What’s in the Box: September’s Sephora Play Box

So, this month’s box post comes with no handy photographs, because I didn’t even realize that it was at my sister’s house until after I was already there for some Saturday night shenanigans, and I drunkenly gave half of the contents to her.  Sephora’s order tracking is pretty inaccurate, when it comes to its subscription boxes.  I am informed when the boxes are shipped, but more often than not the estimated time of arrival seems like a random guess.  About the giving away of the contents, I gave her three out of six things in the box, two of which I already had and one of which I couldn’t see myself using.  More details on that to follow.

This month’s box theme was “The Unbasic Basics”.  In the words of Sephora’s own copy, these items are supposed to take us “back to beauty school”.  There are these bras that I buy only to wear to work, Bali Passion for Comfort underwire minimizer bras.  They’re not cute.  They’re not sexy.  But they do what they’re supposed to do, comfortably contain and minimize my outrageous chest situation so that I can do my job, and that’s why I keep buying them.  The stuff in this box is the cosmetic version of the comfy work bra.  It’s not exciting, but it exists to do a job and it does that job reliably.

  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel
    This was probably the thing in the box that I was most happy about receiving.  I like the ABH brow products I already use, but my eyebrows continue to be a struggle for me.  Even though I use the lightest blonde shade that most brow products offer, it’s still too dark, really, because my eyebrows and eyelashes are not very dark, so it looks weird, and my eyebrows are patchy because I have thyroid disease and so I get random bald spots in my already thin brows.  I like the clear gel because it gives my brows a neater, more uniform appearance, without adding a color that reads as obviously fake.
  2. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper
    I gave this one to my sister. Not because I don’t like it.  I already have it and I do like it.  I think Tattoo Liner is a pretty good liner and the pen design makes it easy to use.  I just don’t need another one.
  3. Atelier Cologne Collection Azur Sud Magnolia
    I also gave this one to my sister, because I already had a sample of it.  That said, Atelier Cologne is usually pretty hit or miss with me.  Love at first sniff or outright revulsion.  I’ll never forget the time I ordered a mini bottle of Rose Anonyme and was horrified when I smelled it, because it smelled less like any rose I’ve ever smelled and more like men’s after shave.  I just went to the drawer where I keep perfume mini bottles to smell it again, to make sure I was remembering correctly, and, yes, it totally smells like something they would sell in the men’s shaving section.  My point is, Atelier Cologne samples are kind of an adventure.  I didn’t dislike Sud Magnolia, but it didn’t really smell much like I would want a magnolia perfume to smell.  Magnolia are big showy blooms that explode into beautiful life and then quickly fade, leaving behind a gorgeous carpet of decaying petals.  That’s what I want when I smell a magnolia perfume.  A great burst of exuberant life followed by a beautiful death.  So, yeah, Atelier Cologne perfumes can be very disappointing.  I still love getting them as samples, though, because they come with postcards with little snippets of creative writing about the sort of people they envision wearing their perfume.  I put the postcards on the mirror above my desk.
  4. Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in Love Spell
    I’m a bold lip kind of girl. This pale pink color is an absolute nothing of a color. I gave it to my sister because maybe she won’t hate it.  It wasn’t just the color, either.  There was a decided lack of color payoff, and I had to work to get the wishywashy stuff to even show up.  Not for me.
  5. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Protector
    That is a long frickin’ title, is it not?  Much word salad.  I haven’t used this, because I’m waiting until the next time I wash my hair before I go to bed.  I don’t have high hopes.  I have long, thick hair and the bottle is not very large.  There probably won’t be enough product to cover all of my hair, so it’ll just end up half-assed.
  6. Sheer Transformation by Ole Henrikson
    I’m pretty sure I already own a sample size of this product, but I’ve never used it, because I already have a go-to moisturizer and I”m not looking for another one. I might give this a try, though. I guess it can’t hurt.

So, those are my feelings about the contents of my box.  This month was kind of a bust, but maybe next month will be better, especially since we’re heading toward holiday gift set territory

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Skin Care Routine(s), at the Moment.

So, I’m not going to post photos with this, because I have no desire to go and take them, but I am going to post links to all of the products listed, because someone might find this useful.

I am not a skincare expert.  In fact, I’m probably shitty at it, because I don’t go out in the sun and therefore don’t have a lot of visible signs of aging, so skincare was never high up on my list of concerns.  However, I do realize that I won’t be that lucky forever, so I am trying to make more of an effort to take care of my skin.  Also, I work at night, so I sleep during the day, so my night/morning routine is going to be different from most people’s, because I do the morning routine before I go to bed.

Night Routine

So, at night, before I go to work, this is how it usually goes.  In the shower, I wash my face using a Foreo Luna Mini and First Aid Beauty’s Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay.  I’ve been using the Foreo Luna Mini every day since I got it, in January or February this year, and I don’t regret buying it at all.  It’s a gentle way to feel like you’re getting a deeper clean when you wash your face, without scrubbing at it with a brush.  The vibration is actually helpful in other ways, as well, because I am prone to ear and sinus infections, and if my ears ducts or sinuses feel plugged, letting the Luna vibrate over them for a moment while I’m washing my face helps relieve the pressure.  I’ve only been using the First Aid cleanser for about a month, but it’s really good at making my face less oily.

After I completely gotten dressed and ready, my face is the last thing I take care of before I leave.  I tone, make sure to apply lip and eye treatments, and then moisturize.  I don’t wear makeup to work, so my main concern is making sure that my bare skin is as hydrated as possible.  For toner, I have started using Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner by Origins.  I honestly don’t know yet how much I like it, because I have only been using it for a short time, but it does have some aspects that I’m not thrilled with.  It’s a little drying, and I don’t like the bottle opening, because it’s very large and I feel like that makes it too easy to pour out more than you need when you’re putting it on a cotton pad.

For a lip and eye treatment, I’m currently using Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream on my eyes and my lips.  It moisturizes and has hyaluronic acid in it, but it absorbs quickly, since it’s a gel-cream, so I don’t have to worry about it getting in my eyes if I get sweaty, which is why I like to use it before I go to work.  I put it under my eye, in the outer corners, toward the temple, and on my brow bone.  I also use it on my lips, since it’s hydrating and gentle, and then, on top of that, as an outer layer to lock in the moisture, I use Jack Black lip balm.

After all that, I put on my go-to moisturizer, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, which, again, moisturizes and has hyaluronic acid in it.  It absorbs quickly and doesn’t sit on the skin, so I don’t have to worry about, again, having it get in my eyes or mouth when I get sweaty.

Lastly, if I have any blemishes, I’ll dot on some Clean and Clear spot gel, which isn’t the best spot gel, ever, but it’s clear, so I can wear it while working without worrying about it being visible.  I use a more visible and more effective spot treatment at home, but we’ll get to that.

Then I throw on my glasses, wash my hands, grab my lunch box and purse, say goodbye to my cats, and head out the door.

Morning Routine

When I get home in the morning, I usually wash my hands and take my medication first thing, because one of them is Ambien and it usually takes me a while to wind down, so the sooner I take it, the sooner I can go to sleep.  Then, after I eat/do oral care/change into my pjs, I go see what needs doing with my face.  Since I don’t wear makeup to work and I deep cleanse before I go to work, I don’t need to do a lot of cleansing when I get home, so I just give my face a thorough going-over with either a Simple Micellar wipe or some Garnier’s Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water on a cotton pad.  Then I tone again, with the same toner as above.

For facial treatments, I’m currently using Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair eye cream on my eye area and Neutrogena Ageless Intense Deep Wrinkle serum on the rest of my face.  I don’t actually have any wrinkles, deep or otherwise, but they both contain Retinol, so it’s a better safe than sorry kind of situation, as I’m hoping to prevent wrinkles later on.  I also like to put Dr. Brandt Pore Thing on my nose, since it’s supposed to tighten pores, but as it’s apparently also been discontinued, I won’t be able to use it anymore when I run out, so it will probably not be part of my routine for much longer.

As far as moisturizing goes, if my face doesn’t feel very dry, I’ll go ahead and use Neutrogena Hydro Boost again, but if it does seem kind of dry, I like to slather it with GlamGlow THIRSTYMUD Hydrating Treatment, which doesn’t absorb quickly and has a thicker consistency, since it’s supposed to be worn as a mask, so it stays on while I’m sleeping, probably until it rubs off on my pillow.  Sometimes the area where the skin of my nose comes together with my face (which, what do you even call that?) gets a little dry, so I’ll dab some Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Facial Oil or some Josie Maran Argan Oil right in those little crevices and let them marinate.  I usually put on some kind of moisturizing lip balm before going to bed, but I don’t always do it, especially if my lips don’t feel particularly dry.

Lastly, but not leastly, if I have any blemishes, I am using the Kate Somerville Eradikate spot treatment for them.  The acne fighting ingredient in it is sulfur, so it smells really terrible, and it’s a pink color, like calamine lotion, so it’s not something you can wear on your face if you plan on going anywhere.  It works, though.  You just dab on some of the treatment with a q-tip, and your blemishes look much better when you wake up.  I’m trying to make sure I use it on spots as soon as I see them, to keep me from having things to pick at on my face.  Picking at your face makes everything worse, but as a former self-injurer and a fidgety nail-biter, I have the hardest time keeping myself from doing it.

Masks, Etc.

A couple of times a week, I try to do facial masks and pore strips.  My favorite masks are GlamGlow ones, SUPERMUD and YOUTHMUD, for clearing and exfoliating, respectively.  However, as neither of these is cheap, I was giving L’Oreal’s new line of masks a try.  I was using what I thought might be roughly analogous to the GlamGlow ones, the Detox & Brighten mask in place of SUPERMUD and the Exfoliate & Refine mask in place of YOUTHMUD.  They both seemed more drying than the GlamGlow masks and they both have really strong smells.  Detox & Brighten isn’t so bad.  It smells kind of like magazine paper, and I actually like the way magazine paper smells.  Exfoliate & Refine, however, has a really strong citrus-y chemical cleanser smell, and wearing it for the required ten minutes honestly messes with my asthma.  Fortunately for me, Hautelook had a sale on GlamGlow recently, so I have managed to restock my stores of SUPERMUD, YOUTHMUD, and THIRSTYMUD.  The L’Oreal masks are a decent cheap alternative, though, if you aren’t asthmatic or averse to strong smells.

I also use Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More Pore Vacuum Cleaner, if the pores on my nose are bothering me and I want to do a quick degunk, because it’s a thin formula without any kind of clay, so it dries quickly, doesn’t need to sit for that long on your face, and is easy to wash off.  I don’t use it as often as SUPERMUD, though.

For pore strips, I like to use them after I’ve masked, because I feel like the mask makes the stuff in the pores more likely to come out, and the hot water I used to wash the mask off has helped steam my pores open.  Obviously, I use Biore pore strips, because when it comes to ripping solidified oil out of your pores with glue, there’s no point in buying anything fancier.  I tried Boscia pore strips once, and it was just a waste of money, because they didn’t work any better than Biore.

So, on a mask day, it’s cleanse, tone, mask, wash off mask, pore strip, treatments, moisturizer.  It’s really time consuming, so I usually try do it on days when I have free time.

Aaaaand that’s what I do to my face.

Unless I’m feeling crazy, and then I can’t be bothered to do ANY of it.  But that’s a tale for another time.

 

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Adulting in 2016: Being an Adult Is Serious Fucking Business

So, one time, my dad told me that when they put him on Prozac it made him hallucinate a conversation between himself and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Several things of note:

  • It wasn’t really one time.  My dad never met a story about himself that he didn’t repeat ad nauseum until you wished you were dead just so you wouldn’t have to hear the same story again and again.   There were times when I wished he would just hit me and then pass out so I didn’t have to hear another one of his bullshit stories.  His stories were worse than being beaten, that’s what I’m saying.
  • This is memorable to me not just because I heard it a bajillion times, but because it was kind of funny.  Not just that my dad hallucinated, but because he, a virulent racist, hallucinated Dr. King.  Not one of his dead parents or any of the long list of people he harmed throughout his life, but a pacifist civil rights activist.  And you know what, I think my dad would have broken Dr. King.  Dr. King would have been like, “I’ll go back to jail in Birmingham for all eternity before I listen to this motherfucker tell me the story of how he instructed his eight-year-old  daughter to hit another kid in the head with a wrench and then spouted racist bullshit to that boy’s mother, who was Chinese and didn’t speak English, when she showed up at their front door.  I’m done.  What did I even do to deserve this?”  You did nothing, Dr. King.  You were awesome.  I’m sorry that my dad hallucinated you.
  • His takeaway from all of this was that antidepressant drugs were bad.  Yeah, if you continue to consume copious amounts of alcohol while taking them, especially.  To be fair, I also had no success with Prozac, when prescribed it.  Even though I was in my late twenties, past the point when it’s supposed to cause suicidal tendencies, I took it for a month and felt like I wanted to die for pretty much half that time.  Unlike my dad, though, I didn’t drink while taking it, so, probably that’s what went wrong when he took it.

The point of this anecdote is that as a teenager, I rolled my eyes at this story every time, because I already knew my dad was crazy and I didn’t need him to hallucinate to prove it, and it all just seemed like sympathy-mongering stupidity to me.  Of course my dad was a sensitive snowflake who couldn’t tolerate a drug that might make him a decent person.  Of course he was.  Plus, I didn’t really believe that it was that serious.  I assumed he was exaggerating.  So I eyerolled.  Just not where he could see because he would have slapped my eyes out of my skull.  I eyerolled on the inside.  Where it counts, and no one slaps you for it.

Now, as an adult, I kind of wish I would have asked my dad more about it.  Maybe if I had details of what his mental illness was like for him, what his experience with antidepressant medication was like, it would be helpful for me, now.  I look back at my eyerolling and eyeroll about it, because I thought my dad being crazy was a big joke.  I thought being delusional was a big joke.  Now, when I can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not real, I think, wow, was this what it was like for my dad, trying to maybe do the right thing getting medicated for his issues, and experiencing hallucinations and delusions as a result?  Obviously, he exacerbated the situation by drinking alcohol while taking the medication, but there are other things that my dad has said over the years that indicate he’s either way scarier a person than anybody knew, for real, or he’s extremely delusional.  Was alcohol just his way of dealing with that, or did alcohol cause it?  Is there any hope for me?  Am I doing the right thing, in therapy, and with the medication I’m on, if I still have days when I think the rest of the world is imaginary?

As the saying goes, you either die a hero or you live long enough to become the villain.  Have I lived long enough, longer than my younger self ever imagined I would, only to become my crazy father?  Similarly, there’s the quote from Fight Club, “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”  I always assumed that I would succumb to my demons when I was younger, so I didn’t envision a future for myself.  Now, I’m thirty-four, I’m about halfway through my life.  Is this the way I want to live during the countdown to the cessation of my existence?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, obviously.  Yesterday, I didn’t even know if anyone else was real.  Today, I’m going to have to apologize for telling my sister that she’s not a real person.  Tomorrow, who even knows.

Life, dude.  Life.

I’ll say this, though, for any of you people who have read books like The Liars’ Club or The Glass Castle or Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, my crazy dad is crazier than any of those other crazy dads.  My crazy dad is a fucking legend.  He may have been an amazingly shitty parent, but he was never boring.

Except when he was telling the same story for the tenth time.  But all the stories were awesome the first time you heard them, for what it’s worth.

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2016 in Adulting: Medication Update

So, when I started taking Effexor, I was started on a low dose and told by my doctor that she would leave the decision to increase the dosage up to me, since I would know better than her whether it was working.  I didn’t know if this was a good idea, but I agreed to keep an eye out for any indications that the dose wasn’t really high enough.  I didn’t see any for the first couple of months, but then, last week, I got a visit from Darkness, my old friend, and I had an episode.  Didn’t go to work because I couldn’t force myself to get out of bed, and when I did go to work, I felt very detached from reality and I had a hard time making myself get out of the car to even go into the building.  So I decided to do what my doctor told me, which was to take two pills instead of one, and then, when I run out of pills, to ask them to change my subscription to the higher drug.  I’ve been taking two pills for about a week now, and I feel much better than I did before.  I sent my doctor an email about the situation, so I’m just waiting to see what she says, whether they adjust the dose.  I like Effexor.  I feel like it has been helping me.  I just don’t think I’m a low dose sort of person.

Now I’m worried, though, that my therapist will be bothered by me taking more medication.  She seems like she’s not much of a fan of medication.  Me, I think that if the medicine makes it possible for me to perform basic human functions like getting out of the bed and going to work, that’s all I care about.  I’ve been medicated and I’ve been not.  The self-destructive way my mind works when I’m not medicated is no way to live.   It’s been, at this point, years since I cut myself.  I don’t think that would be the case if not for medication.

So, we’ll just have to see what happens.  I’m hopeful that we’ll figure out what dose of this medication works for me and I’ll feel fine.  That’s all I want, really.  I don’t demand happiness.  I just want to be fine.

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Nope Octopus Gif: Companies Always Discontinuing My Shit

Everything I love gets discontinued.  If I really like something, chances are it will no longer be available for sale within a couple of months.  The list of things I’ve loved and lost is extensive.  Discontinued food.  Discontinued perfume.  Discontinued makeup.  Discontinued bras.  Every time I want to buy something and no one sells it anymore, I feel betrayed.  Like, not the betrayal of being beaten as a child or being cheated on by a significant other.  I have priorities.  I loved Clearly Canadian, but obviously I can function without it.  But the feeling of betrayal that comes with unexpectedly discovering that an experience you had and enjoyed is one that you will never have again, and you weren’t aware that you should have been cherishing it more, because you didn’t realize that the last time was the actual last time.

The latest in my string of lost loves is Dr. Brandt Poresolution Clarifying Lotion.  My toner, guys.  My toner is gone.  The last time I ordered it, I had to order it from Macy’s because Sephora was already no longer carrying it, and I, like a dumbass, and also a person who has to pay bills and can’t spend all of my money stockpiling skin care products, didn’t think, hey, maybe I should stock up on this, because probably Sephora not carrying it anymore is a portent of discontinuations to come.  Now, it’s only available from ebay and suspicious-seeming Amazon sellers, and when they’re out of whatever overstock they managed to come by, it will be gone for good.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I can’t buy it anymore, since it was 35 dollars for less than five ounces, but I really loved it.  It had a refreshing minty smell and it didn’t burn like a lot of toners do, and it made my skin feel nice.  Now I have to figure out a new toner, which may end up being an expensive experiment because all of the toners I’ve examined at the drugstore smell funny and I don’t like them, so I ordered some Origins toner from Sephora, but what if I don’t like it?  The same order includes a sample of some Sunday Riley toner, but that one is 55 dollars, so I’m almost afraid that I will like that one, because I don’t really want to spend that much money on toner, ever.  Skin care is so complicated.

None of this would be an issue if they had just not discontinued the toner I was already using.

 

 

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Oh, Catastrophe

Inside my chest the phantom heart beats,
desperate to convince the rest of my body
that there is no vacancy, no void where instead
an organless space could begin to collapse in on itself.
Oh, catastrophe, how you loom,
how you long for a taste of my flesh.
But I’ll just keep going.  I always do.
I laugh at your astonished disappointment
when I walk right by without a backward glance.

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2016 in Adulting: Therapy Visit Number Four

So, during my last therapy visit, I managed not to complain about my mother.  I know.  It was hard.  Or it wasn’t actually hard.  My therapist asked me to talk about things that I’m feeling more optimistic about, and even though I’d actually had a little bit of text correspondence with my mother prior to the therapy session, I would not classify my relationship with her as a thing I feel optimistic about.  So my feelings about my mother were pretty much irrelevant.  Which is good, because I don’t want to become a one-note therapy patient.  I’ve got lots of crazy stories.  I want to be entertaining.  The idea that my horrible life might be entertaining to someone makes me feel slightly better about it.  Which is probably an issue that needs to be addressed in therapy.  The performative aspect of mental illness.

Anyway, since we were talking about things in the future I could feel optimistic about, I started talking about our search for a house.  Which, as it turns out, even though I’m optimistic about the prospect of living in my own house, I’m pretty sure that the finding of said house is going to be difficult.  To illustrate, allow me to share a Venn Diagram.

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Two things that stand out about this diagram:

One, it looks like boobs.  That wasn’t on purpose.  It’s not my fault that so many things look like boobs.  Blame the patriarchy.  Or something.

Two, I’m sure you noticed that there is no overlap between the two circles.  That’s because Rasool and I have not agreed on any house out of the dozens I have found.  I want a cool old house.  He wants a house that is move-in ready and doesn’t require any renovation or repair.  The town we live in has no shortage of older houses, but most of them are going to require at least a little bit of work.  There are a bunch of nicely renovated Victorians in the town just across the river, but the town just across the river is in Illinois, and Rasool refuses to live in one state and work in another.  Apparently, we both want to live in houses from Tim Burton movies, but the only houses that would satisfy Rasool’s standards are the ones from the suburb in Edward Scissorhands.

In other words, Rasool wants to live in a small rectangular house with a minimal amount of lawn, surrounded on all sides by other small rectangular houses sitting neatly on their tiny plots of land.

My reaction to that is, if you want to live in a box, why not just keep living in an apartment?  If you don’t want to have to fix things or mow the lawn or do all the other stuff home owners do, then why are we even looking for a house?

I don’t think we’re ever going to find a house we both agree on.  I am optimistic about the possibility that this is true.  I think we’ll either keep living in an apartment or I’ll end up living in a house I don’t like because Rasool refused to consider any of the ones I did.

The hardest part of talking to my therapist is finding a way to talk about my relationship with Rasool.  I don’t want to seem like I’m afraid to criticize him, because then I look like an abused codependent Stepford wife, but I also don’t want to criticize him too much, because I realize that my criticism is generally founded in negativity that is not necessarily an accurate picture of the actual situation.  I don’t want to make him look bad when he’s not bad.  I also don’t want to make him look like a saint, because he’s not that, either.  We both are very stubborn, and he has a tendency to think that his viewpoints are more logical than mine.

With this situation, specifically, I have asked him to give me some criteria for houses, since I am the only person actively searching, but he refused to do that, even, saying he would decide if he didn’t like a house on a “case by case basis.”  That leaves me looking for houses, finding them, liking them, only to be told that he doesn’t like them.  It feels like such useless wheel-spinning.  It would be so much easier if I knew what he was basing his decisions on, other than “too old”, which is the only concrete explanation I’ve been given for some of the houses he hasn’t liked.

So I’m trying to be optimistic about the house-hunting, and I’m looking forward to eventually owning a house, but the actual search, so far, has just been nothing but an aggravating source of marital tension.  And familial tension, as well, since my brother and sister keep telling me that I am looking at houses that are too big and too expensive, even though they both own large houses and Rasool and I make more money than both of them.

The other thing that happened during therapy was that when I told my therapist about my new prescription, she mentioned that it was important to not let medication get in the way of actually feeling your feelings.  I understand that, in principle, but when your feelings are that you live in a pit of despair and you wish you would die, maybe feeling your feelings is overrated.  I am not in therapy in order to figure out a way to stop taking medication.  I’m pretty sure there is no therapy that’s going to cure my mental illness.  I’m fine with therapy being an aid, but I’m not into trying to use it as a substitute.  I function better on medication.  Exponentially better.  End of story.

So, yeah, adulting.  Kind of sucks right now.

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Look at My Vacation: Planes Over DC

Remember what I said about wanting to spend a whole day in Philadephia taking photographs of bridges?  I could probably easily do the same thing in Washington D.C., only I’d be spending the whole day outside the Lincoln Memorial taking pictures of the planes departing from and arriving at the airport.  They’re like Pokemon.  I just want to collect them all.  Unfortunately, no one else shares my enthusiasm for standing outside in the middle of the summer at a crowded public attraction, waiting for planes to fly overhead.  I usually get twenty minutes, at best, before I’m being nagged about moving on.  Inevitably, as soon as I get scooted away from a prime plane-spotting location, another one will fly overhead, just to thwart me.

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There Is No Why

After the blow,
but before its thunderous sound,
the air between her face and his knuckles
becomes an empty space where only god can reside.

He says “Run. Don’t run. It doesn’t matter.”
Indifference is his only benediction.
In my sister’s blood, I see the universe reflected.
Hope is a folly that stars don’t know.
They burn and then die.
The anger in her eyes burns and then dies.
She runs until she can’t,
never really sensing what’s behind her.

This is the flaw of human existence,
the ability to experience pain
but never understand it.
We know when to fight
and when to cower but never why.

In the bedroom we share, we never pray.
Despite our longing for our father’s death,
we know there is no god, real or imagined, who will claim him.
The voice in the dark only offers us a spoon,
leaving us to decide whose grave we’ll dig with it.
I imagine the taste in my mouth is that of dirt,
but it could just as easily be useless shame.
Asleep, we dream of the earth settling over us,
a stillness that cannot be interrupted by fear.

Sometimes, I get a glimpse of the monster behind me.
I stop fleeing and turn to look at it,
and then, with an ease I was born to,
I use my fists to break its face.
In the space between us, only god lives.
He tells me “Run. Don’t run. It doesn’t matter.”
I can fight or I can cower, but I’ll never know why.

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