Friday, October 6, 2017

October Country

You know how sometimes the weather matches your mood exactly and you’re like “this is some badly-written-novel bullshit is what this is,” but that observation changes neither the weather nor your mood because nature is a fucking philistine? Yeah. Well, that. Me. Right now.

Saturday is my grandma’s funeral. She was ninety-nine when she passed, and all but the last year of her life she was sharp of mind and wit. If you’ve never been burned by someone pushing the century mark, you just don’t…can’t….fully appreciate the beauty of craft honed over many, many decades. She was hilarious, and she was also one of the most loving people I've known.

I was really lucky. Most people don’t get to have a grandparent around this long. For a lot of people, age takes the mind years before it destroys the body. Grandma only had to put up with a year of full-blown dementia. Even through that, she never forgot me. There’s a lot to be grateful for in that fact. But right now, gratitude is just a concept. Right now, I just feel a terrible, dull ache and the knowledge that things will never go back to the way they were. 

Right now, it feels like grief has no end.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Low Men and Technical Girls

The view from inside my cubicle. See how dead the lights make me look?

About two weeks ago, my cat decided to make sweet, sweet face love to my tablet while I was out and about, resulting in an unfortunate crash landing that the tablet didn’t take well. It became quickly evident that the tablet had resented its latest interactions with cat and gravity and was rapidly shuffling off this mortal coil for good, which left me in the awkward position of having to do my job without any podcasts or audio books.

Now, for people who aren’t shackled inside of a gray cubicle with six foot high walls proofreading ad copy, the lack of podcasts might seem like no real problem, but I assure you that proofreading is what business majors do to English Majors by way of revenge for us not writing their term papers for them. In short, proofreading ad copy is something best endured with as large a buffer as you can manage, for the sake of your sanity if nothing else.

You don’t actually realize how deeply dependent you’ve become on a thing until it’s gone, and I was just about to crawl my skin. What can I say? I'm a technical girl. And that was before I learned that my three month wait for the audio book version of Steven King’s The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger had finally come through in Overdrive. Finally, a chance to wipe away the horrible memory of that horrible movie (sorry Idris. I still love you, but the script was shit), and I was stuck with a glorified brick. I was practically getting tremors I was jonesing so bad.

I broke down and used my credit card rewards to get a new cheapie tablet. So much for mental fortitude and personal discipline. I need my books, or some poor sales rep is going to bleed, bitches.
Last night, my therapist invited me to start sitting with my discomfort instead of trying to busy it away or drown it with infotainment or delicious booze, as is my wont. I won’t lie. I’d rather scour my face off with brillo most days than feel my actual damn feels, which are stupid and very uncomfortable, but it’s something I’m willing to practice. I assume it’s going to help in the long run.
Nevertheless, eight solid hours a day, five days a week with only music and the constant whine of my own crazy-ass brain for company is a little much. I think at least having the occasional foray into escapism has to be healthy, too. 

So as soon as the new tablet is done copying over all my apps, I’m going to download me some Dark Tower. See if those low men can’t help shift the burden of my mental illness at least a little.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Mother Nature is a C*nt

Yesterday my dog assassinated a vole in front of a seven year old girl and an infant getting their family photos taken at the park. Because he is my dog, I am sure the children are probably/maybe/definitely scarred for life. When you roll with a terrier, you have to get used to things like tiny monogamous mammal slayings and the psychological maiming of wee onlooking moppets.

People of a certain type like to imagine the universe in general, and nature in particular, as being fundamentally good, safe, even caring, but the same universe that may now be allowing you to work your dream job, or bump uglies with your one true love is also allowing otherwise sweet-natured terriers to toss half-dead and still screaming rodents in the air—joyously, might I add—in front of sheltered and impressionable children. It’s allowing hurricanes to destroy entire islands while tolerating the continued existence of a certain senile despot who shall remain nameless. Mother nature, in short, can be a bit of a cunt.

I’m currently wrestling with the whole brutal unfairness of life thing, and it’s not because I had some kind of cockeyed delusion that I could expect any kind of fair treatment from life. That ship sailed when I understood that almost none of my peers had to get their clothes from a giant black Hefty bag full of boy’s hand-me-downs and that my favorite mouth breathing Arian bully was going to get to go to private school despite having the IQ of a mentally deficient potato and the personality of Himmler with a toothache. (Brian W., if you are reading this, if you even can read, go fuck yourself. I mean it.) Fair has simply never been part of the equation, and yet….

And yet…here I am again, worrying at my bullshit like a terrier with a newly dead critter. It’s called rumination, and man, I must say, it’s just tits. 

Rumination, or repetitive thoughts is a symptom of both depression and anxiety disorders. It’s basically your brain’s super-helpful way of carving a pain-groove into itself. You know. For funsies. Right now my brain is constantly reminding me that I won’t ever be able to have kids, which is something it virtually never mentioned in all the years before I had my emergency hysterectomy. It also likes to remind me of all the dumb, horrible peckerheads who can’t seem to stop having, and ruining, their very own children. And global climate change. And the threat of nuclear annihilation. It’s like living to a bunch of frat boys with a souped up sound system playing Radio Doom 24-7 and the cops don't care.

Thanks, brain. 

It’s illogical. It’s crazy town, actually. The rational part of my brain’s saying “No kids? Awesome! We can move to Amsterdam, write novels, and get blazed every night, and it literally won’t matter because you have no substantial responsibilities. This is great news! Wait, what? You’re crying again? Why the fuck are you….? Amsterdam, motherfucker!?!” 

And so on. Depression doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for sense. Natural selection only favors making more of a thing. Doesn’t give two rats fucking in a wind tunnel about the mental health and wellbeing of the thing past making more. And so we have lovely conditions like chronic, recurrent depression and fibroid tumors and ovarian cysts that show up in midlife and look alarmingly like cancer and crippling anxiety and on and on and on. Because, and it bears repeating, Mother nature is a bit of a cunt.

So, what to do? Because I’m certainly not just going to lay back and take this hot, steaming mass of bullshit. Right now, I’m just trying to keep focused on really basic bitch stuff---things like making sure I drink enough water, and take walks and shit. As far as the rumination end, I’m keeping busy. It’s hard to fall too far down the despair rabbit hole when I have an extensive to-do list, yoga, meditation, and writing. Not impossible, but harder, and some days, that’s all I need.