Still working on the grant application. And kind of caught in a maelstrøm of insecurities. I keep wondering when I will reach the other end of this “crisis”, or just learn to give into it. All my coping mechanisms seem to come with their own pitfalls and red herrings.

Maybe it is silly to try to make sense of all the clues. I fail miserably at those IQ tests where you are presented with a row of numbers and then asked to pick the next logical number. But give me a series of random social interactions and I will find a pattern, predict a relationship, judge motivations.

But that is what poets do, right? Find meaning in random connections? I have always been fascinated by the roles of truth and fiction in poetry. The juxtaposition of perspectives that throws everything we know into question. That’s the entire point, right? Shake it up. Surprise me.

I know Horace said poets should inform and delight, but that is School House Rock in my book. I want poetry that invites me into an exploration with no lesson waiting at the end. Honestly, I guess this view of poetry is rooted in my anti-authoritarian core. I am pretty sure there is a test that labels me as having a disagreeable personality. But “Who says?” and “How so?” are important questions.

And there is: “This, too.” And “Then there’s this…” There are more than 13 ways to look at anything. If we can allow ourselves to let go and do so.

I read that when you are stuck in quicksand, it isn’t really as dangerous as we are led to believe. Apparently, the key is to spread yourself wide and keep moving, gently, to allow the sand to move into the open spaces, to lift you bit by bit up and to the surface.

Yesterday E. cursed while we were on our way to work. He never curses. He apologized. To me: someone whose everyday speech has been peppered with curses for the past two years. Sometimes words, sometimes fully expressed incantations. I have been anything but gentle, and the fact hit me hard yesterday in the car listening to his apology.

There is good here.

This, too. I need 13 ways of looking at the day today.

(But one of them will definitely involve a curse.)

So much of the morning wasted. I would have been better off sleeping in. I have nothing to say. I saw a meme about discernment – about knowing when your voice isn’t needed in a conversation. It is such an important lesson. But there are days when being humbled also means slipping into feelings of worthlessness and inconsequence. An even more difficult lesson to tease out and understand.

What does a single voice matter? Everything is contextual. Yet in this borderless culture, nothing is contextualized enough to allow for nuance. So we keep getting louder and more strident, bullying the parameters of every discussion into a narrow place. The place where we are, unequivocally, in the right. In fact: not just right, but the unquestionable authority on whatever tidbit of insight/wisdom/instruction there is to be had/shared/beaten over someone’s head as a form of retribution. Personal. Tribal. Cosmic.

I am wondering if there isn’t a form of mild trauma experienced by everyone on social media – just reading social media. “Reading” is an extended concept here. People are “discussing” an actor slapping someone with the same intensity and derision as they were discussing an actual (ongoing) war the day before. Blocking one another now based on their allegiance to a celebrity, or a particular critical reading of the event.

One view. One perspective. One context. Right. Wrong. The binary of the network.

Thriving on the extended “constructed drama”, that may be easier to deal with than actual destruction, but it’s just a diversion of the pain – not even a distraction, certainly not a balm.

And maybe this is just me within the context of burn-out. Me, dreading going to work today. Me, counting down the hours until summer vacation.

Me, so tired of all this darkness. The world right now is heavier than it needs to be for me. I don’t think that does anyone any good.

I wonder if toxic empathy is related to narcissism? Yeah. I am not sure I really care. The wheels just keep turning.

Last night while falling asleep, I realized that I haven’t basked in proper sunshine in over 3 years. It explains a lot of what I am feeling, I think. I remember hearing that when Norwegians emigrated to the American midwest a lot of them became mentally ill – they developed agoraphobia, kenophobia on the plains. They couldn’t adjust to the wide-open skies. The Norwegians that I knew in Texas missed the mountains with a bodily ache. They were willing to hike with alligators to get a taste of the wild.

I miss the intense sunlight of the desert. The sticky-asphalt heat. I am depleted.

It is probably irrational, but this morning I keep having the thought that if I could get down to the Canaries, lie on the beach, hike the volcano, I could get off the medication.

Thinking about it actually brings up a feeling of grief. My stomach clenches and a sob swells into my chest and threatens to escape. I guess this is a kind of homesickness of the body.