Volunteer State- Part 2 “Sleep”


I sleep for 15 hours. Well, I wake up a few times along the way. But there was no phone or clock to check and my head was impossibly heavy on the pillow. Nothing to do, really. Why not let it happen? Just sleep.

Finally I get up at 3:00 pm still tired. I am sick and the sore throat that started with hearty gospels in the car yesterday has stuck around. I am proud that I have allowed myself this excess. I wonder how I would have accommodated this illness if I were back in my normal life. Would I even press snooze? Would I drink a cup of tea? Would I force myself through yoga and binge my way through the uncomfortable feelings my body was putting out? Whatever it would be, this is certainly gentler.

I walk around the woods awhile, I pick through my books, and I write. From the comfort of the Pepto-Bismol-pink soft-with-age sheets, I write out my lofty goals for my time in this distant place.

  1. I want to Get Clean: I want to get off sugar. I need a foundation of abstinence to get me through my “normal life.” A controlled environment, a peaceful environment, I believe this will help. I believe abstinence is possible here.
  2. I want to read: A pile of books sits next to me. I want to pass hours turning pages, get tired, close my eyes, and go back for more. It used to be that I never read a book without finishing it, now the exception has become the rule. Where did my persistence go? I want to indulge my love of learning and be patient with the time it takes to mosey through the countless lines of text. I want to reach the last line and smile.
  3. I want to write: Always so much to write about. I want to write by hand, in this journal. I want to finally finish my 3rd creation story. I want to write out my confessional to facilitate my recovery. I want to stain my left pinky in ink.
  4. I want silence.
  5. I want to shave my head. Well, I don’t really want to, I want to be willing to. I want to be brave enough to. I want the freedom to. The idea first occurred to me just over 3 years ago, when just about everything in my life was different but the aching desire to be free of my addiction to food. The desperation tugged at me then, it does now. A few days ago, my sister cut my hair to give me bangs (with my permission) but she did a very sloppy job (without my permission). Earlier today, feeling like the shave was inevitable, I cut my own hair with a pair of scissors in the mirror of my little rustic cabin. I didn’t like the ends, with their damaged dyed blonde scraggly ends, but now it is short and embarrassingly childish. Nothing is inevitable but I’ve certainly set myself up for a dramatic recoiffiture.

I’ve never had so little to do in a day, and yet so much. Where to squeeze in the spiritual enlightenment? Somewhere along the way, I’ve decided to go through with it and shave my head. But I can’t just do it. I have to be in a proper state of clarity. I have to make sure that, when I do it, I’m not just in some impulsive fog. I want to pack as much meaning into it as possible. I imagine shrieking in a panic. What have I DONE??? that would be quite nice, a proper soul throttling. I can grow into it in time, but when I do it, it should be traumatic enough to rearrange some of those sneaky impulses in me that have gone on for over a decade smugly believing that there are no consequences for their destructive behavior. Take that. Be gone. Fuck you.

I just read, “you can have your cake and eat it too, but first you have to know that you want the cake.” Well, I have a problem knowing what I want and I’m so SICK of being indecisive and wavering and weepy.

As I sit here, still groggy, I have a cascading series of very bold confrontations with people in my life. It’s like a montage of resentments that I didn’t even know I was hanging on to, didn’t previously realize I wasn’t being fully honest about. I could imagine a fuck-all shaved-head version of myself declaring these truths unapologetically. What at first seems like clarity is now teetering into self-righteousness– danger zone for a powerful  ego. The awareness is nice but I’m also glad to be a few hundred miles from shouting distance and a few dozen hills from cell phone reception while I sort all this out. Maybe I have a fever?

Next Entry: Part 3: Spiral

Previous Entry: Part 1: South

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