darkemeralds: Purple patent leather Doc Martens against a multi-colored carpet with the title True Colors (True Colors)
I tried to knit this:
A handknit raspberry-colored ribbed and fitted buttoned cardigan
(Arpeggio by Maria Leigh on Ravelry)

It appealed to me because its design embodies a high order of complexity. Everything about it is difficult and demanding--the stitch, the construction method, the shaping, the sizing, the finishing. It's hard to cast on, hard to bind off, and unforgiving for every row in between.

I thought I could do it, but I couldn't. Everything difficult about it was, for me, actually impossible.

Like a lot of things in my life, this isn't REALLY about knitting at all. )


Jul. 14th, 2011 04:19 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Remember the sensory-deprivation-tank in Altered States? I always wanted to do that. So today I did. No ayahuasca, just the tank.

Floating )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I went out for a mojito with a coworker friend of mine last night. We sat outdoors at the Brasserie Montmartre and watched Friday evening people going by in their fancy clothes. The mojitos were perfect, and the Bra' serves these teeny little pommes frites done in duck fat that are from heaven. It should have been a stellar wind-down to the week.

Alas. )
darkemeralds: DarkEm in 1972, in costume and makeup for a production of Pirates of Penzance, caption Once Upon A Time (Once upon a time)
My unconscious mind, she is so clever.

As if in answer to my post last night in which I chafed against the restraints of an ordered life, I dreamed that I was in a play.

The play was still being written as we went onstage--my sister and I. The house was packed. The audience knew they would be seeing something semi-improvised. We were having technical difficulties with sound. I was playing several roles (one of them Jackie Kennedy in a Chanel suit--go figure) and I was thinking through my characterizations and hoping desperately that I could remember something--anything--about my lines, which were scribbled on scraps of paper.

We hastened along corridors towards the stage, being advised and nudged and adjusted and handed script-bits by people with headsets and clipboards. It was, incredibly, more exciting than terrifying.

It was, now that I think about it, like a scene from an Aaron Sorkin show. Ha! Aaron Sorkin wrote my dream! \o/
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
"You look cute!" Tiffany all but shouted, interrupting her phone call to deliver this opinion to me in the crowded lobby. My friend Todd, escaping with me into an elevator, muttered, "She's trying to hook us up." I just laughed uncomfortably.

Comments on my post about Zumba made me grope a little harder to express why taking a dance[like] class was such a big deal for me. In a nutshell, I don't live in my body very much. I've made other attempts, I've made progress, but "overcoming the straitjacketing of physical shame is the hardest thing about going and practicing and re-trying."

To ground myself more reliably in the physical realm, I've taken extensive Alexander Technique lessons and have undergone a variety of body-based therapies (some of which I've written quite a bit about here). I've been a gym-bunny with 19% body fat, I've done theater and voice training, I've been a dedicated long-distance walker, and as everyone here knows, I've become an avid bike commuter.

But you know what? Sex. That's what. )

So this morning, when Tiffany declared me "cute," and my good friend Todd muttered, "She thinks we should hook up,"4 part of me laughed uncomfortably, and part of me said, "Oh, Universe, you work in such unexpected ways." Because I think I know a sign when I see one. And that sign said that I'm on the track of something significant.

The hip-swiveling of Zumba is just a bead on the scarlet gown of the girl who went to fairy prison five decades ago.

1(I just realized that the "single breath story" I'm supposed to be writing is about this restoration, and that's why I've not been able to finish it: not enough of it was conscious until just now.)
2 Not that I need or want any more money than I've got. I'm fine. Really.
3Too late ho-ho! Ha ha ha ha! Ho ho ho ho!.
4No, we shouldn't. People have thought it for years because we look alike and we're friends and of opposite genders and the same age. It'd be...sibling-ish.
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
It's laundry day chez DarkEm, and after stripping my bed to wash the (dark gray) sheets, I turned around and saw this little tableau.

Piles of bedding, some sweaters, boxes, and furniture, all in shades of black, white and gray

All that's missing is the aptly-named Graydie the cat, and my black Dutch bike.

Some external-feeling voice in my head tells me that I should try to be more colorful, that an interior scheme that looks almost identical whether photographed in black and white or in color, placed in a city that is often the same way, is somehow poor-spirited.

If you'd asked me a year ago, I'd have guessed that the kind of healing I've undergone just lately--in which decades of burdensome beliefs have been dissolved--would have resulted in a desire for more color; in fuchsia walls and Caucasian rugs.

But I really like these non-colors. Black and white feels crisp and clean. Gray feels calm...

...I kind of like the Caucasian rug idea, though.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Dear Self:

Next time you're tempted by the ranty goodness, remember a few simple guidelines )
darkemeralds: Heart-shaped raindrop on the lens, captioned with "Raining in my heart" (Rain)
Does anyone remember that story by Ray Bradbury?

All summer in a day. The sun has been out for, like, two hours since the middle of May, and I've been stuck in the World's Tallest Basement for most of those moments.

It's too rainy to start work on my leaking mudroom roof. It's too rainy to garden. It's too rainy to get out of fucking bed in the morning. Hell, it's almost too rainy for me to ride my bike. Almost.

I take back everything I ever said about not minding the rain. This is driving me bugshit crazy.
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
I've gone two or three rounds with a threatening bout of depression the last few days. I think I've won.

Depression signals itself for me in intrusive thoughts and memories, mostly of a shameful, horrifying sort. It has all the characteristics of an attack, as of schoolyard bullies who won't stop throwing things at me and calling me names. I cower and quiver within myself as I try to go about my daily life, none of which seems to have any real purpose while I'm under attack.

Depression has a hall-of-mirrors quality, multiplying and monster-ifying itself just by showing up. Depression makes itself worse.

I've done battle for years with this monster, though, and I know its tricks. It alters my perception in completely irrational ways, making what was acceptable yesterday unbearable today, and what was good yesterday tainted today. Refusing to believe its lies (no matter how fucking real they seem) is my first line of defense.

Repeat after me: It's not reality. It's brain chemistry. )

Today I woke up feeling like myself again, and so far it's holding firm.

People who don't have depression can't imagine how such a small "mood swing" can be so threatening and require so much focused effort. People who do will probably recognize how much of my own life I was lucky enough to save last night.


Feb. 3rd, 2010 04:05 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
It's interesting how much you notice about a thing when you return to it after a long absence. In my case today, it was retail.

It's not that I never go in stores. I do. I sometimes buy things other than groceries. But I haven't been in a department store for YEARS, and I wandered into one this afternoon. Macy's, to be exact. The fancy downtown one.

Crap. )

I managed to sneak invisibly back up the street to my office, where I've buried myself safely in difficult work all afternoon. Now I have to go ride my bike home in the dark.

Damn Macy's.
darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
Long time ago, I read a poem--undoubtedly a very minor one, published in the local paper--in which a homesick Oregonian wonders how things are back home. The last line was "Does Oregon still wear her Hood of snow?"

Well, she does.

Mt. Hood today. )
I took an emergency sanity-saving bike ride this afternoon because it's SUNNY outside--perfectly, cloudlessly sunny. In December. Not all that common. Whereas it's uncommonly boring inside. Pedaled down to Waterfront Park, and this is pretty much what I saw. (Didn't have my camera with me, so have a webcam image.)

I'm feeling a good deal more sane now.

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