cowboy boots

Every once in a while, the subway car will start to move, but I won't feel a thing. There's a disorienting and slightly nauseating few seconds where it feels like the entire world is moving around us, while the train stays still. While I stay still. Then I realize it's just an optical illusion - the train on the opposite platform has started to leave the station, giving me the brief, false impression of personal momentum.

This is what depression sometimes feels like: an inability to distinguish my own inertia from the progress of the world around me. I can't tell if everything is moving past and beyond me just because I'm still for the moment, or if I actually am moving forward, and just can't tell yet.

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Recalibration is such an emotive, empowering concept to me right now. To shift the standard, to reset the bar according to my own scale. Zero goes there. Ten goes there. Negative ten goes there. I can take control of my experience of some input, therefore getting a clear idea of what output I can expect. 

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The other day I bought a plain white, crew neck t-shirt. Unbelievably, it was the first time in over fifteen years that I've done that. I've had a couple of otherwise white graphic tees, an off-white, v-neck tee, a sheer, white long sleeve v-neck layering tee, even a few plain white men's v-necks for working out. But this was the first completely plain white, short-sleeve women's crew neck tee I've purchased in nearly two decades. WTF.

I'm obsessed with it. I want to wear it every day. I love how bright and clean it looks against the grime of downtown - against the all-dark uniform of so many of its inhabitants. It's so quiet that it practically screams. It's ironic without being so, because how the hell can a white t-shirt have anything ironic to say? And because I'm relaxed and happy in it, I know it probably looks better on me than shirts I paid three times as much for. 

I love wearing something so absurdly simple, in a city that's anything but. It's like turning in a blank sheet of paper, five minutes into the essay exam. Everyone in the class glances up, nervous and embarrassed for me. She knows she has to write something, doesn't she? She's going to fail if she doesn't at least try...

Anyway, I realized how apt a metaphor this is for the way I live my life. I refuse to let anything be simple and easy. I refuse to do what's best for me. I embellish, needlessly. I complicate. I choose poorly. I choose too much. 

I need more plain white tees in my closet life. 

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Being rejected is like jumping into a cold swimming pool. At first it's unbearable, and all you want to do is get out, to escape the sting. But if you just keep moving and breathing, after few minutes it becomes tolerable. Pretty soon you don't notice the cold as much. And after a while, if you continue to swim, you forget how miserable you were just a little while prior. 

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I dreamt the other night that I was standing on a street corner with two middle-aged men, both cowboys. They wore dusty jeans, stetsons, and shiny new boots. Their faces were well-lined and tanned, but handsome. I felt very young and fresh next to them. 

One of the men wanted me to dirty up his boots for him. He was afraid he wouldn't be taken seriously as a cowboy unless his boots showed signs of wear. 

For some reason, this invitation felt like the most erotically charged proposition I'd ever received. But I welcomed it.

I decided that the only way to properly break in this man's boots was to stand on them, and grind the soles of my own street-filthy sneakers against them. I stepped carefully onto the tops of the man's feet, gripping his shoulders for balance. He put his hands around my waist and held me while I twisted my dirty shoes onto his clean ones, pivoting back and forth, left and right. I felt tremendous joy, not just because it was such a silly, childishly fun thing to do, but because it was working so well. I could see the smears of dirt dulling his boots. All this time, the other man just watched us in silence.

I looked up at the man holding me, and I laughed, delighted by our bizarre dance. The expression on his face was one of utter charm and beguilement, and it made me feel alluring and beautiful. I looked at the other man; he was smiling at me, too. The way they looked at me made me feel like I was some exotic creature from another time and place. An angel - no, a nymph. Something magical they'd lucked upon, that was going to give them exactly what they wanted.

It was then that I woke up, feeling intensely aroused. And thirsty. 

Weirdest dream I've had in recent memory.