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10 August 2015 @ 05:18 pm
a none-too-brief symposium on the folly of mixing grief, self-medication & daily wordcount exercises  
back in the land before time or maybe it was july i was asked: could i see a recent photograph of your entire face? the individual asking very nicely added, i'd really like to.

the anonymousblack foundation begs to differ, as we tend to do on this specific matter, but, with the qualifier that right now management is "sad," also, "kind of overwarm," and typically "experiencing the most emotionally unpleasant aspects of hunger," go ahead and knock yourself out:


my dentist told me i needed to stop brushing my teeth so hard or i’ll die. i mean wait, maybe it’s actually that it’ll make my gums recede faster, anyway in the end it’s all the same thing. brushing your teeth, receding your gums, death. you know how they say gum disease often leads to death, i mean wait, maybe that’s gum disease often precedes death? one of those. the hygienist suggested that to deter myself from trying to scrub my gums clear off my teeth i should use an electric toothbrush. this was a horrible solution in my mind because toothbrushes? should be proletarian. everyman’s weapon against bad oral hygiene. victorious marxist artwork on the packaging. toothbrushes with parts sold separately should not be. you should not ever have to wait until the power comes back on to brush your teeth. you should be able to do it in any environment or electrical circumstance. additionally, my toothbrush should not be another electrical thing i have to find a place and a plug for in the room that has less square footage than front seat of my car that is also where i do private things. our bathroom is very small. did i mention that? i’m thinking about renting it out as a sensory deprivation tank but we only have the one is the thing, and you have to walk entirely inside and spin slightly to the side in order to close the door. it has permanently altered the way i relate to restrooms. i’m also afraid people will judge me. like i am. about everything. afraid of being judged, i mean. you’d think that’d dramatically tone down the variety of content i post online and the thing is? it does.

you ever find yourself trying to figure out if the reason nobody is laughing at your joke or responding to your livejournal post is because it’s not funny or because you’ve accidentally drawn from a humor biome in your life that is distinct from the one you are currently in? crap. clearly not one these people has watched futurama. i haven’t heard any of these people make stupid reference to cannabis that other people in the group find unreasonably hilarious and so now they are being closely observed to see if maybe they could get you a lead on a supplier. it’s weird. it’s like you’re absorbing an entirely different category of nutrients from your humor environment. it’s like suddenly a whole lot more people understand me.

or if they don’t it doesn’t really matter because their loss.

there’s this david lynch song where he’s giving a mock lecture on enlightenment through transcendental meditation except gradually he’s talking about tooth decay. the one topic erodes into the other, and somehow he accesses the energy of this very ethereal, very intangible, very rare experience of enlightenment through the common visceral immediacy of tooth decay. he does it and somehow, one matter becomes responsible for the other. maybe they bring each other in to being. or maybe it’s like how the only way to validate yourself in this world is to find ideological resonance with something that is so far out of your own experience that an entirely different language is necessary to discuss it. not even just a vocabulary, an entire different way of speaking. different inflections and emphases. different ways of prioritizing the structure of a phrase, because something that is devastatingly urgent in one of these issues is felt to be entirely meaningless in the other. you know, not even something as simple as an opposite, something that’s in another composition of reality. like my acquaintance who claimed to channel the wisdom of aliens from the future who where also his ancestors. because he was so important that, because of him, future societies had to invent time travel. he might have been joking, i guess, we were never exactly in the same biome.

what he told me was that “in order to resolve pi, we have to shift our number system to eleven.” i think. i mean, it’s one of those things that, from the packaging, looks like it’s going to be very simple to open up, but then you delve into the opening process and it’s that agonizing plexi-glass based packaging that’s been heat sealed into these very curvy shapes and there’s no way to get the scissors in and when you do finally find some way to cut into the edge of the thing, there’s not really anywhere to go from that except into the tender flesh between your thumb and pointer finger. which, among other issues, isn’t going to get the thing open. it started out civilized. i can handle this, you thought. it’s heat molded plastic. i am a significantly more complicated life form. i possess sentience and thumbs. i may not eat this kind of thing for breakfast, but i could, theoretically, eat breakfast out of something like it. i’ll just pop it apart, as easily as i can pop apart things that are actually designed to be opened like that. but, see, you were wrong. these two experiences are actually quite different. unfortunately, even if that horrible reality begins to encroach upon the fringes of your awareness you must quickly obliterate it with angry denial. because you have sunk real resources into your current path and to turn back now would mean failure. and you can’t fail. you have hopes and dreams. you have a new flash drive. or your brother does. so you start ambitious, with faith in the world and a song in your heart, to open the heat-sealed packaging. then for a while it seems like, this is a challenge. but i can surmount it. i will conquer this soon, this is only a minor set back, that i haven’t done it yet, and soon it will be done. except there will come a time, not too long from now, when you are on the floor, snarling like a rabid doberman on the front room carpet and tearing at the impenetrable plastic with your teeth, mashing at it with your stomping feet, and then, when even that does not bring you solace or your new flash drive, you are reduced to lying inert, silently sobbing, rubbing at your face with that bloodied forest of stumps that were your fingers while the thing lies on your chest, indifferent to your misery as well as the misery of anyone because it is inanimate. how fundamentally unsatisfying it is to fight with a thing! then your brother comes back into the room and explains that in the time since you started trying to open the thing he’s ordered a new flash drive from amazon prime and it’s here now and he’s using it and it’s great! it looks like sushi! and has forty more gigs! and stop crying judy! you’re ruining taco night for everyone!

i cannot explain what that acquaintance was actually suggesting with the eleven thing any better than that because i don’t understand math. my brain has other proclivities. but to be honest, it seemed to me, even back then, like something our science and math people probably would’ve thought of and already tried, because they’re clever like that. at that point even i was able to hold the shape of the idea in my brain and that has to mean it wasn’t too esoteric, math-wise. once a boy i liked tried to explain to me this easy way i could handle the algebra problems on my SATs and i nodded and made comprehension noises all the while thinking look man give it up you have no idea about the bouncy house that is my brain. it’s not even that it’s a different vocabulary. we are talking about a different language entirely. i can’t explain it to you long form or you will judge me. maybe this eleven thing has even been tried a few times, in different environments at different times of day, because you never know. sometimes it takes drawing the coffee mug upside down for you to suddenly understand what the world looks like. but really, if eleven were better than whatever there would, at the very least, be some weird advertisement offering educational opportunities based on the eleven system at the back of smithsonian magazine, and there is not. i have checked. do you have any idea how incredibly fucked up smithsonian magazine gets right before it gives out? pajamagrams and synthesized pheromones and water conspiracies, motherfuckers. on a semi-regular basis ben or me will emerge from our tiny bathroom with a copy of the magazine, gesticulating to the other at a spot with tiny, grammatically lacking text that sort of makes you feel like you’re tripping balls to the tune of a doc bronner’s bottle. why would you do that to yourself? but here you are. with your proletarian toothbrush. your receding gums. also death. don’t forget death. seems like we’re always forgetting about that.

or, at least, we try.
music: r.e.m. - feeling gravity's pull
sothesothe on August 10th, 2015 10:18 pm (UTC)
Sadly, teeth are like life, and relationships... ignore them, and they'll go away.
selva oscuraanonymousblack on August 11th, 2015 05:56 pm (UTC)
My friend had a tendency to disappear. A lot of the time, it was just that he was busy with career stuff. Very occasionally he would be on a self-destruct bender, but the way that usually worked was he'd isolated himself socially over the course of several months without letting on to his friends that was what he was up to. He had one hell of a misdirect facade that I was only starting to catch onto in my mid-thirties.

The first attempt was in the spring, my junior year of high school, and I don't know that, back then, he ever exactly explained what happened beyond the fact that he'd had a bad night, gotten his stomach pumped, spent some time in the hospital, and was okay to come back to school in the fall. He was incredibly open about everything, it felt like, there just wasn't any worth to concealing or talking around anything, except when you'd get to the self-destruct layer; then he could redirect your attentions so well it would be years until you halted in explanation points halfway across the Iowa City quad, realizing: WHAT. THE. FUCK.

What I'm saying is: I'm sorting though a lot of guilt over not being a bigger presence in his life since I moved to Baltimore, but there's a degree to which that's me, trying to leverage some retroactive sense of control in a situation where I didn't have any. Every other attempt, he'd left a real opening for somebody to save him and they always did. This time, he did not leave that opening. I'm having to face that fresh a hundred times a day, because it's not any kind of release, it's just that much more horrible.

Outside of this relationship, over the last ten or so years I've needed to come to terms with the fact that a friendship isn't a solo performance. Both parties need to be engaged. If you have a relationship where FRIEND X is doing all the emotional work--accepting FRIEND Y as they are while also rearranging their priorities and personal presentation to best suit FRIEND Y, doing all or most of the contact maintenance and listening--that's not a friendship as much as it is a fandom.

A bitter reality I've had to face more than once was that I was less of a friend to someone I hold dear and more of a fan. Painful as it may be (and it's always really fucking painful, I can't tell you how much time I've spent fighting against my MacGyvered up personal boundaries) I have to walk away from the fandoms. Like the whispering voice told me as the boon of a turning-point ritual: you need to start trusting that the important people will come back to you when they are ready. which is a hell of a thing to both remember and put into practice, let me tell you.

In other words, it probably says something about me that I've been hurting my gums with chronic over-brushing rather than neglect. "CHECK YOUR BRUSH PRESSURE GIRL" is something I'm having to learn over and over again in a lot of very difficult ways.
Neo Maxi Zoom Dweebiebetweenthebars on August 11th, 2015 05:38 am (UTC)
Totally fucking true! ^^
Neo Maxi Zoom Dweebiebetweenthebars on August 11th, 2015 05:39 am (UTC)
Also, regardless, it's nice to see you Judith.
selva oscuraanonymousblack on August 11th, 2015 05:59 pm (UTC)
thank you, ryan.