I’m here. In my safe emotional space. I haven’t visited in a while. I even had to emphasize to myself that this is a “safe emotional space,” almost like somehow I decided it isn’t anymore and I have to redesignate it. But it hasn’t changed, I have. I have decided to close myself off to this mode of expression and decompression. I distanced myself from it and, like thousands of other adults, took up Pinterest and Etsy. Not unlike Tumblr…but not Tumblr. Less effort, seemingly more socially (maybe the word I’m looking for is “professionally”) appropriate. Less direct input and more blurred lines. I used those sites to post random, kosher facets of myself and, after significant time, created the skeleton of a semi-comprehensive personal aura. I have ceased to see any space as being safe for emotional expression.
I want to admit two things, to myself of course.
The first is more logical. I have become hardened by the working world. Though I never believed I would allow it, nor do I think it’s irreversible, it has taken its toll on the me of today. To be specific I’m talking non-skilled, no trade school or college required, old-fashioned, backbone of the country work. I shower AFTER work, not before. My grandparents had jobs like this, and many of my parents’ generation. There are qualities in these people I loved long before I understood what was taken from their flesh to make it so: early to bed, early to rise; never complain; never say no; and so much more.
I’ve been considering the essential qualities someone must possess to live a happy life in the monotonous but occasionally petty kind of dramatic, sometimes unfulfilling, frequently overworked and underpaid, physically exhausting (and mentally too, if you’re a thinker…and emotionally too, if you’re a seepy sort) type of occupation. For starters: steadfast positivity, resilience and achievable financial goals (or any other kind of earnest justification for why you persist). I struggle to think of more presently.
There were times I FELT ANXIOUS that if I wanted to keep my job, I had to work even harder than my best, which in my defense wasn’t quite fair to myself given that I am finally beginning to understand I have a standout work ethic. Still, I convinced myself my job security was in danger. The pressure of seemingly excessive supervision, the imagined penalties of minor offenses (most of which were simply part of the learning process), the fear of being fired…I lost sleep sometimes. In retrospect, most of it was wasted heartbeats. And don’t even get me started on the union.
I am getting my first tastes of bitter meaninglessness and of bland apathy.
I can have “my job sucked today” conversations with my mom and dad at dinner time.
The second thing I want to say is, I am unfit to be a best friend. I don’t want to talk about it or even think about it too much, but the thought crossed my mind and made me sad, and I wanted to get it off my chest.
The whole first part of this post was mostly to get that stone rolling.
I spend my life sitting - like an angel
in the hands of a barber - a deeply fluted beer mug
in my fist, belly and neck curved,
a Gambier pipe in my teeth, under the air
swelling with impalpable veils of smoke.
Like the warm excrements in an old dovecote,
a thousand dreams burn softly inside me,
and at times my sad heart is like sap-wood bled
on by the dark yellow gold of its sweats.
Then, when I have carefully swallowed my dreams,
I turn, having drunk thirty or forty tankards,
and gather myself together to relieve bitter need:
As sweetly as the Saviour of Hyssops
and of Cedar I piss towards dark skies,
very high and very far;
and receive the approval of the great heliotropes.
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