birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


Tonight I feel like I'm fighting with myself. I feel this intense anger coming up. I think it's partly the Trump administration and what's happening with these kids on the border, and the way I perceive that our democracy is being challenged. It makes me feel like lashing out at myself and the world.

But it's not just that. I haven't been in my usual routines for a few weeks now. I'm doing more than I have time to do. I realized today that I had no real concept of what the date was. I know the number of the day, I'm not THAT out of it. But I'm letting deadlines creep up on me and not planning as well as I usually do.

The kicker is the class I'm teaching this fall. I said I'd do it for reasons that resided in my head, not my heart. Like, it'd look good on my resume. It'd be a good bridge to build if I ever want to transition into freelance work. It could be fun. I like working with students. Meanwhile every time I think about it I get a feeling in my chest and throat like the anxiety is creeping up and threatening to choke me. My body is telling me loud and clear that it's not the right time. I've been trying to ignore it. But I feel it now.

I went to my meditation sitting group tonight. Mostly I felt restless and angry that I was restless. Resistance to being restless. My left leg kept involuntarily clenching. Every time it happened I got more mad. But what's the point of being mad at a leg? It doesn't even know what it's doing. It's probably trying to express something deeper that I'm feeling. Like, perhaps, the anxiety about fitting this class into my already-packed schedule.

Maybe this funk is a result of being a triple Cancer. I am no stranger to moodiness and my birthday is coming. I doubt it though.

The last actual fight I had with an actual person was with a close friend. I don't like fighting, and I try not to do it. But it happened.

I feel terrible about this fight, because my friend was in a really bad place when it happened and she hasn't spoken to me since. I think that that is more about her than it is about me, but I still worry.

She's got tons of unresolved trauma and a drinking issue, and this past year she was suicidal at least twice. I'd dropped by her apartment to say hello the night before, because an old friend and I were driving by. We showed up unannounced. I did it because I thought she'd like to see the friend and me, not to check on her. But she didn't like it, I guess. The next day she called me and said I didn't have to check on her.

The she said she wanted me to tell her if our friendship triggers me, because she knew it had been rough and that I cared about her a lot. She said she didn't want to be a burden. She asked me insistently to tell her the truth. I should've realized how insistent she was before I answered, that there was a lot underneath her question. In the moment, thinking she was asking for a real, open conversation, I said something like,"Sure, there are some things about our friendship that trigger me. I know you're in a lot of pain. Sometimes I need a little bit of distance so that I don't take it on."

Well, that didn't go over well. I think maybe hearing that confirmed her worst fears about herself, even though she also must have known that it was a reasonable thing to say. She flew off the handle and demanded that I explain why. I felt trapped. I felt the weight of all of the previous months where I was afraid I'd get a terrible phone call that she'd died by suicide. I yelled. I did not use a tone that I am proud of. She said some awful things. I told her I was going to get off the phone.

The next morning she texted me and said she wanted her keys back ASAP. I had them because I'd watched her cat. I said okay. I mailed them back with a letter. I explained how I'd felt during the call and apologized for the tone I used. It probably wasn't the best apology I could've made; I needed more time for the feelings to subside to do it properly. But I wanted to say something while we were communicating, so I took the opportunity.

She texted me a few weeks ago and said she hoped I was doing well. I sent her a heart emoji back and said I was, and that I hoped she was too. We haven't talked since. Come to think of it, I think today is her birthday.

Thinking of that makes me sad. She is a good person who didn't deserve the childhood she got. But I'm a good person too. And I can't fix things for her, nor can I heal this rift if she's not ready to heal it with me.

I guess all I can do is all the self care tools I know how to use. Put them into action. Take baths when I need to relax. Do my laundry once a week. Say no to things I truly don't have the time or inclination to do. Love myself. Rinse, repeat. Let go of the fight.

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