01/22/2019

I took this photo from a bridge over the Chicago River last January. I’d had a stairs-induced panic attack in the Art Institute that ended in me pouring sweat and crying. I was on a date.

Winter and I have a history of not getting along well.

But I’ve been embracing it this year. Walking in winter. Bundling up and getting my shit done, because if I spend another cold season hiding in my house crying for summer, I’m going to die from it.*

This year, I’m letting winter hold me the way summer does. I’m asking January to be my womb and let me find the cord and trace how deep it goes into her belly before hitting spring-placenta. This is the only way to full-moon magnolias and lilac-breezes through rolled-up windows at stoplights that make you roll them down, and that’s where I’m headed. That’s what I’m made for.

The best words I learned last year were:

FEELINGS AREN’T FACTS and THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH.

I remember this photo and this day because I was on a date—with a man who loved me anyhow. And I got through the panic attack and I took this picture because there were buildings reflecting sunlight on breaking floes, and I felt peaceful. I was at home again in my city. We found a five on the ground and gave it to a busker before getting in a cab. (And a bum coughed on me that day. Right. On. My face.)

My new therapist’s name is Angelica, which is what my dad’s dad used to call me. I’ve scheduled our sessions for Thursdays so I can sometimes sleep in beforehand and never be expected to sling drinks and entertain any(one)(thing) immediately after.

I hope you’re warm.

 

*Will it really kill me? Not directly. But it feels like hell to always be wishing it was warmer.

Mission 1.0

I found this meme on Instagram today that said something like: Mental wellness is not Fight Club. We can talk about it. (I don’t remember the precise words, and I couldn’t find it again because I’m still pretty lost on that platform. Signed, I’m 43)

It made me think of this album of selfies I took in 2010 when I impromptu dressed up as Marla Singer from Fight Club on Halloween and met my fresh-from-jail, married boyfriend at a frog pond in Kentucky to make Adderall-love on the dock next to a car I probably didn’t have permission to drive that night (I’m sorry, Nancy and Joan). I took the pictures first. In some of them, my daughter is smiling in the background.

So we can talk about it. Mental health, mental wellness, sadness, addiction, recovery, sexual assault and abuse. We can and should. If we talk about people we love who hurt us, awful things we’ve done to other humans, and all the ways we try to forget or heal it, we make a sound. We howl to our pack, call to our tribe. We stop being Alone.

Alone is when suicide comes like cancer. It’s a shadow that shows up, the dark spot that takes some people out. I wish those kinds of thoughts on no one, and I don’t fancy myself unique for having them.

We also need to laugh. One of my favorite lessons I learned while spectacularly failing out of a great undergrad creative writing program (I stopped wearing shoes for the most part at some point during my schooling) is: There are no sacred cows. None, fuckers. So if you don’t think a drug overdose can ever be funny (or if you’re related to me), maybe you don’t want to read my blog.

My mission is to hold cyber-hands and laugh whenever we need to.

In other news: therapy starts Monday, I still hate washing dishes, and I don’t really want to go to work today. But I’m going.

Over and out. See you—hopefully—on the sunny side.