I know why baby Charlie gives me rage.
All morning Upstairs Mom is yelling, “ALEXA!” total SS vibes, “A-LEXA!! Play Old McDonald had a farm!”
“ALEXA!” moments later, “turn the volume down. Alexa! ALEXA! TURN VOLUME DOWN.”
Charlie cries. Mom’s yelling gains pace, desperate for a song that will appease her baby, “Alexa-play-row-row-row-your-boat! Alexa! Alexa! Alexa!”
Louder wails the baby.
Last night I wrote about Charlie in wonderment: Am I if jealous of sweet Charles and his access to care?
Today, back at my desk, beneath the crying, amidst the militant hollering for a robot DJ to just get the song and volume write, I don’t feel jealous anymore.
I feel an oncoming release.
Every morning I begin the day by drawing a few cards from the “dream deck” my mother gave me.
The cards are akin to tarot in that they are meant to connect the user to a sort of universal purpose, a form of spiritual guidance that can be used to awaken each day.
Today I dealt myself “release” from the Earth house of Wisdom, a red and copper-coloured card drawn in cubic abstraction, displaying what seems to be a figure emerging from a fire place telling me with little uncertainty:
Your body is a reservoir of struggle.
Take time, suggests the universe, take time to feel. Whatever you are dealing with just feel it’s impact expressively until you have reached their resolution.
Release what you have been holding. Let it go. Make room in your body for New.
First, I think of past men.
Then, I think of my mother.
I stop myself from crying because I don’t have time.
Crying is a momentous tool. Great gradients of confusion can come from crying and, as an answer to that confusion we often stop ourselves from further expression, wiping away tears, holding what’s left of our confused feelings and moving on.
I grip my cold cup of messy leafy green tea and think of my most recent back pain and before that ankle pain and before that pelvic pain not to mention chronic nausea, not to mention spastic tingling sensations wherever, whenever…
I don’t cry, I blame:
a guy, a past obsession, I can’t seem to let go of him.
And then I blame another guy for the exact same reason.
My pain obviously began before these men.
I sit, pants-less and frozen, tracing back back back.
It occurs to me that every life on earth is a chain reaction of fear.
Trace your life in bad habits right now.
Eating disorders, self harm, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, chain-smoking, dangerous sexual behaviour, you name it, I’ve done it and I know my readers and you’ve done this shit too and I look at my life and I think: fuck all I have accomplished is overcoming a bunch of obstacles that I have invented for myself.
No, that’s not true.
I am burying the source and the source isn’t my fault.
Here’s how you own your life’s achievement so far, I’m going to demonstrate for you as I write and I don’t mean owning your career’s accomplishment, I mean “oh yeah I survived” the source, whatever it is.
Without analysis just try to remember.
As you remember, release…
and so here I go crying and Charlie is crying and upstairs mom is screaming at Alexa because she just needs charlie to shut up and I can’t see her so I don’t know what kind of effort she’s putting into discovering the source of this baby’s apparent consistent outrage but Charlie is not what I dislike about this symphonic window into my neighbour’s chaos, I don’t mind Charlie crying, I cannot stand the sound of mom forcing Charlie’s silence.
I don’t know anything about infants. I connect contextualize Mom’s efforts. I’m not judging her, I don’t care.
But, when I want my dog to stop barking I give him a cookie.
I don’t know what he wants but that’s what I give him.
He doesn’t calm down. He just watches me and waits for another cookie.
Growing up, I was a fat kid and whenever I was upset, which was often because I chronically missed my mother who was absent due to mental illness, when I would go red in the face and punch and kick the floor as late as 10 or 11 years old, my “care” would first laugh at me, call me a baby and then give me food just to shut me up. They would then openly mock and insult me for eating.
I learned to eat in private, quickly, stealing food from the freezer when everyone was asleep.
Hold onto the struggle because there’s nothing I can do. Eat and eat and eat and eventually that full feeling starts to feel like a hug.
I still eat too much.
I have spent majority of my life, overeating to keep myself company.
Yesterday I set out to explore why I avoid people. I discovered the source of my introversion: hiding as a child from fragmented and painful “care”. But that wasn’t the whole story.
I wasn’t just hiding, I was eating.
Eventually the comfort of binging replaced people.
This is the hardest admission I’ve ever written about but here I go releasing the truth:
I avoid people because I have learned to replace all of you with food.
I spend a good amount of the day fantasizing about eating.
Up until very recently, if anyone attempted to make plans with me when I already had my heart set on sitting alone and eating, I would give in to people please and resent the person, begrudgingly.
Like a fucking serial killer whose murder plans were impeded upon.
Wrath and gluttony. Sins of the deprived privileged.
I have learned companionship on a lofty curve.
Companionship is my greatest accomplishment.
I love when he holds me? Never did I ever think it would be possible.
The card says: release.
I am sitting in my dentist’s office trying not to cry, holding it back, imagining my epic cathartic goodbye later tonight.
I know it will take longer than an evening but the binging will stop. I feel the same way I felt when I quit smoking for the final time: I get it.
I have been committed to this depleting habit and now I get:
No one held me.
I held everything in myself.
For the longest time I hated being hugged and touched. Truthfully, I still recoil when my mother is affectionate but maybe that will end too.
I love this man and I love when he holds me? Yes, thank you, that is an accomplishment.
I understand deeply that we don’t all have someone who can hold us.
I want to share hindsight:
I wish I was more open to affection earlier in my life.
I recommend companionship.
Release your introvert.
They are hiding. You are holding them but you don’t have to.
I’m not talking about romance specifically. I’m definitely not talking about sex.
I think: Touch.
Let someone hold your hand for comfort. Let someone put a hand on your shoulder.
If there’s a person in your life who you trust, ask them for a hug, let them hold you.
Maybe touch is inaccessible.
Looking back, I realize how much opening up I have done in the past five years alone.
I thank books. I thank my dog.
I thank my friends.
I thank downtown Toronto.
I thank Montreal.
I thank the two of you best friends and you know who you are.
I thank the friends who ghosted, all the men who ghosted and those sparse fake love stories that were really just fear chasing wind.
I thank the rare instinct I have to try and accept new things.
I thank my mother.
The children upstairs are relentless. I am going to mom’s house for the night. My dad is out of town and she needs a hug, a fuzzy animal beside her in bed (my dog) and relief from the pressure of loneliness.
I remind myself that Charlie will one day be an adult. As will his friends who are currently up there with him, making a mess, being babies. One day they will all be adults. I don’t know why that matter but it feels laughable and so: Goodnight.
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