just need to breathe

when you are trying to take a selfie of us and I don’t know what to do with my hands or face or body

when I am at your house and you are wrapped around me and I’m feeling trapped

..or terrified that I’m not good enough for you

just breathe.

you once told me that whenever you see me, at first my eyes and body language are always nervous for a few minutes. Like I’m subconsciously begging “please don’t get mad at me”

you said “but don’t you know by now how much I care about you, don’t you know yet that you’re safe here”

I just need to breathe

and move beyond being scared you’re going to think I look fat or bad

because things are different now

let all of that go silent

sink into my body and know I am enough.

[image found here: https://www.inprnt.com/gallery/jlarriva/tempest/ ]

woopsie

Bonjour, I have Covid.

Wow what a wild and fun time to be alive.

Am I even allowed to write that? Is someone going to censor me for saying that? I’ve had my shots. But this new one is really contagious so I got it. I also had it right when this whole thing started. That first time was a lot scarier. This time I mostly just kind of feel like I’m high.

Earlier I was meandering around my apartment and tidying up. Because if I don’t, no one else is going to. While I was tidying up, I was dancing a little. Even though I was a little dizzy.

But then it hit me how strange it was that *no one* could come into this space and see me right now. How this silly and innocuous little scene was completely closed off from the rest of world (and honestly, it would have been anyway). But now I was officially Sick. So it was closed off for the sake of public safety, not just privacy. That made it feel a little heavier.

I took two tests and both of them had two angry red lines, pretty much instantly. I thought about making a joke that woops, I’d accidentally bought a pregnancy test instead. But I didn’t.

It hasn’t really been all that dramatic. My parents sent me comfort food groceries and I have been playing video games and watching TV all day. I feel loopy and feverish but I’m okay. It’s hot as fuck outside and everything is so weird but I am okay. I feel tired and wired but also okay.

dreams!

I don’t usually sleep much on a full moon, but this time was different. So many dreams! I only remember a couple.

The dream where your teeth fall out. I had an extremely elaborate version of that. It boggles my mind that my dream made them feel so weak. Like they could be knocked out by the lightest touch. And then it’s permanent irreparable damage. Or at least it seems that way. The faux-physical feeling though. That’s the craziest part. Your brain trying relentlessly to convince you that this time, unlike all the others, is the truth.

The other one was just crying. I don’t remember many details. Just lots of sobbing. Grief-based. At nighttime. While hugging someone I couldn’t see.

It’s a full moon in Sagittarius. So you’d think the dreams would be, I don’t know, a little more gregarious. But here we are. Sobbing in dreams and trying to crawl back onto the internet while also being freaked out by it.

notes on fading a little

I went dark on social media. Because things were feeling overwhelming and I wanted peace. Stayed off for the span of a Mercury retrograde. Now that is over.

But I have to be honest. I haven’t gone back on yet. I don’t think I want to.

Everything is just… a lot. Still. I thought going offline would bring some sort of relaxed exhale, but it just clarified the parts of my brain and heart that hurt. The clarity is nice — just not exactly blissful.

Good things did happen. A lot of them did, actually. Dating certainly did not slow down. My play is going to a festival this summer. And I got back to therapy yesterday!

Because it turns out, you don’t have to do this alone. People want to help you. And that already feels so much better.

vulnerability hangover

Okay but what was the point of that. Why did we open our hearts up and why did I cry and why did we journal about each other if none of that changes anything.

This is my stubborn contradiction. I crave closeness. Emotion. Connection. Then I get it but sometimes it feels suffocating. I float out of myself and ask “why did you do that? was there a reason to open up those old wounds?”

We broke up three years ago and I knew I was over him. We are still in touch. He mails me postcards but I look at them with a kind of detached fondness, oh that’s nice. But last night I was typing on my phone, bearing more of myself than maybe he deserved to see. Tears pouring because something had been newly reopened and for what purpose. Healing? Is that what this is?

At what point are we just picking at things for the sake of feeling something? What’s the difference between “doing the work” and just plain hurting yourself?

“I’ve changed so much.” he said.

“You have and you haven’t.” I replied.

it’ll feel so good when you jump in

Veil thins and teal dye tempts.

Remind the world that you’re a mermaid.

 

The tease of dreaminess. 

Lose yourself but be careful.

 

On dates with her, adventure tends to bubble.

The coffeeshop is closed but we sneak in anyway.

There’s an event.

They give us free drinks

As if we signed up for any of this.

 

Or we’re in a bar that doubles as an old-world wax museum.

She takes pictures of me but the backgrounds are grotesque.

The bartender apologizes for something and she compliments his apron.

He blurts out that we’re both sexy.

I laugh but mostly I just feel dizzy.

 

I get anxious over lonely nightmares and dreams coming true.

I’m not always sure what my dreams even are.

 

A tidal wave of iridescent bliss hits my imagination

And I worry that I’ll miss it

Or not take correct advantage of it.

 

The mermaid sees the wave and dives into it.

Without fear, without thought

Just warm water and sunlight

Moving her body as it was always meant to move

Pleasure without overthink.

 

If you let yourself get swept up

You will not drown

As long as you remember to breathe.

the truth of things

Last night got intense.

I watched something extremely stressful before bed and had a rough time sleeping.

In reality that’s all that happened. But “tossing and turning” is too cute to describe what it was: endless panicked thoughts that wouldn’t ease, even with meditating. Flashing worries that every single component of life was being lived incorrectly. Even though that’s not true. Even though yes, of course meditation helped. But where was that instant hit of bliss. Why isn’t it like that. Why is it actually something so much deeper and more subtle.

Why does it make you work for it so hard and not at all. Why do we make ourselves panic when nothing is there. Or maybe that’s just me.

The morning had a completely different mood than the night. It was so much more innocent. Watched a friend’s dog. She lives in my neighborhood, a few streets over. Her dog is sweet and ugly-to-the-point-of-cute. He never left my lap except to go on walks.

It was such a simple shift, being in a space like my own but not mine. Curled up with a little friend. How is that all it takes to feel completely different. It’s how we’re wired I guess.

Over and over we face that cold lonely terror at night. And every time we try to remember that love, warmth, coziness are alchemizing forces against it. Sometimes we remember and sometimes we don’t. But that doesn’t take away the truth of things.

all over the place

My neighbor’s lonely cat yowled constantly for almost an entire week straight. Its crying got longer and sadder until I worried it might be dying. There was a call to animal control. And then a sudden reappearance of the owner.

There was water on my bathroom floor and a constant drip-drip-drip I couldn’t stop. The sound made me feel insane. An extremely gentle plumber came and compared a toilet to a body that needs to be taken care of and nourished, you can’t just expect it to get to 75 years on its own.

There was waking up in the dark, terrified and not knowing what I’m doing. Feeling like I’m not living correctly because I don’t have a partner. But do I? Do I need to know what I’m doing? Does anybody know what they’re doing?

Nobody answers me. There’s just darkness and my own anxiety.

Also, taxes.

I write plays. They were why I moved to New York. On good days, they feel like they are why I’m alive. On bad days, I don’t think they’re very good. On pandemic days, they didn’t even exist. But I wrote a play in lockdown, so I could at least pretend to have voices to listen to.

So now Mercury is not retrograde anymore. Theater exists again. And I am flirting with the idea of sending the play I wrote to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Which would be terrifying. And an adventure. And me making theater again. Just….. in Scotland this time.

Friends smile and say “you should do it!!” And I know they mean well, but if I’m being honest it all makes me want to cry or scream or hide somewhere. But then, you know, I’d wake up in the darkness of my hiding place and freak out over not spending my life correctly.

So, it’s a lot.

Someone get this woman an edible. Stat.

where my thoughts go

Spending time with you makes me want to dream and listen to sad music afterwards. Take long walks, stare out the window, burrow into the inner world, where everything feels sweeter and easier to sit with. In that inner world I can remember your hair falling into your eyes. How you look when you’re asleep. The tiny starburst that went off in my heart when you said you’d been thinking about me.

I was in a car, going to dinner. We drove by your neighborhood and I whispered your name.

Hours later, you were slipping a finger into my shirt and pulling me closer. You were standing over me and kissing me with your hands on my face. I was sitting, arching my back, my mouth reaching hungrily for yours. Mind just crying please, yes please, I can’t believe this fantasy is real.

Maybe if I lie still in that inner world, I could write something that would connect with and move you. You who are so public. You who the world is trying to move. You who have built such a shiny persona to mask the deeply quiet well in your heart. You who will not actually read this.