[personal profile] sinnamongirl
I had a hockey phase - watching, not playing. Something about the speed, grace, and burly men occasionally grappling each other out of nowhere (same reason I sometimes watch MMA, I'm not gonna lie), and I was hooked for a good... year? I had a basketball phase as well, though that lasted longer (the late '80s/early '90s Trail Blazers were a team of beauty). I'm into football and baseball now, football more so. Horse racing on a sporadic basis. Ever since that one time I lost a winning ticket at the track up in Portland, I've been a bit leery of the ponies, though later - much later, when I got over the fact I'd bet my last $10 and won but threw the wrong ticket in the trash - I was able to appreciate living out a Bukowski poem of my own. Mostly appreciate.

The Pox is really into horses - I already bragged about the Pox a little bit yesterday, but this is a public post, so I get to brag again. The Pox just received an Oregon Literary Fellowship to write about horses and horse-related things. It's the Pox who taught me how to bet on the ponies in the first place (or at least tried, I'm still not very good at gambling), and who reintroduced me to horses after a long hiatus (I won't tell my own sad horse story now though). When she and J.Bola were off to get their masters degrees, I could've tagged along with them, shouldered my way into a program, or at least enjoyed the delights of Fargo/Morehead (hereinafter referred to as F/orehead), but instead I stayed in Portland and occasionally pestered them for writing tips. I called it "my vicarious MFA," though really didn't do much with the knowledge.

I worked. I made extra money for the first time in my life, and I tried to enjoy it. Granted, it wasn't a lot of extra money, and granted much of it was spent on beer and restaurant food, but I was finally free(ish) from the burden of caring for my parents and out on my own for the first time, so I enjoyed it. You see, and there's no good transition here so we're not even pretending to segue; see, part of the reason I moved to Portland was to get away from the family (drug addiction and codependency issues), and I used going back to school for an art degree as an excuse. I could've done that anywhere, but Portland was the choice at the time. I had - still have- always wanted to be a better artist. I would like to make art to sell it. I would also like to be a better writer; make stories, and sell them. But I also have a lifetime of obligation behind me. Despite not speaking to my father for a few years now, I can still hear his voice in my head telling me that while I'm good at these things, I can't support a family that way, so I'll have to choose something else.

Only lately have I really internalized the bitterness in his voice was for him and his obligations, not me and mine... though since the age of 14, he was my obligation. When he talked about supporting a family, it turns out he was talking about himself and mom (which is also another story I won't tell here; in fact, have told too often before). To this day, right now, sitting here typing this - for fun, for practice, for me - I have an underlying sense of guilt that I'm not completely occupied with finding a job, that I'm a burden to my family.

So, you also see, ever since my business collapsed a few years ago, I've been determined to make my old dreams come true. The dreams that made me run away from my supposed obligations, the dreams that I dreamed all the time I was doing what was expected of me. I have ideas. I have a plan. I have things to set in motion. I am simply sitting here not doing them (I am, in fact, trying not to get anxious because a therapist friend just - and I mean that literally - messaged me this: "So I hesitate to say this because I know how your anxiety goes but a sense of foreboding and mental confusion can both be signs of impending heart attack. Are you okay other than those two things?" So, basically, I'm sitting here waiting to die, now, with my dreams definitely not fulfilled).

Years ago the Pox and I had a talk about dreams and paths through life, and I tend to forget this, but after seeing the Pox move forward and achieve yet another goal, accomplish yet another.... accomplishment (sorry for redundancy; I'm still worried I'm going to die), I'm going to remember it: The Pox follows not a path but a trajectory. I tend to follow a path. Step 1, step 2, step 3, SUCCESS. This is not realistic or helpful. There's even a helpful internet image going around lately - success is not a straight line but a squiggle. A trajectory, an arc, an orbit, an arch, a bow, a crescent, a vault, a parabola where puck meets stick no matter what happens in between. Channeling my inner Gretsky, pummeling grown men out of my way to score that goal, to finish this post and get up and take a baby aspirin and my blood pressure because oh my god I'm going to have a heart attack any second now! But from excitement, not fear. Writing this did the one thing I didn't expect it to - motivate me.

edited at 1:11 PST to add: This Facebook status is what prompted the therapist friend to message me about my impending death: "I have a deep sense of foreboding about today, presaged by my mind going completely blank and having to google "angry postman poet guy" because 'Bukowski' so completely evaded me."
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