With less than a week away, I cancelled my New Year’s trip to Jamaica. It sounded adventurous, to climb the blue mountain peak alone at night on New Year’s Eve and watch the sunrise on New Year’s Day but the fact was I wasn’t going to be able to do it within budget. No Backpacking/hiking trip should cost over $1k but after 6 weeks planning, it became clear to me that no foreigner, particular a lone American woman, would truly be welcome to live like a local. The cost of living may be inexpensive there but I would always get the American Price. A 50 Cent bus ride would cost me $20. Free beaches would charge me a fee. I hate the idea of haggling for everything I eat and Everywhere I Go. So much so that I was no longer looking forward to this trip. So I took a friend’s advice, took a hit on the plane ticket, and will spend another New Year’s Day with toes in the sand with good people rather than alone on a Mountaintop. I still look forward to hiking the Canadian Rockies for my birthday amd I may be squeezing in a few dance trips in between. So Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, to all of you. And Bill, my dance partner and precious friend, no New Year’s Eve swing dancing for me this year. Not without you here.
“It’s a cock!” Robin Williams aka “Rainbow Randolph” screams.
What took me so long to watch this movie? Maybe our tongues are not the only “tastebuds” that change over the years. In 2002, it didn’t look like something I would enjoy but here I was alone on Thanksgiving night, cackling at the slapstick. At the end, I studied Ed Norton as he kissed his character’s girlfriend and thought, “Ed looks like a good kisser” so later, I found myself fantasizing and…you guessed it! Started bawling. Sobbing over how pathetic it is to be masterbating to something so ridiculous as Ed Norton in a rhino costume.
The next morning was no better as I opened my eyes to a message from an acquaintance lambasting me for my failure at friendship. It started the day before when she coldly turned down my offer to bring her a plate of thanksgiving food from my family’s house and ended with her telling me how I let her down LAST YEAR by offering to bring her food but showing up with it “too late”. I felt so shitty! I apologized profusely, asked how could I make it up to her, asked why she didn’t call or text to ask me to speed things up or even give me a specific time that she wanted to eat by… but she continued to attack and guilt me until I was in tears again. She is a widower with PTSD and I worry about her. I keep her name in a prayer box on my altar. But my emotional bandwidth was maxed and by days end, I posted “I am a failure at love. A failure professionally. And come to learn, a failure at humanity. To everyone I’ve failed, trust me when I say I’d lay down my life if it would improve yours. But why would you trust someone who failed you…?”
A friend tried to put it in perspective and said “It’s never okay for someone to deliberately make you feel bad for trying to do something good”. He’s right but it doesn’t mean I am blameless in the failure department. Reflecting over a few days, I made a difficult decision to drop her from my contacts. I cannot be a lifeline for any more people than I already am currently and I certainly can’t be one for someone who inspires me to stick a barrel in my mouth. Although I did remember to unblock my Asshole Best friend a month ago so I’m not running from everyone.
There is something so satisfying about slow roasting a pig, stabbing it with a syringe full of coke (cola) every half hour, then torching it to a crisp. What can I say? My Jew-“ish” family likes swine.
But there is still something unsettling about this time of the year when the sun squats lower in the sky. December in particular is the anniversary for compounded personal horrors, unexpected deaths and the end of every significant romantic relationship I’ve ever known. So I’m wary. When i dare admit out loud that I feel good lately, I glance around nervously waiting to get mugged again by Fate.
Do you ever go back and read horoscopes AFTER the days have passed and think, “Oh, so that’s why I flipped out”. Actually, I usually blame hormones, premature menopause, for everything but the moon may have a hand in it too. I’ve felt liberated since last week’s “The End.” I stepped outside tonight and noticed just a sliver of moon. So it was a new moon when I banished him for good. I didn’t even realize.
I won’t lie, it gets a little maddening to listen my best friend “S” talk about how much he misses his ex. He spent a decade in a loveless, sexless relationship so the first person to throw him a hamburger after he’s been starving is going to look like his savior. But it’s not all about “her” – she was horrid- he just isnt content coming home to nothing but his dog at the end of the day. He dwells, obsesses, about his need for human companionship. I think, “Sure that would be nice but it should not define you”. I’m a broken record reminding him we were born a whole person, we will die a whole person. We do not require two people to make us = one. Tying our self-worth to another person is about as healthy and sane as tying our worth to how much money we make. Forget the Disney programming! It’s the idea in his own head that if he is single, he’s worthless. I agree with him that so called “family days” at work suck. A professional environment perpetrating what our personal lives “should” look alike. If you wanna shove your kids and spouse down my throat when I’m at work then I should be allowed to bring my dog. But my friend cries because he’s truly depressed at work on family days. So I asked him if he is the only person there who doesn’t show up with a spouse in tow and he admits “no”, he’s not the lone pariah. I told him then make it ridiculous! Designate a table, a whole section for everyone who do not have family on family day. Cuss and drink beer! Talk about getting matching “Enough” tattoos. Make it a sort of silly protest to draw attention to the fact that family days at work alienate solo employees.
The truth, is having hit this wall again, being truly done with a relationship, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. And now that I no longer contribute to the pity party, I find my patience wearing thin with my dearest friend who refuses to move on. Some nights, I serve tough love for dinner. It’s cold and doesn’t taste half as good as Revenge. But if he insists on rehashing the same stories and woes over and over again, then I insist on dishing up the same response: Get over it. Our ex’s have.
Cut the meds by a 1/3 and feel better already. I’m noting any changes in my mood or sleep cycle as well as trying to pinpoint triggers but so far, I blame the pills. My roommate “L” is also on the rebound emotionally and is a blast to have around. I brought him to Thanksgiving and we put on a show for the family, dancing to Sinatra. I also took his suggestion and finally returned to the online dating scene. So far the best prospect is a Dom who is sadly, well outside my age cut off. And before you pass judgement on me having an age cutoff to begin with, let explain that a man pushing 60 isn’t interested in fathering any(more) children and no matter what the White Witch said about past lives or my own physical health problems which may very well have left me barren anyway, I haven’t completely given up the idea of having kids. And whereas a man near or early into his 60s may be quite verile, how many years of that does he have left, honestly? I dont want to be 50 and back to batteries. Scottish accent or no, 52 is a reasonable cut off I think for a woman recently 40.
I’m not interested in The Other Extreme end of the spectrum either. The twenty-somethings come out of the woodwork and I politely tell them I’m not interested in being the Demi to their Ashton, because we see how well that worked out. But want to take my “strong, shapely legs” for a test drive on the dance floor, as one young Latino gentleman asked, that I’m down for. It’s a nice distraction anyway.
Meanwhile, he has disappeared again without any hint of explanation. Since I don’t think I’ve said anything recently to scare him off, I suspect he may be a little depressed and no longer interested in me as a therapist since feelings and sex have muddied the water that was never potable to start with.
I woke to a heavy heart. Dreamt of him. Not a good dream. I wish I didn’t remember my dreams so vividly because they play out in my head all day like a memory of something real.
I compare my moods to a game of shuffle board: I’m hung up on a feeling until something else–good or bad– comes along to knock that original feeling out of the way or push it deeper into my psyche.
I hate December.
My thoughts are racing so much these days!
I’m enjoying the sight of my Hooker Tree ( a hot pink tinsel Christmas Tree loaded down with sci-fi geekery) with a kitschy blue electric menorah burning beside it in the window.
Then I plunge: He goes home in a week and a half. I have one weekend left with him. And I panic. My stomach lurches and my heart feels like its trying to break my ribs.
Happy thoughts! I tell myself. I brew decaf coffee (with my anxiety, I can’t have caffeine anymore) and the smell soothes me. I light candles and open the back patio door to let the fresh chilly air purge the funk that I am releasing into my environment. I buy a few gifts online for my family.
Then I look at my phone. Nothing from him today. So attentive when we are together but when we are not…Last weekend as I got in my car, he leans in through the window to kiss me and says “Love you, drive safe.” I started because Im the one with the bleeding heart, always dropping the “L” bomb on him. He hasnt said it to me. But this was a slip of habit, I know. Like him hugging a family member (or his clinically insane wife) and the automatic, obligatory “love you, drive safe” comes out. He probably didnt even realize he let it slip out and if he did, he probably thought “Crap, hope she didnt catch that”. But what I wouldnt give for him to say those words on purpose.
I’m up! We’re drinking cheap wine, eating pizza and laughing. He’s such a lightweight! Two glasses of wine and he’s giggling like a girl. We’re in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but hang out and watch movies. And it’s wonderful! Until the crazy starts pouring in again on his phone.
He has more baggage than anyone I’ve ever met. I try to be strong, I want him to lean on me, but he hates that I internalize his problems. But that’s what happens when you care about someone. You want to help and when they hurt, you hurt.
Because of this, he makes no promises. He doesnt talk about a future of ‘we’. He focuses on the now. He has to: Custody battle first, then divorce, then the next career move then…what? It’s not that he doesnt consider the future, he doesnt consider the future with me as a factor, as a Major Player in his life. Or if he does, the doesnt tell me. He just doesnt want to let me down. Or get my hopes up.
I told him, “Remember when I said I had no expectations and would be content if we came out of this as friends? I lied. I cant be your friend. I still have no expectations but I DO have hope.”
And I’m down. He’s not even gone yet but if this is a precursor–a taste– of the despair that is to follow when he leaves soon…G-d help me.
We both need something good to happen in our lives. Just give us ONE solid “win” on the board.
Several days ago, I posted a question for thought on Facebook: If G-d is omnipotent and “never gives us more than we can handle”, why is there suicide?
As hoped and expected-because this is a sincere question I have—it prompted a flurry of responses; And a few phone calls from concerned friends asking if I was okay. I reassured them that just because I broach the question of suicide doesn’t mean I’m also sitting behind the keyboard with a barrel in my mouth.
Yes, the holiday season sucks for me as they do for a lot of people. I’m unsure if it’s because the holidays just happen to be when the majority of lives traumatic events take place or if it’s theme of the holidays—Peace, love, joy, family, G-d—only exacerbate our sense of loss and loneliness with its irony.
But to answer to the question above, the concensus between the majority of my faithful friends is it amounts to “free will”. But there was some debate as to the part about G-d not giving us more to bite off than we can chew. It’s not in the bible. I knew that. But I wondered if it was insinuated somewhere. You know these modern translations get looser and looser. Next, the “New Jimbo Edition” or “G-d’s Word As Quoted on Pinterest” will get published and I’m sure that inspiration saying above will be included. It’s a comforting thought but is it TRUE? Did G-d say it?
Comments from friends and family included:
“I hate that saying. It’s not in the bible. It’s about Free Will and people are free to dish out as much shit as they want on others.”
“Because suicide is easy. And it’s all about free will with God. So the moment people do it or think about it GOD has nothing to do with it”
My favorite response, the one that comes close to truly answering my question is this:
“The phrase isn’t in the bible… I asked this question many times as a kid. Here’s the actual phrase. First Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it. I guess you can deduce that they mean the same thing. But, the way I see it, there’s a heaven and hell, a God and devil. Suicide is one of those things similar to drug addiction. Sometimes it over powers the flesh and the devil gets a victory.”
And from my mother (even though I argue that the old testament stories she cited below may be allegorical):
“He gives us all the power to do everything successfully. We just don’t claim it. There were many people in the Bible who were deeply depressed- David, Elijah, Jeremiah to name a few. But what kept them from ending it all? In their despair, they cried out to God and He was faithful to give them strength to hold out for another day. And another. And another. Keep in mind God only gives us Grace for each day. You have to renew your strength by drawing close to God every day and asking for the grace to keep going that day. It’s very easy to say “I’m done. No more.” and end it. I certainly will never point an accusatory finger at anyone for a weakness that many know all too well. But yes, the devil knows when you’re down. He runs to whisper in your ears lies and words of discouragement. You can choose to listen to the lies or you can listen to the voice of Truth and know that God will walk you through the dark, carry you when you’re too weak to keep going and too tired to pray.”
And from a friend whose husband committed suicide due to chronic depression:
“We make our own choices not always God’ s choice for us. And do not think that suicide is the easy say out. Those who commit suicide just want the pain to stop. Often they see only darkness and sadly too many people in the world add stress and pain upon the person in trouble. I know this firsthand”
“ I think its cool you shared your thoughts/concerns about this. Depression is all too close to me and I’ve seen both sides of its effects. Oddly enough, I never link depression and suicide with faith. In my experience it’s all too complicated to judge, I mostly spend my time thinking about being my brother’s/sister’s keeper.”
“depression is an illness, mental illness has nothing to do with a book-the Bible. Good things and bad things happen to everyone and every family. There are answers and there is help for people suffering. This time of year tends to bring it out more than others. be compassionate and patient with those suffering-it can be a long and winding road for many..but, again, there is help.”
To this, I agreed with my friend. I know depression is a psychological illness caused by physical imbalances to which every sufferer has their own, personalized variety of ‘triggers’. But for me, the idea that there is no G-d or He is not listening to our prayers is devastating. That is not the G-d I grew up believing in. I pray (a lot!) out of habit rather than faith but if I stop to really consider that there is no one on the receiving end of those prayers, then I just lost my strongest Life Line. G-d—or the Hope of Him– is the seatbelt that holds me together during a crash.
And when the seatbelt doesn’t catch, I have a support system of friends and family that act as airbags.
One of the first ones to reach out to me out of concern was an Army buddy I met in 2009. At the time, he was going through his own personal hell and I held him and stroked his head while this grown man wept in my arms. I try to be The Rock, like G-d. I try to love like G-d. I seek to be His Conduit and spread positivity, love, kindness and comfort to those around me. I don’t do it because I’m trying to earn brownie points with Him, I do it naturally because it is what I was designed for or as Jane Austen put it (pardon me if its off, I don’t have the quote in front of me) “There is nothing I wouldnt do for those who are truly my friends. I dont know how to love people by ‘halves’. It isnt my nature.” Perhaps its enough to be put on this planet for the sole purpose of caeing for others. Im copying my friend’s message here because it is easily in the Top 3 Nicest Things Anyone Has Ever Said About Me and I don’t want to forget it. I want to have it here so that I can come back to it and re-read it when I’m collapsing under the burden of my own life. He wrote:
“I can honestly say to you, that you’re one of the sweetest and kindest people I know. I believe that you have a pure heart and you do the best that you can to live a life without a drop of malice running through your veins. I look at you and think of you as someone positive and I have even based decisions on how you would judge me afterwards. I said that so that you understand this: You have a purpose to the people that know you. And you have a unique way of infecting people with positive energy. Please don’t be hard on yourself. Take time for you everyday to meditate and clear out the fog. And be sure to take inventory of all that is right in your life. Look at where you want to go and just keep walking forward. And ask God to guide you the journey will have a way forging a proper relationship with him.”