"Let us be clear: the only reason I am making these tortillas like you asked instead of telling you to go buy a bag of fucking flour tortillas is because there is a not-very-alternate reality where I would like to be doing unmentionable things to your person. Comprendes?"
This is the feeling that screws me over: the feeling that if I can’t do everything I won’t be ENOUGH.
If the food I make is not good ENOUGH.
If I don’t work hard ENOUGH.
If I am not entertaining and witty and charming ENOUGH.
If I don’t do ENOUGH.
Then some unspecified and terrible consequences will follow: most likely that people won’t like me and will think I’m terrible.
This is the feeling that pushed me last year to cut more gorse than I thought humanly possible. It’s also a feeling that gives me heartburn. This is the feeling that strikes terror into my heart when people tell me I’m a good cook: please oh god don’t set up expectations that I will fail later. Past accomplishments are good for a couple weeks, and then I have to do something new and great to merit being held in good esteem.
It’s really hard to explain this, and people put it down to something I do to myself, which, okay: but, realistically speaking, how do you not care if people like you, or trust that they will like you as you are, without some effort to prove yourself as an exemplary person? It sounds nice, but I am cynical about my ability to live up to such models.
My host called me by the wrong name. Oops.
I can’t relax just yet. I know I’m being weird and jumpy but. The other people at the farm are all beautiful Europeans and I’m afraid they complimented my dinner because I was radiating anxiety. They are playing music and I just want to sit and listen. I spent most of the afternoon building and tending a fire because I was cold and my shoes were wet. My host has shaved his head and grown a beard and he looks a little silly but good. Everything he says makes me twitch. I feel a hundred times stupider and uglier than last year.
There’s no reason for any of it.
I kind of lied because I told people I had cycled from Rosslare. This is very close to being true, but I actually did 10 km the night before when I found my bench to sleep on, and then the other 60 km the next day. SO REALLY, I that day I had cycled from Kilinick, which is a town with two pubs.
Early in the morning I went by a house with three very pretty horses staked in the front yard, munching away. I started to slow down to look, when a tiny, ferocious terrier LEAPED to the top of the wall bordering the property and informed me in no uncertain terms to move right along.
I saw a sheep in a tulip bed and a cow trying to climb a hedgerow, and I was suspicious.
Tescos does exist in Ireland, but mostly in rural areas the grocery stores seem to be Spar, Centra, and Costcutters. The last of these is the closest one to the farm in Galway, and stupidly I felt perked right up when this was the store in Wellingtonbridge, which is one of two village of any size between Rosslare and the ferry across the River Suir at Ballyhack. Somehow I expected a more formal business, in a town called Wellingtonbridge, but mostly it was just the gas station/grocery by the road and a few houses. I got a coffee and asked them to let me charge my phone for a bit (they did), and some cheddar cheese (ooo, I still have that.) Then I went in their mildly disgusting bathroom and tried to clean myself up. Because my rain jacket is actually impermeable, when I wear it all my sweat is trapped next to my skin, and I had sweated through my shirt perfectly evenly. I dried a little patch between my shoulder blades about six inches in diameter using the hand dryer. Mostly I just wanted to enjoy the heat. I’ve been having problems regulating my body temperature of late.
There was a castle tower in Ballyhack, but I was so anxious to get on the ferry that I didn’t notice. This is silly, because the ferry took 15 minutes and ran continuously all day. It cost 2 euro.
I’m really bad at taking photos while I’m cycling (sorry for switching into British usage, but the moment of clarification that no I do not have a motorbike always irritates the fuck out of me and I would rather avoid it) and it’s never enough, anyway, but I wish I had an adequate photo of the approach to the River Suir widening out into the Atlantic Ocean. The road wraps around the bay tightly, just a stone wall between you and the fall into the water, until it drops down into a village of yellow- and pink-painted houses and shabby boats and shiny boats tied up along the dock. And the water is silver and on the other side you can see the stone cliffs rising up just a touch before there are sloping green fields in long strips perpendicular to the water, bordered by stone walls, and then a steep tree-covered hill rising behind that; and on the near side of the green fields there is another village with pink and yellow houses, short in a way that always makes me think they are crouching against the wind, directly across the narrowing water from the village you are currently standing in.
There was a priest and yellow dog with triangular ears waiting on the ferry, though the dog didn’t get on, and I’m not sure the priest did either.
Going up the hill on the other side was murderous, and I just pushed my bike. There is a certain point which going up any more hills makes me feel panicky and like I’m dying — like I’m going to die — so it’s just easier and less miserable to push my bike, even though my arms are weaker than my legs. (I have a really specific vision of how I will die going up a hill — my pedals will lock up, I will fall into traffic and hit my head, and then a car will smash my body. If I’m too tired this vision is overwhelming.)
But the hill itself was lovely, all overhanging boughs and stone walls and rough stone houses.
I could almost forgive the overhanging blackberry canes and the sprays of nettles (no, I couldn’t.)
The road from the ferry to Waterford was too busy, but my phone was dead and I needed to follow the road signs to be sure I was going in the right direction.
Waterford City is a pain in the neck to approach from the south — there’s miles of suburban crap before you get anywhere close to the city center — and everything’s empty and weird on a Sunday. I was well and properly irritated by the time I found the cafe (which only had 30 minutes of free wifi! I had to pay 12 euro for a day’s worth! my God, but I wanted it so badly.)
The hostel I stayed in is some guy’s house way out in the middle of nowhere, and I had a nice conversation with a Finnish guy also staying there, which got awkwarder and awkwarder as I got tired and less coherent and more confused about how to leave the conversation. I had a half a potato and a digestive for dinner. The shower was hot but didn’t have enough water, and the comforter was huge and thick and I am very surprised I could make myself get out of bed ever again.
going back to a farm where you were before and where things were great BUT unfortunately where the owner was rather attractive WHEN your skin is doing terrible awful things due to stress and being neglected.
That’s the best thing about language: every time you use a word you are summoning so many other things—all the times that word has ever been used. I know this sounds a little psychedelic, but maybe I have an ancestor one hundred years ago who used this word that I choose to write now. What does it mean that everything that we are writing is recycled? Words are full of ghosts. Poetry is full of ghosts.
In the Cardiff hostel — which was TWO DAYS AGO — I did not shower. I was too tired. I went straight to sleep. The same clothes I laid down to sleep in were the ones I stood up in, the ones I took the four-hour train to Pembroke in, and the ones that I took the four-hour ferry to Rosslare in.
They are also the clothes that I wore to bike forty miles in, that I BLED THROUGH (goddamn period), and the ones I am wearing now.
The last forty-eight hours have not been my worst, but they certainly have not been my finest. To get the worst out of the way (because I have to vent about how awful this was and then I plan to forget it forever,) I fucked up my place to stay, and the only place available was $100 for a night. NO. I tried to cop out — I asked for rooms at four B&Bs before I gave up — and then finally just resigned myself to not having a place to stay.
I SLEPT ON A GODDAMN BENCH OUTSIDE A GODDAMN FUCKING PUB. I had nightmares the whole night and woke up four times from being too cold. It started raining at 4 AM, and FUCK A WHOLE BUNCHA THAT, so I got my shit together and started walking my bike (because among the many, many things that give me the panic on a bicycle, bicycling in the dark is one of them.)
At 5:30 AM, I found a shrine to the Virgin Mary with a nice, high stone wall behind it, so I could finally pee and change my pad. Thank you, Mary.
At 6:00 AM, it was light enough to get on my bike, and motherfucking cliche though it is I have never been so glad to see the sun. I felt like I could fucking fly. Which is pretty good, given that a few days ago my lung capacity was severely diminished and I was feeling like a flattened piece of dog shit. I still coughed and blew my nose all through today, but my ability to bicycle seems to have been restored.
Weirdly, even though I only slept four hours, the day proceeded much as though it were a normal day of biking. I was slow, sure, but who’s surprised? I stopped and had a coffee. There isn’t much in rural Ireland, but what there is opens on Sunday. I had to take a ferry over the River Suir, which was by the far the prettiest part of the day, though descending the cliff roads and ascending again with my bike was not fun.
ASSHOLE WARNING: I am about to be an asshole.
I realize that if I weren’t a jackass I wouldn’t have had such difficulties, but I also more or less feel like a badass in that everything is sorted now.
I think I am a terrible person?
Ugh just remembered that therapy lady said a symptom of BPD was valorizing and then demonizing people.
1. Bet I lost a liter of fluids through my nose
2. Was NOT yelled at by any train crew
3. Stupidly pointed out a train station entrance with no stairs to a random guy with a bicycle; I think he thought I was a moron but my ear was still stuffed up so I couldn’t hear what he said
4. British rail really doesn’t care so much for cyclists
5. Cardiff is lovely
6. I saw a fat gray seagull at the station with a check pattern; first time for that
7. Don’t put the price for two items if you can only buy them in a four pack, Sainsbury’s (maybe it was for two four packs????)
8. Ate a potato-hamburger pastie in the station and that was a questionable choice
9. I need more bungees
10. Though I snapped myself in the face with the hook end of a bungee, so let’s all be glad that wasn’t worse
11. I don’t understand why right now my brain is making me feel shitty for not being attractive when I’m sick. OF COURSE I’m not. NO ONE IS ATTRACTIVE WHEN THEIR NOSE IS RUNNING LIKE A FAUCET.
12. Taking a train at 5:30 tomorrow to Pembroke
13. At one point I shoved a whole package of pita bread in my back jeans pocket, which I am pretty sure is a sin against dignity or something
14. I am filled with embarrassing love for my fellow master’s students, and, well, you’re not supposed to love people who don’t love you back? I think? How does that work? Is it bad to love a group of people for having a place for you? LOVE DOESN’T HAVE A REASON. IT IS OKAY TO LOVE FOR NO REASON AT ALL.
and I am absolutely not saying that Mike Brown did what he is being accused of by the Ferguson police department.