If depression is Churchill’s black dog, dysphoria is a cat that creeps atop your body in the night, a faint prickling sensation in the back of the head and a tightness in the throat and chest. An allergy nobody can shake. Where was I a year ago? An orgy. Where was I, two? Africa, Morocco, worlds away in the hot sun. Where was I tonight? A Giant at 11PM, surprisingly populated, comparing prices on applesauce by the pound.
Red says it’s difficult to maintain buoyancy when you’re constantly seeing your present self as the only self with no idea of what the future holds, but that’s tough to keep in perspective at night, alone. That’s the appeal in vapid company, I want to say, or rather, I just consider. That’s the appeal in immersing in exercise, in drugs, in work, in moving constantly, the present self amorphous and never really locked down. Westchester, 1996. My langue maternelle, mother tongue, used to tell a story I’ve forgotten about worry dolls, little painted figurines from Guatemala and kept them lined across her windowsills, inviting me to take one at my behest. They lined the walls of her house and stretched their arms out to accept the fears into their wooden bodies, little crucifixes with the prayer of worry that a lonely little Jewish girl could conceptually grasp.
When I think about it, this is the longest stretch of many things– the longest, The Connection and I realized, that we’ve gone without publishing our writing. The longest I’ve been in a relationship, the longest I’ve been in this apartment. The longest I’ve gone on a steady self-improvement track but I’m not pleased so much as I’m scared out of my body, the consistency of it all makes me want to strip off my boxers and run screaming down the street not just because it’s the same, but because I’m worried about how it will differ, whether I’m spoiled for thinking that I deserve some sort of pardon or hedonistic sabbatical to keep things fresh when I ought to be focusing on my career, my entanglements, my needs and the needs of others. The thought, the reality of potentially not hiding out in the Alps exhausts me and I haven’t even been able to consider or absorb the feelings of staying just yet.
In the meantime, my real cat slowly paces the bed. She has a circuit she maintains, where she paces the bed, around the laptop, then across my arms until she settles in front of the computer. She settles more easily than I do, and more often than not I’ll journal than type, but sometimes the world deserves an update and sometimes I want to get things down in a place where they can be seen and absorbed, thrown out into the ether instead of closing them up. Both are decent, the balance is remarkably soothing.
These are the things I am looking forward to: Toronto via back-roads, a fresh semester, a hopefully uplifting end to a decent one, strengthening ties in the year to come despite not being able to leave, as far as I can tell. The potential for a new job, applications to old ones, a dinner filled with cheese. Close encounters of the blurred kind. The new journal. Writing that letter. Saying those things.
If it were easy to make a list of the things that struck me in the gut with fear, I’d do so, but there aren’t words to articulate them, and if there are, I haven’t the emotional agency to do so. In their place, I leave you with Brewer & Shipley‘s cover of ‘All Along the Watchtower’. There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.