Wednesday, June 18, 2008

and the world spins madly on

It was my birthday a couple of weeks back. It marked 27 years of accumulated history and a few more layers added to my memory strata.

I’m told that one of the greatest things to be gained with age is growing more comfortable with yourself as a whole. It’s a nice thought, definitely something to look forward to, and yet-

And yet, I don’t think I want to be comfortable with what I am. Like people who become comfortable in obese bodies and in abusive relationships. I’m a bad fit, in this skin, in this skull, in this life. May I never grow comfortable with that, may I stay itchy and restless and never settle and never accept that this is all I am. That would be defeat. Some wars aren’t meant to be won, but not winning is not the same as being defeated.

Being 26 was unpleasant. It was rather like suffocating in scrotum. Sweating hairy rank scrotum that came in great filthy sticky folds. Gross and embarrassing and relentless. Being 26 was quite possibly worse than being 16, although I don’t think the two can be compared, being different people in different times and different places.

I can’t complain (but I sure do), the hardest years are the ones in which we learn the most, in which we are tested and grow, one way or another. It is better to grow than stagnate, but it has been a very steep learning curve, and a non-stop one at that, and I think I’m burning out. Students at exam time go a little crazy, so overwhelmed by everything they have to process. Some down time would be nice, a chance to process everything churning around in my head and recharge all batteries, but I don’t think such time will be granted me any time soon.

Maybe I’ve already burnt out. Maybe I’m just tired. Or desperate. Or crazy. It’s hard to tell. From here, they all look the same. Rejections are necessary for writers, to help build a thick skin, like childhood sicknesses are necessary to build an immune system. Life might work like that for some people. I think I’m a castle, and every rock thrown at my walls just makes the cracks deeper and wider, until I’m so battered that it no longer takes a boulder to knock me down, some small rock will do, then not even rocks, just the passing breeze. Now I take damage from things that don’t even happen. I create my own damage, but it hardly shows up against everything else.

It’s funny, though, that in spite of how far I’ve come, hurtling another year through time, there are some lessons that I must keep on learning.

I wanted a hug. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted something so intensely before. The lack of having a source of hugs on tap made itself felt in my body, it was physical and a little scary. There’s some kink in my wiring and I assume that anything I want is something I should learn to live without (and even harder to fight, the possibility that in seeking the thing I want I will fail and be denied, which is a fear taller than I am), but I didn’t say no to a hug when it was there.

It wasn’t really the hug I wanted. I was looking for a safe place, and hugs are not safe places. There is no place more vulnerable, which is obvious, but rarely realised. Until you find you’ve gone and left yourself vulnerable to someone who doesn’t care. There are no safe places left in the world. I know this, but I have difficulty accepting it. I guess it’s just animal instinct to seek shelter, and Tessaism to do it wrong.

Learning this doesn’t stop me from being stupid. I had the chance to be weak and naked and vulnerable in front of someone who did care, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t say a word. I wanted to break down and didn't know how, and because of that I broke something important, something that mattered.

And that is the lesson I learn, and have to keep on learning. That I’m not the person I want to be, not even close. I can’t and haven’t ever been able to say the things that matter out loud. Maybe one day I will, because I don’t want to grow comfortable like this, but not today.

Until that day, I will do what I have always done, and write.

Goddamn this bloody fucking blog.

I have to take this space back, again, because I’m dumb and keep forgetting what it’s for. Like medication, I shy away from it. The idea of needing something in order to function as a normal person doesn’t taste good, but I just have to swallow that and deal with it. If hanging myself out to dry works, then it works. If When it comes back to bite me in the arse, I'll deal with that too. I know that just because I promise to come back doesn’t mean that anyone will wait for me, but for those of you who have, thank you. There’s no greater compliment you can give a person than your own time, and by merely reading this you give me more time than I deserve, truly.

I’m going to stretch your patience a little further, I’m afraid. There is a lot of junk I need to write out of my system. I’ve been looking for something in my head, in the streets, on the internet, and I haven’t come close to finding it. I think what I’m looking for can’t be found. I think I’m looking for the ground. Somewhere along the way I lost track of it, and now I’m just tumbling about in the sky, in orbit maybe, forever burning up in the atmosphere, forever falling, but never finding the ground. They say from up there you don’t feel yourself fall, you don't know up from down. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m desperate. Maybe I’m tired. It’s hard to tell. From here, they all look the same.

Maybe that’s because they are.

It’s a bit late to be asking for birthday presents, and a bit presumptuous too, but if you care to indulge me, then please, I’d like you to go and give someone a hug. Most people aren’t carrying around all my finely tuned neuroses, and everyone needs a hug. Go hug someone you know needs a hug, you suspect might want a hug, or even someone who doesn’t need a hug at all, but the receiving of one would just be a giant ripe sweet cherry on top of a glorious day. Hug them past the point where they lean in give you a pat and turn away, hug them till you have their attention and you’ve made them uncomfortable, hug them till they stop asking why you’re giving them this hug, and hug them till they’ve accepted this hug, and let themselves be engulfed in it, simple as that.

Here’s to you, and the safe places you make.

And if you get done for indecent assault, well, that's what you get for listening to strange people on the internet.


  1. Anonymous18/6/08 07:21

    Keep on writing out that junk, Tessa. It does help, I think. And it helps us readers too, because there's probably nothing you're feeling that we haven't all had a taste of in our own lives, and sharing fear and pain and loneliness and, well, junk, makes us a bit less alone.

    So, I'm happy to give you some of my time. And also this, even though it's not as good as the real thing:

    *hug* *huugggggggggggggareyoufeeling uncomfortableyet?*

  2. Anonymous18/6/08 08:27

    You write good.

    I owe you 1 x hug.

  3. Anonymous18/6/08 13:09

    Just wait until your Saturn Return! Only 2-3 years and then your life will REALLY get turned upside down. *malevolent cackle*

    (Lacking my own personal saint, the Saturn Return is what I'm blaming for all the pianos that got dropped on my head from the middle of 29 to the middle of 31. I thought 23-24 was bad until then.)

    You're right, though - sometimes it's not good to be comfortable with what you've got. Life doesn't always turn out as you expected, but that doesn't mean you oughta sit there and put up with it. Writing about it might not solve anything immediately, but it gets some of the frustrations and fears off your chest, and occasionally someone might have an intelligent response that'll make you look at a situation a little differently.

    Hugs help, too. *squish*

  4. Anonymous18/6/08 23:28

    It is clear to me, and i'm sure a lot of people, that you are a kind, honest, creative, intelligent woman.
    When you can accept this it won't mean that you are weak, or have stopped exploring, or that you will have become benumbed. It means that you will have stopped undermining your own beauty and you will be moving with it in a consolidated and co-ordinated way. Maybe this is what 'comfortable' really means - dropping the need to unnecessarily undermine one's life.
    You're too hard on yourself sometimes.

    sincerely. x

  5. I have no idea what a Saturn Return is, but I don't want one, thank you very much.

    Maybe you're right, anonymous, but I don't see what other people see, or other people don't see what I see.

  6. Anonymous20/6/08 14:13

    Haven’t ever been able to say the things that matter out loud? Tru dat...

  7. Anonymous20/6/08 16:09

    Pfft. I'll tell you anyway!

    A "Saturn return" is an astrological phenomenon that occurs about every 29.5 years when Saturn completes an orbit back into the sign it was in when you were born, and it traditionally entails a great deal of chaos for a couple of years, exactly what sort depending on the sign in question, blah blah blah.

    It just happens to coincide with the western coming-of-age, in the end, but hey, it's a convenient concept to blame.

  8. Jaime....I swear, if my life goes shit again in two years time, it is your fault. Just for bringing planting that in my head.