Snuggling up on the crazy couch

And, no, the title doesn’t refer to Tom Cruise on “Oprah.” 😉 I’m talking about being swathed in a fleece blanket with arm restraints and the place where all the voices in your head know your name.

The Abyss
I’ve spent the last nine months not smoking in a near-daze. Life changes on a dime, and when you get a second chance and it ends up being about a million times better than the first, you find yourself on edge, waiting for something, anything to prove that your perceived happiness was simply an illusion and that you really didn’t deserve for things to get better.

Yes, welcome to the dark side. You must be THIS tall to ride enter the abyss. Welcome aboard the crazy couch.

I think we all take a certain amount of comfort in our misery. Not that we choose it — nor would we — but there’s a certain comfort in the gutter. Nobody notices you there — and you realize that when you drop off the earth, few people if any actually took note that you were gone. Or did they see you AFTER you dusted yourself off and muse that there’s something different about you but they simply couldn’t put their finger on it?

Shell shock
I feel like I’ve been walking around shell-shocked for quite some time. (Oh, excuse me, it’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I should know better by now.)

Anyway, I know I have my idiosyncrasies and have panic attacks over stupid things like trying to step onto a “down” escalator (I can’t — I seriouisly cannot do it. I am a wuss and I own my neurosis!) I have a distinct fear of heights but I absolutely love them despite that. I can’t swim but I always, always have to be around water for inspiration. I’d sooner go to a strip club in Anacostia than to an Old Navy in Falls Church. Yeah — now THAT’s fucked up, I know!!!

But this leads to the fact that there is one street in this entire metro area where my blood boils. I unthinkingly pulled into a parking lot on this street recently to make a phone call — a parking lot where I’ve shed many tears and nearly killed many people in my haste to peal the hell out of there and leave it behind.

And anybody who knows me, knows that I am pretty mild. Sure, I get Pissed Off on occasion, but in my family, “fuck you” is like saying “I love you.” We don’t have to like each other all the time, but we love each other. And when I lose my cool, it’s to make room for deeper emotions to take the place of the more toxic ones.

So, I pose the rhetorical question (that we can all answer affirmatively, I assume) of whether you’ve ever been possessed. Now, I don’t mean in a Linda Blair/split pea soup kind of way. I mean that you can almost feel a building crying — you can hear the souls of the damned mourning the death of a million dreams. You feel the inner voices of people you’ve never even met howling for justice.

I was upset in an “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do right now and I would really like some kind of explanation from the universe, even if it’s a pathetic one” kind of way — when I pulled into this parking lot. But when I realized that I’d left a piece of my very heart on that pavement, it’s like the “bad twin” that I’d left behind somehow infiltrated my body and unleashed verbal vitriol, the likes of which I haven’t spewed in, well, nine months.

And, even as I was telling the story the other day, that temporary insanity threatened to come back. But it didn’t, and of all things, I realized How. Much. I. Have. Grown.

But is reverting to who you really were considered growing?
That’s the funny part. I’m an old soul (life No. 6, if you believe in that stuff, and I hang around lots of 8s), and I think I was on the right track but just got blown the hell off course at some point. Not to say that I didn’t have my moments of ridiculous immaturity — I try to forgive myself for those because everybody has to have them.

I think, though, that I had them a lot later than my peers, because instead of making mistakes early in my life, I waited till I was on a decent course. And this, THIS is where the fear resides. That I am on a good course — a GREAT course … one that’s even BETTER than I ever could have IMAGINED that I DESERVED — and the fall would be So. Much. Further. From. Here.

That would explain my newfound fear of heights. I have NEVER had problems stepping on a fucking escalator, and I even fell down a flight of steps as a baby and broke my right arm in a bunch of places. And you thought I got carpal tunnel solely from “overuse” of that wrist. 😉

Lawd, how I go off course sometimes. 😉

Anywho, I saw so many dreams die, all in a row, that parts of me started dying. But you know me — Mom says I couldn’t even say shit (theoretically) even if my mouth were full of it. OK, after we get past your “ewww, gross!” at the imagery, I urge you to think about it. You’re a creative type, aren’t you? We all are. What do we want to do? Express ourselves in any way we can. Is that acceptable in this society? *crickets chirping* Yeah, that’s what I thought. You smile and nod. A lot.

And even when you do fight to the death for your dreams — because some higher power put them there for you to MAKE something out of them — and you have a rebellious streak, you change. You do everything you can in your power to retain some shred of dignity — and in it, you lose yourself. I have seen people (self included) deny their true nature in the name of survival.

But when push came to shove, I did the right thing. And believe you me, NO good deed goes unpunished. Not a one. Kind of made me wonder for a long time why I decided to acquiesce. I saw an opportunity to exhibit grace and hoped for the best.

The power of three times three
What you send out comes back times three. Anybody who’s picked up a spellbook knows that. And while we wonder in our times of misfortune just which spirits we pissed off, it’s pointless to dwell on that. The only thing we have control over is how we handle it. And that gets pretty damn difficult when it seems like all the grace in the world (exuded on your part) isn’t even getting you out of the starting gate.

What I do believe strongly (now) is that if you’re constantly evolving and growing and you become tall enough to ride any damn ride in the amusement park that you want, well, Fate will give you the best seat on the best ride … when it comes along. Trust me on this. I lost hope for a long time for my life to turn around, but I never lost faith in myself. And I would never let my spirits sink to where my heart was hanging out (in the gutter on the boulevard of broken dreams, of course).

So when I tell you guys to fake it till you make it, you’ve got to understand that I’m talking not out of my ass, but in hindsight. People don’t want to help broken people. Not even those of us who spent a lifetime in the helping professions — we want to help people who have the mindset to soar … we just HAVE to TRY to help those who gave up.

And in the power of three times three, we will force ourselves to be good to those who stepped over our lifeless bodies — or, if not to be good to them, to refrain from wishing them harm. We don’t have to celebrate their victories, but we can be the better persons and wish them well. We are grateful that we didn’t have to depend on them and even more grateful that we don’t owe them jack squat.

Traveling companions
Keeping with the “ride” theme, the journey is a lonely one. Really. No one travels the same path as you. No one can wear the same shoes (and who would want to have someone in the same shoes? Then we’d have to change! < / girly girl with the crazy shoe collection >

The circle starts out wide enough, but it gets narrower, smaller. And like any carousel, the faces change almost constantly. And as I found in a jarring moment altogether too recently, everybody grows … but in different directions. The people with whom you had EVERYTHING in common is still there, but the connection starts to crackle. Pretty soon, it’s like you’re on different wireless plans and you resign yourself to wondering what you ever had in common. It hurts to let go, even it’s like you’re perfect strangers — like you once were, so long ago — just another in that endless sea of blank, unintriguing faces.

And it is my belief and hope that one face will become clear and will literally stand out above the rest — one pair of eyes will sparkle more than I’ve ever seen — one smile will draw me in the direction I need and want to go. That will be the one who not only wants to ride as long as you do, but who will make you forget that you had anywhere else to be that you thought might be a better place to spend your time.

And we will recognize them when we see them. We will just hope they recognize us as well and don’t let us go about our merry little way in a different direction … or that they stop us before it’s too late. Because I’m not overly sure that the ride stops and waits for us to board when we are ready. I think we just have to close our eyes and jump onto a moving object if we want to get what we want — and we need to use the velocity as our friend and not fight against it, the way we so often do.

Meaning, we’re all entitled to be shell-shocked — we’re all entitled and EXPECTED to heal. But we can’t lie around convalescing so long that we forget who we are when we need to be showing the world what it has been missing out on. Maybe someone truly special will be watching when that happens. God, I hope so.

On iTunes: Poe, “Strange Wind”

One Lonely Response to Snuggling up on the crazy couch

  1. Liv :

    Goodness, girl. Convalescing, heh. In a different way, I came to that conclusion, that I’d come dangerously close to not being able to recover, not because I’d spent too LONG in the pit, but too far down.

    I think I needed that. ;o) Thank-you.