Saturday, August 08, 2009

membrane [begin]

"membrane - A membrane is a layer of material which serves as a selective barrier between two phases and remains impermeable to specific particles, molecules, or substances when exposed to the action of a driving force. Some components are allowed passage by the membrane into a permeate stream, whereas others are retained by it and accumulate in the retentate stream..."

saturday, august 8 6:23 a.m.

i've been lying in the bed since 5 a.m., my phone the lone light in a room drunk on darkness, the low hiss of of the oxygen gliding through the tubes curled around my face, a plastic mustache containing my next few breaths.

i have to pee.

yet my body is a book of throbbing torment unwilling to unfold from it's position of semi-comfort where the stinging pain of unforgiving skin has left it imobile like a chalked silhouette of a dead drive by victim on my bedsheets.

i have to pee.

my breathing, once an assumption of normalcy because i was 37 and relatively healthy, is now faltering as i contemplate the long walk from my bedroom to the bathroom...a skippable 25 feet away a few months ago, now feeling like the 100 yard dash when tethered to a 40 foot tube connected to an oxygen machine.

i really really really have to pee...

the light from the phone is out and i'm a puddle of punk curled into the covers, willing my bladder to wait a few more hours so i don't have to maneuver through a maze of manufactured facial manacles meant to maintain my breathing as i trip to the toilet. i squeeze my thighs tightly, as if the pressure will somehow crystalize the urine until the sun rises. i begin rocking, hopeful i can just use gravity to shove it back up whatever tunnel it came from, another strategy that usually works but as the past few months have shown me, my body has become another vessel and therefore, old strategies no longer apply here.


it's becoming a bit drastic now. my breathing is escalating in distress because now i really have to pee and i don't have much time to get there before i'm peeing on myself. i reach for my phone and hit the side button to light the way, point the light down to make sure i'm not gonna step on my breath, and fight the tears pushing their way through my eyelids as i swallow from the pain of the scabbed wounds biting my body like open mouths silently feeding upon me.

you cannot pee on CANNOT.

my shuffle falters into a waddle as i fling open my bedroom door and make my way to the bathroom in a black hole that evidently soaked up every last bit of light in the universe.

i hope the door is open or there's gonna be one loud bang in about 3 seconds...

i whip up my gown and fall upon the toilet just as i lose control of my bladder...'t.breathe...

see, another thing i doesn't have to be able to breathe to pee.

this is sooooo not how i anticipated the monumental moment when i would decide to begin writing again...

Monday, April 13, 2009

have the panties become too tight?

before i continue with this entry, a quick update on the happenings in my life over the last few months:

1. got a gig in the atl with old employer
2. postponed move to ny until after i get my degree (1.5 years or sooner if i hump it and double the class load)
3. living with the 'rents until september. let's just say i have plenty of new stories, most of which are both distressing and funny...mostly distressing.

aiight, so i'm back at the blog and wondering what took me so long to get back. why am i having this aversion to writing on my blog after years of steady writing (aiight, mostly steady writing.) i was telling a friend of mine how i've become straight up scared of coming here. it's like putting on weight and being afraid to see one's self in front of the mirror cuz you just know you're not gonna be happy with what you see.

have the panties become too tight? am i no longer able to fit into the confines of my blog? maybe that's the problem. i used to see this blog as a way to free the inside of me. now i see it as a cell caging my creativity. i try to figure out why and have a number of theories:

1. it's just not intimate anymore. think back to the time you went to your favorite watering hole and thought to yourself "man, i love this spot...not many folk here and i can just be me...". then you start hearing other folk speaking on your spot and you get a bit scared cuz you don't want it getting all crowded with folk who can't appreciate it. then UT OH...your fam and close friends hear about it and suddenly you realize that time you got on stage and sang to strangers will never happen again because you know one day you might look out past the lights and see a familiar face staring back at you with that "oh HAIL nawl, this fool is up here looking crazy! WAIT TIL I TELL [insert name of fam or friend most likely to fuck up your reputation] about this shit" look on his/her face. crazy to a few folk is harmless. crazy to many means being possibly institutionalized.

2. some of the people i used to talk about now know about the damn blog. see, this is what happens when you have blog folk as friends on facebook. worlds start crossing and next thing you know folk just 'happen' to find their way to the blog...kinda like the nosey neighbor who just 'happened' upon the buried corpse of a victim in the backyard of the serial killer she says "always seemed so quiet...never thought he'd be capable of murder although he DID seem a bit strange now that i think about it. i mean, who makes coffee dressed in only tighty whities? not that i saw it personally but i heard it from someone in the neighborhood..." i think what freaked me out most was finding out one of my blog friends is actually a facebook friend of my very very first love ever. like, how do they even KNOW each other when they aren't even living in the same damn state?!? the world became smaller and in doing so, let me know i'm not as anonymous as i thought i was. scary thought. i get the feeling one day someone's gonna read the blog and recognize themselves in a story and it's gonna be like that scene in 'the best man' when taye digg's character got the beat down (not that it would ever happen to me cuz i'm not self-sacrificing like him. i fight dirty.)

3. i am constantly editing shit in my head. by this i mean, even before the words hit the screen i'm revising that shit in my mind. i can't just flow no mo. it's like there's a mental detector at the entrance to my mind's eye and all ideas are frisked for imperfections before they're allowed to exit. my creative process is currently existing under military rule and nothing is allowed to leave without all of it's expressions in check.

4. i never finish a story and now the blog is littered with the tombstones of tales who died prematurely because i psyched myself out of finishing them because i wanted the endings to be perfect or didn't know how to continue the telling. if you've been around from the beginning, you know the pattern. i'm good for one or two entries, then nothing. i know alot of it is because i'm putting so much pressure on myself. again, it's me trying to perform instead of me just writing. then there are the readers who tell me almost immediately after i start a story "shit, i don't know why i'm even reading this cuz you're not gonna finish it. LOL" they're right.

so what do you suggest i do to get my blog back? is it even possible at this stage in the game? do i shut this shit down and try again elsewhere or do i just shut this shit down period? ANY insight is appreciated as i'm sure many if not most of you have gone through the same thing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

the danger of 'safe'

"I'm telling you its like therapy..[blogging] Keeps me from hitting the pipe...and you can quote me on that" - mr. slish

aiight, i will.

he, along with others, have been actively trying to snap me out of my silence. it's been a difficult time for me, not simply because i now find myself unemployed for the first time in almost a decade, but also because i find myself at a crossroads. in the past, when i heard folk say that, i'd be like "what in the fuck does THAT mean?!?"

now i know.

it is at this moment on my mortal timeline when i am paralyzed, my future forked into prongs of possibilities, my present knifed into shavings of indecision, my past spooned into a bowl of listless existence.

this moment when i realize all of the experiences prior to now were merely preparing me for the monumental decision i will soon have to make, the decision which will ultimately determine where my life moves from here.

at this very moment, this crossroads of a moment, i'm writing in my blog and i'm not even sure what happens next.

the writer in me wants to orchestrate the happy ending where i get the dream gig, the perfect man, and the 1.5 kids. at the very least i wanted to be able to come back here and say to you with confidence and perhaps a bit of smugness "hey, i got the job i've always wanted and now i'm moving back to ny where i'm gonna finally began living the life i've always wanted to live. this is the next and better stage of my life!"

instead, all i've got is "shit, what the fuck do i do?!?"

i will probably be offered a gig when i call the hr person back tomorrow. yay, right? the thing is, it means staying in atlanta. now, i've been planning to move to new york since october, even going so far as to travel up there to interview for a few gigs, including the dream gig. in fact, i was told early last week that i was on the short list for the dream gig, and that i'd be contacted as soon as a decision was made.

well, it's been over a week and i've still not heard anything. meanwhile, i might have the gig in atlanta.

and who in his/her right mind turns down a job in THIS economic climate?

even if by taking the job she basically has to readjust her dreams to not include the one place she's been trying to get back to basically since she left it as a child? even if taking the job means taking the safe route?

i've found that for me, 'safe' is dangerous.

'safe' has a way of starving a life of meaning until it's left a stale skeleton emaciated from a diet of empty memories.

i spent over a decade living the 'safe' life, marrying a man who lacked the significance to pose a threat to my heart, but he was the 'good brotha' everyone told me i was supposed to marry.

just like i'm hearing now how i'm supposed to take this job in atlanta because it means saving money and living in relative comfort without any personal challenges because seriously, it'd be hard for me to struggle in atlanta. i will always have a place to live, always be able to find affordable housing, and despite my complaints, will always be able to get a date.



meanwhile, moving to new york won't be easy or safe. if i go up there without a guaranteed job, that means living off of my severance and last check while i looked for work. it also means no unemployment check because that gig i'd be turning down? it's with my former employer, just in another department.

so it's short money i gotta stretch over the long haul and i might not get a job off the bat. then i'll be living in an old brownstone that in alot of ways is falling apart. no creature comforts, a mouse or two dashing from corner to corner in the darkness, and despite the relatives living in new york, no real support network.



i know what you're saying right now..."nikki, what the fuck are you thinking? why is this even a debate for you? girl, you betta take that damn job in atlanta and buy a few plane tickets to new york to visit!"

the scared part of me wants to do just that. it wants to take that job and breathe a sigh of relief and get back to work and not worry about bills being paid. that's the same part of me who whispered "sure, he doesn't do much for you, but he's steady and he'll never hurt you..."

that's the same part of me who has dictated my moves for pretty much my entire life.

then there's the other part...i don't even know what to label it yet cuz frankly, it's voice is rather foreign to me. it's the one saying "fuck it! aren't you tired of having folk dictate to you how you should choose the less challenging and worrisome path? they can't live your life for you! yo, just do the damn thing and handle the challenges as they come. believe in yourself! stop doubting what you can do!"

i haven't heard this voice in a long damn time. it was buried under all the pillows covering the path i was walking until i hit this crossroads. my feet never had to touch the ground. i never felt the pinch of a pebble embedded into my heel or the sting of a twig cracking under the weight of my walk, its fractured carcass slicing my skin until i bled into the dirt.

i never felt the lush blades of grass tucked inbetween my toes...

the problem with cushioning is that it can prevent one from experiencing both the blissful and painful moments that define a life with meaning. it muffles the desires of the spirit because usually seeking fulfillment of those desires means getting rid of the cushions altogether. it requires stepping out on faith, which is basically stepping forward with the hope the path is headed in the right direction, regardless of how it's paved. some folk would say that's dangerous.

'safe' is dangerously absent of faith. on the surface, i can convince myself that in choosing to take the job with the worry-free life i am saying i have faith everything will turn out as predicted because of the 'safe' nature of my choice. however, there's nothing truly safe about it. it is in fact mislabeled. it should be called 'stagnant'.

and is it really having faith or just knowledge based on pre-existing patterns suggesting the outcome will be exactly as it has always been? like, how much faith does a person have to have in the certainty 2+2 will equal 4?

in my mind, faith means hoping in the face of the unknown. it means moving forward into the uncertain future with the hope that so long as i keep moving purposefully, the outcome will prove favorable.

faith is rooted not in the equation but the question...

"will i succeed? will i fail? who knows?"

it thrives in the declarative...

"i sure as hell won't know until i go..."

and real safety lies in always keeping the faith...