What I wrote out on the plane, or tried to. In some cases, both.

I wrote the story of the last 10 days, beginning with an unplanned jaunt to Chicago. I wrote about getting a green knit cap with my dad's gift card from Kohl's, and how my brother chose the soup buffet I loved (but which he usually dislikes) for dinner, then drove me to the airport, and how he's grown into a young man whom I love but do not know. I wrote about cold ham sandwiches in the church school's cafeteria and the neutral ordinariness I've fought to escape for years, partly to have something to fight against. How much time it takes to get used to defining yourself in the absence of someone else's shadow.

I wrote about coming back and sleeping at Mauna Loa, in the warmth of another circle of friends who open to take me in. Being able to help them (I hope) with their business, nap a while, catch the bus to work. Burritos, trips across the city, working in school hallways, long talks with coworkers and friends that left me shaken in a very good way, sitting over the radiator, pulling a sink full of dishes through hot soapy water, making tea. (I was tempted to give everyone tea this year - make a mix of black tea, dried mango and mint, call it hyperactivitea. I decided that the pun was too awful for even me to use*.)

*...though I'm having second thoughts about this now. ;-)

I use my laptop as a portal into another world I choose when I don't want to be in the world I'm in. Home, with parents angry? Computer. At night, with no one else to talk to in the apartment? Computer. Alternatively, book; it used to be a book for many years before I bought myself my first computer, but books can't talk back to you, ask you questions, answer yours. It's just a valid a world as the physical one I choose not to be in for a while. Sometimes you have to go away before you can come back.

I wrote about jackets, an icy trudge from Chuck's house with Seth and Michael over the Longfellow bridge. About a loud dance club above Central Square where I learned a little about advertising, and about soaking donuts in chai with SJ, and about rebuilding bridges of the metaphorical type. Wrote about Jon Stolk pointing out I'd centered my life around people and how my first reaction to that was oh! what a funny thing. About raspberry lambic and how, when you have a whimpering 5-year-old curled up in your lap, you tour the bathroom to prove to her that there aren't any slugs or cartoon villains in the shower, then sing ballads on the piano (loudly, so she can hear them through the door) until she's done shampooing.

I write because I need to know the story that I tell myself about my life. I wrote again about being surprised by hugs, and still not being able to take them gracefully. And look, enough with this already; it's bloody ridiculous. Maybe I should make a sign and show it to a couple of my friends, something like this:

Hi. I'm trying to get over a phobia of hugs from people that I care about. Do me a favor; give me a hug, and don't let go until I relax. I'll probably rescind this request as soon as you attempt it (in fact, as you read this, I am very much regretting showing you this sign); don't listen. I'll likely flinch, squirm, stiffen up, begin talking incoherently and rapidly about something else to get my mind off it; you may be kicked, punched, sworn at, and/or subject to other forms of emotional outburst. You may withdraw from participation in this study at any time. If you understand the risks, please initial this disclaimer...

...kind of a lousy favor to ask, isn't it? "I'm feeling masochistically self-abusive! Kindly allow me the potential of lashing out at you!" Or in fewer words, "Hello! I care about you! May I hurt you, please?" (Or in fewer words, again: "Please break me.") Then again, it's the kind of thing I volunteer to be on the flip side of all the time. I would really rather be the punching bag. It's easier. And I'm more used to it.

I wrote about the difference between running away from something and running towards something else, and whether there was one. About the temptation to try to rest and settle and be happy doing Very Well - and how those temptations might perhaps be right, but that I had decided to ignore them and to keep on climbing blind and trusting my ability to fall, and take the risk of falling badly. How I knew there's no silver bullet that will automagically make life easier, but how I want one anyway; how wanting and missing and being hungry for something hurts, and how I run sometimes to keep myself from noticing.

How I was running out of words and wanted a warm fire and a soft bed and a number things I knew I don't know how to deal with, and how I also fundamentally wanted to be pushed beyond my limits until I shattered (because of some sort of arrogant youthful self-confidence that I'd be able to repair myself, I assume) and how I fought myself because I needed something to wrestle with and you're your own safest opponent - both to fight and to destroy. How I do that and run forward and how I'm terrified of everything but try to never act like it and how I can hold (barely, like the surface tension on a glass of water that's just overfilled) these contradictions and also be happy, and how I always end crazy agonized things I write with a "but I'm happy!" and truly mean it, and what would it mean if one day I chose to leave that sentence out?

So yeah, I got more incoherent as I went along. My handwriting got worse, too. Not everything has to fit into a story; they're devices that we use to create and convey meaning to others and to ourselves.

And I wrestle with myself in this forum so that I don't have to do it quite as much in the Other World I live in.

Off to dinner now. Last thing I want to write about before my email clearing sprint: dreams.