today i read a good – but difficult – book. and i cried. and cried more. and wondered why the world is the way it is. why life is like this. why do we have to have death and loss, sorrow and anguish? but even while wondering this, i knew that i wouldn’t trade my sorrows. all of my hurts and pains have made me stronger, or more compassionate, more diligent, or more wise. all of my losses have made me grateful for what i do have, and hopeful that i can appreciate the beauty in life while it is in front of me, instead of worrying about what MIGHT happen, or focusing on the hardships.
and hopefully, as i focus more on the good than the bad, more of the good will come to me, and remind me of the wonder of life, in all its challenges.
still, i wish i could write some decent poetry when i’m NOT depressed
i’m supposed to be working on my book today. for those of you who are frequent flyers here at accidental happiness airlines, you may recall that i am writing a book of memoirs. no? oh, well i did tell you, so you must have missed that blog. this was the weekend i intended to finish up the final editing; but life’s little lessons get in the way, and i see i must face some of my demons before i share them with the world.
Demon #1: Shyorcifel (also known as fear of intimacy)
i’ve been getting in touch with friends from my past, and i see that the vast majority of folk my age have spouses and children and homes. i began to scold myself today for not having a lover, and what is wrong with me, and all of that kind of thing. but i realized pretty quickly that the reason i am still single is that i never let anyone get close, and i never let men (or most of my friends for that matter) see the real me. it’s scary to think that you would hope in someone to love you on your worst day, with a big juicy zit on your nose, and no makeup on, walking around in yoga pants with holes in the ass, and then your supposed to trust that this person loves you when they’ve been around you at these times? when you’ve done something sinister or selfish? when you’ve told about your horrid past and how messed up you are? see, it’s easier to just never get to that level.
and that’s why i’m still single. so i have to wrestle with the intimacy demon and work out the kinks in my emotional vulnerability quotas.
Demon #2: Keeperoscipase (also known as Obssessive Hoarding)
ok, i’m not actually a hoarder. i lovingly refer to it as ‘being a Picker’. i collect. and while i love my books and papers and ephemera, my toys and clothes and crafts, i’m not going to be auditioning for “Hoarders” anytime soon. but – having watched my first episode today – i can see that i am made of the same fabric as these others. we are people who are afraid.
afraid of losing someone. afraid of letting go of the past. afraid of living in the now, and the uncertainties of life. afraid of forgetting something, or not having what we need, or throwing away something important or of value.
afraid of letting people in. afraid of looking deep inside. afraid of admitting we’ve been hurt, killed, beaten, worn down, abused, neglected and abandoned. afraid of being seen for what we are: weak, vulnerable, and hurting.
but hey! look at that. the entire human race is in this category. and while i might wash my hands too many times after tucking away another thirty copies of fiction titles i’ll never read, you might be socking down your thirteenth bottle of Labatts, or losing the use of your right arm due to a slip up with a bookie.
we’re all of us broken, wounded, beautiful creatures. and the fascinating part of life is watching each of us uncover the treasure beneath all the outer layerings of crap.
I’m tired today.
My body feels like it’s forgotten to sleep for about forty years, and it’s finally realized this omission.
But my heart feels this way today as well. Like my heart is walking down a lonely, rainy street and spies something, and bends down to pick it up. My heart looks curiously at this newfound thing, but doesn’t seem to know what it is. My heart rolls this thing around in its hand, and it feels uncomfortable. It hurts. It’s sharp and painful. It makes my heart sad. My heart doesn’t know what this is, doesn’t recognize it, but puts this thing in its pocket and continues on its way, until it finds something else that makes it sad, and lonely, and confused.
And with pockets full of unknown sorrows, my heart continues its journey, crying as it goes.
Today is a downloading day for me. I have these moments, and sometimes days, pretty regularly. It’s not that I’m depressed, because I’m not really. How can I be depressed on a gorgeous day like today? The trees are phenomenally gorgeous, sprinkling my walk with more color than my eyes can consume. Green trees, yellow trees, trees that want to be orange, red, green, burgundy and ochre all at the same time. Some clumps are all bold and brilliant, and other patches of trees are soft, silvery, mauve. The brilliant blue sky sports whispy clouds that float through the air with no apparent agenda or time frame. It’s a gorgeous, warm, relaxed October day, and I am downloading. I often have direction, goals or intentions. I wake up thinking about a project I need to work on, a task I need to complete, chores I have been putting off or a hobby I want to get back to. I have to work out, I have to make a grocery list, I need to repair a broken earring or watch a movie rental before it’s due back. I might have social obligations or volunteer duties to attend to. And usually, my brain is full of ideas, thoughts, aspirations, longings, chatter, songs and intense curiosity about everything around me. On downloading days I have none of this. I’m neither tired nor energetic. I’m neither depressed nor excited. I have no specific desires or ambitions, and often find myself indecisive, not sure which direction to go. I call these downloading days because it’s like my brain has had enough frenetic activity lately and needs an hour (or twenty) to just buzz. The stuff in my brain is just rattling around and looking for somewhere to land. It’s like I’m downloading something on my computer, and I just have to wait. I can’t do anything else because whatever is downloading just isn’t done yet, so I sit and watch football, or go for a long walk, or talk emotionlessly to someone about nothing of interest. It’s just a day. A beautiful, gorgeous, perfect day; but a day I might enjoy better had my brain been fully engaged.
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.
the skin is so tender there,
so soft, so smooth.
i’m surprised at how easily it
opens for me.
like grating cheese
or cutting off a pat of butter.
it just opens up ~
and offers my inner secrets to
the bathroom tile.
and out seep my skeletons,
and cascade to my feet
like a little gothic convention
gathering in the night.
drip. drip. drip.
down to the ground
as though they have jumped from the
into the sea of grief
which is myself
and my skin.
and my bathroom floor.
which is now collecting these
secretive, skeletal remains
and is busy hiding the secrets
in cracks and
a splash here, a splash there,
a little sticky clump on the
it clumps up so fast, into
stringy little ropes, which makes
me wonder ~
are the skeletons trying to
form a rope on purpose?
are they trying to climb back
into my head to keep
hiding from the world?
or are they just trying to kill me?
‘cuz i can do that myself.
here i am in the cafe.
mondays i tend to come to the cafe after my appointments with my therapist. because, if you haven’t forgotten, i’m crazy.
right now i’m a mix of crazy, detached and hurt.
i guess my therapist has dumped me. i don’t think i’ve ever had this happen, so i’m not sure how to process it just yet. plus i’m in one of my personalities that is sort of distant anyway, a girl who prefers to be sailing and traveling across the world to discussing the finer details of emotions and day to day bothersome tasks. this girl would rather be walking through a cathedral in Rome, admiring its architecture, instead of talking to a therapist who doesn’t seem particularly interested in whether or not the client gets better or perhaps gets hit by a car on the way home.
oh, heck, maybe i’m being unfair. the truth is, i don’t have insurance. and i’m flat broke. my therapist USED to get paid by me, but for a long time now she’s been seeing me on an exchange system, where we swap goods. she therapizes me and i bring goodies to her that she passes on to the kids she therapizes. this has worked ok, and she has told me a number of times how this really helps her clients. but perhaps she can’t afford to see me anymore, because times are rough all over.
and if that were the case, the only issue, then i would understand. if she had said to me, “hey crazy lady. i can’t afford to see you like this anymore, you have to at least pay this much money”, well then at least i would have known that i had to find the money or go without the help. but this was kind of sudden. this was kind of like, “well what do you want to talk about today?”
but really, i’m the other part of the equation here. i can understand that she may not have been able to handle me anymore. for the first seven months of our therapeutic relationship, i struggled with my diagnosis, although i’m the one that brought it to the table in the first place, suspecting it to be true. maybe it was easy to see me in the beginning, and now as i’m trying to work through this situation more extensively, maybe it is just beyond her ability. she isn’t trained in dealing with Multiples. MPD isn’t her speciality. maybe it’s more challenging for her than i had realized.
but from my perspective, it feels a lot like being thrown out. it feels like she’s doing spring cleaning, and just doesn’t want to look at this ratty old sweater anymore, so out it goes. because she didn’t even really seem interested in helping me try to find another therapist. not that i can’t find one myself, but really, how many therapists out there specialize in this field, or at least know how to treat me, and would do it for little money, or some sort of barter system? i guess not many.
so here i am, alone again.
i’ve never really had much luck with therapists, because i’ve always been able to convince them i’m fine when i’m really not, and that i’m somewhat normal, when i think that is probably not the case either. and this one seemed to see through that, and i trusted her, and care about her. so to have her “set me free” so easily, with hardly a discussion about it, well i guess it makes me feel emotional.
well ok, it doesn’t make ME feel emotional. i’m the one that would rather be traveling through Basil right now, remember? i’m too delighted by the weather and the parks and the freedom that comes with summer to bother to get emotional about my therapist jilting me.
but someone will be upset eventually. someone will go home and cry, and feel as though she is unloved, and think that she is too difficult for anyone in the world to care for, except her long-suffering sister. and then that person will go on a freak-out-bender, and think of suicide, and pills, and being a dramatic poet who tries to bake her brains like they are blueberry muffins, or maybe follow something shiny into the pool of life, never to return. and others in there will feel bad, and naughty, or abandoned, or maybe even pissed off.
but in the meantime, i guess i should enjoy the weather while i’m sane enough – and calm enough – to appreciate it.
This weekend started off in a pretty interesting manner. I was at work minding my own business when someone I know (but just barely) asked me if I could tell when people were going to die. This may SOUND like a bizarre question, but it isn’t really, when factoring me into the conversation. I am a bit of a psychic. I don’t know if I should say that, because it’s not like I’ve been tested and approved, like some of those new commercials or adds brag about. Still, I’ve been known to acquire information accidentally. Like which player on the team is going to get the winning touchdown, or what your favorite sexual position is, or who has a problem staying away from the “ladies”. So the question didn’t surprise me, and I told her that even if I DID know when someone was going to die, I wouldn’t tell them. I mean, come on. “By the way, you have a week to live. Hope you have something planned”.
Her response was curious. “Oh, well I’ve been thinking about killing myself, and I just wondered if that showed up”.
Well obviously, this freaked me right out. She wasn’t telling me she was headed off to Rite Aid to get a fresh razor blade, or off to KMART for a load of ammunition, but it was unsettling nonetheless. And it’s not like I don’t understand these issues; depression, insanity, the call of a nice shiny pointed object. I get it. But this sounded to me like a call for help.
I was rattled by this open bald-faced admission, and went to another friend for a word of advice. Do I give this person my home phone number, so they can talk to me about this issue? Do I call the police? Do I alert her immediate supervisor? We settled on me giving her a hotline number, urging her to email me RIGHT NOW, and setting up a date for coffee NEXT WEEK, emphasizing that she WILL be around still next week. I was encouraged not to try to handle this situation myself, but to try to redirect her to a professional.
Still, that night I cried for quite some time. I was worried. I felt responsible. I thought that if she DID kill herself, and I was the only one that knew about it, I was totally culpable. What should I have done differently? I ended up calling her on her cell phone, and she was very flippant and nonchalant about the whole situation. “Oh, this is something I’ve been dealing with since I was fifteen. I think about it all the time”.
She wasn’t REALLY going to kill herself. She got depressed. She thought about her mortality. She cuts herself and takes pills sometimes, but not deeply enough to sever anything of importance (relatively) and not so many pills that she whacks herself off. So what, is this all just about the drama? Are you bored? Do you just want to give people around you nervous breakdowns?
No really, I very much understand this whole situation and way of life. But I just seriously think you need to get some help. Life can be better than this. You CAN be happy, if you want. Eventually. With pills. Or booze. Or a credit card that allows you to do a lot of shopping.
So I’m worried about this girl, and the next day am still bothered about the situation, and then yesterday talked to my therapist about this, and even today had to discuss the issue with several other people. Because this is serious. This isn’t like suddenly changing your hair color, or radically altering your physical appearance with tattoo sleeves or facial modification. This is the end of your life. This is you laying this death on someone else’s shoulders … potentially.
Sometimes people kill themselves, I understand that. I get that some people find this a viable option and a necessary evil, and I’m not advocating it nor am I denouncing it. It is, and has been, a part of life. But seriously, you need to think about WORDING people. If you talk casually about suicide on a regular basis, in front of people you barely know, you will likely get a reaction. If it isn’t really something that is a “big deal”, maybe you should consider just saying you’re depressed. Or angry. Or that you hate life. Actually going so far as to say you are thinking about killing yourself is a bold statement that will likely be met with some sort of response involving your immediate supervisor, the police, or a mental health professional. People DO care; but please, if you are just bored with your life, or looking for a way to pass the time, or just don’t have anything interesting to say, then you need to think up some new lines. It just isn’t good suicide etiquette to fake people out about your mental desperation. Next time, I might just hand you the extra gun I have in my glove compartment.