I forgot about the blog I created on Blogger. How does that happen?
I remembered to connect my Tumblr, including my efforts at immortality via (weak) poetry, when I started on WordPress, but Blogger, by then, had slipped entirely from my mind. I feel bad about that: I had all the love at one point in time. I maintain my Tumblr prose page via the automatic sharing of posts and the occasional reading of notifications, but Blogger is buried in dust (Michelle’s Random Thoughts and Opinions has been update-free for three thousand, five-hundred, and eighteen days), good intentions to maintain it I vaguely recall notwithstanding. [i]
It would’ve stayed gone forever, but I found a red folder while organizing my files, full of printouts from the blog I so callously abandoned. Printouts for the non-electronic, post-apocalypse world, where reading my rambles will be a priority.
Or, perhaps I thought a hard copy for posterity might be nice. Choose whichever option appeals more.
I’ve been searching for meaning in my life. Not existential meaning, though that’s always a fun quest. I enjoy the angst that comes from thinking about our insignificance in the universe, or from examining the ways we’re doing life wrong. I mean daily meaning. Immediate meaning. A reason to get up and get going. Beyond doing so as a slap in depression’s face. Though I have enjoyed getting up to spend time on my eyebrows lately: my magnifying mirror is, to my continuing surprise, a somewhat positive experience.
What do I do with my time since I can’t work and have the attention span of a sparkly-obsessed crow post-espresso shot? I need more than a diet of only domestic chores to keep me out of trouble. For various reasons, including the breakage of things I can’t afford to replace and a shortage of room for more plants. [ii]
Thank God for hard copies. Based on what I’ve read so far, Blogger was before my “everyone should edit” writing epiphany. This is great news: something concrete to do now that my “put together a book” project is done. [iii] I can play with Blogger. I can edit, improve, and update things I don’t even remember writing. It’ll be a nice distraction from mom’s health problems, dad’s memory problems, and the plethora of other issues cluttering up my Hierocles’ circle at the present moment. [iv]
After all, no harm ever came from obsessing about perfecting an external, right?
Lily – a longish short story [v]
Lily sat at her desk, working hard and tidy, needing to be the first one done. It was a dilemma: she’d feel ridicule from the others when she received the teacher’s praise and despair, but she needed Miss Breeden’s approval for the world to be okay. Her soft smile and the words “well done” next to a sticker of a smiling face or fuzzy cat would help offset the nonstop lonely wrongness she felt when she was with the other kids.
She was always wrong, out of step, excluded from the inside joke, and missing the information other people seemed to have. Lily knew other people understood the rules, had figured out how to fit in, how to feel safe. She knew they belonged, and she didn’t, despite all the trying. She wasn’t right.
Had she been older, Lily would have realized that large groups function independently of thought and will, and the fastest way to encourage their enmity is to make it clear their approval is desired. But six is young for that much self-awareness: all Lily knew was that she needed to belong and didn’t, no matter what. She was other.
Gym today after math is done, and the papers are marked, and Adrian gets the best mark, and the praise, and the gold star on the chart on the cloakroom wall. Lily could feel the inside pressure expanding, trying to take over, knowing already not to show it, not to let anyone see she was broken. It’s not safe to be weak. It’s not good to be a failure.
She stood at the end of the line with the angry hurt swirling in her head, holding her misery tight, filled with the enormous rage of the young, hating the unfairness of it all, needing to hit out and hit back. Desperate to feel okay.
Dragging feet and slow steps, not wanting free time, not wanting to be lonely, picked last or ignored, Lily stopped suddenly and turned back. Back up the stairs, back to the classroom, which was wrong now, not the source of joy and achievement, not her sanctuary.
She walked to the back, to the cloakroom, and took down her lunch. Brown bread, mayonnaise, cucumber, wrapped in wax paper. She hated that sandwich. [vi] No one else had sandwiches like that. No one else had bananas and a thermos. No one else brought a lunch box. The other kids had brown paper bags, and drink boxes, and cookies. Her lunch was wrong; her clothing was wrong, her answers were wrong. Everything was horrible, and broken, and ugly.
On the cupboard shelf, in the cubby above the hook holding a new pink jean jacket and not an ugly, homemade, crocheted poncho, sat a brown paper bag with ‘Adrian’ written on the front. No one was in the classroom: no one would see if she took a quick look. Lily reached up for the bag and pulled it down as her heart pounded in her ears.
Inside was a sandwich, wrapped not in wax paper but plastic, with white bread that looked soft and delicious. Lily looked around again, double-checking that she was alone, before reaching in to grab it. She didn’t mean to, but then it was unwrapped, and she was taking a bite. Peanut butter and jelly. Lily never got peanut butter and jelly for lunch. Another bite, and then a third, faster and faster until it was half done. Lily looked around before carrying on, eating even faster now, almost choking in her desperation to consume it all before anyone came, to fill the burning hole before she did the unthinkable and burst into tears at school.
A noise from behind. A hand at her shoulder. Miss Breeden standing there, looking at her, looking at the lunch bag labelled ‘Adrian,’ her eyes not angry, but sad which was so much worse. The noise in her head was almost unbearable. Lily started backing away as her teacher came closer, as the other kids filed back in. And then, everyone was looking. She couldn’t think of the right words to say. She couldn’t think of a way to fix it. To undo the horrible thing she’d done. To make her okay again.
Run. It’s your only choice. Run. Escape.
Through the door and pelting down the stairs before anyone can react. Out of the building, across the parking lot, and away. Away from the school, and the faces, and the judgement, and the failure. Down the road, picking up speed, pain and panic, running, running, running.
[i] Since September 7, 2011 and no, I didn’t calculate that myself. Thanks, Google. Also, it’s now updated. No new Blogger posts, but I made it pretty. I’m going to have to think about my obsession with varying fonts.
[ii] No structure leads to impulsivity. Impulsivity usually ends badly. Thinking things though is always better. Then you don’t end up nearly getting crushed by fireplaces rolling down staircases.
[iii] From Famine to Feast: my thoughts about my eating disorder. K. Michelle Pahl, April 2021, book. I was planning to update and repost old WordPress blog posts, and I’ll likely continue with that as well, but the Blogger project feels zingier and more exciting. Who knows why. Maybe it’s a Google thing. I will, of course, continue to avoid working on my autobiography.
[iv] “Hierocles’ circles” refers to a theory by the eponymous Stoic philosopher that discusses the areas of concern that one ought to attend to, from the self on out, in the order that one should progress.
[v] This is fictitious non-fiction. I combined two hard days into a single event, although by necessity some important things were omitted. The sandwich eating happened in grade two. I ran away from school and down the nearby highway in grade one. What happened to that little girl in the aftermath? Miss Breeden caught up with me and brought me back. I don’t remember much about what happened next. I chose the name “Lily” because it was my paternal grandmother’s name. She was a pistol.
[vi] I loved cucumber sandwiches. But they were different, so I was wrong.