The woman in the attic

There is a woman in the attic of my mind who I like to think of as someone other than “me”. She’s an angry thing; a harpy, really; all fluttering wings and sharp teeth and vicious smiles and “I told you so’s”. She scrabbles taloned feet on the hardwood floors and snarls whenever I think about closeness and care and the love of a good man.

Someone sent me a letter that spoke to these things and she insisted upon speaking to them. It’s a first, really. Normally she just whispers reminders of old stories and hurts to keep me from becoming too hopeful. I think it is her way of keeping me from being hurt; but she doesn’t realize how much she hurts me.

The following, her screed, is mine, I suppose. For all I think of her as “someone else”, it’s kind of hard to deny that she lives in my head. The “good” part in this is that she doesn’t run my life, she only claws at it. The “bad” news is, these fears and resentments and angers are likely the thing that keeps me from what I seek.

So I’m putting “her” words here, setting the thoughts into the charnel ground with every intention of leaving them here to wilt, wither, and fade. Already, I can hear her cackling, there, in the corner. But I think she may be in for a surprise because, this time, I’m ready to accept her words as my own, her feelings as mine, and the simple truth that keeping this, keeping her, is not helping me or anyone I encounter.

It is time to be done with such things.


In truth, I’m so despairing of ever really finding someone that I’m close to just getting another cat and embracing my “crazy cat lady” destiny. I suppose that sounds funny, but it just isn’t. I can’t begin to convey how lonely I am. I could string together infinite adjectives and it still wouldn’t do justice to the feeling of utter, ridiculous impossibility that tugs on my heart.
The things I find meaningful or necessary just make people roll their eyes and tell me things like “That’s too much work.” (To think, to enjoy deeper things, to have a care for the world, for others, for life in a way that can’t be boxed up in a pretty and mindless label and set upon a shelf without need or care for really understanding it, savoring it, reveling in it.)
I’ll be 45 in August. I never used to feel old. I do now. I feel weary, tired, and irrelevant. Everyone adores to be around me at work; I’m the life of anything happening. Everyone in retail or service smiles to see me walk in because (as they tell me) they feel good when they’re around me. There are a dozen flimsy, cardboard cutout men happy to fill my mailbox with ridiculous personas and patently unsustainable fantasies so long as they don’t have to actually do more than pay lipservice to it all; and every night, I sit and wish the phone would ring. I wish until I’m soul sore for any of them, anywhere, to have as much interest or care as to actually invite me to share life with them.
The phone does not ring; It has not rung in such ways for over twenty years, and frankly, I find it harder than it used to be to have that hopeful outlook; harder to feel like it’s still possible. I never wanted hollywood fantasies come to life, but I never thought it would be so ludicrously impossible just to have a sense of being genuinely cared for, thought of, missed… dare I say “loved”?
I have never had that feeling outside holding and raising my daughter. Never. I certainly never had family. My friends are largely those who feel loyalty for strengths and feats of superhuman care given them in the past. Too uncomfortable with that history to be more than smiles at distance.
I am tired of being lonely, yes, but I am more tired of hoping and wishing and craving and missing something I haven’t had well enough to miss as more than concept. I would rather give up than strain what little heart I have left through this god damned meat grinder of life. Does that make sense? I’m so close to turning bitter that it scares me. I’m so angry and resentful and frustrated for lacking even crumbs that I could just scream. I’m tired of trying to convince the world that I’m worth more than to be an ever patient postulate at the shrine of “someday”.
I have spent my entire life waiting for “someday”. I begin to feel demanding. Why the fuck should I not be? Do I not deserve to either have or have done with it? Forty four years is a long fucking time to be waiting for the basic feeling of mattering beyond being the bedrock to every soul in need, isn’t it? Maybe I’ve been missing the point all along and instead of standing with my arms out begging for someone to recognize me, I should rather just get on with life and cauterize this stupid, bloody mess of unmet wanting and, for once, let the world chase me; prove itself to me; convince me for a change.
It’s all like a distant whisper to me; the promise unmet. Words are simple things; anyone can make them. I make more than a few myself. But words do not hold me when I cry like this, and words do not stroke my skin. Words do not warm me when the chill of early hours descends and I think about what it will be like to grow old and die alone.
For all I love words, I am purely sick of them. I do not need words, I need manifestation; action, direct and as blunt as life itself.
Is it fair of me to be demanding? Of course not. And absolutely. It’s a Gordian knot and all I’ve got are toothpicks. I may not find someone who could cut the damn thing twain, but surely wanting someone to pick the damn thing into lint with me over the course of the rest of my life isn’t that much to ask.
The things I wish I could say won’t be confined to words. It’s bigger than words. It’s too deep for spoken effort to convey. I can’t even approach it, for all the letters I’ve thrown at this silly page. It’s the rippling imponderable that swims beneath all things, that lingers in my dreams, and that is going to slowly drive me mad unless I either murder it or find the way to making it stop hurting.
I wish I could stop typing now. What I am trying to say won’t fit in san serif pixels.
I wish it could.

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