I think if I was ever the last person left on earth, I wouldn’t believe it. Surely there would be throngs of people, hidden people, over the hill, behind the trees, aware of me but me not aware of them.
I just don’t think I would ever accept it.
I should stop listening to Chelsea Wolfe.
You are doing this.
I do this thing where I run when I fuck up, rather than fixing it. It’s why I’ve never had a real relationship, it’s why I so frequently isolate myself from other people. I don’t fix things, I abandon them. It’s somewhere between expecting to be discounted if I try and fix things, and the specific laziness that accompanies being a perfectionist. It’s like an avalanche - often not a dire one, or a particularly reflected-upon one, but slowly things trickle down to obscure what I was working on or toward, and I walk away.
I have never really thought about it before. It can’t inspire confidence in others, surely, to be consistently on the move.
For the little ground I win back accidentally, there is a small accompanying thrill. I can do this. I’m doing this.
There’s no conclusion; I’m just waiting for a train and thinking about myself, as usual (ugh).
Do you know what it is? We’re seeing Don through the lens of the other characters this season. What I initially read as the end of the writer’s empathy is just a shift in viewpoint.
Don is out of step, strange, other. We always felt it, but he owned the narrative, and so it was harder to get perspective.
This is the grimmest season yet, divested as we are of Don’s reflexive dominance, of his surety. The one episode he verbalises his dominance - with Sylvia, in the hotel - was so weak, so desperate. It’s unsettling, and great, and I hate it in a lot of ways.
The Houses that Can Burn
In the Blue Mountains bushfires of 1994, my cousin’s house was caught in a firestorm. They knew it was coming. Half the street fled, half stayed. There were no right answers, each family did what they thought was best, or all they could do.
My uncle stayed in the house with them. They’d hosed the roof, removed the dead leaves, taken all the precautions the rural fire brigade had issued. Houses were exploding, one by one, down the street. The sky was black with smoke.
The fire rattled closer and closer, down the street, skipping certain houses like Israelite doors painted with lamb’s blood, devouring others whole. My uncle said it was like being in hell, all shadows orange, all air thick.
Others who fled either lived or lost everything. Others who stayed either lived or lost everything.
There was never a right answer.
When my body shut down last year, I fled. I took no precautions, left the lights on, the doors unlocked. Abandoned myself in the night, a shadow against the fire, retreating as far as the arctic until the flames were fluttering sparks in the dark west.
I returned home, months later, to find everything moved, ever so slightly. As though children had come in to turn over my knick knacks in their small, smooth hands, sanding down wild edges, their thumbs hooked behind the hinges of my jaw, patient, careful. It was not unpleasant, but it was disorienting, to have the mess corralled while I was frozen all those months.
(It wasn’t accidental – as useless as therapy felt some weeks, it was a glacial drift back to land. Moving through a frozen sea in increments, the strange absence of the arctic, back toward the houses that could burn, the unfrozen world.)
Whatever bravery comes with returning home I can claim, accidental but true. There was never a right answer. I fled because I could not stay, and returned only when I could.
It’s luck, and precaution, and gut instinct, and fraught.
S9E01 Castiel and Dean shopping montage straight up or GTFO.
My grandparents didn’t know, when they married May 19th 1943, that 40 years later, to the day, one of their grandchildren would be born.
We don’t know anything until it happens, until it pops into existence from the fog of the great unthinkable.
I bought a coffee one morning, maybe seven years ago, and got on a train, and on that long train ride into the city I made plans and promises to myself, jittering on a caffeine high. So as a direct result of that coffee, those plans and promises, nearly everything about my life is as it currently stands.
That morning in late 2006 I was 23, and I decided I wanted to be a rock DJ, which came to me whilst thinking about Queens of Noize and Robots in Disguise, which I was aware of because of many years obsessing over the Mighty Boosh, which I watched in part because my friend Chris loved it, who I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t followed Tegan to ACU, who wouldn’t have moved to my high school if her Father wasn’t in the army, and who I wouldn’t have talked to very much if I hadn’t spent the previous four years in a completely destructive friendship that I was so open to burning to the ground.
Since then, I became a DJ, which introduced me to the network of people that includes something approaching 100% of the people I’ve kissed in the last 5 years, and lead me to meet my current housemates, to meet the friend who would eventually hook me up with my current job, and all the sprawling, intricate implications for my future career that this is currently having.
That was just a cup of coffee, and the big and little things that preceded it. It’s hard to remember that I’m building something, here, we all are. We’re cobbling together something huge and lifelong, even when it feels like you’re not, even when it feels like you’re standing still.
It’s a strange thing to reflect on.
Let’s pretend this is that incredibly dense and interesting piece I keep meaning to write about the special kind of relationship you form with co-workers, and how it’s the closest thing to being born into a family that we ever experience, short of when we are actually born into a family (we don’t choose these people, we are grouped with them by chance). Through the lens of depression, as well. All through the lens of depression.
Let’s pretend this is that, because I cannot write it?
The pleasure of empathy when you feel empty, these people you can care for, talk to, hear about, in a way that doesn’t interfere with your broader collapse, of your not leaving your bed except to go to work. It works in conjunction with it, even. I was hugely depressed for a large part of last year, and the only human emotion I felt was when I was “work” Michelle. Lost in the soothing, numbing tasks of excel spreadsheets and cold fusion errors and right and wrong answers, that was the wasteland, and the only conditions, in which I was able to connect with people.
There’s more. That’s not all of it. But I can’t quite map it out. A family you’re thrown in with, and need to find a way to exist with. I haven’t been depressed in a couple of months, but the fondness and ease remains. It’s a special kind of dependance I have on these people: who they are, and what they care about, and what they expect from me, and what I want to offer them.
In some ways they illuminated the path I think I want to follow: understanding what makes people feel happy and strong, and helping them to work out how to get it.
My friend Michelle doing what she does.
Reblogging my housemate and friend’s xmas present to me, in honour of him officially being too badass for the Jewish school system.
On behalf of my people, I forgive you x
any context for hollows and freckles
any cover of night, any night.
It’s a mid-marathon terror dream, sweat and
salt to prove a point, years of unchallenged thoughts and
an inward-facing altruism, a wave you pass under
alone before washing up awake,
Remember nothing of the waste,
the pinch of winter flavouring your skin,
the roll of eyes above your shallow grave of nape, of
neck, where he buries himself,
an earnest monument in
a silent room.
Any night, any night, any night,
remember any night.