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23:52 - Saturday, Jan. 03, 2004
standing on tiptoe
seasonal depression is an odd cookie. come to think of it, maybe it's kind of a bad omen to put this in as the first entry of the new year, but so it goes. i used to think it was year-seasonal, as in march of each year i would, inexplicably, feel choked up in the throat at night like something was pressing on me, a deadline or a monster - it's a wide spread of possibilities. but in any case (lower) it is always worse than i remember, and i can't explain it when i am not within its grip (when i am within its grip, i am unable to even begin to write). my best is not good enough right now to try and put it into words. there is nothing wrong with my life that should make me feel this way, as is usually the case when it comes. everything is relatively peaceful.
the last thing i got fired up (at least inwardly) about was the last time i went to my mom's and she said to me, 'i took your advice about leaving dad and look where i am now.' (said in a manner that suggested where she was now was a very bad place.) it bothers me that a) she can logically place blame on me for something she did of her own free will and b) that she thinks she's worse off now. lonelier, maybe, but less abused, too.
anyway, that was last week, and the only thing that happened was i lost my appetite for the chicken and mashed potatoes she made me and she got angry at me for that.

this is unrelated, though. i'm having trouble breathing again, lately. it starts when it gets dark. i'm not bored, exactly, or sad, or lonely, but i am apprehensive for something unnamable to come tumbling down (reading house of leaves isn't helping) completely unexpectedly and turn my life inside out. when it doesn't come, it is not exactly a reassurance that it won't. it still feels like it will. so you keep waiting.
i have to get out of the house, and i do, when i can. i have to remember that, that no matter how much i don't want to, and i never do, that i have to get out of the house.
the original point was that i thought initially that it was every year. then i noticed a milder version came at the half year. and now i'm seeing it at the quarter year. another must-keep truth is that the highs balance out the lows. i can see that at the highs. but the lows don't allow for standing on tiptoe.

17:07 - Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2003
in review
notable events of the year (in reverse chronological order):

~ dec. 29th: a giant black woman/tiny jewish man married couple walk into the music store where i work and proceed to tell us the story of how they got together. 'at our wedding, we flew his rabbi out to the east and he and my minister married us together. i sang to him and he sang to me,' said the woman, who then burst into loud sweet r&b verse right there at the front counter.

~ dec. 17th: gail, robyn and i drive madly towards hapa sushi 'fusion' bar down broadway, blasted out of our brains, seeking magic mushrooms and teriyaki beef and banana cake. i almost get us killed on the way and they just laugh. at the restaurant, i drop the pencil on the floor and forget about it three seconds later. when the waitress comes, i tell her 'we didn't get a pencil.' rolling her eyes, she picks it up off the floor not two inches from my left foot.

~ dec. 12th: nick and i get together. the way he kisses me is something i lost hope for the day i turned 18. 'nobody is left,' i wrote just days before. 'nobody is left who still gets excited about things like this, nobody is left who isn't jaded about love.'
i was wrong. he is left. we are left. we melt together like i wouldn't ever have dreamed. in his smile is something like bubbling under/over lava. we don't know where to step to be safe. but it's wonderful.

~ now i don't have exact dates because it's too far in the past: i come home from the helpline party and lara is passed out in her room and andrew is on the couch with a row of beers lined up next to him. instead of going to bed, as it's 2 a.m., i lie on the couch opposite andrew and we talk about nothing and everything for 3 1/2 hours. we cover junior high orthodontia like it's nuclear physics and recall high school friendships with more truth to us than we would if we had been in any way connected before college. i go to sleep feeling like my mind has been washed clean.

~ i go to a helpline party and talk honestly to people i've hardly brushed shoulders with in the past, all the while drinking wine in the hot tub crowded and squished with at least fifteen people inside. we run back and forth from the languid wine and bubbles to the freezing cold swimming pool where we have screaming chicken fights. it is 1 or 2 in the morning and so cold the grass is crunchy under my bare feet. on the way out, climbing over the fence, i'm too drunk and too cold to do it. tyler has to push me up and over while i bite my lip to keep from screaming at the fence spikes poking me in the leg.

~ nick and i are innocently taking the bus to valmont to buy some flowers for his house when suddenly we find ourselves plotting to leave the country and travel the world with no money, living off the land. even though in the back of our minds we know it won't happen, we are, at the time, completely serious. we plan down to the tiniest detail and assure each other that 'i won't be the one to back out.' two weeks later, he sheepishly calls me. 'my dad won't let me,' he says.

~ lara, camille, mike, jon and i go see a radiohead concert at red rocks without tickets. we climb the steep, craggy, cactus-laden mountainside in sandals and sweatshirts and find a spot behind a clump of trees just as it's starting to get dark. a group of strangers join us in our pot-smoking in exchange for telling us dead baby jokes. when the concert starts, they stumble off and we move out into the open and watch the concert that looks like a martian spaceship on the edge of an endless cliff with guitar chords floating up at us like squiggly neon lights.

~ there is apparently a gnat epidemic in evanston, but i don't notice it while it's going on. everyone around me is spitting and covering their faces and swatting at the air around them, but i see nothing; just a clean, slightly foggy sky. i begin to think i'm insane and/or living in a perpetual dream.

~ summer full of everything and with no time to think, much like this winter break. my whole summer's plans can be summed up in one sentence (wake up, go to work, come home, play with cats, go climbing, come home, go to sleep) with the following exception:

~ the camping trip erik, nora, camille, nikki and i took that was fun but guilt-ridden, as the whole time i was worried about hurting people by excluding them. our aim and our ends were completely different. our aim was to have a weekend away with the people we'd known since junior high school, strengthen bonds, etc.... our ends were not that. while we were there i felt like we were trying to be an elite inner circle of whatever even though we weren't. and we spent much of our time analyzing that, which is a pretty good sign that we didn't go about it the right way.

~ i drive home with an almost-complete stranger, 17 hours, boulder to chicago, making what should be awkward conversation but only was for the first hour. after that, we settled into it. i looked at the rain reflecting off the lights and onto his blond curls and thought about how i don't know this person at all and am spending this most vulnerable exhausted irritable 17 hours with him. we saw each other at our worst.

~ lara and i walk around boulder in a very euphoric and contemplative high, and we eat ridiculously expensive food and attempt to order ridiculously expensive wine, all without a second thought. she sees a man on the street; in my haze i don't quite see him, but she pulls me down on a cement block and exclaims 'he was my lover in a past life!!!'
we skip down the sidewalk arm in arm in full daylight with all sorts of eyes following us and we don't even turn around.

~ i have the worst panic attack i've ever had en route to a movie about crop circles with andrew and jeremy. i am positive i will dry up and die right there on the buff bus, on colorado ave, in the movie theater, outside with them smoking cigarettes and talking so softly to my ears that it could be about anything. i clutch andrew's down jacket sleeve and whisper 'i can't...' ... it's all i can do. he thinks it's because i'm stoned. 'you can do it, man,' he says, and sits down in the aisle to block me from view.
on the way home, it breaks like dawn to reveal a kind of truth, or at least a reassurance, and i don't think i've ever been happier in a single moment.

~ i leave the country for the first time, to england. (canada doesn't count.) i hate london, as it's just like any other big city, but louder, ruder, more expensive, and with unbelievably shitty food. however, the countryside is beautiful and i take a liking to all the ruined monasteries and castles. i try to stay in the ruins for hours and hours, touching thousand-year-old stone and breathing thousand-year-old air.

~ lara and i sign the lease for our first apartment. i'm so nervous i smoke cloves the whole way over. i write a check for $500, the security deposit, and know that i am stepping into something i've never stepped into before.

~ my great uncle grows some sort of infection on his foot and has to have it amputated. for awhile, he's so depressed that he won't eat or sleep or allow doctors to treat the infection. i see him at my grandpa's 90th birthday party and he slides in unbearably slowly on a walker with a caretaker at his elbow, mumbling under his breath and looking unbelievably pissed off. but by a half hour later, he has rolled the walker into a corner and is lurching around all on his own, break-lightning speed, having an animated debate with my uncle about politics and winking at everyone who gapes at his foot or asks where his walker is. 'what walker?' he replies.

~ nick and i get into a snowball fight and nick, who is from california, wins. i get so angry i tackle him headfirst into a drift of thick snow, we tumble over each other, and he, thinking i'm hitting on him, gets up all panicked and runs off into the distance. i take advantage of his terror and lambast him with snowballs. he is pacified. we run up to my room with mittenfuls of snow and make coke slushies.

23:41 - Sunday, Dec. 28, 2003
i do mean everything
Last night and the night before I've had the kind of dreams where I wake up in the 'rag-love' stage where I can think that phrase over and over again, rag-love rag-love rag-love. I don't know what it means except I know it's got to do with sleeping for hours and hours past my normal amount. At times like those I know I could just stay in bed indefinitely with or without someone else and think like I never think otherwise.... the thoughts are different, but the patterns are more so. Just behind it there's this nagging arrow of 'there's more important, urgent things to do besides being in bed right now.' It tries to push me up, but the mindset is such that it's bothered by arrows like that, but not enough to get up. I can think like how I can't even describe right now.

But the dreams were strong enough that some details stand out. Two nights ago my friends and I were watching a movie, and what we saw in the movie dictated what we would become the next night. My destiny was to become a screeching house-monkey carrying a withered barbell out of my apartment and onto the elevator, where I contemplated escaping but couldn't press the basement button fast enough while the rest of them were going to '1'. Another friend had to wear a frilly bathing suit and sing the theme from 'Star Wars'. In the hotel lobby, a cowboy with a gun waited, pointing straight between my (monkey's) eyes.

The next night's dream was less creepy, but possibly more disturbing. I was lost in a gigantic outdoor mall with colours like the first Donkey Kong Country game for SNES. I passed a rusting casino but couldn't figure out how to give it my money, so I rode in a rickety pushcart to the second floor, where it became streamlined and I waltzed, in my black cocktail dress, into the Body Shop, where my dress was growing progressively shorter and more see through until I was practically naked, standing in the Body Shop with a line of girls waiting for the right lip-gloss colour match. The girl at the end of the line took me into her arms. She was, shockingly, taller than me. She whispered nonsense into my ears to take my mind off being naked in a mall and then kissed me like I've never been kissed in real life, just a half-second long but faint-inducing, and I swayed, dignified in my reappearing cocktail dress, out the exit and woke up in rag-love in my bed, 1 p.m.

What I'm doing now is mindwarping from trying to remember all that. What I'm doing now is trying to forget what upset me enough to make me lose my appetite... which really shouldn't have, as it's been happening on and off for four years now. I came home and watched three South Parks in a row while drinking lemonade and eating cheesecake. By the time that was over I'd forgotten everything. I do mean everything.


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