Monday, December 3, 2007

If I lived somewhere completely different

I would be myself, only somewhere else. Still, I can't help perusing the realtor sites looking for homes in warm places. Spanish-style homes in desert towns or near the ocean. Condos where everything is taken care of for you, no repairs. No worries.

Right. There will always be worries. Money worries, job worries. Even if I took my work-from-home job with me to live in some wonderful place in the sun, I would still be me, doing that meaningless job. Married, living with anxiety and depression. Making friends but not keeping them. Leaving nothing behind on this earth. Except for plastic bags, which according to Al Gore will be around for a millennium if not longer.

Still, what if...? What if living in this place, 90 miles from the closest major city--with its McMansions where farms used to be and strip malls housing banks, pizza parlors, dance studios, and CVS drug emporiums--is really the problem? Wouldn't that be easy. Just leave. Go somewhere beautiful and cultured and warm, and happiness will be inevitable.

This is academic. When my parents and sister and her new babies finally come back from the faraway state where they are stuck until things calm down and they can come home, I will again feel the need to stay put. But now, with them so far, and so many of my older relatives gone for good, I feel little allegiance to this region. I could leave tomorrow and few would know or care.

Now I must shower and put on a suit and get ready for my big day. I've been planning it for about two months, and expect a decent paycheck for it. I hope that there are no problems because I don't want to deal with any one's concerns, and I don't want to be embarrassed by mistakes that I might have made. But really I just don't care. It's so unimportant. The event will come and go and disappear from people's consciousness. At least those plastic bags are here to stay.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I'm not myself

in most of my dreams. I think that's part of why I have so much trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I sense reality approaching and don't want it. So I stay in bed as long as I can, with the help I suspect of one of my latest drugs, until I can't stop myself from swimming up through the murk to wakefulness. I don't want to be confronted with my life. But there it is, every morning. If only I could just once wake up into another life.

I listen to the radio and wonder what it would be like to be the commentator. Is she happy? Does she have lots of friends? Does she love her husband? This first thing I do when I pick up a book is flip to the back to look at the picture of the author and read his or her bio. I am most interested in women. Where did she go to school? Where does she live? What magazines and journals have published her stories? Does she feel that she is achieving her potential?

I think about the happiness and satisfaction of others so often that when I finally must turn back to myself I want to dive back into bed and dream of being someone else.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Last night I watched

"God Grew Tired of Us" about the lost boys of the Sudan. It made my own problems seem so petty and small. I went through six or seven tissues. I think that I was really crying for myself, though. I suspect that empathy is a form of selfishness.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Become a tutor instead?

Before launching into my next great idea, I want to let it be known that one of these meds has increased my appetite dramatically. I do not like it. I eat a meal and then I'm hungry again ten minutes later. My overeating in the past has been furtive, recreational eating. Now, I'm hungry all the time. I got on the scale this morning and looked with one eye open and discovered that I have not yet gained weight. But it's got to happen, right? A person my size can't go on eating for three like this without packing on the pounds.

Several hours later: I just slept for about 2 and a half hours. I was up all night last night, unable to sleep. I spent much of the time wandering around Second Life trying figure out what the hell was so fun about it. I did find some pretty "places" and some animation balls that enabled my avatar to recline by waterfalls, under a tree reading a book, and in a beach chair by a calm, clear ocean. A few characters actually approached me, but the conversation was boring and never got very far. I've determined that to do anything fun in SL, you need to spend real money to buy Lindin dollars. To do unreal things.

At some point, maybe around 4am, I started getting into a sort of good but manic mood. I made coffee, started my day, did a bunch of work really fast, and then at 8am went to the dermatologist for my second visit in the three-month process required to start on Accutane. I came back home and did some more work, then went back out for a meeting about the children's fiction writing course that I'm volunteering to do again. Went shopping for food for the animals. Came back, ate yogurt with raspberries and banana, fed the animals, did a bit of work, then fell into a deep, dreamless sleep on the sofa. No lucid dreaming. Nothing.

Now I'm up and a client is waiting on an answer about something impossibly stupid yet requiring an answer, and my boss isn't getting back to me, and maybe he won't. And I care, but really, I don't care. It's just so unimportant. Except the part about getting a check.

Which brings me to the idea of becoming a tutor. There's a franchise in the area that supposedly hires tutors for such subjects as reading, writing, and study skills. I can do that, can't I? I know the difference between who and whom. I know what a participle is. I can create an outline and write a good paper based on it. I like kids. Don't I? It would mean something, wouldn't it?

I wonder how much it pays. I wonder if it pays more than bagging groceries at Stop N' Shop.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Take the plunge?

No joke this time. I actually filled out a form online yesterday and hit "submit" and about an hour later got a call from an intake person at a nearby psych hospital. It's supposed to be very good, and takes my insurance. The woman was nice. She wanted to know what medications I was taking, and I told her. She asked me how long I wanted to stay. I said that I didn't know, that I'd never done this before. She said that I could come right in, do the assessment, and be admitted. Just like that. I'd be assigned a psychiatrist and would have to do one-on-one sessions as well as group therapy. I said that I'd need to get a few things in order with work, and oh right, I'd have to discuss it with my husband. I hadn't mentioned it to him.

She told me to call back when I had a date in mind. I hung up and went out the garage where my husband had been working on my car for the last three hours. I told him about the hospital idea. He wasn't pleased. What about your job, he asked. What are you going to tell ----? I said that I didn't know and started to cry. I cry a lot. It's very frustrating. What I wanted to say was that I didn't give flying fuck about my job. My only concerns are my pets, who are used to being cared for in a specific way. My husband would look after them, but not take really good care of them. There was discussion surrounding my inability to take things in stride--why do I let things stress me out so much? Like that call I got the other morning from that client who wanted to know why I wasn't on a conference call, when I'd sent him two e-mails asking if he wanted me to be on it and he hadn't responded?

I don't know, because I'm a fuck-up?

More discussion ensued about him not understanding how I was feeling. Blah, blah, the upshot was that I should go inside and figure out my calendar, when was the soonest I could go, and then call my boss and explain that I'm having personal problems and need a week off started on the chosen day. But how do we know it would only be a week? I honestly can't imagine how a week of anything could change my life. I think that my husband sees this as some sort of final solution, that if I take this drastic measure I will be completely cured and ready to sail right back into my current life.

He doesn't understand that I hate my current life.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Start with a joke

Woody Allen addressing the camera as Alvy Singer at the beginning of the movie Annie Hall:

There's an old joke - um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life - full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly.

I think that my expectations for life were set unnaturally high at a young age. I don't only blame my parents for this; I blame television shows and books and movies about happy families living exciting lives. It really doesn't matter who is to blame. Nobody cares. Why should they?

I'm trying to pinpoint the exact moment when my life stopped heading in the direction of happiness. It was probably in high school. My parents should have done something. Ha! What a laugh. How grotesque of me to blame them when all they did was try to help me. All of those psychiatrist visits, constantly watching me for signs of improvement or deterioration. But here's what I would have done:

  1. Find out about Accutane and get me on it instead of taking me to the dermatologist every three to six months to get some new topical medicine or antibiotic that wouldn't work.
  2. Here's where the Ha! comes in. There was nothing else they could do. I needed to do the rest for myself. Maybe if I hadn't had the acne, I would have had the confidence to get in shape, learn how to dress, how to behave in front of people who intimidated me, gotten through math, into a better college...

Okay, so I can't blame my parents. And blaming the media is a cliché. So, can I blame my 14-year-old self for the person I am today?

If there is an answer, I don't think that I will ever know it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lucid Dreaming

I'm trying to have lucid dreams. I can't really say why they fascinate me so much. I used to have them when I was a kid. Mostly they involved climbing to the top of a building and jumping off and flying to the ground.

Recently I read a how-to article on Google about lucid dreams. It had some interesting suggestions. One was to try to have a lucid dream during day. I do succumb to naps more than I like to admit, but I don't recall having dreams at all during those. Another thing the article said was that lucid dreams were most likely to occur during REM sleep. I think that means the hour or so after you fall asleep and the hour or so before you wake.

Well, this morning I awoke at around 6am and turned off my alarm clock. I fell back to sleep and had a complicated dream involving a hotel filled with people from my past and present--and maybe future, because I didn't recognize all of them. From a window I could see far down into a courtyard, where people from my past were gathering for a party to which I hadn't been invited. I was bitter about this, but not surprised, since I have alienated more or less everyone from my past.

Then a guy showed up wearing a sort of ski hat. I recognized him as the handsome young neighbor of my parents who had moved on years ago. I realized all at once that I was having a lucid dream. I remembered that the article had mentioned certain things you can do in a dream to determine that it is a dream. I believe one of them was to check a clock, another was to look in a mirror. Neither things came to mind during the dream, but I thought I remembered the article suggesting that you ask someone to remove his or her hat. That seems unlikely to me now. But in the dream it seemed logical. The guy seemed very reluctant to remove his hat, but I pressed him. Eventually he took it off and then scampered away.

The next thing I knew I was walking along a street with a man whom I supposedly knew. He was in his 50s or 60s and looked familiar but I can't say who he was. I told him, "This is a dream, you know. You're not really here." He looked perturbed and denied it. I insisted, telling him that he may be conscious right now, but that he didn't really exist. This seemed to frighten him. I decided to prove it to him by climbing to the top of a large metal sculpture and jumping off. He and other faceless people on the periphery seemed impressed. I did it several times. There were tall apartment building around the sculpture and I wanted to go into one, go up to the top, and jump off. Something stopped me, though. Fear, laziness--I'm not sure. But I kept scrambling to the top of that sculpture and jumping off.

Some other less noteworthy things happened in the dream but I won't post them here.

In other news:
It's the day before Thanksgiving. I hope that I get a lot of work done and that no one responds to my emails so that I don't have to do anything in response to their response. What a work ethic I have.

I'm way behind on my NaNoWriMo word count: 33,597, with only 10 days left. Let's see if I can do some, I can't. Okay, let me get out my calculator. Okay, I have 16,403 words left to write. Spread evenly over 10 days, that's...1,641 per day. Okay, so I'm not way behind. It's just that it's so slow. The only thing--well, the only two things that keep me going are 1) I want to feel that I've accomplished something, and 2) I remind myself that no one will read it.

I hope that I will feel less like a sinking ship today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I feel like

a ship taking on water.

I think it's sleeting

Couldn’t wake up this morning. I stayed in in bed listening to sleet. Obviously, I did wake up finally. I’m pretty sure that my cousin called last night to ask me to speak at his mother’s memorial, to which I agreed. She–my cousin’s mother–is not dead yet. But apparently she’s expected to be in a week or so. I can’t imagine what I will say. She took us to the pool when we were little and I liked it? She gave us candy when my mother was the candy police?

My own parents are almost halfway across the country dealing with my sister’s problems. I’m used to them being here to deal with my problems. And I can tell you, the problems have been piling up like dirty snow since they left. I’m going to be shut in by the time they get back, whenever that happens.

I missed another NaNoWriMo day yesterday, so now I’m stuck at 32,563 words, which puts me behind. I was sailing along for a while. Then I smacked into a 50 foot thick stone wall. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to go pick up the car from the body shop this morning. I don’t want to do my work-from-home job. I wonder what would happen if I just let it go. Stopped responding to emails, phone calls…how long would it take before my boss figured out there was a problem?

I’ve stopped thinking of myself as an aspiring writer. I’m partly relieved, but mostly sad. The job pays okay but it is unspeakably pointless, in the cyclone-in-Bangladesh scheme of things. Not that I expect to run off and join Oxfam. I don’t even want to do that. I don’t care enough about other people.

What I want is to go back in time and start over. Make myself grow up as a different person, gather up all of the potential I might have had and do something with it. Barring that, I’d like to sneak off to the Caribbean. I’d have to steal money from my spouse, though, and it would be traceable because I don’t know anything about erasing money trails.

So instead, for now, today, I will go off into the sleet–I think it’s stopped now anyway, and pick up the car at the body shop with my husband. We’ll drive back here and I will try to force myself to do my meaningless job. Then I will force myself to work out, do laundry, dishes.