Wednesday, December 9, 2009

this blog is laughing at me

it's cold in portland. 13 degrees. i rode my bike to the video store the other day, and by the time i got there my fingertips felt like they had each been delicately and precisely slammed with a hammer. i rented nothing but trouble in celebration of finishing my first term of grad school. the film and my completion are not at all relevant to each other. i just wanted to watch something mindless. and funny. i made some udon soup, courtesy of annie chung. i ate a fudge pop. i watched dan akroyd play the pipe organ with digital underground.

over these past few months, every few days i have gone from feeling like

i can totally do this to
why the fuck did they even let me into this program to

this is totally normal. what you're feeling is totally normal.

i spent the last weekend in my room revising my essay. stretching it, tearing it. shaving it, cursing it. i even called out of work on saturday. the essay seemed to be laughing at me, shaking its head, mockingly, as if to say,

"the answer is right there. just open your eyes."

my band teacher in junior high school had a magic eye picture on her office door. i was the only person who couldn't see what it revealed. everyone had a theory as to how i should twist and contort my eyes in order to see the hidden picture. but i could never do it. i grew frustrated with my inabilities and felt alienated amongst my peers. the picture became the enemy. i would avoid looking at her office door when i passed. "whatever. who cares. seriously."

on sunday, in the midst of my battle, i received a phone call informing me that one of my coworkers had died of a heart attack on saturday night. jerry.


"jerry it's candace in the bakery."
"hello candace in the bakery."
"i'm calling out today. i'm not doing so great." the essay laughed at me in the background.
"all right, ma'am. you take care of yourself."
"thanks, jerry."

the world shifted in that way it does when people die. everything looked slightly off. like an overhead light has blown out, or someone who never wears make-up decided to put on eyeshadow. something is different, but you can't quite place it.

i sat on the staircase and broke the news to bobbie sue. she was sitting on the living room floor, writing at the coffee table. we sat there in silence for a few moments. it felt like a play.

i've spent a lot of time in my life thinking about death. too much, really. i've spent years feeling a loss, an emptiness, a hole, a halving of myself. after years of grieving a tragedy, i decided that i would no longer view death in this way. i think about how jerry was a happy man. he lived a full life. he brought a lot of good to the world in which i knew him. he died in his sleep. i feel a small sadness and loss, but more so, a great appreciation for having had the opportunity to have him in my life.

but i'm still standing in front of that magic eye. i feel as if i'm supposed to be devastated and angry. i feel a loss of not feeling more of a loss. i feel guilty for not crying enough, for not breaking down. i feel like an emotionless, heartless, careless human being. i feel like a stranger.

and i realize that i have also spent a good portion of my life feeling like this. feeling...for lack of a better term, weird. like i operate on some inhuman level, and everyone can tell, and they're all judging me for it. like there is some formula for feeling, and i just don't get it.

"the answer is right there. just open your eyes."

it seems too easy.