No, I’m not afraid of hard work/And I did everything I want

I just got done telling God I feel like I’m in line, waiting at the DMV trying to get my license reinstated. Not sure how long I’ll be waiting, not sure if I’ll pass the driving test, but looking forward to what’s ahead. One step closer, one step closer… but geez, I hate waiting.

It’s okay, I’ve gotten better at it. This doesn’t make me less grumpy. Just quieter. Not really in the mood to talk because I have to anticipate what wild thoughts God has in store. His plans are really that – wild. I feel like he’s a great best friend/father who I tell in a tired delirium, “You know what would be so cool? To have a pet elephant!” Then opening my front door and seeing a baby elephant on my doorstep.

Super cool but like, I don’t know anything about elephants, God. What do I do with it? Is this one of those tests where you give me what I think I want and it turns out to be a nightmare? Bc I don’t like that movie, it always ends badly and I’m always the villain.

Anyway, after moping around and poking God for some progress, today there was some.

I’m still staring at it wondering what to feed it. What do I do with this one extraordinary life?

Just go where God takes me, I’m more than okay with that.

*shrugs and follows*

You must have been looking for me.

It starts in the summer. Just as the weather warms up, the sundresses come out of the closet, a new package of hair ties is purchased to hold my ponytail high and only God knows what happened to last summer’s hair ties. Socks become a thing of a chilly past – its sandals or barefoot now. My toenail polish is made shiny and bright each Sunday. That’s when it starts.

The phone rings and for whatever reason, I feel lucky. Maybe because I know outside is heavy with heat, but I’m in air-conditioned rooms — cool and free. Today, I am inspired to answer the phone. This will be the start of a new adventure.

“Wow, you answered,” the voice says. “A couple of us are going to the pier for dinner, do you wanna go?”

The voice belongs to a man (only once to a woman) and is lightly tinted with concern, it lies about others being invited. It’s just us. But I play along. This year is different, I am cool and collected. My fingernails match my toenail polish. I did not even smudge them this time. I get a text with the location like I didn’t already know, like I wasn’t already on my way there.

There are two seats at the bar, we don’t get menus. This is where we stop pretending.

The sun set over the ocean hours ago, but the sky won’t turn pitch black.  There are empty glasses that beg to be counted — I hope the grouchy bartender comes back. I can guess that the body that came with the voice has left. Still, I search. It’s darker in this stale venue than it is outside. My eyes search for a familiar face and they find one.

“Oh no,” it says, half-amused (or is that half-horrified?) “I mean… I thought you stopped. Didn’t you go to jail recently or something? What happened? You don’t look so good.” The face says it all. The words I didn’t want to see in the reflection of the dirty bar mirror.

The bartender returns and replaces the tiny glasses with two larger ones. Were they both for me? Cold and shimmering, I grab one with hands clad in chipped nail polish. The face didn’t wait for an answer.

But I want to hear my voice anyway.

“I don’t know,” it says. “I guess we fell in love again.”

SDWI / Thursday Writers, May 14 writing prompt: We fell in love again.

I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?

-Van Gogh

I could walk in 70 degree afternoons forever. And indeed, I tried. Unfortunately, Gladwell’s little legs had trouble keeping up. He let me know when he needed a time out. This he told me by plopping down mid-walk and refusing to get back up. Then, when he was ready, he’d stand back up and stare at me expectantly like, “Are you ready?” Then trot along wagging his tail.

Coppola, on the other hand, only rested once. He plopped right down beside Gladwell in the middle of the trail path and sniffed the flowers. Well, ok. Otherwise, he was pretty patient and took in the scenery when Gladwell needed to catch his breath.

I’m sure I had other plans for the day but I don’t remember any of them.

Ok, yeah..this is a good place to stop.

I’m likely not returning to social media anytime soon.

coppolaaaa

we decreased our screen time by 54%

But I felt compelled to update this here because of the handfuls of panicky people that have reached out and therefore, made me panicky as well. OMG, did I die and I don’t know!? ….No, no, I just got rid of Facebook and Instagram….

This little site is always being updated, in case you care enough to follow it.

Anyway, the end of the year is approaching and the book I have yet to complete sits on my desk. Every time I pick up a page to edit it, I feel strongly compelled to throw it away. Yes, because it’s awful writing. No, I’m not being self-deprecating, it actually truly is horrible. But also, I just am sick of the story. Why do I have to keep retelling the same story? This has always been my beef with God.  GOD, CAN YOU MAKE ME MORE INTERESTING, PLEASE? I’m sick of talking about alcoholism and mental illness. And by the way, God, you don’t exactly work as a great conversation starter when making new friends, either.

“What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.” – AW Tozer

At this point in time, I struggle to complete the book because 1) I’m happy and 2) I’m sick of the story.

Since I was a little girl, writing was my sanctuary. A place full of make-believe realities and investigative reporting of my inner thoughts on the observations of the outer world. Also, it was very private. I could say whatever I wanted because no one but me and maybe a teacher would read it. That honesty of my thoughts, however crazy they actually were, was the voice that grew. The voice that I learned to appreciate and listen to. And it was the voice that I lost when I became an alcoholic and realized I really couldn’t tell the true from the false anymore.

When I got sober, I figured I could write myself back to the truth. Find myself, that lost voice, somewhere between the worn-out ‘n’ key and the space bar.

Also, there was a very strange marriage between my conversion to Christianity and my writing revival. The two came about at the same time and I haven’t been able to peel them apart since then. Really, I stopped trying. Without God, I wouldn’t have the courage to write about even a quarter of the things I’ve written about.

But now I’m annoyed.

I’m annoyed because the anticipated comments, either positive or negative, began to worm themselves into my writing process. All these little voices of, “Well, how would so-and-so take this?” or “Do you think so-and-so will know you’re talking about them?” began to edit the words I wrote as I typed them.

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R.I.P. to the tree that had to die for my shitty story to live in the physical world.

So it’s helpful to be off social media. Even though the support and comments were overwhelmingly positive.

But also, I’m happy. It’s so hard for me to write when I’m happy! I just don’t see the point in curating the worst times in my life, prettying it up in neat little black and white letters, and serving it up for someone else’s eyes to feast on and suffer from. Half of me doesn’t even recognize that girl in the story anymore, and the other half just wants to politely nod at her so she’ll go away.

…and BY THE WAY, I don’t want to sound overly dramatic but Red Smith’s quote is accurate, “Writing is easy, you just open your veins and bleed.” It isn’t as though I can just “fake” the sorrow I felt when my parents came to visit me Thanksgiving week in jail. How my mom wore her prettiest blouse and my dad looked like he’d lost a ton of weight, and they just sat there smiling at me. Pretending they weren’t visiting their little girl in jail, the one they used to smother with too many hugs and words of encouragement. My mom’s hands, the ones I used to grab and pull and take the rings off of as a curious child as I sat on her lap. Now those soft plump hands were visibly aged and unpolished. My dad’s big brown eyes I recognized as the prototype for mine, had love beaming straight out of them, it hurt to look at them. It physically hurt to know these people created me, kept me alive, nurtured and loved me, forgave me, and there. I. was.

“…I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”-Joan Didion

It’s exhausting, is all I’m trying to say. But complaining about it here felt vaguely honest and somewhat familiar.

But anyway, I’m alive and well and happy and busy and writing and not writing and adopting all the dogs that love me. Call me if you have my number. Stop by if I can give you hugs. If you don’t, figure out a way to get in touch. People are pretty good at figuring that out.

Ok, bye.

Day 6 – NaNoWriMo

If I’m being completely honest, I’ve spent most of this evening replying to emails instead of writing. I flirted with the idea of just editing the last project I completed in November 2018 and trying to mold that into something that doesn’t bring me tremendous buckets of shame. Why is it so hard this? I waited until I was a year sober to start writing this book. Then I had revelations, an experience of how it should turn out. Then I started over. Now I’ve lost my voice.

I read what I’ve written and I don’t recognize the voice.

It’s like, here or in emails the writing comes with little effort. Even in person, I can retell parts of the story and I am satisfied. But when I open the document creatively named NaNoWriMo 2019, my language becomes halted. Terse. Alien. Forced.

This is disappointing.

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God, help me.

NaNoWriMo – Day 5

Eek. Didn’t write for two days and I didn’t hit my word count today,

But I have untangled a necklace and cleaned my kitchen so… there’s that.

Uhh…. my blind deaf dog unsurprisingly cannot climb or descend stairs. I found this out at the park last night when we went down some steps and he um, like, tumbled the entire way down. Coppola looked back at his disabled brother and then just kept walking which I thought was pretty rude. But Gladwell just stood up on his pudgy stubby legs and tried to figure out which way to go. Poor little guy.

More words tomorrow I hope.

Maybe I was never crazy.

This was from a different hospitalization.

If you weren’t my friend in 2017, that’s good for you. I’d relapsed in all the ways. Everything was wild. Except nothing was, it just seemed that way.

The ordinary makes me cry. It’s important that you know that because I don’t naturally take pleasure in ordinary things. My DNA didn’t struggle to exist for a moment like this to be… bland. It was lucky for me, I guess, that the Chaos I craved was created within me. It compelled me.

When I say the Chaos you might start to imagine rushed and disorganized. That wouldn’t be this kind, no. It was like the way some people like to explain existence. The world. How everything came about with a collision and propulsion in darkness.

It was all darkness in the beginning.

But then they explain the time, so many years that can’t even calculate because the calendar they’d use is based on a savior that can’t exist because the world was born of Chaos, wasn’t it?

Well then, that was born in me, too. But I didn’t have the time or the luxury of a planet being born to float in darkness waiting for life to grow. For green shoots to poke through soil, for the sun to get close enough to warm me. I didn’t have that luxury of time.

Instead, with the mania tuned down to a hum and the IV washing my blood clean of alcohol, shame sat heavy on my mouth. My parents tried to reach me but Chaos is loud. Even in sterile hospitals where all you hear are beeps, it’s loud.

Time has passed. The green shoots through soil, they do make me cry. The ordinary is painful because it’s beautiful in its own right. Reliable, it isn’t exciting unless you realize how trivial and grand it is — what a miracle that can be.

Our own human duality.

So, I’m not chaotic like the stars. Instead I thrive on solid land. The ordinary gravity is humbling, I welcome it.

I thank God for serenity in the calamity. I repent for the tumult I previously required to feel like I was alive.

Now I just pray I can thrive.


In September 2017, I had a manic episode. A change in medications to stabilize my depression ended up with 4-5 days of erratic behavior. I did not sleep. This led to me drinking to try to sleep. Reality became very distorted and I was picked up from Phil’s Coffee in an ambulance and hospitalized. I continued to drink after my release. On October 7th I drank myself into a blackout…

Information about bipolar disorder

Find help for substance use disorders

Talk to someone if you’re suicidal or self-harming

No, I’m not lucky but yes, you’re annoying.

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One of the most insulting things someone can say to anyone (me) experiencing favorable circumstances is, “Wow, you’re so lucky!”

I’ll admit, I’ve dabbled my fair-unChrist-like share of horoscope reading and zodiac sign personality telling. One of the things that is said a lot about Sagittarians is that we are “ruled” by Jupiter, the planet of luck and good fortune.

In a strange paradox of my Catholic upbringing where a flamboyant and dramatic fortune teller is part of the nightly news, I grew up learning about the zodiac signs and maybe that’s why I’ve always felt lucky.

It’s true, I’ve often felt favored more than I haven’t. Maybe that’s because I grew up with an unrealistically optimistic father who got my hopes up, too. When the unimaginable happened, we’d celebrate. I knew that would work out! When it didn’t, we’d forget. Oh well, wasn’t meant to be.

So maybe that’s how I got stuck with an incurable optimism myself, that is really only absent amidst a spell of depression. But even then…

LUCK.

There’s that song lyric, “No, I’m not lucky I’m blessed, YES.” which I kind of relate to, I guess. Except people tend to use that to describe material things, money, bling. All of which are things that have never really interested me at all.

But blessed, yes.

I’m going to make you a guarantee: Walking in accordance to God’s will for you and not your will for you will always result in blessings.

I think what happens is that I make mediocre things that I get happy about sound good. So people assume it is good. So they say, “Ah, your luck!”

I don’t think God orchestrating the entire Universe so I didn’t die was “luck” but okay.

I also don’t think God orchestrated the entire Universe for So-and-so to die either. I also wouldn’t call that “bad” luck.

What am I rambling on about? I wanted to be offended and now I forgot what was trying to be offended about.

I’m lucky when good things happen.

It is true that I have expended a tremendous amount of energy the past two years trying to take the next indicated step. You are welcome to call me ridiculous but the best of my circumstances have always come from a guidance I’m not wise enough to muster on my own.

How did I know to pick this job over that one?

How did I know to call this person and not that one?

How did I know to stay home or go out instead of go out or stay home?

How did I know that relying on God when my circumstances were SHIT would be the fertilizer that my life has blossomed from now?

I didn’t know. That is unequivocally my favorite part about life. About being a human. The uncertainty of it all. This is why I rarely take plans super seriously but I always hope for the best and laugh when either the best or the worst happens. You just can never really tell.

But that isn’t luck.

Then there are people that are like, “Of course it isn’t luck and of course it isn’t god, you’ve worked your ass off for what you have. You deserve the credit. You’re the one making sacrifices. You’re the one making things work. You, you, you…”

Me, me, me.

That’s a lonely song.

The truth is that yes, my circumstances have changed dramatically from six months ago, from a year ago, from OH LORD 5 years ago…

Yes, it did take a lot of work, actually. No, I never did it on my own. Yes, I have lost things. But oh, I’ve gained so much more…

The truth is, you can have everything you didn’t know you wanted if you put your big plans and ideas aside. If you tap into God’s consciousness and ask, “Is this what you want for me? Is this in the plan? Do I continue on this road? Do I give up, turn around, is there something better at home?”

The hardest work I’ve ever done to get anything I ever wanted was to have faith that God knew better than I did. Especially when I was pretty sure He didn’t. And to trust that if I just put His desires in my heart instead of my own, that things are working out exactly as they should.

And luck has nothing to do with that.

So stop diminishing God.

And frankly, stop diminishing the shittiness I go through when I’m just following God’s directions. There was a lot of bad stuff before the good stuff arrived.

If you’re going through bad stuff yourself, let it go. Have some faith.

I’ve often tried to hold the sea, the sun, the fields, the tide.

I tell you, love is just a kiss away.

Do you think love could change the world?

What would that look like?

You there, claiming an identity rooted in beliefs that you’ll never change — if the person who hurt you the most approached you with remorse tomorrow: Would you feel relief? Would a burden be removed? Could you feel free? Could you change the way you love? Could you let yourself be loved?

The reason the world doesn’t work this way is that somewhere along the line everyone agreed to only worry about themselves, their priorities, they would handle their “own business” and everyone else should do the same. No second chances. We all die alone. The thread of commonality that ran throughout humanity, the very essence of being alive, got snuffed out for the sake of individual progress.

We became islands. We curated our own worlds to keep the “good” ones in and the “bad” ones out. Now, we compete.

At some point, we began putting the value of our life over the value of everyone else’s. Then we started ranking everyone else’s.

We used to identify each other with the things we loved. Now we gravitate to those who fear as we do. We identify each other with disease and we wallow in our despair. Then we just others who suffer, too, because they do it differently.

Somewhere along the line, asking for help meant weakness. Being poor meant you were lazy. Being non-white meant you were inferior. Being born outside of a free country meant you were trying to take whatever freedom there was. Making a mistake showed you didn’t know anything and probably never had. Disagreeing with someone meant you were wrong.

Somewhere along the line, being right became the only thing that mattered.

Being right mattered more than love.

Being right mattered more than peace.

Being right mattered more than lives.

I’ll let you know, it doesn’t matter much to me.

I’m willing to be wrong.

And I know loving people, even if I disagree with them, can change the world.

Even if they are wrong.

Even if they are right.

I believe all the holiness that I was born with, you were born with, too.

That holiness is a thread that will bind us greater than any fear if only we could honor it.

After all, the value of a life belonging to the person I love the least is still equal in value to mine. It is equal to yours, too. I don’t get to decide that.

It. Just. Is.

Does that make you cringe?

*title from “All Over You” by Live

I want money, power, and glory.

Alleluia, I wanna take you for all that you got

Part I:

You are the alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. Your success is all on you. Your failures maybe, sometimes, too. Maybe the breeze of some butterfly wings fans you with good luck. Don’t be too glad. The tornado is on its way.

I said the tornado is on its way. You’d better be prepared. Do everything you can. If you don’t survive, it’ll be your fault. This was all on you. Didn’t you know your child was afraid of the dark? Of course she wouldn’t come when you called. Yes, she stayed behind. No, she didn’t make it. If only you’d been a better… whatever. If the world wasn’t so unfair… Let the human race take the blame. The tornado is on its way.

If you do survive, look down on those who didn’t. How sad, you scoffed while you said it. Maybe they should have known better. At least there will be less traffic now. Fewer cars. Fewer survivors. You did this on your own. This survival isn’t for everyone. Now you can make more money. There will be more resources for you. More resources for the select few that can tick along in life like this. Grit their teeth. Take the punch. You deserve the glory for doing so. Didn’t they know? I said the tornado is on its way.

Let this assure you there is less meaning now. There wasn’t any, to begin with. But there won’t be any now that it’s over.

You are the alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. It all begins and ends with you.

Maybe that’s all you need.

I will want to risk a lot.

You’d quiver. I’d wink.

You know winning isn’t bought.

I crave freedom, the brink.

(*the title and photo caption are from a song by Lana Del Rey)

I’d rather feel the earth beneath my feet, yes I would, if I could, I surely would.

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My apartment was a mess. For being a girl, I did a shitty housekeeping job. I had a card table for a dining table and it was sticky with wine, from several sloppy nights. My kitchen was foodless but managed to be stained with condiments and the stove had caked on remnants of previous cooking attempts when I bothered grocery shopping. All I had in the fridge was an empty beer box and a box of rotten strawberries. My living room carpet had all kinds of crap scattered across: knitting needles, unraveled yarn, a keyboard, scrapbooking stickers, a TV set, bag after empty bag from fast food joints, pens, sheets of paper, a hammer, broken CD’s. The living room and the kitchen were all connected so it was a one-shot view of mass catastrophe. Through a door in the living room was my bedroom though, and then through a little mirrored-closet hall in my bedroom was my sink and mirror. Then through another door was the toilet and shower. That was probably the cleanest room in the house. Probably because it was the smallest. Anyway, that whole area had clothes and undergarments strewn all around. Even the sad window by my bed had a bra hanging from the curtain holder. There was a burgundy stain in the corner of the room where I had vomited wine one pretty awful hungover morning. I had no good solid explanation for this mess except that it seemed less lonely if it was covered in my stuff. When it was clean it was just a lot of empty space for me to roll around in, I felt lost in it. The rooms seemed bigger and lonelier than they did already and I couldn’t stand that.

It was my little death trap and in it, I had drowned myself in gin every night for as long as I had lived there. How’d I get trapped in there? I lured myself in. No good cause or justification for it, either. Usually, you hear about people putting themselves into seclusion for spiritual or artistic reasons and they’re able to romanticize their drudginess and loneliness. I did it just to be alone. It was offered to me and I took it. Just to see what it was like. Just to get drunk and not have to worry about stumbling over anybody or breaking $300 guitars. You could’ve given me a closet and I would’ve been just as content. As long as I could pop myself in there and sit in the darkness and not have to talk to anybody.

But the truth of my life was I had to talk to people all the time, and constantly. I had a job other people would’ve loved and I guess it was alright but it wasn’t really my deal. I sat alone for 9 hours in an office, tucked into buttoned blouses, A-line skirts, black pantyhose, and kitten heels. Most of the time I was by myself when my boss wasn’t in the office next to me hollering into her phone at people. Then, of course, I always had to answer the phone and listen to people complain about a busted water line or if we wanted to use them as a cleaning service or did I put an alarm on test. Did I put an alarm on test or was it just going off? I don’t know, dispatch the police. Oh wait, nevermind, I did it put on test.

I was one of those office people, dull and bored. Most of the time it was slow and most of my time was spent surfing the internet, figuring out what colors I’d want to decorate my apartment (that was ironically provided to me through the property management company I worked for) if I ever got around to cleaning it. I liked researching rare diseases and convincing myself I probably had all of them, regardless if you could only catch it through a rare South African moth biting you in the first two weeks of August in the depths of some remote jungle that took a month-long hike to get to. I was dying of it, I knew it. I would also spend large amounts of time texting ex-boyfriends random things, such as how I was dying of some rare South African disease. Or that their horoscope said not to say yes to any foxy ladies today. Or I’d write letters to people I wish I’d had as lovers before they moved three states away, “Dear you, I miss you. Perhaps you should come back down and visit me for a kiss. It’s your birthday this month, isn’t it? You know I don’t keep track of those things. Are you and your girlfriend still swingers? Then I guess she won’t mind. I love you, right now. Sincerely, Love.” And I’d spritz the expensive stationary with my expensive perfume (both of which I kept a hearty supply of in my desk drawer) and would slip the fragranced letters into their wardrobed envelopes and slap a stamp on it and go to the post office with my stacks of letters to drop off on my lunch break, which I always made longer than the hour I was alotted. A productive employee.

When I wasn’t being bored or annoyed by people at work, I was being harassed by my father who had never been so preoccupied with me until after I moved out. How was I doing, what was I doing, what did I think about the weather, did I hear about the accident on the 91, did I know that kid that got killed in some fire in Perris, the economy is bust, and newsflash: your mother says hello, call her will you? why don’t you ever call your mother, you should call her and let her know how you’re doing…. What on earth? Why? Usually, I would pick a fight with my dad so he’d stop talking to me, then maybe give my mom a call to vent just so he wouldn’t think I was calling her just because he’d asked me to. I was a good daughter in that way.

Beyond all my charming qualities, I had a bit of a troubled side. Due to my being so unhappy at work, I had really bad drinking binges… meaning, I’d get trashed every night then get sloppy upset about it which lead me to drag myself into work sloppy hungover the next morning. After a while, I was like, what the hell I’m going to see a therapist. It was kind of funny. We had to sit in an orientation meeting first, just to brief us on what therapy would be like. The thing about some (most) mental illnesses is that they were just ridiculous. All it means is you’re not well adjusted because you bask in your inability to adapt and you like being titled “mentally ill” because that gives you license to act like a baby and stalk your boyfriend when he calls ten minutes later than he promised. And then throw beer bottles at him. Anyway, the lady giving the orientation was a wackjob herself, as most of those in the mental health industry seems to be. She was some tall, frail-looking woman who was no doubt beautiful but an outcast in her youth and thus had developed strange nervous laughter and self-conscious way of speaking which included making long, steady, studied, pensive stares with each patient as though to make sure we were all paying attention to her. Oh, yes, yes… we’d politely respond. And she’d nervously giggle.

I had hoped that my therapist would be some sage, scholarly, white-bearded man with a smoking jacket in a dark room full of leather-bound books. But alas, all I got was some tight (but kind) faced mid 30’s Filipino man who only probed my answers further when they involved sex. In our first meeting, I cried the whole time. I was in an awful place at the time, I felt that all the sunshine in the world couldn’t touch my black, sad, cold soul. I could be sitting right on top of the fiery ball and my heart and soul wouldn’t even glance at it. I was just some carcass of myself, floating along in life. All the bad poetry in the world that I wrote every night in my apartment couldn’t even begin to express just how black, sad and cold my heart and soul were. And when I cried by myself in my filthy apartment after bottles of gin and wine, it just wasn’t the same as having someone see you. It was like all the crying wasn’t really existing unless someone was there to see it happening. Maybe like, if a tree falls in the middle of the forest with no one around, does it make a sound type of thing. As soon as I plopped my pathetic self in his plastic vinyl chair, I just bawled my eyes out between sobbing out yes and no answers to his questions that seemed so ludicrously shallow that I couldn’t even believe I had shelled out the $30 for this measly 20 questions game and then I sobbed some more because my phone bill was due next week and I had already spent my paycheck on expensive creams and perfumes online that I didn’t even end up liking, much less needing.

Have you ever abused, molested, how is your relationship with your mother, your father, are you sad, are you anxious, have you been raped, I see here you’ve had a lot of sexual partners… The eruption of sobbing. Who cares if I’ve had a lot of sexual partners, my life is meaningless! We are all going to die and I have no say in it and all the hard work and talent I might have had that I haven’t discovered is pointless! Are we going to talk about how we’re just sitting here wasting time until we die? I could be some sociopathic serial killer and in the end, all I’m doing is speeding up the process for my victims. Just making someone else’s destiny come a little sooner. Oh, the families, the lovers, the secrets– boohoo. They were all mourning and grieving for their own selfish reasons. It’s the victims that are relieved, joyous and revered: FINALLY, done with their stint on earth and they don’t give a shit about their reputation now. The dead are always angelicized.

“Love, you’re crying more right now. Tell me what you’re thinking, are you seeing images of all your sexual partners?” He asked, concerned and curious expression slathered on his face. I sat up straight. Stopped crying.

“Nope. Do you have any tissue?” Of course, it was occupying the seat right next to me. That box was like a second therapist in the room, a silent one that was there merely for physical consolation. The mother therapist, carefully dabbing moisture from my eyes, ensuring my mascara didn’t run out of control. The tube of mascara, an online purchase as well, $40 for the tube, it was supposed to be waterproof and flake proof and bomb proof or whatever. I looked at the tissue– saturated in black. I burst into tears again.

“So….” and he said this in such a way to avoid awkwardness, in a way that told me, I’m-not-judging-you-but-we-should-try-figuring-out-why-youre-before-your-hour-is-almost-up. I looked up at him and collected myself and waited patiently for him to ask me something, to bring up some deep philosophical soul-baring issue that would enlighten us both and shed light on why I felt so awful all the time. But he didn’t.

“What sign are you?” he asked. I laughed.

“Sagittarius,”

“Hmm… are you into astrology? Let’s check out what your sign means.” He flipped through some thick astrology book he had on his bookshelf and read me a few pages of my personality, omitting all the negative parts which were the parts I had my ears perked for but was disappointed when I realized he was just skimming for the good stuff. The negative parts of astrological signs are always the funniest part to me, and there he was, the therapist, being so serenely sensitive to my emotional state. I decided not to bully him for it and asked him what sign he was, to which he replied Capricorn. To which I groaned. All the past year I had been smothered by the presence of Capricorns and it never turned out well. And on the relationship front, they were the main heart offenders. They were always so charming at first but after that, their claws came out and they sunk their teeth in you and tried yanking your soul out your ass. That was when I decided I couldn’t take this therapist seriously and I stopped crying and asked him why he was a therapist.

IMG_3520He had a long story about being a stockbroker and reading self-improvement and motivational books which were really just psychology in disguise. Then he quit the stock exchange and worked at a burger joint while he went to school to be a therapist and now here he is, happier than ever and so glad he’s not in a business suit every day. Our hour was up and I was relieved. My dad was waiting outside the old wood building in his car to give me a ride home. He knew better than to ask me how my appointment went so the only words he said to me were when we pulled up in front of my apartments and I got out: Hope you feel better. I slammed the door shut and holed myself up in my apartment the rest of the weekend.

During that time, everything that shouldn’t have bothered me definitely bothered me. All the things that were actually important though and should have bothered me, didn’t seem to make much of an impact on me at the time. But I guess it just accumulated itself in some filter of my mind to come unclogged later and sifted through. For example, I hated watching people with disabilities on TV because they afflicted me with too many emotions and I was already overwhelmed with too many of my own. I sat watching some program on disabled kids and felt bad for wanting to laugh at their goofy grimaces and nauseous watching them eat. At the very same time, I felt such a profound sadness that they were born this way. In another sense, I was completely proud of them and wished them nothing but the best, yes you there son with down syndrome good going putting that peg into the circle you show them how far you’ve come! It just seemed like such a mockery of human existence to see anything plastered on a television screen, especially the suffering of someone who’s ailments came from birth. It upset me in too many ways. So I watched the marathon of whatever sick program that was and finally came to the conclusion that the correct emotional response to these images was to feel nothing for them at all. They were temporary, they would die too someday, it should not affect me.

I became that way about everything, even myself. When something “bad” would happen to me or someone would mistreat me it was like I was watching someone else. This guy I was dating got me drunk on Christmas Eve and we had sex and I said something that pissed him off (I still don’t know what) and he spit in my face and I spit back and he kicked me out. I never even got mad at him. I called him the next weekend and we did it all over again. Somewhere along the lines, I had trained myself so well to not feel bad for anyone or about anything that I didn’t even feel bad about me either, pity wasn’t exactly a quality I aimed for perfecting anyway. Finally, I had mastered the art of humanity, I’d tell myself. I looked down at homeless people and teens with their kids in strollers and I didn’t feel bad about it and I didn’t want to help them because they were not my lives and I didn’t have to worry about them.

For a while, I thought that this was freedom: lack of attachment to anything and everything. Apathy personified. But that sugar cube idea quickly dissolved one day that I was sitting at some bookstore staring at people looking for knowledge in heavy squares made of pages of paper filled with black-printed words. All those people in all those aisles, skimming and skimming, just reminded me of little ants crawling all over one another and here I was just a little ant off to the side, refusing to participate. Crossed my antennae, sat on my red behind, not moving. Not following that leader, no way. I even brought my own thermos full of black coffee (or gin) so I didn’t have to buy the expensive cafe’s coffee. I was pretty bitter every time I’d go to that bookstore, but it was the air conditioner worked well in the summer and the heater worked well in the winter that kept me coming back.

*This is half of a short story I’ve worked on while I distract myself from my main boo[k] for the moment. Shrug. Let me know what you liked and hated about it if you read it.

 

Title is a lyrics taken from “El Condor Pasa” by Simon & Garfunkel 💜