Anxiety Cave

Photo Credit: Justin Treadway

Photo Credit: Justin Treadway

Last night I went to a film festival. The movies were fun, the crowd was full of familiar faces, and I’m horribly sorry to anyone I talked to.

No one seems to believe me when I say I’m shy. They tell me I’m social, that I could talk to a brick wall, that I’m an organizer and a connector. Combine awkwardness with my stubbornness and I guess, sure, I’m social. I waved at friends, I did the dance over knees and bags to get to the middle of a row for a hug and a quick chat. The whole time thinking  I want to go home I want to go home I want to go home. Give me my couch, my bad scifi dramas, a glass of wine and the man I’ve been seeing, his dogs curled beside us.  I want to go home.

I was so jittery by the end of the night that everything I said felt like a blunt object on my tongue. A sandbag, a brick. We’re headed to get food, come join us! No no no no no.

I love my friends. I love how excited they are about the things I love, how friendly they are to everyone. I have found an incredible community and I am always honored to turn around and find someone smiling at me, including me. I want to go home I want to go home.

There’s a reason I feel more comfortable on a rope in the climbing gym. A rope means a partner is coming to meet me. I’ve never been good with solo adventure. For a while I tried to be, I went to a bar by myself, I did a hike by myself. Yes, singular. I went to ONE BAR alone. I went on ONE SOLO HIKE. I brought a book to the bar, I sat in the sun, I kept looking over my shoulder like someone should be there with me. I am a social creature, but in twos, threes. I can’t focus on multiple conversations, I’m bad at jumping from one to the other. I’m the girl at the party having a very intense conversation in the corner. I’ll talk to a wall, so long as it’s just one wall.

In grad school my friends joked that I was the cruise director. I orchestrated nights out to the local bar, I threw parties, I wanted everyone to be in the same place and getting along. The nights were successful and I hated them until after, when everyone left having enjoyed themselves. At one of them, someone leaned over, you don’t look like you’re having a good time.  I shook my head, I hate this. He looked confused. So why do it? And why? Because someone has too, because everyone else is having a good time. It’s ok. It’s just too loud for me to hear anything.

She Rocks is, essentially, a group made to introduce strangers to each other. This concept is my own personal hell, and yet there I am, every night that I run, waving at strangers in purple. And I love it, as much as it makes me anxious and uncomfortable. It’s funny to think that I would never go to a night that I run and ask people to come to. That is to say, I would never go by myself. Because of this, I love the women who show up, the women braver than me.  They are funny and strong and some have become very dear friends to me. I am lucky.  And still, before every evening, I feel sick to my stomach if I’m headed there alone. I mitigate this by meeting a friend early, by having someone by my side. There are still moments where I feel like the clunkiest robot type woman, trying to talk to a stranger and coming up with gems about the weather, but having a friend there makes everything ok. I don’t know that these women know this—but Devi and Carissa and Elaine and Katie and Karis have saved me more times than I can count.

So if I talked to you last night, I’m sorry for whatever awkwardness came out of my mouth. The chains of, Hi how are you? How are you? I’m good how are you? Maybe you’ll believe me when I say I’m shy. Maybe you’ll come just give me a hug next time. The films were fun though, weren’t they? It was a good night. I just had to go home.

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Time for Pumpkins

DSCN3206 The colder weather and the on-again, off-again rain mean that it’s time to start baking again.  I’ve been a bit distracted lately, but with some extra pumpkin puree in the fridge and this awesome recipe, curtsy of my sister, I had at it in the kitchen this afternoon.  Instead of circles I made owls, and I just stuck with the ginger frosting.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had scones.  Muffins and toast seem to be more my speed these days, and I’m less about sweet things.  The icing is sweet, but the scones themselves aren’t.  Sort of a nice combination, if I do say so.

In addition to baking, I’m really digging into my books about Tyndall and Sir Oliver Lodge.  I’m continually amazed by the communities that used to exist, both in the artistic and scientific communities.  The minds meeting for drinks at ale houses or teas in each other’s living rooms seems fictitious.  I am left wondering if those same meetings are happening today, and which names people, a hundred years from now, will look back on and be amazed by.  I don’t know that communities function in the same way now.  People are more spread out, communication is through email and phone calls and there isn’t quite the elaborate record that exists from the turn of the 20th century.  But I don’t think that we’re without communities and meetings of minds.  I feel like I’m part of something larger than myself these days, and thank you to everyone in Seattle who has taken me in.  It’s a year now. Glorious.

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Two things of note

New work appears in the summer issue of Goblin Fruit.  Many thanks to Kate Durbin for her help in revisions.

New to the poetry blog scene, Alex Gallo-Brown has started Poem Box: A Community Forum for Literature and the Arts.  Check him out, help him out, leave him comments!  His brother just had a wonderful show at a community center in Ravenna and you can see some of his photographs that Alex has posted.

There are some things chasing around my head about timing and mis-timing, but it hasn’t settled yet.  Things seem to be in starts and stops lately.  Jubilant trip to Wyoming follows with spilling two pounds of black beans on the floor of the PCC.  I don’t know how these things connect yet, but they must.  I’m currently reading Jeff Encke’s Most Wanted: A Gamble in Verse.  By reading, I mean playing.  It is a deck of cards, and I hope to play rummy tonight with a good friend and see what transpires.  I forgot until this afternoon that Jessi once dreamt about a deck of poetry cards and Juan Felipe Herrera’s workshop.

I’ve been casting my own cards about for a while now.  How have I been in Seattle since October?