I’m working on a long journal entry thing called Public vs. Private Self and it’s proving a bigger task than I thought. It needs a lot of revision (stay tuned), so for today I’m going to share two quick bits of fiction and nonfiction instead. These are some of the first things I recommend to people because they’re powerful, fast reads, and they really inspire me.
It’s so hot in here. Oh god, there it is again. That overwhelming…I’m going to throw up, I’m going to throw up, I’m going to throw up. And arrroooooound it goes. I lean over and retch onto my toes. Every time I try to crawl to higher ground, I slide back down the slippery, droplet-speckled metal walls. There is no escape. We’re all going to suffocate in here. I try to hold onto her, but can’t keep her in my grasp. I realize she’s not trying to hold back onto me. No‑no!‑She…She’s giving up. I can still see her pained eyes as she falls away from me, sliding into a menagerie of different textures and colors. I make the gut-wrenching decision to let her go and make a run for it. That was the last time I ever saw her…my other half. My life-mate. I looked around feverishly and examined my options. The clear glass window lets me see the next room, but I’m not strong enough to break it. I tried that. The air must be coming from somewhere… Metal everywhere. No dice. Ah, up there! To the top left, a hole that must be connected to a hose. But I can’t reach all the way up there. Nix that. Sharp dents like divots in the grass stick out of the metal underneath me. I look down into one. Black. What if there really is a troll down there? I’ve heard others talk… Oh god, hurry, running out of options. No escape. It’ll turn back on any time now. Something clicks on above my head. Now! I roll myself up, as thin and as tight as I can, and squeeze one of my toes through the hole. I lose a few threads to its jaws, but I’m nowhere near small enough. What was I thinking? A paper clip couldn’t fit through that thing. I’ll just have to hide and endure it, waiting for the right time, like an attic Jew in the Holocaust. It’ll be over soon. I slide through the bustle of the crowd and crawl into the pocket of her tightest jeans, waiting for the inevitable opening of the door and the cold rush of air that fills the chamber like an unexpected blizzard. When will this horrific cycle end?I lie in wait, close, hibernating, and slightly claustrophobic, trying to control the quickness of my breath as I stare out the window, not flinching, not blinking. She’ll never expect me here. When she folds, I’ll slip out and hide somewhere else. I’ll wait for as long as I have to to escape this place. She’ll never suspect.
-Diary of a Misfit Sock, discovered sometime around January 2011
So, you may have wondered what the title of the blog is all about. Well, to explain, we have to go back a long, long time ago, to a faraway, distant, foreign land…
Temecula, CA. 1999.
Apparently playing with lady bugs out on the field at recess and making people out of your erasers with markers and yarn makes you weird at school or something. These boys, who can remember their names, used to tease me by calling me “freak of nature” and “Surfing in Wyoming!” Wyoming, to ten-year-old bullies, sounds like Nye-oh-me, which is an incorrect pronunciation of my name. And I became obsessed with grammar and the English language, go figure. So, I’m taking back the name (like “bitches!” and “queers”) to mean something good for me, even if in real life it caused pain ‑ and some frustration with the stupidity of ten-year-old boys, but that is not quite as traumatizing as teasing for a prepubescent girl. And, actually, now I kind of like it. It’s an apt title for a blog with no real, concrete theme, something kind of surreal and fantastical (and occasionally nonsensical), like the written works I hope to share. So far removed and old enough to realize the amazing lack of intelligence and creativity that boy bullies of the fourth grade variety show with their ridicule, my blog’s a slap back at all those kids that made you feel weird, inferior, and/or out of place on the playground. I’m not a freak of nature, I’m creative, thankyouverymuch. …There isn’t even surfing in Wyoming.
EDIT: So I looked it up just to make sure, and there actually is surfing in Wyoming along the Snake River. (Wtf?)
“I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality. So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive…” –JK Rowling
I’ve always heard about how you lose your hopes and dreams when you become an adult. You misplace them somewhere, like my old stereo remote and that matching sock. Aspirations of becoming an astronaut and an actress become feeding your family, feeding yourself, getting by. Everyone’s talking about these Occupy protests right now. The youth of America are channeling the 60s’ and 70s’ Vietnam War protests and protesting everything really – how we don’t have jobs, we don’t have money, and that limits our freedom. We 99% have the proverbial short stick, while the 1% smoke Cuban cigars in their velvet robes, sucking the caviar off their fat fingers. Just about to graduate college, I thought an unpaid internship was my only next step. Yeah, it doesn’t seem moral, yeah, it doesn’t seem legal, but what else could I do? I needed experience. Even those unpaid internships are competitive. Consequently, I experienced my first panic attack. My boyfriend James napped catlike and happy beside me as I lost control of my ability to breathe, the thing that is supposed to be natural, no thinking necessary. It was as if I had just finished a race, or tried to get the wind back into my lungs after being hit in the gut by a ball. But I hadn’t even started playing the game yet. I went out on the balcony, sat on the edge of it, legs dangling dangerously over the rim. I needed to breathe and there was no air out there either. I went back inside and we went through some blogs I follow together, pointing out nice furniture or nice houses. The things that calm me. Luckily, I got a job a few months out of college. (After three months of questioning my self-worth, restarting yoga, thinking about moving back to my college town, being stuck in a hot California summer house, watching my Dad’s graduation gift of $3,000 dwindling away and $20,000 of student loans gradually ballooning.) Unluckily, I don’t like it. Depression ensues. James keeps telling me, “Appreciate it.” He asked me the other day, as I cried into my bedspread, “What’s the difference between a job and a career?” “I don’t know, tell me,” I mutter dejectedly. He answers for me, “A career is something satisfying you want to be doing for the rest of your life. A job is just making money. Some people can’t get jobs right now.” He attempts to ground me as my head fills with helium and I start to float up into the cosmos. I’m trying to hold on to my desire to be a writer, I’m trying to hold onto my childhood fascination and not get stuck in the deflated downward spiral of adulthood-into-death. I’m trying to marry fantasy with reality. I want to travel, I want to live, I want to join the Peace Corps or become a river guide or something crazy! I don’t want to be in this cubicle! I don’t want to be a sleepy rat, sitting in my car two hours a day, red tail lights a foot in front, red tail lights a foot behind. So I escape it by creating little bits of text at a time (and changing application windows feverishly when my supervisor passes by). Hopefully one day these thoughts will turn into money‑oh, I mean, a novel. That’s my life goal.My friend just got bailed out of the 99% question – she received a multimillion dollar settlement from a crazy accident she was in a few years ago. James and I started fantasizing together, what would we do if that happened to us? What would I do with my life if money wasn’t a problem? I’d want to travel, and I’d want to write. So there again was my answer, as thoughts of becoming a salesperson or web developer floated through my head. That’s what I have to do with my life, the “dance as if nobody is watching” bit – I have to try my damnedest to “live as if money wasn’t a problem.” People don’t get it, most are trying to talk me out of my dream and into the reasonable thing, (even myself sometimes), but I have to retreat into myself and remember I have to do what’s me, not what’s money.