The ocean is as smooth as polished wood on the outside. A friend sent me a Facebook message and said the lyrics to the song Them by Mimicking Birds made him think of me. We’re at a beach condo without a fenced in backyard. I need to leash the dog, put on shoes and take him out. Apparently more often. He peed in the bed last night. 

One line from the song is: man-made smooth wood will eventually splinter. One of my students audio-journaled about a past relationship—how the wood started off splintered and never got better. But how she grew stronger, more sure of herself. How pain increased her density, turned wood into metal. She said the violence from that relationship will never leave her and I believe it, but listening she sounds so strong, like she’s sure of herself. I find this so uplifting. For some reason it makes me think of my mom. 

The dog is on the loveseat now. Chin on the cushiony arm. I’m on the couch, feet up on the coffee table. We sold our coffee table and end table to the same Facebook Marketplace man for $40. I wanted $45 but he said $40 and I shrugged. I had the baby in my hands. 

Kate is still sleeping. The dog peeing the bed meant that Kate and I had a middle of the night conversation about who’s responsibility it is to take care of the dog at night and during this “conversation,” the hotly resented mid-conflict quip flew out of my mouth: “chill out, just relax,” which I’m going to add to the Walmart whiteboard once we get home of things not to do/not to say. Ironically, saying chill out has the opposite effect. 

I selectively didn’t hear the dog scratching at his kennel. Mid-REM figured he’d be alright.  

In America we don’t talk about the dog-pissing-the-bed parts of marriage. In the old tribes, were the tipis close enough to hear the PM quarrels where sticks and stones were thrown, tongues hot with insult and emotion? I imagine couples without conflict. And I see haze that’s kind of purple and blank and blind. Like if you stare at the sun and then close your eyes. I don’t know about other couples. I just know about us. And me. And my biases. And my blind spots. And my unfortunate dispositions that trigger. And that’s what I’m working on. 

I’m a work in progress. Which is a dope admission. Saying I’m a work in progress and saying it with equal measures fitted cap cocked sideways and feet up on the table and steady eyes like I’m owning this and I’m not looking away means dope dope dope dope. It’s not passive acceptance, like this is who I am. It’s acceptance of this is who I am and this is who I’m becoming. In the same instance. 

The shower is a sacred space. Every shower confirms this. I swam in the ocean yesterday and my fingertips turned yellow from cold and stayed yellow until we drove back to the condo where I steamed them for twenty minutes and during that time all the thoughts in my head evaporated and merged with particles of shower steam, rising and falling in some high pressure low pressure ecosystem. 

Today is Saturday. It’s 7:32 AM. I’m going to have many over-easy eggs with man slices of sprouted grain toast at 9AM. And coffee with cream. And avocado. This is Day 5 of Time Restricted Eating and I am enjoying the hunger and the appreciation and the force stoppage of play. 

I’m so fucking dope. Self care is belief. Say it so many times you hear it inside your head and it out shouts the other voice. I’m so fucking dope. I’m dope I’m dope I’m dope.