I feel like if I had all the answers then things would make sense. if I knew all the things, if I could puzzle everything parse everything. if I could see where every single little thing fit in the world where all of the things had their place then perhaps I would know where my place was Because I do not. I see all the things and I don’t know how they fit I don’t know how I fit I don’t know where I fit. . big things huge things loom out of the dark like I didn’t know they were coming like I just fucking forgot (no, you didn’t forget you just forgot where you put that part of your memory ) does anyone else see the difference?
(in searching for something I can’t remember now, I found this. I never published it. I remember the pain as clearly as if it just happened.)
However, I am no longer this person. Not exactly.
8:18a 17th june, 2020
enduring days of abject depression, sending me into disintegration out of the clear blue. With summer comes dysphoria and rage and fury. Depression so deep that it wakes me up at night, gasping for breath at the depth of pain; the length of the blade through my chest.
I know that I have been coasting fairly easily (really? are you really going to say it’s been fairly easy?) on a swell of euphoric mania, tempered by cannabis and isolation. this depression though, this abyssal plunge into despair, this parsing of whether I feel suicidality or suicidal: do I just want to not be? Or to do something about it? (it’s suicidality, it nearly almost always is.)
The days since I found the “Gary 🖤’s Lysa” CD in the attic have been upending for me. My entire, well, my entire everything is upended. My disallowing of fantastical and supernatural beliefs has been integral to my sanity. Being able to depend on science and logic and reason has been super fucking important. And I’m supposed to just, what. Forget all that? I’m reminded of a joke that I’m mostly forgetting but it comes down to the idea of believing that there are signs when they’re shoved in your face. How on Earth do I do this? As someone who is as interested in codes and ciphers and symbols and yes, signs, as I am, as Gary was. But as a communication tool used by the living, the sentient, because what else could it possibly be?
What else could it possibly be?
Four days ago but not last night I started taking edibles before bed so that I could sleep through the night and not be woken up by my own sadness. It worked, I got about six hours each night. I was still a depressed wreck the next day everyday. I couldn’t be counted on to not completely break down. Yesterday was so hard, so painful. I knew that on top of everything that is already happening, it is now the beginning of summer and while springtime is for suicidal thoughts, summertime is for the homicidal ones. (I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.)
I used every tool in my toolbox yesterday morning, to try and feel better. Nothing worked. There was nothing wrong with my tools, it’s just that my brain needed more power, more help than these tools were capable of fixing. it was getting close to getting to be too late to go to the pottery, and I had to decide whether I could trust myself to get there safely, and get home safely. Whether I could count on myself to make the hour’s drive safely. I had to weigh the pros and cons of getting in a car and driving for an hour in order to get to my happy place. I decided that I needed to go more than I could stand not going, and so I would pour all my concentration, my focus into getting there safely.
The first flashes of dysphoric mania broke through my depression in a terrifying way. I realized how outsized my reaction was, and while I didn’t do anything to encourage it, I also didn’t do anything to stop it. I let it just sort of die down, looked at it, and realized that I needed to stop it. I was consumed with rage. While driving. This did not bode well for arriving safely.
I concentrated on relaxing my shoulders, taking my tongue from where it was stuck to the roof of my mouth and relaxing that, trying so hard to remember Kellen’s voice in my ears, giving me permission to be nowhere else but listening to her voice.
To my credit, I did not yell at myself for trying to do these things. I did not make fun of myself for trying to do these things. I did not give voice to any doubt that I would be able to do these things. I tried as best I could to just relax and drive and space out as much as I thought safe to. keeping the reward of a safe place in mind as I drove the familiar route.
I got there, smiling wanly at the familiar markers, seeing the two hand-painted rainbow signs way up in Trump country, always heartening. Anxious that I would once again get to the pottery and see cars belonging to people I didn’t want to see, knowing that this was a possibility, steeling myself for it. Managing my expectations. I turned up the drive.
No one here but us chickens.
10:42a 18th June, 2020
I couldn’t do it all in one day, get it all written. I am grateful that I had enough time to write what I did, but then I had to get ready for work and go to work and deal with work. Too many hours, too many people. Too much of everything. Back to the story.
The relief I felt at not seeing BT’s car, well, to say that I could finally lower my fear would be an understatement. All of the anticipation of having to possibly deal with her and avoid her and her narcissistic bullshit, because every single time that I had come up here needing solace, needing peace, she was here. In my way. She wasn’t there.
I had planned on going up there to work, to make new work. With no plan to sell anything or any kind of brain power to work on that but it isn’t ever about the selling. It’s about the making.
(I am regretting not working on this last night when it was still somewhat fresh. I am foggy on the details of the day now. Perhaps that isn’t important.)
I know that Lynn and I had raised voices, and that I was in distress, and I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see how much I was struggling. I know how much she loves me, I know how much she wants for me to be as sane and as happy as I can be. I also knew that nothing would be solved by not telling her how much I was hurting. So I did. I said that I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. And she said okay. and if we could have hugged we would have hugged. But we couldn’t hug, so we sat six feet apart and smiled through the sadness.
We talked more about things we both agree on, talked about upcoming firings, talked about new friendships we were making and how grateful we were for each other. We made plans for the next time we would see each other, Sunday. I left, with nothing made but progress.
I put my Phoenix playlist on shuffle, one that I started making when I first started coming into my badassery for real.
The opening notes, soft, haunting voices. The Night We Met.
I am not the only traveler Who has not repaid his debt I’ve been searching for a trail to follow, again Take me back to the night we met And then I can tell myself What the hell I’m supposed to do And then I can tell myself Not to ride along with you I had all and then most of you Some and now none of you Take me back to the night we met I don’t know what I’m supposed to do Haunted by the ghost of you Oh, take me back to the night we met…
The night we met in person for the first time, the night we spent together eating, talking, walking, falling in love. Walking past the Salvation Army building with its new sign, lit but covered, ghostly and creepy.
He took photos.
This suggested one person to me Jan.
As I was listening, I began to nod. Yes.
Driving guitar. Insistent drums. Hurricane Jane.
Go ahead call me a hurricane Got no regrets I accept that name Sound the alarm big storm comin’ run for cover get gone My screams make the wind My tears become the rain My body rolls like the waves And my heart is the eye of the storm Kali, Goddess of Destruction got nothin’ on me I’m Queen Calamity
I pulled the car over. Off the road, blinkers on. Okay, I get it.
I pull over so I can text Jan. To tell her that I need her help, her counsel. Not right that second, I didn’t want to needlessly worry her, but that right that second was when I figured it out so I’m telling her. She got back to me somewhere on my way home, made plans to meet and chill. This afternoon.
Seeking the counsel of a retired priest.
I wish I could say that I am eased, now, having made plans. I’m not. If anything, I’m more amped up and tightly wound than I was. I am hyper aware of exactly how rigid my shoulders are, how every terrible thought is barging its way into my head. How a photo of the partner I haven’t seen in months is breaking my heart with how the look on his face echoes my own. How all I want to do is tell him it will all be better.
But I don’t know that it will. What I do know is that it can always get worse, and often does.
“If I didn’t see it happen in front of me, I wouldn’t believe it. Goddamn.”
That is what my witness said to me after it happened. I have proof. Finally I have a witness I have proof.
The place where I work was packed, busy even for a Saturday. My boss asked me to do something as I was sitting at the computer doing other things so I added it to the list of my tasks. One by one I got through most of them when my boss asked me if I had gotten to her thing. I replied “nope! Not yet! Haven’t had a chance I’ll do it right now.” And got right to it.
This woman. This fucking woman.
This fucking woman appears in front of me with her two children akimbo. I had helped the older one once upon a time, been very patient with her as she overcame a very difficult thing. Gently and successfully, much to her sullen, preteen resistance I might add.
This fucking woman.
This fucking woman says to me.
“Watch your mouth around my children.”
My head shoots up, eyes wide. “Excuse me?” Having zero understanding of what she’s talking about since I have said absolutely nothing since responding to my boss.
This woman. This fucking woman.
This fucking woman says “You were about to say Jesus fucking Christ in front of my kids.”
And I looked at her. And my witness looked at her. She said it in front of her kids.
“I absolutely did not say that.”
This fucking woman said Jesus fucking Christ in front of her kids.
This fucking woman. This fucking woman says:
“I am the queen of cursing and you were about to say it I know what you were going to say.”
I KNOW WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO SAY.
“I absolutely did not say that.” My witness, shaking their head, shocked. My jaw just about hitting the floor.
The queen of cursing, you say.
This fucking woman thinks that I would respond out loud to a question posed by my boss with the answer Jesus fucking christ. This fucking woman thinks that I would respond in front of children Jesus fucking Christ. In front of her children. Jesus fucking Christ.
You want to know what was in my head? You think that banal bullshit was what I was thinking at the moment?
You have the audacity to think you could imagine what it’s like inside my head?
The things that I think, the things that exist inside my head would terrify you to a point where you would never, ever, ever say another thing again.
You really think you’re the queen of cursing. You want to go head to head with me? I guarantee you will not survive. I will make you rethink your entire existence. I will make you question your reason for living; I will make you question whether or not you deserve to breathe on this Earth. I will tell you things about yourself that you know to be true deep down in the deepest fucking recesses of your soul. I will share with you the reasons your daughter hates you so much (it’s because she looks like you), you narrow-eyed cunt. Every time she looks in the mirror she sees your face even though her cheeks are full and they’re going to be full for the rest of her life and you are going to shame her for her fat face. Every time she sees you look at her she sees your disgust, feels your disappointment. If you aren’t already saving for her therapy, you should do so immediately. You ought to just give up on your son because he is going to be in codependent relationships for the rest of his life. He is completely neglected and wishes for a second that he would get some of the attention you give your daughter even though it’s all negative. Honestly it would be better for all involved if you let him go live with relatives. Literally anyone else would take better care of him. You simply don’t give a shit. You take your anger out on me because you couldn’t help your child. You know that you absolutely do not have the patience to help your own child where I did. Your daughter hates you so much because you’ve made your husband miserable and he doesn’t fuck you and is most likely fucking your friends. A quick look on dating apps would find him in a second.
You think you’re the queen of cursing? Come at me bitch. I’ve got you I’ve got your fucking number. I haven’t even gotten started with you.
Jesus fucking christ. You think I was thinking Jesus fucking christ? No I wasn’t. My only thought at that moment was how to get to the end of the day without killing myself.
you know i wanted to be part of the conversation but you switch it to things i can’t contribute to.
thanks. bye. it’s okay.
they’re not rejecting you. they’re turning towards each other. it doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk to you it only means they aren’t as invested in the every last bit of it as you are so please please please please just understand that please it isn’t against you it really isnt, it is okay you are okay.
This is real fear. This isn’t the free-floating shit that pours over me like a fucking wave of lava no, this is real fear based in reality and is well-founded.
This is all of the usual panic and terror before a show coupled with the fact that I have decided to make a fucking living from my work. My real work. That kind of a decision takes confidence and it is a confidence that I am not so confident I have under me completely.
I know it’s there, I know way down it’s there.
The part of me that is the gatekeeper, She Who Heads The Committee, She stands in front of that door, arms crossed. She doesn’t say anything, just looks at me, looks me over the way I assume everyone looks me over all the time. It is She who I have to win over, ultimately, She is the one who pulls me together.
Today is probably the very last day this year for picking Queen Anne’s Lace from the side of the road. I kept my eyes open on this rainy, grey day, keeping up with 69mph traffic but still trying to spot my prize. There had to be enough room to pull over, traffic had to be far enough away from me that I wouldn’t panic, and finally, I saw it. The telltale long legs with flat, white faces tilted to the sky. I know this is the last shot I’ve got.
I signal, slow down, stop. Hazards on. Jump out of the car, run around to the passenger side, gingerly step across a water-filled ditch and grab her. Enough lovely ladies, small and delicate, and finished ones as well, right on the stalk, root and all. I do a quick once over to look for winged passengers, open the door, and unceremoniously toss her inside. I get to the studio, fill a plastic goblet with rainwater, plunk her in the bowl to wait.
I took a long time getting other things done at the studio, nothing towards this little wild carrot waiting outside, patiently, for me to be ready. Checking the light, the time, She Who Leads The Committee in my head murmurs, hmm, it’s getting late, maybe you shouldn’t bother. It’s getting dark. It’s raining. I deflect; i worked hard to get this last one, this last one! There will be no more especially if I do nothing with this one. No.
So I make a little more space in front of me, no, not really enough space but it’s okay, and I garrote a thick, creamy slice of porcelain from the perhaps ten pounds I have left. I tear off a handful of it as if a handful of warm bread from a fresh loaf. I am looking at the flowers and I know exactly what I want to do with every single one of them.
there is evidence of life all around me physically around me in my phone noise and activity and adventure and fun. companionship. i can hear it in the air, in the neighborhood music and the leaves high up in the canopy and the cars going by mostly in the right direction in my messages is proof that life is ongoing why do i feel so detached from it all
There are conversations that need to happen. There are people that need to be confronted. There are people who need to know exactly how I feel about them, about the things that they’ve done. There are people who need to stand in front of me while I fume and scream and rage in their motherfucking faces. There are people who need to stand in front of me and look me in the motherfucking eyes while I scream at them. There are people who need to listen to the things I have to say.
What I would really like actually, is to punch these people. To hit them, to punch them in their stupid fucking faces. To rip them limb from limb to tear them fucking apart. I want to make these people bleed people I want them to bleed and suffer and scream in pain I want them to know exactly what they’ve done. I would like to take these people’s skulls and smash them into the ground I would like to watch their brains spill all over the sidewalks. I would like their blood and guts and gore to run into the gutters. DO YOU GET IT YET DO YOU?
do you get it?
No I am not okay. No. I will never be okay you keep fucking with me I will never be okay.
One thousand, eight hundred twenty six days ago was the last time I heard your heart beat next to my face.
I miss you. I miss you every day. I am glad you saved me from hearing your voice that day, already altered by the stroke. I am glad your face was already placid and sedate when you heard me telling you that I loved you. I can imagine the smile. You were actively dying. You knew I would be angry for not waiting and you knew I would understand.
You were dying and you saved me. You have saved me.