6.30 AM (on the dot, no exaggeration)
The alarm went off at 4 AM every morning but I haven’t woken up at 4 since early March.
I have been lying here for 2.5 hours.
Last night I couldn’t sleep. I was up most of the night missing an old friend. Eventually I spoke to them. It felt better to know something new about them. It also felt good to learn a little bit more about my heart.
My heart makes me sick.
Sometimes I love the wrong people. Most of the time.
What does the heart want–
Around the time I spoke to my friend who I (am still) missing, some time around 1 AM, my upstairs neighbours came home. The building I live in is very loud. Sound travels vibrantly. Everyone can be heard. Drunk people are heard the most. The drunk people upstairs walked across the floor with shoes on, sat on a piece of furniture and watched TV.
I pictured them watching together. One of them was holding the other one.
If only I could manifest a set of arms across my waist just while I am sleeping. Like a vibrator, but for my waist, once I’m done with my actual vibrator…just an entire vibrating entity, in bed with me. Anything with energy. I’m not lonely, I’m just cold and queasy and watching TV vicariously through my neighbours. I love them. I love hearing my neighbours which makes me love them completely.
My downstairs neighbour does not love me.
He has complained four times since moving in three weeks ago about my dog and I “walking around all day”. He came to my door and began telling me that I was a disrespectful person.
“I know you like your early mornings, and I guess I’m getting used to that,” he stated.
The following week, when he emailed my building (because I told him to do that since I was highly uncomfortable with him continuing to come to my door) he mentioned that he “often hears sounds from 4-7 AM, a loud thumping.” The thumping would be my foot steps. He is upset that I am walking. In my home.
For days I was afraid to pick my feet up as I walked across the floor.
This morning I briefly forgot about him and I thumped.
After a weird unfocused guided meditation, desperately trying to remember how to count to ten, the number “nine” never sounding quite right to me, forcing me to start again and to start again and to start again at one at one at one, I thumped through the apartment, peed with force (in case he can hear that), washed my face with a slapping splashing effort and stretched to a very loud Carol King playlist “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday” FUCK YOU neighbour, how dare you do anything but love me.
After a night of hearing my upstairs, let him wake up to the thump of a woman above him.
The sun is rising at 6.41. I am wearing a weird pair of shorts and a very structures sports bra for my very unstructured chest. I will get dressed and run with my dog, Mordechai.
I feel bad about the thumping.
10.33 AM (After yoga, eating salad, still dewy with sweat)
Make sure to take a nap during the day, he tells me, directly before my yoga class because he has plans with me later and whatever we’re doing, we’re likely doing with our eyes open so make sure, he says, as so far, on 2/3 of our dates, at least one of us has fallen very tired by the end of it, make sure to take a nap.
I’m very tired and the man I am dating wants to come over and kiss me tonight and I should take a nap, he says, make sure to take a nap–
I have thought about my neighbour all morning.
I just made coffee. As I grind the coffee beans I picture him knocking on my door and asking me if I couldn’t, please, grind the coffee quieter, out of respect for his life.
“Go ahead and call the cops.”
That’s what I would say. In my head. To the complaint I imagine about the coffee, that’s what I said.
Also I would record the conversation.
Also I would tell him that even in prison, people are allowed to grind coffee beans so “go ahead and call the cops”, fuck yourself.
This is whats freakish about right now and right here: I think about this person all the time.
I’m eating broccoli and I’m wondering if he can hear me chewing. I’m typing and I wonder if he can hear me typing. I whisper to my dog, pause between whispers and wonder, DID HE HEAR THAT.
Who is he really and why do I care so much?
During Passover, my brother had a few friends over to dinner and two of his friends, two women, told me a story about a party they once threw. It lasted three days. The party was themed a “Poor Life Choices Party”. People had their heads shaved. There were stick-and-poke tattoos crafted. Heavy metal music played live. The cops were called three times and until they threatened to take equipment away, these women didn’t give a fuck. They made up brilliant drunken arguments for why they were legally allowed to enjoy themselves. And they continued. Proud of their poor life choices, they refused to shut up.
I lie in yoga class and I know I am going home to take a bunch of promo photos for my freak show. I worry about playing music. Off my phone, I worry about playing music, off my phone, my phone that can’t even be heard from across my apartment, no speakers, no party, no poor life choices, just some music on my phone and I am freakish with anxiety.
Counter-anxieties involve a few things mentioned at a family dinner last night that had me worrying about my professional future, my lack of progress and the overall echo of Nobody that seems to follow me around and so Rational and Irrational go to war. In my head, they go to war.
In Yoga class:
I sweat. My hair glues together. I “gaze forward” (30% of a yoga class) and I just stop seeing. I stare at images of the ceiling in the mirror. I do exactly what is asked of me. I can’t think about it anymore I can’t think about it anymore I just can’t fuckingthinkaboutit anymore: Thank you all for coming, ladies and gentlemen, neighbours and family, thank you all for coming. But I just can’t fucking think about it anymore. And I bend into whatever and I hold my leg up and I twist and I just end dead on the floor somehow.
Heart to the sky, they say.
Because if your heart is aimed anywhere else, anywhere other than the sky, it’s wide open to the world. And the world is full of neighbours. And I cannot forgive my neighbour for disrupting my home.
Heart to the sky, Still in love with the people above me who are clearly in their kitchen right now, discussing the merits of SOMETHING WITH A HIGH PITCH and then a low “yeah yeah yeah”. I love them. Heart open to them. I’m going to use my blender now. I’m going to make a lot of noise. I’m just not going to think about it anymore.
Heart open to the sky.
Oh so that’s what I do with it.
Oh so that’s what–
1:35 PM (I have to pee and my face feels like sand)
I spent two hours painting my face into freakish beauty.
I took posed pictures, eventually discovering that, if my ribs are even the tiniest bit visible, I look thinner. But, then what to do about my cellulite?
Chest out. Heart out. Heart up. And I discover: If I pump my tits and my heart up to the sky but I look directly at you, back curved, slightly bent, head just rolled, just ever so slightly rolled to look directly at you, if I stay, arched back, ribs a bit naked, jacket a bit open, face intent, eyes incredibly decided: I become iconic.
This pose, this posture is iconic.
It isn’t the woman who woke up this morning.
It isn’t the woman who is afraid of her neighbour.
It has nothing to do with yoga (it kind of does but not in the moment).
I am perched and peeking at you because I am an icon of sexuality.
I really like it.
Originally, in the 1920s, a “Freak” was anyone who displayed a physical “biological rarity”.
Audiences would gawk and laugh, applaud at someone who was struggling, for fun and, at times, presumably the performer would make money or enjoy the outcome.
Eventually medicine intervened. It is now completely inappropriate to identify anyone with a “biological rarity” as a “freak”.
But stare at a woman and call her “sexy”.
Stare at anyone and judge them and call them anything.
It isn’t the same, nothing will be the same as an individual with a rare genetic disorder or an acquired “rarity” being ridiculed, bullied or openly hurt. It is uniquely offensive to discuss and judge a mental or physical disability as spectacle. But, then we look away.
None of us know what to do with enigma.
I draw a similarity to that of womanhood because currently, I find, when a man is “stimulated” by a passing woman he will either actively look away or gawk.
We are freaks to you, aren’t we?
Did I mention that I yelled at that neighbour last time he came to my door? I told him never to come back because I can’t help him and I couldn’t breathe and I returned inside, ready to vomit. Heart to the floor. Heart to the floor.
As the age of diplomacy dies, freaks are no longer hiding. We are all on a podium now.
Heart to the ceiling, staring right at you, I realize: I love these fucking photos and I love being looked at. It does make me deeply uncomfortably to feel as though someone is about to attack me or drug my drink in an effort to attack me or knock on my door until it falls apart but, forgive me for being a member of the animal kingdom, forgive me for keeping my distance despite enjoying the tension between our spaces.
Forgive me for keeping a golf club under my bed. I’m just as human as you are and I don’t enjoy inhumane violations. They fuck up my day.
But, I like the tension between us.
I make you tense. With a photo. With a costume. Make up. Walking down the street. Maybe I talk to my self (I do). Maybe I talk to my dog in the voice of a different person (sometimes). Maybe I just laugh while listening to absolutely nothing on my headphones because I just thought of that time my brother killed a frog right in front of me and it made me cry. I make you tense.
You make me important.
What else is there to think about other than the people you don’t understand?
I am heading to the park now.
I understand: Heart to the sky.
My dog will take a shit and I will fucking congratulate him because that’s how we operate. And when I come home: I will thump.