It is already the fall and far too long since I have posted a book review so to ameliorate such a tragedy I am going to do four. Here it is, the big extravaganza you never asked for but sure are getting, Aquatic Misadventures’ I Know What I Did This Summer Queer Reads for Teens! Aka the shit I read over the summer before things got busy and the leaves started switching up the color palette. Continue reading
This is a post to address the last post, namely to clear the air a bit of my mopey-ness and meatballs.
I did not wish to give the impression that I do not think I deserve to be happy. I did not mean to depress anyone with my rambles on the internal schmutz of my mind. I merely wished to express the struggle sometimes between knowing and feeling, especially when it comes to owning your achievements in a capitalistic society that values certain sorts of achievements and is toxic to the well-being of so many.
I do, in fact, know that I can be happy or proud or whatever the bubbly feeling is. I often am quite bubbly, so much so I have a tendency to be labeled a manic pixie dream girl. I think it has something to do with the all-out dancing in random public spaces and robust knowledge of queer storylines on foreign soap operas? I have and will be happy again. This is the stuff I know.
The point was (well it was supposed to be) that sometimes what one knows factually, and what one believes even, doesn’t necessarily translate to that ball bearing of lead that somehow found itself stuck just beyond your pyloric sphincter.
A part of me still believes this is universal. Perhaps I am not adept enough to tell it? Perhaps, though I try, I do not infuse my honesty with enough humor or inspiration to properly convey the message without making the audience uncomfortable? Watching other people struggle can be incredibly uncomfortable. We have a tendency to jump to conclusions or look away when that happens.
I’m getting a little worried I don’t know how to tell my own story. But I’m alright really, I guess is what I’m trying to say. Not always (but who the fuck is? Scott Walker serving us bite-sized portions of bullshit on the daily? That lady behind me at the coffee shop who complained about having a private yoga session in her house to get to? The pet cat?)
The point is that radical, revolutionary self-love and pride are processes not endpoints.
Don’t worry I’m alright and I’ll keep going and be alright more in the future, but right now I really gotta go pee so here’s a picture of the tree that is growing out of the apartment across from us. It functions as both a unique conversation starter and an inspiring metaphor:
I miss the way my skin was when it didn’t itch. When I didn’t have the incessant need to scratch at it until little red bumps inflame and I bleed. There are scabs and reminders there now. Lotion doesn’t help. The sight of my feet, my calves, thighs and stomach, it makes me anxious. Which makes me scratch and itch all over again. Histamines.
I have eczema. It gets worse in the winter typically because the air is so often so dry and it triggers something. As the spring opened up, the snow finally melting into the grey city rain dripping off scaffolding and window sills, I hoped my skin would re-hydrate. That the moisture would cling and the itch would get better, as it typically does come this time of year. But I think I was worse on myself this winter. I’m still itchy.
The problem is that there is always this itch somewhere, and unlike other sorts of stimuli (public restroom smells and the blinding morning light,) this I do not get used to. The itch at the moment is in my right knee, on the right side and a little towards the top end of the patella. There is itch on my left wrist right above my tattoo and just below the hem of my sweater’s sleeve. There is itch on my abdomen. Close to the hip where my body when standing would just start to curve back out, but when sitting hits the peak of a roll of flesh curved over.
I want to scratch my skin off. Literally. When I start to scratch the itch, and the itch inevitably gets worse, I scratch harder, and faster. You can hear the scraping of my fingernails worse when I’m over the bone. It’s so stupid. But I keep thinking at those moments, if I just had some steel wool, a pumice stone or a fork. Perhaps if I angled the sharp edge of a knife just right I could finally cut away the itch without slicing down to the muscle. Of course, this is terribly not true. My logic luckily gets the best of me. I do not grab sharp objects (except occasionally pencils or the crisp edge of a folder). I slather on more prescription strength triamcinolone and pretend it’ll work, that the violence will no longer tempt.
I do not mean to cause the damage to my skin. I do not want to. It’s terrible and embarrassing the way I will suddenly start clawing both hands at my ankle, the top of my foot, or just above my underwear line. Roommates who start off with a, “Yah get it!” quickly morph into grimaces. They are uncomfortable with my intense display of discomfort. I get it. “Stop it.” They’ll say and swat at my hands meaning all the best, “You’re ruining your skin.” They just don’t want me to hurt myself. I know and I’m sorry, it just itches so goddamn bad. When I scratch it feels so wonderful, painful and relieving all tethered together and lovely. I stop and the itch is worse, layered on top by the sting of broken skin. So I keep going until I can will myself to stop.
It is way harder than it looks. It’s just so easy to put your hands down and stop. Really it should be, and technically it is. But the itch doesn’t listen to technically, the itch just itches. At work and other professional places, even sometimes at home alone, I can manage. I wear clothes that cover my skin and make the itch difficult to access, I’m busy with other things like smiling at customers and repeating our mantra, “Oh no, the registers are over there. Don’t worry it looks similar, happens all the time.” But sometimes, I’ll admit, I walk calmly to the backroom, look around and scratch—my skirt hiked up and my tights running thin beneath the friction. I’ll repeat this, it’s stupid.
I promise you, I do try. I have three different tubes of topical treatments, and a massive push cap bottle of “healing lotion” I apply generously after every shower and when I can feel myself on the verge of scratching too deep. I scold myself and smack my own hands away from the trouble spots. I rub gently with my palms instead of dig in with my nails. I tell other people to hold me accountable. But just a few moments ago, when I took a quick bathroom break, I used it as an excuse to hack at my upper right thigh. Kept thinking that if I just let myself itch right now, then I’d be satisfied and it’d go away. I scratched off another scab, stopped the bleeding with some Kleenex. I was ashamed and proud. This was just five minutes ago, so if that tells you how it is…
Sometimes, no that’s a lie, most days I feel I am making this up. This is not eczema. This is a girl who scratched herself itchy and now can’t manage to stop. Partially, that’s true. When you damage the skin the skin reacts and that can make a cycle. It’s all mixed together now so it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes I’m afraid the itch is a lie, but still it is all my skin can comprehend.
I have been struggling a bit to write something not depressing as shit. Not that shit is always depressing mind you. Sometimes when one really has to go finally getting the opportunity is pretty damn relieving. A party really.
Although someone at work has been having too many parties as of late, but that’s a story for another time…
My point is I have not blogged in quite some time as the moment I go to write a post it winds up another sad, obnoxiously mopey tale of the life. I did manage to write a silly story for work about our mascot rabbit, but only after much self- ruler slapping. But that’s really all. I’ve been quite hard on myself about it. WRITE SOMETHING FUNNY GODDAMNIT AQUACHILD! Trip down those treacherous stairs between the park and your home and land with your ass in someone’s birthday cake! Make-out with a streetlamp just to see what dirty rain and chipping paint tastes of! Shoot water out your ears! Join in with the people dancing on the subway! Vomit in public again! Whatever! Just. Make. The. Funny.
But I have to respect that I am not there. If what’s going to come out is sad then so be it, let that sad out. I tend to have trouble with that as once I let the dam out it’s destructive. Floods whole rivers and probably does some terrible shit like forcibly remove people from their homes and communities. For some folk getting it out is cathartic. Nope for me. So I avoid it, or curb it, if I can. Write now (pun intended…I am aware it is tragic) that is not something that is working. This is a warning mini-blog. I’m going to allow my stupid ass fucking orange juice and toothpaste level sadness the dignity it apparently demands, and post a sad one.
Avoid the next one as you may need slash desire.
I hope the world is still going swimmingly for you lovely shimmering minnows, and oh, P.S. if you work with me you should not tell Jake that I wrote that rabbit story. I’ve managed to confuse the heck out of him on who mysteriously wrote it. Bwhahaha bunnies
Okay, so I am going to talk about something pretty well qualified as “TMI,” but I have a roommate with the lovely philosophy of reinventing his most vulnerable and embarrassing moments into humor, so holy shark bait Batman, I am going to too. Leave now if you are not comfortable with foul.