Friday, March 27, 2009

The Witching Hour

I have just arrived home, and I am drunk. Sort of. Not like I used to be drunk. Just nicely drunkish. Three beers and one shot of bourbon, plus two big glasses of water and a plate of sweet potato fries. I feel GLORIOUS. WONDERFUL. FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC.

I sang tonight. I went to the jam at my local pub, where G and I have been regular patrons since I moved here. The owner knows me, the wait staff knows us, and I sang. I sang tonight, with a group of musicians. A guitarist, a bassist, a stickman, and I think some harmonica was in there. I sang When Love Comes to Town. BB King made it pretty famous, but I have a fabulous version with Joss Stone and Jonny Lang, off of Herbie Hancock's album from a few years ago. Kick ass, man, kick some fucking ass. I sang, I yelled it out, and those guys played like fire. It was AWESOME.


This is my local, hometown place, where I have always felt comfortable, like everyone knows my name. I think that's what made the difference. I felt at home there. I guess that's really all that matters, in the end.

So, I can't wait to tell my voice coach on Sunday. He'll flip, maybe. I think he'll be pleased that I had the balls to get up and sing with a combo.

I feel great.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 - 4 - 3 - 2 -

I'm spending today in the city.

Yesterday was a great, productive day.

Something inside me is incredibly quiet. Like after a thunderstorm. It's... peaceful.

Hopefully, it won't rain today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Week 4

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday. I like him because he's no-nonsense. He's not an analyst, he's a physician, and I've had years worth of analysis, and I'm ready for some treatment. So I go in to see him, we get right to the point, we talk about efficacy, side effects, things to look out for, schedule next month's appointment, I hand over my co-payment, and 20 minutes later I'm outta there.

Things are going well.

I have more to say - must go to the gym first. I'm doing particularly well with that, and want to keep the momentum.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Thank you, Great Lady of Light, for the many blessings in my life:

My husband
My family
My cat
My friends
My voice
My health
My sense of humour
My humanity

May I live the best life I can, in honor of all I have received.

May it be so.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are You Kidding Me??


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Natasha, We Loved You

I speak for a grateful public in saying, Natasha Richardson, I can't believe you are gone from us so suddenly, so quickly, so utterly without warning. As your father said, you were a true actress. You embodied the standard so many of us tried in vain to reach. I believed every word you said. Your fragility and your strength coexisted in your beautiful voice and face and entire being.

My prayers are with Liam and the rest of your family.

Rest in peace, beautiful Natasha.


Today, instead of coffee, I'm drinking crystal light with caffeine! ZING!! WOWEEE!!

Plan for today: Hot cereal and fruit for breakfast. Shower. GYM BABY!

Then grocery shopping. Dinner tonight, scallops with citrus sauce over mixed veggies. Another new recipe. If I can't find fresh sea scallops, I'll try it with jumbo shrimp, or a nice thick fish.

After dinner... I've actually been invited to sing along with a local musician. Last Friday, when Dave was here, we went to our favorite local diner, and Dave was talking me up to the waitress. "She's a GREAT singer, if you ever need entertainment here, you should hire her!"

So, the waitress told me to come in on Thursday night. They have a guy with a guitar who likes people to get up and sing with him. So...

Please. I did this for ten years in Manhattan. I was up singing with the house band at pretty much every bar I ever went to. It never amounted to anything, but it was fun.

and you know? I really miss having fun.

So tonight I'm going to try and have a little fun.

And try not to get carried away.

I feel like I'm going on a date with an ex-boyfriend. I don't want to get back together. I'm a family man now. I just want to be friends. Is that so wrong?

Why can't I just have fun singing from time to time? What would be so awful about getting a little weekend gig? It's not like I'm learning operas anymore, or investing in recital gowns, thick scores of classical music and $50 CD's. Instead of an obsessive full-time hobby, I want a sensible part-time gig. That's safe, right?

Besides... I'm unemployed. Not like I'm cheating or anything.

So hopefully, if I don't chicken out, at 10pm I'll be singing.

I'll wear jeans.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Erin Go Blah

I spent what used to be my favorite holiday in the city with my gal Ames. Unfortunately, we only went to two very lame and boring pubs, and had dinner at what must be the only diner that DIDN'T serve fish-n-chips. I was so far from drunk. I did no dancing. I heard no live music, never mind Irish music. I did not enjoy the company of men in uniform. Instead I stood around some boring pub with two complete dorks who weren't exactly sparkling conversationalists. We were in bed before 11pm.

Amy seemed to be having a great time, so all was not lost. I'm glad I was able to spend time with my friend. I just wish, for once, I could have a real St. Paddy's day. It's been two years in a row now where all I did was stand around a stupid bar listening to pre-recorded music talking to boring locals. Things I could do anywhere, any night of the year.

Oh well. there's always next year.

Now that I'm done being whiny and selfish, it was SO great to see Ameleh so happy and comfortable in her neighborhood, in her little Manhattan apartment. Something about her has really relaxed. She always seemed a little on edge, but since she's living in the city, a layer of stress has been removed from her life. For her, she's living life to the fullest. She dates, she has a short commute to work, less than 30 minutes, she has a local gym, she cooks for herself, she has a killer rockstar hairdo, and she sleeps at home in her own apartment. She's independent, and in the middle of everything. To quote myself circa 2002, she's got life by the balls.

I remember that feeling. She deserves this. She's worked hard and waited a long time for it. I'm proud of her.

Unfortunately, I ate cheeseburgers and nachos and drank just enough alcohol last night to completely blow my diet, for, like, the whole week. So now, I have to re-fuel, clean out my system, and get to the gym. Last week I had the flu. This week, I'm just undisciplined, I suppose. Granted it's only Wed, but I'm pretty sure I won't see a loss on the scale, and I know my stomach ain't any slimmer. At this rate I'll be wearing the fat suit on the beach this July, and I am NOT HAVING THAT. I really need to commit here. Maybe today, tomorrow and Friday, I can still salvage?

Let's give it a try.

Next voice lesson: Sunday at 4. I'm learning "Here's that Rainy Day." It's beautiful, a classic torch song, languid and pensive. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Week 3

Last weekend, I began to think, maybe the drugs are working.

I spent all last week alone, while G was in Virginia attending a 5-day training seminar for his job. It didn't suck. Granted, I got the flu, which destroyed my master plan involving 5 straight days of gym workouts, but that was really the only thing pissing me off. I rested a lot. I cooked, I cleaned, I talked to my parents on the phone. I blogged, and on Friday, Dave came to visit, and we had a blast. Saturday afternoon I got a bitchin' blowout, and when G got home that evening, he demonstrated just how much he liked the 'do. And I'm over the flu.

One big thing I did on Saturday: I got myself a voice coach.


Yep. I sho-nuff did. I purchased four coaching sessions from the music school down the street. I had my first voice lesson yesterday. It felt incredible. INCREDIBLE.

I would say that I'd forgotten how good it feels to really sing, but I hadn't forgotten. I would say that I was nervous, but I wasn't. The only thing that made me nervous was forking over my credit card and charging over $300, wondering what G would say. But somehow, I knew he'd be ok with it, because I know that he understands what singing means to me, and how miserable I've been without it.

I was right about that. When G got home on Saturday, we ripped each other's clothes off and spent easily an hour in bed, until our stomachs growled and we needed to go out for dinner. Over burgers at our favorite local pub, I told him I'd spent $320 on one month's worth of weekly voice lessons at the music school down the street. "That's great!" G said.

"My first lesson is tomorrow at 4," I said, "I am SO excited."

We didn't discuss it in detail. I had his reassurance, and that was all I needed.

Sunday, I arrived a bit early to the studio, so I texted my pal Amy for some quick moral support. "Ask me what I'm doing right now?"

"What" She texted back.

I flipped my phone open and called her.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

"I'm waiting for my first voice lesson in over six years to begin."

"WHAT?" she exclaimed. "You're taking voice lessons?"

"Yep," I chattered. "There's this music school down the street from my apartment, and all these years I've walked past it, and I met the owner once, and last August I almost signed up, and yesterday I just walked in and said 'here's my credit card, when can I start?' and I spent over three hundred bucks on four lessons, and I haven't sung anything in almost a year, and I can't wait."

"Well, good for you!" Amy said. "I hope the teacher meets your exacting standards."

I felt my cheeks flush at that. "You're right Ames," I said. "I am picky as hell."

"I remember your criticism of that girl whose cabaret show we went to see," Amy reminded me.

"Yeah..." I said, feeling a bit chagrined. "You're right, I am really fussy. But I'm going into this with an open mind. The teacher was an opera singer, and I hear he teaches all musical styles, which is the same as my old teacher, who I loved."

"Well, if it doesn't work out, you don't have to continue," Amy said. "But have fun!"

I said goodbye, and that I'd call her later, and then I closed my phone, and went inside.

The teacher's adorable. He's a little younger than my Dad. He's got an Italian name but he looks Jewish. He's friendly, funny, geeky, and plays the piano beautifully.

"That's some voice you got there kid," he remarked after a few vocalises.

As for my vocal issues, he had me pegged in less than 10 minutes.

"Your voice is very facile," he said, "and it's your double-edged sword. You can sing like anybody, but we need to get you singing like yourself. Stop imitating others, and be yourself."

This has been my crutch for... well, my entire life. You want opera? I can do that. You want country, pop, rock, jazz? No problem. I can sound like anything you want - because that's how I convince people to let me sing. I trained myself at a young age to sing whatever a director wanted to hear. I was desperate to be cast. Often, it worked. More often, it didn't.

I'm a mimic. But I have no real idea who I am. I know who I can be. That's not the same thing.

Yes, this is very holistic. I truly believe that this is connected to something very deep inside of me. My ongoing search for my true self began when I was about 30, and this is part of it. My singing is so integral to who I am. I've been saying for a while now that when I left New York and moved to Nyack, I left my Self behind, and haven't been able to get It back. I've found a lot of new and wonderful things (like massage), and am grateful for my discoveries over these last four years. But singing, music, I cannot truly ever leave behind me. As hard as I tried, I can't "get over" it. I was not able to replace my passion for singing with a passion for something else. Not massage, not my husband, not domestic bliss. The emptiness inside me will never go away until I find some way to get music back into my life, some way to get myself singing again.

As much as I have called this a curse, it's actually a gift. It's my gift from G-d, and I can't escape it. And I don't want to. Not anymore.

So here I am, going back to voice lessons. I practically floated into that studio office on Saturday, fresh from the salon, feeling sexy, feeling happy, feeling positive. Feeling POSITIVE.

This is the thing I never talk about. Underneath it all, I think I started the Prozac for this. There are so many reasons to treat my depression, good reasons, reasons I've already mentioned on this blog. But underneath it all, I want to sing.

I think, really, more than a great marriage, more than being a great Mom, more than being sober, more than being healthy and fit, more than happiness for it's own sake, more than all those things, I simply want to sing. I want it badly enough, that I'm willing to do the thing that I was too frightened to do for all those years.

I have a vision of myself, standing in the back corner of a dark club, with a guy on piano, singing to a dark room, with only a few people in the club besides the bartender and the waitress. And at the end of my set, I collect my pay, shake the owner's hand, and say "see you next week."

I've already lived through the things that scare most people. I've been divorced. I've drunk myself into emergency rooms and suffered blackouts and humiliated myself countless times. I've lost friendships. I've been thousands of dollars in debt, with no job, and no apartment. I've been rescued by loved ones and lived with the guilt and shame of not being able to care for myself or support myself the way an adult should. I've gained weight, I've lost time. None of those things forced me to deal with my depression.

The day I realized that I believed there was no point in trying to sing again, that I was faced with a future of never singing again, because I would never have the strength or belief in myself to try, was the day I knew I needed to get healthy.

I remember seeing a made-for-TV movie about the band Def Leppard, and how they re-formed their bad in the 1980's after breaking up, going through rehab, nearly being killed in car accidents, etc. One of the band members, who had been in and out of rehab due to alcoholism, told Joe Elliot "You want to keep me sober? Keep me on tour." Playing music was the only thing that removed his drive to drink.

I've heard a lot of musicians talk about this sort of thing, how important it is to do what you love, how it's almost like breathing, you HAVE to do it. If you don't you die. You might be walking around, working, living, but it's not really life.

So. I'm singing again. Just 45 minutes of work, and I feel alive in a way that I haven't in... I don't even know how long. Six years?

I have a new song to learn for my next lesson. For this week, I'm supposed to sing for 10-15 minutes every day. That's my homework.

Oh, whip me with a wet noodle.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'd better close this. I have to practice.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Man, did yesterday suck. I was sick, plain and simple. The flu. I lost the whole day. In so many ways. Everything I wanted to do was abandoned while I dealt with a fever, body aches, sore throat, way too much post-nasal drip, and a headache that pushed my eyeballs through their sockets.

I didn't sleep much last night, but I do feel much better this morning. The flus I get usually only last 24-hours, so hopefully it's gone now. I've been awake for an hour, and I'm on my second cup of coffee, and so far so good. If I still feel this great in another hour and a half, I'll go to the gym for a cardio workout.

I had a headache most of yesterday, so by the time House came on, I didn't want to watch any more TV. To keep my mind off how miserable I felt, I read this new book I bought last week, Smashed by Koren Zailckas. It's an autobiographical account of a young woman's alcohol abuse, beginning in junior high, and ending in her early twenties, after she's moved to New York, gotten a job, and began what should have been an adult life.

The minute I picked up this book I knew I had to read it. Her story is so similar to mine. We both started drinking at the same age, 14. There are some similarities between our parents' parenting styles. She was also a satellite to her best friend, a dynamic, outgoing girl named Natalie, a boundary-pusher and rule-breaker much like many of my old friends were. She and I were both shy girls from small towns who didn't think much of ourselves, who wanted to be drunk because it felt so good.

She was worse than me, in the sense that I never had to have my stomach pumped, and my parents never lectured me about drinking until after I'd gone to college. But we have so many shared experiences... the blackouts where you remember nothing, and after wrestling through your fear, releasing the experience into the unknown with a shrug for the public but a scar on your soul. Waking up naked next to someone you don't like, filled with shame and remorse, being treated like trash afterward. Hearing your dorm-mates talk about you, saying things that aren't true, trashing your reputation for their own purposes. Hanging out with other girls whose drinking is as bad as yours, often worse. Dating complete losers. Moving through life in a drunken haze, because the world is easier to handle when you can't see the sharp edges.

I did wind up in the hospital a number of times, after passing out somewhere, and my friends panicked. But I never had my stomach pumped, just saline dripped into my arm while I slept it off. So maybe I had more hospital visits than she did. But she consumed, overall, vastly higher quantities of alcohol than I ever did. I had a lower tolerance than she did, I suppose. Or maybe, a stronger will to live.

My worst alcoholic episodes were during two times in my life: college, and the period of time after my first marriage broke up. I had my worst blackout in 2003, and I woke up in a hospital, not knowing where I was, or whose voice I was hearing. Since my friends had all gone home before I me, I had been alone in a bar when I passed out, and the emergency personnel had called the only person in my cell phone whose last name matched mine: my ex-husband. Words cannot express the depths of my humiliation. Dimarc had been summoned to the hospital at 2am, waited until I woke up, then took me home and put me to bed at about 6am. Of all people, the person I thought I had relieved of any duties toward me. I remember my head swimming with disorientation. I murmured bizarre things, crying, apologizing, thanking him, apologizing again.

That's a big statement: the person I thought I had relieved of any duties toward me. I have talked a lot recently about how easy it was to simply live with my depression, because I didn't have a life partner, or a long-term roommate, or family nearby - I was able to hide it, and I believed I was keeping my loved ones' lives free of my sickness. I was a burden.

Sometimes, I still feel that way.

The hospital hadn't found anything in my system but alcohol, and my levels weren't even that high. It was odd that my body had reacted in such an extreme fashion, a complete blackout with no memory of anything at all. I consulted with a local clinic where I had a semblance of a medical history, since I'd gone there numerous times whenever I was uninsured. The physician there discussed the "date rape" drug with me, and how it causes blackouts, and leaves nothing in the bloodstream after a certain period of time. My stomach hit the floor. I realized how lucky I was, that I was never alone, that when I blacked out I was in a crowded place where I was a semi-regular. That I had left the previous bar, where strange but handsome young men had handed me drinks, despite their protestations. I remember placing my hands on my body, as though making sure everything was where it was supposed to be. I knew I had not been violated, but the realization of what could have happened crumpled my knees, and I sat on the floor and wondered why I wasn't crying.

I will never know exactly what happened that night, but I discussed it at length with a bunch of people. I told everyone in my women's spirituality group about it, and we all held hands and prayed and gave thanks for my safety. I told my shrink about it, and she reacted as she did to everything else, listened with a calm face and said, "So how does this make you feel?"

"Lucky," I said.

Two years later, it was 2005. I had just moved in with G, and I was utterly miserable. I was in New York withdrawal. I blogged extensively about that period; I had lost my job, my apartment, and everything that had been my New York life. It was over. As much as I loved G, and was excited to begin a new life with him, I was in deep mourning for my old life, one I had been forced to leave behind by situations beyond my control.

One evening I went out in our town, hoping to make friends, and had a terrible social experience, very similar to the sort I used to have in Springfield. I drank myself into a stupor. I don't know how I made it home, but when I reached the apartment, G had to drag me up the stairs. I threw up in the apartment, in the hall between the living room and bedroom. He cleaned the floor, but left me lying in the hallway. I vaguely remember pulling off my clothes and crawling into the living room and onto the couch in the pre-dawn light. I heard G on the phone with my temp agency, explaining that I was ill and wouldn't make it to work that day. He was quietly furious with me. He left for work without a word to me.

He locked me in the apartment, and I heard his footsteps down the stairs fade into nothingness. The silence was deafening. I assessed the situation. I had really fucked up bad. If he came home and threw me out, I'd deserve it. I crawled into the bedroom and passed out again.

It was around two in the afternoon when the hangover began to fade. I took a shower and scrubbed myself clean from my hair to my toenails. I rinsed out my clothes and hung them to dry. I changed the sheets on the bed. I got out the swiffer and lemon pledge, and cleaned all the floors in the apartment, and opened the windows. By the time G came home from work, the place smelled clean and fresh, and there was little evidence of the previous night.

It was the last time I ever drank alone. It was the first serious discussion G and I had about depression, and drinking, and how I really felt about a lot of things. It was one of the best talks G and I ever had. It was the day I realized that G was my salvation, in a way I never would have imagined a man could be.

It was a turning point, which led me to this day. It was the day I decided I didn't want to be sick anymore, and I was going to do something about it, find a way that worked for me.

I remember the feeling of hope that next day, when G forgave me, when we went to bed with my head on his shoulder, his arm curled protectively around me, and he kissed me on top of my head, through my hair. Not long after, I decided to go to massage school. We got married. I went to a psychiatrist.

I'm treating my depression for the same reasons I stopped drinking: I want more out of life. I want EVERYTHING out of life. One of those things is G. Another is children. Another is to sing again, somehow, somewhere. And I don't want to just do these things, I want to be great at them. I don't want to be an average wife, or girlfriend, or lover, or friend. Or Mom. Or singer. I want to be special, uniquely me, the best I can be, so that people understand why I exist, why G-d made me, what I have to offer this world. And so that I will understand it too.

It's been 14 days since I started taking the Prozac. Two weeks. Its supposed to take around three weeks to start seeing effects. Yesterday was a pretty horrible day, but how much of that was the flu? I did call my mother and complain about my body sabotaging my plans for the day, and how incredibly angry I was. I had to break my commitment to five days of gym workouts on the first day. I knew there was no way I'd stick to my dietary plans that day. My whole fitness regime was shot for the day. I was furious. But... I didn't cry. I didn't self-flagellate too much. I did some. But maybe...

I don't know.

Today I'm going to try and get back on the horse. Go to the gym. Eat my healthy meal plan. Do the grocery shopping. Make the soup. All the things I wanted to do yesterday but couldn't.

I am still mulling over last Friday's post. My inability to trust is a serious issue that I will have to address, and soon. I might find myself back in therapy with that.

But not today. One day at a time. Today, I am flu-free, and I'm not just going to make soup. I'm going to make fucking awesomely delicious healthy vegetable soup.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Body/Mind Disconnect

Happy Purim everybody. Today I'm going to make Hamentaschen, and then try to fob the cookies off on my neighbors. Most of them have dietary restrictions, so I might have to take them to Marge's veterinary office next door or to our auto mechanics down the street. Never thought I'd see the day when I had trouble unloading cookies. I am a 5-star baker.

Anyway. My husband is out of town for a week-long training class, and I have a sore throat. All last week he was sick with some kind of chest congestion contagion. I slept on the couch most nights, which broke my heart. I know he's leaving for a week, and he's sick, and I'm on the rag, and then that one day I had the horrible acid reflux. We SHOULD be having wild sex all week, but no, we were too busy feeling crappy. Saturday night, I couldn't stand it anymore, and threw caution to the wind, and spent the night in bed with my husband. I woke up Monday morning with a sore throat and chest congestion.

Totally worth it. But now he's gone, and I have to make my own soup and tea.

Honestly, I don't really feel THAT bad. He was really sick, he actually took a sick day on Tuesday, staying in bed all day. Tuesday was that really great day for me, ironically, where I had the awesome gym workout, and made the soup, and got all that stuff done. While my poor baby was sleeping away. I'm nowhere near as sick as he was, but I wish I felt my best.

My goal was to work out five days straight. In this condition, I'm afraid of pushing myself into a really sick zone. Being on my own this week, that would be baaad. So no gym today. I think instead I will go to the mall and walk briskly for a half hour. Then hit the grocery store.

I keep thinking about my post last Friday. It boils down to a lack of trust. I have a real problem with trust. More on that later.

I'm already twitching to get out of the house. And I'm starving.

Friday, March 06, 2009

9 Days In

I feel like I'm weaning myself off painkillers. Like, I've been taking painkillers for so long, I forgot that I have something wrong with me. Pain is a symptom of a bigger problem, so in order to correctly diagnose and treat the problem, you have to allow the pain to flourish, so you can follow it, see exactly where it's coming from, how it progresses, learn from it.

Overcoming addictions is a similar process. Kicking your drug of choice brings back all the pain and anguish that clouded your judgment and led to your taking it in the first place.

What was my drug? Office work, oddly, was a big one. As long as I had a classy office to go to every day and spend the majority of my day there, I had a reason to clean myself up every day. A good reason to keep my personal issues under the rug. An excuse to invest in nice clothes. That 1980's glamour of being a yuppie worked magically for me.

Yeah, I had other drugs, but this is my last one. I'm calling it a drug because it never led to anything. Remember - I was a temp. No 401k, no paid time off whatsoever. The lowest menial wage - most people could never live on it. I've been floating on a lily pad for... I was about to say 4 years, but in reality, it's been 12 years. I temped in hospitals, then got a permanent job that lasted 1 year. Then I temped in corporate offices, and got a permanent job that lasted a little over 3 years. Then I temped for 4 more years. My second permanent job got me a 401k which, miraculously, hasn't been affected by the economic turndown (knock on wood), probably because the balance is too small to get attention. But other than that... I have no money left from those jobs, because I only made enough to survive on, paycheck to paycheck. I have a lot of life experience, which doesn't pay the rent.

Every office job I've ever had was temporary, even the permanent ones. That's pretty common in today's world, but there's a difference here I'm trying to get my hands around... Painkillers wear off after 4, 6, 12 hours. My jobs ended after 4 weeks, six months, a year.

Man, does it feel good to wear nice office clothes. It makes me feel legitimate, like I'm someone who matters.


So, I haven't been able to wear my costumes or huff office air for two months now. I'm not exactly bored. I'm alone with my thoughts which, all my life, has been dangerous. Even when I'm cooking, practicing piano, cleaning the house, going to the gym, working out, grocery shopping... None of that helps.

I talk to myself out loud while I'm doing these things. I pretend someone is with me, usually a friend. Sometimes I go off on tangents. I'll start out explaining why I'm grinding my cardamom spices instead of just cracking the shell and using the whole thing. After a while, I'm in a fight with this person over something. Yep. Sometimes, even my imaginary friends are judgemental, picky, snotty bitches.


It's people. Why does it always boil down to people?

In every office I've worked, there's a crowd of new people. There's always one or two that I really like, who make me laugh, who I am friendly with while I'm there. When I leave the job, I never see or hear from them again, sometimes even if we exchange phone numbers and email addresses. But it's always the people I look forward to seeing. The work is almost always menial.

Christ, has this been a substitute for real relationships?


There's something more to this.

I've been doing this all my life. When I was growing up, I went from show to show in community theatre. I remember the way we'd all cry when the show was over, because we were going to miss each other so much. These were the only friendships I had for years, and they were shallow friendships. They ended when we stopped doing shows together. We didn't call each other after the show closed. In between shows I was as alone as ever. Sometimes I'd do two or three shows with the same girl, and during the first show we were the best of friends, and in the subsequent shows, she wouldn't deign to speak to me.

It was, really, just like school. You might be best friends in grade school. Then in high school, some kids are cool, and the rest aren't. Freshman year in high school, I was so excited to see some of my old friends from grade school. Then I realized that they were now fashionable, and I wasn't, and they were cruel to me. Whatever friends I thought I had, they were now gone. I had to start over.

Just like going from show to show.

From job to job.

I like to bar-hop. I don't like to stay at the same bar for more than a drink or two, unless there's a good live band.

I never lived in any one apartment for more than two years.

I've had three husbands.


No wonder I'm committment-phobic. Nothing has ever really lasted for me, even when I wanted it to.


Which brings me back to the problem I've been aware of for years:


Well, all this typing. What did I learn today?

Nothing I didn't already know.


I don't know exactly why, or how I got this way, but this is, I think, the key.

I want more. I always have. I'm not satisfied by what most people are happy with. I need things to be real. I need life to be fulfilling, not just reasonably successful.

And I've always felt this this was a terrible thing, that I was a greedy, spoiled, selfish, demanding, ungrateful brat.


I'm not.


Thursday, March 05, 2009


I need to vent. This is just so hard.

I just feel paralyzed. It takes phenomenal effort to do ANYTHING. I managed to shower and get dressed, but I'm having... er, female difficulties, suggesting that the gym isn't the best place for me today. So now I'm thinking I should change into something warmer and walk around the block.

I went for that walk yesterday and was MISERABLE. I felt AWFUL. Today I'll bring the iPod, maybe that will help?

I've had people suggest books on tape, but I wasn't impressed with iTunes' selection. Maybe I'll just get something. I have to get out of my own head.

I am so IRRITABLE. Even if I had someone to talk to and walk with, I think I'd be lousy company. Who'd put up with me in this condition? I hate inflicting myself on others, especially people I care about, when I'm like this. But in all honesty, it's when I'm like this that I need people the most.

I am fucking high maintenance, and I HATE IT.

I know I can't expect to see any real effect from the Prozac yet, it's only been 8 days. But knowing that better days are (supposedly) coming is, I think, making me impatient. It's making me have even less tolerance for myself.

I'm furious with myself for being like this today. I gave myself a pass yesterday because Tuesday was so awesome. But today I need to be BACK ON THE HORSE.

Now watch, I'll post this.... and then what?

I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Inalienable Rights

It's beautiful outside, and I feel completely, utterly alone.


I had a phone call with my Mom. She said when she moved to Springfield, she felt the same way I feel about Nyack: people aren't genuinely friendly here. They are only friendly if they want to you patronize their establishment or hire them for some service, or join some committee they are on. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone seems to already know each other, and I've tried numerous times to get to know people, go to some local events and meet people.

"It wasn't anything like that in the city," I said. "In the city, people just wanted someone to go to movies with, or hit the bars. It was shallow, but it was social."

Mom mused about people in the city already having the business angle figured out. "There's only so many people in Nyack," she said. They are all already each other's customers. Limited profit margin there.

My Mom told me a Springfield story, about bringing my grandma with her to a meeting of some sort, likely the PTA or some school-related thing. When it was over, Grandma said "those women aren't very friendly!" Up until then, Mom had thought she was the problem, that she was doing something wrong.

"Well, thanks to growing up in Springfield, at least I know snobbery and insincerity when I see it," I snarked.

There was one woman in Nyack that I met, who was clearly hoping to make a friend. She appeared to be in her early forties, a significant enough age gap to make me feel out of place. She began to tell me every intimate detail of her recent divorce - including all the sick sexual things her ex-husband wanted her to do - within the first hour of knowing me. She was so desperate, she scared the crap out of me.

My Mom's "friends" that I remember from my youth: a raging alcoholic, and a woman whose husband beat and abused his family.

I remember when all my friends were drug users, underage drinkers, angry gays whose parents had kicked them out at 18, people who considered prostitution because it made them feel like less of a victim, like they were taking some measure of control over their lives. Girls who "weren't above" exotic dancing, boys who were "smart enough" to sell drugs and use without getting caught or strung out. We were all under 25 years old. Most of us were under 21.

I remember making the very difficult decision to cut those people out of my life. It wasn't hard to do on a practical level. If I avoided them, they eventually quit calling. It was hard on an emotional level. I felt that I was abandoning people who needed me. I felt that I was becoming a judgmental snob. Who did I think I was? I was no better than them. Somewhere in the back of my mind was the realization that the only difference between me and them was that I believed there was more to life, and that maybe, just maybe, it wasn't out of reach. I was no optimist, but I had less despair than they did. Maybe only a teaspoon less, but it was enough.

But they didn't want to hear it. I couldn't help them, and they didn't want me to. They just wanted to drink, smoke, watch movies, get delivery, try to get laid now and then, and bitch about life, the world, and everyone we knew.

There's an old axiom: Any man is better than no man. I turned that one around pretty quickly: No man is better than an abusive man. Once I got that through my head, and escaped my abusive relationship, it was a hard step to the next phase: Being alone is better than hanging out with people who might get you arrested. I had to apply this to my friends. At least, that's how I justified it. Saying "they fill me with despair and hopelessness" didn't seem like a good enough excuse to dump a social group. Saying "I'm afraid the cops will raid" sounded more acceptable. Nobody wants to go to jail.

Amazing, how I had to justify lifting myself out of the gutter. How dare I. Who did I think I was?

Maybe I still see myself that way? Do I project that? Is that why nobody in Nyack - at least, no healthy person - ever wanted to smalltalk with me? Am I still carrying the gutter around on my back?

I am still punishing myself for not wanting to be surrounded by dysfunction. My Dad is a doctor, my mom a teacher. They are both working-class liberals who raised me to believe that if you see someone in need, you should give whatever you can. Be generous. Never judge others. And if someone says they are sorry, forgive them. Be kind to others, and they will be kind to you.

They never told me that people might use me, might walk all over me, might take and take and take and never give. Might con me out of everything I had.

They told me I deserved a happy life. They did not tell me that I might have to choose my own needs over those of my "friends" in order to have it.

All that was almost 20 years ago.

I made the change. I moved to New York, and became far more discriminating. I decided to seek out friendships with people - women mostly - who I admired, who I looked up to, who I felt were, somehow, better than me.

None of them are in my life anymore.

I realized recently that I don't have any real friends in Nyack because I haven't met anyone here that I want to make a real friend of. The people I've met remind me too much of the people I left behind in Springfield. Bitter, angry, older people, drug-using young people. Women who are so needy they frighten me. Men who look old enough to be my father, talking to my breasts. Expensively-dressed attractive adults who pretend not to see me, even when I look directly in their eyes, smiling, trying to engage them in conversation. Then they shift their weight, give a nervous laugh, give me a two or three word response, and walk away, quickly.

Four years of this. No wonder I'm so fucking depressed.

And now, I sit here and this fear creeps over me... maybe it's me. Maybe it's not Springfield, or Nyack. Maybe it's something I'm carrying around.

I mean, I did have people to go to movies with when I lived in the city. To museums, street fairs, shopping. We had great times, my old pals and I. As long as we lived nearby.

I am so confused.

Am I ever going to be past this New York Withdrawal?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Surprise Snow

We were warned about this one. I saw it on Google Calendar's Weather Widget - New York will wake up to several inches of snow on Monday. Yup, here it is. Several inches of thick, beautiful snow.

It had stopped precipitating by the time we woke up at about 6:30, so G just had to do a little shoveling, but not much. Our town managed to get the plowing done in a timely fashion, at least from what I could see out the window, so his stress this morning was minimized. I, on the other hand, get to sit in my heated apartment and meditate on the beauty of a world draped in white.

As I've typed this, it's started snowing again, just lightly. I want to go out there and lie in it, let it cover me. It looks so warm and soft, like a freshly made bed, all white sheets and fluffy pillows and fleecy blankets.

There are some big gusts of wind that come along now and then, blowing the powder that's accumulated off the roofs and out of the trees. It must be frigid out there. I had planned to go to the gym again today. We'll see how the roads are.

If the roads are bad, I'll go for a walk, bundled up in my long johns and heavy down coat and timberland boots. The street behind my building goes past a small park, where you can sit on the rocks and watch the Hudson River roll by. Days like this make me want to take endless pictures of the landscape. The ice floating in the river, the trees heavy with snow, random objects poking up from the ground, attempts to capture the way the wind blows everything sideways. I'm not primarily a shutterbug, but the snow brings that out in me.

I can hear someone shoveling outside.

Today's off to a good start.

Shoutout to Pua, who should be nearing the end of an ordeal today! Much love to you my faraway friend... sending strong, healthy vibes your way.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

End of Week 1

5 days, 5 pills. Feeling good.

I won't really feel any effects of the drug until it's been in my system for about 3 weeks. And even then, it's one of those individual things. Some people feel results after 2 weeks, some after 4 weeks... for some, it doesn't work, and you have to try a different drug. I'm rolling with it.

Two typical side effects are weight gain and decreased libido, neither of which are any fun for a newlywed who'd like children. The latter effect is likely not going to be much of a problem for me. I could use some calming down. But the first one...

My body image has tanked over the last nine years. Up until I turned 29, I loved my body. I loved the way I looked, and I loved that I could buy clothes anywhere, off the rack, at cheap places, at expensive boutiques, online, from catalogues, and they would fit. I could wear almost anything I wanted. And I did. I knew I was lucky.

But sometime after I turned 28, I felt my body changing. I knew my metabolism was slowing down. At 29, I wasn't fitting into just anything anymore. At 30... whole new me.

Not that I was fat. I was just... different. A little softer around the middle. I had less energy than I was used to. Over the course of two years, I had aged. I was no longer a post-adolescent. I was an adult, with adult problems.

Other things changed too. I needed moisturizer on my cheeks in the winter, or they felt scaly. My allergies shifted from my nose to my throat and eyes, some sort of polarization. I needed comfortable shoes in ways I'd never needed them before. My false sciatica in my lower left back became such a persistent problem that I had to go for regular medical massage for the better part of two years.

Part of me enjoyed the fact that I was growing and maturing. My youth hadn't been happy, and the farther I got from it, the less it affected me. But I have struggled with my self-image ever since. I think I'm fat, I think I'm disgusting at times. I'm not used to that. I hate how tired I get, and how easily I seem to get worn out. I used to be able to dance all night, now I'm exhausted after one high-energy song. That just sucks.

So, in 2004, I lost 20 pounds on weight watchers, and treated myself to a new wardrobe. It was great to know that I could DO that.

Somewhere between 2006-2008, I gained it all back. But... my clothing sizes didn't change. That was weird. I'm still fitting into those clothes I bought back then. But... I'm heavier.

I know the self-image thing, and the tired-all-the-time thing, is linked to depression. But I'm not self-flagellating all the time. But I am a but. I don't want this illness to be an excuse to let myself go. I will really hate myself if that happens. I need to feel motivated, to retain some sense of control over myself, to be able to say that I'm caring for myself, and to see the results of that. Maybe I just need to feel like a fighter. To know I am fighting.

When my last temp job ended, I decided to re-join Weight Watchers and learn how to cook healthy again. I've gotten sloppy over the years, using TONS of olive oil, way too many simple carbs, and way too much junk food. I was overeating a lot too, especially at restaurants. It was pretty clear to me what my bad habits were, and what needed to change. WW gives me a great set of tools and recipes and provides a nice structure that I like. So I've been doing WW since January.

I wrote in an email to Lisa recently that cooking has become my new creative outlet. I love making healthy food taste unhealthy. I love portioning out my leftovers, confident that my overeating days are behind me. I love trying new vegetables, new soup recipes, new ways to cook meat. And I love seeing G's face when I make something new that he really likes. Those are the best times.

The working out part is the hardest. My gym visits, over the last two years, had become almost obligatory. I love to go with G and be his workout buddy, but the quality of my workouts was very low. I'd do ten or twelve reps on a few machines at a weight that didn't challenge me too much, and trudge away on the elliptical and treadmill for 20 or 30 minutes at a light jog. Blah.

Well, at least I kept going.

Today, however, was a good day. I did 25 minutes on this uber-machine that our gym has, a new kind of elliptical that's bloody hard, but has a bounce to it, so it takes the pressure off my knees. I've noticed my knees, especially my left knee, has been bothering me since I've stepped up the cardio from walking to running and increased the resistance on the elliptical. Christ, talk about feeling old and depressed. But this new machine has a gliding feel to it, and a pronounced float up after the step down.

Today I had a new playlist specifically for this machine, slightly slower tempos:

Four Leaf Clover by Abra Moore
One Tribe by Aone
the Biggest Part of Me by Ambrosia
Sumthin' Serious by Audio Club (quick stair-climbs)
Beautiful Liar by Beyonce & Shakira
Tell Me by P. Diddy feat. Cristina Aguilera

Especially during the first three songs, I really flew. The resistance level on this machine forces you to glide more slowly, and you use the handbars lengthens your stride, like in cross-country skiing, so your upper-body works too. There is a lot of up-and-down, and the lift after stepping down is amazing. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, and it was so meditative, I thought I was flying. A couple of times I grappled the handbars, thinking I might float up into the ceiling fan. Oxygen flowed through me, my heart pumped but didn't pound, and endorphins flushed my system. Yet I didn't increase my speed, I just kept a regular, moderate rhythm, every fiber of my being vibrantly alive. And happy.

I felt happy.

Sex is kind of like that.

At some point, my iPod flew the coop. I had it clipped to the water bottle holder, and I don't know exactly what happened, but I must have caught the cord somehow, and it flew off the machine and landed on the floor next to me. I was left with my earplugs in my ears and the cord hanging down. I laughed, remembering a homeless woman I once saw in Manhattan, singing and dancing down the street, wearing a pair of headphones attached to nothing. I'm probably as high right now as she was, I laughed to myself.

Without my music playing, I could hear the music of my own body. My breathing came at a moderate pace, but the breaths were very deep, like the ocean tides coming in and out, in.... out... My heart was thumping purposefully. I could feel my muscles straining in a few key places, and did a quick technique check to make sure everybody was ok. I could feel my sarcomeres contracting, my nerve impulses racing along my arms and legs. I closed my eyes, and finished the last five minutes of my workout with my iPod on the floor and my headphones tucked into my waistband, hyper-aware of the symphony inside myself.

When I stepped down, I had only burned 260 calories, but that's more than usual for me. And I had already done two weight circuits and a whole mess of ab and oblique crunches. So I headed for the water fountain. Sweetest water I've ever tasted.

If I could work out like this every time I went to the gym... well, wouldn't I be a fine-assed mama. I doubt I'll sculpt myself back into the body I used to have, but I'll feel so good about myself that I won't care if I'm wearing a one-piece.

And that's the catch. Most days aren't this good.