But still, maybe if I had known somehow, how tiring it would be. How mentally un-invigorating it was. Maybe if I’d known that it would make me want to sleep for days, or drink for weeks, or consider taking several illicit drugs at once, maybe I could have prevented my mental instability in the first place. Then again, it’s not like you can explain the pros and cons of creativity versus insanity to a three year old. But it’s a nice idea, to think about what it might be like to have a life where you are not constantly drained of energy and life force. To have a day when you aren’t scrambling to figure out what your own brain is thinking, or where your own thoughts are going. To have a day where you remember what your agenda was, and how to do difficult tasks like walking in a straight line, or breathing through your nose. It’s a challenge just to stay employed when you would rather be playing video games, or watching cartoons on TV while you remain in your pajamas all day and eat nothing but ice cream and pizza. And maybe a bowlful of Doritos. It’s a bit of a stretch to answer questions like “what’s wrong?” or “how are you doing?” when you honest-to-god don’t know the answer. How do you explain to people that you are just a ten year old in a forty year old woman’s body?
So back to the exhausting part. God I feel like I haven’t slept in weeks. People have commented on how bad I look this week, which is always flattering, and even though I’ve felt sick and wondered about having the flu, I reckon it’s mostly lack of sleep. And my therapist says I have dark circles under my eyes that she’s never seen before. Of course she has only known me for about a year, so she isn’t familiar with this routine. The insomnia. The monthly cycles of sleep/don’t sleep; stay up ‘till the Wicked hours of the night, then sleep ‘till noon; go to bed early and wake up too soon and not be able to fall asleep at night. She doesn’t know about these familiar habits; or at least we haven’t emphasized them much to her. She seems to think we need to take our meds, and see our doctor, and maybe that will help. I tried to tell her. I tried to explain that what I needed was a good pint of tequila, or a shot of whiskey, or even just a couple of beers. She laughs. “No, that won’t be good for work,” she says. Who said anything about work? I said BEER. I’m sure I enunciated it properly. B-EE-EEE-R.
I don’t know why they haven’t come up with a discount rate for insomniacs or crazies, verifiable by one’s therapist. I’d like to present a coupon to my nearest liquor store worker: “This Coupon entitles the Bearer to the largest possible bottle of Tequila on the Premises. Said Bearer will receive a 25% discount on purchase of such Bottle, owing to a lack of mental awareness which only said Tequila can replenish. Please consider this a Medicinal Purchase, and Frequent Drinker Miles apply. In dire situations, Beer of choice may be substituted for Tequila, but must then be accompanied by several packs of cigarettes or containers of Hookah tobacco. For any questions regarding the validity of this coupon, or the seriousness of the Bearer’s insanity, first
1. Look at Bearer of Coupon.
2. Notice dazed look on face and vacant expression in eyes.
3. Note the rocking back and forth motion as Bearer re-counts money in pocket for a fourth time.
4. If all else does not convince you, ask for card and number of therapist and call immediately.
I love chili.
My mom was never a big fan of cooking. I’m not sure if it just didn’t interest her, because it was no fun cooking in a hot, sweaty kitchen? I mean, she HATES having her hair messed up, and she paints her nails every day, so I can see that cooking would be unappealing because it might involve flour getting on her or a chipped nail if she forgot how the knives worked. But it was probably more that she would rather be watching Richard Chamberlain in the Thorn Birds than making dinner. So I grew up on macaroni and cheese, Chef Boyardee pizzas and greasy homemade tacos, like a lot of other people my age. My mom was skilled with the hamburger helper as well. One of the few meals she actually made herself was chili, and this one isn’t a terribly hard recipe. Couple cans of beans, hamburg, canned tomatoes and chili seasoning, that was about it. She doesn’t like onions. Or peppers. But since the concoction she made when I was growing up was pretty darned good, I’m a big fan of the stuff now. So this year, for the first time, I went to the Chili Cook-off in my town.
Every year my city hosts a Chili Cook-off, but since they hold it in June and it’s always hot as hell, I’ve never gone. Who wants to eat piping hot chili full of spices that blow your taste buds off and make your eyes water when it’s ninety degrees outside? Why they couldn’t have planned this annual festival in, say, September I don’t really understand. But hey, this year I figured I’d give it a try.
Booths were sprinkled throughout the lawn area, and hawkers called you to there stand with humor, flirtation, and sometimes just sheer obnoxious volume. Some of the tents had massive lines, and some had no people at all. Now, at first I thought the obvious: the tents with the lines have the tastiest chili. But then I came to my senses and realized that we had come way too late in the game, and half the tents were already out of food two and a half hours before the event was over. The event was advertised as running from “4-9”, but now I know better: you have to come at 4:00 and eat all the chili before everyone else gets there, then you stay around drinking beer and getting good and pickled until 9:00. I’ll know how to work it next year.
Some of the chili was mighty tasty (you know I already love you, Red Robin, but good job on this as well!) And some of it was downright disgusting. But I mean, our palettes are all different, right? I guess some of us eat dirt a lot more than others and borrow from that taste profile. Anyway, it was fairly fun and a good cap off to “Be a Tourist in Your own Town”, which is what we were doing earlier. My sister and I came home, had some booze and sat on the couch and watched movies. Altogether a really nice day, and I was hard pressed to think how it could have been more entertaining.
Silly me. My life can ALWAYS get more entertaining! At 5:00 in the morning I discovered that my neighbor had gone to the Chili Cook-off as well. From across the street blew periodic farts of such catastrophic caliber that I woke up from a dead sleep. Off, on, off, on: toxic ass farts that could potentially damage the earth’s ozone layer even MORE than hairspray! And even when I closed my windows the faintest little hint of dying animals seeped in as I struggled to fall back asleep and contain my laughter.
ahhh, good old chili.
It is windy today, the day after a small storm blows through the town. The branches have been wrested off of trees, and lay in random configurings throughout the park, on the street, in the dirt. It is sunny, and blue, and warm today. But not too warm. Not muggy like it was yesterday, just before the storm hit. Not swealtery. It is a perfect summer day, with a slight breeze, and a slow, unconcerned ticking of the hands on the clock. This day could last forever. All of eternity might exist in this one meandering day of summer.
Not like last night, when the wind picked up speed, and shook the telephone poles, and forced strange worried sounds out of the trees. Not like the flurry of activity that occurred as people ran into houses and buildings, trying to escape the fierce breath of the wind forcing against them, making them feel like they are walking on treadmills, rather than out for an evening stroll.
The dirt from the road construction beats against the early evening walkers, pelting their eyes and faces with speckles of sand. Grit and grime cling to the walkers as the rain smatters the earth. Lightning flashes, electricity sparks, and the sky grows dark far too quickly. “We must press on,” the two tell each other in loud voices, trying to be heard over the distant cries of fire trucks and ambulances. “We must continue to move”. On they travel, faster now, trying to reach their destination before they get caught in the destructive force of the sudden storm. And finally reaching the rendezvous point, they make the drop, exchange the goods, and head out again into the face of certain doom. And yes, the world is a darker place now. Now that they have acquired the package. The surrounding environment seems heavier, bleaker, more kissed by the lips of city than it was just a moment ago. But still they press on, this time headed for a different destination. A safer place. A quieter place. Somewhere they can finally rest.
And once at the safe destination, the travelers are finally able to think about the morrow, and the hope of the shining sun. Perhaps they WILL survive the night, now that they have risked lung and limb to acquire what must be had. And so finally, our two weary sojourners collapse in heaps, open the precious parcel, and withdraw the potentially dangerous goods. “Ahhhh,” says the one to the other, “this is so what I needed”. And drowning herself in her Blue Moon, she forgets about the long day, and the hard life, and the inner turmoil, and floats away on a river of tasty hoppiness. Accidental hoppiness, perhaps. And she drinks herself silly, and determines that all will be well in the morning.
And it is.
The World Cup started this week, which is always enjoyable. My sister (I’ll call her Bodie on here, one of my nicknames for her) and I always love to watch sports. We love to get involved in the game, and cheer our voices gone, and jump up and down if we get so excited, or curse like sailors when our people suck and mess up the whole thing. We aren’t terribly picky about what we watch, though we certainly have favorites.
Over the years we’ve watched more football than anything, my favorite sport and one of her favorites. But we enjoy watching all sorts of games: the XGames is a definite favorite, beach volleyball, soccer, tennis. I almost had a meltdown when I discovered rugby – my other favorite sport – because not only are the outfits adorable, the men are supersized, with big meaty thighs, burly physiques, and round juicy bottoms. These men are warriors out on the field, sporting bloody facial expressions within minutes of play. Rugby is a sport a horny girl can get into. But I also enjoy curling. And watching billiards. And water polo, the Olympics, motocross, and martial arts competitions.
I don’t know for sure what it is about sports that we both love so much. When we got Dish Network, the guy installing it told us we had too much testosterone. He was telling us about all the cool channels we would be getting, now that we had the Dish, and I said, “Yeah, but we get Football Network, right?” The channel was brand new at the time, and he didn’t seem to understand why we weren’t as excited about the Home Shopping Network.
I think my sister and I have always been this way. At eight or nine, I watched football at home by myself, or on Sundays with my uncle, who taught me the game. I knew early on to hate the Cowboys for the sheer principle of it (my uncle’s conviction, and we DID live in Los Angeles), to honor the Steelers and cheer the Rams, and on my own I selected the Chicago Bears and the Saints as early favorites, whom I am still loyal to today. Although I’ve also added the Seahawks, Ravens and several other teams to my roster of favorites. I also watched roller derby as a kid, and had a yellow legal pad full of the names of my team’s players, and their arch rivals. I sat in front of the television set every Saturday morning and berated the opposing team, calling them doodie pants and weenie heads.
And while I started off with a healthy interest in sports, my appreciation may have increased when I finally started dating some athletes. There is something about athletes….
I’ve dated artists and musicians, architects and money moguls, mechanics, fire fighters, gamblers and sommeliers. And I don’t think I’ve dated any professional athletes, at least they weren’t at the time I dated them, but I have gone out with basketball players, football players, tennis players, baseball players, swimmers, and I had a great chance to date a foreign exchange water polo player, from France, I think, and I completely blew that one. Oh well. That wouldn’t have lasted long anyway, because I was virginal at the time, or thought I was, so was maintaining a strict “No Go” philosophy on all things sex.
Still, with all my appreciation of the sport and the sporter, I’m always surprised that when I do find someone to date, I am often the one that is more interested in competition. Maybe I didn’t realize early enough that I was into athletes, and spent all that time dithering away on the architects and poets and dramatic thinky types. Maybe when I have dated athletically minded men, I haven’t been in a place where I’m paying much attention to anything, and didn’t notice them cheering on a good tennis match, or placing bets on a football game. (oh, wait a minute, that sounds familiar)
I do remember lots of nights spent with my fabulous sister, on the couch screaming, cheering, and getting drunk. I do remember fun nights out at the pub with my sis, wearing colored wigs, gaudy ‘mardi gras’ necklaces, face tattoos and getting drunk. Attending games with my sis, where we stand in the bleachers, asses in pain because those seats are so uncomfortable, cursing at the coach, or the team, or the lousy season ahead, and getting drunk.
So World Cup is another bonding time with my sis. One of these days I hope to find a man I can love for my very own, who also happens to like sports. I’m hoping he will go to some roller derby games with me, and stop at a park and watch random games of softball and soccer, even if we don’t know anyone on the teams. This is something I enjoyed doing when I lived on my own, and had nothing better to do on a random day. I’m hoping I’ll find a guy who will play volleyball with me, or maybe try to get me to take up golf, which I can’t really imagine liking, unless my job is just driving the cute cart and getting us more beers. And I will probably always be watching sports with my sis…but I’m also hoping I’ll find a guy that can finally see the light. A unique man that will finally appreciate all the things that I love, like pizza and beer and sex and sports. A man that won’t constantly nag me to clean the house or take out the cat litter. A man that can sit down and play video games with me once in a while, or sit on the porch and smoke my hookah with me. A man who will finally see the truth that no other man has ever grasped; I am the perfect woman.
My view of my condition is sort of like driving in a carpool. Have I said this before here? Because I sometimes forget. So let’s say there are a bunch of people in a car – a bunch of me, for example. Someone has to do the driving – get me to work on time, pick up some beer on the way home, remember which house to go into. It used to be that whomever was driving the body was the only one I knew about. If I “shifted” from one personality to the next, there was no one else to really understand or observe this. Or at least, no one I was aware of. I left one personality, spent some time at a “wiping clean” place, and then went from there. I might go into this more later because it probably doesn’t make much sense unless you’ve read books about this kind of thing, but basically, most of the people in “my car” were unaware of each other. Like a bunch of kids in the back seat, fast asleep, while someone else drives along. Over time, more of my personalities have become aware of each other, and now it’s more like a Chinese Fire Drill, or a team effort to get things done.
This all probably sounds pretty weird to you, and hey, it’s weird on this end as well. But I’m getting used to it. Still, there is a lot of adapting I have to do. I need to get to know these different personalities, and their individual quirks. Like the person who tries to throw me down the stairs whenever she is out. I’ve had a number of falls down stairs because of this, and frequently miss a few steps at the end of the staircase when I’m not paying attention, because she seems to be into the whole Alfred Hitchcock murder scene or something. I have to look out for the resident klutz as well, as she can trip over extra long carpet fibers and dangerously protruding dust bunnies. I don’t want to say that this personality isn’t bright, but definitely not terribly aware of her surroundings. I have a grumpy girl, who frowns more often than she blinks; a gasping girl, who sounds like she might die if she has to use her own energy to go into the kitchen to get a glass of water; a giggly girl, a tomboy, and Tiger.
Not that there aren’t more than that, but Tiger is the one that really sealed the deal. For a while I was struggling with this whole idea of MPD. Though, if you’ve read my other blogs you’ll know that I was actually previously diagnosed, about fifteen years prior to the more recent diagnosis. Still, one of the me’s out and about didn’t believe there were more me’s than just me. She thought we were making it up. Or trying to get attention. Or crazy. Just crazy in the way that would make you invent something like MPD and pretend that you had it for some reason.
Then one day, on the way to therapy, something troubled me. A car of stupid youthful boys drove by, with their annoying and thumping music blaring so loud that the windows of the nearby fast food restaurant shook and clattered. I was already feeling a little peevish, and that seemed to be the last sudden straw. I started to growl at the car. I furrowed my eyebrows, lowered my head, and began growling a little guttural snarl at the youthful offenders. I growled as we drove alongside them, frowning my eyeballs toward them. I growled as we passed them, and turned down another street. I growled down the road, and past the street lights, and changed my growl to a Cat Woman meow as we drove past a police car (men in uniform. even as a multiple, I still have a unified appreciation for the opposite sex). I growled the entire car ride to my therapist (my sister was driving) and didn’t stop even in my session. My sister went with me to this session, because – obviously – I couldn’t talk for a while. I was too busy growling.
Eventually something made me laugh, and I started to come out of that personality, Tiger. Tiger is just a little scratch of a thing. My father started calling me Tiger I don’t know when. But he used to prop me up on a table when we were out at a restaurant or coffee shop, and call me Tiger, and ask me what I was. And I would growl, and snarl at him, “Rawwrr, I’n a Tiger”, because I couldn’t have been more than two or three. Anyway, Tiger really existed. Probably one of my first personalities, if not THE first. I don’t know. But because I’d already heard these stories from my dad, I knew about Tiger. And here she was one day, growling out of my face.
On some level, it seemed other of my personalities were aware of this. Aware that the physical body was growling, and that someone else had hold of the body, and was making it growl. But the conscious personalities, that might be thinking, “hey, that cop has a pretty nice ass”, couldn’t seem to communicate to Tiger. Tiger couldn’t hear any of these other thoughts people. I suppose maybe it’s like the devil on one shoulder, and the angel on the other. You might want to do something, but doubt you can do it, and then yell at yourself for being a weenie. Your mind can take on a devil’s advocate within itself. My mind seemed to want to snap myself out of this silly growling. If you do something silly in front of people, you mentally scold yourself, saying “crikies, THAT’S not going to go over well”. But I couldn’t seem to stop myself from being this little animal. This frowning, grumpy, snarling little kid that didn’t seem to think it odd at all that a grown woman was emitting these noises in a professional office building.
And that’s when it happened. I finally admitted it. I am a Multiple Personality. And really, being a little tiger isn’t so bad. I’m kind of cute. And finally, after all these years, I’m figuring out how to manage my life. So I guess, despite all my eye rolling and nay saying, getting in touch with your inner child isn’t such a horrible thing after all.
God seems like a ghost
from a dream
he always wants more
always asking for
toss him a bone.
throw in all my own self
give away all my
to feed the complex
of a god who says
how strong can he
if my little life
breaks him down
and makes him
little ole me?
am i that much of a threat?
so he yells and
gnashes his teeth
while i go have
and wait for the
night to come.
My sister, a dear friend of ours and I all went out to a little Italian restaurant for my birthday meal. I order my favorite Manicotti, which is freakishly delicious, and the fabulous tortellini soup. The food, as always, is scrumptious, but just as wonderful is the surprise entertainment we encounter. I guess I’ve never been to the restaurant on a Tuesday night at 8 PM, and we happened to sit in an area that was being serenaded by an older gentleman. Apparently, a gaggle of people come in every Tuesday, all old friends that have been frequenting the establishment for a number of years. After they have their meals, the one old guy starts singing show tunes for everyone, and I guess this is the weekly tradition. “Sing for your dinner” kind of thing. His beautiful baritone wafts through the house, and everyone on our side of the building claps their approval after every song is sung. He sings an old show tune, part of a romantic ballad, and then something in Italian. He crescendos and vibrattos and makes a delicious meal even more charming, with his enthusiastic performance to a familiar and well loved audience.
After the old crooners leave and we finish our meal, we start to walk across the street to the cyber café. I’m in the mood for a good round of foozball, and then some serious Facebooking. My Super Poke Pet is probably dirty and lonely. Walking part way across the street, I spy something shiny at my feet. I don’t know how I happen to see the glint of metal, as it is well past eight o’clock, and the sun has already put itself to bed. Yet somehow, with my less than eagle eyesight, I catch the little nod of a piece of something, winking up at me. Quickly, before the public bus can squash the Manicotti out of me, I snatch up my little find and scurry into the café, twirling this something in my hand. At first I think my new treasure might be a sobriety medal, which I find sad and funny at the same time, as the café is but two doors down from a bar. “Oh no,” I think, “the old guy just couldn’t pass up the weeknight special one day more”. It would be a sort of tragedy, and so much a part of life if it were true.
In the light of the café, however, I notice that this something in my hand is worn and bent, dented and scratched. Looking at it closer, I see it is a St. Christopher medal. Or maybe I’m forgetting, I did show it to the man at the counter, perhaps he was the one who declared it the medal. Either way, it seemed a good find, and almost everyone I’ve told this story to has shared the sentiment: this is a sign of fortune. Good luck. The medal was meant for me.
And though I am not a Catholic or a Christian, I am spiritual. I do seem to have a connection to the “other side”, and it doesn’t really surprise me that a token of blessing would find its way into my hands. Nor does it surprise me that it should find it’s way to me via a pothole in the middle of a busy street that is home to a yummy restaurant, a comic book shop, a tattoo parlour and a bar. I could have found a nice shiny St. Christopher medal, that was new and unworn. But I like the fact that mine is beat to hell. It’s like someone used up all the three wishes out of the Jeanie bottle, and dropped the bottle to run off on their next adventure, leaving the treasure behind for the next guy. It’s a little worse for the wear, but I imagine if this medal could talk it would have many stories and adventures to share. And as I tucked it into my coin purse, and headed out into the night air, I started to think about all the new adventures that lay before me, and the many more stories it was about to absorb.
Her job started up a project that she knew would be tedious, horrible, infuriating, stressful and time consuming. Not to mention mentally taxing and exhausting. So we popped some beers, and have been doing so since.
But Mercury went retrograde recently too. And although it just aligned itself (yesterday), for the last several weeks life has been a challenge. People arguing at work, miscommunication among the people who work and the people they are working for (or against). Unhappy, confused patrons who would rather yell than understand policy. It’s been a tense month.
Add to all of that the recent suicide threat that I went through last weekend, and am still going through now. Because what might have been a flippant comment from someone who needed a shoulder to cry on has now blown up into discussions with supervisors, heads of departments, and my own friends who I have to lean on when these kinds of things stress me out.
Because I don’t mean to get stressed out about things. God I’m creating my own little mantra and catch phrase just so I can remind myself NOT to worry so much. But I’m tender, you see. And despite my tough cookie outer shell, that is crunchy sweet with no calories, I’m really a big moosh pot inside. And I get all worked up when other people are involved in drama, trauma and despair and try to bring me in to the mess.
So today’s little surprise was truly welcome. Into my cubicle comes a young lady carrying a sort of suitcase and she says, “Would you like a sample from Jimmy John’s?” She’s offering me a teeny free sandwich. Surely she is unaware of the lousy week and month I’ve been having. Surely she is unaware of my tense frame of mind and my wishy washy mental state lately. Certainly she is unaware that food makes everything more fun for me, and here she is offering me a sandwich for no damn reason.
“Awesome!” I say, and eagerly consume the little buddy.
And while a teeny tiny sandwich may not right the downward spinning world, and won’t save the life of the person who might go ahead and kill herself, and won’t keep me from truly becoming an alcoholic by next month…it did brighten my day significantly. So thanks Jimmy John’s (I’ll be by soon!) for making a gloomy day brighter. You were definitely my Accidental Happiness of the week!
I sit here and think of the love we made, and the times we shared, and all the amazing aspects of our past relationship. How much we loved each other. How important he was to my life, both as a friend and a lover. The way his face looked as he created one piece of art or another. The gentle look of concentration as he made me dinner. The peace and calm I found when I was around him. This beautiful person contributed so much to my life, and made me a better, more soulful person.
Love is amazing. It is not always happy and spring green, and full of fragrance and growth. Sometimes it causes friction, and pain, and an aching hole in the heart. Sometimes it makes us crazy, and we want to pull our hair out, or get into fights at the bar.
But sometimes, a rare person comes along and breathes life into us, making us feel more passionately, more deeply than we have ever felt before. And at a time in my life when I least expected it, perhaps I have found this kind of love again. Someone that takes my breath away. Someone who makes me curious about life, when I thought I was familiar with its paths and turns. Someone who has lit a spark in my heart, and makes me feel like I am once again a twelve year old girl, looking into the face of a full life, ready for a beautiful adventure to unfold. And that twelve year old is hopeful, and bright, and full of expectation, like I haven’t known in decades. It’s like an archaeological dig has uncovered some precious hidden treasure that has been unknown and undiscovered for all these years; and that treasure is my heart.
So I take another swig of my beer, and reflect on my past love, and – hopefully – my future one.