A tree grows on your arm

A tree grows on your arm. You have not noticed yet, but I have.

The bees first got my attention. There was a humming sound coming from your general vicinity. I asked if you were singing but you shook your head and replied “I’m not holding a guitar, am I?”Screen Shot 2018-04-28 at 14.06.11 That’s when a bee zoomed by your nose and onto the flowering tree on your arm.
I made a gasping sound, you don’t see trees on arms every day, after all. “What? I’m sorry, I am not singing, I swear.” The tree’s branches swayed as you shrugged your arms at my surprised face.

The tree must have appeared some time between the humming incident and the night before when I vaguely remembered to have hugged you close without noticing extra limbs. But there had always been that woody smell to you that had intoxicated my mind that first time I got near enough to you to nuzzle my nose against your neck and to furtively take in your scent. I had smelled apple shampoo, minty gum, a hint of an old smoking habit that you had or were trying to quit and the woods. A deep and strong earthy smell that had transported me momentarily away from the airport terminal to the forests I remembered building camps in with my friends.

A tree grows on your arm. You leave foliage and blossoms everywhere you go and our bed is filled with woodland creatures, with you and with me.

A tree grows on your arm and the only one who didn’t see, used to be me.

 

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On sleep, or the lack thereof

Lately, sleep has been on my mind a bit too much. In the morning, it is a gift I cannot and will not let go of until absolutely forced to. In the evening, the soldiers disembark from the wooden horse and besiege my mind with deadly swords of panic. The source of the issue? Fear.

A bit of context: I am a young female-appearing, female-strenght-having/lacking, person who lives on their own and whose obsession with murder mysteries has prodded to life a sense of dread that at some point a murderer will be hiding behind that closed door. I check my apartment when I come home, I check it before bed (you never know that someone might have slipped in unnoticed while I was busy watching Gilmore Girls), and I check it at night when I have awoken and am particularly convinced that I heard something.

That’s all normal, I imagine you’re thinking. It might be. What’s normal anyway? But this normalcy or abnormalcy of my life right now has also entailed that I have been sleeping with a light on. Or two lights. One right next to my face. That every time my sleep cycle comes to that point where normal people turn over in bed and fall back asleep after a momentary semi-consciousness, I manage to have a surge of panic that breaks up my sleep cycle and has me up for another half hour. The arrival of some daylight brings relief and has me sleeping for another three hours. These thief/murderer/mean-person-who-will-yell-at-me-and-make-me-feel-sad fears all arise because of my warped thoughts and general anxieties about other aspects of life.

I was getting somewhat of a grip on them, by trying to let go of the need to control the situation at night, when my uterus-having-and-annoying-hormone-producing body decided that it was time for migraines again. Migraines, which aren’t too bad pain-wise, but which come with their set of accompanying Alice-in-Wonderland experiences.

Worse in the evening and during the night, I experience sudden lurching feelings of dread and panic when my hands suddenly feel like baseball bats or when I have to touch something that feels ‘too small’ (yes, a toothbrush is ‘too small’). I have to look at my hands to convince myself that they have not magically swollen up and that the toothbrush isn’t a toothpick and that the world is still entirely okay. Or I’ll feel like the ground, chair, bed under me is giving way and is opening up a portal to the underground and is leaving me dangling, suspended in air as if bewitched by levicorpus. Or ‘something’ will just not feel ‘right’ and will have me up and walking around trying to get rid of the feeling of panic.

And for this, I have no solution other than the highest dosage of over-the-counter pain meds I can get.

Here’s to a better night tonight. Or to a new hormonal phase announcing itself and placing my two feet back on solid ground instead of stuck in the whirlpool rabbit hole.

A cup of tea

He got his cup of tea. The warmth radiating through to the palm of his hands, fingertips still cold. It was time to brace himself. Or to relax himself. He wasn’t quite sure which of the two were going to be the most effective. He took a sip, the tea seared his tongue a little. Great, bad judgment call. One of these days he was going to have to learn to wait to drink a hot drink until it had sufficiently cooled down. There are some things you get taught as a child, that makes sense logically and that you know to be true, but that your body just doesn’t want to remember. Tea is hot. Your fingers are cold until you start writing.

Maybe the burning heat on his tongue could fix the cold in his fingers. Maybe the comfort of that lifetime ritual could lull his mind into embracing a sense of calm. Maybe the calm could wash away the panic that was intuitively associated with action.

Nobody runs holding a cup of tea.

A list of fears

I won’t be able to figure out how to write this section (I have written out a structure, but it doesn’t seem to suffice). Do I even know what points I’m trying to make in this section (I do, but I don’t trust that I do). I will remain a shitty writer who fails to structure things properly and to get their point across (if I don’t write I definitely will be). I probably don’t even have an interesting story (it’s not the greatest, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth telling, maybe). It’s more of a mass of facts which I am struggling to pull a line through, there probably isn’t really a big line, or if there is, I’m too stuck to see it (you have your big lines, you just lose track of them; your what-is-this-about paragraphs are supposed to help, and you’re good at those). My ideas don’t make sense (they have been tested by your supervisor who is a badass, so, they can’t be worthless). I will disappoint my supervisor and will fail to live up to their standards. I will disappoint my parents. I am causing my parents worry. People think I’m weak and a failure for not being done yet. Future employers won’t want to hire me because I took so long to get things done. Writing will remain a struggle. I will have lost all joy in work and work is my source of joy. I am not doing what I should be doing with my life, not doing what is making me happy. I am not good enough to write this text. I won’t ever be able to finish it. I can’t pull it together. It keeps falling apart any time I try to get a hold on it. I keep getting feedback that means I need to rewrite everything significantly. There is probably something big wrong with the dissertation, a core thing. Something I am too stupid to see. Something I can’t grasp.

A day in the life of wibbly-wobbly fear-excitement, doubt-confidence and happy-sadness

Waking up is always a bit of an issue. It didn’t use to be. It used to be a surge of energy and excitement about the day to come. Plans used to tumble over one another in my head, each sparking the next surge of pleasure at all the possibilities of the day. It still is that way, actually. Except that now the plans seem more like hurdles that will topple over, dragging me under. Now the surges are of anxiety and guilt and lack of self confidence, rather than of enticement. As I said, waking up is a bit of an issue.

I am hopeful, however. Meditation, yes, that spiritual beast that I have scoffed upon for most of my life and that only works when I can a) dismiss the spirituality (not that I don’t value or respect it, it’s just not something that my atheist mind can or wants to do in any spiritual manner) and b) let go of the idea that somehow the mind has to be blank. Whoever came up with the idea that meditation requires you not to think, can’t have been right. Unless you do nothing but meditate all day, maybe you can reach that “level”. But in my experience, the idea that you’re not supposed to think just makes you feel guilty about thinking about how you’re not supposed to think, because that’s a thought to and oh no, now I’m thinking about how I’m guilty because I’m thinking about how I’m not supposed to be thinking and … loop of craziness ensues. No. What does work is when I am fine with the thoughts entering my head, but then relegate them to the void of ‘not right now’. And when I’m allowed to “think” about the sensations I’m feeling. There is thinking in meditation. Only it’s an observational kind of thinking. A focused kind of thinking. A calm kind of thinking. And I like that kind.

The calm kind of thinking translates the surges of fear into surges of energy. The calm kind of thinking tricks me into feeling like I can do this. And maybe a trick is all it takes to get going.

Post-meditation, I am a ball of wibbly-wobbly fear-excitement, doubt-confidence and happy-sadness. And this is what I take to my desk. To my laptop. To the Breton double subject pattern, which will fit into my chapter on resumption, where I talk about a couple of analyses of possessive relations expressed with two possessor elements: one in a non-possessive position where it does some weird “hi, look at me, I need attention” action, and a small one which is where it’s supposed to be and which whispers “I also have some sort of relation to this dude next to me.” Possessive resumption is a little like a movie star, traipsing around on the red carpet, getting their picture taken, getting interviewed, soaking in all the glitter, glamour and attention after having handed out headshots to cast directors. There’s this little bit of them that looks like them and that is the property of the people they actually work for, but they prefer to make everything about them in some other location.

Some tea. A (gluten-free because my body fails to digest things properly) cracker with peanut butter and bananas (a childhood favourite combination). A wordpress post. And now it’s time to get the deets down on Breton.

True love’s fears

Today, a fear gushed through my window and touched my chest. It was a sleeping spell, but not like most. My heart was thumping loud. Breaths came gulpingly. But it left me groggy, dizzy, slow. Adrenaline was racing, my mind blocked. Retreating into fiction, the curse hit. The world went black.

I hope some day true love’s kiss will bring me back to life.

Does struggling make the result better?

Why do we think that if there is no effort required, the result doesn’t matter as much, doesn’t taste as good?

“Dinner will feel better after you’ve walked all afternoon.”

“Finish off that idea and you’ll enjoy your evening off more.”

Is this true? It seems to be. It does feel better after walking all afternoon. You do feel more relaxed when you feel you have accomplished something.

But do we really need to feel like we have overcome a hurdle to be allowed to be happy? Can’t we just be that. Be happy. Without requirements of suffering?

It is such a romantic idea, that there must be passion and pain and a storm of distress before peace can arrive. It is what nations like the US are built on. Starting from nothing to achieve everything is better than starting in the middle and staying in the middle.

It shouldn’t have to be that way. It should be okay to enjoy the path as well as the outcome. It should be okay to have it easy and to feel happy about having it easy.

Struggle isn’t a requirement for happiness.

And yet dinner is tastier after that hike up that hill and there is no way of denying that.