self-ease Pronunciation /ˌsɛlfˈiːz/
Personal comfort. Later also: lack of anxiety or discomfiture.
Late 16th century. From self- + ease.
This month marks the beginning of Spring, and one year since we entered not so gently or gracefully into that good night of pandemia. But this post will have nothing to do with either. Probably. For this day, friends, marks one week since I have removed myself from the confines of one of the last vices I have left - Instagram. What joy! What hearkening unto the rejuvenation of my soul it has brought forth!
- I finished a 300+ page book in less than a week, aka I have more time on my hands, litralé and figuratively
- I feel creatively resurrected, aka I'm here writing this
- I feel mostly devoid of the irritation that, for me, inevitably comes with [insert absurd amount of time each day] scrolling and subsequent realizing that 1) people are annoying and 2) I am gorging on their annoyingness, so 3) who's really the asshole in this equation?
- The dinosaur bone spur jutting out of the base of my skull has already decreased in size*
[*That's just me making shit up - not made up is research showing that we are developing horn-like bone spurs at the bases of our skulls due to bad posture due to staring at the phone beneath eye level.]
I think of something one of my rehab clients said to me when I wondered aloud why he was huffing on his vape with more vigor and frequency than usual. "Sharon... this is the last vice I have left. Gambling, women, drinking, drugs. All gone. Will you take this from me, too?" I told him to stop being so dramatic and to continue making his collage.
I think of something another client said which is unrelated but deserves to be published somewhere without violating HIPAA. Her dad suggested she "get a boyfriend." She, a lesbian who has been very much out for a long while, responded, "Oh. Do you like sucking dick? Cause I don't."
With the removal of Instagram from my life, I am left with the outer vices of naughty food groups and shopping, and the inner vices of the usual - talking shit incessantly, to others and myself. Yes, I am still sober with no end or re-beginning in sight, though both options are both welcomed and dreaded. Perhaps in a show of detoxification, I spent the last week taking more selfies than usual (exhibited above in as inconspicuous a way as possible for me), but also writing little life blurbs more frequently (that's the self-ease part). I shall share this collection of tiny essays here, because what else would I do with them, other than keep them for myself, the way I wish so many would keep so much more to themselves?
Am I Lazy or Are You Just Jealous? This is going to be a chapter title for a book I will write once I get over myself, due to happen in the next few months, if my predictions pan out.
These days, I'm busy. I wish I had taken advantage of all that time I wasn't so busy. Just kidding. I absolutely took advantage of all my previous non-busy time, all the while hearing about how "lazy" I was. Sorry you gave in to the conditioning that coerced you to keep running on the treadmill of capitalist death and couldn't stomach that I was simply raging against that machine while lying in the sun reading a book and hydrating to keep my skin tan and glowing.
Shitting My Pants and Racism My Jewish mom2 told me that it was, undeniably, racism that I experienced at the age of 5. Surely it wasn't my farting and accidentally shitting myself, and Natalie Rose, the massive white girl with bangs sitting next to me looking over and (naturally) scrunching up her nose and going, "Ewwwwww!" and my dad coming to give me a change of clothes and my not remembering a single shred of shame in having shat myself the exact same way I don't remember any ounce of shame in having, at age 12, pissed myself in the basement cabinet of my cousin's house to keep my hiding place during a game of hide-and-seek, the urine of which I'm not sure I even cleaned. I wasn't embarrassed to walk upstairs in my white crop top and white cotton shorts with a very wet piss stain taking up my entire bottom. And yet I'm sometimes too scared to show people who I am. It must be the melanin.
Clubs I shudder to think of going to clubs, not because they've been obliterated for an entire year or because the other day I saw two girls wearing jeans and heels in the daytime and I thought they looked desperate and bizarre and odd and outlandish and alien and any other word synonymous with "foreign" but without the potential racist connotation, and their outfits reminded me of the days when we frequented clubs. What was I looking for, in the sea of alcohol and sweat and gyrating bodies and flashing lights and unsteadiness in the legs and the mind? Depositing the me of now into the me of then, I felt so desperate and untrue to myself. Searching for an escape, searching for happiness, knowing all the while that both were futile.
Today's milestone is that my facial recognition finally allowed me to open my phone while wearing my fake Chanel sunglasses, available in an open-air market on the dusty pantalan in Carigara for $0.70.
One year and three months ago, I said I would never wear air pods or get my eyebrows microbladed. Turns out, we all lie. To others, to ourselves. What's in a name, anyway?
When I was 12, I used to hide in the bathroom and use strips of scotch tape to remove my leg hair. Mom said I wasn't allowed to shave, so I didn't. One day she found the strips of my very fine leg hair on the side of the toilet, and was like, WTF. Not in those words. Or letters. I used to Nair my arm hair away. I found peach fuzz on my lower back and was horrified at the discovery. I wish I could have taken the pride and the humor I find in the simultaneous disgust for my overgrown leg hair and coated my younger self in it. I can only hope that my future daughters, in this life or the next, or the last for that matter, wear their leg hair proudly and defiantly, for their mother who hid herself in the bathroom with a roll of scotch tape.
i heard the wind before i never felt it
i wanted and waited
i saw it touch everything around me, but not me.
"why not me?"
i could just walk inside. pacquito dragged himself in minutes ago. i hear him lapping up his water. he is smart. he is present. he isn't attached to the 53 minutes he has left before he has to go back inside and get back to the day, he doesn't stay in the sun until his skin is burned and pink and hot.
The last time I dyed my hair four different shades within a month, I was one month from graduating with my Master's degree, in the midst of a breakup that hit me like a breakup, and hiding from the truth of both of those things. In the last two weeks, I bought two cheap and* very believable wigs (*"and" not "but"), one ombré rose gold and one ombré blond, with two more on the way but lost in transit. What am I hiding from this time?
The thing about these stories--as a kid, it was testimonials of former drug addict prostitutes finding god and now wearing long skirts and handing out Bibles; as an adult, it's white women with the admirable chutzpah and the means to make insane life changes--is that they're inspiring but not exactly relatable. What if I don't have super-polar opposites? What if my insane life changes show up like tiny blips, a subtle shift in a way of thinking rather than turning full lesbian and moving across the world? What if my parents had always shown me that all they wanted for me was to remain true to myself and to be happy? What if how I was already living wasn't so different from where I want to go and who I want to be, deep in my soul? Sometimes these stories make me feel like I should be making grander gestures to the Universe and posting them on social media to show that I am finally listening to the Knowing, and integrating fully with the Source. But maybe my gesture is that I delete my Instagram app and spend ten more minutes a day (okay, like 3+ hours) meditating while shifting constantly and opening one eye and then the other and then back to the other.
It's 5:21pm and I've cried twice today. The first was during art therapy supervision. I was relaying all these epiphanies I've been having about death, connections that have been appearing, overwhelmed with the realization that every part of life is intertwined and death is not the end. The second time was while I was reading Untamed. I swear, these inspiring white women always do this to me. I have cried in front of clients. Not a ton. Maybe a handful of times. Probably less than that. I don't say with pride that I am not the most ethically sound clinician. This is not to say that I wail and ask them for advice or a kiss (I'm not that ridiculous or inappropriate or unethical). Sometimes I'm just touched by what they've shared--a letter written to a younger version of themselves, deep deep sadness that doesn't come out through their eyes so it comes out of mine instead. Sometimes they laugh. Sometimes they apologize. Sometimes they smile gently. If they're not already crying themselves. I don't think you can convince me there isn't healing in all of it, for all of us.
Every time I eat something I KNOW I shouldn't, I am practicing self-hate. It sounds dramatic, but let's call a spade a mother fuckin spade. It just means that I am eating something I know does not serve me in any way. And I have come to the realization that what I put into my body is a reflection of how kindly or unkindly I am treating my spirit.
We have a wall clock in the bathroom above the door. The batteries are long dead, and it is perpetually, in the bathroom, 12:31. For a while, J thought that whenever he'd go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, he'd happened to go at the same time every. night. If he went multiple times in one night, he thought he'd time traveled. I miss that kind of awe in that kind of imagining, and wonder not just when and where I lost it, but when and where I'll find it again.
In the middle of a lovingkindness meditation, I had the abrupt realization that I'd missed meditating yesterday. I had interrupted my longest streak ever. In the midst of the guide gently asking us to tell ourselves kind things, I screamed "MOTHER FUCKKKK!!!!" inside my head. I immediately brought myself back and tried to treat myself the same way I treat my clients. What would I say to them? Probably not "MOTHER FUCKKKK!!!!" I thought of my attachment to streaks. The leg hair, the sobriety, hopefully the Instagram deletion. I decided to tell myself, "Ah. How nice to be able to start over." Anyway, it turns out I hadn't missed yesterday's meditation. But where was I, and how did I forget?