Last night after I crawled into bed Pony wrapped his arm around my middle and asked me what I was going to do today, a rare day off. I told him I had no idea. I’ve been in the thick of a depression for a while now but I keep plugging on because there is no other option. I keep waiting for the clouds to part like they always do, but I just get little sun breaks here and there. At least I get those. Honestly, I am thankful for any amount of light and levity.
I’m going to keep writing and not edit because part of my heaviness comes from lack of contact and part of my lack of contact comes from feeling I need to be perfect in my presentation. So I will let this flow and be random and will consider it a sign of love and acceptance to myself – i offer you and myself, on this dark and dreary winter morning, the blessed gift of incoherence. Even architects need to say fuck it once in a while.
It’s sort of embarrassing to admit, but i miss the people who treated me like I was someone special on my last blog. i really do. and honestly, i don’t even know if they were who they said they were. I’ve come across a number of examples of bloggers who were pretending to be someone they weren’t, someone sensational, like a hipster girl talking about her hipster life with a brain tumor. She was supposed to die sometime in the next few years. I read some of her posts and my gut told me she wasn’t close to death but I knew many bloggers who were into her so I kept my impression to myself.
Sometime later I learned from another blogger who had had a private correspondence with her that she was a pretty messed up girl and she was in fact making the whole dying beautifully thing up. Her blog has since closed down; I remember she came to my old one a few times. After reading one of my post about a depressed woman who continues to frequent a coffee shop in which she is routinely snubbed by the barista, the dying girl encouraged me to write more such similar tales. Her only caveat was that I write the book quickly so that she might gulp it down before her time came. Her farce bothered me on my levels, but mainly it hurt because my 5 yo niece had just died of a brain tumor the year before, it was a sudden thing, three weeks from diagnosis to death.
The child never knew what was happening to her. I don’t think she could have comprehended it if they had told her. I met her in the ER, with my brother and his wife. You don’t know what it’s like to stand outside a room in which a tumor has hatched inside such innocence. The invasive growth changes the atmosphere, turns it and anyone touched by it thick as cement. I wrote a post about it, how it felt for me, but even after rewriting it, and rewriting it, I don’t know how many times, over how many months, I just couldn’t bring myself to publish it, couldn’t bring myself to be the person who could speak for the child who was lost to us. I called it, What I appreciated Most, when time stood still for me. Sometimes I still go back and reread it, tinker with it, cry.
I never wanted to be one of those bloggers who came on and just said how depressed she was. Somehow it seemed wrong to ask for support without performing a trick or two. Before I could hit the print button, I was required to transform my fire. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe all that’s necessary is to show my body going up in flames, every last drop of me consumed in the blaze. That sounds horrible. But sometimes I think this is the only way to pass through the pain. Sometime we just need to let go and permit the terrible heat to eat right through the knotty core of us. It’s hard for me to believe this, but I’ve been reborn enough times to know I’m capable, more than capable of rising from the ashes.
Sometimes I’m sure the people who believed in me weren’t real. And I don’t mean that in a paranoid way, but honestly, they were utterly devoted to me, the way people are devoted to you in a dream. i thought they were too good to be true and worried from time to time they might be predators. If one person can find nourishment while pretending to be dying of a terminal illness, couldn’t another find a similar sustenance in providing love to the inconsolable?
Maybe the people we pretend to be are not so much pretend.
Maybe we’ve gotten so far from ourselves, have grown so out of touch with our humanity, the only way we know to reach our authentic selves is through fabrication. It’s possible. We invent a person we can be proud of. When I look at it this way, I have more compassion for people who lie about who they are online. Maybe, for them, pretense is a form of salvation. I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud here. It helps to write this down, it has troubled me for so long.
What if the man who has only words of approbation for me online hasn’t the opportunity or the courage to express this potency in his real life. Maybe he wants to know what it feels to bring peace to an aching heart, and maybe she, the dying girl, wants to know the deepest, most sacred kind of love. Maybe she has died a thousand deaths without the benefit of the witness. Maybe she decided to reach out and take the love she felt was owed her.
I think of the man who claims to love me from afar, my own private Don Quixote, who after reading my words online has told me on numberous occasions how he will never stop loving me. He claims this love divine. When he calls me a lady, I want to scream, just as Aldonza screamed. I am not any kind of a lady.
Maybe I am too harsh. Maybe that which we deem irretrievable can only be found in play. Maybe it is the unique dream state of the blog that has allowed this ardent supporter access to his own lost decency. When I think of the pretenders this way, I am happy for their imaginations, and feel a similar impulse to see this shroud we call reality stripped away.
last night on the drive home from her violin lesson, my daughter, she’s 17 years old, said she couldn’t get her thoughts out, said there were so many there were none. I thought that profound. I know just how she feels.
So many there are none.
When she stopped the car, we sat there in the dark of the driveway for a few minutes and then she turned to me and said, i think i know why all of our talks are stolen.
It’s because i never know when something is going to show me the way in to my thoughts. she admitted to hating her good friend.
i said she should pay attention to anything that gets a rise out of her, good or bad and then because my eyes were filling with tears I turned my face to the night sky; it’s so beautiful after the rain. the clouds were swirly and forgiving, moving graciously like feathers across the blackness.
but when they are alone together she loves her again.
She wanted to know why she could hate the girl. I said maybe she was threatened by her in some way.
Really? Why do you say that? I’m not threatened by her.
Well…I don’t think feeling threatened is unnatural. We’re all threatened, all the time. It’s because we’re human.
Yeah, maybe you’re right. She does threaten me. Everyone loves her so much, they don’t see through her like I do.
When you get to know people, when you realize their patterns, and then you get to love them for who they are, not just who you thought them to be. you know? It’s normal to be disillusioned with your friends in the beginning, it means you’re going deeper.
She’s so sweet, but she talks about herself all the time and she’s always trying to find a way to brag about herself and make herself seem really cool, only she pretends she isn’t doing it. Like this guy at the gym gave her his number, some random guy, and she said she was embarrassed. Like, OK, why are you embarrassed? and she’s all, well, I felt bad because I’m not going to call him.
I guess she needs some attention. She’s gone through a lot.
I know, I really like her, we can really talk about things. I just wish I she didn’t irritate me so much.
Can’t you just say, hey, enough about you, let’s talk about me. Sort of joke about it.
No, she would be devastated. She’s not jokey.
Oh, your friendship is precious. It doesn’t have shocks, nothing to absorb who you really are.
Exactly! Our relationship is riding on these big wooden wheels.
Oh, yeah, like the kind on baby carriages you see in antique stores.
Yes! There goes our precious relationship for a dainty stroll in the park.
This is a funny metaphor. I like it.
My friendship with Mia is like a pogo stick. We can say anything to each other. We just bounce all over the place.
That’s nice. It’s good to have different kinds of friends.
i love being with my daughter. i’ve never met a person so much like myself. but she really is not at all like me, yet we have this understanding. she’s intuitive. We fight and we love. it’s rare to be this comfortable with another human being and more than grateful to have experienced this kind of presence in my lifetime. for as much as she puts me down, I know she must. yet she trusts me implicitly.
I love to make her food. when i’m depressed, wanting so badly to lay down on the bed, which i simply will not allow myself to do, I will make her a fancy salad, or a stir fry, or a cup of tea with milk and sugar, and I’ll ask her about her day and to deflect this terribly blunt question she’ll turn it back on me and then i will run back through my encounters, see if i can cobble together some bit of a story, a thought about something, an impression she can nibble on.
I’m not a regular mother. And that’s OK. I don’t know what a regular mother is. I don’t want to take away from what is good, not too soon. this is the hardest fucking freewrite.
When i told him i didn’t know what I was going to do today Pony suggested I could take a hike. I took a deep breath and resisted hurting him. It’s not that I can’t think of things to do, I explained, it’s that everything feels pointless. I’ve lost that loving feeling for my life. i am not suicidal or anything, i’m not like that, but i just have this dread that everything i’ve been running away from has finally found me.
Maybe that’s OK.