Past 5 in the morning; feeling worse for the weather, it seems.

“And I was gonna write a poem about how fire is the only thing that can make a person jump out of a window, […] but depression, too, is a kind of fire… and I know nothing of either.” –Taylor Mali, “Depression Too Is a Type of Fire”

Yesterday I wanted to be dead. Not to kill myself, not to die, just… to cease existing. And yes, I could recognize that having been awake for over 24 hours straight — having lost count of exactly how many — likely helped color my view of the world, but I could also recognize that it only added intensity to what is generally sitting just under everything else, just like alcohol lowers my inhibitions but doesn’t make me do anything I wouldn’t have done while sober. A few drinks might make me do whatever it is more easily, more quickly, with less hesitation; being sleep-deprived and hungry makes me hit those lows more profoundly, more easily too.

Before falling asleep yesterday evening, I posted some depressed and depressing rant like I frequently do, I sent my therapist a text message letting her know I was “wishing hard I wasn’t alive” and that I was about to sleep, and then I got a message on Facebook from Escrow. The first message just said “hey!” And shit, I was overwhelmed, barely able to cope, and I was starting to tell her thanks for checking in but that I couldn’t really process chatting right then… but as I was doing so, she mentioned that she was checking to see that I was safe because she’d heard about a huge fire in my general overall area and she was worried about me.

Oh, right. I’d seen the “safety check” thing from Facebook when I’d picked up my phone, and I had dismissed the notification because it was more shit that I couldn’t deal with when I was already struggling to deal with everything else… but the check-in from a dear friend drove home something that I have known for a long time: an immediate, obvious threat to life gets responses. The slow quotidian slide, the mundane yet no less significant forces that are weighing me down and killing me… those are much, much harder to get help in dealing with. It’s the reason why, in the past, I might have made an obvious post about being ready to kill myself. Or why I might have called a crisis hospital and said that I believed I was a danger to myself or others. Or why I might have chosen any number of, essentially, ruses to make it seem as if there were an immediate, obvious threat to my life. Because that’s what people respond to! But, of course, the responses I’d get in those situations aren’t really all that helpful. And there’s the additional aspect of being “the girl who cried wolf,” because if I ever were at a point where I had specific plans to kill myself and enough motivation to do so, then I’d want to know that I hadn’t left behind me a trail of people too burned by my prior attention-grabbing to intervene when I really needed it.

So I don’t do that kind of thing anymore. Haven’t for years. But when things are caving in under the heaviness of life with depression, and I’m feeling alone and hurting and would love to have someone I know and trust be there for me — not because I’m about to die, but because I’m struggling in other, equally difficult ways… it seems a lot like, well,

“When I expressed my desire to kill myself, I was overwhelmed with offers from people who wanted to spend time with me. Two weeks later, though, I couldn’t get any of them to pick up the phone. It made recovery really difficult because it communicated that people only really cared when I was in crisis.” –Kitty Stryker, “So Someone You Love Is Suicidal”

The title of this post comes from the lyrics of an Erasure song, “Rock Me Gently.” The official music video is a shorter cut than the album version, which basically takes away the otherworldly sadness of synthesizers amid the shrieks of Diamanda Galás which make it such a perfect match to my mood on many occasions. The chorus, however, is simple, direct, and to the point:

“I dream you’re with me
You hold me sweetly
And rock me gently to sleep
In your arms.”

I wish I knew what that felt like again. It’s been a very long time indeed.

A love sonnet

Someday the world will see our love as such
And understand the beauty that we share
No whispering (afraid to speak too much!)
No more denying what is plainly there
We know the feelings deep within our hearts
And seek out other hearts who beat the same
Such agony, such doubt! When first we start
Alone, we dare not even use love’s name.
We reach out — only subtle hints we leave.
We speak in riddles, deftly-chosen words
Which give a sign to those who would receive
Then echo back, with recognition heard.
Such little choice: to love in secrecy,
Or brand ourselves as monsters openly…

When do you think it will all become clear? ‘Cause I’m being taken over by the fear.

Was watching a video about morality and how it has nothing to do with any deities, and it covered briefly the concept of more significant punishments for more significant crimes, pointing out that if all crimes are punished equally, then there’s nothing to lose by committing a more significant offense instead of, or in addition to, a small one.

With Trayvon Martin’s killing in the news lately, and reading lots of information, statistics, and stories from people who know first-hand far better than I can ever imagine, the first thing that came to mind as I watched that segment was…

In this society, with its prison industrial complex, and its systemic racism, and mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug possession and use… and the fact that for any given alleged crime, a person of color will be given an overwhelmingly harsher sentence than a white person accused of the same crime, and convicted at exponentially higher rates… and it doesn’t even take doing anything wrong in order to be “punished.”

And for a few short moments, I thought about the fear I’ve felt when I’ve faced down a gun and been robbed, the fear that stayed heavy with me for weeks afterwards both times, the terror of being unable to pack my purse because I could only carry the things I was willing to lose, the anxiety of walking down the street and making sure I did my absolute best to stay aware of any potential threats around me, the frustration of having to learn what things were threats and what things were safe, and how subtle the differences were between “safe” and “not,” and realizing that ultimately, it didn’t really matter if I did any of that, because if someone felt like it, and had the means to harm or kill me, they would…

And then I remembered that over time, that fear went away.  That after a while, I stopped worrying about what would happen if someone thought I was looking at them the wrong way.  I stopped being scared of what I would lose if I got knocked around and ripped off by someone.  I didn’t make lists anymore of what things went to whom if I died that day, or the notes I needed to leave to say things to the people I left behind.

And the really, really shitty part is realizing that I have the privilege of forgetting.  Realizing that I have no fucking clue what life would be like if I weren’t white, and knowing that the fear I felt, the fear that came back for a moment and overwhelmed me, is something I can choose to let pass — not something I have to live with every moment of every day of my life.

I am not Trayvon Martin.  I am not Oscar Grant.  I am not Troy Davis.  I can’t chant along with others when they cry out loudly that “We are all…” because as much as I may stand in solidarity, as much as I may join in fighting injustice, I am treated differently because my skin is not the same shade as theirs.  My good treatment is equally unjust as anyone else’s suffering so long as that distinction is based on our perceived ethnicities.

I hear the doorbell ring and suddenly the panic takes me

I need to write.
I want to write.

But I’m balancing that need
That desire
Against my physical exhaustion
Against my minimal food intake today
Against the enormous effort that it takes
To remain outwardly calm
While the sounds from the next room
Fill me with
Irrational
Insistent
Immense

PANIC.

No, it’s not a “logical” connection.
No, I can’t explain why those sounds affect me as they do.
No, it’s not just me finding something to complain about.

I have worked over many years
Learned very carefully
Through practice
Mistakes
Refinement of technique
To appear relaxed
And pleasant
And friendly

Instead of screaming as loudly as my lungs allow
Smashing any solid object within reach
Against any other object in my swing
Stomping and smashing
Making noise and breaking things
All in a feeble and ever-failed attempt
To demonstrate to others —
But no, not a demonstration —
It’s an attempt to harm others
In a fashion that they can comprehend
To a degree equivalent
To the harm they inflict on me.

I have learned to be mute
I have learned to accept harm
I have learned to do nothing in retaliation
I have learned to turn inward and die

And I am praised for my “success” far too often
Told that I am “strong”
That I am “brave”
That I have “accomplished so much”

How is it
That so many seem to envy
This so-called “skill”
Of saying nothing
Doing nothing
Lying on the ground after being driven there again
And most of all for my friendly smile
And calm, even voice
As I am kicked again and again and again?

You value self-restraint
You value compliance
You value non-violence and avoiding confrontation
And I have learned these things you so value

But you never taught me when to stop holding back
You never taught me how to say, “Fuck no, and fuck you!”
You never taught me how to knock a motherfucker out when they come at me wrong
Or to do anything but whimper, turn, and run or better yet, stay and take it with a smile

So I have learned nothing of value at all

One psychological drama after another!

Y’know, overall today was a pretty good day.

I slept in, or rather I slept again after getting home from the motel room this morning — fun times last night — and finally got myself up and moving around 1:30pm.  Checked a few things online, then killed time looking at my RSS feeds and all the news and blog articles and whatnot for the day…

Around 4:45 I decided to get out and do some walking — it’s been rainy and wet, and there’s absolutely no way I could excuse staying inside when it’s so beautiful outside!  Got things together, dressed and out and as I walked I sang Carole King’s “Beautiful” out loud, stopping to say hello to strangers as I went.  Because especially on the first grey day in a while, people are often more gloomy and depressed and sour than usual, so I was out there with a reminder that “You’ve got to get up ev’ry morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart!”

Stopped at the Starbucks downtown and did some reading, killing a bit of time with a cheap mug of crappy coffee plus lots of sugar and cream to make it passably potable, then off to my local independently-owned cafe to hang out for the rest of the evening.  One of my good friends works there, and he was there tonight, so that was fun — and after I’d been there for a bit, another guy I know showed up, and the three of us talked and had fun to make the time pass more quickly.

Headed home because there’s little else to do tonight that doesn’t need a lot of money, plus I’m kinda tired — got home and my roommate is here in his room still, just like when I left, and I keep hearing him coughing in the next room.  When I got in to my bed, though, I was rather irritated to see that ants had descended onto my “clean-up towel” — not into the bottle with a little bit of Bawls soda, not all over the fudge cookies on the bed, but onto the rag I used earlier this afternoon when I was done masturbating.  Even more obnoxious was the roach that scurried out from under the rag when I lifted it up to shake off the ants — and then the recognition again that I’m no more bothered by cockroaches on my things and in my room than an ant or a fly or a bedbug or a moth, because bugs have been part and parcel of my living situation for more than a year, both out in the ‘hood and here in what ought to be a nicer area.

Roaches don’t phase me.  That’s not how it should be.  But that’s what poverty does; I can’t afford to care about gross bugs in my stuff when I don’t know the next time I’ll be doing laundry, and I can’t afford to get worked up about how messy my room is — and it’s absolutely filthy — when my next meal is whatever someone decides to give me.

My leash, the one made specially for me by hand from one of my old roommates, is gone. Missing.  Couple weeks ago when everything turned to shit around here, the last thing I did before running off was to toss it towards the back lawn.  I saw it land on grass, but the next time I went back there, the very next day, it was nowhere in sight.  I’ve looked through the backyard several times since, but there’s no trace.  It it did stay out there, then with the rain today it’s been ruined; if one of my roommates picked it up and did something with it, then it’s even worse off and nobody has said anything about it.  I’m angry that it’s gone, I guess, but I haven’t even bothered to really think about it.  It’s another thing to add to the list of tragedy and trauma that I can’t afford to grieve right now — survival is more important.  Getting out is more important.

A few nights ago, I realized that I was depressed, that I was not safe at home, and I almost walked the streets all night like I had once before… but I remembered my friend J who implored me never to do that again, she nearly ordered me to call her and crash on the couch at her student co-op if I was that bad off again, so I did.

As she met me down the block and we started walking back, I got a call from my roommate.  He essentially accused me of hiding his stash of weed from him, “maybe because you didn’t want somebody to see it when they came by or something.”

“Dude, I’ve barely been home, I’ve been staying away from there as much as possible — and why would I touch your weed, seriously?  I have no idea where it is, and I haven’t touched anything that belongs to you.”

“Well, maybe somebody walked off with it then, do you know if anybody’s been by there at all?”

“Like I just said, I’ve barely been home, and I lock everything when I leave.  Again, I didn’t touch it and I don’t know where it is.”

This was just before midnight, and he seemed pretty upset about it then, but apologized for bothering me and wished me goodnight.  Next morning before 8am, he called again to tell me that he still couldn’t find his marijuana, and that he didn’t know what to do because he owed money to someone else for it, and was supposed to have sold some so that he had enough cash to get to work that day, and that he may as well just kill himself because there was no point to anything.  He then broke into a tearful apology, seemingly for anything and everything that came to mind, telling me that he thought I must have killed myself when I’d tossed my leash in the back yard and walked off, and that he was sure it was all his fault and then — this was the weirdest and scariest part — acknowledged that I’d mentioned before on multiple occasions that I had Benadryl for the rare times I needed medication to help me sleep, but that he’d gotten some prescription Buspirone (Buspar) from someone he knew and would gladly give me some if I wanted because it seemed to be helping him so far when he’d taken it.

There wasn’t time in the call, especially with him getting so weepy and emotional, to mention that I knew full well what Buspar does, since I took the stuff for a decade… and it scares me to know that he’s popping psychiatric drugs like that.  I’m far less concerned about someone smoking pot, or doing any number of recreational drugs (with the exception of meth, but that’s a whole different story) than I am with something cooked up by big pharmaceutical companies.  Just another reason for me to stay out of the house, keep my room closed and locked, and interact as little as possible until I can find another place to live.

%d bloggers like this: