I am not sure where my attention was when the last two weeks passed by. I’ve been sleeping a lot. Often pinned under an 80-pound dog. I have been unraveling in a good way. Dinner with friends. Lazy evenings. Daily yoga sessions that have become more meaningful with a renewed attention to breath.

Finally answering emails. And realized I have three weeks to write some kind of mother/father of the groom speech on behalf of my ex- and myself. It’s awkward inviting someone into “the family” when the family is split. Not that the situation is unusual, and not that it is contentious, but how to spin it in a meaningful way? To tell the truth when the truth sort of flies in the face of the sentiments appropriate for a wedding.

I will just continue to spread out flat, letting all the knots work their way out of my body and mind: a pretty little map of thoughts, lyrical as loops of string caught in school glue.

School glue in an amber bottle with a rubber tip, that would open like an eye when pressed. Or a mouth. Or a seal’s nostril.

There was a smell that I can’t quite remember, no matter how hard I try to conjure it.

It is inexplicable what sticks in my memory and what doesn’t. Last night, trying to sleep I remembered when E. was small – three or four – and while his older brother pinned my legs, E. sat on my chest and leaned over my face, inhaling so that his nostrils pinched shut again and again, like some kind of amphibious, alien creature. I laughed until I peed my pants a little.

Isn’t that something? How a memory of uncontrollable, full-body laughter can make you cry?

That school glue I used in elementary school didn’t work well. Nothing ever stayed put. I’d get home and the string had come loose in spots and created its own patterns. I guess it was an early life lesson: everything unravels, falls apart, and reconfigures according to its own mysterious will.

Unraveling isn’t a good theme for a wedding speech. Maybe reconfiguring?

Maybe amphibious, alien creatures who torture humans who can’t catch their breath for their own laughter?

We should all be so lucky to have memories like this stick.

It’s a religious holiday here. I slept late and wasted the morning scrolling. I breathed through yoga but still haven’t run. And I had plans for the day.

I hope this isn’t an indication of how this summer will pass. Haphazardly. Regretfully. I am already beginning to regret all the time I have spent on social media over these past years. It seems that being there creates needs that didn’t exist for me before. It plants “should”s in my mind. I should feel this way or that way, or tolerate what I would never tolerate from someone were they sharing a physical space. Or argue knowing there was no hope to convince anyone to change their mind. Or allow people to bombard me with unsolicited advice. It is possible to just leave the room, and close the door.

Stop comparing. Needing validation.

It is funny. I think I tend to hear “needing validation” and think of someone with low status, low self-esteem wanting a pat on the head. But really the leaders, who do have a measure of status are constantly seeking validation of their superiority or their expertise. They continually test their influence. I think of the American radio personalities who seem to be throwing out the wildest theories (which they sometimes admit they don’t actually believe) just to verify their power over the perceived truth. A series of little exhilarating trips for the ego. What can I get away with? They can take up so much space in a room – how is it they can also take up so much space in a virtual reality? How can untruths in a virtual world hurt so much in the real one? We are way beyond the beautiful lie, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words –

There is more to all this than I want to think about right now. Maybe because we all exist bouncing along the continuum of milksopping and dictatorial? We are validated as something by everyone really. We are validated as all kinds of somethings simultaneously.

I think I have always known this, but what is said behind closed doors matters more to me than it once did. Somehow it seems like much more of a threat. What will come barging through if I am not listening? A war, a mismanaged pandemic, another bloody piece of evidence that we are a destructive species? An accusation. An intentional misunderstanding. An unfair observation that will cost me.

I wonder if it matters at all to anticipate the worst? If it really armors us when it hits, or if it just prolongs the trauma with a kind of pre-traumatic stress? What if the traumatic event never comes to pass?

These past two years I have felt the piano wire in my thigh pull taut again. And a piano wire in my chest, incrementally tightening and winding with every perceived slight, threat, loss. I am not sure what it is going to take to find calm again. More than ujjayi breathing, more than morning runs in the rain, and daily meditations.

Maybe if I make room for it, whatever it is will come. Maybe it will validate all of the facets of me at once. The Authentic Me’s that have no place in a metaverse at all.