My Last Spoon

Inner Voice 1, immediately after taking the first pull in weeks from ther dab rig: “She AGREED to it! How is this NOT her fault?”

Inner Voice 2: “You mean it ISN’T our fault all this happened?”

Inner Voice 1: “Dude. You warned her about what the fucking cat needed. You told her she was indoor/outdoor and you were worried about CJ only having the balcony. You told her the cat hadn’t been around toddlers so you didn’t know what to expect, but that the cat doesn’t respond well to being alone for long stretches of time either so the family environment might balance shit out.”

Inner Voice 1: “AND you even fucking gave her time with the cat before we packed up and fuckin left as a trial run, and she said she absolutely wanted to keep her knowing you’d be gone AT LEAST A YEAR.”

Inner Voices into the mirror: “A FREAKIN YEAR!”

Inner Voice 3: “You even told her that you had noticed that she tended toward men, when it seemed like CJ wasn’t taking to her immediately but loved her husband and son.”

Inner Voice 1: “And not even a weeks time later when we’re already hundreds of miles away she fuckin’ says she can’t hack it, and then dumps the cat off on someone who lives in an urban condo, works super long hours, and is MTF HRT. On top of that all that. That was HER fault.”

Inner Voice 2: “But I still feel so bad. I feel like feeling bad means being in the middle of this now has got to be my fault somehow.”

Inner Voice 3: “It’s because we didn’t speak up about the situation not seeming like a good fit because the person taking CJ in was trans. We didn’t say a lot of what we needed to say because of that, specifically, not wanting to rock the boat or hurt their feelings after being considered. We let this happen because we didn’t want to deal with looking like a bigot or being questioned about why. Even though we had so many other reasons to say no, it is our fault because we’re fucking transphobic!!!”

Inner Voice 2: “Ok now I feel even worse.”

Inner Voice 4: “It’s our fault because we expected someone else to take on the expense of having CJ but let us retain ‘ownership’ and be able to maybe take her back whenever we got home and could have a cat again. It’s our fault because we’re a hypocrite capitalist financial fucking leech and neverending pit of needs and a horrible burden on everyone around us.”

Inner Voice 1: “It’s our fault because our anxiety and fear and scarcity made it impossible to find CJ a home remotely. It would have been hard and finding this person took weeks of exhausting work already but we barely even tried to find her another one once we were on the road! It’s our fault CJ ended up in an even worse position from the sounds of it.”

Inner Voice 2: “Ok jesus fuck now I feel really, really worse and I don’t think I ever even DESERVED a cat. Or money or help or friends or anything nice ever.”

(WEED, having blossomed far enough to intervene, waves a “Sleep” hand like the aliens in Dark City.)

(All the voices, including the ones who were just listening in, curl to the ground comfortably)

(Collective sigh)

Me, calmly petting a large green cat: “As you all know, we have shit to get done, today. Super, super, reasonable, shit. Shit that we are totally capable of doing. Y’all have been at this with one another long enough, driving this bus.”

(Me puts out ther cigarette, only two drags in, like usual)

Me: “We aren’t gonna spend another day on facebook complaining about our feelings and being all caught up in how we’re not a perfect person. We aren’t gonna spend another day procrastinating, reading Everyday Feminism and The Establishment, posting links about personal development and how hard it is to be single and what a garbage fire the world is. And we are NOT going to continue getting into fights with people on the internet for pointing out that they too are also not a perfect person, either.”

(Flat Starvation Stomach growls, writhing uncomfortably. The two raw eggs and glass of OJ are processed. The familiarity of hunger returns. The smell of days of body odor lofts into the room for a moment, then disappears.)

Me: “…while in utter fucking depletion, no less. We are just gonna get. Shit. Done.”

With the voices no longer drowning out my commands, my body proceeds to begin responding to my direct requests. I decide I will start by taking care of packaging the things I need to return to Amazon, some of which are in front of me on my friends kitchen table, along with the return labels another friend printed off as a favor for me yesterday — one they probably don’t know helped me as much as it did. I even have the boxes I need. The other things, like getting food, seem too big. Start small. We’ll start small.

I am slow and forgetful, but I am moving. I walk across the living room four times while leaving to head to the van.

Oop, the keys: On the table. Oop, left the kitchen light on, switch all the way across the room. Wait, we need those printouts for the packages. Wait, before we take the boxes outside, is there packing tape in here?: Check the drawer across the room. Nope, not here, ok let’s get down the stairs, fuck my steps are loud in these shoes. Wait, I just had the keys, where the fuck?: Walk across the room 1.75 times until they’re found. Clip, clap. Clip, clap.

Me: “This is ok. There is nothing wrong here. It is just taking us time and effort to track things because we are coming out of an intense depressive phase. It’s just like any other time when we are sick. This is normal. This is what happens when we are sick. Keep Going.”

Downstairs is the same experience of tracking, fumbling, forgetting, and dropping things out of my head. Tracking the steps of packing and taping and labeling a box is like trying to catch a handful of thrown bouncyballs in my cupped hands all at once. Without moving my hands. Because they are sore, and exhausted, and frozen cold clear through.

As were all the steps of all the tasks in all the world before this one, it would seem. I under stand the sickness. From the sheer stress being noted in my body, that I had been screaming over so I couldn’t hear.

Me: “No Facebook. No laptop. No phone. No worrying. No watching, no learning, no empathizing. Remember your last spoon. This is our spoon and no one else’s spoon. We are gonna use this spoon and we are just gonna get. Shit. Done.”

The van is a different type of challenge, because it’s a van that I live in, and currently a total sty. The packing tape could be any number of places which need to be unveiled by pulling other milk crates and tools out. And now that I am home rather than in a friends house, I am swimming through a jumble of task after distracting task piled up after a weeks long depression while trying to accomplish… tasks.

But it’s a little better. I am outside. Just being outside, is getting shit done. I open up all the van doors. The temperature is nice, and there is a cooling breeze and it’s almost a little bit too cold for perfect when I am not in the sun. I keep my scarf and hat on so I can feel just a little sweaty. I’ve been greasy and unkept for days, but this sheen, feels productive.

I realize that the replacement cheap knockoff drivers side mirror is just as shaky as my newish cheap knockoff drivers side mirror and remember that buying cheap shit that is going to break is a familiar part of my existence, an annoyance which is offset by the fact that now I don’t have to dig out my new toolkit (Thanks Dad!!) from the back of the van and swap out the mirrors. I just have to put this new mirror back in its box.

Inner Voice 1: “You know what would be nice right now? Music.”

Inner Voice 2, projecting an image of Me with ther iPhone headphones in: “WANT! But we said no phone. :(((((“

Inner Voice 4: “Wait. Ancient Sacramento Friend who Works In Tech just spent a ridiculously uncomfortable $847.74 on gifting us that car stereo that took like 5 hours to get installed. Why don’t we use that?”

Inner Voice 2: “I usually don’t like to bother other people with my noise. I want to feel small and invisible and safe and secure and I am better off alon–

(WEED scooches closer to Inner Voice 2 and leans in a little, rubbing at her shoulder with its face. WEED slowly morfs into the shape of the large green cat)

Inner Voice 2, as projection of image of Me with iPhone headphones starts flickering away: “You know what, that’s bullshit. No, I don’t. I don’t want to be invisible! I’m afraid to take up too much space and being seen is scary sometimes but being perpetually unseen does not make me feel safe! Let’s use the radio!”

Inner Voice 3: “I usually don’t want to use it because of the van running and the carbon footprint and the resources and the battery drain if the van isn’t running I mean..”

(The Green Cat rubs at the shins of Inner Voice 3 while sauntering by)

Inner Voice 3: “.. but hey, this is a good place to test my fear of the battery dying. I have no idea if the radio will actually drain enough to justify how much I have been worrying. We can test it! It would be easy to ask a neighbor to jump start the van. This is our hood! Let’s use the radio!”

Inner Voice 1: “I don’t care how, just want music.”

Me: “Ok then. Let’s use the radio. Nice work everyone.”

It takes me less time this time to find my keys. There is a slight spring in my step now as I walk to the side of the van which is getting sun. I remember how cute I look when I am dressed this way, in a tank top with a hat and a scarf and my utility belt — which I just pulled my keys out of which means I just remembered to put them into — around my waist.

I imagine how cute I am opening up my door, putting my keys in the ignition, and turning on the radio of my big white van with paint peeling off and stickers on the back. KEXP is playing Love Buzz, a song that reminds me of a time in my life when I used to play Bleach on repeat for days on end, maybe as long as that last depression was, even.

Inner Voice 4 begins to question the link between how the superficial teachings of a white supremacist herteropatriarchy may have dug a trench that links my feeling pretty with liking myself and begins wondering whether it is feminist of Me to allow that process to happen without examining and critiquing it immediately, right now, and doing it publicly where we can be at the risk of being criticized, bruised and battered emotional body be damned.

The Green Cat meows, distracting them before they can say anything to ignite the others.

I smile a little at the rotten terror of a teenager I used to be and remember for a moment that I actually like a lot about who I am. Because of who she is, still, in me, even; The voice who got shit done when I needed my mama and someone holding me. The voice who convinced Me to take a spoon yesterday when I was 200 miles away from friends and out of them.

Inner Voice 1 side eyes all of Me, the actionable thief. For a moment he looks like a macro image of a spider’s eyes. I love spiders. The Green Cat stuffs itself into ther mouth before he can say anything to ignite the others, as they both wander away to contemplate quietly.

I notice my spoon in my vans drink holder, and how tight the end to Love Buzz sounds.

The other voices, satisfied for now, wander away into the background, to do what it is they do.

It takes me 12 minutes, to package two of three return boxes. I feel just a tiny bit more capable, in general. Almost done!

I stop to take an hour to write this post, because I am a fucking artist. And a narcissist. And mentally ill. The Green Therapy Cat handles the voices who want to dissect it all. I write for myself, truly, for the first time since I updated this blog.

Me: “Remember right now that we are sick. Keep Going. Just get the shit done. Do what needs to be done to get shit done. No more perfect.”

No more perfect.

It takes me 4 minutes to package the last box. I only have to walk back into the house once, before I locked the door, to get the box I needed from the garage.

When I return to the van looking for the tape, I find that I’d actually put it away again before I came back inside to write this.

Now my packages are waiting in my van for me to drop them off later today, on my way to class. Before I come back inside, I think to grab the sachet for the borrowed photography lenses that are sitting on the table, waiting to be returned. I stuff it in a pocket of my utility belt, confident I will remember I put it there.

As I run through my post edits, an email comes in: It’s the translation of the instruction sheet I asked for, for the portion of class I’m teaching tonight about the auto-populating time sheets I created for the organization.

It occurs to me that I should probably start feeding and hydrating myself, to be ready for that. I feel like maybe I have what it takes now to get that done. One more edit. Another hour has gone by.

Now I am actionable hungry. I stand up while I type the end out.

More shit to get done.

NEXT!



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