Monday, February 28, 2011

Dead and Buried

My apartment looks like it got a lobotomy.  The walls in my room and my bathroom used to be dark blue - almost the color of bluebonnets.  The foyer was bright yellow.  Everything is sparkling white right now.  So white that the real estate broker told us to leave the paintings down so that all a prospective buyer will see is clean, fresh white.  Makes sense.  If I were going to buy a new place, I'd want a blank canvas for myself.  Now, however, I feel like I'm being wiped away.

As tired as I am of my neighbors, and as unrecognizable as this neighborhood has become with four giant new buildings out the window instead of the tennis courts that had been there for decades -- I'm sad to be leaving.  It was a rare luxury to sit on my terrace and watch folks playing tennis from Easter through Thanksgiving.  They were nice courts, too, if you like that sort of thing.  They're gone now.  The new buildings are nearly ready for tenants.  They're all glass, and with the aid of cheap binoculars, I'll be able to read the labels on the items in their kitchen cupboards.

They are the future here.  I am the past.  I keep trying to be cool with it, but it's a drag - most likely because I don't know where my future is right now.  Eckhart Tolle would say that all we have is the Now anyway because the past is gone and the future is absolutely nothing but speculation.  In the Now, my tears this morning are ego based and therefore not an expression of my true self. 

Maybe so.  But my true self is having trouble finding a manifestation of itself here in an apartment that is starting to feel so much like a hotel that I'm going to have to get a taupe bedspread for my room.  My quilt - velvet batik in various shades of blue and teal - is completely out of place now.  The rug is fine, though.  Buzz Kill and I bought it in Delhi back before somebody flew an airplane into the World Trade Center.  Travel was easier then -although security was already tight over there.  Tighter and more effective than here, that's for sure, even with those stupid naked scanners.  But then, it had only been about a year since there had been a serious hijacking on that very route:  Delhi to Kathmandu.  I didn't know about that then, however. I just knew they used a hand scanner to make sure my brassiere wasn't explosive.

I'm glad that I can say I've been to Kathmandu.  If it weren't for Buzz Kill, I may have never traveled beyond resort hotels in the Caribbean and European capitals.  Here's our little family at Tiger Tops, an eco-resort in the jungle of Chitwan National Park in Nepal over Christmas Vacation in 2000.

We flew by Mt. Everest to get there.  Velvet was a bit alarmed because we were in this ramshackle little plane - seven seats, I think, maybe nine.  The seats themselves were canvas and someone had evidently taken seat belts from old cars and installed them in the plane.  The co-pilot read the newspaper as we flew over the Himalayas.  I explained to Velvet that if you weren't convinced you were going to be graveyard dead at least once during the day, then you hadn't been on an adventure.

I reminded Velvet about adventures and getting killed a year or so later when we nearly got creamed by a car when we were sledding up at the Hippie Dippy Quaker Camp in Vermont.  We were up there in February because the camp has an alumni event every February where everybody hikes more than a mile up a hill to a frozen pond and proceeds to cut big blocks of ice for the ice house.  Great event, and you'd be surprised how quickly a dedicated group of cheerful workers can load five tons of ice into an ice house.  Plenty of time for sledding later.   Velvet and I were flying down the driveway in an ice boat when a car unexpectedly came down the dirt road through camp - which was of course covered in packed snow not dirt.  Anyway, they nearly creamed me and Velvet, but disaster was narrowly averted.

I lost an earring that day.  A tiny lapis lazuli heart set in gold that Buzz Kill had just brought back from a business trip to some jewelry company in Santa Fe.  Come to think of it, my walls were the same deep, peaceful blue as that lapis. I still have the mate, but that fell into the snow in a birch forest in the southern end of the Green Mountains. I always hoped someone found it the next spring and happily wore it in her nose.

For myself, though, I knew I left a bit of my heart in the valley.  That was pretty much the last time we were ever a happy family - Presidents' Day Weekend 2004, I think.  The dysfunction was already undermining the marriage by then, and I filed for divorce the next summer.  That weekend in Vermont, though, I still held onto hope that Buzz Kill would choose the marriage.  He chose his dysfunction, and now all we have left is this apartment.  Some would say we have Velvet, too - and in a sense we do.  We made Velvet together, but now Velvet is cross country skiing his way to 16 credits in Environmental Science and Leadership in the Wind River Range.  Velvet is his own person, he's not mine or Buzz Kill's person.  The apartment, on the other hand, is marital property.

To this day, I maintain that I never wanted a divorce - I just did what I had to do to protect the apartment from Buzz Kill's financial ineptitude.  I'm not sure what happened with the IRS once Buzz Kill declared corporate bankruptcy and settled with the IRS.  I just know he hasn't been stomping around here, snorting about the IRS wanting the apartment.  There were crack vials on the sidewalk right outside the building when we bought here in 1994.  Now there's a ritzy private school in the new building next door.  Big changes over these twenty years.

When we were looking at this place, the broker told us that the sponsors had had trouble getting access to the apartment in order to sell it because after the original tenant had been murdered down in the Village, his roommate wouldn't move out.  At the time, I thought it was kind of creepy that the tenant was killed but figured that since it was all the way down in the Village, the karma here wasn't necessarily fucked up. In hindsight, I may have been wrong.

We surely brought our dysfunction with us when we moved in, however.  We kept it together for a long time, but when the dishwasher spontaneously combusted in 2002, it was the beginning of the end.  Buzz Kill's bullshit about that lawsuit was the nail in our marital coffin.

It's over now, though.  After we've split the assets from the sale of the apartment, Buzz Kill is obliged under the terms of the divorce to set up an account for Velvet's college money.  Whether Velvet ever goes back to Tree Hugger or not is irrelevant.  Velvet's money will be secure, and I'll have done my duty.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taking Out The Trash

Now that my treasures are secure, I have turned my attention to throwing out bags and bags of old bills and bank statements - all of which were in my married name.  Mentioning my married name in public violates the terms of my divorce decree, so I won't do it.  I was never attached to that name anyway especially since people had a tendency to call me "Pat" when my legal name was Patricia P. Sxxxxxx.  I always felt like Pat Sxxxxxxx was an old lady playing mahjong in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Not a bad life, in its way, but I could never relate to a person named Pat Sxxxxxx - even when it was me.  To my ears, the first name I always use, Tricia, never fit with Sxxxxxx or I would have used Tricia Sxxxxxxx when I filled out forms.

Tricia Nolan doesn't really sound right to me either, but it's better than Sxxxxxx and the fact is that I'm adverse to using my real name on the internet anyway.  It's troublesome on Facebook in particular because Teabaggers and other undesirables from High School can infiltrate your friends list and the next thing you know, somebody is quoting Fox News at you before you've had your coffee.  Pseudonyms solve that problem.

Now that the moon is waning, the time is right to jettison all manner of shit from my physical space.  Maybe it will clear my head, too.  The rallies in Wisconsin are helping to slow down the spin cycle in my mind much better than Egypt did.  I liked Egypt and everything.  It was inspiring on TV and Twitter, but the US looked like such jerks sucking up to Mubarak until the bitter end that you could never once separate out the fact that we had supported that bastard for thirty years and he walked away with a personal fortune of an estimated 70 Billion Dollars.  That's Dr. Evil level money, for sure, and now the Egyptian Military says that if anybody investigates that wealth, it's going to be the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

People were all jazzed about the prospect of an Egyptian style uprising here, but I was skeptical because there isn't a critical mass of hungry people here like there is over there.  Wisconsin makes me optimistic, though.  It's nice that the Koch connection is getting so much publicity - although that's on the Internets.  I don't know what they're saying on TV because I haven't turned on the TV in days and days and days.  Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure it's been off ever since Velvet stopped playing Xbox and got on the plane to Wyoming.

One of the things that has been swirling in my head has been the intersection of Cornel West, Martin Luther King, Jr and Barack Obama.  Cornel West sent this message to Barack Obama a year ago:



My favorite part is when Cornel West says that if Barack can't keep the legacy alive, he will become "another colorful caretaker of an empire in decline and a culture in decay." This year, Dr. West called Obama's use of language "masterful," but declared that you can't bring in Geithner and Summers and say you're building on the legacy of Martin Luther King.



Predictions suggest there will be over 60,000 people at the capital in Madison today, and there are Solidarity rallies around the country. The teabaggers are rallying in support of the Governor, and they are funded by the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity (Forbes 02.18.11 via Mother Jones).

Forbes is Mainstream so maybe the news will spread - but that would require reading and I maintain that Americans these days would rather watch a video than read. Preliminary personal research suggests that the video must be under 4:20 or few people will even watch it, and it better capture the viewer's attention by about 42 seconds.

That American attention spans seem to be limited to 420 is a curious little coincidence.  As most everybody knows, 420 is a marijuana code word among positive stoners.  In Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of Life, The Universe and Everything.  Sadly, nobody could figure out what question goes with an answer like "42."  They eventually settle on a question in Bob Dylan's song, Blowing in the Wind, "how many roads must a man walk down?" But what if the question is "What times ten equals 420?"  What if, in real life, it turns out that 420, or more specifically Weed, is a key to solving the mystery?

There's a lot of mysteries out there in the Real World.  I reckon there's a few mysteries here at Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters on Central Park West.  It's good, though, to have enough energy for the Real World again.  Crawling out from under suicidal depression takes a lot out of a girl.  Notably, I did it without Therapy and Medication, unless you count my moderate use of marijuana as medicinal, which brings us back to 420 again.

I'm not sure 420 has anything to do with Cornel West - but once I saw him on a panel discussion up at Riverside Church with Manning Marable, who is a professor at Columbia for History, Public Affairs and African-American Studies.  Manning Marable talked about how a disproportionate number of Blacks wind up in jail (The Prison-Industrial Complex) and lose their voting rights.  Locking up people for non-violent crimes like smoking and selling weed effectively eliminates the voting rights of potential Democrats.  It's hard to separate out the Plutocrats from the Policies.  Although the John Birch Society eventually lost a lot of clout over things like Floride being a Communist Plot, for a time the John Birchers were as integral to Conservatives as the Teabaggers are to Republicans today.  Not surprisingly, Fred Koch, father to the Billionaire Brothers, was a founding member of the John Birch Society.

If we're lucky, the rallies in Wisconsin represent the beginning of a national movement to finally take out the trash.  A young woman named Anna has been on the front lines in Madison.  She made this video, which is over 4:20 but is making the rounds in Blogtopia nevertheless because she's provided an accurate, insightful explanation of the situation there - unlike the national media (Thanks, Dr. Monkey)



*note* Thing of Beauty Number 5-101. Anna Grindrod-Feeny and the emerging generation of activitsts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Packing Light

I'm sorting through stuff tonight, packing up a few precious things, jettisoning lots of paperbacks.  When I was married and Velvet was little, I must have read everything Anthony Trollope ever wrote.  Great Expectations, too.  Those paperbacks are going to some makeshift bookstand on Broadway.  Songs don't take up any room, though.  Over the years, some songs stay attached to you and become part of the soundtrack.  I'm sorry to say that this song is attached to me all because of friends from high school.




They mean it in the nicest possible way, of course. It must be on my mind because of Buzz Kill. I suspect this Spackling frenzy has been stimulated by his anxiety that my mother will kill him if we don't make a bundle off the apartment.  He could have any number of his own reasons to be anxious, however.  Like the IRS.

I packed away the cake topper from our wedding cake tonight, wrapped in hot pink tissue and tucked into tupperware.  It will land safely with me where ever I land in August.  I feel like Harlem is best for now, but I still like the idea of a PhD from UVM in Educational Leadership and Policy.  Vermont in 2012 could be hopping.

I must admit some trepidation regarding moving to Texas in today's political climate.  I would rather live in a state that has a warrant out for George W's and Dick Cheney's arrest than in one with two Bush libraries.

The Situation at HQ

(In Progress)
Looking at the upcoming few days, I've decided the only logical thing to do is stay moderately high unless I'm planning to drive or talk to my parents.  Dealing with Buzz Kill on a daily basis requires fortification, and I am required to deal with Buzz Kill.

One thing about having Velvet home is that it sets a bad example to wake and bake.
Or at least, I think it does.

I'm feeling a lot like I hate the Patriarchy these days which reminds me that Cindy Lauper is a feminist icon, if you ask me.



I'm having a boarder again soon. She's a big lesbian with a Joan Jett tattoo who works as a freelancer for Comedy Central. Nothing stops Buzz Kill in his tracks like big, tattooed lesbians who know how to handle tools.

I haven't noticed a single beautiful thing ever since I started trying to notice Beauty.  I've been looking at A Course in Miracles and am toying with the idea that I don't understand a single fucking thing I see or hear.  It's easy to believe that with all the crazy shit going on in the world.

I've been thinking about Valentines' Day and the men on the periphery.  In the meantime I saw a video where Cornell West said something that sounded a lot like Martin Luther King, Jr. would say Barack Obama has facilitated the perpetration of the Military Industrial Complex.  Like there were no Valentines coming Barack's way from Cornell or MLK.

This year, my favorite Valentine is Woody Konopelli.  I'd rather not call it a Valentine, though.  He should be an addition to the Trailblazer Award I started handing out as a twist to the Stylish Blog award I received from Okjimm.  There were some other contenders to Valentine status this year, and one in particular is very nice, but Woody remains my blog crush because of his continued ability to distill a situation down to a diamond drill bit.  He's crotchety, so sometimes he makes as much noise as a drill, but it's just his way.

Dr. Monkerstein of Monkey Muck is another Valentine.  He is a trailblazer in his way too.

On a related note, I have to make a clarification regarding the Trailblazer thing.  Okjimm gave me the stylish blogger award, which looks like this:

Trailblazers doesn't look like anything.  I turned it into Trailblazers because I noticed that the bloggers I called Trailblazers were feminist role models a long time ago.  I always meant to say something about it here on the blog, but never got around to it.  The Stylish award presented a good opportunity to get around to it - I just called it "trailblazers" instead.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Exploring Beauty



Jennifer, over at realia, has issued at challenge that involves exploring beauty.  I hesitated for a little while before I decided to take the plunge because dedicating yourself to seeing the Beauty instead of the Bull Shit is a big commitment.  I'm thinking that seeing Beauty - which is all around us in abundance if we keep Beauty in our awareness - is just what I need to pull me out from under all the bull shit in the Buzz Kill zone.

He's still hovering around here with a paint brush - spreading tiny amounts of Spackle in spots on walls that have already been covered in joint compound from floor to ceiling, primed and given two coats of fresh paint.  I wish I could see the Beauty in that kind of OCD bull shit - but I just can't.  It's a beautiful thing that we were able to take Velvet to the airport together without fighting, but I authorized a sleepover for Cupcake on Saturday night because I was counting on her to provide a buffer between Buzz Kill and me on Sunday morning.   On the way to LaGuardia we dropped her at her apartment on the East Side since she wisely declined to participate in a prolonged public good bye.  All in all, Cupcake continues to get a Gold Star from me.

The other day, Velvet confessed that even though Cupcake made demands on his time, especially when she wanted him to hang out with her goofy friends, he would have probably burned down the house if it weren't for her.  I confessed to Velvet that I had been thinking about burning down the house myself lately.  It's a thing of beauty when you can have moments of real sharing with your child, so I'm counting that as Number 1 of the 101 instances of Beauty I have committed myself to noticing. 

Velvet is safely in Wyoming now, excited about heading out into the back country.  As it happens, one of his instructors went to Tree Hugger University and majored in Environmental Studies just like Velvet is doing now - or would be doing if he weren't suspended.  Pretty soon, he'll leave his cell phone and iPod behind for some weeks and enter into a phase where no news is good news.  It's kind of hard to be totally out of contact with your kid, but truly, if there were a problem, someone would call me.  For tomorrow, though, the guys are going to a local golf course to get accustomed to their skis.  On the phone today, Velvet told me that he couldn't sleep last night because of having nightmares where he'd been kicked out.  I told him that I was glad he was taking things seriously, but there was no need to worry.  They'll only kick him out for drinking or smoking weed, and he has total control over his own behavior.

He'll be back in the middle of May, buffed up from the trail and proud of his accomplishments, busting a gut to get up to Hookah House to see his friends.  I imagine the apartment will be sold by then, and I'll be in the final stages of figuring out what the next step is for me.

Nothing makes me feel like moving home to Austin like winter in New York City - especially this year with the heaps of frozen dog shit on top of piles of sooty black snow.  It's fucking awful.  Not a bit of Beauty except in so far as I should be grateful I can see at all.  Old snow in New York City is nasty shit.

Part of me thinks that my best plan is to get a small two bedroom apartment in Harlem for a year or two, do A Course in Miracles with Magic of Life Max and take pole dancing lessons under the guidance of my daughter Gigi the pole dancing Quadroon.  She's not really a Quadroon, and she's not really my daughter - but it's so rare that a person gets to say, "My daughter Gigi the pole dancing Quadroon," that I try to work it in to a conversation whenever I can.  Gigi's thesis for her Masters in Psychology has to do with women's sexuality and dance which led her to explore pole dancing.  She got pretty good at it when she was in class with some girls downtown, and now one of her friends got her own pole dancing studio so they could manage a few private lessons for an old broad like me.  I figure it's the very best thing for my aching arm.

I believe I'll declare it Thing of Beauty Number 2 that I can seriously consider living in Harlem and taking pole dancing as a plan for the coming school year.  I may run off to Vermont for a while, though.  I have a fantasy where I create a hippie haven - or a home for wayward bloggers with a sun porch, wine cellar and a garden full of weed.  I also have a fantasy in which I can rent my uncle's house a few blocks from the shores of Lake Tahoe on the California side and write - but I could do that in Vermont, too, assuming that I can find a day job with insurance.  Another part of me wants to go float in my mother's swimming pool for an extended length of time and call it a sabbatical.  These last few years have worn me out.

I'm fixing to find myself at one of life's crossroads again, and I'm delighted to have options.  Probably Options should be Thing of Beauty Number 2 with the Pole Dancing & Harlem plan as Number 2A.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dr. Suess and The Rebel Alliance

I'm finally feeling enough like myself to recruit for the Rebel Alliance over at Worldwide Hippies again.  Buzz Kill is still hovering around with a dang paintbrush, but at least I haven't seen him with my very own eyes.  I remain somewhat embarrassed that I threw my ice cream at him the other day, but Velvet says that anyone could have seen that coming.  When I asked if he was at all surprised by the event, Velvet said he was surprised we still had any ice cream.  He thought he'd eaten it all.

The ice cream incident happened before I realized that Buzz Kill was like a big-assed bulldozer trying to get his way by pushing me around - or running me over as the case may be. I wish I could remember what I had to say about his foolishness because I felt seriously strong when he locked himself in the bathroom that day.  It will take me a little more time to sort out this bullshit, but I can already see how once again we can apply the Macro to the Micro.  Truly, we cannot expect to have an impact on the assholes that dominate our society until we we stand down the assholes in our personal life.  As it happened, I found myself drawing a similar conclusion about this time last year - right after the State of the Union address - when I was thinking about Ass-Wholes Great and Small.

For the moment, I'm just glad that the domestic situation is not draining every ounce of my energy.  I really like writing for Worldwide Hippies, and it was a drag to be stuck in the Buzz Kill Zone like it was the La Brea Tar Pits.  Plutocrats and Politicians are kind of like big, bullying bulldozers too - and it suits their purposes for us to accept our lot in life and do as we're told.  I managed to keep Buzz Kill out of things over at Worldwide Hippies though. I turned to Dr. Seuss.

Worldwide Hippies: A Disturbance in the Force

Monday, February 7, 2011

Trailblazers

Okjimm from okjimm's eggroll emporium left a comment the other day. I clicked over to his blog, and low and behold, he'd given me an award. He'd gotten it from Sherry at A Feather Adrift.


The best part is that he didn't even know I was suicidal when he gave me this award, so it cheered me up all the more.  If he'd have known I was having a bad day, I would have thought he was blowing sunshine up my ass just to make me feel better.

For a while now, I've wanted to say, "Thank You," to a few bloggers who found their way over to Menopausal Stoners one way or another when I first started blogging. They were particularly instrumental to my process there in the beginning giving me respect, encouragement, affection and support. To me, they are Trailblazers because I was following them on the path they had cleared in Blogtopia.*

Liberality
Comrade Kevin
Yellowdog Granny
Dusty, Hell's Most Vocal Bitch
and, last but not least,
Utah Savage

They each have their own stories to tell.  They tell them strong and they tell them well - and because of them, I've found the courage to tell mine.
 Photo swiped from here

*Note* Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, Blue Gal and Jon Swift (May he Rest in Peace) who established Blogroll Amnesty Day, coined the term "Blogtopia" years ago.  BAD has passed for 2011, and since these bloggers came before me, I'm not sure that sharing these links meets BAD criteria. And besides, I'm thinking of Trailblazers because I consider these folks to be role models not only in blogging but also in Life in General.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Menopausal Stoners on You, Me & Religion

I did this interview for You, Me & Religion a couple of months ago when I was in a good mood.  I can't decide if I'm proud, embarrassed or both.  Either way, it was fun.  Check it out:

You, Me & Religion:  Tricia

You can do it too, if you want.  The contact information is on her blog.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Hundred Billion Bottles

Yesterday morning Buzz Kill started yanking my chain.  It was typical Buzz Kill bullshit.  I asked him what his plans were for the painting project over the weekend, and he said he didn't know.  After five minutes of badgering, he finally said that he planned on being here at 8:00 in the morning both days and working for five or six hours.  We've played out similar scenes a million times - where he won't give me a straight answer even though he knows damn well exactly what he is going to do.  It's all about him and control.

Something inside me simply had enough of that bullshit yesterday.  I would say that I lost my shit - but it's more like I finally found it.  A scene ensued. At one point, he started to push past me to walk away, and I put my arm against his chest to stop him.  He cocked back his fist in a very threatening manner - but men often pull that maneuver, and I wasn't afraid he'd hit me at all.  I don't know what I said, but he backed off especially since Velvet was right there.  Then he started telling me to shut up and go to work over and over again.  We were both hostile and aggressive, and it was kind of scary because he stood over me, his face about six inches from mine saying whatever he said while he pushed me around with his stomach.  Like he was belly busting me or something.  That's when I realized that he treats me like that Israeli soldier treated that American girl when he crushed her to death with his bulldozer. I had something to say about it, and the next thing you know he locked himself in the bathroom.

It looks like all that anger I've been turning in onto myself finally got turned out onto Buzz Kill.

Until yesterday, I hadn't realized Buzz Kill, my grandfather, my uncle and The Narcissist were all bulldozers.  I always knew there must be some connection - but the image of a bulldozer crushing a protester pulled it all together for me. 

I haven't felt suicidal for an instant since I left the apartment yesterday morning.  When he came back yesterday afternoon, I told him I wanted to hire somebody to finish the job.  Now that he's done obsessively smearing joint compound over the walls like cake frosting and sanding it all to smithereens, the painting is not that big of a deal.  It shouldn't be more than a few hundred bucks, and I can afford that myself.

We'll see what tomorrow brings, but for the moment, it looks like everything is going to be okay.  Even though I'm still a little shaky, I'm pretty sure something has changed with my voice.  Years of therapy absolutely went into the process, but the support and encouragement I've found here in blogland have given my voice a hint of authority so that I'm not afraid to assert it anymore.  Not much anyway.

There's a difference between real life conversations and the way we touch each other on the blogs.   You take time to choose your words when you're writing in a way that rarely happens in the immediacy of conversation even when you're equally as honest and intimate.  You can also turn to your blog in the middle of the night when you would hesitate to disturb someone with a phone call.

I keep coming back to the concept of blog as message in a bottle like in the Police song:  I send an SOS to the world and thousands of bottles wash back on the shore.  The comments are like those bottles coming back to say, "You're not alone."  I'm hugely grateful, and overwhelmed, too, especially by the link Mad Priest put in his own blog.  He's done it before, a couple of years ago, and both times I have been humbled and astounded because people I will never, ever see in places where I'll never, ever go are suddenly thanking God for Trish.  Lots of people think there is no God, and the jury is still out on that question as far as I'm concerned - but theological and philosophical debates have no bearing on a human hand that reaches out to you, grabs on and holds so tightly for a crucial instant that you don't fall.  You can pull yourself up and tell those Bulldozers they can't crush you anymore.

Thanks, y'all.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Crawling Out

One thing shrinks always do when you feel like killing yourself is make you promise not to hurt yourself without calling them first.  At least, that's what my shrink always did and the few others I visited during my lifetime.  It's annoying because once you make the promise, you're kind of stuck.  I imagine shrinks feel like failures when patients kill themselves.

There was one shrink who I only saw once.  It was about fifteen years ago on this very day when my mental state was such that a psychiatric evaluation was required.  My regular therapist, A.T., recommended an associate of hers but Buzz Kill wanted me to go to somebody on my HMO list because it was substantially cheaper.  I never told that man I felt like killing myself because he was convinced I was uberdepressed on account of PMS.  I will concede that PMS can exacerbate any emotional situation - but it's not the root cause of said situation.  I did tell the man that I felt like I should be in the hospital since AT told me to say that, but he said I couldn't get the rest I believed I needed in a psych ward.  He prescribed Zoloft and sent me on my way in under fifteen minutes which is the amount of time HMO psychopharmacologists allot for their patients.  It was raining that day, and I sat on a bench in Central Park after the appointment thinking I should kill myself to spite that son of a bitch.

There must have been a follow up visit, though, because once I got out of the bin, AT made me have an appointment with him to tell him why I didn't call him when I was fixing to go to the hospital.  Apparently, it's protocol to call your psychiatrist when you're being committed, but since I hated his guts, I wouldn't call him.  Maybe the hospital did, though, because at that appointment, he said he was surprised to hear I had been to Four Winds especially since I had told him that I liked the Zoloft because I wasn't eating as many carbohydrates as I had been.  I must have talked to him after I started taking the medicine or he wouldn't have known about the carbohydrates.

The reason AT wanted me to go see that fool is because I rarely told anyone I how felt about anything unless I believed that person would understand my feelings.  It was a troublesome situation for my parents because if I had an issue with anything at all, nobody heard about it for weeks and weeks.  When the situation finally became so intolerable that I could no longer pretend everything was fine, I exploded.  In my own defense, I have to say that I'm pretty sure that behavior developed because the whole time I was growing up, if I didn't want to do something - like do something with the Beaumont relatives - I was told that it didn't matter how I felt, I would smile and be nice.  So I smiled and was nice until I fell the fuck apart.

It was pretty much standard operating procedure back in those days, so I don't blame my parents. In fact, they surely heard the same thing from their own parents in the unlikely event that either one of them thought they had a right to express their feelings on any topic at all back when they were kids.  By the time my mother was seven, Granny had run off somewhere and left my mom and her brothers with their own grandparents.  Anyway, I had an entrenched behavior pattern that involved not talking to people unless I thought they would understand my point of view.

When Velvet was around three, Buzz Kill started going to therapy.  I can't remember why - but he went to an HMO shrink, a young woman who had just gotten out of school.  He liked her, though, and asked me to come with him one day.  The young woman, who was maybe 25 years old, proceeded to tell me that I was overly attached to my child and that my refusal to lock the bedroom door at night proved I was overly attached.

She had no clue that at my grandparents' house in Beaumont, nobody was ever allowed to lock their doors.   That house had a garage apartment where my parents lived when I was born.  My dad had two younger siblings - my uncle who is eight years older than me and is now my aunt, and my aunt who was three when I was born.  We moved to Houston when I was two and my sister was born because my dad graduated from college and got a job there.   When we came back for regular visits, we slept in the big house with everybody else.   I never once thought to lock a door, so the lock thing must have been one of those unspoken laws.

Looking back, though, I'd say the reason we couldn't lock the door is because my grandfather would have had trouble getting into our rooms at night.  At the time I went to that little shrink with Buzz Kill, I hadn't remembered about my grandfather.  I was only three at the time so it's no surprise I didn't remember until Buzz Kill shut the bedroom door one morning around dawn.  The sound woke me up, and when I opened my eyes all I could see was Buzz Kill's blue boxers.  The sight of those boxes triggered the memory.   So my grandfather had nothing to do with why I wouldn't go back to Buzz Kill's little shrink.  In my view, she shown she had no idea what it was like to have a kid so I wasn't going to talk with her about how I felt about mine.

I was about eight or nine when I first remember thinking I'd like to kill myself.  I was in the bathtub and pondering drowning.  I never mentioned that I felt like killing myself, though, until I was married and my mother admitted that she thought about killing herself sometimes.  At the time, Granny the Ho was visiting the California relatives, and my mother was composing a letter to her brother saying that since Granny had lived in her house for sixteen years, my uncle could keep her for the next eight.  I helped her write the letter, and Granny stayed in California.  Then my mother told me about the time she wanted to kill herself by letting the car run in the garage, but that old Pontiac station wagon was so long that the garage door wouldn't close.  My sister was at the kitchen table that day, a married woman herself, and she admitted that she occasionally found herself in the garage looking up at the rafters wondering if she had a rope somewhere.

Evidently suicidal ideations run in the family.  Must be in the gene pool because I don't think my grandfather ever visited my sister, although she could still be keeping that secret.  I know my mother has her own history with step-fathers and uncles.  Granny had her own episodes - most notably with her uncle, The Deacon, who raped her when she was twelve.  My mom told me about that when I was in the looney bin and finally told my mother what happened with my uncle when I was fifteen.  He was still my uncle then and not my aunt like he is now, and I still hadn't remembered about my grandfather - who apparently perpetrated some unspeakable act on my uncle when he was still a kid.  That house in Beaumont was weird.

When I'm spiraling downward into suicidal despair, I always find myself back in that house, alone and afraid and convinced nothing will ever change.  I live in that place for a while and then start pulling myself out of it - kind of like how you turn a cork screw the other way to remove the cork.  If I were a hopeful person, and I guess I must be or else I'd be dead by now, I'd hang on to the image of a staircase that spirals out of sight, like Peter Gabriel sings about in Carpet Crawlers. Gotta get in to get Out.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Life Goes On

The Buzz Kill Zone is worse than I thought.  A couple of weeks ago, I recognized that events were triggering the feelings that ended the marriage.  It was to be expected since selling the apartment and finally distributing the last of the marital assets is the last thing we'll do together as a couple, except make each other miserable.

Something about me makes him unbearably anxious, so that his typical OCD behavior becomes so driven that he moves like a robot with a rocket up his ass.  Something about him makes me suicidal.  If I had killed myself fifteen years ago instead of going into an institution for a little while, my mother would have blamed Buzz Kill for sure - at least she would have blamed him when she wasn't blaming herself or my father.  I'm pretty sure it was fear of my mother that motivated Buzz Kill to hide the knives and stuff.  Or fear of the blame anyway.

Even though I'm experiencing Buzz Kill in nearly the exact same way I experienced him fifteen years ago, he can't help the way I interpret his behavior.  He's just focused on his own shit to the exclusion of everyone else around him.  Maybe it's nothing more than tunnel vision, but fifteen years ago, I believed he'd be glad I was gone, and I believe it just as fully today.   It's a drag because I've been absolutely stable without medication for two years, until the last couple of weeks with Buzz Kill in the apartment all the time.

The main difference now is that my duty to Velvet will be done when the apartment sells.  His college money will be secured, and he will have been given a start in life.  Even still, when a parent commits suicide it's bad for kids no matter how old they are or how much money is in the bank.  That's why fifteen years ago, I was planning things so that it would look like an accident.  Today, I was thinking that it would be bad for the kids in my class if I didn't finish out the semester - especially if there were a funeral.  I hate to cause that kind of commotion, so even if I did decide I was done with this shit, I would have to wait until June when school is out.  In the past, when I've decided to wait a while to kill myself, the urge would pass.  I'd be glad I hadn't killed myself after all.

I'm not so sure that's going to happen this time, which means the despair is taking over.  I keep telling myself, "This too shall pass."   It's passed before, but now that it's back again - and it seems like I've been feeling this way off and on since Christmas vacation in Texas - I'm thinking  it only passes temporarily.  It's the worst when there's a wall between me and Velvet.  It was awful around his eighteenth birthday, and it's awful now.  I had thought that regaining his interest in Dungeons & Dragons was about him reconnecting with his comfort zone, but now it looks like a retreat into fantasy to avoid the horrible atmosphere in our home.  The timing is consistent because he first got really into D&D right after the divorce, and now we're all stuck in the Buzz Kill Zone again.

As convinced as I am that Buzz Kill would be glad to see me six feet under ground, I know Velvet would be lost even if I could manage to make it look like an accident - which takes a lot of work.  If I just swallowed a couple of bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol, like the teenage girls do, it would be bad for Velvet.  It would be bad for my mom and dad, too.  Then I think of my brother and sister, and the other people who would wonder if they should have seen it coming.  I don't want to do that to anybody.  It sucks to feel like you can't even kill yourself because of other people, but maybe it's a good thing they're all there.  I wonder how many of us would be dead by now if it weren't for other people standing between us and the ideations.

I was thinking about going to the shrink, but when you've been to the same shrink for 17 years, you can pretty much imagine everything you'd say to each other.  So I've been imagining I'm at the shrink telling her I don't want to go back on meds.  I like having my feelings even if they are so intense they're alarming and often interfere with quiet conversation.  Besides, by the time an antidepressant kicked in, I'll be in Texas on Spring Break watching the bluebonnets growing in the sun.  Meanwhile, I suppose it's the perfect time to figure out exactly how much money Buzz Kill owes me so that I enter this final financial battle secure in the knowledge that no matter what foolishness he's got up his sleeve, I've got him by the short and curlies.  At least the end is in sight - and I don' t mean the end of me.  If I were really, truly ready to drink the drain-o, like I was the day I called VeryMissMary all those years ago to see if reading the Drain-O label was a bad sign, I wouldn't have written about it on the internet.

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