BY CHANEL DUBOFSKY
Dirty hair is:
- debateable (after a certain period of time—six days? seven?—no longer.)
- power (only when I choose it, not when I can't stand the thought of getting out of bed.)
- alarming (yes, we have finally arrived at alarming. we are not so out of touch.)
What I cared about at this time—2011, March through June: distraction. Not fixing anything yet, just pushing it all away—it hurt, it burned me. I cried in the shower, loud enough for my housemates to hear, I howled, and it made no difference in my body.
I stayed prone, in my bed, trying to keep safe from invasion. It got in anyway. It always does. I left the television on, turning it off was too much bald darkness. (When my mother died, my grandmother turned off the television in the kitchen, she left it that way for a year.)
Here is a thing I found: weird comfort. Maybe it doesn't matter at all what it was, only what it did, which is pass the time until I could want to feel better again, until I could find an edge that I didn't just want to jump over. (This is not how it always works. This is a prescription for nothing.)
Weird comfort: A tv show about murder of various kinds. People whose job it is to find the murderers, whose phones ring at all times of day, who can't have normal lives, who don't even want them anymore. Maybe. It's on all the goddamn time. It has been for years. I flipped past it until the one time I didn't. I am an absorber of things, an obsessor, a collector. What I did with this weird comfort is what I did as a scared kid, what I kept doingas a scared adult—I found it and I kept finding it, I pillaged it, I greedied it. I dissolved myself.
It's not very long until I want to know everything there is to know about this, until it is a thing that I need. I am still not washing my hair, it hurts to leave the house, I have to have my partner send an email to my friends—in bad shape, check in if you can. I'm nauseous all the time, because I can't imagine food, it's too much work, it's another impossible thing. Infiltration is all I'm interested in, getting into something else, anything else, and staying there.
I'm no good for you, reader, because I can't remember how I got away—away, not out. There must have been a subway ride, a soundless shower, a scraping back up from the ground. Typing. Regular meals. Stretching. Diners, 3 am, the West Village, the untenable. Pills, a moving van, coffee, dry eyes.
Do we apologize for:
- not washing our hair
- finding comfort where none should be found
- doing our very best to outrun the thing
- for not doing our best
- for saying "fuck you" to the very notion of the best
- doing what it takes to stay in the same place as the strange, shimmery thing
- none of the above
You can guess what I chose.