It is a sorry god damn state of affairs when a beautiful boy makes you a beautiful dinner nestled in a beautiful blackberry/adobo sauce (all three indeed more beautiful than I can describe) and you can do nothing but stare at it. When your head is so twisted with its own anxiety and vain, foolish, selfish depression that you can not swallow the gorgeous food, you really do want to fuck feelings. And not in a loving, respectful, consentful way.
My response to heartbreak and hurt is as scattered and multi-polar as it is enthusiastic. The more it pinches inside, the harder I will push outside to find a way to make it not.
Over the years I have thrown many things at my ugly feelings. I tried increasing to a more vigorous running schedule. It helps. It does. But not always and not enough. I have also knit yards of yarn for blankets and sweaters and coffee mug cozies, often unwinding the whole mess, only to purl the whole thing back together. One unexpected dealing bent was the pagan/Wiccan/goddess worship altar that is now tucked away on a shelf. Blessed be, I will search every dusty unusual corner to get any dirty little bit of help to hurt less.
After a recent particularly prickly ouch, I went to books. Mostly because I love them. But more than that. The thought process is this: if I’m convinced I’m fucked and broken, I need to find out how to fix it. Because everything has to have a fix, right? I don’t know how to fix myself. Books know things. I’ll ask a book.
Seems I’ve been asking the wrong books. See, I am not a creature of sweetness and light. I am a creature of sarcasm, dark oily cigars, light amber whisky and a font of self-deprecation that can not be emptied. Seeking out books to make me a more positive, optimistic girl are more useful to me propping up my bed so I have more room for shoes, and other…things, under it. Motivating posts make me want to retch. I’ve strained more than one ocular muscle with my vigorous eye rolling in irritation at uplifting messages. When I read a string of hashtags followed a litany of weight loss success numbers and workout wins, I want to punch innocent, and rightfully proud friends in their skinny, toned asses. If only I’d put that energy into my running. I’d be fast as hell and have a much different relationship with my thighs.
Yes. I’m even more fun to be around than you can imagine. If you imagine Pittsburgh rush hour, game day traffic fun.
F*ck Feelings is my jam. I’m not a writing critic, so I’ll leave that to the fine likes of big, delicious minds like Ms. Kakutani. But I love the ideas of this book. What I’m getting from it, big picture, is to stop flagellating yourself because of what you deal with day to day. Everyone has shit. We procrastinate. We drink too much. We cheat and yell. Lots of us feel bad when we do that. What Dr. Bennett and Ms. Bennett lay out, to my simple understanding, is that there is no magic happy. There is no algorithmic fix. The best we can do, is stop kicking ourselves for the shit that is far out of our control. You instead save that leg strength to step ahead. Baby steps. Every day. Doing something better. Is it still going to suck? You bet your sweet sassafras. But you can do something. And then you can be snarkily proud of yourself for getting through the day.
And somedays, getting through is the best you can do. This weekend I had one of those. I wanted to fuck feeling and fuck ugly thoughts, both at the same time. And that stuff doesn’t go away. Yesterday I felt like garbage because I’m an adult that doesn’t know how to ride a bike. Right this second, I’m watching the debate and I’m racing around in my head about what an idiot I am because I don’t understand trickle down economics. Are those things I can do something about? Maybe. I could study. Learn. One of those books I love. Who knows? Likely, I’m not that coordinated or sharp. But, tonight, I have clean towels and clean bathrooms and lunches packed for tomorrow. Can I dare feel good about that? Maybe. Just maybe.
There are things to feel good about, if you stop and let it happen and don’t kick it in the head as soon as they appear.
When this weekend I was falling apart in front of amazing food, and chose very poorly to drink wine instead (yes, fuck feelings, but fervent, sloppy hugs and kisses for Zofran, because that’s some good anti-puke science in a little pill) I had someone catch me. Again. The man’s arms have got to be exhausted. He spent hours, truly hours, not telling me things. Granted, he did, he started, but he also saw that I wasn’t hearing any of the caring, supportive things he was saying. Much like I couldn’t eat that god damn marvelous burrito. Not proud of any of that.
So, instead, he stepped back, held out his hand, and helped me pull myself out of my hole. My hole. Of my making. He didn’t need me to change who I was. Didn’t ask me to be bouncy and smiley. Let me be inwardly curled and quiet. And simply let me be where I was and who I was and said: Tell me what you like about yourself.
Big, gaping, opaque blank.
And then he asked again. And again. And didn’t take no, or nothing, or I don’t know for an answer.
So I gave him an answer. I came up with something. Mostly bollock answers. But not all. I named a few somethings. Little somethings. But somethings.
It was frightful and shudder-making and a gift for which I am humbled and so, so grateful.
I’m not the girl who is bright and shiny. Never will be and I can’t feel badly about that. I have enough bad feelings, and yes, fuck those. I’m lousy and selfish and forgetful. But, not always. I’m also the girl who has made some good choices, and who can keep trying to do the best she can with the shit she has been dealt. That’s a big, beautiful something. Not as beautiful as that boy and that beautiful blackberry sauce that I couldn’t enjoy with the unrepentant pleasure it deserved. But I’ll make that up to him. And I’ll let myself feel good about that.
So, yes. Fuck feelings. Especially the bad ones.
But not the ones for fantastic boys that make you burritos.