Chewing the rag of self, again….

…weepy today.

It was a weekend of event after event, until I made it so there was no event, and then today I feel somewhat empty. I’ve crashed out of the groove I got into upstate,so quickly that I’m shocked. The office is free of students for once and cheery co-worker comments fall on the bed of computer/cooling/lighting buzz.

There are times when I feel undone by life, This is one of them. There’s much that I’m capable of, and yet I’m pained by every instance where I am inept. Is today’s mood due to the fact that this morning I finished rereading Djuna Barnes’ Ryder, a book whose last chapter is titled “Who Shall He Disappoint Now?”

(This and one other of the novels I’ve read recently were published by Dalkey Archive press and if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket you could do far worse than to contemplate this . It’ll run you less than a flat screen tv and keep you entertained for a couple of years. Or there’s this, which comes with free shipping and is my idea of a good wedding present)

For every appointment kept, there seem to be four other missed. I am unable to reconcile myself to what I am. Another way to state this is that I am attached to what I am not, that I am somehow projecting another more capable self that should be here in my stead. This self would be nicer to all, would do the things they said they would do, cook and eat and fuck like a bawd. Hamlet says:

“I am myself indifferent honest;
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it
were better my mother had not borne me: I am very
proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses at
my beck than I have thoughts to put them in,
imagination to give them shape, or time to act them
in. What should such fellows as I do crawling
between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves,
all; believe none of us.”

There is a sin in loving perfection so much you’d rather imperfection didn’t even exist, especially your own.

I can happily plan my future good acts, set up systems for efficiency and compliance, but all this is merry skating across the the dark waters of my emotions. And as long as I do that, I give them the power of absolutes, rather than allowing them to be the weather that I rationally know they are. So today I’m supposed to be cheery and bustling -and instead I’m frail and incapable. I want to be loving, and instead I’m sour. I’m wrong to think it won’t pass, that I won’t feel some other way soon. In fact even here I’m letting my judgments about my emotions trample the heels of my emotions themselves, a tidy device that allows me to ignore the origin of those feelings.

Some one recently asked me about therapy, and if after eight years of it I’ve gotten “better”. I’d have to say that i’ve gotten “more”. Is it better that as I got ready to head to work today the song “Midnight Radio” made me blubber? At least I let it happen. Only now do I indulge that snarky voice that encourages me to see myself as a mawkish middle-aged man moved by the spectacle of his own response to pop music to imagine himself as somehow special. And the time lag between that feeling and my self-lacerating description of it is what we call progress, children.

* * * * * * * * *

Other bits of cultural input from the past week:

Movies seen: Rize, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Hunger, Land of the Dead, Resident Evil Apocalypse

Play: The Whore of Sheridan Square

Hours spent with Ape Escape, the PS video game.

Began Gary Indiana’s Schwartzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt

Read three short stories by Lynne Tillman.


  1. Why are you holding yourself to standards you have no desire (or even possibly intention, or even possibly possible) in maintaining?

    Why so hard on yourself? Is not the disapproval (disappointment, disapprobation) of your parents and teachers enough?

    There’s plenty to weep over in this sad state of a world, but why are your turning it inward?

    It could just be sensory/input overload and exhaustion after so much unpluggedness. Which is good, though still exhausting. More sleep, more art, more reading, less harsh self-loathing.

    And remember how beloved you are by so many friends, if it’s any consolation.

  2. If I had either the balls or the talent, I would be writing a strangely analogous posting today. I can’t seem to muster it, but you did! Thanks.

  3. I’ve been in the same head space for days. Questioning everything and getting no answers. I’m torn about the fact that I’m at work and can’t be an emotional mess and the fact that being at work is keeping me occupied.

  4. Nayland, be kind to yourself and realize that you need downtime, and there’s no harm in taking it. I stayed in bed for virtually an entire day after the last two long weekends, though my take on it is likely to be far less poetic than yours. Guilty? Nah.

    ps: I love that you like bad-ass women of all flavors and mediums.

  5. “Why are you holding yourself to standards you have no desire (or even possibly intention, or even possibly possible) in maintaining?”

    That, my friend is the million dollar question. The one I’ve been wrestling with for years. The fact is everyone feels bad sometimes, so why not cut myself some slack around it, rather than feeling that it is unacceptable? To say and do are two different things, as much as my oh so verbose brain wishes it wasn’t so. Certainly I can practice my acceptance in this forum. And the love of friends means a great deal, but can also be part of the problem, depending on what I do with the knowlege of that love.

    “More sleep, more art, more reading, less harsh self-loathing.”

    I’ve been looking for a new tattoo; maybe that’s it.

  6. After reading your set list I can only claim 1/5 of your awesomeness.

    I’m also happy read about your devotion to Margaret Kilgallen. I have some of here work myself, and it makes me ultra happy every time I see it.

  7. HUGS

    I think I am kind of the same space and my work is a lot easier than yours. I find myself flailing and looking for distractions without the energy to pursue them.

    Good luck, I hope you feel better soon, and like folks have said be good to yourself – you are worthy.

  8. Sorry to hear you’re on a downer. One thing stuck out in your post, though:

    For every appointment kept, there seem to be four other missed.

    Do you mean that you’re literally missing 80% of your appointments? Most of your post isn’t all that specific about how this is affecting your life, and that jumped out as something concrete. And kind of worrisome.

  9. I could definitely deal with the Dalkey Archive glut! (::Pricks self with pin: Still haven’t read a lick of Djuna Barnes::)

    And the time lag between that feeling and my self-lacerating description of it is what we call progress, children. Wow! I hear that! And that bit of perspective made me feel a lot better about myself today. So, thanks!

    What do you think of Tillman?

  10. I know it’s small comfort, but I know just what you’re feeling…all too well. There’s a big gap in my expectations and my performance, too. You’re not bad, you’re human. Cut yourself a little slack, and keep trying.
    Big hugs, bud!

  11. Pardon my lax syntax: what I meant by appointemnt is something like a date to get together with friends. For every person that I’m getting together with there are quite a few that I feel I should be meeting but aren’t.

  12. I know Lynne, and I think she is a remarkable writer: sharp, funny and wide ranging stylistically. No Lease on Life is one of my favorite books. She’s also a person whop looks at and thinks deeply about art.

  13. Work can be a divine distraction in many ways.

    I’m thinking about the other meaning of occupied: inhabited. And then I have to ask, when we are occupied, who or what has taken up residence in us? How can we stop subletting ourselves so that we can be in whatever emotional space we need to be in?

  14. Many thanks for the good wishes sport.

    But it’s not a problem hugs can solve, delightful as they are: It’s not that I lack for comforters; it’s more that I’m chafing under my current existence and need to understand what that’s about.

    I don’t mean to be crying wolf – this isn’t a huge crisis, just a time for reflection.

  15. Thanks dude. Self judgement is a motivatior but can also be a huge brake on one’s production as well…I know you know that…

    I should just get back to work on the gnome porn!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.