a fear of blissful sunlight

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loneliness. the world would be a better place without me. i am not enough.

in a home, alone, pervasive thoughts weave through my head as i ponder what it’s like to be happy. ephemeral, it seems to be. out the window, i see dogs prancing and yuppie couples walking hand in hand pushing a stroller with a new baby boy, or baby girl; the stroller’s contents are of little concern to me. the apartment door opens and shits as neighbors carry on with their lives, a constant reminder of the doors between me and the world.

i scathe the beauty before me drawn out like a theatrical play, too fanciful for reality. comparison is inevitable. i am self-sequestered – scared of persuing happiness out of fear of failure. if i truly try to succeed at being happy, what happens when i fail? the consequences seem to outweigh the benefits, as my prodigious anxiety paralyzes me in a cocoon of jealousy and loneliness. we want what we cannot have and we act with fear of our unrealized potential

i could, of course, reach out. i could do better. i could make an effort to make friends, bar hop on a saturday or indulge my creative tendencies out in the world, where they could be noticed and possible accoladed. but what if? what if.

when the stroller and vapid Bernese mountain dogs and $500 leather boots and keys to an audi stroll past my window i am inundated with thoughts of jealousy. comparison. to deal with my subversive nature, i scathe their daily routines, their BPA-free coffee mugs and laudable professions. i convince myself that i do not want their lives. scorn. but internalized, hatred and jealousy work the opposite way you want them to.

i am eaten inside by the forced callousness of my own thoughts and feelings. in truth – we are sentient, sensitive beings. loneliness serves us only as a ┬áneglectful companion, a boorish friend, baring its teeth at the door when you come home. but this is familiar. this is comfortable. like a doe, sequestered in the dark forest from birth, we too are fearful of sunlight; of joining our herd in the green fields of merriment.

and joy.

my mantra is to want what they want. to want to want what they want. to live a life contingent upon other things than my own persistent worries of the future. there may be fence posts by which to mark my progress, but in no way are they linked with wires by which i can easily follow a given path. the post of marriage. the post of a promotion. the post of children. the post of travel. the post of happiness. it seems others are being led by some unintelligible force, leading them to a premeditated course of action.

for me. for me? for us. for us? i string my own wires. i dig the holes and walk the course. i try and i often fail. i am blinded to success. i am not enough. the world is just too much. i want to want what they want. i want to want when he wants. i want it all. but i want nothing but the comfort in the miserable cacophony of my mind.

as life changes course, taking little notice, we derail. we can only hope this derailment shatters the body and frees the mind.

enemies make our minds & visions

cornbread & kindling

a weekend in the south. Little Rock, Arkansas. As a girl from the west, I’ve come to associate November with snow, sweaters, trees void of foliage.

not down south. no. here, it rains in december. the grass is as green as the mistletoe. and the scent of wood roasting on an open fire? far too rare, too elusive. oh, and it’s filled with cornbread. lots of beans n’ cornbread.

on saturday, i took photos for the Arkansas Cornbread Festival on South Main, an “up-and-coming” neighborhood. and by “up-and-coming” we mean: “the white people have started to move in.”

the neighborhood is lovely. the street, while scant with newly renovated storefronts, is a brilliant attempt at revival. a small soda fountain opened on the corner a few years ago. it sells handcrafted creamy treats, just like the person who owned that storefront fifty years ago did. the scant smell of caramelizing sugar pulls patrons in by, nostril by nostril unit, zombie like and stimulated, they place their orders.

the festival was scantily clad with patrons, vendors scattered about, but perfectly sparse with customers and handcrafted goods and mass produced goods and nuts spiced with cinnamon and cloves and faces of color – finally i’m in a city where the color is a welcome change in scenery, cultural scenery.

when they finally got into the cornbread sampling tent, folks seemed miffed. perhaps the long-ass wait didn’t quite justify the cornbread topped paper dixie cup. the vendors sliced and served, sliced and served, sliced and served like ladies on the sewing line, hands racing to get the uniforms made before the boys shipped off to the beaches of Normandy. Slice, slice, place into paper cup, hand to customer. smile. repeat. keep smiling, this is a festival and it’s fun.

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i saw a girl there i’ve been avoiding for the better part of 2 years. she threatens me. i see her as everything i think i should want to be, but i really don’t want to be that. i just think i should. she reminds me of the girls i wanted to be when i was in 6th grade. it took me almost a decade to realize the brilliance and strength of my individual, and i know in 8 years, this girl will be everything i will not – and i will be eternally grateful.

i can’t spend any more of my time worrying about the threats she poses. after all, we’re falsely competing for the love of a man we both know we don’t really want. but he sure is close to everything you want in a partner. close. but the zsa zsa zsu ain’t there. will it ever be?

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house-made pickles. smoked vinegar. buttermilk & blueberry cream. jalepeno cornbread, turnip soup & curry glaze. cast iron skillet cornbread. browned butter. miso honey cream and gingerbread. an ice cream truck, a slow moving line, a begging dog, kids with balloons and two elderly black women settin in the shade of an oak tree, fanning themselves in matching jumpsuits.

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this girl, she and i smoked cigarettes behind a building. we talked about the hills of tennessee and the mountains of central Arkansas and i stared at my hatred as if in a mirror. we build our enemies up in our minds. we build toy monkeys into king kong, we build a war out of a wee fistfight. it’s all in your head, i think to myself.

sometimes that matters. sometimes that matters a lot.