Well I’m scared, is all.
The pain is coming, and I’m all out of ideas.
First, there was what Breezy said last year in my red whore-house chair. Breezy was my not-quite-friend when we were 13. She didn’t laugh enough at my Star Trek:TNG jokes and she liked Randy Travis so there was little to build on. Now we are friends, because we are 40 and we have plenty enough in common. For instance, we both think the world is a sharp dangerous place and we’re trying to soften it. She’s a social worker. I tell people about old tyme vaginas. Ehh. From each according to her ability…
She told me that addiction doesn’t go away unless you accept life has suffering, which no one ever does if they can avoid it, or find a new addiction to replace it. Alcoholics start over-eating. Gastric bypass patients start over-spending. People in chronic debt start gambling. Or perhaps they simply snuggle down into the fetid comfort of being the victim of all things, illnesses and exes. You keep going until one of your darlings slay you.
Even smaller addictions can work if they distract enough. Your religion. Wrapping your entire identity in being A Mother, that’s a common and overlooked one. Your demand for cleanliness and order. High achievement. These are good things that can be pressurized so intensely that they become weaponized. Even these can become a spiked shelter to keep out the pain.
Because there is pain. There shouldn’t be, we keep thinking. I keep thinking. Our ancestors wouldn’t get it, most of them. Full stomachs, warm houses, and no one trying to stab or eat us. What…what’s the deal?
As for me personally, what is my fucking malfunction, I ask you? Basic needs met? Yes, nicely. American dream of loving marriage, healthy children, home in a pretty how-town? Oh yes, yes, better than most. ROCK STAR dreams concocted in your 6 yr old heart when you watched a full theater laughing at the same time to Bill Murray’s deadpan acceptance of being slimed? That one day, even though you’re squat and plain and odd, one day a whole room will laugh because you made them happy? YES, DAMMIT.
Therapist Lisa took me in as an emergency again yesterday. It’s been 13 years since she first told my sick spirit that I was not nearly as great as I thought I was but, with work, could be. You gotta love the handful of people who, after not seeing you for a while, respond to the news that you’ve done the impossible (“I wrote a book and it’s a New York Times Bestseller”) with no surprise. “That cool! See, I told you that you were supposed to be great.”
Then they aren’t surprised when you show up ruined, either. Show up over and over in fact. Cuz they know how people go.
When I come to Lisa in dire need, she works fast and efficiently and I just fucking hate her. Her job is to pull away every comfort and delusion that I’ve carefully built to keep the pain small. I have to interweave these bamboo pain-cages brand new every couple of years, with new materials when the old ones wear thin. They take time and effort, and they are precious. They’re keeping me from being bitten and torn.
She takes EVERYTHING. Other clients, this might take months, as they deny and reason and argue. She has to do it with compassion, without shutting us down, you see. But I already love and trust her.
So it was a South Tower implosion, unspeakably fast, level after level pancaking in debris and choking dust and loss, so much loss. At 10am yesterday morning I was a good person going through a rough patch.
By 11am I was wet and puff-faced. Sodden and silent. I was not
-trying my best to be a good mother – is that really your best, Tee?
-a talented writer…well maybe a little, but you ought to be better. Maybe if your ego wasn’t in the way. Your second book didn’t do so as well as your first, huh?
-smart…well…the word I was thinking of for you was “arrogant” right now, hon.
-independent; actually, desperate and greedy for constant support of every kind
-caring for others; rather, oppressing and using them
-deserving of my heart’s desire; merely, whiny and entitled.
That’s about everything I had. And chop, chop chop. With a “Oh…hon, Tee…are you sure about that?” shaped axe. Chop, chop, chop.
So she sweeps a pile a rubble that used to be Therese out her sage-smudged door. She’ll pull a rickety, skeletal reconstruction in next week, break down some more of it, and try to pour some foundation.
If a person doesn’t grow like they ought…if their natural growth pattern is perverted and insufficient to sustain life, they get twisted and tangled. They hurt, consequently.
So, they either select from the many painkillers available to them, penises to Percocet addiction, or they submit to being rebuilt. Usually when the painkillers just don’t work anymore.
I wonder if this Therese gets to blog again. Write without thinking about money or branding. At least until it’s time to crash it all down again, time to bleed out the bad humours, time to smash the dirt-castles back to earth.
Here it comes.
Here we go.