Women in brain

Women in Clothes, women in clothes, women in clothes

I liked it at first. At first I read it feverishly. I felt that this was somewhere I’d always wanted to be, in the heads of strange women. Feeling them feel out their relationship to clothes. Their life in clothes. So I read it almost in a trance at first, refusing to look up from the hundreds of pages I flipped, flipped, and flipped.

But then I got to the part where I noticed the pattern. I got to the part where I felt myself stretching away from the book, holding it away from myself, lightly skimming over the words I couldn’t feel. The responses like, I feel sexy after sex. I feel good when someone says I look good. I liked more when people were able to square the function of their dress with the beauty of it. The loose silk dress that made the breastfeeding mom feel comfortable but pretty. I liked the interview pieces with the garment factory employees, who relayed tales of shock at the things American women wear and discard. At the cost of adornment. But the woman getting upset at her bra fitting that she was a 38 instead of a 34; the woman who kept name dropping her dead boyfriend and his opinions and thoughts. Those tales left me feeling icky. Separate. I know the point of the book was to present, not to judge, but I want more pushback in my life after the presentation. I want someone to articulate the trouble with or the problem of or the tension when.

you don’t like feeling fat because someone told you fat was bad

The Gift is this terrible film I watched over the weekend.

Because it was on Netflix and because it had a 90% on rotten tomatoes. 

So I watched it and I became intrigued but as the movie unfolded I started to get what was being done and I started to understand how it received a high rating [from men] and I felt that same icky-ness I felt when reading women in clothes, like, all the things we think are because men think them and not because they actually feel true to us.

The wife becomes the object becomes the tool to break the master’s house and I felt, wrong.

I so often need to read and need to hear the words of others because I can only feel it sometimes, and when I try to push the feeling up into my brain to turn it into words it runs dry and I feel vacant and stupid.

“using rape as a plot device is just plain lazy”

“Descends into emotional idiocy and insufficient intrigue to end in a disgusting place that presumes that a woman is an appropriate pawn in games men play.”

The way I feel but the words I do not know how to fit together unless I see it written and then I know, yes.

Sweeping up the back patio and the godforsaken berries which live there because the neighbor is oblivious to this tree that grows on their side of the fence yet wreaks havoc on my back patio. I turned on This American Life because I am a millennial in my 30s and feel like I must be educating myself even in my leisure time. I took a walk through the neighborhood because the sun was shining and the leaves have all fallen and the sky feels incredibly close and scrubbed clean because that is how it feels in winter.

This American Life– But That’s What Happened

And I’m glad I wasn’t raised by people who made me interact with other people who thought I needed a bridge to God, who thought I needed a path to God, who thought there was one way and one way only to God, but also… why are women made to feel so bad about sex? What is it like to have a relationship with sex that is more like a man’s?

I am grateful for my feelings about sex and the way I’ve grown into sex. I do not know how I got here but for the most part it feels healthy.

What if I had studied philosophy or ethics and realized I was someone who liked to think about the big picture? What if I’d had someone around at an early age who could have pointed me out to myself, who had given me the words to match my feelings? That is something I find myself wondering, thinking often these days, as I try to say the words aloud to others, do you see yourself as the world sees you? Well, you should.

That’s the question women should be asked…I mean I liked reading women respond to the questions they were asked about their dressing habits, about seeing themselves yes as an object but also as an actor…, but this is what I really want to know, what it is is this, is who pointed yourself out to you? Who has asked you the question that prompted you to ask of yourself–what is it I can do and want to do?

What is the thing that I do all the time that I have not named because I did not know you could have a name for everything?

This is on sale

Some books you read, I don’t know, to have a visual, to see something. Other books you read, to feel and taste the words. To write.

I feel as if I’m unraveling some days, underneath, in my deepest layers. I can feel myself unspooling, falling, floating. I don’t know if it’s really worth trying to hold on, I’ve grown quite tired of gathering up all the threads as if they mean something, as if they lead somewhere, as if untangling them and relooping them nicely truly matter.

Another pregnant friend and I had to ask my questions: what is your pregnancy story. Who are you turning into? What have you become?

It’s worth it in the sense that you might bring someone truly wonderful in the world, but I worry all the women are forgetting how truly wonderful they are. In this moment. Alone. Before they have given themselves over to another. The gifts of the flesh that remain our own.

Yes, I feel loss in the sense that I feel I have lost everything. That everything I once had was the narrative of the woman who brewed me from her flesh. Who grew an organ and extra skin to make me whole. But can I be whole out here when so much of what she gave me was hollow?

Is it too much to be here and to feel like nothing when all the things are false? Sometimes, I don’t know what to do with the knowledge that life is one big expense.

Incline decline

I don’t know how to trust my feelings about anything. Hannah read a quote today, speaking to the idea that we never fully appreciate that we are right in the middle of something we once looked forward to. I feel that all the time. When I was in graduate school, when I was in college, when I was toiling away at my part time job in the grocery store, I would fantasize about my future and the life I felt I deserved. I feel I am very much in that life, yet I find myself still fantasizing about other possible lives. I’m trying to let that ship sail, but I haven’t quite learned to let go.

I wandered over to Maddy’s office on the verge of tears. I sat with her and she cheered me up, offering to teach me how to knit, reminding me of what really matters. I appreciated her time. I appreciated her word choice, “don’t fret”. I am appreciative of having colleagues like her.

I drove home still on the verge of something. I was hungry but took a hot shower instead. I cleaned my room and my housemate made kimchi ramen. I am appreciative of living with someone like this. He helped me with work and I was on time to my last meeting of the day.

I met McKenna her first week of college. She sat in the Fort Howard theater one of her first nights and listened to my Study Abroad rambling. I had fun with that presentation and it showed. When I went to the first year experience meeting later that same week, I was surprised to recognize her and we bonded some more over the session we had shared. She stopped into my office today with a hot tea from Ed’s. We chatted for half an hour. Her talking, me listening. Her final year of college.

I am often surprised by the impression I leave on people. I am constantly questioning and I so often forget to accept what is. Make peace with what is. Instead of always focusing on the more. Instead of always focusing on what else. Instead of always focusing on improving.

Sometimes I wish I could experience myself from the outside, instead of always being submerged.


Period 4 with the MeLuna cup. I have a different sense of my period now. I have a different understanding of my body now. I wish women were given more freedom to know themselves and better opportunities to learn about their biology. I sat in the bathroom at work, my hand covered in blood, and didn’t even mind it. But I thought about what it would be like if someone were to walk in and see me there with so much blood staining my skin. Later I stood in the shower and watched the blood pass across the tub and find its way down the drain. I thought about all the TV I’ve seen, all the movies I’ve watched, and how it’s never like that. Dense and oily.

I try so hard not to feel like my mother. I felt her today, as I scrubbed at the stove and as I swept out the corners. I hate how strongly she comes through in those moments. When I am at the end, or maybe stuck in the midst, feeling furthest away from myself. I don’t want to be reminded of her. I don’t want to hear her but there she is. Ben came in and rubbed my back and I tried to focus on the breathing. Breathe in and breathe out. You are not her. I don’t want to have those feelings but I have them. How much my existence is stained with hers. How much of her lives on in me.

I’ve been thinking lately how different it could have been, all of it, if she had been different, if we had been different. If I had been different. It’s not her fault and I know it’s not my fault. I know it’s just the way things are sometimes. Unfortunate. I feel unfortunate when I think about the past. It doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t even think it has anything to do with who I am today or where I am today. Sometimes the past feels like old paint I’ve peeled off. Like I’m a piece of furniture that’s been restored. I peeled off the paint and sanded til I shone. Now here I am and whatever hideous shade I was before has been banished from the memory reels. No one remembers how it looked before because it looks so much better now. How quickly we can forget ugly things. I am a classic piece set free of someone’s shitty decorating scheme.

Except sometimes when I’m overstimulated and underfed and exhausted, those bits of ugly seep out of me. Like Will from Stranger Things puking up slugs in secret. And those bits of ugly are my mother’s mannerisms. Her temper and her boredom. Her exhaustion and her loathing. And there she is, living in the corners of my mouth, and I am stuck and sticking.

Pizza, pizza

I keep thinking about my first night at SNC. The early spring, the docks on the river, my disbelief that such a place existed. Quiet and set apart. The unpretentious Human Resources Office in the old storefront. A feeling like, I can’t not picture myself here, even if I don’t imagine myself here.

I keep thinking about how I felt then, the ambivalence of it, and how that feeling has stayed with me throughout the years I’ve gotten up and driven into the campus.

I watched a student cry in my office today. I was so not awake and they were so high spirited and I don’t know I asked just the right question and they started to spiral and then they were blubbering and then I was offering them an ultra plush Vintage brand napkin.

They were embarrassed. I remember being embarrassed. Today it just made sense to me. Of course you feel this way. Of course you are cracking and sagging.

I keep thinking about college and how much it takes away from us, all the while having so much to offer us.

I want to believe it is worth it. It has to be worth it.

I imagine myself elsewhere. Somewhere else with maybe more responsibility and more freedom and more. More understanding. I imagine not being so tired as I get up to drive to work. I imagine not sneaking out at the end of the day before someone I care about wants to cry to me. Of course you can cry, of course I care, but I also want to be home. Don’t I? Do I?

I imagine my life back in a city. Sounds and sights and stupid things. I miss taking the bus so much. I miss feeling anonymous. I miss blending in.

I didn’t even write about it. Not here anyway, not for the internets. Didn’t write about my application or the interview or my decision. How new the writing still was then. How little I thought about writing, really writing then. How much writing was required to finish graduate school and get out of there. Should I have stayed? They called, you know, after I took the job here, but what would I have become if I had stayed?

I still don’t know how I feel or where I’m going or what I really want. I am here and I am doing the days and I am waiting to see if this feeling persists. If this is the normal feeling. If this is my constant companion. If all I have to do is detach the judgments from the thoughts.


I said last night, “It’s nice to be on this side of the desk,” but then I realized I didn’t mean it. I ruined it.

It’s important to be vulnerable and to ask questions when the answers feel out of my reach. It is not important to internalize someone else’s reality and lose sight of what you already know.

I often feel like the ancestors are laughing at me. Mija with the amnesia. Like she doesn’t know. But I know.

People don’t want me to be this way. My coworkers don’t want me to be this way. The patriarchy doesn’t want me to be this way.

But I sit down at my desk or I sit down at the table and I’m reminded, you know what’s right. You know universal law, even if you don’t know man’s law. Even if people are continually telling you what you’re doing wrong, with their eyes and with their voice, you know. You know.

You know how to reach across the table with your voice and with your mind. You might not hug or take someone’s hand, but you know how to listen, how to hear what they can’t say, and you know how to give their words back to them, in a way that matters. You’re not always present and you’re not always available, but when you are and when you do, it counts. It matters.

We are here together and I want you to know.


I crawl into bed. I am always safe but I feel safest and quietest in bed. I could get up early and do lots of things, but why would I want to leave the bed. Day or night, tired or not, I like to be in bed.

I sat down across the desk from her. For once on this side. For once on the needing side. I have something to ask. I don’t know who to go to with this. I don’t know what to do with this. Not a weight on my chest but a fog of my head. I’m unable to clear it out. I do push ups and I sweat until I can taste the salt but still it creeps back. I sit down across from her, testing the waters, I don’t know what I want from you but can you give it to me anyway?

I don’t want to believe, refuse to believe, that I’ve outgrown this place. It’s only been 4 years. 4 turbulent years. Every year a new question. But so many questions I don’t have to ask. I have a cozy home to return to, I have hot clean water to shower with, I have friends, real people who value me and care for me. I apologized twice today for my broken things, and each person told me not to apologize for those things. Silly.

I have this. But I still feel this. And I still feel this. Now I still feel this.

My therapist is getting tired of my bullshit, I think. I keep distancing myself from her. I want to figure it out myself. I want to fix it myself. I know that is not why I see her so often. I know that is not why I keep her in my calendar. I need this. But I don’t want to think anymore. I sit on her couch and I think. I rationalize. I am doing it wrong. There is no right away. I can feel this wrongness.

I watch these men get paid to play football. To talk about football. To explain football. I want to get paid to think and talk and problem solve. Is that too much to ask? I want to make a living from living. Am I being selfish?

I don’t know what this is. This feeling of dissatisfaction. Where does it go? Where does it lead? How do I get from here to there without feeling this way? Can’t my decisions be separate from my feelings?