I hold my tongue all the time.
A man in a white van rolls his window down.
“HEY, DOGGY,” he yells and I’m sure he’s yelling at my dog but at the same time: No he isn’t.
Approaching the door to my loft, the hallway smells like laundry and what is it about the scent of soap that insists on reminding me that we’re all hiding at least five or six things from each other at all times.
Stomach pain and two hours of sleep mean I probably am not going to yoga right now.
I feed my dog because that seems like a proper priority and I wonder about feeding myself. I don’t know how I know what I want to eat.
I bought a bagel on the way home from the park because, despite current dietary restrictions, I just want some fucking toast. What if I just want some toast? I just want it.
I also want a cigarette.
I’m disturbed by my need to want things.
Can I hold my wants like I hold my tongue?
Can I keep things from myself the way I keep things from other people?
I toast the toast and decide to print my scripts.
Sometimes it’s best to write when I feel I am not saying the things I really want to say.
It’s also best to write hungry, I believe.
But I really want some fucking toast.
11:22 AM next day
I never ate the toast. Instead, I lost my mind.
I didn’t want toast anymore. I mentioned it to you and then no longer wanted it. I didn’t eat.
I moved on to working. I wanted to print my scripts.
My printer is finally working. I install a new toner cartridge. Recently I had to get Canon to replace the toner I bought weeks ago since it was empty upon installation. I unpack the new toner. I have high hopes for my printing experience.
Paper jam and the world ends.
“Open the back of the printer” says the tiny informative screen, my only ally and, yet, my current enemy.
The back of the printer can only be reached if I pull the printer out of the wall and off of the shelf and I get ANGRY
I open the toner case, just as asked, I open the back of the printer and there is NOTHING TO LOOK AT and I get ANGRY
I take the fresh toner cartridge, I fish around among sharp and then not-so-sharp internal machinery could-break-at-any-time pieces, slots where the paper goes but there is no paper, slots where the paper goes but there is no paper and I am ANGRY.
I try printing again.
A fight breaks out.
“NO PAPER DETECTED”
“FUCK YOU, THERE’S A STACK OF PAPER, RIGHT HERE, THIS IS PAPER, I PUT IT HERE, A STACK OF IT, DETECT MY PAPER.”
“NO PAPER DETECTED”
“DETECT MY PAPER”
“DETECT IT YOU MOTHERFUCKING BULLSHIT ROBOT WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU WHO MISTREATED YOU WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU WHY WON’T YOU JUST WORK.”
I then lie on the floor waiting to die or, more productively, trying to just lie still and not smoke.
This is the rage I was talking about. Remember, the article about rage and self destruction (or is that all my articles)? Oh hey, this is what I was talking about.
I never yell at people.
I at least can say that, given the occasion to yell at someone, I am much more likely to sink into my breath and my skin, forgetting exactly what it is that is causing me so much anguish, pulsing my tongue up and down against the roof of my mouth to force just the slightest bit of salivation, dealing with the person: I will deal with the person until they leave.
I will go inside and rage.
I yell at machines. Coffee machine, washing machine, dishwasher, none of them fucking get it and it hurts me and I yell at them.
I yell in the mirror. I get lost just, staring into the mirror and yelling.
I rage. Alone. I never yell at people. I hold my tongue.
It is the least productive, most exhausting activity that I know of and yet, it’s at least a weekly occurrence. Rage.
There is something I hate, constantly, something I am always angry about and I cannot think it through, my mind doesn’t want to go there, so my body gives in. Explosion explosion. And then I’m fine but I’m so tired, the day has to be over.
Yesterday, I fought the printer at 10 AM.
I finally got it to work. I read through my work. I couldn’t process anything I had done or anything I needed to do. I went to bed. I spent the day in bed.
I cannot articulate the feeling.
I hold my tongue.
My tongue cannot help me.
My tongue actually doesn’t help me much at all. Right?
I don’t know much about the tongue and, in the interest of creative intuition, I won’t bother researching about it but I think my tongue is the source of every craving I have ever had: Sugar, tobacco, salt, sex, wine… My tongue gets wet just making that list. It doesn’t help. It wants things.
OK, fuck it: I’m looking it up.
……I can’t understand anything I’m reading about the tongue….
Here is what I think I have learned: The body is a walking receptor.
WHOA guys, everything, skin, eyes, TONGUE, everything takes the world in and the brain collects it all, all the received information, constructing a physical education for you, a personalized experience of received signals. You have learned what your body has sensed.
Did you already know that?
Think about it. Think about it.
What happened to me yesterday when the printer didn’t work?
FIRST of all, let’s consider that I was hungry. The stomach was signalling need.
SECOND, let’s consider why I was using the printer in the first place: I was printing my freak show. I am previewing this piece in a month, for the first time. I am terrified. I am terrified. I am terrified and I am printing the only evidence in the world that this show, this concept even exists. I am forcing myself to materialize a copy of a script I am not sure about and I am afraid that I have a lot of work to do. Fear.
Fear: Meet, need.
THIRD of all, at the height of my anxiety, my fear of failure, fear that I am printing proof of failure, I turn the printer on, I hear the pages print, I pick up the pages and nothing is printed on them. I am confused.
Confusion: meet fearful neediness.
The cartridge I had just put in still had it’s shipping seal attached to it. Remove the seal. Print again.
FOURTH of all, I think I have fixed my printer finally and the paper jams. The ears hear it. The eyes see it. The body stills. The printer tells me to open up the back of the printer, I have to lift it and move it, the arms, the back, the hands. Something falls off my shelf, ears, eyes and release. I open the back of the printer. There is nothing to see. I kick the printer. Irritation.
Irritation: meet a confused fearful neediness.
This is where my mouth goes dry.
This is where my tongue responds.
Drier and drier it screams at me, “Rachel, hey Rachel, you’re helpless? You’re helpless. Escape. Whatever you’re doing to make you feel helpless. Escape. I don’t know what it is because nothing has touched me yet. I haven’t tasted any part of this episode but hormones and hormones and hormones and hormones, escape, escape, escape. Drink something smoke something eat. Escape and save me. I am your tongue.”
I lie on the ground.
My mouth is dry. It starts salivating, presumably a rescue.
As it salivates, I want cigarettes. As it salivates, I want bourbon. As it salivates, I want. The tongue is kicking in and it wants. It wants to taste.
That’s the story.
The whole body experiences the journey to rage and the tongue rescues me from a complete meltdown by wanting things. Distractions.
I was ready to throw my printer against the side of the brick wall.
But I had to lie down first, because I couldn’t breathe because I couldn’t swallow because I had nothing in my mouth.
And then the tongue says, “Don’t worry about this mess, go smoke a bunch and come back to it when you’re calm.”
Is the tongue a signaler because it is the least active in the episode?
Is that how the body works? Desperately?
That’s what I learned from the research I read.
I didn’t understand anything I read, really. But I gathered a sense. The sense is my education.
It’s all so fucking desperate.
I woke up this morning and spent an hour with my dog at the park.
I listened to a playlist I made years ago entitled “Freak Show”.
I came home and, without removing my earbuds, without turning off the music, I sweat. I worked out for an hour, using yoga, focusing on my core, picturing a woman on stage who can literally do anything because her body is used to pushing limits.
Do I know where my limits are?
My tongue tells me that all my limits are emotional.
My tongue tells me that I get so hormonally charged by the smallest things that I am wasting my potential.
“STOP CARING SO MUCH AND TASTE THINGS”
I swallow my sweat.
It rained all morning, we got wet.
I must have done over a hundred yogic pushups, sweating, wetter than the rain.
I have used my body but I’m not tired.
And I’m not thirsty.
Cigarettes sound good but nothing about my mouth screams NEED right now.
What are Emotions? What is the Mind?
All things considered, it feels a bit like a prank.
Whoever or whatever created us thought they were being funny, “give her a brain. See how she deals with it.”
But my tongue dealt with it for me.
Who says the human mind is any more important than all the other pieces?
Your emotions need things.
Your body is giving.