there'll be days like this, my momma said
I am writing this to uncurl. To uncurl my back from the pretzels it has turned itself into today, giving coffee and good mornings to too many faces, giving space to the too many people on the train, giving tall shoulders and a way out to a chest that had a hard go of things today. To uncurl my heart from the perfect origami version of itself it has been folded into. To uncurl the breath of rage of wanting of excitement of confusion of frustration of delight from my too shallow lungs. To uncurl my fingers from the small fists they have been in, curled around coffee cups and phones and kettlebells and the anger that has found its way into my palms today.
I have been On the Verge all day. Pulling my heart up out of the sink where it is mingling with dish soap, pulling myself by burnt fingertips up the craggy corners of a well worn smile.
Today’s rebellion is against Eyes.
My own and other people’s.
Today, being seen has been exhausting.
Rachel Bloom talks to Marc Marin about how she has trained herself to be a show pony, so afraid of being seen that she’ll turn all kinds of tricks to divert attention, something flashy over here draws the eyes from the swirly pit opening slowly underneath the sternum.
How different you look from the girl who normally shows up to this space in front of me, you say. How different you look from the cardboard cutout I have ordered of you, how different you sound from the little plastic voicebox with nothing but the sounds of affirmation I need to make me think you are listening.
How exhausting it is to make people think you are listening.
How exhausting it is to think you have to be listening.
I looked in the mirror today, and saw that I had left the show pony at home, tucked beneath the sheets still living that sweet dream we had last night.
What an assault it can be to be seen. How maddening it is to look up and see two eyes looking and looking and looking and not ever quite looking away, looking to find something you will not give them. Someone else’s eyes accusing you of not being Like You Usually Are, demanding you to be On, eyebrows turning inwards on each other when eyes do not find That Which They Have Come Expect, looking and looking and looking adjusting the angle until your body fits inside the outline of the plastic projector sheet they’re holding in front of you, an outline you never drew and is certainly not in your handwriting.
I guess I’m trying to find a soft poetic way of saying, I am not the same person every day. Some days, The Part of Me That Bends Over Backwards To Make Other People Comfortable stays at home. And when you look to me and do not see her, do not turn eyes to projectors and put her there without her permission. She is resting. She does not often rest.
Today, eyes have given me pity I did not need, attention I did not want, supervision that pushed itself down through the middle of my spinal cord.
Today, eyes have given me secrets and good ideas and thank you’s and other whispered kindnesses, winks when they were wanted and softness when it was needed, glances up through the eyelashes that turn the skin prickly when you catch them, messages I still am unable to decode but I know have love in the cipher. I have been thankful for those today.
Today, I missed the eyes I used to be accustomed to seeing every day. Today, I missed the way those eyes looked but looked for nothing, just looked to see. Looked to see if it was time to get lunch or watch another episode before bed or just time for a hug. Today, I was jealous of the fact that those eyes get to see each other often and I am here crawling towards the next time. I miss my friends today.
The irony is not lost on me, that I am writing about being tired of being seen and posting it on the internet. But I guess I just wanted a chance to explain myself. Being a chronic over-sharer was always my curse. Mystery is not something I know well.
I have no problem being seen, as long as I have agreed to all the terms and conditions.