Monday, March 24, 2014

on resilience, depression, and being deeply beautifully weird and also alive

I began having suicidal thoughts as a child. The thoughts grew large or diminished, but desiring to not be a living person was always there at the back of my brain, as a big presence or a wisp of an idea, in some form, always.

When I was a little kid, I shut down. I was blank. Despite everyone's best efforts to knock the “weird” out of me, I managed to hide a kernel of my self hoping that some day I would find it and tend it. That was brave and hopeful of me. To my family I was simple, dumb, blank, hapless, a loser. The real me was internal and far away for safe keeping.

Middle school was a nightmare. I managed to endure and didn't die.

High school was a horror story. I wanted to die, but I didn't.

College was fraught with crisis and fear, and though I never got a degree, neither did I walk in front of any of the tractor trailer trucks that sped past me on my walks to campus, nor did I throw myself over the bridge railing into the Stillwater River. At one point I stopped leaving my apartment. I stopped going to school and to work so I wouldn't be tempted to walk into traffic. Though refusing to leave my apartment didn't do much for my academic career or endear me to my boss, it did positively impact my alive-ness, so really, I won.

After I had my daughter I knew suicide wasn't an option. This didn't make me happy, but I was resigned. When my son was born four years later, I realized my son was such a quirky little goober, he needed me more than anyone else ever would. I really really couldn't die. My life was a life sentence. 

Two and a half years ago my depression intensified. I will gloss over the ugly details. Suffice it to say, suicidal ideation was a vestigial twin, or maybe my depression became a giant soul sucking parasite. The parasite metaphor works better, but I love the image of a vestigial twin, a pair of wizened legs hanging weirdly from my hip. Maybe my depression was like one of those hairy, toothy teratoma horror tumors...anyway....I confided in my husband, he encouraged me to get help. I got help. The depression lifted and, hello, I'm still here, holding my excised vestigial twin, sucking parasite or hairy toothy depression horror tumor in a jar of formalin like a freak show oddity or a gruesome souvenir. Whatever, the fact is, I'm resilient. I'm still alive.

I feel like I've gone through life with both hands tied behind my back, blindfolded, gagged, in a sack, beaten unconscious. It's hard to get much done bound, gagged, blindfolded, in a sack, unconscious. This state of being doesn't often support much in the way of lasting achievement, or personal growth. Not dying, taking care of my kids and having a shadow of a personality, these things might seem like pathetic signs of resilience, but for me, being alive, being a good mother, and being able to regrow a self like regrowing a liver from a few cells of salvaged tissue feels like something.

**Several hours later it dawns on me that I might sound self-indulgent, selfish, whiny  and ungrateful. But depression is a real shit fucking crap sucker who sticks his thumbs in your eyes and keeps you from seeing things as they are. It's only after you've kicked depression in the nads that you realize what a freaking awesome gift it is be be here. So, anyway. Just wanted to put that out there. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

this aged gen-x slacker has taken umbridge

The obnoxious Salon headline read: "Generation X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis?"

Fuck you, Salon. Just fuck you.

First: I am not getting REALLY OLD, thanks very much. And heads up, youngster, the next 20 years are going to fucking fly by. You're going to be 40-something and be as shocked as I am now every time you see your 40-something year old face in the mirror, because on the inside, you still feel like the funky little hipster you used to be. My kids are going to be the hip happening cool youthful adults when you're middle-aged. They will mock you for being getting REALLY OLD. When this happens, I will get all Schadenfreude on your middle-aged midlife-crisising ass, and I will laugh and laugh, if I'm not already dead and sleeping the dirt nap of the ancients.

Second: You wanna know how a slacker has a midlife crisis you smug little millennial?  Come over here while I lace up the Grunge era combat boots of my youth, and I will midlife crisis you in your narcissistic ass.

I'm 1/2 through my corporeal tour of duty, that is true. I have traded in my youthful lithe size 4 body for stretchmarks and saggy boobs. But, and here is the big but my young friends, I'm wise. I'm so fucking wise. I'm so gloriously fucking wise. And I'm happy.

Really really happy.

My kids are growing up to be very cool people. I'm proud of them and they, believe it or not, are not ashamed to be seen with me in public. They think I'm cool. They want to hang out with me. They like me. So, basically, I win at life based on that achievement alone.

But wait, there's more!

I'm married to a guy who really really loves me and I really really love him back. Words can not convey how profound this is. We've been together for 20 years, married for 17 years, monogamous and true for the duration. We've been through some very shitty shit and endured. This is not love at first sight love, though it may have started there. This is a love that we worked at and nurtured, this is a love that almost choked on a ham sandwich, this was a love that was Heimlich maneuvered, this love stopped breathing but was brought back to life, this love knows that life is short and this love is so happy just to be here. This isn't a love to be trifled with, this is the kind of love that will linger in the ether even after our old dottering bodies have cacked out and crumbled to dust. Most people do not ever have this kind of love. Many people go to their graves without ever experiencing this kind of love.

So, fuck you, snotty young people.

I might be getting older, but so are you, you just haven't noticed yet. I'm not young and pretty anymore but I got love, baby.   

I'm lucky. I know I'm lucky.

You'll be lucky if twenty years from now you're half as lucky as I am.





Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring, my mind is all over the place



Maine winters linger.

It's just what they do.

But this year it's different. Winter isn't lingering so much as it's stalled in the middle of the road. We'll be looking winter in it's ugly road-dirty grill until we can call a goddamned tow or push it out of the way, muscles straining.

I believe that people encase their past traumas in amber.

We are living beings and the hard remnants of the past are hurtful to us. We store them and we try to forget about them but they make us ill because we are living beings and we are meant to fill ourselves with the present which is alive, and the future, which is full of potential. The  dead relics poison our blood. We forget we carry them.

It's one thing to carry the certainty of death in oneself. It's another to carry death itself.

There are crows in the yard. Flapping black wings, One crow drives his head into the soft snow, he shakes his head, flaps his wings, hops forward, does it again. I thought perhaps he was looking for food but he seems to be washing himself. Now he struts away.


First day of spring poem

My hands are cold.

The radiator

hisses and rattles.

from my window

against

an expanse of new snow,

the flap and strut of ten black crows

like words written in ink

smudged

indecipherable















Tuesday, March 18, 2014




I'm awake. Mostly.

It's Monday/Tuesday.

It's Tuesday on the calendar, but content is all about Monday.

Say all the words.

Even if they are ugly words.

Even if they are hurtful words.

Even if they are very strange and weird words.

Even if your father tells you your words do not make you pretty.

Especially then.