I am still in bed.
My mouth still tastes like red wine.
My stomach is killing me.
Alanis Morisette, for some fucked up reason, plays in my head over and over again, I see right through-oo-oo-oo-oo you. And it’s the only lyric I know.
I get up only to relieve a very painful extraction from my bowels and for some reason, I decide: I will make it to yoga for 8:30. Because I want to be a very strong freak. And yoga is very much required. Especially the classes called “Power Hour”. Especially first thing in the morning.
It’s just a stomach ache.
I have had stomach aches my whole life.
I am The Girl With The Stomach Aches.
When I was a child, starting from the age of 8, the doctor told my mother that my stomach pain could be either a sign of deep sadness or a deep sense of stress.
I hadn’t told him that I was newly deeply confused by suicidal ideation at the time.
Sometimes doctors truly know things.
Last night and this morning, the stomach pain could have been the wine.
Or it could have been the man I am smitten with who is going away for a long vacation and, in my head, will likely never come back or forget about me. Last night he was here and then he left. I realized he left. I couldn’t sleep.
More probable, it’s a new sense of wonder regarding an absence of my own absolute value. A small, small comment on Friday night sent me whirling into a doubtful certainty: All I have is my writing and then what? I need a career, like a real career, like a true ego, like a weighted ego, like I need to say “I AM _____” and that blank needs to be filled by a business card and a truism.
One of my first Eddies met me when I was fascinated by photography. I think it’s safe to call photography a phase I went through or maybe it was just an expression of suppressed creativity since I was denying my theatrical passion for lack of faith in my own art form (I had already failed at theatre school once).
I remember giving Eddie a business card.
I had printed them off the internet.
“I’m a photographer.” I told him as I gave it to him and the card read “photographer”.
I wasn’t just “into photography”.
I was. Business card.
I had a Flickr account. So. Business card.
He might have been impressed.
He might have also thought I was a fucking loser.
We didn’t hook up for another two years at which point, I was no longer a card-carrying photographer. I was just a student. And, if today, you asked that Eddie what he thought I was up to, he would probably have no fucking idea.
I can tell you: He works in marketing, probably. That is what he studied. That is what he talked about. That was his goal at the time.
He could be a completely different person but, at the time, he existed with a qualifiable value. Marketing Student.
I studied a blend of social sciences and sciences at U of T to pass the time into adulthood while I relaxed away from my only sustainable passion: The theatrical arts.
What the fuck am I doing.
My stomach is not working. Or, it is working too much.
It’s spinning, hurting and drawing all of my attention towards its pain.
I’ve spent the day trying to stimulate other parts of my body but distraction has fallen short.
In light of my reaching the 48 hour insomnia mark, I went to the drug store to buy Gravol because my mother always says “try Gravol”.
While there, I bought Kraft Dinner because my father always says “it cures everything”.
It feels to me as though I just spent twelve dollars supporting corporate nonsense without much hope for ease.
Money can’t buy me ease.
What is tethering my brain to my belly?
I want you to know that I stomach you.
I am stomaching everyone.
I think about everyone in relation to myself. And then I want to die.
“This is your lighter, your lighter is here, this is your lighter,” he says to the man seated with one leg on the chair in front of him, his lighter lying just passed his foot as if it never knew him.
“If you don’t want it, I’ll take it, I can take it,” the older man repeats, dressed in nothing, it is freezing winds outside and he is dressed in nothing, “I can take it, I could use one, I’ll take your lighter,” but the young man picks up the two dollar item, pockets it and battles vocally to insist,
“No, it’s mine. This is mine. It’s my lighter, it’s my lighter.”
His lighter. He can’t give it to man who has to beg for one. It is his.
I stomach the scene. I stomach the young man and the older man and the begging and the keeping.
I take everything in, gutturally. And then I want to die. Just as I did when I was eight. First stomach ache is the same as the last.
Call it empathy. I don’t know if that’s what it is. I don’t know if I feel the same pain that the man who needed that lighter feels, I don’t think this is empathy. This is just fear.
I could be that man.
Or, that man could get super angry about the lighter and cause some kind of violence or shitty thing that won’t really hurt me but that I will see and feel
Or, this young man is shitty and that feels shitty to watch especially because I am sure that I am just as shitty and would have done the exact same thing except I would have immediately gotten off the streetcar
I am the young man or I am the old man but either way: Death is easier.
I practiced yoga this morning with one of my favourite teachers who frequently states “If you’re struggling, let go.”
I walked my dog to the park this morning, stomaching everything, suicidal intent chasing all anxieties:
The woman with the crooked eyes who might be looking at me but she might also be looking straight ahead of her and it’s just unclear because her eyes are crooked but then so what if she is looking at me and why would she be looking at me, oh wait it isn’t about me, hang on Rachel and have some sympathy PLEASE for the woman with crooked eyes who may or may not care about her crooked eyes but are they really crooked and how shitty is it of me to call her The Woman With The Crooked Eyes–and I could easily be her and so why don’t I die
The couples and the couples and the couples who think my dog is “really cool” or “the cutest” or “so handsome”, staring directly at him, never at me, I stomach their autonomous couple thing that they do where the world doesn’t exist because only they exist and only the things that they invent exist and this is every single couple and maybe I will be that kind of couple one day and then I will kill myself–
I am walking through the park and I am noticing the man who can’t leash his dog quickly enough, losing his patience while his date, who clearly hardly knows him because she is standing about three feet away from him and staring at the ground quietly wonders when she will get to be home again, alone and I am impatient too and I am unattractive when I am impatient too and I–should die–
Guy telling lady at the park that he needs a venue that there aren’t any venues that no no he knows has any land or backyard and real estate and Toronto and real estate and Toronto and Yuppies and he’s right and he’s right and I’m half the problem but also half in the same boat as him and if I can’t have both my feet in one ship what am I even doing on this planet–
I stomach everything.
I put everything in my stomach.
I push it downwards.
Notice: I am not walking through the park while crying or barely breathing or even looking a little sad. I am pushing all of this downwards, downwards, noticing everything, worrying about it, worrying about myself and it goes downwards and I now haven’t slept in days and I am waiting for the Kraft dinner to cool so I can feed it to my dog and I am intent on taking a pill to satisfy my biological need to rest.
“If you struggle, let go.”
I walk through the park with Mordy. I look at Mordy. He’s having a great day.
I am struggling.
“If you struggle, let go.”
I hear the teachers voice. She also often states that everything can be supported by lengthening the lower back which is achieved by pulling in the lower stomach.
I pull in my lower stomach as I walk. Acid reflux.
I know I won’t puke. I only ever puke in the middle of the night.
I keep my stomach tight, shoulders down, away from my ears and seperated so I look like I have let go of everything and anything that has ever scared or upset me.
I look like–I look like that.
Pay attention to my body and everything else goes away. Shoulders. Stomach. Nothing else matters.
And then I see Mordy. Mordy who is just focusing on Mordy.
All I do is watch Mordy.
I watch him until I am so tired from the ball throwing and the ball commands and the strangers who love him and the love he gives back.
I am paying attention to Mordy and my Body. Nothing else needs me.
I let go of the mistakes, all around me, social and biological mistakes, all around me, I cannot help them, they will not kill me and I do not need to kill myself just because I know that Sadness is everywhere.
I have struggled with this pain and suppression for ever.
“If you struggle, let go.”
I walk, having let go. Or I look it, I look like I have. Which today, is pretty big. Stomach in. Acid Reflux, pushing suppressed anxiety up towards the mouth but it will not come out, trust that it will not come out because it isn’t really anything.
I came home, lay in bed and I try to rest.
My body, rested, hurts again.
Today is gone, I don’t feel it. But yesterday and the day before: Still sit in the stomach.
It feels like water.
It feels like waste.
The stomach feels like it just has too much.
Tonight I take Gravol but the stomach needs to be stronger, smaller, more flexible.
What is it truly for?
When will it fall asleep?