Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Somebody Tell a Joke

Life has gotten far too serious lately.

I've been in and out of jobs for the better part of a year. Both of my grandmothers have died. I lost my beloved apartment in Manhattan. Friends who I thought I was really close to have disappeared from my life, some deliberately, some due to apathy. Ex-boyfriends turned clingy, the ex-husband refused to communicate in any way with me. My dad has been less than well. Mom has become dismissive. My family of 200 relatives has forgotten that I exist. And now I owe $3000 in taxes for 2004 - one last fuck you from that French company where I wasted two years of my life.

This has all been one major buzzkill.

I used to be the life of the party. If I came to the party, I'd bust up those cliques and get everyone singing showtunes and trying new drinks. At the bar, everybody had more fun. I used to be a really fun date - OUT of bed. I used to be funny, brash, and quite well-dressed. I laughed really loud, and got others laughing too. I liked to think that I helped people out of their shells a bit. I was certainly out of mine. Out and proud. So to speak.

I would say I miss the friends I left behind in the city, but I saw them so seldom in late 2004... none of them have noticed I'm gone. Or at least, none have bothered to call or email me. What is there for me to miss? The emptiness inside me is a hunger that food cannot assuage.

I scowl a lot when I'm at the grocery store. I used to luxuriantly smell the fruit at the organic shops, and finger the many kinds of pre-packaged grains available, like a jewelry-maker in a bead store. Now I scowl at calorie/fat/fiber ratios and grit my teeth at the limited options in the Stop-n-Shop. Between my finances and my fitness regime, I have lost some of my love of cooking. A couple of weeks ago I held a container of Polly-O Whole Milk Ricotta cheese in my hands, thought of great-grandma's bite-sized deep-fried Zaples dusted with powdered sugar, and cried.

That night, I tossed a package of Skinny Cow ice milk sandwiches in the freezer, ate one, checked the two points off my Weight Watchers's food diary, took three Advil, and went to bed.

When G drives me places, I stare out the window, or look for CD's to play. Sometimes I babble about whatever's irritating me at the moment. When he wakes me up in the morning with a cup of coffee in his hand, I often launch into a sketchy description of a disturbing dream. When he snuggles me on the couch in the evening, I turn the TV on, and fall asleep.

I have become a drag.

I feel myself becoming, as he once said, a grouchy old fart. I used to laugh about being jaded, thinking it was somehow sophisticated and adult, but now it's not so funny. I no longer take much solace in friends, because for all their well-intentions, they seem to have to work so hard to fit me into their lives. Is this friendship? I look back on my life and the "friends" I've had - even the "best friends" I've had - and they all walked the road beside me for a short time, then vanished.

The constant battle with my finances has caused me to choose a rather spartan existence, so there's not much glitter in my life anymore... and no substance has yet emerged to take its place. My living situation has me in a state of relative dependency... and I struggle with that. I have invested some of my freedom in a vision of the future. The present is a porous paper cup, half-full. I can see the water stains on the outside. Time.

I stand in G's apartment sometimes, when I am alone, and stare at the walls, which look like porous paper, holding me and the remants of my dreams, willing them not to fall down around me. Demanding my ghosts to leave me alone. Howling battle cries to my demons to GET OUT. Insisting that I am not afraid. Listening to the pounding of my own heart.

I no longer feel free to wander and explore life. I feel homeless.

I say all this when I'm on the verge of having some really great weekends. If I can survive this upcoming weekend (a family event), the ones thereafter are looking sweet. More than sweet. Exciting. Friend-filled. Booze-filled. Food and music and art and theatre and (let my aching breast swell with love!) New York-filled. I will be able to scrach many itches, as G would say.

Goddamn do I need that. I need it bad. I need it like Bette needed a drag.

My two best friends from High School are coming to see me next week. They are largely coming because New York is a cool place to visit, but I can say with honesty and belief in the veracity of the statement that they are also coming to see me. They are two people whose love I have no doubt in.

My joy at their visit is frustratingly diminished by the knowledge that, once they leave, I will not see them again for many months. Possibly years.

A drag ain't enough. A tobacco plantation couldn't satisfy this need.

As you can see, I have yet to find a therapist.

There's more to it than people. Music is a big part of this. I have pretty much complete lack of music in my life. My CD collection is in storage, and I'm reduced to about 10 CDs. Dinah Washington may never leave the stereo. G's little laptop doesn't do much for MP3s. I found a jazz club in town... I'm going to try. I haven't sung in public since last August. I'm frighteningly insecure about how I'll be received when I get up there and jam with those fellas. I always do well.. but a part of me feels like a poseur. 10 years in Manhattan, and what have I got to show for it? A bunch of songs on paper which nobody has ever heard. Forgettable roles in a bunch of concert operas that I paid through the nose to be part of, which nobody saw except my parents and some nursing home residents. I never got in with the right bunch of fellas, or gals. I would say I feel like a failure, but I feel something even worse than that, something darker, deadlier.

I feel like I could have tried harder. I feel like I might have had a chance... and blew it.

I pray a lot these days. I do rituals in my little corner of the living room, listening for the voice of the Goddess. She does talk, and it's comforting. She keeps telling me to be patient, let myself think and feel and relax, to write it all out, and keep my hands busy. So I've started making jewelry again, a hobby from my childhood. She tells me to trust that everything will work out fairly, justly, and that I must remember how strong I am. She tells me that I shouldn't back down when I'm discouraged, and that I must fight my hatred by drowning it in the well of love that I carry inside myself. This last part is not so hard as it sounds. I forgive easily. I want to love. I want to be happy. Hatred is poison. Fear is its fuel.

Today I am wearing a necklace of red and gold beads that I made last Saturday, while I burned Spring flower incense and listened to Dinah Washington singing "This Bitter Earth." Red is for passion, firey spirit, and power. Gold is for abundance. I faced the east as I strung the beads, the direction of air. I'm open, I thought to the world, I'm wide open here!

I have never been good at waiting.

I carry a green stone with white lines in my pocket, another symbol of power, and groundedness. I bound it with a gold thread. It reminds me that I have power within myself. It reminds me of the abundance that is already in my life.

I have a rather prickly relationship with this stone. It's a lot like my mother.

It's spring. I'm ready to crawl out of my cave again.

Goddammit, where's the fucking party?


Dr. Zoom said...

It's a damn shame that you do some of your best writing when you're in your deepest despair. Great reading for us; suckage for you.

Hang in there, hon. Gloom and doom seems to be making the rounds this week. You have things to look forward to, and this is a great salvation. Try to avoid looking back.

Jess said...

Well, there's some fine barbecue (and drink, no doubt, knowing this crowd) not too many days off. But you know that. :)

In the meantime, you said, "Somebody Tell a Joke," so...

Q: Why did the frog cross the road?

A: Because it was stapled to the chicken.

(Well, my niece and nephew thought that one was a riot.) :)

Anonymous said...

Make no mistake - I'm coming to see you. New York is just a bonus. :) If you'll make me some jewelry I can wear it around town to jazz up my boring outfits!


auburnpisces said...

I am moved and feel what is going on inside of you. If I can find your email, I will write to you offline.

Stay strong. The Goddesses are right. But just in case, can I borrow your rock?