SAD DIARY PROJECT
in October of 2020, a friend who has always been kind to my words asked for a piece of my journal. I sent off several pages to her, with the disclaimer that I hadn’t really been writing lately, or hadn’t been writing anything cogent. she responded, as she often had in the past with my journals, by sending me back her favorite lines. when I saw them, it didn’t occur to me that that was all she had done; it felt like she had written a poem out of my words. I had told her that I wasn’t writing, that I wasn’t creating, that I was, in fact, doing nothing. that she made something out of my nothing was moving to me. could other people––people that I loved and who loved me––help me create something right now, in a time when doing so alone felt difficult?
I sent off differing but overlapping pieces of my journal from that October to a handful of friends and asked friends to respond, if compelled, with whichever lines stuck. what follows is a compilation of somethings that my friends made from my nothing.
and thus autumn had begun without my noticing, without my mindfulness at all.
I didn’t cry that day but I cried most of the other days that week.
We lay down on towels with the wind whipping by us and I said I feel very horizontal and they said that’s the depression and we laughed again.
That night my friend made quick pickles from the radishes in the garden, staining a jar pink.
I use it to sleep and to do abdominal exercises and that’s it.
I let the tea sit on the window sill, where I was sure there was lead.
you need to see how the world dances even when you’re not dancing, how it breathes when you cannot.
Maybe you do have it, in fact, and you’ve only forgotten.
I learned which streets I liked, though not by name, which streets had the sunflowers
I tried to sit in my bed as the leak in the ceiling dripped slowly but consistently into a pan.
The conversation feels overly adult to me, and I somehow feel behind
And that felt so tragic to know, and I didn’t know how to express it.
Tonight I climbed up on my bed to collect pieces of the ceiling flaking off. I felt lead on my hands. The pot stayed on the floor, where water might drip, and I saw the stain beneath the window where the water had seeped into the wall.
And she’s pretty insane but I appreciate it
I find I am both dirty and clean when I live alone; I always clean up after myself, but don’t do it thoroughly. I don’t shower often; it took me six days before I ran the dishwasher; even longer to do a first load of laundry. I eat one spoonful of hummus a day, I roast vegetables with olive oil and salt and pepper like I have done for years, I microwave bacon, microwave frozen dumplings, eat a banana, lots of toast (with peanut butter in the morning and with butter and nutritional yeast later in the day), make extra salad dressing to use for a few days and keep it in an ugly mug from Ikea in the kitchen. The place feels a bit like a bad hotel in the beginning. I make tea and I never clean the mug, just rinse it, because it’ll taste of the same thing over and over again.
This is what made me cry alone in the kitchen. This is such a weird and sad and important part of moving away and such a good description of it all. Being entirely alone and discovering what happens in that time. I wash my tea cup once a day with water in the morning and sometimes take the sponge to it when it’s really bad. It's interesting to see what niceties one doesn’t care about enough when there’s no one around. Or how unkind you can be to yourself when no one is watching. Or the opposite of these things. I wonder how you are kind to yourself when you’re alone and how you are not.
One night I would fuck anything. I feel my body going please, please, this light thrumming. I must want a substitute for something. I’d take a cigarette out the window, salted caramel on a spoon, someone’s wet dick on my leg.
Does it feel like this for everyone.
Laughing was horrible, to not take our desires seriously, to laugh when I did not know what to do with her desire.
Yes I agree. Except sometimes when laughing is ok.
Have you been using the camera?
I tried to bring my spirit back into my body. I tried to call myself back, call myself home. Come back, baby. No reason to be all the way over there,
That day I ran along the pavement, the streets already growing familiar, growing claustrophobic, as small cities always became so quickly to me, and squished ginkgo fruit beneath my sneakers, which come home sticky. I tap dance upon the gingko fruits
But in the distance I see others deciding to change.
I peel a moldy cucumber––not knowing cucumbers could get moldy
In the end we spent two months of the year together, and that doesn’t feel like nothing. This is one of the small reasons I half-hate her.
It’s golden hour when I take off my mask to show the woman I’ve been speaking to for the last four hours––the market is slow, very few people come to get their food stamps doubled today, and the man who sells honey packed up and left after just an hour––my face, knowing she will find it surprising and possibly beautiful.
The conversation feels overly adult to me, and I somehow feel behind, like I have not learned what these other people have learned, even though some of them are younger than me, and wondering what I spent my time doing if not growing up, how did I fall behind in growing up, when we are all aging and all the time is passing in the same way for all of us?
Tonight I climbed up on my bed to collect pieces of the ceiling flaking off.
How many hours of the day do you spend feeling good, my landlord asks, talking about creative process while not looking me in the eyes. Figuring out how to use those hours. I like people who don’t give a shit what you think and just talk but what they say is interesting.
If I asked myself what I haven’t forgiven myself for, it’s for feeling like I should know what I’m doing and for not having a passion or an interest. I haven’t forgiven myself for that one, for thinking there’s something wrong with me for not having things figured out or not being in a different place. I’ve probably written this hundreds of times and every time it’s like it’s the first time. Sometimes I have to retell myself something hundreds of times before I know it.