Wading, Waiting

I am depressed too often these days. Or rather, moments of depression rise up and crest, and then they subside until the next one arrives. A cursory look through the archive of my writing will show that I have used this wave, this tide, this movement of water metaphor, time and time again. I come back to it, and the cycle of language continues on.

I once told Colin that if I were a Pokémon trainer, I’d definitely train fire types. He laughed, and said, No, you’re obsessed with the sea. Water all the way.

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One of the things I do when I fall into these nadirs is to look up wedding information. I read I Thee Dread, Jezebel’s wedding and marriage-oriented side blog, regularly; I go into the comments and read up on other peoples’ dresses and catering decisions, their woes as regards to family, exes, what to do with children both theirs and others’. I have been on BHLDN more times than I’d ever admit in person. I still don’t know how to pronounce it.

A month ago, or maybe more, Colin and I went “swimming,” drinking grapefruit-laced beers that tasted nothing like grapefruit, sitting on the shallow end steps of my apartment complex’s pool. Maybe because I was drunker than I’d let on (a recurring motif), the topic of marriage came up. We’ve been together for almost two years now; not a promise, but far from nothing. Somehow, the phrase “I’d be a bad ex-girlfriend” slipped from my mouth. He looked at me, half-bemused, half-something else. The boy I’d loved in high school would’ve turned away.

I wonder what goes through his mind in moments like that, or, the time he forced me to stand even as that terrible, familiar, panicked paralysis coursed through my limbs, and I told him that I think something’s wrong with me, and he wept into my shoulder as I cried into his chest. Or, the night after Alexa’s birthday dinner, when I’d yelled at and through him and then later threw my dinner up into the trash can in my room. He joked, when we woke up, that the food looked the same as it had when I’d eaten it; I felt a secret shame of being happy that my body hadn’t absorbed the meal. Or, every time I text him with the things that I’m scared to tell even my closest friends. “Can you not talk about this?” — censorship as a form of self-preservation. Except, I don’t willingly disclose when I’m affected by my internal specter; Lisa caught me crying in her bathroom, and her first reaction was, “I never even thought about it.” Because no one does, except for me, except for him.

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I tell people that I’ve never been to a wedding before, except I think I have: Once, but the memory is fuzzy, a photo just out of focus. The guests were given little white bubble wands, topped with even littler pairs of doves. I don’t think I ever opened it. For all I remember and/or did, it may as well have never happened.

Another memory, out of focus: We had dinner at my mom’s colleague’s house. It had dark wood paneling on the walls; not all the way up, but enough to cover the garage (something I thought very odd) and give color to my memories. The meal had been good, something roasted, perhaps, something special, because I’d never eaten anything like it before or since. Years, years later, my mom told me that that man had killed his wife, a literal mail order bride, by bashing her head into the wall of the garage.

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A few weeks ago, caught up in the sweep of another debilitating low, I came up with the idea of another writing post. Its name was to be “Write Through This,” an homage to the Hole album but also a way of expressing my utter gratitude in having figured out how to, well, write through this: This, this sinking feeling that curdles in my stomach and makes me want to scratch the skin off my arms, my scalp, the planes of my face. This, this shame of looking at sharp objects and thinking about the slope of their blades. This, this overworked list, this carving of confessions into digital stone. What am I doing? Where am I going? It almost doesn’t matter — Forward. Onward. Upward. Any direction but back or down, even when I wake up and feel sleeplessness hang like a veil across my eyes, even when I tell myself to shut up, I’m speaking in circles, even when I walk into a room or am simply existing within it and hear the word “pregnancy” tossed around like a football, a careless grenade that explodes into a series of fear fireworks: How can I think about marriage and family as fantasy if I can’t even listen to a baby cry, to a delayed period joke, without wanting to curl up into a ball and/or reach into my face and rip my brain stem out? How can I flippantly joke about Colin’s potential for fatherhood and not immediately recognize what I’m concurrently implying about myself? How can I get over this, how can I get myself to stop writing about this? I can’t write about this. I have to write about this. What else is there about me, if not this thing, and how fucked up do I have to already be to think about it in that way. When I first saw the blue plus, my first thought wasn’t “Oh no”; it was “Of course.”

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I wrote a piece about motherhood, losing it, and FKA twigs for work. It’d been written months ago, but only published now; if I’d known how I’d been feeling in this moment, I would never have let it see the light of day. Maybe it would’ve been here, published but unshared and left for strangers to find. Or, maybe it would’ve been another voice memo of me talking to myself, coaxing myself out of the collapse of my own making. Maybe it would’ve been another conversation with Colin, and it’d end with me crying in his arms, and maybe that would’ve been the end of that.

In the end, though, I write here to air my dirty laundry, the monster bubbling under my skin, the serpent caught devouring its own tail. After I’d went through my high school breakup, I deleted my Xanga, the blog that catalogued every demented and delightful thought that’d passed through my deceitful teenage mind. I would do anything to read what the Me from then had to say, so I’d have a better idea as to what she’d say to me now. Instead, I guess. She probably would’ve told me that I have everything I’d ever wanted, and more.

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