Friday, January 21, 2011

Amusement ride

You've always suspected that your moods are a bit more erratic than most people’s. You've often joked about being bipolar, since there’s a history of it in the family, but lately you're actually afraid that it could be true. As opposed to having a few bad days a month or being elated over something that is at least partially deserving of excitement, your mood swings have started to occur throughout the day...every day. It’s like sitting on a roller coaster, blindfolded, never knowing if you’re about to be thrown for a loop or go plummeting down a steep hill. It’s terrifying and yet there’s still an edge of excitement, a twisted expectation of the thrill you know you’re going to get sooner or later.

At a low point during the day you often catch yourself thinking, “In a few minutes, in an hour, after lunch...something is going to change.” And it isn’t a pep talk, it’s simply a fact. It could be something as simple as a coworker walking by and saying “I like your hair today” that pulls you out of the nosedive toward the ground and rockets you back up. The worst thing isn’t traveling the track from high to low and back again, it’s waiting on the highs like a junkie for a fix.

You're terrible at taking medication; you've admitted it before. Taking a pill every day is just something you've never been able to do. There are anti-depressants, birth control, and antibiotics lined up in your cabinet...none of them empty. Part of the reason they’re still there is that you're an extremely forgetful person, and the other part, for some of them anyway, is defiance and fear. “I don’t need you", you think. "I’m afraid you’ll change the things about me that I like. I’m afraid you’ll take away my highs.”

So what do you do when you’re afraid and defiant, confused and wondering why the hell you can’t get off this goddamned emotional roller coaster?

You look up a phone number, take a deep breath and force your hand to stop shaking so you can dial. When a woman answers and asks you to hold, leaving you listening to crap elevator music, you force yourself not to hang up.

“I need to make an appointment”, you say when she comes back on the line. You give her your name and your phone number.

“What’s the reason for the appointment”, she asks mechanically.

You were hoping they wouldn’t ask that question. She wants a one or two word answer; she’s a receptionist not a therapist.

“ am I supposed to answer that”, you say, clearing your throat because it feels like you’ve swallowed something thick and distasteful. You give a half laugh, as if to apologize for being vague.

“I’m sorry”, she says without feeling. “Depression, family issues, work problems, marital problems. I need to write something down for the therapist to go on, to be sure that this is where you need to be and choose who you’d fit with best.”

You’re amused by her answer. A receptionist gets to choose where you belong and who you belong with, based on a few random words. You briefly consider telling her marital issues. “My husband has sex with farm animals”, you could say. But you refrain.

“Oh. I guess you can put down depression or family issues.”

It’s true, and it’s not. But there wasn’t an option for “possibly bipolar paired with a salad of irrational fear that happy pills with take away your awesomeness, a side of your dad is a douche bag, and just a dab of you fall for men that can’t love you”. You definitely would have chosen that one.

“Alright, I’m going to match you with...” She names a therapist and gives you a few details about her, tells you where to find the online forms to bring to the appointment, and schedules you for this coming Monday at 1pm.

“Have a blessed day”, she says.

You hate it when people say that.

After you hang up the phone, you feel good. It’s done; you’ve finally made the appointment you’ve been saying you were going to make for the better part of a year.

You go to the website she named. There’s a picture of your therapist – she’s wearing pearls and a matronly looking dress. Her hair is cut into a fluffy bob, but her face reminds you of Diane Lane. You wonder what you’re going to wear – something that says “I may be crazy, but I’m extremely chic”.

You don’t know what’s coming up in the next hour, you can’t tell if it’s a sharp curve, a double loop, or a straight away. But there’s just the tiniest bit of light showing around the edge of your blindfold. And it isn’t a slippery high or low, it’s tangible. It’s progress, something you can focus on.

And maybe, just maybe, this matronly Diane Lane will help you get off of this goddamn roller coaster completely. Because you’re pretty sure that when your blindfold shifted, you caught a glimpse of a corndog stand.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Dear madam,

Every time I look into your eyes I can’t help but think, “My god, those are gorgeous. Like the golden brown of a perfectly baked pound cake.” And while it’s safe to say that I notice the imperfections – one eye just a shade larger than the other, the scar over your left brow, the occasional dark circles – they don’t make me love you any less. In fact, sometimes when you look less than your best, I think of you as a tragic figure in a novel, that’s been hurt and is in need of tender love and care.

A tragic figure in general, actually...if I’m honest. When I really stop to think about some of the hardships you’ve gone through, it nearly brings me to tears. And is there anything more romantic than tragedy? I daydream about your rescue. About your sudden lottery win, your unexpected discovery and ascent to the top of the best seller lists, your immense sexual satisfaction from the person you want most, and the eradication of Japanese Cherry Blossom lotion and shower gel. All things I know would make you immeasurably happy. I’d give them to you if I were able.

Adoring you isn’t easy, though. I’ve always been worried about what other people would think were they to find out just how involved we really are. It’s not that I’m ashamed of you exactly, but it would be nice if you could behave yourself. Gallivanting around, throwing yourself at people that don’t understand you and appreciate you the way I do...well, it just doesn’t help matters. But it’s time for everyone to know that, for better or worse, it’s the two of us. And you must face it as well – it’s far too late for that “let’s just be friends” line. I love you.

I love the way you wrap your wet hair in a towel, even though you know it’s going to keep coming loose, causing you to curse and flip upside down repeatedly. I love the way you curse, actually – the way you say fuck out loud where everyone can hear, but mutter “darn” to yourself, then get angry because darn is such a pussy sort of word and you’re no pussy. I love the way you walk around the house brushing your teeth, bent slightly at the waist and leaning out so that no toothpaste lands on your shirt...yet it always does.

I love the way you make faces in the bathroom mirror, alternately attempting to look serious and seductive. It’s rarely the latter, but that’s ok because I don’t need you to seduce me. Our love making is perfunctory and that’s as it should be. Our relationship is about deeper emotions and commitment, not finger strokes in the dark (Well, sometimes in the afternoon when you’re stressed. Don’t ever say I don’t take care of your needs.).

I’ve never much liked mouth breathers, but I can’t deny it’s slightly endearing when you watch movies with your jaw lowered like a drawbridge, completely oblivious to anything else. Your lips are a bit too thin and your nose a bit too pointy, but you have simply marvelous tits. I know you’re well aware of this since you’re often seen shaking one or both of them at people...even me, which just makes me laugh.

I love that you often have to remind yourself to make eye contact when meeting someone new – because after some workshop years ago it was stressed that people take you more seriously if you do. Yet consequently, you end up over thinking the whole thing and staring at them in a rather intense, creepy way. I love the way you mingle at parties – staying close to the alcohol and the people you know until you’ve had just enough, plus maybe an Adderall, then making your way around the room introducing yourself like a politician. You’d be a shit politician, by the way.

Your ego is an issue. You have a bit of a problem with thinking everything is about you...all the time. When there’s a nameless insult, you automatically think it’s directed at you. And when there’s a period of silence, you automatically assume you caused it. This is more prevalent on Twitter, but it shows up in other social areas as well. For instance, you tend to believe that every man that smiles at you wants your vagina, even though I’ve told you a million times that isn’t necessarily the case. Those could be pity smiles, my dear. You’ve taken to leaving the house without makeup quite frequently over the past year. Still, I can’t help but admire you in spite of your navel gazing.

In spite of a lot of things, really. Your nose picking fact, your habit of constantly mentioning your nose picking habit. Your tendency to be louder than 85% of the planet – your voice carries, there’s no need to shout. Your abysmal finances, your refusal to take care of your car or learn how do anything with it other than drive (changing the oil is, I hear, not that difficult), your complete lack of patience, and your uncanny ability to drive people far, far away.

But let’s not dwell on your faults any longer.

My love for you is like a Kamikaze pilot - proudly plummeting toward a target, intent on going out with a bang. We’re perfect for each other. And as long as you’ll let me care for you, I promise I’ll never try to cut you or get you arrested (for anything larger than a misdemeanor), and to let you have sex with whomever you want (provided you haven’t been on an all night drinking binge). Because that’s what a real relationship is all about – trust, sharing, honesty, and the avoidance of herpes.

Always love,