and brevity and maybe even long enough for us to start a discourse; a conversation initiated so that I might ask them why on Earth they would think the answer to a spinning top would be two-dimensional and analytical.

“Why would you think it a hands-off experience?” I’d ask, blinking.

“Spinning a top is a little skill, a little hope, a little faith, a little will, a little recklessness, a little mirth and some hand-eye coordination all mashed up together, lumpy and fresh.” Spinning a top is an experience, not a clinical impression, and why would you try to pan for it in such a bland manner? Find a top. Find a flat surface. Give it all you’ve got. Get up, get up, getupgetupgetUP and do your bydamnedest to get that sucker skimming the concrete. If you just cannot set the thing on its end, despite your keenest efforts, then find someone with hands and mouth and presence to show you how.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

You don’t have to understand. You’re not expected to…but you know, the next time someone tells you something about their spirit that you just can’t fathom from a practical standpoint, don’t look at them like their clothes just caught on fire and they are offering you a cuddly bear hug. Just spare them that.

Don’t you ever, ever take someone’s voice from them.

(music instead of lyrics this time)

14 worked it out »

  1. Dean 1.9.2004

    “the next time someone tells you something about their spirit that you just can’t fathom from a practical standpoint, don’t look at them like their clothes just caught on fire and they are offering you a cuddly bear hug. Just spare them that.”

    Is it ok to offer that someone a bear hug of your own?

  2. Bakelite Lung 1.9.2004

    Very little frustrates me more than people who are unable to believe or comprehend things outside of their own experiences. “It’s never happened to me, dammit, so it can’t have happened,” is the upshot of their response.

    My experience is this: life is a pretty fucking weird place, and the easy answers some of our so-called “friends” (try spelling this without the “E” sometime) think we ought to be locating just plain old ain’t there.

  3. Bakelite Lung 1.9.2004

    Oops, I meant that you should try spelling “friends” without the “R.”

    (Without the E it’s “frinds,” and I have no fucking CLUE what that would be.)

  4. Gale 1.9.2004

    wow. I loved this.

  5. red clay 1.9.2004

    “Helping fish make lousy decisions since 1929. ”

    Advertising slogan for Winston fly rods

  6. Crazy Lady 1.10.2004

    You know, from the get go, I’ve never had a problem understanding you or your thoughts… or feelings… or words… or any part of you that is out there and singing… I find that both reassuring and scary for some reason.


    PS: Be still.

    I’ve been exploring the possibility of stillness and have found that in the roaring silence married to the stillness, the meaning of such great things unknown sing until they become known in the hidden places of your heart and soul. Be still.

  7. Sgt. Mac 1.10.2004

    I lost ya’ at…. I’ve such trouble with the explaining sometimes…Dammit, you make my brain hurt trying to figure out what the fuck your talkin’ about…

    Or maybe its just the frigin’ Flu like bug, that infects my noggin’, like some parasite, eatin’ away my brain matter….

    Whatever…you said, I guess it was good?

  8. Bakelite Lung 1.10.2004

    Sgt Mac –

    KO, I’ll try to translate for ya. In the first chapter, Jett explains something to a person who has NO concept of what she’s talking about because the other person has never “been truly, truly hurt.” This person is horrified and thinks Jett might be sorta nuts. In the second chapter Jett tells a little about some of the things she has been through that have made her what she is. In the third chapter another person, a teacher, is incredulous at one of Jett’s descriptions of a personal experience.

    In the fourth chapter, esposo numero uno is abusive to the point that he almost breaks Jett’s spirit. In the fifth chapter, Jett encounters a web page where someone seems to be patiently explaining how to *play* with something. Jett thinks you should “just do it.”

    The last chapter is the trickiest and prolly most open to interpretation. I think she’s saying that you don’t have to understand what someone else tells you and you don’t even have to believe it, but don’t pity or condescend or revile or over-analyze. Just listen and try to accept.

    And believe me, all this will be on the final exam.

  9. we should talk again

  10. john 1.11.2004

    It liked reading this, but it struck me that the anon. google user might have merely been trying to understand the physics of a top.

    The inertial force of a spinning object has a velocity that constantly changes due to the rotation. It is falling, but the direction of the fall is changing so it never gets very far As the rotation speed slows, it begins to fall more and the wobble motion becomes more dramatic.

    There is poetry in this motion. I don’t think understanding the laws should replace experience, but they can enhance it.

    Nature and Nature’s laws

    lay hid in night;

    God said, “Let Newton be!”

    And there was light.

    – Alexander Pope

  11. Sarge 1.11.2004


    I listened and accept your x=planation…What other languges do you know sides Jettspeak?

  12. Bakelite Lung 1.12.2004

    Pig Latin…

  13. Jett 1.12.2004

    Bakey, that would be Igpay Atlay.


    [ >:o) ]

  14. Jettomatika 1.12.2004




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