Dispatch From The Mundane 006
I share a birthday with Stone Cold Steve Austin
One of my favorite things that I’ve come to look forward to and it hasn’t changed just yet is my neighbor playing his records from his balcony. It’s more the muffled audibility of it, the way the sound echoes between the cement and how the motown softens the brutalist structures of our building. He sits in an aluminum chair and I see him every day and he says “Don’t worry, today’s about to get easier, just you wait.” He’s one of many elders that often respond to “how’re you” with “another day about the ground is a day in heaven” and there are days I want to say “but hell is here” and there are days I just want to feel the same kinda surrender, to be confident in my destination.
Standing barefoot in the kitchen, shivering, and sucking the flesh off a rambutan and considering what I’ll say to you this week. Minnie Riperton’s voice is muffled by a closed window but I can hear her aching across the courtyard. I highly recommend this live video of her if you want to stop reading here. I like the silk and chiffon of her voice. I’m hopeful. I take a scroll of news and I’m devastated. There’s a tension in my shoulders and since I last wrote to you there are new scars on my face.
Got kicked in the face recently at a hardcore show and in some ways I got back up and mostly felt like Danny Glover in Leathal Weapon uttering the gruff words “I’m getting too old for this shit.” My glasses broke and that caused a larger amount of problems or brought to surface things I’m trying to change. The financial insecurity is probably the bigger part that dunked me then being crushed by some massive dude like a Wicked Witch of The East.
There’s this icy cold fear that this is the thing that will tear me apart and it’s not new. I had a dental emergency last year and just as I got enough for fixing my mouth I had a car accident. One day I would like to experience the peace of financial security and it’s something I’m working towards. Is it weird to discuss these kinda things? I don’t know you and maybe I do but yeah, I want you to prosper. I always read that we have to pull the bandaid off and say it frankly.
The last few weeks have been so rough and the boot to the face felt like a bell to sound off the rest of the week. There’s something about how it hurt. I felt like someone was screaming in my face to wake up. As I took it all in, I couldn’t hear, I felt the embarrassment bloom and the rush of blood to my cheeks. I was grateful to be somewhere with friends who felt like family. Someone to hold my face and say “oh, honey.” It wasn’t like when I was dragged out of my car and a stranger said “I’m an off duty nurse, you’re okay, you’re screaming because you’ve just been hit and you’re okay but yes, it does, in fact, hurt.”
To be honest I was so happy to have seen the show. I went to see Turnstile again. I know you’re like “girl, are you sponsored?” No but I’ve been known to chase bliss in the comfort of a song on repeat. I don’t know those Turnstile humans from Adam and all I can say is thank you for releasing an album that made my neurotransmitters fire. It made me want to watch a sunrise and a sunset when most days are the same to me.
Honestly I kept feeling kinda happy I got kicked in the face. It’s stressful and truly sucks but also I got to sit in a car with my old friend and housemate and we talked and talked and talked. It felt like a sleepover. My friend grew eggplants and gave them to me at the show. Kept worrying about having to go into the house and be alone with the hurt but instead we sat together. It was nice. It was nice in a way I’d forgotten. When I had the tooth infection and I knew I needed help but I didn’t want to go to the hospital alone. I didn’t want to sit by myself. It’s odd seeing that we are adjusting and it hurts to think of what I was getting used to and how we are live-editing our social constitutions. How do I keep you safe? How do you keep me safe? I was so grateful to be apart of something.
I promise that I’m not going to try to sell you essential oils at the end of this newsletter with all this gratitude talk. Sometimes I’m grateful that I get to be around people and it’s been really fucking hard to reconcile it all.
We are bumbling and fumbling and fucking scared and fucking trying our best and fucking up and it’s all fucking eviscerating. It feels so bad. I mess up everything, I say the wrong things, a year has passed and I have no idea what’s cool. We have to keep trying every day to get that job that’ll change our conditions even as we think what’s the point of me baking a cake when the clouds seem as if they’ll fall from the sky so heavy with tears from watching us?
There’s so much delusional grace and ease in the algorithm of the internet that makes me think this should be easier. Click click and I have emoted. My reaction is perfect and resplendent. No, I didn’t cry in the walk-in after seeing the footage from Texas and then subsequently the body cam of Gabby Petito asking for water. Oh, it hurts to be continuing and I say that I feel fuller than a nimbus. I think about being sick — chronically, nervous-breakdown-y and ultimately one thing I know is that it’s a long road to recovery, to feeling “better” and lately I’m starting to have some energy back. It’s not perfect. It’s progress but it’s never perfect.
As for the pursuit of the humanities last week I called my friend up to say “hey can I show you this” and this was something I was playing around on the ukulele. In April (the 6th!) I started learning ukulele and it was like most weeks when I felt this burning desire to feel permanent on a night I was waning. I ground myself in something old and something new. The ukulele was something I purchased when I still lived on St. Paul and I thought tonight’s the night I’m going to learn El Scorcho on a stringed instrument and thankfully it never happened. Learning the ukulele is my favorite thing of 2021.
Trying to learn guitar but I honestly end up putting it down and crawling over to my ukulele and playing it for hours until I’ve fallen asleep. I think if there’s something I would tell you today, tonight, tomorrow is that you can try anything. One day I hope you’ll look me in the eye when I tell you I’m too old for something and just say hell nah. A lot of time I think about all the things I never did. I live with regret and if it were up to me, I’d call it my spouse so I’d get some kinda break even if it’s just taxes. Ultimately I will never ever learn how to play “Hey, Soul Sister” on ukulele no matter how many times youtube recommends it.
Think every day I’ll tell you something I’m grateful to have touched and learned and you’ll think that I’m collecting interests for a personality but it’s more like heavy stones I put in my pocket hoping it keeps me here when my head feels full of helium. I think it’s really beautiful to fail at something I gave myself permission to do. You get so caught up in the memory of the fence, of the gatekeeper, and of the house that even when they’re demolished, even if the overseer dies, you’re still keeping the rules enforced.
So just know. You’ve got this! Try again! I don’t recommend getting kicked in the face but if the shoe fits. It’s okay to be embarrassed by your flesh urn that holds your soul. I used to go to this yoga class with a man named Will and he’d always laugh “oh, your beautiful, ugly body, oh, this immortal soul” and just like the sounds of motown against my window his voice is muffled in this long gone memory. Like a lot of elders I know he’d say “I like to do it old school but it’s because I’m old school.” Let’s try once again. Once more with feeling, I swear to God, I swear, I swear, You can do it! Maybe I need to hear this. Maybe you do too. I don’t know WHO needs to hear this! Is this week going to be a shit show? Is it a Turnstile show? Is it going to be a monster truck rally? I don’t know WHO needs to hear this! The world is going to hell in a picnic basket and you can decide what kinda cold cuts will go with the end. You’re above ground right now! I’m flipping a coin: Is this heaven or hell? Do I share a birthday with Stone Cold Steve Austin? Are you high right now, do you ever get—
alone in my room is a once defunct and maybe weekly dispatch from the mundane from a local ficus. kelly is a writer & serial hobbyist. consider donating to the world central kitchen and their mission to feed the people during crisis. you can donate to support a hobby or buy soil here.