Tag Archives: psychology

4AM

I watch from my window
While your tail lights vanish in the rain.
The streets smearstain
Into a red and green fingerpainting,
Flickering with the traffic signals,
As fickle as your interest in me.
Blurred and tearstreaked,
The wet masterpiece
Stays illuminated
By a cold lemondrop moon.

I know I’ll never see you again.

All the frothy promises
And cottoncandy plans
Dissolve in the morning mist.
My lips still hum from your kiss,
But I feel your vague disappointment,
Your perpetual darkness
Guarded by barbedwire.

I wander outside to feed the ferals—
Two slinky shadows, silhouettes cut from coal;
Crunchy nuggets clink into the cats’ dish.
How I wish I could make a wish,
But there are no do-overs here.
I always fail with a complicated man;
I don’t respond well to the tortured genius soul
Who needs the perfect femme fatale,
A Marilyn to his Al.

I fail with the uncomplicated too.

You told me I was nothing like her,
The ex who depressed you—
I thought that was a good thing;
But now I imagine you search
For her likeness,
In hopes of recreating some sick
Woody Allen type lobster scene,
To find catharsis
And absolution.
And though I sneer and snark,
I want to play a part
In this execution.

I gaze up at that judgy stone face,
Unflinchingly—
In my disordered state:
Jammie pants, damp coat,
Tangled mass of bedhead.
“Is it something I said?”
Yes.
I ponder this relationship chess;
I might just be on the precipice
Of finally understanding
Something,
Anything,
A small piece of this
Jagged, glassy, bloody puzzle.

“Is it something I didn’t say?”
Also yes.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Precipice

Anatomy of an Apology

I wish I had pulled the wings
Off your poisoned apology
When it came fluttering in
So unexpectedly,
Soft as butter in a boiled sun.
But it was so lovely,
Spun in delicate glory,
With colorful backstory;
I held out my hands,
Everything forgiven.

Apologies from men
Have been rare as Monarchs,
And I breathed in that golden dust
From your I’m sorry like a drug,
More potent than the heady bliss
Of your up against the brick wall kiss.
As bruised clouds slid past
The last light of that languorous day,
I’m sorry, I’m sorry
You whispered in sticky magnificence,
Sucking me into a sugar net seduction
I should have shot down.

I wish I had heard how hollow
Your sham regrets rang,
How they held no tomorrow,
Instead of feeling hypnotized
By the Blue Morpho
Of your eyes.
But it had been so long…
And you’re a charismatic guy;
That apology trapped me tight
In the crystal jar of your lies.

But only once:
When the glass breaks,
It shatters.
No molten gold
Can hold
Your broken soul together.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Unexpected

Since You’ve Been Gone

Stephen King has a short story in Bazaar of Bad Dreams called “Ur,” which is centered around the notion of an experimental Kindle with an extra menu feature that gives access to alternative literary realities. Forex, say you type in a random number… in this world of words Shakespeare lives five more years and writes a couple more plays. You get to buy, download, and read these plays on the new Kindle. It’s addictive, as you might imagine, for you could spend day after day checking random numbers and writers to see if your favorites appear in parallel universes with new works to read.

But it’s also comforting to know that the authors we love will continue writing in their familiar styles in the alternate realities. If we search for Ray Carver, we don’t want to find vampire romances. We want what we expect. Most of us anyway. That’s why when I go to a vegan restaurant and order a lush looking dish of macaroni & cheese I’m invariably disappointed ~ it appears so beautiful and cheesy, but it never tastes as expected. I’m always better off with a salad where the veggies taste the way they’re supposed to.

*

I dream about my mother frequently. This month is nine years since she was diagnosed; next April nine years since she’s been gone. In my dreams, she just goes on as she ever was ~ present, helpful, sometimes annoying. Nothing super dramatic. In the last one, we were at a table with a bunch of other people (I don’t remember who) discussing an arts & crafts project. At one point, I turned to my mother and complained that my pantyhose kept getting runs in them the first time I wore them, sometimes right out of the package. She commiserated. I don’t remember if she had any advice, but it’s almost certain she would have. Because Mom.

This was a comforting dream. Mom was being Mom.

*

In the King story, the protag next discovers that the experimental Kindle feature also has alternative reality newspapers. Some of these are funny, especially King’s election ideas. And then our protag finds his local future newspaper. ~ doo doo doo doo ~

I am highly enjoying Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

Skimming the Surface

I like working. I like jumping into an all-consuming project where the hours just fly by and I forget about lunch, forget to check my phone for messages, and 5:30 comes before I even realize it. I’m not one of those Monday haters. In fact, work saved me, not just financially, but emotionally when I went through all my crises of the past 15 years. It’s been my rock. But I didn’t realize I missed working full-time until I began again. When I stayed home with the kids and la-la’d around, skimming the surface of the days, I thought I liked my life that way. But I prefer working, having a place to go every day, and a reason to get up and get ready in the mornings. Several years ago, when I was first divorced, I met a man online who lived far away. For whatever reason, he fell for me and offered the possibility of a future where I could be with him and no longer had to work. That held no appeal. It seemed a regression to a superficial life, where I sit at the table and see what’s on the surface, but am not allowed to look beneath… and who knows what lurks under there. Despite everything, I’m happy now. That may seem a surprise, since I complain a lot, but that’s what bloggery is for. I can’t very well go on and on about hey it’s a nice day and nothing went wrong, the sky’s blue, and I don’t have a headache. I’d lose my 12 fans!

This isn’t what I meant to write. I was thinking to say something about how I’ve been skimming the surface of a lot of books lately and not finishing them, which is why new ones aren’t appearing as fast on the sidebar there (unless I get halfway I don’t think it’s fair to say I read it/star it). I have no idea what happened, but I guess we’ll go with this. My 15 year workaversary is coming up at the end of the month, so it feels appropriate.

~*~

Via The Daily Prompt: Surface

Worlds Collide [Dating Story]

[Names and some other specifics changed to protect identities.]

Some time ago I met a man on a dating site. Let’s call him Walter. He was a teacher. We chatted on the phone, made a plan to meet at a local cafe, yada. I was pleasantly surprised to discover in person that he was a nice-looking guy who seemed smart, funny, etc. Then he looked out the window and said, “Hey, there’s my roommate!”

I saw an elderly lady walking slowly down the sidewalk. “Her?”

“Yeah, the old lady!” Walter laughed. “A couple years ago I answered her ad for a roomie because I didn’t have much money after my divorce. We hit it off and have been together ever since. This is our second apartment together.”

“Oo-kay.” The woman was probably around 80; Walter was my age, around 50. “Doesn’t that interfere with your social life?”

“Nah. We have our own rooms and bathrooms. Sometimes when I have a date we all watch TV together in the living room. It’s totally cool.”

Walter and I hung out for a while longer and I asked him why he broke up with his last girlfriend. “Skyler was a wealthy divorcee,” he told me. “Traveled a lot and played golf all day, but I had to work. Eventually she got really clingy and wanted me to move into her house.”

“But that seems ideal,” I said. “Or… didn’t you want to leave your roommate?”

He shrugged. “I like my life the way it is.”

Walter asked me out again, but his sitch with the roomie was just too weird and I declined. I didn’t understand what was going on there, plus Walter didn’t seem like he wanted any kind of serious relationship in the near future. I don’t like to date just to date. End of.

Around six months later I met a new man on a different dating site. Let’s call him Hank. I really liked this dude. We chatted, made plans, yada. In person, he was even better. Very smart, very funny. I had high hopes for this. We went to a nice sushi place for our first meeting, not a boring coffee date. It was all going really well, I thought. Then I asked him one of my standard questions: what happened with your last girlfriend.

“She was a wealthy divorcee,” Hank said. “Traveled a lot and played golf all day. That’s not really my lifestyle. We were together only a couple months.”

“That’s funny,” I said. “A guy I met a while back said the exact same thing. And she asked him to move in.”

“So did Skyler.”

“Oh, my God! It’s the same person!”

Hank stared at me. “The teacher who was living with the old lady?”

“She told you about him?”

“Yup. He was really weird.”

“Haha, I thought he was too. I only met him the once.” The conversation was so odd. Hank had dated, for a couple months, the woman that Walter had been with for a while. It was so bizarre that I’d picked both of them out of dating sites. Did they have a common quality that attracted Skyler and me, or was it all a logistical coincidence of ages and locations? I felt very awkward and uncomfortable for a few minutes, pondering this while keeping up normal chitchat.

But the rest of our date went fine, I thought. No problems. I had a good time. Hank seemed to as well. We hugged and said we’d stay in touch. And we did, a little. But he never asked me out again.

Time passed. Finally I emailed Hank and said hello bla bla and hey why hadn’t we gotten together again?

Hank said that was a good question and it deserved a thoughtful answer.

But I never received one. Or any answer at all.

The end.

Two for Tuesday ~ Driving Dreams

I’ve had two disturbing vehicle-related dreams since I bought my car in early January. The first dream occurred a few weeks ago. I was driving Sweet Caroline with one of my exes sitting very close to me. Really close. In fact, he was squashing me up against the driver’s door to the point where it became hard for me to steer. But I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to make him angry. Or interrupt him while he was jabbering away about something or other. But I ended up driving off a cliff. I gasped and then he noticed what had happened. He told me not to panic but to steer to the right and there were definitely things we could do to mitigate this unfortunate circumstance if we kept clear heads and used logic. Blah blah blah blah. He was still talking when I woke up.

I don’t know if that’s true. Should you steer to the right if you drive off a cliff? LOL

The second dream occurred last week. I was with this same ex and this time we were in his pickup truck. He was driving, yet even so he was somehow again sitting so close to me that I was squashed up against the door, this time the passenger door. He had the passenger window all the way down and locked in place, and he kept circling past this group of three dogs, stopping so they could jump up in my face, snapping and snarling. They hated me and wanted to kill me. I was so scared and asked him to please move over so I could get away from the window, but he wouldn’t. For whatever reason, I didn’t ask him to quit driving near the dogs. Finally, after doing this repeatedly with the dogs able to get closer to me each time, he opened the door and pushed me out on the ground to be attacked and killed. Then I woke up.

What’s weird is that I hardly ever, if ever, dreamt about this ex at all until now. Nothing memorable either. Something about the new car is triggering something about him? Idk. I do think and talk about him sometimes, as I think and talk about my exes generally, for life-clarification purposes, mostly to myself. Talking to yourself is a sign of genius, yo! I read it on the internutz somewhere.

An interesting thing that only just occurred to me is that since I moved to California my car pattern has been like so: blue Alliance, beige Stanza, blue Camry, beige Camry, blue Camry, beige Corolla. Huh. This must mean something!

Dream interpreters, fire away!

Jewel

I picked up Jewel by Bret Lott at the HB public library sale the other month. Began reading it last week. Today I decided I’m not going to finish it. While the story itself is mildly interesting,  I just can’t stand the constant use of the n-word.

I know that might sound strange coming from a person who is OK with every swear word under the sun, and then some. But I was brought up by parents who never EVER used ethnic slurs, and these words all make me super-uncomfy,  especially the n-word. So much so for that one I can’t even bring myself to spell it out. I think I said it once in my life as an experiment… and felt awful for a long time afterward.

There is no rational basis for my feeling, just as there’s no rational basis for the idea that swear words are the worst thing imaginable. Both are silly notions, imo. Yet the fact remains that the n-word is such a huge turn-off for me I will abandon a book rather than see it on every page.

As a corollary,  I completely understand when someone irrationally hates swear words, and I will make a reasonable effort to be accommodating when on their turf.

That said, there is one sentence early on in Jewel, page 5, that I find totes cool and discussion-worthy.

“But it’s history that matters, what keeps you together in the tight ball of nerves and flesh you are and makes you you and not someone else.”

Agree? Is it history that makes you who you are, the collective memory of stories you’ve been told, whether true or false or warped out of original shape… or something else entirely?

Your Narrative Voice

I’m not talking about writing, but about the narrator inside your head, directing your life.

What’s it saying?

It’s saying something. Listen…

Chat boxes

Is it telling you you’re a strong person who can accomplish your goals?

Is it telling you everyone’s out to get you?

Is it telling you you’re smart, funny, fat, stupid, helpful, bad-ass, invincible, a failure… ???

Here’s the thing. If you don’t like what that voice is saying, you can “change the conversation.” Gag, I know. But seriously, this is important. I didn’t realize until lately this was even a thing, and that I’ve changed my own narrative voice over the years. It was a hard, slow slog though, because I didn’t understand what was going on. Now that I do, it’s much easier to “hear” the voice and if it’s being unhelpful or negative, to switch the channel to something better. Eventually, the nasty, drag-you-down channel will be nothing but white noise, and you’ll listen to the good voice.

I could link to a bunch of articles, but you can find them yourself, if interested. I can’t pinpoint the exact time when this clicked for me, but I think it was within the year. One of the worst things my narrator used to tell me was that I couldn’t possibly be happy alone, and that if I felt happy without a partner, I was only deluding myself. I don’t know where this voice originated from ~ society, my mother, romance novels? But whatever, it was extremely bad for me. Now, I have obliterated it.

Another thing the voice used to say was that I wouldn’t appear successful and smart to other people if I didn’t have an advanced degree and a “professional” career. I’ve shut down that one, too.

This  has been your PSA for the week. 🙂

Dum Da Dum Dum… CRUMBS!

I suppose I have to address this… again.

Over a year ago I poasted that the incipient demise of ONE cupcake chain did not mean cupcakes are dead.

Crumbs cupcakeries are all closing now. And there are eleventy billion articles like this one out there declaring that cupcakes are over, they’re dead, they were just a fad, etc. Because one chain has gone belly-up. Restaurants flop all the time; it’s very difficult to make a go of them. I would imagine the same for bakeries.

And here’s the unfortunate truth: Crumbs cupcakes weren’t that good. That’s right. I have proof. Some of you may remember my old blog where I made a cupcake table… well, guess what? I still have it.

Cupcake table

Ta-dah! Note that only one Crumbs item is over an 8 ~ and the worst of the bunch is from Crumbs. To be fair, this table hasn’t been updated in years, and you may recall my dislike of Casey’s Strawberry Bomb, but regardless. Point is, Sprinkles and Yummy Yummy are way better than Crumbs, and Sprinkles, for one, intends to avoid Crumbs’ fate.

Sprinkles has added food trucks, ice cream and cookies to entice customers. It’s also never opened more than five locations in a year, said Charles Nelson, co-founder of the Beverly Hills, California-based chain, which started in 2005.

“We’ve always tried to be very cautious,” he said in an interview. “We’re still very positive on the industry.” [via Bloomberg]

According to that article, Magnolia Bakery, on the Upper East Side of NY, is still doing fine. Here in Orange County, CA, there are plenty of cupcakeries. Not only that, but regular bakeries and restaurants and coffee shops often have cupcakes. Why? People love ’em, dur.

You know, frozen yogurt shops are a relatively new “fad” and those stores go out of business all the time. But you don’t see all these headlines screaming about it. So, maybe the gourmet cupcake stores will be shuttering one by one. Part of the problem is that grocery stores now all have cupcakes, and some of those are damn tasty. Obviously way cheaper, too. And you can, y’know, bake your own cupcakes. But the cupcake itself? The adorable nummy pretty treat you can eat sans plate and fork? Ain’t gonna die.

I have a weird feeling that the cupcake is hated by some people/journalists as a symbol of something. What, I’m not sure. The horrible, materialistic Sex and the City, which popularized Magnolia? Or maybe it’s the pink sprinkled cuteness, reminding people of adorable things like kittens and rainbows, when they want to posture as dark cynics. Health-conscious peeps will rightly say that cupcakes are Very Bad, but so are a million other things Americans nom on nightly. It’s weird to me that the prettiful little cupcake is so despised in certain circles. But their flailing is futile. Why? Because a new batch of babies comes along every year and kids will Always Love Cupcakes.

BECAUSE CUPCAKES ARE AWESOME.

Any questions?

Hello Mother

I had a dream about Mom the other night. She had made a Great Gatsby tee shirt for me ~ it was dark blue, short sleeved, with white paint squiggles all over that were supposed to be fluffy clouds. Don’t ask me. In the dream, it looked right.

I had shown someone one of my scrapbook photo albums last week and was thinking about my long ago days of arts & crafts. Not sure if this prompted the dream, or what.

A little while ago I opened my Chrome browser (I’ve been using Firefox mostly) and noticed that my old bookmarks were still there, including Baggage Reclaim, my favorite relationship site. The first article was about how some of us struggle to please certain people who have impossible demands and how that’s a never-ending spiral of futility.

The first Unpleasable in your life tends to be that exacting and critical parent or caregiver and if your perspective on their behaviour and how you respond to it hasn’t changed in adulthood, you’re likely to have felt tormented by a similar boss, ‘friend’ or romantic partner. [link]

As always, very interesting bloggery from Natalie, and just in time for Mother’s Day too.