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:)

I’m sitting here in my rocking chair with a beer by my elbow. I’ve almost finished reading the book I bought last afternoon. The room is dark but the screen is bright, and C is playing Einaudi on his piano.

Everything’s just right.

Goodnight, Zonk.

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Suddenly, words happened. And so I wrote them down.

Let me tell you what I like about days such as these.
The late early mornings, the fresh sheets,
the heft of a book well earned lying warm and heavy inside your chest.

I just spent two hours in bed.
I read.
Till my book ran out and my heart grew full and my coffee cup urged
to be filled up again.

In a minute, I will go
I will make haste and I will do
all of the million little things that need all of the busy doing
but for now —
I’m grateful to look up from this page and discover that this is still,
very much,
Sunday morning.

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Rot

Dear Zonk,

This is a new low. I don’t really want to get into it right now, but everything sucks. I don’t know why I’m here tonight. I guess somewhere, it still is a reflex to reach to out here when shit hits the fan.

Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the mindrot bite.

Love always,

K.

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.

Dear Zonk,

I am two people.

Two days ago, I was blue as blue could be. Yesterday was fun. Today I’m back to being bleak and I don’t know exactly what is amiss. But my moods have been swingier of late and it’s honestly very annoying to wake up in the morning and wonder what I’m gonna feel like today.

I think I would do better if this house felt more functional. I know I ought to get up and clean, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Meanwhile, I’ve been writing more in the past week, and I feel the need to write someplace else. In another space, more sacred than Ink, which is sweet and it’s home and everything, but let’s face it — it’s kinda just turned a dump for random think-alouds.

Like so —
*flops over*
*groans*
*buries head in a cave*

Oh well.

Love always,
K.

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The post of posts.

Dear Zonk,

I don’t know what exactly I’m here to say. I know that I’ve been here a few times. That I’ve started to say things and then stopped. I’ve had my reasons. At first I needed for things to get back to some sort of normal. I needed to be past my surgery, to have come out unscathed on the other side, to be the stronger for it. Then I needed to have got past the pain, and to be able to move around normally again. (That, to be honest, took barely any time. I am both amazed by and proud of my body to have been able to pull through so marvellously, and in so short a while.) After that, I needed to be past getting reports of various sorts. And after that — there was the unbearable heaviness of being.

I have come here, at some point, to tell you about the ordeal of the surgery itself. The hospital-mandated but state-denied COVID-19 tests — how difficult they were to orchestrate, how horribly uncomfortable to undergo, the ever changing hospital policies, the last minute hospital switch, the paperwork and the calls and the tests and the running around.

All of which ought, honestly, to have paled in comparison to the ordeal of stepping into that hospital alone while C waited in the car outside. See, things like surgeries and hospitalisation are complicated by the pandemic. People aren’t really allowed inside — I was lucky I managed to do this when I did, or even I would not have been allowed — and if you’re gonna insist on going under the knife, you’re gonna have to go it alone, opt for larger procedures, and so on. Oddly enough, this bit was over before I knew it. I was messaging my family 2 hours post-op, walking around (albeit slowly) the same night, and home the next afternoon. I was lucky, not once, but many times over. And so I have, at some point, come here to tell you about that, and to say a vague thank you to the Universe at large.

In retrospect, I wonder what it means that this mountain seems to be (kinda, sorta, hopefully) behind me so fast. I think there are 2 possible explanations —

  1. The anticipation of a thing is often far more stressful than the thing itself. I already know this to be true from the many things I’ve stressed about in the past. I suppose it applies to a thing like this one as well.
  2. I have finally overcome my battle with anxiety panic. I think it’s possible that it was adrenaline that carried me through this. Adrenaline: the stress hormone. The thing that triggers your fight and flight response. Years ago, I’d come to the conclusion that I am an eternal wuss, that a large part of who I am derives from the fact in a do or die situation, I’d almost always die. And now — hallelujah! — I’m beginning to think that maybe I spoke too soon. It’s true that just a few months ago I panicked shamelessly inside an MRI machine. But it is also true that I went into a hospital and got a surgery done kinda alone. I know it was a small surgery, and not a big deal to many, many people. But to me, it was a horribly difficult thing and I feel like I managed to sail through it with at least some awkward semblance of grace.

    I would like to go a step further and say I am no longer anxious, but I’ve been through many nights of stressful surgery dreams after, and had moments of feeling trapped under silly little objects like laptop tables. And then the many nights of random other anxieties that slowly began to reappear once this big Thing was done.

But I digressed — and how. My point, initially, was to tell you that I have come here often, to talk of many things. And then I spent most of my time here talking of just one thing. I mean, it was a biggie…

But still.

I suppose I’ll save the rest for another day. A quick gist is in order though. And so, in no particular order, here goes.

A list of things I’ve tried and failed to tell you about—

  • This surgery, this sudden knowledge of something that’s been amiss for a long, long time without my knowing anything about it.
  • The fact that just a few months ago, I was running a 10k, almost nonstop, and never imagined there was something wrong with me. That good health is precious. It is fragile. A gift. It is something that will fade, whether suddenly and brutally or slowly and sadly with age.
  • The fact that I haven’t seen my mother in months, or my sisters, or my nephews (one of whom is going to be towering above me by the time we next meet).
  • The odd, inscrutable ache of looking at an outside object — like a pair of jeans or my small blue backpack or my pouch that still has things like kajal and lip balm inside it — and not being able to imagine a time when I could be using it again.
  • The fact that I miss my house help sometimes. Not the convenience of all that they make happen for me — I miss that all everyday — but the fact of them, the chatter and the bustle and the company.
  • The fact that, on good days, I acknowledge that I might actually miss this sometimes when it’s all done. This living in a bubble where there’s only C and I for hours on end, for an entire day at times.
  • The fact that I was naive enough to make plans for an actual when-this-ends at some point. That was then. This is now. We know better and we know the worst and we know that there is going to be a new normal, and then another new normal, and perhaps a whole array of new normals before (or if ever) we go back to what used to be known as normal at all.
  • The fact that I feel helpless with everything that’s happening around us right now, and that sometimes, I feel sudden gut punches of guilt. So do you, I suppose. Because don’t we all right now?

Things hurt harder these days. Emotions feel closer to the surface than they used to be. More than anything else, I’ve begun to feel a keen sense of all-of-this-is-fleeting. I know that feeling is a sort of speciality of mine, in the sense that I’ve written, painted and made music about it before. But this, right now — this is something else. This is horrible and difficult and it feels unending far too fucking often and what right do I have to even feel any of that? Here I am, safe and sound, in my house with its four rooms and these windows that I can shut on the world when it all gets to be just

Too

Fucking

Much.

Here I am, in my rocking chair, at the end of a perfectly decent day, blogging about my angst. Is there a word for this feeling of being acutely aware of your privilege and simultaneously ashamed and grateful for it? Is there an obscure sorrow that defines what we all are feeling now, while the world as we know it seems to be racing to its end while we watch mutely from our places somewhere near the top of Maslow’s pyramid?


Fuck.

I’m sorry. That got away from me. I digressed, many times over, and I no longer remember if there ever was a point I was trying to make.

If you read this all the way up till here, thank you, Zonk. You are sweet, and a true friend, and a listener of the most stellar type. I hope I haven’t made you sad. And I hope I haven’t given you the impression that I am sad. I’m not. I’m not sad and I have not much to be worried about and honestly, I am okay. And I hope that you’re okay as well.

Hang in there, Zonk. Do your bit. Do your best. And ping me if ever you want or need to.

Love always,
K :)

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Partial Disclosure, and an unfun first.

Dear Zonk,

Other things being equal, this time next week, I’ll be in hospital, or preparing to leave from it. I’m not sure what more there is to say about it. I’d rather not go into detail, but I also can’t possible say nothing to you about this all. You, to whom I tell all things and yet, increasingly lately, reveal almost nothing at all.

I’ve never so much as broken a bone before, and even going to the dentist freaks me out. You’d think I’d be a wreck whilst waiting for a surgery to happen. But honestly, I’m not. This is supposed to be a little deal, not a big one, and my doctor’s promised to put me under before I go in, and I think I’m kinda almost sure I’ll be okay.

I’ve been pondering this curious absence of crippling fear and I think I know why it is. Or rather, why it is not.

  1. I fear facing the unknown. I’ve lived with the knowledge of this impending surgery for almost a month now. I know what to expect. I know I won’t be awake for most of it, so that’s a pretty sneaky way for “facing” it.
  2. I fear pain. But I’ll be in a hospital. So, you know.
  3. At this point, I’ll be happy to get back to life, which right now feels stalled. This lockdown ain’t ending anytime soon. So at least I get to get this shit out of the way and recuperate in time for when it does end. I get to imagine a day in the future where the virus has left the building and I can step outside, wearing my running shoes, feeling perfectly happy and smug about being medically and legally allowed to engage in vigorous exercise again.
  4. My insurance (I hope) covers everything.

That said, Zonk, think of me at some point in the next few days. Maybe ask the Universe to be nice.

Love always,
K :)

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Everything is bright.

Dear Zonk,

I’m sitting in this rocking chair, waiting for my coffee to cool, and I’m inhabiting this peculiar time of day when it is both dark and light. Dark inside my house – darkening, anyway – and the outside is still all bright.

My ceiling fan is annoyingly loud (but deliciously windy, so I’ll allow) but I hear all sorts of nice noise anyway. My windchime is being chimey, my sparrows are being chirpy. My bougainvillea is all brilliant pinks and rustling leaves and I’ve arranged one branch to fall artfully into a bare pot. (The tree did this on its own once, and I’ve been forcing it to stay that way ever since.)

It is a nice moment in time. I like to think that if you were here right now, you’d be sitting in this room with me too. Having your coffee and listening. Pausing and being quiet.

In a few minutes it will be properly dark. But for now, I’m looking outside this giant window that I love with all my heart, and everything is bright.

Love always,

K :)

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Updates

Dear Zonk,

In the past few days, I have —

  • kickstarted a garden refresh for my balcony
  • spent one full day just reading
  • learned to play In the Aeroplane over the Sea (the Dan Mangan version, which I think is so much more expressive than the original)
  • run quite a bit

I have always worked from home, so I really don’t know why it took a shutdown to make me do more of these things I already care a lot about. I guess we are all, deep down, just idiots to some extend.

Work has been slow lately. But I’m trying to buckle down and not chill too much, because I have two sideprojects I really need to hurry up and finish, and if not now, then when?

But I digress. I came here to talk to you about running. I started training with a friend 8 weeks ago, and I’ve learned for a fact now that I am an eternal first bencher. I will show up if the teacher’s waiting. As a result, I’ve run more – and more continuously – than I ever have before. I’ve been observing my body for signs of change while I’m at it. They are subtle changes, and mostly internal – but they’re there.

  1. My body can endure slightly longer distances now. I can run 3 – 4k without much thought. If I keep an easy pace, I can push that to 5k with not much extra effort. Two weeks ago I did 10k with a mildly injured leg. I also learned that an injury can be helpful sometimes, because it forces you to go slower, which in turn might mean you’ll go farther. Also, though this was a relaxed run, I shaved about 8 minutes off of my last 10k time.
  2. My hips, knees and ankles seem to be adapting to running more. I used to run very inconsistently before. A few kilometers once in a while. And every time I started running, one or two of my leg joints would flare up and start clicking or hurting. I could never predict which joint it would be, or even which leg even, but I knew that something had to give.

    It’s been a while since that happened though. I’ve run diligently for the past 8 weeks, and my joints have settled down and started to quietly do their job. I hope they stay that way.
  3. My shins are still protesting. They used to be okay before. But lately, they really seem to wanna quit sometimes.
  4. I can run without getting light headed. I’m not sure why this used to happen, or what it means that it stopped. But clearly it’s a good thing.
  5. I can run on empty. I’m a weirdo who worries about passing out a lot. Plus, I always tended to wake up feeling hungry. So I’d always have breakfast or a banana before running. Right now, though, I can just wake up, have my coffee, and go run. I don’t need to eat properly until about an hour after my run. I’m not sure why this has happened either, but I’m okay with running on empty. It’s a lot more comfortable :)
  6. Pain is both permanent and temporary. That sounds wiser than it is. What I actually mean to say is – I have this weird leg hurty thing that has been there for almost 2 weeks now. It’s constantly there, in a not-bothering way, and it flares up when I start to run. But if I keep running, the pain goes away (for the duration of the run). It comes back after, but it honestly isn’t too bad. I’m going to take a few days off now and then apparently it’ll ease up but come back again after my next long run, but with less intensity. Oh well.
  7. I can use music to regulate my pace and the length of my runs. This is something I figured out for sure today. I made a 32 minute long playlist on Spotify and structured it so it started with really mellow songs, stayed mostly mellow throughout, and ended with one really long headbanger of a track. I ran till the music ran out. And because I started mellow, I held up nicely way into the end of that last song. Next Tuesday, I’ll try making a 45 minute playlist. Or maybe 60. Let’s see how far I can push this.
  8. I have lost no weight at all. In fact, I may have gained a little bit. Is it muscle? Is it potato? I don’t know. Who can tell these things. But my point is, everyone who tells thin people that too much cardio is bad for them should just please fuck off.
  9. I have two new muscles in my legs. They are nice.
  10. My pulse is still not as low as I’d like it to be. I’ll get there. Eventually.

And now, I must work. Goodbye, Zonk.

Love always,
K :)

PS. Wash your hands!

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