Hole in the World
"Flowers in December" by Mazzy Star
Before I let you down again
I just want to see you in your eyes.
I wouldn't have taken everything out on you,
I only thought you could understand.
They say every man goes blind in his heart.
They say everybody steals somebody's heart away.
And I've been wondering why you let me down,
And I've been taking it all for granted.
August 3, 2017 Thursday 4:51 PM
I decided sometime last week that I probably like savory foods because I drink so much water that it just sorta washes the salt out of ym system. So my body is always craving salty things. I remembered this decision a few minutes ago when I was sitting on my grandma's red couch in the family room, my head feeling pressurized at the sinuses from crying. I was drinking water to help ease the headache and eating some hershey's kisses my grandma had tossed me as a reward for finishing my math, but I knew I needed some salt. Need them electrolytes, is what I had said out loud, sort of in a dreamy daze like I always am post anxiety freakout.
I'm at least more in control than I used to be, I think, but I'll get more into that in a second. Anyway, I got up from my seat on the couch and picked up the salt shaker from the dining table. Only, this salt is weird, it came bursting from the little holes and piled up on my hand so I had to brush some off into the kitchen sink. I wonder if that is wasteful. I hope not. I wasn't sure what else to do, I just needed to lick that salt. I crave that mineral.
I headed upstairs, drinking water from a half-crushed smartwater bottle that I keep refilling. I was also licking my palm and between my fingers for that savory, savory salt, bro. And now here I am, seated on the toilet, peeing my guts out while I also type my guts out.
Dad says I have a "math phobia." I'm in this STEM pre-orientation program for Brown and it just started a few days ago. I don't mind the daily prompt questions, which are things like, "What are your favorite qualities about yourself?" and "Who or what has shaped you?" (For that last one, I wrote about my dad and Elise. Elise's death changed me more than it had any right to because I'm melodramatic and dumb. But either way, I like who I am better than who I was and I wish I could thank her for that. I still think about her jar of compliments all the time. I try not to think about who I was to her—probably not as much as her memory became to me).
So, uh, yeah. Part of the program also included, duh, math. The first two days were fine. They consisted of, like, doing things in exponential notation and answering Fermi questions ("How many ice cream stores in your city?" That was pretty fun to do actually). But the third day I guess included lots of Euclidean geometry? I'm still tripped up on the problems, still barely understand it, and just thinking about it makes me feel nauseas.
I like math. I like it a lot. But I'm not very good at it (my dad would scold me for saying that, he says I spend most of my time with math talking about how terrible I am at it instead of actually doing it). Anytime I see a problem that I suspect, at a glance, I can't do, my brain shuts down. Numbers don't make sense. I scrabble for retreating formulas, sometimes I catch the tail-end of one, most of the time they slither away into the dark.
Math is really good at making me feel like an actual idiot. It makes me head hurt, makes me physically nauseas. My dad's like, "Okay, that's... not good." He starts talking about psychology, about how I oughta start eating ice cream every time I do something right in math, develop some positive associations to override the very old, very negative ones. And they are old. I can remember elementary school and middle school and early high school, getting in crying fights with my dad because I couldn't understand simple fucking numbers.
These days, I know it's not a huge deal to not understand something. I know I am better at other things, like english. But I WANT to be good at math. Not being good at math is like an axe in any dreams of a neuroscience career. So I can't help having this never-ending internal dialogue of, "you are dumb," and then I start crying and my dad's like that's irrational and I'm like, "Well, yes, I know that," and at the same time, my inner self is like, "Dude. You look sooo dumb right now. Like. You realize you're crying over a circle, right? Oh my god, you're crying into a bowl of ice cream. YOU'RE CRYING INTO A BOWL OF ICE CREAM. *cackles forever*"
I don't know. I'm not used to being terrible at things? Usually I'm pretty average, which suits me fine.
I'm not afraid of asking for help. I have so far e-mailed the professor and asked the teacher's assistant for help. That helped me solve some problems.
Ugh, fuck, I dunno. I'm just all worn out and sick-feeling from crying and I still have a lingering dumbness in the wrinkles of my brain. Plus, as anxiety always does for me, it has spilled over the edges. Gone from math into the very core of my life a bit. It crawls into the hole of me and says, "You're waiting for your life to start."
I'm like, "What?"
And it says, "You're life. It's on pause. It's not moving. Not until you go to Brown. Then, you can start therapy again, you can start learning again, you can start moving forward. Right now, you're stuck."
"Well. Just sayin'."
My grandma saw me crying and she talked about how she is also depressed. (I'm not depressed, but this is what she said okay). She said she spent the morning moaning and groaning ("Oh, I didn't hear you," said my dad. My grandma was all, "No, not out /loud./") and feeling sorry for herself. I guess since she had a stroke last summer she's been struggling a lot.
I am remembering the open-mouthed sobs.
Everything about her is old now. She's in her late eighties and has, of course, been old for awhile. But this is different. Whereas before, she was very active and extroverted, now she is quiet and limp.
My grandma loves people. Loves walking around, going outside, going places, loves discussing things. But, y'know, a few months ago, my dad said something along the lines of, "I think your grandma is losing it."
He seemed sad. "I was on the phone with her and she spoke for a half hour about what she saw on the screen."
"Is that not normal?" When I'm away from family, I have a tendency to pretend I don't know them. Good riddance, is my attitude. But when I see them again, I remember how lonely it is in New York.
Dad looked surprised anyway and said, "No. She used to talk about things..."
And now that I'm here, I see that my dad is right. Grandma used to be into discussing philosophy and religion and stuff like that. These days, I don't know. She has become... inert. And she knows it. She talks about it. I never want my grandma to be alone again. I never want to leave if it means she will be lonely.
The house is dark. Compare and contrast: years ago, Grandma was up first. She made breakfast. She made dinner. She loved having people around to feed and take care of.
We are awake first, now. We make breakfast and dinner. The first day we were around, Caroline and I cleaned out our grandparents fridge and cleaned the kitchen. We threw away so many things, expired sometimes dating back to 2013, one time all the way back to 2010. Grandma thanked us. She said it's so depressing to live in a messy kitchen.
I feel bad asking her if she needs any help sometimes. I don't want her to think I'm patronizing her. I want her to know that I love her and I know she is more than just old.
I guess this is the tragedy of life or something? We get old, we lose ourselves, we die. Is it better to die happy or is it better to wait until you've had enough of life? I don't know. But I watch my grandparents live, specifically my grandma, and it feels cruel that time took her favorite things from her. But at least she's okay. My grandma is strong and she finds happiness in the small things.
Liv can't drop me off at Brown when I move in a couple weeks from now. She apologized and said she'd spend the day before with me. I haven't replied yet because I'm disappointed and I don't want that to leak through my text to her. I know there's nothing she can do about it.
I remember what Elise said: people are disappointing. I think I am okay with that, because I'm disappointing too. It's comforting, to not be the only disappointment.
On a distantly related note, I wonder if I will ever overcome this "imposter syndrome." Maybe if I win a Nobel prize. Hah. No. I wish. And it probably wouldn't actually cure it anyway.
I have a torn up hole in me! I'm not sure why.
California is hot and the hills are golden and the clouds cast purple shadows across their bodies. The new windmills are shiny and white and beautiful. In lots beside them are the old windmills from, like, back in the 70's, smaller and dilapidated piles of metal sticks like bird skeletons. The sky here is usually blue and I've gotten darker from where it likes to sink itself into my pores. I love the Eucalyptus trees and I think I saw a flock of jays, I think Woodhouse scrub jays or California scrub jays. Not sure. I'm not great at identifying birds, but I think I want to learn?
I want to be the type of person who loves the ache in their legs, the tightness of their lungs, but I'm bad at exercising, bad at wanting to. I'm going to join the running club at Brown. Maybe even the rowing club if it proves to be casual enough. I need some upper arm strength.
I used to get feedback sometimes, mostly from this one guy who I called... D. Something with a D. I can't remember. Dawn? No, Dane. It was Dane.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to him. I wonder if he's dead. I consider looking it up—but then I'm not sure if I want to know if he's dead. Besides, he's probably not. He probably just realized I was too young for him. Or that I wasn't as amazing as he seemed to think?
I had another feedbacker, way back. One day, he sent me feedback saying the message would be his last. He was becoming mormon. He wished me luck on my life and then went on to live his. Very occasionally, I wonder about him too.
I don't get much of any feedback these days, which is fine. I miss it a little, but it's luck to get it. Luck or you're fascinating, whereas I just rant a lot about nothing.
I'm sweating a lot today because I drank two cups of coffee. Or, maybe I always sweat this much? It's annoying. I also drink a lot of water. Should I be drinking less?
I'm done for today. Oughtta get back to homework and stuff. Good afternoon everybody! I hope you are for the most part content, as I am.
I realized the other day—I'm not mad at Isaac anymore. Oh, good. That's a relief. I almost want to talk to him, see how he's doing, but I'm afraid that (1) would be weird, (2) he'd be mad at me, (3) I'd remember why I was mad at him in the first place. Whatever, I'm sure he is out there, growing up, becoming less whiny. Good for him, good for Isaac. Hope he shaves that ugly ass beard as some point, lol...
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