inside and out, upstairs and down

there’s a panel we’re each given or set before which has seven categories, buttons or flaps, each with a little representational icon, used for testing our character and priorities. as you address each category, it sets up a little scenario and then records how you respond to it. I know one of them involves money, but I forget the rest.

I’ve gone back to boarding school for another year, and I somehow overhear something about my not being special, being unremarkable in some way, and I am absolutely livid. I go to my room to unpack, innately taking solace in my living space, and learn that, as an art student, I’ve been given a second room– as a studio or creative space, tho the layout is identical to a typical dorm room. for a moment I consider the dilemma of somehow fitting out and splitting my stuff and self between these two rooms, and in the end simply move into the creative space with a kind of “so there. just let them try to tell me I can’t do this” attitude. the more I take possession of the space, the happier I am.

my friends live upstairs in flats on floors above me, and I live down below, by myself. there’s a sense of outsiderness and former friendships broken or bent. they’re building slides up there down to the ground and painting them with smooth blue and black paint. it’s a big engineering project having to do with somebody’s injury or disability. I learn that one of the guys up there is unhappy, having a hard time– broken up or family bereavement or the like– I go to see him, want to put my arms around him, to pull my strong heart out of my chest and put it in his as a backup– but I can tell right away that, tho he is a friend, he doesn’t care like I do, like I always have for him– and I give him a squeeze and go away again by myself.

my sister and I are in my parents’ basement, in the former luggage room, checking the big shadowy equipment. our parents have updated things in recent years, but the equipment still looks ancient, dark and shadowy and bulky. we’re fussing with the hot water, trying to get it upstairs for bathing, and I decide to just bathe right there in a trim slingback chair device that seems designed expressly for the purpose.

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transition throes

I feel perfectly dreadful– at wits’ end with having no employment, structure, income, daily rationale– inside my head it all spins into an old vortex of fear and self-recrimination and insecurity and low self-esteem– I have an inkling of what I want to do with my days in exchange for a paycheck– but I’m terribly resistent about refining the definition– as if I’m terrified of getting stuck in something I never really bargained on– as if I couldn’t leave at any time I want. afraid of ending up somewhere I don’t want to be, I’m afraid to even begin shaping myself toward a self-determined goal– I make all kinds of declarations inside myself about the staying power I don’t possess and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. I need to remember the gift of process and tiny baby steps, that I need to be kind to myself above all and coach myself along the difficult road toward doing something I cannot right now do. I feel so lonely and scared here, stripped of the resources that bolstered me. I often wish lately that I’d never moved to this horrible, lonely, airless, pointless place. I know I’ll come through the other side eventually, but I wonder how long the bad part is going to go on for. I keep fluffing myself up and saying, hang in there, girlie— but I also know that I’m not doing all I could to further myself along this path– there’s no map or script, and I worry that I’m letting myself meander into the dark of the deep woods. it’s really hard when you can’t see your way clear.

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