In the beginning, the earth was without form, and void.
kitten   July 27, 2004

I've been absent for a while, as you can see. I've been absent for a lot of reasons.

These reasons are varied but all come back to the same root: Change.

As of today I am twenty five years old. That should be enough to kick anyone into taking stock of their life -- where they are, where they were, and where they hope to be.

Events in the past month have made me realise that I have become someone very different than the person I used to be.

"show me show me show me how you do that trick
the one that makes me scream," she said.
"the one that makes me laugh," she said.
"show me how you do it, and i promise you, i promise you..
i'll run away with you."

There was a time that I can remember, and it seems not long ago although it was really three years prior, that I enjoyed life.

I know, I know. For someone who bitches as much as I do, you wouldn't think it. Even archives from that time are full of my ranting and raving. But nevertheless, I wasn't always the walled-off sort that I later became. Yes, there was a time when I found a great deal of contentment in simple things, and although I've never been the high-on-life type that greets each new day with a jovial smile, I was essentially happy with the person that I was.

spinning on that dizzy edge
i kissed her face and kissed her head
and dreamed of all the different ways i had
to make her glow
"why are you so far away?" she said
"why won't you ever know that i'm in love with you?
that i'm in love with you?"

Archives from that time are inaccessable at the moment. The earliest you can cycle back is to around the time things began changing. Two and a half years of isolation can do that to a person, I suppose, but I never realised what I was doing, and the cold indifference I had towards life, the universe, and everything soon became a part of me.

But, as I said, the events of recent history have made me take two steps back and look at what I've become, try to see myself the way others see me. I've had a few weeks to do this, and I didn't like what I saw. Didn't like who I had become. Like an egg in boiling water, entering fragile, emerging hard. It isn't a fun way to go through life, and it isn't who I used to be.

I haven't posted in a while because of this. Before, this place would be littered with weeping tales of despair and loss, couched in vaguaries and ambiguity, and I don't feel that I should dwell like that. It's part of what happened all those years ago that made me the apathetic man I became, because it was easier to be emotionless than to be hurt.

you, soft and only
you, lost and lonely
you, strange as angels
dancing in the deepest oceans
twisting in the water
you're just like a dream

And so for the past few weeks I have been trying to adjust some of my attitudes. The first step, true to 12-step format, was realising I had a problem. It took a rather monumental and painful experience for me to open my eyes to this, because after having lived for so long as an automaton, it never occured to me that I was missing out.

Even when someone tried to show me.

Her efforts got through to me in bits and pieces, and that isn't the way it should be, nor is it the way I used to be. And this is one of the areas I've been making progress in -- appreciating not only what I can do, but appreciating what others do. In full, because I don't believe in doing things by halves.

And progress is what I've been creating. You heard it here first. The little things that I always used to enjoy, and I'm learning to again.

Trying to stay away from this place for a while seemed like a good idea for other reasons as well. I have always had a rather odd habit of combing through old emails, textfiles, mirrorshades postings, and other assorted bits of digital memorabilia, as a way of cataloguing the past into dates, events, moods. I knew that coming here created the temptation to do so again -- even if there was nothing particularly significant to be read to an outside observer, I knew what was going on during these times and it's another aspect of dwelling and beating myself up that I wanted to avoid.

Yes, I could have been filling this place up with impersonal rants about society and politics, but to be honest, I haven't much felt like doing that lately. Fear not -- I'm still the same over-opinionated twit you've all come to read and mock day in and day out, and I'm sure that eventually I'll be ready to continue along the same vein I have been, but for the past month, bitching about petty things hasn't seemed quite so important.

daylight licked me into shape
i must have been asleep for days
and moving lips to breathe her name
i opened up my eyes
and found myself alone
alone
alone above a raging sea
that stole the only girl i loved
and drowned her deep inside of me

What's kept me going this way through the past several weeks, instead of beating the easy retreat back into solitude and indifference, has been hope, a universal constant of myself that hasn't changed at all. What I hope for has, on occasion, altered, but certain aspects of it never have, and while some say hope is dangerous, it can also be a powerful motivational force.

Hope springs eternal, and my hope now is, in part, that I get the chance to demonstrate my sincerity in these efforts, and a chance to do things right next time around. If I'm given that chance, I know -- now -- that it won't have been in vain, because I understand things now that I didn't before, and maybe couldn't have before. And I can prove it, if I'm allowed.

you
soft and only
you
lost and lonely
you
just like heaven

Today I am twenty five, and it's time I started acting my age.

Please don't think I'm not your sort.
kitten   July 9, 2004

My songs are no longer my own.

There are certain songs out there that impact me heavily. Sometimes this is because of the lyrics of the song itself, forcing thoughts to the surface that are painful in some way. Other songs simply have a fixed moment in my memory, a moment of better times, perhaps, or of something significant (and usually unhappy) occuring.

There was a long time when my songs were not my own, when listening to them was not an option. From Everclear, to Dido, to certain selections from Phantom of the Opera, to something as asinine as Alice Deejay, and many others. Songs that I should have enjoyed, but couldn't enjoy, because they had been stolen from the part of my mind that allowed me to enjoy them, and placed forcibly into another part of my mind that derived sadness from them. When these songs played on the radio I was forced to wrench the knob as quickly as possible to change the channel, to mute them, to do anything it took to avoid listening, for listening would almost assuredly bring tears.

Sometimes I'd be in a public place when a certain song would play, and anxiety would overcome me. Shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, and I had to fight myself to stay in control, lest I break down in the supermarket, the coffee shop, the classroom.

I was not always successful in the fight. I humiliated myself more than once.

It took a long time for me to get my songs back. It took a long time, and someone to help. But it happened, early this year; I ran a test, a clinical study. Loaded the songs up, played as many of them as I could, one by one. Listened.

They were mine. I could listen and enjoy them once more. Oh, I remembered what they meant -- that couldn't be changed -- but it no longer bothered me. And really, why should it? It's just a song, and I had someone who took the pain from the memories and replaced it with caring.

It was nice to have the songs back. To know that I could walk unafraid in the grocery store without fearing a spontaneous breakdown. To know that no matter what happened, there was someone waiting for me to put it right.

But today, my songs are no longer my own, and I wonder if they ever will be again.

More...

A life in the day of: An open letter.
kitten   July 6, 2004

You know what I've been doing for the past hour? It's 7am, and I'm still awake, caught restlessly between being exhausted and that state of worry that keeps eyes open. Restless indeed -- that's the word to be applied here.

There are very specific reasons I'm still awake. Some are new, fresh from the EZ-Bake Oven in the kitchen of the Fates. The other reasons are ancient ones, tired ones. Things I've tried to tell you before, in my own roundabout way, but never quite got the message across. If I'd told you a month ago, you'd have understood, because you've gone through it. If I told you now, you'd roll your eyes, tell me I was stupid. Think I was making it up.

But I wouldn't be making it up if I told you now. I'd simply be informing you of the things I've tried to convey to you nonverbally over the past few months, through a series of subtle actions, cryptic writings, glances, and other easy-to-miss gestures. Oblique, you could say, but that's who I am these days. The ability to shove away emotion was a survival mechanism, and when it ceased being necessary to survival due to your arrival in my little world, it was hard to get back.

Nobody said that erasing two and a half years of isolation would be easy, but I always wanted you to understand.

So for the past hour I've been staring idly at a live streaming video of someone's goldfish. No joke -- you can see it for yourself. I've watched the little guy do what fish do. Swim to the bottom of the tank, pick up a rock, spit it back out. Repeat.

This is what people mean by "doing", as in "What are you doing?" The outward appearance of action or inaction, the physical. Sitting. Running. Writing. Working. Driving. Eating. These are things we "do".

So from that context, to outward appearances, I'm not doing much of anything. Watching a fish get projected into a digital camera, broken down into packets routed in the general direction of my computer from over eleven hundred miles away, until they're reassembled into a coherent image and I can get a ten-second update of a goldfish spitting rocks out of his mouth. The miracle of twenty-first century technology, this.

Molly seems less than enthralled with the fish, being static for ten seconds at a time before slightly changing positions, and finds pushing her face into my stomach to be a more productive way of spending her time. That's what cats do.

But people rarely want to know what's going on inside when they talk about doing. "Thinking" isn't an appopriate response to the question most of the time, but the firing of synapses is there, and thinking is what I'm doing, even if nobody could tell from watching me, my face lit by the glow of a CRT displaying a fish. Nevertheless, despite what it seems like I'm doing, I'm actually doing quite a bit.

I found this fish and his eponymous camera through the website of someone whose writing I admire, even if I don't know him from Adam. Beyond the fact that we frequent the same discussion site elsewhere, we have nothing in common. It's worthy reading, to me, even if it's mostly long personal vignettes detailing episodes from his life. And it isn't just the breezy and creative manner in which he writes, but the fact that he actually has stories to tell. This is someone who has done and seen a lot of cool things, a lot of bad shit, and doesn't mind sharing it with the world. A wife, a house, a freelance job doing something he loves, and a suite of stories to tell.

It wouldn't be fair to say I hate the guy. But I'm damned jealous of what he's accomplished. Finding something I'm even interested in seems like a fanciful dream to me, to say nothing of making money off of it. Having stories to tell is equally as far-fetched, because I've never done anything significant or even remotely interesting, nor do I think I ever will. Owning a house is an almost laughable proposition to me, and at almost 25 years old, I've had a grand total of three relationships in my days. Two went south in an ugly way and it seems the third is on the cliff ready to join them.

But let it never be said that I don't do my share of thinking about my experiences. About what I've done right, and what I've done wrong. About the choices I've made and where they lead me. About the things I could have done and said that would have made a difference, to you, and to me. About things you've done and said, and what they meant to me, and whether you ever realized it. Trying to read between the lines that may not even exist, drawing on obscure sources like away messages or user info left on instant messaging clients. Trying to piece together all manners of situations.

And so now, at 7am, this is what I'm doing. Thinking of you -- even if it only looks like I'm watching a goldfish.

Existential clause.
kitten   July 5, 2004

I've known for some time now, and I've known more than you think, but the proof wasn't there -- evidence, yes. Suspicion, certainly. But not proof per se, and so I gave you the benefit of the doubt because, despite having gone through this several times before, I'm still a trusting person.

And that was probably my mistake.

Yes, I've known, and you knew I knew, and I know you knew I knew because I asked you about it. Asked you point blank, and received nothing but denials in return. Figured maybe I'd been wrong for asking.

But I couldn't shake my suspicion and so I issued a request: You want nothing to do with me, fine. You want to move on, fine. No accusations, no cry of witchcraft -- just a simple request. A request that, should the time come at any point in the dim and vague future, that you have the decency to say something to me.

I said you don't owe me anything, but I should have amended that. You owed me one thing: the courtesy of not going behind my back -- the courtesy of telling me, to my face, that it's over.

And you couldn't even muster the decency, the courage, or whatever other quality it takes to do that.

Whether it's because you think I was too stupid to figure it out, or because you just didn't care if I did, I cannot say, but either way, I wonder if it bothers you at all to know the pain you've caused.