i am a happy world.

i warned you all that i am a super pro procrastinator.  starting this blog came with the… oh  shit, what’s the word… (‘foreclosure’ and ‘stipend’ flash in my weird brain and are totally not at all what i am searching for)… i’m going to go with PRESAGE (thanks, online thesaurus)… anyway, starting this blog came with a presage that i very likely might bail.  it’s not because i am lazy.  it’s because i am not the biggest fan of small talk.  if i don’t have anything to say, i’m not going to eek something out just to fill the void or keep my stats up.  i have too much respect for you to treat you as if our blog writer/blog reader relationship might only be yada yada fodder.  as i mentioned previously, i’m always searching for something deeper…

i am back in pittsburgh.  it feels nice and it feels different.  maybe it’s because everything outside is suddenly green and alive.  maybe it’s because my best friend is moving here in a month and my brain is operating my eyes in a fresh way, always on the lookout for future adventures with her.  maybe it’s because the last time i sat on this slouchy brown futon i felt like i was dying.  now, much like the drying hospital flowers on my window sill, i feel transformed… a more solemn, quiet, wiser version of better than ever.

it could also be the fact that i spent the last few weeks at home, in Dagtown, USA.  i may have mentioned before that it is my favorite place on earth.  it always has been, it always will be.  it’s quiet and unchanging and everyone has lived there for 100 years and they all help each other out.  it’s a comfort to know that no matter how many transformations i may endure (there have already been at least a handful), there is always that place i can go to where i am the same and unchanged, in simpatico with my surroundings.  do you have a favorite place to return to?  i hope so.  even if it’s a place you can close your eyes and find wherever you may go, i believe it’s very important to carry home with you and revisit it once in a while in any way you can.  hop in the car, meditate, click your heels and repeat the mantra ‘there is no place like home’…

i’m planted back, solid, on the other beloved end of the home spectrum.  back to noise, paved roads.  the smell of manure is replaced with an olfactory rainbow of street meat, car exhaust and the faint Mothers Mary and Nature.

i hope this post compels you to join the search for something deeper and to take home with you wherever the seeking leads.

and now… a self portrait?

worldview

slumber zombies.

i am duh-rained.  not because i feel like crap (i mean, i do… i ate a universe and all its cosmic sugary bits today) but because i had a really, very, greatly superb day.  the sun woke me up, warm lapping on my cheeks through the summer curtains in Phyllis’s guest room.  she doesn’t like me to call it the guest room.  it’s my room.  you can tell.  there is photo evidence of me growing up on every wall, complete with a Romeo + Juliet poster on the door.

you can’t have a bad day when its beginning is all sunshine and Leo.

leo

dad picked me up and we “went into town” which, if you speak Dagtown tongues, you know that means we either went to Mansfield or Elmira.  in this case, it was Mansfield to pick up a fresh script for the still ever-pulsing pain in my back.  as we rode along to our points A , B and C we talked about music.  i put on some Spiritualized and told him about the magic in experiencing them live at Radio City Music Hall back in 2010, where they performed Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space in its entirety with the whole shebang… the horns, the strings, the ivory-robed choir.  all i want in life’s a little bit of love to take the pain away.  the couple next to me got engaged during the performance.  it was a precious, quiet moment between the two of them.  i’m not even sure they knew i noticed.  it was really sweet.  i can still see them in my mind, their dilated gazes locked and flicker-lit from the stage.  it’s a much beloved memory.  i hope they’re happy and still being righteous together, oblivious that this sap of a stranger thinks of them now and again and wishes them well.

when we returned to Dagtown i was quick to head out the door and into the fresh air.  lawn mowers were buzzing and i wanted to soak up the fragrance of other peoples’ progress.  i walked down our whimsical Church Street and stopped at the bridge on the corner where i exchanged Good Mornings with a fisherman who was already wrapping up for the day, satisfied with his technicolor catch.  i tried to work out a phrase about “the early worm” in my head and just ended up muttering ridiculous things under my breath as i took a picture of one of my favorite scenes… the stream and the shack.  i stood and listened for a bit, wanting so badly to be underwater.

stream

in fact, right now, i actually feel like i am.  underwater, i mean.  or maybe it’s the slobber of the slumber zombies nibbling at my sucked-dry bones.

i would continue going on about this fabulous day, but i have another one ahead of me and i have to make sure there’s enough of me to fully embrace it.  i needed to at least get something up, though, as i have promised myself that i will do this every day until i can trust myself to take a break and not quit completely.  baby steps.

okay, okay… the jaws and claws of the slumber zombies are no match for those of my guilty conscience.

short and sweet… i was visited by my lovely future-sister, Michelle.  there was much candy, cake and brownie consumption as we marathoned a full card of Yahtzee.  i’m a Yahtzee fanatic.  we’ve played from the same box for as long as i can remember.  having your name on a card in that box is almost a rite of passage.  family, friends, high school sweethearts, old, new, alive, dead… i wonder if the makers of Yahtzee realized that they were also creating a time capsule.

yahtzee

-oh no, more slumber zombies… the stronger, faster kind.  the Stretch Armstrong kind.-

before we ended our sister visit, we snapped a shot in the sun by the pasture.

sisters

-they got me by the eyes, pulling my lids like blinds-

i’m falling prey/asleep, gobbled up like dumb bubblegum, you beautiful people.

and now, a picture of what is absolutely certainly Juicy Fruit… a lifelong Porter/Garrison family gesture that means you are much loved.

juicyfruit

all the Juicy Fruit to y’all.

little lullaby. 

an old friend/past sister figure asked me just a bit ago if there were any videos anywhere of me singing… I’ll be working on a special request for her this week.

here’s a song I wrote while I was living in Boulder, CO some years ago when I was just learning how to play my guitar:

http://youtu.be/kkZX9onjq60

… I’m always just learning how to play my guitar… I’m looking forward to cradling this baby with a lot more tender love and care. [reminder to self : just play your damned guitar.]

warning : take care in streaming the only other upload on my channel… it’s not for the faint of heart (or ears).

I want to complete this day by expressing my gratitude for those of you who have followed along with the wonderdribble so far. much love and clarity was felt and the rejuvenating healing silence of fresh air and sunshine was soaked up on these hallowed Dagtown grounds. [reminder to self : play outside.]

aside from finding that my favorite headstone of all time in the cemetery is broken and beaten and nearly illegible, it was a serene solo spin. [reminder to self: see that Hattie Jennings gets her stunning epitaph back.]

this final sentiment etched in stone for this little lady lost in time has haunted me forever  : rest in peace, sweet little one. thou art free from sorrow now.

it makes me think about how it seems we are just born and live and die in the day and age we end up in and that’s just kind of that?  … big wheels are turning, little words are coming out but the thoughts are there when I look at/think of that stone.

anyway, life may be spitandshitshined sometimes… but at least we all never knew a time without…


love y’all.

❤️

backwardsbot : blog birth

the symptoms have been there for a while.  like, years.  the zero sense of direction, the constant confusion by spaces, the dizziness, the blackouts, the fatigue, the unfinished projects, the daydreaming, the no sleeping… all coming to a head nearly to the day i turned 30 on April 13, 2016.

this blog, in a sense, is my way of externalizing and tracking and correlating and remembering and documenting it all… it’s already overwhelming.  big surprise.

is this blog just going to be a big list of wonder dribble?  yes.  most likely.  (i love lists.)

where do i start?

when did it start?

i guess i’ll start with two weeks ago…

i’m living in pittsburgh, mostly alone, as my partner travels for work frequently for long lengths of time.  i wasn’t even worried about spending my big 30th birthday alone but i was eventually informed that i would have two mystery guests arrive at around noon on Sunday, April 10, and that they would stay for a few days and to not worry about planning anything, that they would bring the party with them as they always do.  score.  this was super exciting.  who could it be?

i was overjoyed when i answered the door to find a half eaten piece of pizza, an empty bottle of wine and two giggling besties on my stoop.  it was Jones and Chloe.  YAS.  this is going to be the best birthday.

bubbly

we wined, we dined, we enjoyed royalty treatment at the Ace Hotel complete with champagne, negronis and a Martin guitar (coolest amenity ever).  we swam like mermaids in the bathtub.  something, though, kept tugging at me… am i soaking this all up?  am i experiencing this to the fullest?  why is it so hard for me to remember where we are/what we are doing?  I spoke to them about it at length during our stay at the Ace… my frustration with myself over not being able to just sit down and answer my own questions. i have the motivation and the thought to, but I don’t have the… drive?  i couldn’t even put my finger on what was missing or what was bothering me.  i just knew something wasn’t right.  it hasn’t been “right” for a long, long time.

keepjamming

Jones and Chloe had to hightail it back to NYC on Tuesday (April 12), so i dropped them off at the bus station and went about my day, not without getting lost on the way home (while using GPS).  when i arrived home and pulled off the beanie i’d use to disguise my infamous “brittany bedhead”, i experienced a severe pain on the back of my head.  it was like being cracked with a bat.  it was like that time my middle school ass ran into the handle of a dumpster with my skull, full force, and smacked the back of my head on that slab of concrete where i laid unconscious, unable to move and at the mercy of my friend Frankie’s heroic diligence.  what the hell was this?  i swear i didn’t get hit…

On Wednesday, my actual birthday, i woke up groggy because the head pain was too much for me to lay my head on my pillow.  i had marathoned documentaries on HBO all night (the one on Robert Mapplethorpe, the one on the illustration process at the New Yorker, the one about God’s Children, the one about the lesbian who discovered her late great aunt’s amazing artwork and crusaded for her cause)… all entertaining, all none too helpful for the pulsing and twisting knotting its way up my nape.  grogginess wasn’t going to be an excuse, though, for it was officially my birthday and i had made promises to myself that i was determined to keep : get out of the house, take myself to lunch somewhere nice, confront myself with some journaling and self-reflection, maybe round it all out with a visit to my favorite tasting room.  but first, i’d have to get my mail.

i made my way down the spiraling five staircases of hell to the front door, head throbbing with each footfall.  maybe it was the decline, maybe it was the sudden burst of sunshine, but i found myself suddenly battling a severe case of what i’ve formerly referred to as “spaghettiskeletonitis” (see?  this has been going on for a while), and i lurched forward, falling, dragging my right ankle along the jagged sandstone on my front stoop.  shit, that hurt.  ouch, my skin is hanging off.  more expletives… i’ll spare the rest of the gory details.  i was instantly cheered up, though, when i found a beautiful mystery necklace in a quaint black box in my otherwise empty mailbox.  (i would find out later that this was from my best friend and college roommate Guyetti.)

mysterygift

i set out and kept my promises to myself that day.  pad thai at noodlehead, journaling and a brew or two at full pint, a quick stint in a funky thrift store where i saw the coolest elvis lamp ever (it was so hard to leave without it), a sip of cava brut for dessert at some wine place a savvy bartender suggested and, finally, a nightcap at rock room.  fun enough.  happy 30th birthday to me.  i did it all.  with a dead phone.  that didn’t charge over night.  and the next day, everyone thought i was dead.  after responding to the plethora of worried texts, calls and voicemails from my partner, my parents, et al., i was ready to go about my day, no hangover in tow but for the same nagging, jagged pain right square on my occ.

i spent the day nursing my newly fixed cat, scored nearly a fully new wardrobe at a nearby thrift for $10 (during which i had to leave because i… COULDN’T REMEMBER WHY I WAS THERE… oh yeah, that’s right… i want some neat new grandma clothes.  i’ll go back in and pay up).  I got home, unpacked my things, put on some Mogwai and collaged for the first time in at least a month.  i was in pain but i was happy.

transient

And then… Saturday, April 16, I woke up with a fever.  i cancelled plans with the infamous aforementioned Frankie for birthday sushi (raincheck, galpal!) and, suspecting my ankle scrape was infected, i GPS’d the nearest ER.  i was directed to Allegheny General Hospital and, after getting lost a few times, per usual, i arrived… and couldn’t figure out how to park.  so, i did what any other “sane” person would do and i just. kept. driving.  until i found an urgent care location in Shadyside.  i parked well enough, took my number in line and waited for a bit.  after describing my symptoms, they sent me ACROSS THE STREET to the ER at UPMC.  across the street.  i literally just had to cross the street.  but, since i have literally a rorschach’s test sense of space, i walked allllllll around the block, with traffic, because i’m the backwardsbot.

i described my symptoms, they quickly got me needled up and, after a preliminary test for a UTI came back positive, they decided that it might be good to admit me for the night because of this head pain i’d been having.  friends still think i might be dead.  friends still think i might be trying to party for my birthday.  nope.  very much alive, very much in pain and very much trying to figure out what the hell is going on.  tests, tests, tests, meds, meds, meds… Frankie the Faithful and her precious little girl are there to help me through and, after much insistence from Sister Jones, i finally cave and ask my mom to make the 4.5 hour drive down from the boondocks to the city.  Thank.  [Higher Power].  I.  Did.

mainlinebling

“We think you might have MS.”

my mom held my hand as the neurologist calmly scrolled through (what i like to call) the mosh pit of lesions in my brain.  so.  many.  lesions.  for probably so.  many.  years.

i wouldn’t say i was shocked… there were tears.  it happens when your mom is holding your hand while you get scary news.  it happens when an authority on a scary subject speaks to you with resolve and empathy.  it happens when you realize… holy shit… THIS.  this is why.  this is why i’m the backwardsbot.  this is why the world is a Rubik’s cube to me.  this is why i have spaghettiskeletonitis.  this is why i’ve been a total bitch to Guyetti (and everyone for that matter) for trying to talk me through directions, for trying to protect me.  this is why i haven’t finished a damn thing in years.  this is why i couldn’t talk to myself… why i couldn’t understand my own language.

dad, The Captain, flew in from the west coast the next day and my parents remained by my side for the rest of my stay.  i cried hardest when i got a sudden burst of overwhelming love for my life.  my friends, my family, my past, my present, my FUTURE.  i sat on the toilet in my hospital room, wiping away the makeup i’d done terribly with my reduced motor skills, exploding with gratitude, a geyser of tears and dribble.  RELIEF.  RELEASE.  everything.

yes, they thinkmight have MS.  heck, i might even have a brain tumor.  or Lyme (preliminarily positive, but i guess that doesn’t mean much in the way of Lyme).  whatever it is, i have it.  i’ve got it.  in every sense of the phrases.  happy 30th birthday to me.  happy birthday to me in general.  it really does feel like a rebirth of sorts.  i’m crowning into a new age where perhaps i will know myself better and, [Higher Power] willing, the question/answer ratio will be evened out.

i look forward to recouping in my favorite place in the world, Dagtown USA, with my friends and family for the next few days while i wait for my official results.  please understand that i am so appreciative of the outpouring of support and love i’ve received so far through this and it is one of my top priorities to return calls/messages as soon as i feel well enough to do so.

i’ve only just begun speaking to myself.

thetruth

love y’all.