Tag Archives: diary

This morning I was speeding up the blocks, hung over, trying to ignore the pounding hollowness in my skull. I hadn’t had enough water after drinking, and I didn’t have anything to eat before leaving. Though last night I had binged on so much flesh.

My face was bare and my hair blew like fat wisps in a blistering wind. Good thing I was wearing my dark green Carhartt jacket–it’s worn and weathered but it keeps me warm. It was so early though. Keeping my eyes open felt like a nuisance. And when I got home and propped open my computer to catch up on work, my mind felt like a fresh wound.

Now I’m trying to decompress from this exhaustion, and use this diary as a stay against my horrendous anxiety. Anxiety about not having a stable source of income even though I have a degree. Apparently it’s really hard to be brown AND get a job. After twelve interviews, and hearing everything from we’ve already filled the position, to we think you’re too creative, to you’re overqualified, and we can’t justify hiring you, or, you’re just not the right candidate (15 interviews!) I feel quite ready to give up.

Though I am still moving forward by working small jobs here and there. It may be possible that this movement is motivated by a deadening depression. To get away from it, I am pushing myself into the world like a blue petunia. Chugging along, only to return to the anxiety which is always threading itself through. Anxiety about not being the same as all other adults insofar as I don’t have a steady job and I don’t have my own place. I’m living with my mother now, my sister, and my mother’s obnoxious boyfriend who should not be here. I can’t even use the bathroom when I want to. I have to stand at the window like a cherub and pee in long, splattering, ungraceful arcs.

Anxiety, a lack of self esteem, an escapist nature is a very dangerous mix, dangerous because of what it makes me do. Constantly running into other mens’ arms, sex is a way to ask if I am desirable even with my foibles and failures. One day, I hope to feel more fulfilled when I can give myself everything that I need.

For a while my writing was gaining momentum from new relationships, my friends’ cats, and from the Maine landscape. City life does not stimulate my creativity. It drains and kills it. My writing is crying out for something different.

Party Life, Sexual Harassment, & Fantasy

Parties here are unrestrained, almost Hobbesian. We all are hard working students by day, but at night the mask comes off, and everyone wants to get some. All you have to do is tap someone on the shoulder to see the sex rise from them like fumes. Two nights ago people were vomiting into all the sinks and breaking glass everywhere. Creepier still was the girl with pig tails wandering around with green x’s taped to her nipples. I remember her because her eyes had a certain plasticity to them as she wandered from room to room like a somnambulist. On nights like these, no one is sleeping. Someone is always getting fucked up somewhere. Or fucked. When the rules are no longer in place, all decorum dissolves, which is particularly troubling for what is supposed to be an enlightened campus. Saturday night I had to save a girl from sexual harassment. When I wheeled her away from the boy in question, she thanked me. I headed back to the party room, and on a sudden the same guy took me up into his arms for some awkward dancing. I had to edge away. This was the same guy who left my best friend collapsed in a bathroom in a pile of her own vomit when they were supposed to be having a date. He found me later in the upstairs part of the dorm. I asked him, What do you want? He said, You know what I want. And his white arms encircled me, his soft angel hair nuzzling, his musky ape-scent invading (and probably still caught within) my nostrils. And I can’t explain what in that moment I felt when he kissed me, I can only approximate it as something between complete mental revulsion and awakened bodily desire. And I know that this is what abusers do: they use their sex to wreak havoc. The kiss was not romantic at all. It was an act of revenge for helping the girl escape. He probably wanted me to keep thinking about him, and he probably wanted to plant the illusion that he could be an option. When he was kissing me against my will, four bystanders clutched their beers and said nothing.

On this campus everyone is to be treated as a sexual plaything. No one is really himself in the eyes of others, only the fruition of a fantasy. I understand what the lonely young man must feel. All the dancing women look like spinning clothing racks of spurned wishes, and he cannot refuse the temptation to touch. Every time the weekend comes around, I always think of the creepers in the corner beckoning the girls to come dance on them, or they wait to zero in on whoever’s still left at the end of the night, so that they can drink the last of their dregs.

 

Doubts and Accomplishments

Time management is something that I’ve been having trouble with as of late. School terms are very short, merely fourteen weeks, and there is always a plethora, an abundance, of books to read and notes to learn. I want to say that these last two weeks have been complete emotional vertigo. My poems were published on Lambda Literary just a few days ago, but I’m still feeling as though I’m some kind of impostor who cannot write–who only gets lucky. This all has to do with the anxiety I have towards showing my creative work in class. The possibility of someone doubting me fills me with doubt, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I feel a nervous fire running through my bones, or something more akin to electricity. My thoughts are muddled, ideas are insipid and slow. When I want to create something I only have to clear my mind enough that the associations seep in, and the poem almost writes itself. Self-hypnosis videos for stage fright have been helping with this. Regardless, it seems that no matter how hard I work, I can’t express exactly what it is that I’m trying to say, until the very last moment: the night before. I can’t do this anymore, and I haven’t yet figured out a way to work that fully takes advantage of my time.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Bill Moyer’s interview with Joseph Campbell. The interview is primarily concerned with the archetype of The Hero. Campbell says that the Hero accepts a challenge that he is big enough to face. We are all the heroes of our own stories, and I feel this idea of facing up to a challenge is very pertinent to my school situation. Choosing to go to school at Bennington has forced me to call upon Internal resources I didn’t know I had. I have had many accomplishments, yet the last stretch will require me to push even harder: whatever accomplishments I have yet to achieve won’t fall into my lap.

Two week periods of total anxiety and turmoil, then two weeks of strength and concentration. This has been a consistent cycle for me my entire time here. I’m having an upswing now, so I’m going to take advantage of everything that I can glean from it. Seasons have also been having an effect on my mood. I’m growing impatient with Winter. It had rained warm rain for a few days, but now it’s snowy and cold. We are back where we started, and I feel trapped in Earth’s outer designs.

Last thing: I found a really cool blue sweater, with a beautiful design of chickadees in a playground. I’ve been wearing it consistently as a reminder of Spring. I’m also hoping to hatch the new poem. 

Self-Portrait

You stab all your impressions onto paper in illegible loops, until the words start falling off, until the pages start curling away and you’re left staring at the violence you’ve committed against your notebook. And like a medic who attends to a helpless and dying amputee, you have to sit with it, with all its torn pages deposited like lost souls into what you thought was the bottomless fount of the garbage. Guess what? It has a bottom. And all the papers are rising like stones to the top.

Aug 23rd

“Ashley, if I told you everything I had been thinking about since I stepped through the door till now, you wouldn’t believe me.” 

Even as I have finished the last word in the sentence, my mind has made its one-thousandth revolution. Already it threatens to topple over. Like one of Yeats’ ever widening gyres, I can’t stop learning. I practice the same repetitions, the same exercises, without break: open the book, extract information, apply it to life, while also paying the price for wisdom, knowledge, and secrets. My muscles have atrophied like flatulating balloons. I eat less. I’ve grown weak. My vision has blurred, too. 

Aug 10th

Whatever this text is, it always descends from the sky on paper made of aluminum or zinc. The writing is slanted and wobbly, and I know this because all of the letters are written in script. With slanted loops and large curls, it seems like the script of mermen, though I can never make out the script clearly because of an aquatic film that slides over the eyes. As I try and read the text, I begin hearing low voices, and the ink feather pen rises by itself and starts notating the words, like a ghost writing at the blackboard. I always know what the voices are saying, but I cannot discern whether the voices are trying to dictate a story to me, or whether it is a poem. On a sudden, I have a lantern with me, and I’m rooting erotic garbage and finding only pigsnouts. I hear the voices, repeatedly, sing an echo of Rimbaud, “Other miserable workers will come…” This is the content of today’s dream, the garbage and silt of past-read books forming hard glass in the sand.

Aug 8

It took me a second to remember who I was. I did not know who I was. All I had was that feeling. It is always a certain kind of feeling, almost an aliveness before I wake. It is as if my body were an outline of dots that filled in with sensations, thoughts, feelings. Gradually, it solidified. It became an envelope that contained my impressions of things, such that I could feel my own body’s warmth wrapped in the soft touching of the covers. Then comes the moment when an intensity of light flashes, against my eyes, which are still closed. Perhaps it is light coming in from the window, perhaps it is my mother who has flicked on the switch. All I know is I am taken away from the reprieve granted by the dust of black sleep. But even as I am returning, my hands are not my own. Involuntarily, they rush up to my eyes, to shield them, as if the light that had been entering were the eternal light of truth.