On a Plain

Speaking in metaphor only, I got my ass kicked three days ago and am still slow-motion falling toward the floor. And I can’t do that right now. I have deadlines I worked for and open doors and windows all around me. My kids are mostly teens, all brilliant and strong and sensitive and growing, and before blogs, bylines, boyfriends, and anything else I might want to pour myself into, my energy belongs to and with them—they need their mama healthy and right. Not on the floor.

So it’s self-care time.

When the serotonin fucks off for a while and you have just enough self-awareness left to know you’re not necessarily well right now, (if you’re me) it’s time to: turn off Hole, eat fruit, and watch Gilmore Girls in the living room where it’s sunny until the kids get home. Which isn’t to say that there isn’t therapeutic value to the kind of spirit medicine THC, caffeine, and your forever-angsty-songs deliver when balanced correctly—only that you can’t do this (and maybe—just maybe—you’re low on restraint right now?). So start with the sunlight and get out of your head. You’re no Lorelai Gilmore, but you’ve always been a little bit of a Courtney. Distraction from your own gloom is necessary.

Old photograph on a refrigerator of a blue-haired young woman with a baby on her lap at Christmas
Portrait of the author as a young woman who seriously mourned Kurt Cobain’s passing

Speaking of Courtney Love and gloom, today is Kurt Cobain’s birthday. 53. I hope he would have been a cool old man (not that 53 is old or that much older than me, but we’re undeniably middle-aged and mostly used to it), more Jimmy Page than Ginger Baker. I had a crush on a boy with a guitar in high school who called himself Jeff Cobain, and I ran off to play music in Seattle when I was 20 (I put an ad in The Rocket, auditioned a couple guitar players, and took a bus home to Chicago after three months), so this is pretty much a national holiday to me. Happy birthday, Kurdt.

Sunshine and television won’t cure me, but they’re the kinds of things I seek when I can feel myself freezing up from trauma or triggers or whatever is happening. It’s like defragmenting. (Are we still supposed to do that to computers?) I used to love peeking in on the progress, seeing the little blocks reassemble in colored groupings, and that’s what my head needs to do right now: condense the stray thoughts that accidentally got put where they don’t belong.

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