excerpts from a sent letter, for a change:
I am just as bad at all of this as you are. I know it might seem like, on this particular front -- the front of 'facing one's fears' or whatever -- I really have it together. but actually, it is the thing I struggle most with. like, it is head and shoulders above any other flaw I might have. my flaw list would say BURIES HEAD IN SAND in bold and then there would be a big space and under it in small print it would probably say 'doesn't keep in touch with friends' and then 'doesn't floss' or something. (and then probably 'bad at brevity'). I've been thinking about this to the exclusion of all other things today because I am having an absolute anxiety attack about a bunch of work-related shit that I have categorically refused to look in the eye until it blew up. I create a lot of my own terrible anxiety by never 'eating the toad,' as they say: instead of doing the hard, scary thing first so that it's over, I save it and save it and save it, even though I know it won't go away.
I could have written much of what I wrote to you this weekend as a letter to myself.
I'm not sure if my intimate personal knowledge of the difficulty of 'doing the hardest thing' makes me the best-placed person to give you advice, or if it makes me a total fucking hypocrite. I guess it's probably both. I really do know exactly how hard it is because I struggle with it, and with myself, every goddamn day. when it gets really bad for me -- like today -- I basically have to go on an anxiety-laden spree of cleaning everything up, all the while being kind of close to tears about how much I fuck shit up. I solemnly stare at myself in the bathroom mirror and say, "you really fucked this up," and then I take a shower and take a deep breath and go buy a giant coffee and sit up in the office until 3 AM cleaning everything up and hoping nobody will know how close I came to really REALLY fucking it all up. that's how I don't know if I'm a good music librarian or not, and why I doubt myself even when everybody else has a lot of faith in me. there's a lot of 'fake it till you make it' in my life.
your presence in my life has made me so much better, and continues to make me so much better. I really don't want you to ever know how much I fuck shit up because in that regard you are so much better than me, and my example to live up to.
I'm going to go stare solemnly in the mirror for awhile and then take a shower and go to acupuncture (!) and then go clean up my mess of a life and try not to cry and hopefully nobody will notice. I'll swear I'll be better next time but it'll probably happen again, because getting better at life is a thing we all have to try and fail at a hundred bajillion times before we actually get any better.
I've been thinking about you all weekend, nonstop. I hope you're OK. I hope you're finding some place of peace, somewhere, in all of this. I wish I could give you a hug. and a beer. and a shoulder. and an ear. and frankly the rest of me too, if you'd have it. I love you completely. I desperately want you to be happy. mended. whole.
the dent in my thigh will be there for the rest of my life. the line down my chest, the spot on my ankle, the pockmark on my eyebrow. the old scrape on my knee. and this.
they all could have been avoided. but would I have? would I give back the feeling of the river on my feet? would I put on sensible shoes before hitting the dance floor? would I erase what there was between us, knowing what would come?
no. I would not. not now, and not ever.