Eulogy of a Wolf Woman

129.2

Last night I carve your initials into every tree I run past in my mind.

I find that abyssal cave in my heart your words have hollowed out over the years and press my body into the emptiness there, nuzzling the lonely walls with my nose, wriggling to become as small as I can in that space.

I sink my teeth into every scrap of food I can find, gorging myself on fruits and nut butters and squash, whimpering over and over, fill me up, fill me up, fill this void please.

No air would pass over my vocal columns but god did I sing a lament for you in my soul last night. They were sounds of a ghost woman, one whom does not touch the earth with her feet any longer, but just hovers over the dust. To beat one’s feet against the ground again would be too real, too mortal, to vulnerable to your attack.

When Sleep finds me it washes over my collapsed heap of skin and bones and, like a merciful arrival at last, whisks me far from my troubled state into the black starry night. It is there that I became a Skywalker for just a few precious hours. It is there, under the moon, that my bloodied torn flesh is restored and thickens to a glossy dark skin suit, like that of a Seal Woman.

My feet, once so encumbered by your watching, are free to dance wildly through the clouds of the night, my fleshy thighs stretching and bounding to keep a rhythm all my own, hands twisting with an ancient feminine style. My grandmothers, humming over hundreds of years, are mobilizing within me.

What is this tempo? What is this free harmony and movement which has nothing to do with you? I was sure you had tainted every part of me, yet this is purely a product of my heart which has not been touched by your poison?

Suddenly I am in a sky forest, thick sequoia trees rise like old titans into the heavens but I cannot tell where their trunks meet beneath me. They are chanting along to my dance. They are singing encouragement and strength. Their unintelligible language surrounds me like a silky blanket of light. I close my eyes and the humming grows loud in my sternum.

Then, my feet touch earth.

 

 

I rise in the morning from that dreamy state.

I am free and whole.

When I look in the mirror my eyes are clear blue, the storms have settled in them and rest now at the darkened edge of my iris. My hair is wild from a night of sky dancing. My hips are full and rested.

The war is over.

I am over you.

 

 

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Wings and Bones in Lake Tahoe

13(something)

Lake Tahoe, CA

We’re not right for each other. This can’t last. How could I have been so stupid, I think as I run my hands over the cool crimson surface of my brand new Atomic Vantage 95s. I let my cheek lean into the sharp bladed sides, closing my eyes and encasing the tears beneath them.

I’ve been a rookie ski patroller in the grand Sierra Nevadas for a little over 2 months. I had 2 and a half left. My heart is pitching as violently as the weather systems blowing over from the valley.

Today was the first off I’ve had in weeks, and I’d spent the first part arguing with a pot-bellied hood-winking mechanic and taking his 450 dollar estimate for fixing up my quaking-engine-light-tripping rig and turning it to a mere 65 dollar self install project, swapping a single spark plug wire.

Now with the remaining cash I had gotten from my last job I walked out on, I slide 6 hundred dollar bills across the counter at the local ski shop, feeling that this was the money my ingenuity and refusal to be punked at the auto shop had earned, and fuck I was going to buy wings with it. (Perhaps I was a bit manic too.)

The ski tech, an old grizzly giant with a voice that reminded me of a campfire, had steered me down the line of plated shiny twins earlier in the week.

“What have you been running on this season?”

I had looked at the ground, embarrassed, “An old sport set of K2 Sugar Luvs…”

They were a Christmas gift set from my parents about seven years ago at Sports Authority when our new year resolution had been to “ski more as a family”. Back then I had hated skiing. Hated the cold. Hated the snow. Now the frozen hills were my home and their echoing loneliness was my song.

I remember how his eyebrows had popped, “Seriously?”

I had been managing as a rookie patroller on my useless gray sportsters, and had gotten quite used to accepting the multiple summersaults awaiting me in anything off-piste and deep powder. I had gotten used to the laughter of fellow patrollers as I struggled to manage the weak planks under my feet as the snow bullied us down the slope. Their mocking didn’t faze me any longer, and maybe that was a useful lesson in not giving a shit. In laughing at yourself. In letting go.

But I am ready.

My heart glows as he places my new beauties on the rack to be mounted. His surprise is apparent, to see this small woman emptying her pockets after looking at the skis only briefly. I had done the math quickly in my head: I could survive on basically nothing until my next paycheck, because this was everything. Food was taking a backseat. Gas would have to be carefully rationed. All I wanted were wings.

I carry them gingerly to the car I fixed by myself, ignoring the widening abyss in my heart where the realization of my probable breakup with my firefighter from Oregon is stewing. I can’t think about it right now.

It’s time to fly.

Broke and Free in California,

Saint

Girl on Fire

“So according to your diagram…Mast Hill is that way, that way, and then that way?” I gesture with a few quick turns of my hands.

“No.” Mr. Breaking Bad, the balding paramedic stares at me disapprovingly. This is the way I’ve become accustomed to him looking at me.

He makes his way back over to the white board and scribbles a few lines again, marking a few dots and boxes for building landmarks. He tries again explaining how I go west over the bridge and south down the other road and hang an eventual left, but I think he notices that my eyes have glazed over.

“You know, it might just be easier if you run the other way…you don’t turn or anything, just keep going.”

I shrug, “Okay.”

“But it’s eight miles roundtrip.”

“Okay. That’s fine.”

I set out from the station and it’s already hot as fuck. I grimace and accept my punishment for oversleeping, and the speed workout is underway. It’s apparent within seconds that I haven’t run in over a month, and this is going to suck major time.

But the time I get back I’m absolutely disgustingly sweaty, and my face is beet red.

“God she doesn’t look alright…” I hear as I trot up the stairs and around the corner to pull a water bottle from the fridge. Three men (Breaking Bad, Wildman, and Big Guy) and standing there grinning at me in what I hope to god is some sort of approval.

I sigh, “well…poor circulation is one reason that I run.”

My body is beat, but for the first time since I’ve gotten here I feel relaxed. Big Guy is packing up his dorm, because technically I’m his replacement. But it sucks that he’s leaving because he’s already become like a big brother to me, teaching me how the station works and how to keep my head down and mouth shut. With me it’s going to be impossible though.

Last night the four of us went out for Mexican food to celebrate BG’s last night here. He’s going to paramedic school in Boston since his girlfriend got accepted into medical school there. He seems reluctant. I think it’s stupid how people come into your life and you start to like them and feel okay around them and then they leave.

As the new probationary member of the fire station in this small-ass town-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, Oregon I know I’ve got a long road ahead of me. Right off the bat, the only other female intern here hates me (she’s also leaving) and at 136 pounds I’ve got zero physical power to match the guys here. My only chance is to get back into running shape again and start pushing weights.

I left my life in Colorado. After camp (and saying goodbye to Spellbound) I threw my shit into the back of my truck and drove out here, hoping this fire internship position would be given to me. I guess I got lucky.

I hug BG goodbye so that Wildman can drive him to Portland to catch a flight to Boston. I’ll miss him.

I move my stuff into his dorm room (I’m the first one of the new interns to show up, there are two more coming…both guys) because it’s bigger. I guess it’s a tradition that whenever someone moves out they have to leave something behind…so I’m a little surprised when I open the dresser drawer and find mostly empty bottle of Pendleton.

Thanks. I’m going to need that Big Guy. 

–Saint

Waystations

Girls are idiots I’ve decided. I’m an idiot.

My front bumper cries out in pain as I bank a sharp left…the fender is still fucked from the time I hit the deer…The time my ex came to my rescue, like usual, in his prickish REI outfit and bambi eyes.

Fuck! I scream in my head and roll into the next parking space on the street.

And my forehead is on the steering wheel and suddenly I’m sobbing like a stupid little child, the door cracked and one foot hanging outside. I was going to check my bumper, but then the tear duct dams crumbled and here I am gritting my teeth as tears trail down my cheeks and I moan down at the floorboards. I’m supposed to be headed to Aspen for my 50k race. Everyone has been wishing me luck all day, I wish I had never told anyone about the goddamned race.

I’m in Boulder instead. I’m avoiding the boy I’ve been courting from camp and the other hoard of summer camp coworkers that inevitably end up in the same fucking town when you try to runaway from everybody. I need to drive farther. I know that. But I’m also terrified that this boy, whom I’ve convinced myself will soon run out of patience for my bipolar mood swings and last minute plans and impulses, will get mad at me.

Why are girls always terrified of people getting mad at them? I try to tell myself, “FUCK, if they want to get mad, let them get mad.” I tell myself over and over again, let them be mad, let them be mad, let them be mad.

But I can’t help it. My stomach drops 13 floors thinking that if he doesn’t want to mess with me anymore after I bail on our plans this weekend, I won’t be able to handle anything. Rejection, even from a boy I’m nearly certain isn’t in my future twists my gut into a tangled knot, like the mishandled headphone cords tossed on my passenger seat.

And now I’m sitting at the window of a pseudo-vietnamese college eat spot in Boulder, staring at the waitress wearing half a shirt pace back and forth out front on the patio. I’m the only in here. She’s on the phone, just pacing. My brain sparks, because she’s really hot…she may as well not be wearing a shirt, since the back is just strings.

I need to get the fuck out of here. As the window’s neon open sign beats blinks down on my laptop, brighter and brighter with each fading minute of daylight, I’m reduced to apathy. I look at the pacing waitress and the old asian lady–or man I can’t tell–strolling by, an unhurried fire truck inch by, I’m wondering what the fuck life is about anyways.

I’m thinking that when I break for the Colorado border after this seasonal position ends in two weeks, gunning it for the holy grail of Portland, if I’ll just get hit by a fucking semi or something. All this worrying and obsessing and planning and fucking for nothing. What a circus.

I’m supposed to be running 33 miles on Sunday. I’m supposed to celebrating with camp friends tonight. But instead I find myself again at the mercy of this strange internal mechanism to flee, flee, flee.

Flee responsibility, plans, lovers, commitments, friends, enemies, social obligation.

I drag my feet to my car, throw my shit in the back, and hop in. I need to go home one last time and get my shit for Portland. If I wait another week I won’t have the guts to leave again. This way I can bolt straight from camp and not even think about it until I’m halfway to Utah.

I glare at my speedometer, When I get to Portland, I’m going to be the greatest artist in the world. And I’m going to become the next great ultrarunner. And I’m not going to give a damn about boys who can’t keep up with the crazy. It’s mine.

I rest my forehead on the steering wheel for another second or two.

Wild girls run.

But they run alone.

–Saint

Gone Girls

“After camp a friend and I are driving to Portland.”

My mother doesn’t look up from the humming bird feeder she’s filling and replies absently, “Oh? What’s in Portland?”

I shrug. I have no fucking idea. I just expected her to be a little more…reactive.

“Well, what are you going to do there?”

“Not sure. Get a job. Try to find a place.”

“Uh huh.” She holds the feeder up to the window, which trickles through as a distorted wash of slivered light. “Well what about the EMT thing?”

There Meg, I told her alright? She thinks it’s a fucking joke.

Three more weeks working at summer camp before we all get loosed to the world. I drove all the way back home for what I hope is the last time, though I don’t tell the parents this. I binged all day yesterday and watched TV shows on my computer…a useless bloated fuck. I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin these days. I don’t want to eat at all this week, because lord knows landing a bartending gig in a new city rests heavily on how lustfully the manager eyeballs you at the interview. Ass out, good posture, cute smile.

133.4 is what the scale reads this morning after cramming shit down my throat all day yesterday. I’ll take it.

Meg is the girl from the kitchen up there, and she’s as insane as me. I don’t think she medicates for it though, besides her cigarettes and frequent weekend fucks with strangers. She has bright purple hair and kids ask us every week if we’re sisters.

We sit on the ghostly sidewalks of the closest hippie town as I steal the coffee shop’s wifi and she blows smoke in my face. Now I want one, but I’m still saving my lungs.

For what? Oh yeah, I’m going to be a famous runner one day. Fucking lunatic.

This next weekend I’m supposed to be racing a 50k. But just like everything else in my life, I’ve failed…dropped off training a few weeks ago and now the thought of running fills me with a crushing sadness that squeezes my ribs until they crack. I want to be running right now. But I’m frozen in depression. Even the sight of my tennis shoes just makes me so insanely depressed.

I lay awake at 2am wondering why I’m still alive. I think about calling 9-1-1 and explaining calmly to the dispatcher that I feel unsafe. I just need someone to tell me to knock it off. To take my pills and stop pausing in front of train tracks. I need someone with a straight face when I mention I’m just tired of the life game. I want out.

But that would mean I’d never get hired on an ambulance. I don’t know how they track that kind of shit, but the people would just know I’d been unstable. Stint in mental institution. They’d say, “Sorry we can’t hire you because all of the crazy bastards on the news with a history of depression seem to go off the rails and kill people. We can’t hire that.”

And I’d say, “No, you don’t understand. I’m a passive crazy. I would never hurt anyone but myself.”

“Sorry, we don’t know for sure. Certainly you understand?”

So I don’t say a thing because I want to wear the uniform and rescue people and ride with lights and sirens someday. I don’t know how that’s going to happen now that I’m running away to Portland with another fucked up girl, but I want to leave my options open.

So I just lay in the dark until 3am, hoping suicide will leave me be.

I think of Spellbound back up at camp. How he would turn in disgust if he saw me bingeing yesterday and pacing around my house like a monster. It’s not sexy. I think it’s over between us, but the boy keeps writing me love letters and I keep biting my lips when I imagine him moving down between my thighs in the hotel last weekend.

Birth control. That needs to be on the list for Portland. I can’t focus on one goddamned thing for a second.

He asked last week if I was in his future plans. He tells me a relationship could last if we stayed together a couple weeks out from camp. He’s hinting about Portland. My ultimatum. He’s trying to trap me in a little cage. He says his other white girlfriends couldn’t dance to Latino music. He says he would take me to a family gathering.

I’m just thinking of trains headed west.

I want to leave now but I’m banking on those three fuckin paychecks that I need to make PDX happen.

What I would give just to climb in my truck and drive…

Three weeks dude. God I got so fucked up last night, the text message reads.

Oh geez dude. Yeah, three weeks.

-Saint

Summer Lovers

“Remember, I’m still under your spell,” he breathes over me in the dark, lips pressed against my hip bones.

I sigh heavily as my fingers trace his temple, my body is hooked up to an electricity current. It feels dangerous here, in the dark warehouse, like at any moment someone could walk in on us. The primal fear quickens in my chest as he starts kissing my abdomen again, my spine unfolds against his weight, the rain beats above us on the warehouse roof muffling human cries in an amplified torrential drumbeat.

I mumble soft encouragement and move his hands to my favorite trigger points, the coordinates of my flesh that send shockwaves to my toes. He nibbles my collarbone and I melt.

We should not be doing this, I think as I tilt my head upside-down against the mat to scan the row of windows. If the director sees us, it’s over…not that I care for myself, but for the future of the boy making love to me in an empty warehouse of the kids’ camp we’re working at for the summer.

“There are ghosts in here you know,” I say flatly.

He lays his head against my chest and sighs.

“I can hear your heart.”

“Is it racing?” I ask groggily. I’m enjoying this but am running on my third night without sleep. Insomnia will always be my first lover.

“No,” he pauses, “It’s very…slow.”

“Yeah, I worry about it sometimes.”

I should not be doing this, I think.

I drop my gaze to those eyes, brimming over with what I convince myself is good intention. Lunar light tells me his expression has become boyish in anticipation of some kind of reaction, just like KB used to. Searching for praise or affirmation or other positive reassurance that what they’re doing is satisfying my feminine requirements.

I feel a twinge of dread beneath my sternum, the self conviction that visits only when I can no longer pretend my heart to be a carefree lovely thing. It used to keep pace with my lovers. It used to leap in ecstasy when hit with these encounters. Now it is indifferent to offerings of affection. Now it cannot be roused alongside my female flesh.

Now it is slow.

Spellbound will put his ear to my chest many times tonight, and he will find no change in its pace. My breathing will increase and become ragged, which is under my control. But my heart cannot lie.

I hesitate when he asks me what I want him to do. I cannot ask for it. Perhaps my epiphany has ended us for good. The night is surely over for me. I never like to disappoint.

I think about yesterday, laying in each others’ arms in a dodgy hotel room as the sun rose. Our day trip turned into an overnight when a coworker went missing while drinking with a bunch of local douchebags. I refused to leave the city without her, so we found the cheapest room and staged ourselves for the night.

I told myself I wouldn’t be here, doing this, giving the blueprints of my body to a guy I’ll probably never see after the summer, but his advances wore down my defenses and after seeing his face fall when I told him to really consider whether I was a healthy presence for him I knew it would only be a matter of time before I let him consume me.

It was a night spent under stars and fireworks. We wandered the haunted streets of the place I attended college in before dropping out in 2011. I expected to find sweet memories falling from the giant oak trees of campus and contentment when visiting the old coffee shops I loved. But there are only ghosts. Imprints of people I went to school with, flashbacks of the days darkened by the first depressive episode that would nearly hospitalize me.

The city is ruined. My beloved city is ruined.

Until then Spellbound had pursued me by my requested route of letters. We exchanged them every day despite working at the same camp. I was always enthralled to write him the thoughts I could never wrestle into speech. It was brutally romantic. I was attracted to his intellect and wit, his cerebral silence and independence.

But there was always pushback in my brain. One moment I would be flirtatious and the next withdrawn. One moment passionate, the next melancholy.

He said he didn’t drink coffee. He didn’t want to become dependent on it.

My veins are flooded with psychotrophic drugs and caffeine.

He says he doesn’t believe in god.

My soul is guided by the moon.

He wants to be a diplomatic official.

I want to be a cat.

He says he once dated an alcoholic and hated taking care of her. He says opposites do not attract.

I drink whiskey from the bottle and say let’s run away to Paris. (He indulges my silliness for kicks. We’re going to stop in Kansas City for his passport first, he jokes, so I can meet his mother.)

And now I look on him lovingly in the dark. He devotes himself to pleasing me for hours it seems, exploring the contours of my body ever so slowly, mapping out its landmarks and valleys as I always wished KB would have. He doesn’t let me apologize for not reciprocating, he says he enjoys this enough. He is a terrible kisser. He has incredibly corded arms and makes me laugh during sex.

He says I am beautiful. He says I looked beautiful even when I was sick a few weeks ago. He says I have it all. Perhaps these words are recorded, but they set my cheekbones aflame.

But the ghosts are in my chest now.

I know we are on borrowed time here, making love in the warehouse as fog settles in and surrounds us on all sides. I kiss his forehead tenderly.

“Let’s get you to bed,” I mumble.

This is an affair defined in the words of Bukowski. And those always end something like this.

-Saint

Fucked.

135.4

On some high cloud of optimism I thought I might never return to this damnable blog again. I imagined this new leaf I was turning over in my life had somehow deposited a new brain into my shiny skull, and the old one disposed of demon bones and all.

But I’m fucked for this life. I was born with that inscription engraved on my eyelids: your fucked, have fun.

Godfuckingdammit.

I’m nearing the end of EMT class, and I’ve somehow bullshitted my way through as top student. Walking through a classroom threshold mutates me into an upstanding studious chick and I’ve almost got the cert to save someone’s ass. My preceptors have been impressed with my psych and addiction knowledge (as those are the majority of 911 calls in my city). But it’s no mystery how I know all of that shit.

In some ways I’m ready to have a mature grown up job, even with all of the human vomit and blood and other shit, but I feel myself spinning off the rails again, and I guess that’s why I’m here. I’m still bobbing along as a bartender, which I’m sick of, but it sort of fits my irresponsible method of madness.

I feel like picking up again.

I feel like destroying myself.

I feel like getting extraordinarily thin again.

I feel like asking anything that walks on two legs to fuck me.

I think my meds are out of wack.

So I guess I’ll be back for a spell.

-Saint

Fish(ing) in an Empty Lake

137.2

I’m slumped against my nest of pillows wallowing in my own uselessness. Winter laughs manically outside, reducing every living organism down to a crystalline museum and life seems to stop. I hear so many people exclaim how gorgeous it all is, but my heart is seared with hate from those sentiments. It’s just a romanticization of death.

Speaking of, I’m in EMT school now, studying the fine science of just how people jack themselves up enough for death to graze their cheek. Surprisingly, I feel happy and confident surrounded by EMS cynicism, dark humor, and body fluids. It’s the in-between space I can’t handle these days.

I know my running has been keeping me alive, but lately I’ve been in such a slump that it seems impossible to train. I get up and just hate that it’s winter. My energy is drained by my new corporate bar job and trying to prove myself as the top student in class and keeping warm. I obsess over getting a job after school, thinking about paramedic school, should I finish my four year?, and my manic brain takes off from there. It’s exhausting, and March feels like it’s going to be a tough one.

I wish I didn’t live in a state where Winter is so pervasive. It’s too hard to relocate at this point, because I make shit for money and moving back in with my mom has been the only way I could possibly go to school. I’m grateful for it, but I’ve survived Colorado winters for 23 years, and I’m sick of only enjoying life four months out of the calendar year. So my options are, adapt or get out. And being a fucking depressed human makes adaptation really really hard.

I randomly had a talk with this architect dude who came to give my parents an estimate on some dumb domestic life project. He said he used to run, but can’t anymore after his car accident. I mention that I feel my knees are already ancient and he says I should swim. That I’ll be so toned and have so much endurance for running and I can eat anything I want.

I blink at him. I don’t know how to fucking swim. I am terrified of water. And lately the only thing that seems to permeate my darkness has been to do things that absolutely scare the shit out of me (leaving Adrian, going to California, restarting EMT school, running with other people). So of course I disappear to my room and purchase 80-dollars-I-don’t-have-to-spare worth of swimming equipment. And I look up swim lessons at my gym. That seems like something I should do…I visualize myself as a swift water rescue person and immediately go off the deep end in my fantasy, swimming like a fish to snatch up drowning people…and performing CPR on them (because that has such a high success rate) and resuscitating them and having everyone on the shore cheer and then running off to the next epic rescue. I have a seriously bipolar hero/victim complex.

I’m fucked up. But don’t worry, I already understand that EMS mainly involves finding sick elderly people on the toilet and rubbing vicks under your nose before the smell makes you puke. For some reason, I still want to do it.

I’ve cut all contact with Adrian. I’ve finally gotten to the one year mark of our erupting issues last year, the series of fights and silent resentment which ultimately led to him sleeping with that stupid red head. I think I’m over it. The relationship just left me with an overwhelming sexual frustration that has peaked in Seasonal Affective Disorderland and the mid school semester. I see an attractive guy/girl and my heart rate instantaneously picks up. I think dirty, horrible thoughts especially when I meet a CUTE NICE guy because holy shit what a turn on. I can’t focus sometimes because I crave heavy hot despicable sex SO BAD. Porn is boring, I don’t know how guys watch it. There is such a lack of…i donno…the whole electricity element. Which is the main reason I seek sex. Maybe it’s just dopamine.

But that’s the other reason I rage run, just to get it all out. Obviously I’m having issues outrunning my demons lately. They must have upgraded their trainers.

Everything just depresses me lately…my dad watching internet videos…the snow…facebook…feeling tired..every girl getting prego at work…not feeling like being around anyone else…this boring ass town with its boring ass people.

I still never filled the Effexor script from my doc. I just don’t want anymore of that drug shit, even if it would permeate my misery. It hasn’t gotten bad enough yet. I can stagger around on my single Wellbutrin crutch, even if it’s obvious I’m a coordination-less cripple to the masses.

I’ve never cared much for the masses.

-Saint

Angels and Agendas

135.0

“When were you supposed to hear back on the job?” my father asks. It’s 8pm.

“Today”, I mutter in a hoarse squeak.

“That sucks,” says my father.

I have my legs pulled to my chest, squirming uncomfortably on the sofa we share in the TV room. Just as I suspect, the tirade of questions follows: what am you going to do about rent? What is your plan? Where do you want to be in three years? Do you really still want to be a bartender by then? How far away is your bachelor’s degree from being complete? What’s the shortest route to finish it?

The already sour taste in my mouth sours more. My shoulders fold as that dark cloud settles onto them and my brain starts stirring a horrible concoction of temper, resentment, self loathing, and guilt.

I try to explain that simplifying my life into a mechanic three year plan is the quickest way to kill me, and my father asks what I mean. After all where was I going to get the means for all of these grand plans and adventures? IE, how much money was I worth to the world.

I realize it’s useless trying to talk to him, and he’s already brought my bummed out mood to an all time low, “I’m going to bed.”

I close myself in my room and turn on a radio station playing The Beatles and soon I’m moping on my bed trying not to cry as I massage my calves. I ran a solid 4 miles a few hours earlier and my body is spent. I thought it would be enough to tire out my brain, to numb my soul, but I guess I’ll have to run farther than that.

I look over and see who else but a smiling woman easing her curvy blue body into an effortless headstand.

“Krishna!” I cry, “I’ve wondered where you’ve been.”

If possible she shrugs upside-down and shakes her head, “Don’t listen to that cold-hearted man deary. He has no clue what your life is about.”

“Well, he sounded like an expert tonight”, I mumble into my hand.

She kicks her feet back to the ground and the beautiful manifestation of my creative muse plops herself on the bed beside me.

“Does he seem satisfied with life to you?” she asks with sparkling eyes.

I shake my head. My dad was recently promoted to a big wig position in his company. He’s overworked, overweight, overstressed, and quite boring. He has no friends and though my inner child resents him for being such a harsh father, my grown up self feels sorry for him. I had no intentions of following in his footsteps.

In fact I couldn’t, because my mental illness would kill me under those circumstances. Impossible.

Moral of the story: no, I don’t have a fucking plan. And at this point? I’m okay with that.

-Saint

Recon

135.6

The air rushes past my teeth, that’s better.

Ana watches me coldly from the windowsill as she assumes the form of a black stick-legged cat. Her jagged spine settles back into a semi-natural position and though she doesn’t look happy, a dull toleration glazes her yellow eyes. I think it gives a stiff nod.

I step off the scale and re-cocoon myself in the thick quilt I’ve shuffled to the bathroom wrapped in. I’m still sleepy and the depression of yesterday pools in my joints like concrete, but I feel a little better. My medication schedule has been really inconsistent lately, so I’m extra diligent to pop the Wellbutrin on time this morning. I stretch a bit and my body begins to work again.

The day is slightly more productive; I put on pants and eyeliner for instance. But much of it is still spent hovering over my silent mobile. I tap the home button too many times to count and pace back and forth in between. I’m worried I didn’t get the stupid job.

My brain hooks onto the repetitive task and soon enough I’m also checking the profile of the local actor I’m stalking every 10 minutes or so. It’s insanity, it’s mania, and soon my brain is screaming and I can’t stop myself: check phone, check his page, check phone, obsessively search for the book I won’t read today, check phone, check his page, check phone.

He posted something about depression the other day (I KNEW it, why is my dark soul attracted to other dark souls?) and mentions he’s had suicidal ideation since he was nine. And I know I’m fucked up because I’m totally turned on by this and I want him to throw me against a wall as our fucked up demons dance nearby. It’s made the obsession multiply:

check phone, check his page, check phone, check his page, check phone (why won’t they call?), check page (why won’t he update a status?), check phone…

Then my mom shatters my realm of cyclical crazy, “Would you like a crock-pot for Christmas?”

And the question goes through my ear canal, down my throat and back up, bringing with it water which it tries to shove through my tear ducts. I fight them back, and the pressure burns my eyes. I swallow. No idea why this reaction is happening.

“No mother. No thank you. I have no use for a crock-pot,” I say flatly to keep the dam intact.

“But darling, don’t you think you ought to have one?”

I shake my head, “I hate cooking mom. The day I get kitchen utensils for Christmas my childhood is officially dead.”

“Oh honey I thought you loved to cook.”

I just shake my head. “I don’t want anything ma, I’m good I promise. Being a vegan means I cook even less now.”

She starts to whistle a blasted holiday song and goes on doing the dishes until I hop off the bar stool and pour myself a seventh cup of coffee. In my peripheral I see her raise an eyebrow.

“You look like you’ve lost a lot of weight.”

I freeze, and my nails are digging into my palms, the dam threatening to burst. My mom has always commented on the physical composition of my sister and I. Growing up I couldn’t manage a safe space in between the disgust she showed when I got a little chubby or the disapproval when I rapidly lost weight. So I rocketed between the two extremes earning the titles of both “overweight” and a full-blown “anorexic” in the age span of 15-18. My weight has yo-yoed ever since. Dieting has been, and always will be, part of my life and my mother will always be taking inventory.

I see the black cat slink up the side of the couch, where it perches to watch me in silence.

“Nah, not really ma.” I say nonchalantly, “I’m still about six pounds heavier than when I left for California.” which is true.

“Oh really? Hmm…you just look it.”

The vegan thing is certainly helping. I still act on all of the triggers that make me want to binge, but when I reach the pantry or the refrigerator my options are bananas, popcorn, and broccoli. I’m happy to be feeling smaller these days, like even when I was this weight on paleo there were more “pockets” of softness that stuck out. Eating vegan has sort of made everything suck in a bit.

I’m pleased but (with another sadistic wink from the cat on the couch) know I’m nowhere near satisfied.

I give up on plans to leave the house again…the agoraphobia zaps me every time I get too close to the door. I start beating myself up because even though I’m losing weight I need to be RUNNING, so I don’t become a weak pasty blob.

The obsessive behavior picks up again and I flip through this guys pictures for the fifth time this week and I want to scream.

I resign to stare out the window in my room, wrapped in the same quilt that might as well become my shroud too, with a cup of coffee and a heart that feels so empty it might up and swallow everything else around it. I catch a reflection of a tired lonely girl in the glass as it gets dark egregiously early. I stare at her in silence for hours then slowly make my way downstairs to the family room, which is flooded with so many Christmas lights it looks like the house is on fire.

I’ll present myself as a proper daughter tonight, if only for my family’s sake, and check my phone six thousand more times.

-Saint