sorry I missed your call yesterday; Penny was here, helping me get Gary’s computer sorted (well, preliminary steps, anyway; she’s got more research to do) to get it connected back to the server. The one password he didn’t store in LastPass is the root password, because obviously that, his phone password, and his LastPass password were the only ones he needed to remember to unlock everything. She’ll be able to get sudo access though, and from there, be able to reset the server. She was able to open a terminal though (zshell) and it was a beautiful thing watching his code populate the screen once again. I happen to know that his code is streamlined and super-concise; no obfuscation, no mess, but it was heartwarming to get confirmation of that from another Linux user.
I gave her three of his most favored coding books; Beautiful Data, Beautiful Code, and I can’t remember the last but she was like “are you sure? These are really expensive”. Yes, I’m sure. They’re in good, useful hands now.
i am thankful. greatly grateful. hugely. for my family, with whom i did not spend the day, but who understands, or at least is willing to take my word for it that it would only harm me to be there. i am grateful for my friends, my lovers, my loves. the people with whom i did spend time, both physical and emotional. trying to be as out of my head as i could stretch while still remaining tethered, albeit tenuously. knowing that this feeling as all feeling always does will pass and that there is indeed if not light then a less-dark path.
It is currently 29°F outside, actual feel of 22°F. I am outside for my morning medication: today is cannabis and coffee. I’ve already taken my fish oil, but there’s no one to say anything about that if I take that in my kitchen. So I come outside after having dressed for the weather. This includes: underwear, thick socks, two pairs of flannel pajama bottoms, a long sleeved shirt over a short sleeved shirt, a fleece hoodie, my purple fuzzy robe with white stars, a knitted neck warmer, a knitted hat. I have spiked my coffee with hot cocoa mix and butter to make the warmth seem thicker and more long-lasting.
I have a medical marijuana card. Up until *very* recently, whole flower was not allowed to be sold in medical dispensaries. Smoking whole flower is the method of delivery that works best for me. If vaping worked for me, I could probably get away with vaping inside my apartment, although I really wouldn’t want to try. But it doesn’t. Smoking whole flower is what works. I no longer engage in practices that are meant to be good for me but in actuality, aren’t. Imagine if instead of taking your anti-anxiety meds by pill, you had to have them by suppository and you had to do that outside because that’s what the law dictated. Just because.
When it is colder than this, or when the weather is shit, or after dark (I feel like a D!sney princess out here sometimes, skunks ((Flower!)), raccoons, possums, cats, ALL the squirrels), I sit in the car. Even with the engine off, this is illegal to do. When I have zoom therapy and I am home I do it in my car or outside so that I can smoke. So that I can medicate. When I have zoom therapy and I’m at a friend’s house, I can be inside and warm and still medicate.
No other medication is subjected to restrictions and procedures like this. This is inhumane. Could you imagine if I told you you had to go outside for your heart medication if you weren’t well off enough to own your own home with private property? If I told you you had to take your cholesterol meds every morning but go outside somewhere on the street, what would happen?
And if I told you that unless you had the wherewithal, you couldn’t have a get-together with friends and have a smoke sesh. Have all the wine and cheese parties you want, every book club has its Bordeaux, every rehearsal dinner its Riesling, but no ma’am, you’re not allowed to enjoy this totally legal thing where you live, where you love, where you entertain. What would you do? What would you say?
People are going to consume where they are able to consume. Where they are forced to consume. This has always, and will continue to be what happens. By welcoming dispensaries and consumption lounges into Peekskill, by allowing smoking in specific areas of our many public parks, we are making our residents and visitors feel more comfortable and welcomed.
Last year I turned off Facebook memories for 2017-2018-2019 for this week beginning today. Today is the beginning of the end. Today is the beginning of the last week that Gary was alive.
So much in my life has changed in the last four years. I am not the same person who I was four years ago. I am not the same person I was forty years ago.
Forty years ago is when my bipolar disorder began to truly manifest in ways that other people could see. When my behavior became outwardly observable. Things that only I could see and feel and experience from age five were finally coming to the surface. The person that I grew into, the person that I became was by necessity, a damaged, broken, angry, fearful thing. I was shaped by my experience, by the storms inside my brain that no one could understand, but the results of which everyone could see.
The person that Gary met, she was a powerhouse. She had divorced her first and second husbands. She was taking care of her cats. She was running her own shop, she had an employee, she was working a lot. She was working out a lot. She was taking care of everything around her. She was not taking healthy self care.
She was, however, manic 24/7 and hella cute and driven. And on fire.
She is still here, in my brain, part of The Committee. She listens mostly. Doesn’t have much to say anymore, more an observer. She sits back and nods knowingly, joint in hand, smoke curling from her lips. She is Rosie Revisited, captured in a portrait, hanging on my wall. There are times when she does speak, a forceful, if gentle “STOP IT.” I have evidence.
Four years ago I was forced to stop. I became incapable of movement in any appreciable direction. The formerly driven, push-through-ahead-no-matter-how-miserable-it-makes-you person could not go any further. The “attack wife” had no fight left. I had no accountability to any other human. There was no one there for better or for worse. My life spun completely and totally out of control. I lost things, am losing things I can never get back. And yet…
I have found a new self, a calmer, more even self. I am finding the capacity for euthymia, for a happy evenness above my emotional equator. A firm-yet-squishy pleasantness that exists beyond the edges of what I smoke and carries me through the day and into my involvements with others.
I am no longer miserable.
In voicing this thought, however, there is such exquisite pain for the reality that Gary could have been helped. That perhaps he too could have finally found some measure of relief, as I have. That we just hadn’t gotten here yet in researching. That given enough time, we would have.
We didn’t have enough time. But I do.
I miss you so much. I wish you could see me now. I wish you could hear me now. I wish I could talk to you. The only thing you can do is listen.
And all I really want is to hear what you have to say.
So if I’m right about this, all of the manic spending that I did, all of the things I did to treat myself, all of the retail therapy that I did that never filled any kind of hole, all of the evidence of this that is sitting in the house that I am losing that I am having so much trouble sorting through.
And now that I am not living in that house, now that I am trying to do my very best to figure out how to dispose of all those things, and it is so difficult and making me feel so empty and so useless and so all alone like I am worth completely nothing, perhaps it is because I am not
That all of those things that I collected, that I bought in moments where I felt not enough, maybe it is that I feel that I will be even less than not enough if I get rid of them.
Spending money on those things when I didn’t have it to spend but I bought them anyway because it was self-soothing and now that I have no money and now that I have to get rid of them even though buying them made me feel worse it feels like that was the only remedy I have available and now I am disposing of that like it didn’t even matter, like it didn’t even help ever at all.
i have seen the edge. walked right up to it, lookedover. i have looked into the abyss and it welcomed me. its maw is deep and wide and it welcomed me. come, it said. step over the edge. or don’t but i am here for you when no one else is. i will wait for you. I know you will be back.
teeth bright and sharp white and cold. keep hold of what’s good. that’s all there is to save me that’s all there is flashes of all the good things
grasping at anything to pull me back from this edge. grasping at them smashing them into my brain shoving out this other look away. look away.
My own writing. I had to stop, and leave it for another time.
Driving to work and listening to the governor’s briefing where he assured everyone paying attention that taking the COVID-19 test was easy and that he would show us. And then he proceeded to show us just how easy it was. That there was nothing to it. He did exactly as he was told. He followed the directions and there was nothing to it.
Recalling to a friend on the phone the feeling of a neighbor’s eight-week old puppy in my arms. Taking two selfies with this sweet baby angel and not giving a single shit that the photos are not aesthetically pleasing but for that I am so motherfucking happy in them it doesn’t matter that I have like six chins and my mouth is doing something weird. And jfc what a run-on sentence.
The Peekskill sign on Route 9A when you come around the corner where it meets up with 9. I see it every single time and today, with the sun hitting it just right? Home. I am close to home.
These are the big things. A host of smaller things also, but these are the highlights. The ones that leave me stinging, wide-eyed-and-mouthed in a silent scream.
The only thing for it, as I was driving and couldn’t light up (as much as I wanted to dear gods if I could just. No.) the only thing for it automagically appeared. Dirty, filthy guitars filled my car. Fiercely echoing, I cranked it nearly to the top. Heartbroken, In Disrepair blasted from my speakers as I hit the straightaway on 9. I opened the windows, the sunroof. Flexed my calf, increased my speed.
Rosie, my red Juke, responded like a lover. Rocketing up the highway wasn’t smart. Wasn’t responsible. I didn’t give a single shit. This is what I needed.
There was no one in my way, Waze showed clear sailing. I accelerated until I hit ninety, no strain, my curls whipping in the tumult. With the music storming all around me, wind buffeting my face, the depression finally broke. I felt it physically melt in my chest. My shoulders unclenched, lowering from where they’d been, up around my ears. I let out a long, low whistle, much the same as I have heard from lovers. Release.
“I don’t know how it’s possible, but I, I think my birthday this year was possibly the best one I’ve ever had. It’s certainly one of the most special, and I want to thank everyone for being a part of it. 52 on 5/2 I’m certainly not playing with a full deck it’s more like a deck full of jokers. So thank you everyone for being part of it.”
for the record (and as far as i know you look it up if you don’t believe me) for the past fifty-two years it has been shitty exactly once on my birthday. That was 2001, the year I turned 33 and one of the years I was in and around dating Noel. I’m sure he had just recently broken it off again. Anyway.
my parents built the house I grew up in in 1970. A typical, split-level ranch. Right outside my bedroom window they planted this glorious cherry tree, a Kanzan Sakura, with the big, fat, pale pink marshmallowy blossoms. I love that tree, it’s my favorite flower of all. Blooms every year on my birthday.
I don’t remember how early on but it was early, Itold Gary that when I finally owned my own home I would plant one of those trees in my yard. The first spring that we were in the house we planted our tree. We didn’t plant it in a good spot, it didn’t get anywhere near the kind of sunlight it needed underneath the massive canopy of maple and oak. I could, however, see the blossoms from my bedroom window.
Last year, after the house went into foreclosure, I knew that would be my last birthday with that view, of cherry blossoms from my bedroom window. And then the neighbor went ahead and chopped down the maple and oak, that gorgeous canopy of green that had been protecting my head for 13 years. A full backyard of sunlight meant that the cherry tree would have a chance to grow properly now, reaching up towards the sun instead of slinking around corners to find it. Only I wouldn’t be here.
This year however, with the world on pause, I got one last, magical reprieve to spend with my tree. So I went to my backyard, prepared to see admirers as any queen would, and enjoyed my day under the cherry blossoms.