Don't Forget the Margins

Tag: Desert

My Life on a Couch, 6

My interim has an interim. I’m two weeks out from leaving this soon-to-be-baking desert city and I’m spending those two weeks at my Mom’s house. One never wants to go back to Mom’s house. Especially when one imagines themselves to be “real adult”. But given the reality that I am not currently being “mothered” I suppose it’s more of a long visit. I’m visiting Mom. I like who I’ve become since the last time we shared significant space together—10 years ago.

Where I’m headed—Portland, Oregon— had always, until now, seemed like a land of promise to me. Consequently, a lot of broken things were once initially rooted there. Promise is a tricky thought depending on the way you hold it. I guess there’s promise and there’s intention. Promise seems a bit one-dimensional and closed in. A perfect square of a thought about what could happen, bordered by a certain idea of how it might happen. A glass structure in a hard world.

Intention, well, I guess the difference is is the way you hold it. It’s both in and out of my hands. Intention has to be thrown to the wind to be useful. You have to let it go.

Last trip to Portland: the privilege of witnessing and holding gorgeous and vivacious intention for my best friend and his wonderful wife. This trip, I’ll hold it for myself too—I’ll also be staying with them, a final leg in this vagabond journey.

Advertisements

My Life on a Couch: 1st Edition

From where I sit on my borrowed couch bed right now, I can see most things I own and use on a daily basis. My life and my clothes and my books are all in paper bags. Three, to be exact, with a fourth for dirty laundry that I will clean at my Mom’s house on my way home from camping this weekend. The rest is tucked into a mix of falling apart cardboard and plastic storage bins at my Dad’s manufactured home out on acres in Sahuarita. I got it there by car. My life easily fits in my car. I just turned 27.

After a life shift—the ending of a major relationship—I decided that I’ll stop trying to land. For years of my life, if not its entirety, I’ve been looking for responsibility. For furniture. For a love in the romantic sense. For enough hangers for my dress shirts. For a “job” that pays me well enough to build something in one place. I’ve slept on people’s couches before; or their basements on a gym mat, or in a dining room with sheets for doors, in Portland, when I was 21. It was right after college and I thought “this is temporary and a 2-3 time thing.” It felt that way. But here I am again.

Holly Hall's Famous Friend Couch.

Holly Hall’s Famous Friend Couch. My first late morning.

When I told my friend who is a therapist in Sacramento that I was sleeping on another friend’s couch and that I had no plans to find my own place for a whole year, she said “What an interesting journey. You should write about it.” I guess, in its own way, or in a way I had not yet considered—it is a a journey. Even it if it feels sort of cyclical.

A hipster couch in the PNW.

A hipster couch in the PNW.

Where I am now is like the drier, more southwestern version of the same place I was at 21. Drier in many a sense. And that’s all an oversimplification. I’m not who I was then. For one, I’m not trying to be anywhere else and time feels shorter now. Like I no longer want to puzzle over things I never said out loud. I’d just rather say them. That’s vague. Home is inside me? Too cliche. The truth is that I’m still trying to understand what it means to lean on people and maybe for the first time acknowledging that it’s okay to do so.

 

Writing, Obsession.

First of all, the fact that I’m even dealing with the word obsession, is stressing me out. This is not me being obsessed with my writing. This is me writing at my obsessions. Not about. At. This isn’t skimming the surface of old habits, this is going back and holding on tight.

 

obsession

ob·ses·sion

noun.

An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.

 

Writing into my hard spots is making me wish I’d never made that pact with myself to stop writing about love and romance.

This was me: In the style of Miranda July’s short story “It Was Romance— Hard Times. Love poem. Break up? Love poem. Relationship. Love poem. Real life. Love poem. Restaurant Job. Love poem. Car Breaks Down. Love Poem. Genocide. Love Poem. Queer Politics. Love Poem. Parent’s Divorce. Love Poem. Decrease in Minimum Wage. Love Poem. Sex Worker’s Rights. Love Poem. Paleo Diet. Love Poem.

At least I knew where I was headed when things went badly. Writing into my body issues, my near constant fragmentation of self, insistence towards using my mind to reason through the unreasonable is like unwinding a yarn ball that’s been sitting in an abandoned wet then dry again then wet again desert shed for 15 years. It may have at one time been your grandmother’s but nature has taken over.

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on The Desert and Making More Space.

I just got back to Tucson after 10 days or so in the tree cover and green of Vermont. It’s a slow adjustment. While I was there I hiked twice and hardly saw any wildlife: just flying insects, in my ears, around my head and birds. At night there were fire flies, which I didn’t realize were fire flies at first and I thought I was witnessing a miracle. In a way, even in my knowing, it still feels like a miracle.

I commented on the lack of wildlife to my MFA peers. One responded, “This trail is the highway of this forest with tons of tourists like us tracking through. Would you want to be seen if you could be hidden?”

I want to be seen no matter what.

photo (8)

Goddard College, Plainfield VT

The desert has few places to hide. It’s all space and water retention. I was walking up Tumamoc Hill the other day in the afternoon heat and I saw everything. I remembered what it felt like to be so uncovered. The tree-lined heart doesn’t usually survive in the too hot desert, so I made sure to make space on the way up. I moved my arms all crazy, like I was trying to push and pull all the universe at the same time, because it was the middle of the day and I was alone. On the way down, more people came, so I stopped.