currently listening: self-titled album by Jukebox the Ghost (blog title taken from “Show Me Where It Hurts”) & my parents watching Antique Road Show
In what can only be described as a revolutionary discovery for my artistic life, my mother has gifted me a giant whiteboard for my room in the basement.
I’m a nonfiction writer. What this looks like: taking notes, everywhere, on everything. I have documents on my computer and pages filled in notebooks that are lists of ideas, half-formed, leaping from one thought to the next, a discussion between my brain and my hand. Words circled that I can’t read, question marks typed next to connections I can’t follow. Naked nonsense, bones missing flesh. I scribble key words on napkins, post-its, concert programs, receipts. I send myself text messages that look like deeply coded collections of random words. I can only hope I read what I’ve written before I forget what it means.
30 August 2017, 11:36 PM
subconsciously sleeping on the right side of the bed. maybe just farther from the wall? make an effort to switch now
Six weeks of sleeping alone. Plugging my phone and my laptop into the outlet by the left side of the bed. Tossing and turning on the right. I could say that I keep to one side because it’s closest to the coffee table, where I keep my glasses, water bottle, PlayStation 3 controller, and TV remote. I could say I don’t want to be hugging the wall. I could say a lot of things.
I wake up. My toes are cold; my arms are clinging to a corner of the blanket. Like a ghost stole the covers in the middle of the night.
One of the many adjustments I’ve had to make since moving back in with my parents is I don’t walk around in my underwear anymore. I don’t even want to. For one thing, it’s cold. I’m huddled on the couch right now in jeans, long socks, and a sweatshirt. For another, there’s no telling at any given point who might be in our house. My mom and I nanny for my almost-2-year-old nephew, and while he would no doubt be the most understanding of a desire to remain unclothed, he’s usually running in and out of the house, fascinated by trucks and dogs and birds.
The main reason I don’t walk around in my underwear anymore is because I don’t sleep in my underwear anymore. I tried it the first few nights I was here and found myself starved for warmth. So I started wearing shorts and tank-tops to bed. Not enough. Fine, I’ll wear socks to bed. Not enough. That’s it, then? I have to pull on pajama pants that have been waiting folded for so long that they’re no longer clean. No sweat or stains to wring from the fabric, only dust and the strange scent of disuse.
I’d take being cold over being hot any day. I’m Minnesotan. The cold is an old friend. I become a literal baby whenever the temperature gets into the 80s (and don’t get me started on the horror that is humidity). But this is a different kind of cold, one that doesn’t set in until I’m curled up alone.
My ex-partner and I both have warm bodies. Except for a few days during winter, we never needed anything more than a thin sheet while we slept. Sometimes I’d cuddle up to him while he was reading a fantasy novel, feel the way our forms fit together effortlessly. He’d hold his book up with one hand and thread our fingers together on his stomach with the other.
Inevitably, one of us would get too hot and have to withdraw from the contact. I’d turn away from him like we’re a troubled couple that needs to feel the distance (Emma Thompson’s character in Love Actually comes to mind immediately). That’s just the way we were, the way it was, I know it, but the stupid romantic part of me wonders if I should’ve seen it coming. Surely two people who are right for each other can spoon comfortably all through the night.
(My parents disprove this theory. Comics I’ve seen on the internet disprove this theory. The hundreds of works of fanfiction I’ve read disprove this theory.)
I’m a nonfiction writer. What this look like: searching for patterns, everywhere, in everything. It’s why I’m good at music, why I was good at conjugating verbs in Spanish, why I get so invested in self-referential fictional works. Repetition, commonality, seemingly loose threads weaving their way together — it’s all soothing to me. It’s probably why I pick my nails. (My current theory is that clipping them right after I shower will decrease the temptation. I’ve yet to test this.) It’s why I’ve started to twirl my hair (which could be prevented by cutting it). It’s why I enjoy crosswords, concept albums, memes, and mindfulness meditation. It’s why the complicated, challenging framework of intersectionality makes beautiful sense.
Patterns. Hugging my family and friends more often, desperate for consistent human contact. Moving back into my childhood home, sleeping with a stuffed monkey and a SpongeBob quilt. Reading at least one chapter of Harry Potter to my mom every day. Holding my nephew close, his skin soft and warm, after he wakes up from his nap.
Sleeping on the right side of the bed.