Life as an Extreme Sport

beauty in the rising signs

I’m sitting at my desk, a little after 9pm on a Saturday night. The sun has set, the sky is a rich indigo, the trees inky black stains against it. Jupiter is rising, bright twinkling just peaking over the copse of redwoods in the distance. The air is sweet with the richness that comes from being near water and forest, a loamy earth-scent that is warm and familiar, relaxing. I’ll need a sweater, soon – a sweater in summertime, something I haven’t experienced in a long time.

I’m tired. Exhausted. Bone weary and barely moving. I was expecting this, but wasn’t expecting the additional strain on ankles and knees – the only thing that makes sense is having sprained an ankle and not noticing, something that is too easy to do. I spent most of the day napping, reading, stretched out on my bed like a cat in a sunbeam, warm and content.

It’s going to be weird going back to New York from this, from a place that so closely resonates as home. My settling into New York has yet to really happen, roots haven’t set, I could still blow away from there. Not so easily, not without pain and loss – I’ve grown attached to at least a small group of people, and there is one person in particular whose presence alone draws me, an incentive to return. But I realize how fleeting it is, still, and how much I would be served to fall in love with where I live as much as I love where I’ve come from.


Last night, and for the first time, I talked about and cried about my mother to another person – well, to a friend. (I’m pretty sure the one off counselor I tried to see when I realized things weren’t going well doesn’t count.) And as expected, I’m feeling rather weirdly raw and vulnerable this morning (my morning after’s are so much less interesting than other people, aren’t they?), but… I don’t know if better is the right word, but maybe looser? A little less tight, a little more relaxed. A little more like there might be a safety net if I fall.

Sort of related, I’ve realized lately how much I miss feeling music – I’ve been listening to very bass/drum heavy goth and industrial music in the car of late, making sure to rest my leg on the speaker, or have a hand on the roof (which is great for transmitting acoustics). It just feels better to feel the music, to experience it in body total. I think it’s something primally wired within us, because it occurred to me last night that it’s very similar to feeling a voice talk as you rest on someone’s chest.


Life is hard, and a lot of it is not about the mistakes you make, but the lessons you learn after – and how you react. Do you integrate and learn and modify, or do you stay in a rut? It’s tempting to stay in ruts – they’re worn out and comfortable and familiar. But you feel better if you learn and modify and grow. No one ever likes to be stagnant.

I’ve never been shy about what drives my pull, sometimes, to drop everything and turn course, to go into forensics, do something Extremely Stupid like join the FBI. It’s not really the work, it’s the depictions of camaraderie. It’s why the military always appealed, even though oh my god, can you imagine me in the military, or anyone trying to give me orders? Yeah – it just doesn’t end well in your mind, does it? But camaraderie. The group of people that gets together once a week around a table to have dinner. That calls each other up randomly to invite out, that talks late into the night about fears and dreams and hopes. Who shoulder the weight of each others burdens, because sharing makes the load lighter.

I have a habit of getting into load bearing situations, though, where I take and take, but rarely give. I loved so much of CHID because it was the first place I had found since probably my early (early) teens where everyone gave and took with equal free abandon, and I was so happy there. Paired with the few close friends I had made in the goth community, and I was just genuinely happy – I was beyond happy, really. I was eudaimonic, I was flourishing.

No one would accuse me of flourishing much these past two years. I might have started to, but then Mom got sick, and it slowly dawned on me that I was repeating my mistake/inclination to give without receipt in a situation I originally thought so vital to flourishing. I’ve really floundered about, and badly. (Where are the greek speaking geeks when I need them – what’s the opposite of eudaimonic?)

And now I’m in a situation where there’s a small group of active and social and happy people who seem to like me, and I so very much like them. We all seem to want the same thing – the people to hang out with casually, the closeness, that your family is who you make feeling of dinner and movies and casual familiarity; friendship and belonging. It’s been fun, it’s been exhilarating. And overwhelming and scary and hard to trust, hard to believe I might have found something that it always seems like other people but never me get to have. So I’m afraid I’m going to self destruct, shoot myself in the foot, test too had and continuously, push away.

I don’t know how to work through the caution without singularly giving in to abandon. Or, as a friend so eloquently stole from Nietzsche, I don’t know how to give a semblance of organization to the chaos of my passions – but I really ought to go about figuring it out. Before I self destruct. Again. And then have the added hell of knowing I was so close to reaching out and touching what I so very much want, but through my own actions was unable to receive.


I bit one bullet today, and admitted to a colleague today just how badly I have been doing, and why, and what steps I’ve taken to try to fix it, and how it’s not worked, and what I’m doing now to attempt to wrestle things back under control. She’s not dumb, and had figured most of it out… but just the act of saying “look, I’ve been barely holding it together, and here’s why” was both terrifying and liberating.

Mostly terrifying, though. People are such harsh judges, at times, and I feel like this is one thing that if I am judged for, again, harshly – or more harshly than I have been on myself – that it might just be that final straw on the camel. Which sounds so much more overwrought than I intend it to, or it is.

I have never, in my adult life, fallen apart like this before – not this hard, not this long. Not into this many pieces. And as harsh and hard as some people are being about it, to be perfectly honest, I am my own worst critic. It sounds so silly, but in some ways I think the worst thing is, I’ve lost my self-confidence. If I just had that, I might be able to pull out of this downward spiral.

Anyhow, that’s enough on the emo-express for now.

she said it so much better

It’s funny. One of my dearest friends is going through something almost identical to me right now, but the circumstances of our lives just makes it near impossible for us to talk to one another. At about the same time I was posting the below, she was posting a similar thought in her own journal, only she managed to be so much more succinct and on the nose with it all:

Whenever I try to talk to someone about it all, the response I tend to get is basically, “Suck it up.” (In nicer terminology, of course). The problem is, I don’t know if I can anymore. B~ once told me my tendency to just keep taking everything on and sucking it up was going to backfire in a job someday, and I can see that happening at this one – on the one hand, the faculty says, “Don’t take too much! Remember, you aren’t paid for it.” On the other hand, they often don’t realize that their vague expectations and the need for me to constantly clarify is part of that too much. It all sounds petty, and it is, but it’s also significant – I can’t quite figure out how to prioritize anymore, b/c to me, the details I let drop are the only ones I can sometimes.