I’m feeling proud of myself this weekend. Ok, I haven’t graduated with honors, or climbed Mt. McKinley, or single handedly remodeled my kitchen. Though, God, that would be awesome. My kitchen is so small it’s more like a cupboard than a room.
Life can become a lot. There are always obligations to deal with; someone’s having a baby, and you have to go to the shower, and you’re not sure if it will come out very cute, and if not what do you say? You don’t want to lie and say the child is adorable – BIG FAT LIE! – but it’s considered fairly rude to openly proclaim to a new mother that her baby looks like Rodney Dangerfield’s runt cousin, even if it’s pretty blatantly obvious. Someone I knew once had a baby, and seriously, this was one unattractive situation. “Aren’t you so sweet?” is usually pretty safe. But you might have other obligations, like parties to attend, or commitments to activities, or just standard, unexciting things like chores. Get the oil changed. Mow the lawn. Dismember a body, if you happen to be Dexter Morgan. That type of thing.
I can’t always do these things. Not the dismembering, because generally speaking I don’t kill people as a hobby or profession. But there are things I can’t always do, for a variety of reasons, though the reasons pretty much all fall under the category of MPD. Like my sister and I might be planning on going to a movie, but I have a problem with some aspect of my health. Or I’m supposed to do laundry, but I have anxiety over going to the Laundromat because of past situations and issues. Or I need to drive over to a friend’s house, but I’m ‘little’. A typical person makes a list for the day, week, or when they get inspired to actually do something. It might look like this:
- make dinner
- no, go get groceries, then make dinner
- email granny about her hip
- clean up that mess that came from an animal
- put away toys, weapons and victims
- watch that movie you rented before it’s due
That list doesn’t seem so hard. But for me, or someone like me (crazy) this can be an issue.
My mind doesn’t always want to go in one direction. My sister’s brain is awesomely linear, so if she loses the car keys she can re-trace her steps and find them. When I lose them she tries this trick with me, but it rarely works. For one thing, my mind thinks so many thoughts in a teeny amount of time, it’s really hard to re-trace. Just while I was in the shower today I thought of five blogs I wanted to write about, a new idea for a graphic novel, a word I was curious about, and had a curiosity about fetishes and disorders. That’s when I wasn’t wondering about why I’ve been so tired this weekend, how I was going to go for a walk if it ends up being hot again today, or why the sponge in the bathtub never seems to stink as much as the one by the sink. My brain thinks a trillion little thoughts, all the time, and I really wish someone would invent a bodycamera so I could just push a button on my neck when I wanted to capture the idea that is fleeting through my brain at that particular moment. Re-tracing all this to find the car keys is nigh unto impossible. And besides, you don’t really plan on putting your keys in the fridge because you forgot how thirsty you are and you can’t get the jug of water open with just the one hand. Or tucking them into a utensil drawer because you forgot to put away the pizza knife, which can be very distracting to some of us who like sharp, shiny objects that cause skin irritation and blood.
And I get distracted. So logical regression of activities is difficult for that reason, because I’m sidetracked so often I can’t remember what I was originally doing.
What WAS I originally doing?
Oh yeah! Being proud of myself. Well yeah, for these weird reasons (and the fact that my body is inhabited by other people from time to time) it’s not always practical to expect myself to do things exactly when I think I will do them. I WANT to be a good housekeeper….but I get inspired by something, or distracted by something, or turn into someone who just wants to color all night. So I’ve been hard on myself, and mad that I can’t make a schedule and keep to it and get some shit done, in my house and in my writing career, and in my life in general. But this weekend I did make some progress. I made a chart. I plotted out some tasks I needed to do. I gave myself a rough guideline and goal, without demanding exact adherence from myself. And though I haven’t gotten to everything that I’d hoped I could get to, I did actually do some of what I’d wanted. So good job, kid. A small step, but a step nonetheless.
When I was thirteen I tried to kill myself. I was in seventh grade the first time I tried, and just continued dabbling with the idea off and on for a year or so. I’d probably been suicidal for a while; and at the very least depressed for a good many years. The first time I actually remember trying to cut myself I was around five, and stood in the kitchen by myself with a butter knife, ready to do some serious arterial damage. Of course, it would have taken me an awfully long time to draw blood with a butter knife, but look, I was only five, I wasn’t schooled in the proper techniques of murder and suicide. By the time I was in seventh grade I’d at least figured out that I should use some type of sharp instrument. Had my family made more money, I might have had a nice little razor blade to injure myself with. As it was, my family was on the poor side, so we had nothing but disposable razors in the house.
There I was, with my little pink Daisy razor with the flowers all over it, slicing away at my wrists, getting the feel of suicide in my bones. The skin cut easier than I thought, and hurt less than I expected. The slight sting was more tantalizing than scary, and the blood oozing out was rather intoxicating. These first few times I cut were more flirtations with danger than real attempts at death, but they got me hooked fast. The adrenaline in my body, the tension in my muscles, the power I felt over SOMETHING in my life was a sort of intense little window of possibility, where the world lay open for me, and it was MY choice to live or expire. In my world, having a choice was not common. Tempting myself with death became a particularly seductive past time. It meant freedom.
I began cutting my ankles along with my wrists. The veins on my ankles were puffy and prominent, and I began to imagine that if I managed to kill myself this way, perhaps I would end up in the local news as some sort of two minute celebrity for a bizarre and tragic departure. Girl dies at age 13, wrists and ankles bloody pulps. I also took pills, though, because I wasn’t just into cutting. I actually did want to get out of my life situation, and if that meant getting out of life, I was amenable to that.
If I had known back then how bizarre and interesting my life would be, I can’t say for sure that I would have made the same decisions. Today it is raining heavily, the cloud cover so dark it feels like it is nine o’clock at night, when it is only lunch time for me. There is a dark, moody feel about the day; somber, pensive, romantically deep. My life is full of these moments – full of intensely beautiful days where the sky is so blue it hurts my mind, and the contentment in my heart seems unique to humanity. There are days where I feel desolate, empty, unloved and barren. Days that I wonder how anyone can choose to love me because I am such a challenge and an emotional roller coaster.
But this is life. Up, down, inside, outside, colorful, dark, dramatic, silly, intense, monotonous, and spectacular. Every year the trees change colors before my eyes in a wonderful parade of life and death. Every year the sun comes back in the spring, coaxing hiding animals and tiny buds on trees to burst open with hope and life, and continue the cycle that has been going forever.
Had I known about these wonders when I was thirteen – about broken hearts and dreams dashed to pieces; about disappointments and sorrows, love lost and love expiring; about passion and desire and intimacy; about laughter and acceptance and people that love you enough to talk to you in the morning when you have Christopher Walken hair – I would have laid my Daisy razor down in the shower, and kept it for shaving. I would have spared my skin the worry and nervousness. I think. Because life is hard, and wicked, difficult and damaging. But the beauty in life – and the POTENTIAL beauty – is worth the risk.
Life is an accidental and beautiful happiness.