Pound of Flesh

Last night I really wanted to get out of bed and write my thoughts, but I was trying to be a good adult.  I had a friend sleeping in the same room, one I was desperately fucking angry with, and I wanted try to get some sleep so I could get through work.

BTW I don’t know what this means if anything, but one of the perks of my job is that I get my work reviewed by an industry hotshot every couple of weeks, and this week he accused me of being self-deprecating.  In a good natured way but it stung nonetheless.  He was right, and it annoys me.

So as I lay there unable to sleep and feeling like someone was sucking up all of my air I realized something else I was really feeling angry about.  My friend who came to town, we’ll  call her Sammy, has anxiety issues.  She was triggered left right and center during this trip and I had to play the good friend and calm her down, when I really wanted to scream at her that she has nothing to be anxious about.

I know, in the adult recesses of my mind, that her anxiety and her triggers and reactions are completely separate than mine, bear no reflection, and don’t mean that her anxiety is any better or worse than mine.

In the adult recesses of my mind.

At some point during the trip we got on the topic of parents.  Oh, I remember.  I told her that my next tattoo was going to be a picture of the Wizard of Oz house with the legs sticking out from under it because “ding dong the witch is dead.” meaning my mother.  It was actually a fairly big disclosure because she knew me at the tail end of my mother’s life and I’ve not shared much.  I’ve told her that my mother was abusive, and she has seen the mood swings and the therapists move in and out of my life.  She’s not stupid and she’s a close friend.  I just don’t overtly confide.

Anyway, she follows up with a story about how her father wasn’t abusive, but nothing was ever good enough for him, and it was always why not an A+ instead of an A, which lead to an eating disorder, which lead to present anxiety issues.  I scoffed and countered with “there wasn’t a form of abuse my mother didn’t practice” essentially daring her to get me to disclose more and she continued to talk about herself.

In the adult recesses of my mind…

People usually listen not to understand but to wait for a break in the conversation so that they can continue to talk about themselves, or push their great idea, or hear themselves think.  I know this.  I do this.  In the adult recesses of my mind.

The angry bits of me wanted to stab her with a fork and scream at her that she had no idea what it was like to actually hurt, to feel like nobody loved you, to want to die, to need to cease to exist.  To yell at her that i managed to relocate my fucking life to California and she could manage a long weekend without making me miserable.

I find it interesting that I’m feeling more and more like I want to break this taboo.  That I want to tell someone.  That I want desperately to confront my father, if only to hurt him.  I had a dream the other night that was a variation on an old theme -my mother isn’t really dead – we thought she died in the hospital but she didn’t and because of the massive fuck-up by the hospital there was a cover up and she was living in some sort of facility while the rest of the world thinks she’s dead.  I figure it out and of course I’m in trouble with her for not realizing sooner.  Normally I beg her forgiveness and wake up in a panic attack.  In this variation though I storm the castle so to speak, yell at her that I hate her and want her to die, and have to be pulled off of her by some orderlies.  There’s a sort of relief there because I know nobody at the facility will turn me in because they need the world to think she’s already dead.  I’m angry that she lives.

Of the other hundreds of things that came to mind last night while I was staring at the ceiling was how my tattoo also resembles a weapon with it’s sharp pointy leaves, and how I dare someone to tell me that I can’t mark my body if I want to.  A three to four hour tattoo is no joke.  It hurts.  I had a 200 lb guy laying on my arm so I wouldn’t pull it away while he essentially scraped the hell out of my arm.  I definitely caught myself practicing some of the old techniques I practiced with my mother, and when I’d catch myself I’d force myself back into the reality of the pain of it.  I remember trying to nap at one point, sing songs in my head, count ceiling tiles, tell myself it would be over soon.  When I’d catch myself I’d tell myself that this pain was my choice and I didn’t have to run away from it.  The tattoo guy kept offering to finish another day and I kept pushing him on.  There was a definite sense of victory, and I feel like a bit of a bad ass.  When people ask me if it hurt I say yes – a LOT. When I look at it, if I’m honest, my first thought isn’t “how pretty.”  My first thought is “fuck you.”

In case you’re wondering, I’m not really likely to get the tattoo of the wizard of oz house.  It’s cliche and too negative.  I have a lot of positive transformation yet to commemorate.  My mother does not deserve one more pound of flesh.

“Pound Of Flesh”

If you’re never sorry
Then you can’t be forgiven
If you’re not forgiven
Then you can’t be forgotten
If you’re not forgotten
Then you can live forever
If you live forever
Then you’ll begin to dream
Of death…

Ezra pound sat upon my bed
Asked me which books as of late I’ve read

Ezra pound sat upon my bed
Asked me which books as of late I’ve read
Asked me if I’ve read his own
And whether I could spare a pound
Of flesh to cover his bare bones
I says, man, take a pound, take two
What’s a pound of flesh between
Friends like me and you?
What’s a pound of flesh among friends?

But if you’re never sorry…

If you’re never sorry
Then you can’t be forgiven
If you’re not forgiven
Then you can’t be forgotten
If you’re not forgotten
Then you must live forever
If you live forever
You cannot be reborn
If you’re not reborn then
You can’t be a baby
If you’re not a baby
You can’t learn how to crawl
If you cannot crawl away
Then you must stay in bed all day
If you stay in bed all day
You’re sure to have some visitors

Ezra pound’ll sit upon your bed
Ask you which books as of late you have read
Ask you if you’ve read his own
And whether you could spare a pound
Of flesh to cover his bare bones
You’ll say, man, take a pound, take two
What’s a pound of flesh between
Friends like me and you?
What’s a pound of flesh among friends?…

– Regina Spektor, Lyrics, Pound of Flesh.

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