Saturday, January 09, 2010

On shooting oneself in the foot: (a.k.a. "I Call My Writer's Block Jordan Catalano.")


Seriously, I wish I could scream my fool head off, but I have roomies and neighbors. I have a good scream, too. I’ve been told it's blood-curdling.* In fact, I've been a stunt screamer in a play. The girl whose character was supposed to scream didn't have my mad shrieking skills.


I’m tired of fucking up, of standing in my own way. Once upon a time, I didn’t know failure was an option, but now it is, and I flirt with it—the boy who smokes under the bleachers: dangerous, unsuitable, easy. And the more I’m warned that he’s all wrong for me, that he's my doom, and that I’m throwing my life away, the more irresistibly I’m pulled away from the limelight of the cheerleading squad to linger with him in the dark, the gravel and smoke—to let him touch my clean, chaste skin even though God and my grandmother wouldn’t approve. Even though it makes me feel dirty.

“You’re not a fuck-up,” Val assures me. “The world is fucked up. They try to use fear and negative reinforcement as a motivator, and it doesn’t work! That’s what the prison system is based on, and it does it work? No, but it’s not going away anytime soon. You and I, we’re sensitive to negative reinforcement, so when we face it, we shut down. You’re not a fuck-up. You’re a talented, accomplished, dedicated woman."

As long as she was talking—as long as I could hear her soothing voice—I could believe it, but as soon as we hung up, the shame would rise again. Well, fuck that noise! I wish I were the kind of girl to shout, “FUCK THIS!” and go out drinking. Hell, maybe later tonight I will.

I am human. I can only do what I can do. I need to stop worrying about others and just worry about myself. Maybe I’ll reread the Tao of Pooh. There’s a part in it about how Pooh never works, but somehow always finds what he needs. I’m going to try to do that: joy my way through life. Follow my bliss. All that hippy bullshit.

*I seriously doubt anyone screams like that in real life. It's certainly not how I scream. When startled, I have let out a quick shriek (like the blood-curdler, but only a millisecond long) or--more often-- a low, hoarse "AAH!" (Perhaps I subconsciously want to seem tougher and think a low shout is more effective than a high scream?) My weird rant on screaming technique is now complete. As you were!

P.S. I can't believe how many times I just wrote the word "fuck." I can hear my mother scold: "Inappropriate!"

1 comment:

Tenacious V said...

Even in your frustration you are eloquent, E. (I loved me some Jordan Catalano back in the day, but I agree--by thesis-time, I didn't want to meet him under the bleachers.) Hugs and all sympathies.