A.M. posted something about time being the golden spiral that was posted by someone else and I thought Yeah, I know! I thought of that once, that time was shaped like the golden spiral, and I felt kind of angry like I had thought of it first, spontaneously and on my own, like I should’ve written it down and gotten credit somehow. But then is it something that we all know, if we’re that kind of person? If you like to think about the shape of time, is it something that you just know?
I was thinking the other night before bed and I thought: Is the internet the fourth dimension? You know like there’s a line, then a plane, then the three dimensional world where we eat breakfast, and then the internet? There is no time or space on the internet; it stretches out in a different way. It would make sense, I thought, that the internet would be dimension number four. But then I thought, I think there’s already a fourth dimension; I just don’t remember what it is. So then maybe the internet is the fifth?
Tara and I talked on the phone for three hours yesterday. I’ve been doing that thing I do before I leave where I hide and I don’t see anyone, and then I get so lonely I feel like I’m going to die but I feel frozen, sort of stuck in my little path that I’m walking, and I can’t break out of it. I talked to Tara on the phone for three hours and it made me feel better but also sort of not, because she’s so similar to me in the way that she reacts to the world that sometimes talking to her makes me feel more alone than ever, like there’s nothing else out there but the way the two of us see the world, and that’s a lonely scary feeling.
One awesome thing that Tara and I have in common is we never just accept the way something is done. We have to be like, why is it done that way? We have to poke around it and look at all the sides of it. Half the time, when you really look at a thing, it doesn’t even have a back! Society is like cardboard storefronts you can just push over. There is very little that actually serves any purpose. It’s like that saying, think outside the box. There isn’t really and hasn’t ever been any box.
Tara lives in the woods in the sub-arctic and that’s a really different time/place from me. Where Tara lives the wintertime is a little like Jupiter and the summer is a hot, dry sun over a vast, still bog. In between is a week of snowmelt and chaos. Right now I live in Portland in the springtime; the trees and shrubs and even the ground itself are bursting with flowers and the sky is a tempest. Tara chops wood and eats roadkill moose and is both hopeful and despairing. I make peppermint chocolates and fuss over my resupply boxes and listen to audiobooks while I walk in the rain. I feel hopeful but sometimes passing through the backyard in the night I look up at the stars and feel despair so black it tears me in half. I think of a radio show I heard in the morning about a man who had been tortured in a camp somewhere and I look at the stars and try to fathom a world that has such badness in it. I suppose having PTSD means I know the badness too well and so when it is mentioned I feel it in my own body, which is never helpful.
You know that Bruce Springsteen song? I text Tara. End up like a dog that’s been beat too much then you spend half your life tryin to cover it up, yeah.
Tara tells me that she read that the survivors in Jewish concentration camps were often the people who already had PTSD before they went in. That totally makes sense to me. I would totally be one of those people, I think.
A definition for PTSD, I text. Being emotionally prepared for awful shit to happen. All the time.
I stand in the backyard and look at the stars and then I realize that I’m trying not to feel my feelings, these vast black feelings I sometimes feel. Some part of me automatically gets pissy and tries to swat them away. Just feel it, I think. Just stop trying not to feel it. Half the time, I think, trying not to feel the feeling feels worse than the actual feeling itself. One trick I do when I can remember to do it is I try and feel the feeling as hard as I can. Kind of the opposite of pushing it away. I close my eyes and think feel it feel it feel it feel it! The feeling tears through me like a poltergeist and then it’s gone. But if I don’t let myself feel the feeling it gets trapped in there, like a ping-pong ball in my ribcage. Isn’t life strange. Isn’t life ironic. Won’t the irony crush you if you let it.
What else bad is going to happen to me, in my life? I think, as I look at the stars. Whatever it is, I know that it’s coming, that it’s out there. It’s in the soup, bumping around, waiting to brush up against me. I just hope that whatever it is, I can take it.
I am but time isn’t, I think. It’s just this moment here, and doesn’t that feel lonely. Empty, sometimes. Sometimes this moment is empty. But there is no time, so- this moment IS empty. Empty IS this moment. This is what it feels like to be alive.
No, I think. This moment is filled with love. There’s love everywhere, I just have to let it in. But now it’s another moment. This moment is filled with love. The same moment? Emptiness/love, Tara in Alaska and me in Portland, looking at the stars, flowers exist, small dogs, also torture, despair and hope, cities, the brightness of new love, heartbreak. Pow! Pow! Pow! Existence like a firecracker, bursting out into the sky. Isn’t it beautiful, with that tight coiled center always opening, and look at its long sad tail.
I have a tattoo of the golden spiral on my forearm. Usually when people ask me what my tattoo is I tell them of all the people who use the golden spiral in their work (architects, photographers, painters) and the places you see it in nature (everywhere) and how the human eye reacts to it (beauty). But now when people ask me what it is I’m just going to say, It’s the shape of time.