Full Measure

“I don’t feel things in half-measures, and my emotions are erratic,” I said recently. “I have a lot of words to describe my thoughts on that. Half are poetry and the rest are expletives.”

It’s true. I’ve gotten better in some aspects over the years. There was an anger that subsumed me for many years. Anger at my parents for leaving, for not loving me enough to give up their vices. Anger at people for not understanding why I cared so much about certain things and certain people, who didn’t understand why I was frustrated that the rest of the world didn’t  move at the same pace I wanted to.

Of course, anger at myself. I was never doing enough. I was always doing things wrong. I was always making mistakes, saying and doing things that drove people away. I was always angry at never being good enough for someone.

Now, as time has gone on, I’ve grown to realize the complications and nuances of addiction, and that my patents really did try their best. They were smart enough to know that when there was no way they’d be able to care and provide for me, they put me in a home where I’d be loved and guided. I grew older and realized that it isn’t the world’s fault for not thinking or feeling the way I do. That’s just life, and honestly that type of diversity and variety in thought and emotion is part of what makes human interaction so great.

It’s that last one that has given me trouble. The last few months, I’ve slowly been growing away from anger and towards frustration and disappointment. Which…is still not great, but is easier in general to handle and is better than anything that might lead to lashing out at others. It’s hard. It is difficult not to judge yourself by others, especially when I thought I’d be in a happy relationship, if not married by now. I thought I’d have a set career. I thought I’d be living somewhere warmer.

None of these things happened, or they did and then went catastrophically wrong and, of course, I saw it as a cyclical destiny for myself to never be able to maintain something good. It’s a feeling – that of never feeling good enough – that meshes perfectly (in the most horrific way) with being unable to trust anyone to get close to me after… well, I’ve written about all of that.

It gets overwhelming because these shadowed thoughts lurk in the nooks and crannies and recesses and quarries of my mind, ever present, echoing, and at the same time, every other emotion is firing off with a turbo charge.

As lonely as I feel, as morose as I can get, I still love so much. I have love that spills out of me for so many things. It does so messily, asymmetically. I saw a film last night where Oscar Isaac explains Jackson Pollack’s method for painting. He describes it as somewhere between deliberate and not, switching his mind off and letting his arm move however felt naturally until he created a visual expression of… well, something.

I love like that. In a way that is colorful and expressive and lacks any sort of pattern beyond the abstract. I love bright skies and rainy days. I love jazz music and the way wet grass smells. I love being immersed in a good story, in any medium, and the wag of a dog’s tail.

I love people. They frustrate the living hell out of me, but that’s  A) while I’m working retail, which isn’t a great comparison to normal human interaction or B) directly after working retail, when I need a break from talking to people in order to come back together.

In general? I love people. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, seeing the way their eyes light up when they talk about their loved ones, their travel plans and their interests. I love clinking cold beers together over watching some drunk cause a scene, friends in amusement.

And then there are those I love wildly. My best friends, who can make me laugh with the dumbest stories a decade removed. Inside jokes that leave the rest of the group smiling awkwardly. Body language that lets them know when I need someone to throttle back and take it easy on me.

There are the ones I could watch for hours. The way their eyes crinkle at the edges when something exasperated them. They way their lips tick up at the edges as they try not to smile, the mirth dancing in the fields of their corneas. The way their cheeks flush and their eyes look down and to the side when they take a compliment.

“There is ink in my veins, that is how I know of you,” Sabrina Martinez said, and it’s how I know of them, because when I walk away from them, my hand is already reaching for a pen and the page cries to be bled upon.

Unrequited affection falls somewhere amidst all this, and it hurts and it’s hard, because I always feel that it’s my fault, when it isn’t anyone’s. And I hope that the right word, the right compliment, enough time would magic all that away. It doesn’t. Obviously. But I always tell myself it’s because I haven’t done enough, I haven’t done it well enough. It’s because I’m not good enough or sane enough.

It’s love and frustration and disappointment and fascination and inspiration and desperation and loneliness at thousands of miles an hour. Always. Every moment I’m awake, and when I’m having a particularly bad day, it will creep into my dreams and steal away even that solace.

I feel often like I’m in constant motion, taking in everything and storing it inside myself while the rest of the world stays centered and balanced. I’m an inverse storm, raging at the center of tranquility.

Other times, I feel like the world is rushing around me, developing and producing and settling while I stay caught in a loop of failure and inanity, of indecision and fear.

I didn’t used to fear anything.

And what’s funny, is even if I don’t think I’m successful, even if I get frustrated and disappointed in myself, even if I don’t like myself and occasionally shame myself…I’m not without love for myself. I know I have a modicum of talent. I know people have enjoyed what I’ve done. I’ve seen people smile at my words. I’ve held people in my arms.

I just feel so scattered, and it has thrown me off balance. This constant flux of conflicting, full emotions has left me scrabbling for a foothold, and wanting for someone to hold again, and someone to hold me.

I have infinite strength for everyone, but hardly any for myself. But I love, dammit. I rage. I feel, and it is never in half measures.


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