Saturday, February 28, 2009

I had this day. One of those days... First of all, I didn't sleep well. I was awake all night until, of course, the alarm went off. Then I could sleep immediately. I snoozed too long, which meant I was running late to work. A shuttle comes to take us to work, so I sped to work worried the shuttle was going leave without me. I got there four minutes late; no shuttle. I panicked, but figured someone would have called me. I sat in the parking lot, 6:30 am. I thought I'd finish my tea and read my magazine, wait until people came at 7:30. And then 7:30 came and went. No one. I started calling everyone I knew who might be up, anyone who could check my email for me, see if I had gotten the time wrong. Finally after waking up my youngest brother, the lead for the job called me back. 8:30 was the meeting time.

I felt like crying. I'd be sitting in the parking lot for nearly two hours before I even started work. And then, my car battery died. Ordinarily a pain, but with money as tight as it is, it felt even more looming. My partner was not answering the phone. I felt pretty alone in the world.

At work little things added up: the button popped off the sleeve of my shirt. Nothing seemed to go quite right, until about noon. I got my stride, but still, the morning stayed with me. I finally got through to my partner, who came and jumped the dead car, changed out the car seat, took the dead car to get a new battery and left the working car for me. People I worked with commented about how nice that was. It was. A huge load off.

I ate dinner at nearly 10 at night. I wish I could say the morning faded away, but it seemed like the day came around full circle. Sadness and things I can't control back with me at the end of the day. I'm so tired.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

1:00 am

Domesticities: The girl likes them. She likes to look at the little wind-up speed boat next to the tub. She likes to hear the sound as her child turns into this back and his legs hit the slats on his crib. Tonight she doesn't even mind the dishes in the sink, something she usually hates.

When she finally gets home from work, she checks her email. She talks to her partner about the visit the partner made to her dead grandfather's house. She changes into her pajamas. She sits on the toilet. She cries. A big dead dropping tear. She pushes it back down. She doesn't have therapy next week. It feels like forever until she can drop back into the plush couch in her therapists office.

Her feet are cold.

The kettle boiled. Sleepytime tea awaits. She got home from work at 12:30. The girl works again tomorrow, early-- 7:30. Work is long and she is tired, but at least at work she has direction to her hours. She looks around her living room, small detritus of a 2 year old. Little guys that ride in trucks, puzzle pieces, board books. She's said it elsewhere, but she doesn't know what she wants.

She slides into her bed. She closes her eyes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Deep End

On a sunny day, the girl is back. The sun makes her think about things she misses like beaches and pails and buckets. Water lapping at the shore. She knows that those things will come back, but the color of the day has changed in her mind.

She reads in a short story: "But sad-- sad means there is love to be missed, or had and lost and maybe had again, or at least to be longed for, missed and remininsced about and carried in you in a place where safe has never been. Sad is the deep of feeling. Sad tells a person that good is." She thinks the writer of this story is brilliant for writing this. When she reads it, she thinks, oh yes, this is exactly what I think too but never knew.

The girl thinks about pulling everything out of her house, just throwing out stuff and cleaning everything down. Bleach on the floor boards, sinks scrubbed and scrubbed. Right now her hair seems to be falling out everywhere. It's her hair too, no one else's. Pieces of her floating around the house. She vacuums twice a week, but still, the crumbs and cat fur and hair. The dust and spiders.

Is that what her sadness means? That good is? She hopes so. She thinks about Oscar Wilde: "What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise."

Maybe that's true. Maybe the sad is like a fire, bringing things back to the core, making her brave again. It's hard to believe today. The bitter cold. The biting sun.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Money Depression

In the myriad of things that pile up on me making me feel as though I cannot breath, money is definitely one of them. Funnily enough, despite the nursing shortage I did not find a job for quite some time. Well, a job I would want to take. Finally I got a great offer in a CICU at Big City Hospital. I don't start until April, which thankfully gets closer every day. I'll have benefits! And will gain immeasurable experience! I'll be challenged! But still, I graduated in August. This is a long time for a family to live without a paycheck. I'm doing a temporary stint in health education, which is fine and bringing some money in for us-- that is, if my check ever gets mailed to me.

Luckily I have a family who is willing to help me out to a certain degree, but there are a few things I have noticed about not having money as opposed to my days with money, and the most troubling is the judgement. It seems that everyone is rife to judge what I spend the little money I have on. Pay for coffee? Huh, probably could use that to go toward therapy. (Ha! And therapy itself is a judgement too, but if you've been reading here at all lately, you know how vital it is that I am there.) Bought a lotto ticket? That's a silly choice when you don't have any money. Bottle of wine? Well, don't you need milk more than that? (Of course, I do. And I'm stocked on milk right now, thanks.)

It's slightly annoying. When we had money and made big decisions about the money (house, trips, cars, fertility treatments), no one questioned those decisions. Somehow in the process of getting poor, people we know seem to assume that we have become less smart, that perhaps it's our own stupidity that caused our fall from grace. But if you know me, I don't think I'm in any danger of dumbness. Perhaps there were some unwise choices with money. Maybe the dim decision was being involved in the housing industry, but when we were pulling in bucks, no one would have questioned this.

It's a testimony, really, to how people implicitly feel about the poor, which is unfortunate. Maybe, however, it's self protective. If we believe people are poor due to some defect, we can protect ourselves from feeling it will ever happen to us. After all, we're smarter/more resilient/better savers/harder workers/etc. The problem is that there are thousands and thousands of people, more every day, who work damn hard but still can't make ends meet and lose a little ground every day.

It chafes me every day that I may not be able to buy the wee little house we found on my nursing salary. How is that one can work as a nurse, a vital profession, and not be able to afford a 975 square foot house in a modestly sized town the Midwest? I could leave Ann Arbor and perhaps afford a better living, but I want to live in this liberal town, more or less safe place, and our little quiet street. I'm not living palatially anymore. I just want to be able to qualify for and afford the mortgage on a this little blue house. How could that even be questionable while working full time in nursing?

I get angry and my stomach starts roiling. I feel annoyed with the judgement I feel from people closest to me. No one is better than me for making more money. I feel horrible to think I might have thought that way once, albeit unconsciously. I hate not having money right now. I'm pretty sure I see an end in sight, but it's a little ways off-- it certainly doesn't stop with the advent of my full-time gig.

Until then, pardon me if I continue to have a little glass of three-buck-Chuck at night while I watch my cable tv. And if you don't like that decision, I'll ask you to hold your tongue.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Another Sunless Day in Michigan

Back the first person, with no beautiful images attached:

There are any number of things dragging my mood down. For a few minutes, I catch a glimpse of the aul' Katie: I tell a story to a friend and she laughs and laughs (and God, I love to make people laugh), I admire the beauty of the spare branches of the tree in my front yard glistening even in the grey Michigan day, I lose myself in the warm tones of my friends' conversation. Just as quickly as I am aware of those moments, they are gone. I was at a Red Wings game last night in fantastic seats (thanks, Lynne!) with good friends, one of whom I hadn't seen in awhile. She came and sat next to me. "What's new?" she smiled. I could only stare straight at the ice and mutter about the same-old-same-old. Luckily this friend is adapt at conversation and drew me out. We ended up having a nice talk about the random.

I did find myself looking at people during this game almost more than the game. When there is a break, the cameras pan the fans, look for someone interesting. Happy. Beautiful. I knew it was never going to be me. Once upon a time, it might have been-- I would have been mugging for the camera, dancing crazy, yodeling. In fact, it did once-- even internationally-- I was at a rugby match at Lansdowne in Dublin, the cameras came on and I was there. Friends of mine watching this match back home at the pub in Michigan saw me on the television. Last night that particular girl was willing the camera away from her. I looked at one guy dancing to the "Lion Sleeps Tonight" and was thrilled with his wild abandon. I watched couples kissing each other when the camera came to rest on them. Children raised their arms into the air and the camera followed their gleeful dances. Who were all these happy people, families, couples? Were they really that happy or were they faking it? Maybe some of them were, but I know that the girl that was on the camera during that rugby match was not faking it. She was giddy with joy. She was excited to be alive and cold and ready to go. All that after flying all day to get to the match that night. Happy and jet lagged!

I'm not at a place so dark that I can't see ever being happy again. I'm quite sure I'll be happy again. Honestly, I just have too much spirit to be unhappy forever. But I'm worried about always being several things:
  • Tired-- The new job is midnights. 7p to 7:30a. I start right when the weather starts to break. So all summer, summer that I live for, I will be working at night and sleeping all day. I don't know how I will do my life with this schedule and not manage to always always always be tired.
  • Lonely-- If things in my personal life don't work out, I might be happy again, but will I always be lonely?
  • Poor-- Uhg. Money post next. Enough said.

I think that those three things together might form the triumvirate of depression. I imagine I'll be hanging around The Blues for a bit longer. If you don't get tired of hearing fuck-I-am-depressed all the time, stick around because I think when I get done with all this crap, I'm going to be back, bigger and better than ever. And that my compadres, that is glimpse of the aul' Katie right there.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I would lie down, close my eyes. The smell is like church on Good Friday. I would feel the warmth overcome me. It would be warm, the sun would be on my feet, my face in the shade. Almost humid out, the trees rustling over my head. If I were to take a deep breath in, it would reach the bottom of my lungs. Any tears I had, and I would have them, would not burn my face like now. I would know the answers to questions. I would just know them, not have to do anything about them. My back wouldn't hurt. The jaw I tense would go slack. I would feel beautiful. I would feel good. I would not be self conscious about anything, which also might make me cry more. No one would be angry at me or disappointed. Someone would hold my head, gentle, cradling. When I felt the balm on my skin, I would know a new kind of light. I would renew. I would know.

I would know.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


She thinks, as usual, we've got it all wrong. Persephone was not forced to eat the seeds of the pomegranate. She knew what she was doing when she slipped the six seeds into her mouth, the bitter tart explosions, each one full of meaning. We've made her helpless to these men, but I think she went willingly and when they were going to make her leave her one true love, she did what she needed to do in order to stay with him. She used their authorities to her advantage. She knew the power of slipping into the earth, the dark muskiness of dirt cleaved open, dogs and spirits quelling at the sound of her voice.

We are the ones who have forgotten. We are the ones have gotten it wrong.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


The girl tries on the alone garment: it's tight and pushes up under her armpits. It itches her back, her arms. She's not at all sure she likes it. She pulls at the buttons, tries to stretch out the fabric. She has put on the shirt all by herself. She will have to take it off by herself. She is sad about this. She is sorry.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Hero: in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage. In every story, there is a hero or heroine. Always. Emerson said, "Each man is a hero and oracle to somebody." She has looked for the oracle everywhere. Heard in small moments alone, a slight whisper, easy enough to discount.
The girl's heart hurts so much tonight. She thought she was going to sleep in a room looking out at a frozen lake, but instead is in the same place she was last night. On the couch. The computer in her lap. She imagines how the lake would look in the morning, thawing maybe. Slightly. Maybe. She thinks of sitting on the dock, watching the ice flows.

The girl remembers when her father lived briefly in Port Huron one winter. She and her mother and brother went up to see him. She walked on the frozen lake, the water was frozen up into jagged waves. Once she would cross over one icy wave, she'd be in the valley between snowy ice. She imagined the ice cracking beneath her so she quickly moved back over the frozen wave to her father and mother's side. She wonders if that is what the lake would have looked like had she gone today. She thinks of walking along the shoreline. She thinks she should be there now. The ice is cracking beneath her. Maybe she will go there soon.


There's no hero in the story. Not yet. She is picking up the pen though. Maybe she will write her own hero into the story this time. Maybe she will be the hero for picking up the pen. Maybe she is her own oracle.

February, thanks to Dar Williams

February: By Dar Williams

I threw your keys in the water, I looked back,
Theyd frozen halfway down in the ice.
They froze up so quickly, the keys and their owners,
Even after the anger, it all turned silent, and
The everyday turned solitary,
So we came to February.

First we forgot where wed planted those bulbs last year,
Then we forgot that wed planted at all,
Then we forgot what plants are altogether,
and I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and
The nights were long and cold and scary,
Can we live through February?

You know I think Christmas was a long red glare,
Shot up like a warning, we gave presents without cards,
And then the snow,
And then the snow came, we were always out shoveling,
And we'd drop to sleep exhausted,
Then we'd wake up, and its snowing.

And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together.
You stopped and pointed and you said, "Thats a crocus,"
And I said, "Whats a crocus?" and you said, "Its a flower,"
I tried to remember, but I said, "Whats a flower?"
You said, "I still love you."

The leaves were turning as we drove to the hardware store,
My new lover made me keys to the house,
And when we got home, well we just started chopping wood,
Because you never know how next year will be,
And well gather all our arms can carry,
I have lost to February.