confessions of peacocks and a poached egg

confession: i’ve been listening to the same song on repeat for a month. repetition isn’t unusual behavior for me but this song is a new addition to the repeating archive. the new song is a remake of a song i knew growing up but this haunting melancholy-flavored rendition is one i discovered only last month. i don’t feel melancholic and my attachment to this lonesome song is a paradoxical cue that my current emotional baseline is orienting toward contentment.

confession: october’s pancreatic cancer scare brought two to-do items forward, just in case the end is near. i completed that short list before that month’s end. i don’t dilly-dally with death. just in case, i check with myself every other day to see if any new list items arise.  yesterday i drove past a billboard with the yearly death toll on texas roads (over 3,000), a reminder that any of us driving or riding in a car could die any day. i hope at least half of those more than 3,000 people addressed their most important in-case-of-death communications before the crash that took their lives.

confession: she’s waaaaaayyyy more advanced than i was at her age…which is why the 12-year difference between us feels good, stimulating, and enticing. we learn from one another in equal measure from different intersections along the multiverse spectrum.

confession: peacocks and a poached egg interspersed a perfect day yesterday.

confession: i was surprised to hear that he has a girlfriend again so soon…but the surprise was supplanted with remembering that he wants to avoid loneliness. i crave loneliness as a novelty because my aloneness maintains a hefty fullness that doesn’t leave room for loneliness to enter.

confession: i’m going to my new favorite restaurant two days in a row because there are more dishes i want to taste than i can stomach in one visit even when sharing all plates ordered with another.

confession: two nights ago i took extra free stickers (meant for kids) from a grocery store without asking permission. yesterday i took coasters (one-time-use disposable variety) from my favorite restaurant without asking permission. is it stealing when i take “free” stuff without asking…or just rude-cow uncouth taking?

confession: at the beginning of any new relationship i consciously shape the opportunity during the getting-to-know-one-another stage to present myself and my history in whatever order and at whatever pace i desire. i choose (intentionally or sometimes unconsciously) which details in what timing to share. i can omit aspects of my past or worn-out stories that no longer resonate with who i am today. i can emphasize skills and qualities i’m currently practicing. i can be brave and true and discerning with every comment. a new relationship is a new beginning for me to be the newest version of me.

confession: i strive to be forever new. (mostly because i’m easily bored and strapped with myself all the time.)

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confessions of bazungas, fantasyland, and surfing the wake

confession: i spent an hour in the waiting room yesterday listening to the singsong voice contained inside a 4’10” frame weighted by bazungas straining her modest sweater. her ears were poked with eleven piercings and held back yellow-bleached hair that hadn’t been touched up recently because her roots showed an inch and a half of gray. she responded to every ringing of the phone, “oncology, can i help you?” in a tone that conveyed a desire to be genuinely helpful while she answered the caller’s questions, scheduled appointments, and canceled and re-scheduled appointments as requested on the other end of the line. my mind flipped into fantasy mode to direct its energy toward something other than worry while i sat in the waiting room for my appointment. i fantasized that she was my aunt, the good mother of three imaginary cousins (older boy, twin girls) that grew up nourished by every inch of her 4’10” compact person-package containing that singsong helping voice expressing her happy-heart spirit. in my fantasy this woman is my aunt instead of my mother because even in fantasyland i expect a mother to judge me as a disappointment while an aunt loves my weirdo wholeness. the imprints of my real-life mother and her older sister perpetually recreate their likenesses in my agitated brain fantasies.

confession: in my imaginary world where i escape when i feel uncomfortable in my real world the poetess and i play a game called “you’re a lucky duck if you’ve never….”  this game is loosely and oppositely  based on the “i’ve never” drinking game except it’s darker and i’m playing it sober and alone with the poetess’ voice in my head and we’re mocking our lives and the lucky ones who have thus far avoided our particular pain. in this imaginary game the poetess always begins, “you’re a lucky duck if you’ve never picked out a baby coffin.” yesterday while playing this game, my turn replied, “you’re a lucky duck if you’ve never sat in an oncology waiting room for an hour to see a doctor for a diagnosis that is never good news.”

confession: after a quick round of “you’re a lucky duck if you’ve never” game, i started writing this blog to you because i write when i’m nervous, i write when i’m scared, i write when i’m angry, i write when i’m grieving, i write when i’m confused, i write to sort myself out, i write to calm myself, i write to feel less alone, and i was feeling very alone in that oncology waiting room yesterday. i looked around and took notice of everyone present. those older than me had  someone to keep them company. everyone was older than me except two. a woman my age held a bike helmet in her lap and avoided my eye contact. she sat even more alone than i did, walked alone into the maze of exam rooms when the nurse called her name, and exited even more-more alone thirty minutes later still avoiding my eye contact. a man younger than me, tall, skinny, probably not yet 30 years old, also avoided my eyes. i hope he survives whatever brought him to that waiting room. i hope bike-riding chick lives a long healthier life from here through old age. i hope i do, too. i hope you do, too. but i kept thinking as i looked from person to person in yesterday’s waiting room that none of us makes it out of this life alive. we all die. nobody likes to think about it much but death is tangible in the chairs of an oncology waiting room. the oncology waiting room is a living version of purgatory. i made a decision yesterday while waiting for my turn to enter the maze of exam rooms to meet the oncologist–i’m gonna let all my mushy love spill out, flood my world, and surf the wake since we’re all gonna die of something sometime.

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a letter from 1999

i do my best to skip thanksgiving (food-centric holidays are tortuous for most eating disordered people). in place of eating turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and three kinds of pie, i thinned out bookshelves and closets (while eating chocolate and drinking diet coke). there are four bookshelves in my home, each with a shelf dedicated to notebooks of writing i haven’t burned. i’ve condensed these shelves for the past three days. in the middle of a notebook from 1999, i found a letter written and unsent to a fellow writer friend. since i never sent it to him and we grew apart 15 years ago, i’ll share the letter with you because i enjoy the waft of voyeurism from reading old letters written to someone else and for today i’ll assume you do, too.

dear j,
instead of talking to you inside my head where you’ll never hear, i’ve decided to write you a letter with the help of rilke:

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not ever complete the last one,
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, that primordial tower.
I have been circling for thousands of years,
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
unlike rilke, i know i am a falcom, a storm, and a great song…plus i am a reindeer, a leprechaun, an ocean, and a piece of purple sidewalk chalk.
either my heart or my lungs have grown larger this week. i’m not sure which but i’ve got more room inside my chest.
i bought an 18-roll package of toilet paper tonight on sale. i feel like i am storing power for the future when i buy multi-pack economy-size.
i feel like i’ve been imploding my power for some time now. i’m almost ready to explode. let’s do our version of praying for a productive, creative explosion.
i love you,
signed with the old name

confession: i deleted the second half of the letter because the second half was the reason i never sent it. i could share it with you but it’s a downer in its unwilling-to-be-vulnerable-and-ask-for-a-need-to-be-met 25-year-old way. poor thing. she was tiny-voiced and scared to take up space even though she was big in spirit and deeply loved. the letter goes into the recycling bin now having fulfilled its reminder of youthful optimism and sureness accompanied by fear and insecurity. thank you for pausing your online shopping and social media scrolling to read my 25-year-old’s thoughts. whatever small hopes i dared to have for my life on march 5, 1999, i’m grateful that my life has increased in capacity to experience love, beauty, and the courage to survive pain.

confession: i’m glad we’re all more interesting now than we were when we were 25.

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amsterdam confessions

confession: i spent last week in amsterdam without enough sleep and not due to drugs, alcohol, or prostitutes but because sometimes sleep leaves me behind which doesn’t mean i’m not tired but when the days and nights of awakeness sleeplessly blend together, the sleeplessness becomes an altered state and i feel like i’m low-grade hallucinating through continuous hours. i overhear people’s conversations on the street and my mind mishears their words, transmuting their mundane chit-chat into extraordinary science fiction tales.

confession: every time i’m in europe i’m reminded that the most challenging aspect of european travel is finding a public restroom (or having the exact change to pay for its use).

confession: i didn’t buy enough postcards. i thought 20 would be enough. i send snail mail to more people than i realized. also, sleep deprivation inspired me to send the poetess two of the same postcard, written twelve hours apart.

confession: dutch sounds like german wearing a taller person’s costume.

confession: according to an icelandic airline’s in-flight magazine, dutch people are the tallest people in the world–women average 5’8” and men average 6’1”. i encountered several women over 6’ and several men over 7’. the tallest dude i passed on the street was taller than me even while he bent over to scratch his knee.

confession: i wrote very little this week in amsterdam. i worked even less. i walked much. i visited galleries, museums, and churches to fill my senses with art. i spent hours in libraries gathering information about the community’s ethos and saying hello to my book friends patiently waiting on shelves. i ate delicious cheese and bread and cannabis-infused baked goods. i experienced every moment of aliveness. i absorbed the energizing intensity of rain, wind, and windmills. i bought flowers. i drank coffee. i sucked in the second-hand smoke of every grungy 20-something toking on the streets to activate a contact high. i lived a good week.

confession: i flirted with the working girls standing in their cubicle windows in the red light district, especially with the ones who looked bored or in need of cheering up from their 20-minute sessions with british businessmen.

confession: i’m home again. i still haven’t slept but i’ve written and worked between flashbacks from amsterdam. in the first half-hour after my return i remembered that one of the best part of traveling is coming home.

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confessions while high on candy corn

confession: when you ask for my input, advice, or suggestion regarding your situation, please keep in mind that i’m answering from my accumulated experience that has contributed to my me-specific filter. meaning, i don’t expect you to do what i’d do. i’m sharing what i’d do because you asked. sometimes i share what i’d do when you don’t ask, but i try not to…i prefer to participate by listening and creating space for you to talk your way around to your own answers, solutions, and conclusions. i confess this topic because i’ve heard others complain that people ask for advice and then don’t take it. i’d rather not give advice, but when you ask and i respond, please know that i don’t have any attachment to you doing what i’d do if i were in your situation, because i am not you. you are you. you’ve got you. you know best what is best for you. and if you don’t know what is best for you, that’s okay. it’s okay not to know. it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. it’s okay to keep fucking up in the same ways or in new ways and defer learning until you’re ready to learn, too.

confession: i may have fucked up yesterday. the necessary feedback to evaluate whether i fucked up or not may never become available to me. it’s okay to fuck up. it’s extra okay to fuck up when executed as a sincere open-hearted experiment.

confession: i wish we’d all be more forthcoming about our fuck ups so that we could learn from each other’s fuck ups without having to make all of them ourselves.

confession: i most regret the fuck ups that hurt others when i didn’t mean to but i wasn’t thinking of them and unintentional self-centrism is wholly selfish even though unintended.

confession: what if i’m a narcissist and don’t know it? she wonders this question about herself, too. she’s not. i assure her that she’s not, but what if i am? i don’t ask this question outloud to her (although i’ve asked it to him) and i hope that if i’m concerned with whether or not i’m a narcissist then i’m probably not because narcissists aren’t inclined to self-reflect or concern themselves with whether they make everything about them.

confession: confessional blog postings feel narcissistic.

confession: i don’t worry about much anymore (if you ignore the question from two confessions above that contradicts this confession). i used to worry more. the mellowing of middle age slides me into easy surrender. thanks, 40’s decade.

confession: i sent her a package yesterday that’ll arrive tomorrow or the next day because tomorrow and the next day are anniversaries that gut her every year. as someone who experiences anniversary syndrome, i relate to that pain. anniversary pain is intensely personal and private. nobody can help alleviate that pain. what i can do is send love in the form of a care package filled with a collection of gifts i gathered to symbolize my love and heart-holding for her. i can breathe with her. i can text, email, and call her. i can sit in the pain with her. please, when you have the opportunity, breathe with someone in pain. be willing to actively love someone by being present for the pain. don’t try to take away the pain that isn’t yours to take. please don’t ask them to hide or suppress their pain for your benefit because you feel uncomfortable with pain. please learn to feel your own pain so that other people’s pain is something your heart is large enough to hold.

confession: i tried collecting red, orange, and yellow leaves to send to you because i live somewhere that displays autumn exceptionally well but some leaves dried and crumpled and the cat chewed on the others. nature looks more majestic in nature than on the kitchen counter, unless you’re a cat.

confession: eight days post-halloween, i am the person who buys cough syrup, pain relievers, sugar-free fudge pops, bananas, and the last bag of clearance candy corn from the grocery store at 10pm. candy corn gets me higher than crack. not kidding. i’ve done crack. candy corn is better (or worse, depending on your predilection for addiction).

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the meeting

confession: the ex-wife texted 26 hours in advance to cancel our scheduled meeting and asked for understanding. i immediately responded to her text with understanding and then texted my fellow tree-hugging friend to see if she was available to meet during my newly opened calendar space the next night. she texted yes.

confession: i felt relieved to be sitting across from my tree-hugging friend instead of my ex-wife the next night.

confession: if you aren’t a tree hugger, try it. if you don’t have a tree-hugging friend, i recommend you get one. while hugging a tree with your heart pressed against the tree’s trunk (or its limb if you’ve climbed high), a tree hugs back with the stability of its roots deep underground, the strength of its core that grows another ring of sturdy thickness each year, and the grace of its leaves that converse with the wisdom of wind, sun, rain, moon, and the entire sky. a tree-hugging friend knows how to hug a person the way a tree hugs a person. the night i was scheduled to meet my ex-wife and was instead hugged by my tree-hugging friend filled my heart with more strength, grace, and courage.

confession: the day after the canceled meeting with my ex-wife i reread the text message she had sent to cancel. she hadn’t written “cancel.” she had texted “postpone.” expecting one of us to cancel, my cognition had read “postpone” as “cancel.” since she asked for a postponement, i texted an offer to reschedule for the following monday evening. she agreed.

confession: on monday evening i arrived to our meeting spot early to sit in my parked rental car to write, cry, and breathe. not recognizing the rental car, my ex-wife also arrived early and parked directly in front of me.

confession: she drives a minivan now. she loves her minivan because when either of her boys opens the van’s door, the door slides sideways against the van to open without banging into other cars—which is a legitimate concern with kinetic young boys and car doors.

confession: we hugged hello. we both held onto each other for a longer-than-hug moment, trying to find ourselves and each other and where we are now relative to the past. while hugging we both opened our hearts halfway. we kept the other half closed, protected, the illusion of half-safe from the potential of more hurt and pain from the other.

confession: we look like we always have except more tired with more lines across our faces, especially around our eyes. except i have short hair and larger tattoos and these details surprised her. plus, i have a different name. she was entirely familiar to me. everything she said, every gesture, every breath and pause and smile and hesitation were familiar to me. she presents the same. i do not. my gestures and breathing patterns and pauses and hesitations are calmer, slower, fuller. she noticed these differences and they were disorienting for her. i watched her spend two hours trying to learn who i am now.

confession: the day before i saw her i understood why i had to wait six years before i spoke to her. i waited until i could trust myself to be present with her without speaking the hurtful things i avoided saying by leaving when we abruptly split. i never wanted to communicate those thoughts and feelings because they would hurt her in ways neither of us could undo. i didn’t understand how much my leaving her would hurt us both. i still don’t because the pain exceeds comprehension of multi-directional consequences.

confession: i don’t know if i’ll see her again. i don’t know if she’ll want to see me in the future. we made no follow-up plans. i don’t know if either of us will want anything with one another at any point from here. maybe we can be complete within our incompletions and failings and absences.

confession: we fumbled and stalled saying goodbye. we hugged three times (with our hearts only halfway open) while lingering and finally backing away from each other. once we were standing at our own cars she asked if she could do something “bizarre.” excitement pumped into my chest because bizarre intrigues me. we walked toward one another, she reached out her hands to take mine, we stood looking into each other’s eyes. after a  few suspense-building moments, she said, “hi, angel.” i said “hi,” waiting for the bizarre. that was it. nothing bizarre for me in her calling me by my name, but it was bizarre for her because she had never called me by that name. an hour later i realized that angel was never married to her. the me i inhabited inside that other name was married to her. renaming myself set me free.

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confessions of an impending rendezvous

confession:  i usually delete the first confession i write to you. i can’t tell if the deleted first confessions are the most confession-est of confessions, the darkest or thickest or truest…or the least of these. i’ve considered collecting the deleted first confessions and posting them as a set at the end of every season, but i’d delete the lot of them again, so i’ll save us the second draft censorship.

confession: i tell you everything except for everything i keep to myself.

confession: all writing is a confession. every poem, story, song, and book ever written is a confession if read as such (metaphorically not literally). every body’s health, wellness,  or illnesses  are confessions if interpreted astutely–some are genetic confessions, some are lifestyle confessions. every choice we make reflects who we think we are and what we believe we deserve…but inside and underneath (not on the surface where most people look). go deeper. take the long view. use your psychic superpower vision.

confession: when you lose your burner phone with all your contacts, i recommend one memorize the area codes of phone calls from people whose calls you’d normally screen. i almost accidentally picked up a call from my mother but the area code looked suspiciously avoidable.

confession: my mother knows i never answer her calls. she also knows that when circumstances dictate the necessity, i will email a response to her voicemails.

confession: i’m probably* meeting my ex-wife for non-alcoholic drinks on thursday evening at 8pm. probably* includes the possibility that either of us might last-minute cancel, which is possible, likely, and understandable since we haven’t seen each other in six years and have a life-altering ending’s worth of unaddressed messy feelings we’ve never shared or discussed.

confession: the only reason i agreed to meet my wife is that my liver leveraged me with accelerated healing if i see her. also, my mind contributes the realistic (but hopefully unlikely) potential that this current illness might be pancreatic cancer and i might not have more time to put off clearing what i created when i left her.

confession: my uncle told me a riddle on sunday that may have been intentional or contextually oblivious. (both are feasible for my favorite uncle.) here goes…
what is the difference between a vacuum and a harley?
location of the dirtbag.
context (whether intentional or oblivious)—my father rode harleys.

confession: i’m not good at remembering or retelling jokes, but i won’t forget that one.

confession: the first confession i wrote and deleted today was about cutting and bleeding as an indication of self-punishing stressing. i confessed that if one were sleuthing to deduce my stress level, one would tally the scabbing cuticles on my fingers and toes. i’m sporting several bandaids. i’ll keep my hands folded in my lap if i sit across from my ex-wife on thursday night. when she and i were together, i bit my nails. i stopped biting my nails when i left her and graduated to ripping my cuticles til they bleed.

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