Trying to snap out of this rough week's mindset so I can appreciate my vacation this weekend and leave the ills of New York and self-sabotage behind. Excited to spend some time away and also to come back and hopefully have both perspective and creativity, two things I've been lacking lately. Waking up next to this fluffy, friendly one has helped, and I get to do it next week too!
When I was little I always begged my mom for a cat. "If you're not going to get me a cat, don't get me anything," I said before I think my 8th or 9th birthday. But I was allergic and we lived in an apartment building where they weren't allowed. I wasn't hearing it. I honestly don't know if I'd be good at taking care of a cat in the long-term, but I don't have to worry about that. In the short time, like tonight and tomorrow morning, I get to cuddle with her, which is perfect, cause talking to people I would probably not be so successful at right now.
It's such a close shot cause she was lying on my chest. So, onward. I am very good at lamenting what I haven't done, but am trying to focus on what I can do in the moment, like write about BEA fatigue. And masturbation. And gay threesomes. The usual mix. I will tell you that the best book I got at BEA (obviously haven't read them all, but I can tell) is Pesi Dinnerstein's forthcoming memoir from Seal Press, A Cluttered Life: Searing for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys. I grabbed it this morning...after frantically looking for my keys.
She nails things in just the first few pages I've read that could be straight out of my head, about the reasons behind hoarding and clutter and filling ourselves up with all the things we fill ourselves up with, women like us. I am trying not to do that, yet that process seeps in, whether it's filling up my hand with to do list items or my bags or my home or my mouth. Unlearning, or avoiding, lifelong bad habits is extremely challenging. They are comforting even when they're clearly dysfunctional, hence I make the same errors when it comes to not finishing, procrastinating, spending, clutter, whatever, over and over again. It's why I'd rather not drink at all than even give myself the option.
I'd rather choose nothing because I don't think I'll ever be fully rid of my all or nothing mindset; that's the rationale behind my short-lived dating hiatus. I couldn't trust myself and my "all" in terms of dating was both literal and full of bad decisions, ones that often, in the moment, felt good. I could talk myself into justifying them just like I do with all the other arenas where I'm careening into negative behaviors. It's not just a daily thing but sometimes an hourly, or by the minute, process of pulling myself out of that darkness. I almost lost it yesterday with such a wave of self-hatred I could barely get myself back for my signing, let alone smile and act happy to sign books. But I did and by the end I actually was kindof happy to have signed all the copies of Gotta Have It that were placed in front of me. I gave out swag and people not only looked excited to read the book, lots were giving it as gifts, and I wrote down the URL for the hotel erotica anthology I'm editing. Thank you to everyone who came to that signing for helping me see that failure isn't such an all or nothing prospect. It's one (or, okay, three or ten) failures, paired with lots of successes. There isn't a scorecard; it's just life, and sometimes I make good decisions and live up to my potential, and sometimes I bomb hard. I know there is a lesson in the bombing; I'm still trying to figure out what that is and find a way to prove to myself that I can meet my goals. I can't try to live up to anyone else's goals for me; that is a road to ruin, but I can make goals for myself and hold myself accountable, and that is what I'm trying to do in this crazy year of 35 that much of the time I just wish were over.
One lesson I learned this week is that having a cat stick her wet little nose all up in my face and show me so much unconditional love was both adorable and really healing. She doesn't care in the least about any of my human flaws and problems and I totally needed that. It was an unexpected bit of catsitting and I'm very grateful for the opportunity.