Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A sense of place

When I hear people talking about the boundlessness of motherly love, I think about the bottomless pit of despair I feel when faced with the possibility of meaningful connection with my mother. Juxtaposed against the reality of decades of neglect and her inflated sense of care.

I ask a health practitioner about a particular herb, and he says he doesn’t think it would be right for me.  When I ask why, he says he doesn’t know much about this herb, but a few people he knew who tried it got cancer. I don’t know if it was the herb, he says, but they were healthy before. What do I do with this particular type of advice? Maybe I can broaden this question to ask about judgment versus insight. Later, he says he usually charges people for advice over the phone, but he hasn’t been charging me because nothing’s been working. But, he thought he would charge me this time, because sometimes that helps people to take things more seriously. Seriously? Then he decides to charge me for 20 minutes instead of a half-hour, because it’s a more balanced number—think about transcending the yin and yang, he says, getting to the next level.

Thinking about the body as a potential, but a potential for what? How come when something realizes its potential, it’s no longer potential? How many times a day do I go over to the computer to do something, and then end up doing something else, until I realize I was trying to do something, but what? Maybe this is the definition of belonging: staring at the computer screen trying to remember why I’m here.

Then there’s the other problem: staring at the computer screen when I should be getting ready to leave the house. Where something is happening, nothing is happening. And, where nothing is happening, something is happening. Is there still an in-between? I’m certain that ALL-THOUGH must be an acronym, although I’m not sure what for. Also, ALL-THOUGH might be the next literary movement. Now that I’ve discovered this, I’m going to leave the house. We’re always looking out for the moments when the micro becomes macro, but wouldn’t the moments when the macro becomes micro be harder to spot? I always think I’m going to leave the house with plenty of time.

I hate it when I realize that yesterday was the good day. Any sunny day in Seattle starts with the question: is it going to rain tomorrow? Wait, I have energy for ten minutes so I better use this energy to make sentences. That’s what I do when I have energy, right? Also, I could jump up and down, but really I need to eat. I hope this energy lasts past the eating, cross your fingers for me.

Maybe if I write about eating while I’m in the process, I can figure out where everything goes wrong. I mean I can figure out how to get somewhere else. The pumpkin seed milk is delicious, and I don’t notice immediate negative effects. But do you see how I’m always looking out for the negative? Because the negative is where eating always leave me. Okay, start with taste, right, I’m supposed to taste this. There’s a reason people talk about flavor. There’s a reason I cooked this food in a particular way, not just so that it wouldn’t make me sick, even though it always does. Chewing, I need to remember that too. Radish greens aren’t that great when you chew them, maybe I was wrong about radish greens. But I do love the subtle flavor of red spring onions. And these adzuki beans, what do they taste like?

Oh, texture — the gelatinous feeling of amaranth and teff, the crunch of burdock root, the creaminess of the adzuki beans. I do like these textures. The slight tartness of a radish among greens, the softer crunch of a string bean, a hint of parsley and those spring onions again. I think it’s helping me to write about eating while I’m eating, I can even feel my feet, this is a good sign. But if I wrote about eating every time I ate, I might not be able to do anything else.

But I haven’t yet fallen into the hellhole of dejection and intestinal bloating, let me take a few more bites. How do I describe the adzuki beans without relying on the ingredients I added? Like caramel and salt, and then the surprise texture of a mushroom. Here comes the sadness, should I stop before the sadness overwhelms? I used to feel like eating helped the sadness, but now more often it feels like it causes it. Okay, the energy is gone—I feel like I should lie down, but at least no horrible bloating. I will sit at the table to see what happens next.

Soaking my feet in vinegar is not as good as it was last time. Oh, I know— maybe I should do the same thing that just hurt my eyes, and it won’t hurt my eyes this time. One day maybe I’ll figure out why my building turns up the heat on the warmest days, and then turns it off entirely when it gets colder again. Once I had a sense of place and then I left it. I’m wondering if loss is a sense of place. I’m wondering if a sense of place is always a sense of loss. I’m wondering if a sense of place is always lost.


sq said...

congrats darling, i'm glad your book's awarded! love, seeley

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thank you, my dear — and, a good reminder to post that I won, hooray!!!

Love —