"I may be grumpy
but I like you."
The Suns and Moons of the Grumpiest Girl in the Room.
Whatever It Takes
Buddha left a road map,
Jesus left a road map,
Krishna left a road map,
Rand McNally left a road map.
But you still have to travel the road yourself.
–Stephen Levine, from his book Who Dies?
There are times when I'm talking and I become aware of my throat, this weary feeling there, and I can hardly wait to shut up. This never happens when I'm talking about anything blithe or hopeful, only when I'm nearly choking on a gloom sandwich. For months I have had this desire to go off somewhere by myself for as long as it takes to gather together a clear picture of who I am. My great wish is to know and accept myself. It's a daily process. It is from the point of acceptance that I can begin to extend my other great wishes outward. You have to start at home before you can change the world. I'm getting closer to self acceptance, and I didn't even need to take a train.
I celebrated my 40th birthday. Arriving there wasn't nearly as terrifying as I'd imagined. In fact, it wasn't scary at all. What I encountered on that day was myself, feeling as youthful as I had felt the day I turned twenty. I didn't transmute into a hideous, fanged monster. My skin didn't crack open to reveal some hag in waiting. Most important, my life didn't end. I thought it would end in the way of possibilities and in the way of hope.
The anxiety-driven crescendo surrounding this birthday, and the subsequent realization that there was actually nothing to fear, remind me of a favourite book from my childhood: The Monster at the End of This Book. This is going to be a spoiler for those of you who haven't spent the necessary two minutes to read through the Little Golden Book of that title, so look away if you've got it on your list of reading for this year. Grover is pretty sure there's a monster at the end of the book, so on each page he begs you dearly not to turn to the next page. He builds contraptions to prevent the turning of pages, but you seem to be there to challenge him, thereby making a mess of his handiwork. When you and Grover finally reach the end of the book, Grover finds himself: "I, lovable, furry old Grover am the Monster at the end of this book."
And I found that I was the Monster as well... read more
As I Row
I don't know where to begin. But I will say that begin looks pretty odd with an E on the end. Begine. That's how it looked the first time I typed it. I sometimes put an E on the ends of words that don't require it. Just one of those things, I guess. They probably have a prescription drug for that. The side effects include nausea, vertigo, lying uncontrollably, and sudden death. Sign me up. I once added an E to the word develop. Develope. It just looked right at the time. My teacher asked in front of the class if I thought this was Olde English, and just who the hell did I think I was? I thought I was Jesus, but that was beside the point. I still think it looks pretty good ending with an E. Every now and then I accidentally place an E at the end of my last name. One day the letter E just might rule the worlde. (Or end it.) You never know.
I still can't believe there's a drug for Restless Leg Syndrome. I'm unable to wrap my head around the fact that there's a clinical name for it as well. It's even officially known by its acronym: RLS. Here's an acronym: WTF? I've experienced what is called RLS for years but have ever so unimaginatively referred to it as "that creepy feeling in my legs." Creating drugs for this seems about as brilliant and responsible as concocting a drug for CWS, the acronym for a syndrome called Crying When Sad. Sometimes sadness will result in weeping. And sometimes anxiety will make your legs do the Hustle when you're not in the mood. It's not some mysterious affliction. It's anxiety.
I have had so many symptoms over the years, I'm like a Weeble now. (I wobble but I don't fall down.) I've grown into quite a hardy snowbitch. In my travels, it has become clear that the more attention I pay to any particular symptom, the more prominent it becomes. If I talk about it, worry about it, focus on it, check it a thousand times and entertain the frustration it causes, pretty quickly it becomes the bane of my existence. It is now something I have to get rid of before I lose my bloody mind. Due to all the focus, it's the main thing I see in the mirror, or feel on or inside my body. I'm so wrapped up in it by this point that it owns me. And when you get to this place, you feel entirely swallowed and devoid of control... read more
Better By Now
When I was little I had this huge coat. There was nothing more peaceful than sitting on the ground, buttoning all the buttons and lowering the gigantic hood over my head, which covered my entire lid as long as I sunk down a few inches. Instantly invisible. I could hear the other kids playing on the schoolyard but I was nowhere to be found. This was heaven.
Driving my imaginary car was another monumentally peaceful pastime. The cracks in the playground pavement served as the road, so I'm certain you can envision the hairpin turns requiring slick maneuvering. Everything was under control; I was a crackerjack driver. My friend Cindy and I would drive our imaginary cars during recess. We'd stare down at those cracks and fissures and make our way forward on some great journey—separately, yet aware of each other. I remember this blossoming sense of independence and adventure while driving my wonderful car that never broke down or required gasoline. In my imagination, I didn't have to be anyplace other than where I wanted to be. I cherished this so much I told Cindy that no matter how old I got, I would always be driving on that road. And I say it to this day: I'm still driving.
I am looking forward to feeling hopeful again. I miss that. I try to stand still and quiet and let it just find its way back to me without wanting it to death. I think you can want something so much that you can become too rigid and impatient for it to flow to you easily. At least that's how it seems to me. So I'm looking forward to the return of that vast hope I never took for granted. Nothing beats hope. Except maybe love, but they seem to often be connected. Love and hope for president.
Have you ever been in such a negative state that you dreaded your next thought? I've been there for a while. I'm afraid to heal completely. I realize that sounds crazy. Who wouldn't want to be entirely well? You can become attached to pain. You can become attached to what keeps you in a very safe place where you don't ever have to risk failing. When you are unwell, no one expects much of you, including yourself. You can get used to this... read more
Every Punch And Kiss
I used to spend huge amounts of time thinking about being famous. I figured being "somebody" would render me important. I've never felt important. I tend to collect moments filled with words and gestures that either give me a favorable feeling about myself or a shitty one. I have a proclivity for spending a good deal more time with the shitty ones. I don't think I'm alone in the activity of gleaning stuff from outside myself for the use of a fleeting hit of self-esteem. In fact, I know I'm not.
A bunch of years ago, I was singing at a club one night when I spotted a well-known singer in the audience whom I'd admired for years. She said I was wonderful. That word, all of its nine letters standing amicably together, transmuted into a magic carpet on which I soared through two weeks of my life, high above anything that might normally bring me down. My buttons were unavailable for pushing and I felt unusually delightful. It was the first time I had become cognizant of feeling good about myself due to some outside influence, though certainly not the first time I'd engaged in that sort of thing. I watched myself, knowing the elevated sense of worth wouldn't last forever and realizing it never could as long as it was an outside job... read more
I went to the mall the other day. This provided some authentic grumpiness that could have won awards for such a thing. I get overwhelmed out in the world. My nervous system prefers the cool sand and solace found beneath the big stone turtle at the park, where it is forever 1973. But I can get grantly* overwhelmed just about anywhere, depending on a variety of factors or depending on nothing at all. In fact, I do a good job of becoming overwhelmed here on the farm where it is mostly calm and peaceful, where I know everybody, where we're all damn fond of each other, and where we really, really like wigs. Yeah, certain lighting, sounds, smells, etc., drill holes into my skull and can make me markedly irritable. Like Cujo. I'm the lovable neighborhood rabid dog of your dreams. Don't deny it, dollycups... read more
A Note For Melina, The Incessant Plagiarist From Palmdale
A while back I found myself on My Space. I don't mean that I set out on some journey of self-exploration and found the true meaning of all things me by setting up my own account on that ever-popular site. It would be nifty if that were true, because who doesn't want to have to work that little to find out who they are? No, what I mean is that I found someone pretending to be me on their My Space profile, blog, etc. Imagine my surprise at finding another Grumpiest Girl in the Room. I wondered, were we in the same room? Were we wearing the same floral sundress? Did she look better in it than I do?
The darling copyright infringer's name is Melina, and she apparently thinks I'm stupid. That's a sad assumption, tiny wrestler. When I first discovered her, I found several blog entries on her My Space that had been pilfered from my site. Photographs too. You can imagine my lack of utter delight. I write something meaningful about someone I love who has died and I find it vomited back in my face on some girl's Myspace profile. I write something about someone who has recently hurt me and there it is as one of her blog entries. It's nothing short of disturbing. I commented on a few of the blog entries, letting her know she was infringing on my copyright-protected work, and she made her profile private within a few hours... read more
Every Shade Of Blue
Copyright © 2004-2007 Linda Escaip
"I may be grumpy but I like you."