February 8th, 2008


Mercury's Daughter

It is now the Year of the Rat.

Admittedly, that does not sound promising. But it is, in the Chinese Wheel. Promising. And because of Palimpsest, my New Year was less renewal than the advent of a hell of a lot of work. So it's appropriate, I think, that I'm feeling the New Year now, as the rat peeps out, so to speak. Still New Year, different Year. Not 2008. My friend, the Rat.

See, I don't talk about it on this journal much, but the last couple of years have been an insane road for me, and the last year was one of grief and loss and depression. Darkest days, no joke. Divorce, moving to a new country, a new state, the ugly loss of my first post-marriage relationship, a frenzied publication schedule--mainly I've just been bunkered, waiting for the next blow. Only in the last few weeks have I had any inkling that maybe there is no crushing blow in store, maybe the rest of my life is starting, and I've done enough penance to deserve some happiness in it.

Part of me wishes I had done more than just finished a book. That I shouldn't feel so much as though right this second I have a chance to turn my life around and reinvent myself, just because a deadline has passed. But I have three finished novels in various stages of the publication process, I have time to relax for the first time in years, justbeast    and I are doing really well, I've bought dishes and a table a bed that are mine, that are the exact ones I want, our house is beginning to feel like ours, and for the first time since I moved to Ohio, I feel like this is here and now and I have to build a life, not just hold on until something passes, be it pain or deadline or breakup. I am alive, and I have to start acting like it. I must become more awesome, as a wise woman said at World Fantasy. This kind of awesome.

Only thing is, I'm not really sure how. It's quite hard to meet people in town, and our social circle has shrunk due to disapproval, breakup fallout, and a fair shake of intolerance. Not to mention I don't know anyone into whose acquaintance I was not grandfathered by justbeast  or grailquestion. I work at home, I don't know the city too well.

I'm taking little steps. zoethe    is teaching me to quilt. I'm starting glassblowing classes on Tuesday, inspired by regyt   . I'm going to do all those things you said I should, slowly, one by one. (I also joined OKCupid, though that has been less than effective in meeting anyone.) I've been keeping to a strict workout regimen, and I'm going to put pink streaks in my hair. I got my nipple pierced. I'm trying. It's hard work, getting reborn. I'm going to swim and spear-fish naked in Lake Erie a lot come summer. I'm going to try to be warmer and more open and less frightened of things. I'm going to go dancing more often. I'm trying, and it's hard. I feel too young and too old. I feel invisible most of the time. I'm lost. But I'm trying.

The funny thing about Pinocchio is that he never really figured out how he became a real boy. The Blue Fairy just smiled at him, and he had bones and blood and a sell-by date. He never got it--he had to fight through whales and crickets and donkey ears and hell and heaven just to be real.

He thought he earned it.

But he stole it.

It's a hard and bloody battle, just to feel like you belong to the world. You have to sneak up on living in the dark and hold it while it squirms and changes shape, hold it long enough that it starts to believe it's yours. And the fairies, when you find them, don't wear blue and they don't smile much. You have to go to the ocean to steal your heart and the Marionette Theatre to steal your voice and Pleasure Island to steal your cunt. It's a quest and it's a heist and it's a saving throw, but I want to be a real girl, and if it kills me, I'll find a way. Me and my Rat.

I may end up with donkey ears. I'm willing to risk it.
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