I finally tweaked my website into a shape that I really liked. Then a widget went wonky and the support person tells me my theme has been retired. No fixing the wonky widget. I need to choose a new theme.

I have a new boss at work. We have new routines. I will have another new boss in August and I am sure they will bring their own tweaks to the routines.

They are interviewing new colleagues. They’re looking for someone I will likely be working with for the next decade (we tend to sit tight on these jobs). The devil you know, the devil you don’t? Rumors abound.

And I am thinking… whatever.

I’ll live. I will set off an afternoon to redesign my website. I will follow the new routines. I will work with the new colleague. These things are out of my control. I can accept that and set those facts aside: “Move on!

It’s this new medication. My jaw isn’t clenched. For the first time in several years, I don’t feel like I have to control everything. Set all the stories right.

I am not filled with disappointment and shame when I look in the mirror and see all the changes I haven’t been able to stop. I don’t feel that I have to justify the space I am taking up while sitting in the lunchroom with other people. I don’t feel like I have anything to proveGood enough. And even a bit of “so what?

It is frustrating that a little pill can accomplish in one week what I have been trying to will/exercise/force/meditate my way to all this time.

My head is quiet. Not numb, but rather as though it’s safe to be quiet because there is something else good just up ahead. Worth all the energy that I have been wasting. In the meantime, I go for a walk and do yoga on my lunch break. Laugh at E.’s dad jokes.

I do have a tiny worry in the corner of my mind. Will I crash? Is this lightness and this quiet “normal”? I ask E. We fall back into that truth that we can’t really ever know what is going on in someone else’s head. What something is “like” is still only relatable to one’s own experience of the metaphor’s vehicle. It is like we are all closed loops when it comes to language. We try. We make theater. We write poetry. We paint images.

But facing this sense of the futility of trying to communicate exactly, I am feeling puzzlement instead of despair. Being puzzled is kind of fun.

The effort is fun.

I had forgotten that while chasing something I was trying to make meaningful – a durable artwork. What a waste of energy.

Saturday I will revamp my website. I tend to curse a lot when I start messing with code and tweaks. I also enjoy it a lot, when it all fits together like a solved puzzle.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month in the US. Statistically, I am rising now in terms of the great U of happiness. I hope so.

Bipolar, CPTSD, likely ADHD (no childhood data for a definitive diagnosis). No shame.
On and off medication as necessary these past 35 years. Functioning member of society: teacher, artist, mother, wife – with all the normal strife. It’s not all good, but it is all worth it.

The sun is already shining through my little library window. I was supposed to see my shrink today to get a new solution, a new hope etc., but she’s ill. So I comply and take the prescription that is not working. I know a sudden realignment of the salts in my brain can damage my memory more than it is already damaged from that time that the factory in Mexico that made the time-release pills burnt down and I went cold turkey.

At least that’s how I remember it. I was in my mid-twenties and already divorced and nose-deep in the drama of a new relationship: barely breathing. Two years of salt and sex and adrenaline and really good writing. And not the lyric kind, but out-of-the-box, authentically articulated, outward-looking work produced with a drive – confidence – that slipped away. The emerging artist aborted in a way. Balance is difficult.

So I sit here, disspirited, feverish, and frustrated. Compliant.

But the sun… it is shining through my little library window and I do have hope. And little else right now. I am eating fish for breakfast and doing yoga and reminding myself that these ruts always end.

I remember the shrink back then who told me that my life would be chaos until I was settled – and by that he meant finished with university, working a nine-to-five with a rote, gender-appropriate, middle-class American lifestyle with minivans and PTA meetings, and I think he’d never even heard of Ballad of Lucy Jordan. I don’t think he understood that not all trailer trash aspires to be WASPs. In fact, probably very few of us do. I didn’t aspire to be him. What does mentally healthy look like? Maybe the more important question is: What does mentally healthy feel like?

So I could have done worse. I have been to Paris. And I giggled when I saw a cabriolet pass by with a middle-aged driver. I was thinking of Lucy Jordan. I always figured the song was about an acid trip. So, yeah, I definitely could have done worse.

I think this thing I am making of myself is more of an abstract sculpture than a portrait. And I can pick it up and keep working on it as long as I live. There’s no rush. And no rubric or model for the finished work.

I did finish the sextain – sestina with an extra metered foot that repeats in its own rotating pattern. It is the text that I’ll print on the paper corset. Waist corset, neck corset.

And now on to the next set of constraints. Because there is a way to squeeze really exciting work out of the tightest of constraints. Hell, they might even be necessary.