Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Sometimes I want to identify patterns, stop them before they arrive again. There are no patterns. There is no stopping them.

Like today, I was thinking okay, whenever I get in a new relationship I’ll just sit down and say listen, if anything goes wrong do we have a commitment to try to work it through? But then I realized wait, Derek and I had that commitment for over a decade and a half, and look what happened. Did Evan and I have that commitment? Would it have mattered? I’m sorry, but I’m unable to -- beep -- engage with you -- beep -- right now. Beep. I think about you all the time -- beep -- and I’m filled with -- beep -- love. Please replace battery.

Jennifer likes to say: I’m detaching without love. That’s her read on the double A thing. Because you’re supposed to detach with love. Maybe I should ask her about that -- I wonder if she has more reads: I’m looking for that scathing critique of the whole 12-step dogma from someone who’s spent a lot of time inside -- there must be a book or a movie somewhere, right?

I just finished the manuscript for Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots, I mean yesterday I finished it and I wanted to feel excited I mean I did feel excited that I was finished, but I didn’t feel excited. I mean I’m excited about the book, but I’m not excited. Do you know what I mean? I just feel so exhausted that I can’t really feel excited.

I’ve learned how to do things while I’m exhausted, how to get things done, how to act with hope when I feel hopeless. Or maybe that’s not hope it’s just acting. Maybe I think that’s for me but it’s for someone else. Maybe I’m for someone else. When I’m this exhausted I just feel like there’s a wall between me and the world, the air is thicker no not the air the air is clear it’s the feeling of the air. Even the sun on the fire escape feels oppressive shadowing my eyes I have to squint it doesn’t feel like light just bright.

I’m always this exhausted. There’s this wall between me and the world, or if it’s not between me and the world it’s between the world and me or else it’s surrounding both of us, all of us, until we’re all this exhausted. But we’re not. I’m this exhausted. For a moment I can fly, but that’s just a moment.

I want to celebrate, even though I’m exhausted, except it just sounds too exhausting. Lately I feel like when I do more than I usually do, like the other day when I went to the sea lions and then dinner and then City Lights -- three destinations in one day, that’s a lot for me, and I started to get kind of wired like oh, this is okay, this is fun, I could do this, maybe I should do this. And then the next day it’s like I fell into a hole. That’s the day when I finished the manuscript. It’s hard to get excited when you’re in a hole, even if you’ve just finished the manuscript. Patterns, I’m looking for patterns.


Anonymous said...

yeah, i get that way when i try to do anything, really. things like leaving the house are a big deal for me these days.

i'm sorry you're in a hole, but if it helps...i think i'm excited enough for the both of us.

Anonymous said...

I saw sea lions and thought it must be her b-day and I scrolled down and yes it was!

In light of this post, saying "Happy belated b-day" seems inappropriate. So I'll just wish you freedom from exhaustion and the true connection you seek instead.

If it helps, I can be excited for both of us that you finished the manuscript. I cannot wait to read it.

You are so beautiful, Mattilda. I wish there was a way I could hold your exhaustion and pain for you so that you would be able to get a reprieve.


Hilary Goldberg said...

Perhaps we are culturally wired to celebrate completions of tasks and while it feels good to finish a huge project - there seems to be a familiar dip afterwards from the weight of the final push. Perhaps there is something to celebrating for no reason, ecstatic joy mid-project or joy at a clever edit? Break patterns even if they aren't there - rewire - find a way to celebrate thick air and walls and exhaustion? I think right now I'm trying to figure out how to celebrate's hard. I love you and congrats.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Gayasinstupid, thanks for the understanding -- I know exactly what you mean about leaving the house! And for the excitement -- yay!!!!

And Elian, what could be a better birthday present than your incredibly supportive words?!?

Hilary, unfortunately it's not the dip after finishing a huge project, it's just the dip that continues throughout, dammit! But you're right -- celebrate all those other exciting moments, I rarely celebrate I really need to figure out how to celebrate more...

And celebrating exhaustion?! -- we'll have to try that one together!

Love --