World Suicide Prevention Day. PS- I REALLY hate running.

Before I wrote this, I didn’t even know it was World Suicide Prevention Day. Another blogger informed me. But it just so happens that a few weeks ago, I read a beautiful piece in the Associated Press on assisted suicide:

https://www.apnews.com/2ee08672b8c1445ca09e0e09ab262c30

I’ve been a proponent of the Hemlock Society for most of my adult life, death with dignity. Especially since Bill chose to bow out on his own terms.


Then this last week, I read an an article on Congresswoman Wild’s story on suicide prevention following the unexpected suicide of her partner. I wonder, how much less traumatic would it be if we could have a conversation and plan our death the way Robert Fuller did in the AP story? 

In the case of Rep. Wild’s partner, the article mentioned he was depressed partly because he had had a botched surgery that left him in chronic pain and the things that he enjoyed most such as jogging 5 miles a day, he could no longer do. And that struck me.


Maybe jogging was his coping mechanism. Like dancing is mine. Or maybe he just thoroughly enjoyed it so much that when it was taken from him, nothing else adequately filled that space. But I also know how chronic pain can suck the joy from us. My mother has been suffering for decades and until medical marijuana was legalized in my state and made the pain bearable, I was dreading but fully anticipating her eventually giving up.

You get so used to being in pain that you don’t even consciously think about it but unconsciously, it taints everything in your life. Low-grade, chronic pain is a current running through your nerves end-to-end, eroding your psyche and quality of life.

Combine chronic pain with being robbed of a daily activity you enjoy most like dancing or jogging… and it’s not that life is over but life as you needed it to be is over. The light has gone out. And shut the f-up about it being “selfish” or “just find something else to do that makes you happy”…
He loved running. And then he couldn’t run anymore.

And then I think about how much I hate running. I have at least a hundred excuses why I can’t or shouldn’t run. Everything ranging from bad knees to I need to have external motivation like Pennywise chasing me. The funny thing is I follow a few blogs from joggers. The reluctant joggers are my favorite because they are relatable. I try to find inspiration to run in their tales of miserable slogging and “just do it” attitude. They are inspiring but still not enough for me to run. It’s 100 degrees here. Global warming makes it 120. I could wait til the sun goes down but then I’ve lost my steam. My iPod isn’t charged or I’m not particularly feeling my current playlist. It’s wet. It’s dark. I might trip. I might get hit by a crazy driver speeding through the neighborhood. My dog doesn’t want to run either. He says we should call it an early night because he heard me reading aloud from some random health professional that sleep is just as important as exercise when you have an autoimmune disease. And life is short. Too short to do things I hate such as running.

But I can run. Not fast and not far but I am physically capable where others are not. Where the Congresswoman’s partner was not. And it eats at me a bit, clearly. Maybe I should run for him. Maybe I should run for everyone who can’t. Maybe I should run for my mother because she’s still hanging on through the pain, partly because she knows I need her to stick around. Maybe I need to run because for some, that simple act that I hate so much, might have been the difference between a life and death decision. Of course it doesn’t bring him back. And if he was alive, I’m guessing he wouldn’t give two shits to know anybody was running for him. Just like I wouldn’t be satisfied watching someone dance for me if my own legs were lost. I understand that much.

So I have a nagging sense that I might need to run for him. In my own struggle with pain, illness and depression…it’s a silent, lonely battle. I should run for us both. Because I still can.

But shortly into the slog, I began walking which ended up being a leisurely 22 minute per mile stroll while reviewing choreography in my head. Not a run. But it’s a start.

“Fucking around and falling in love” Angel Olsen

The duvet slips away from my shoulders, exposing breasts, nipples tighten under the cool air. I long for an extra pair of arms and lips at times like these, company in my bed.

My mother remarked on how handsome M is. She asked if he was single and I said “yes but he is emotionally unavailable” and I laughed. I don’t know if that’s even remotely true but it’s easier to say out loud than “I don’t believe he’s interested in me.”

Even as I had a successful date last week with an attractive, younger man. I say “successful” because he showed up. That is half the battle, isn’t it? Affectionate and attentive, I doubt we have enough in common to pursue anything but I enjoyed his company. But I haven’t reached out to him since. He’s not “the one” so I’m not motivated to make an effort.

And I stopped texting M. His disinterest depresses me.

I have an argument for leaving tags on bras. Women generally remove the tags from all our garments but considering how hard is otto find a good bra, I’d like to know what style, size and brand it is to replace it when it wears out.

A dancer friend of mine invited me to come out and see a jazz band. Assuming because he is a dancer friend that it was a jazz conducive of dancing. Instead it was the jazz I hate. That contemporary jazz that sounds like everyone is doing a solo. And I catch myself staring the entire time staring at the drummer’s fruit stripe .socks to avoid watching the musicians on stage make bedroom eyes at each other. Another thing that irks me about jazz, watching men circle jerk each other onstage with instruments. Happy to be thought of but that was 4 captive hours, $40 and 100 miles I’ll never get back.

I chuckle at the public service announcements around the building where I work. Warnings like “Spying doesn’t pay” and beware the disgruntled employee, they could be an insider threat. Hell, might as well report everyone in this line of work then.

App dating: If he writes nothing in his profile I automatically think he’s lazy and swipe left. If he writes “just ask” in his bio, he might as well have not written anything at all and I swipe left. Although I think guys are starting to get the hint about fish pictures. I haven’t seen as many shirtless shitter shots as in years past but they are still a thing. As I’m clicking through, an “Eeww!” escapes my lips every time a SSS pops up. Doesn’t emmatter if it’s a dude with 20 pack abs or Larry the Cable Guy in his third trimester of beer gut. Same reaction.

I catch up on blogger I’ve been following for 10 years. Has it really been 10 years? 10 years since I’ve been blogging too. He’s only gotten more vulgar, I think. Pushing the envelope until there’s nothing left to push it seems. But is he really getting more vulgar or a have I become my mother, growing increasingly conservative as I get older, my mind shrinking like my spine with age.

I was a little too content in my decision to drop all my cabaret girls from Facebook. Oh, we could still communicate on the private page and they might not even notice that I dropped them. I even hoped they would notice and ask so we could open the door to that conversation like a teenager wishing someone would find her diary and say “I’m sorry, I didn’t know”.

I would tell them: You judged me. You all did. And you attacked me when I was down. And I felt like an outsider in the group ever since. However, I have a lot of sequins so I have no intention of quitting. But I don’t need social media reminding me just how few real friends I have.

I was also too content to use the excuse that traffic delayed me getting home, making it so that I wouldn’t get to the last acrobatics class on time. So I poured a stale mug of wine purposely into my “Blessed.” mug and settled down to two heaping servings of leftover whole wheat pasta. Carbs and more carbs. Comforting. And inflammatory as well as constipating so dessert I figure should be a protein mug cake with an ex lax ganache.

Then I should take a selfie while surrounded by my pets with the caption “I’d love to but I’m busy”.

“Touch me again and I’ll drown you, you bastard” Mrs. Doubtfire

Got an email today from one of my cabaret ladies that upset me to the point of ruin. I think we managed to hash it out but it’s still clings to me. When did I become the bitch that nobody likes? Most of my life I was a people pleaser, how can I help? That burden looks heavy, here let me carry that for you… And then a few years ago I realized but the people I thought where my friends at the time absolutely drained me and couldn’t even remember my birthday even when we shared it. The birthday is not important but the fact that it was a one-sided relationship. I had a lot of friends but when I took inventory of who would step up in my time of need should I need anyone, my answer was crickets. So I began doing things by myself and for myself. Now I have a small cultivated, tolerant handful of friends. I’m not mean. I just put myself first more than I used to.

But this email made me realize that the alienation I’ve been feeling was not entirely in my head. People were put off by my sullen attitude but rather than asking what was wrong, and I may or may not have admitted to anything, they just kept letting it rub them the wrong way until I was alone in a corner at rehearsals and the last show. Again, I think with a bit of communication on all of our parts, we can get past this but it still ruined my day.

No, more than ruined my day. Left me sick to my stomach wondering if I should quit. Maybe they wanted me to. Maybe everyone would breathe a little easier if I tapped out. I was going down that rabbit hole. And of all people, Robin Williams popped into my head. Now aside from the clinical depression, I don’t for a minute draw a personal comparison to the humor and talent that man had but my point is, here is a man who is successful, and beloved by most of the world. And he killed himself. We assume often I think that someone kills themself because they are lonely. True, it’s difficult to connect. But I think there is an irrational voice that tries to convince us not only that we are not loved but worse, we are not LIKED.

It’s difficult when you feel like you have no one close enough to talk to, and if you did they wouldn’t understand, or there are certain aspects of your job and the day to day war that you can’t discuss. I met with my VA psychiatrist for a biannual follow up a couple of months ago right after C was killed and she asked if I needed to speak to someone and I combusted and nodded. She said she would put in a referral to the social worker. That was two months ago and I’ve heard nothing. But I even suspect the VA social worker is too burned out to give a damn about my problems. And I’m probably not high-risk enough to warrant a speedy appointment. But really, I don’t want to talk to someone that I feel can’t relate. Or worse, doesn’t LIKE me.

Back to war tomorrow. Next weekend I will be punishing my body in an attempt to heal my spirit hiking a few days around the Cascades. I’ll be with retired Army and retired Marines. And there probably won’t be a single war story between us. I’m looking forward to it.

“In the Summertime, when it’s hot outside, and the streets are bare, there’s no one there” ~Black Keys

 I skipped sitting on the sidelines of Cabaret rehearsal to follow the
excited advice of a nurse: Go to the ER now! I napped on a hospital bed
while a retired Colonel ran tests on my heart. My ticker is great to my
relief. It’s something else. What that is, no one knows yet but it’s not my
heart so that’s all I needed to hear. 
. How many times did they ask me “Do you have anyone here with you? Do you want us to call someone?” Nope. And Nope. I know in a worst case scenario, CK would come swiflty. But I don’t want him. I note the absence of a ring on my doctor’s hand as we trade a couple of war stories. He’s too old for me, complete with wooden cane, but he’s funny and his cane adds to his austere image the way a pair of glasses makes people look “smart”. HOw did you break your foot, he asked? Living like I’m still 23 instead of 43. He laughed and said “right on”.
Cabaret presses on like I’m not there and not coming back. New choreography without me. New dancers. Even a new singer to create competition in the one market I had cornered. 
Three weeks until my podiatrist follow up and I still feel the break in my
foot. But three weeks more is all you get, I silently tell No One. Then I
need to dance. I need to train. I logged back into Crackbook briefly to view
dance events coming up at the end of the month, when I hopefully get the
green light from the doctor. Nothing looks particularly inspiring. Or maybe
that’s my state of mind grumbling. 
I’ve gone from panicked “WTF do I DO with myself?!?!?!” to “I don’t want to
do anything”. 

Feverish planets, climate crisis, and the now-public sweeping under the rug
of military sex-crimes have fired up the nightmare machine again. Plus I
still think of “C” unbidden. His name popped up in a spam email this week
and I wondered if he was reaching out to me from the grave or if it was
something more malevolent and real. Times like this, I do wish I wasn’t so
isolated. 

My breath catches and chest tightens but not like “false alarm” heart attack
of yesterday. No, this is just despair. My headphones are on at work but I’m
not listening to anything. I don’t know what is more distracting: the
converastions around me or the music that I’m not feeling.

“I Wanna love somebody but I don’t know how” The Decemberists

File this under Insensitive Things My Boyfriend Says: when he remarks about being “jealous” that I sleep more than him even after being reminded that wasting half my life in bed from chronic fatigue is nothing to be envious of. Its like telling the guy who got his legs blasted off that you’re envious of his sweet wheels.

I called in sick this morning but not after a sincere attempt to get going. I got uo with the alarm, fed the fur, shot a 5 hour energy, felt sick to my stomach and dizzy so i sat down and immediately fell back asleep. Spent most of the day in bed amd every time my conscious surfaced, I told myself “get up, work on your resume, work on homework, take a shower, you need to go buy dog fiod…” but the current was too strong and sleep would suck me under again.

The night before I missed Cabaret rehearsal because I was upset from yet another shitty day in a shitty job so I poured a drink, then another until i was too buzzed to drive. I tearfully told my boyfriend that I appreciated him and sorry I didnt say it or show it enough. Then he pissed me off by saying something about getting hard. Erection jokes from someone with ED so severe, he doesnt come close to getting inside me arent funny. In fact last week, during another awkward attempt, he began shaking and crying with frustration. My heart broke and I told him, “Its okay, you can get me off some other way”. And I did something Ive never done with anyone before: faked an orgasm.

He’s on his second treatment of Gainwave therapy. I don’t know how many treatments are required to see results but of course insurance doesn’t pay for it. It will be worth it if it works. I disregarded all the hype and advertisements and went straight for the peer-reviewed medical studies. Those indicate about a 70% success rate. It’s significant enough that it’s being offered as a non-invasive alternative to heart surgery to clear blockages. That leads me to think it’s not complete bullshit.

And now halfway though our 5th month together, Im faking orgasms and wonfering if we should “take a break”. But that will just depress him and he will stop treatments. I want to give this a chance. Because there’s nothing “wrong” with this relationship other than the sex and my waning interest.

One of the women I currently work with reminds me of my mother, if my mother were Arabic. She likes to play matchmaker, coming over when a man is taking to me to say “Isn’t she pretty?” (To him. To me she says) “He’s such a nice guy and he’s single, are you single?” I reply “not by by 4 months”. Umi then shakes her head “Well, I hope hes a nice guy. You deserve a nice guy and THIS one is nice”. I look back at the guy, didn’t know a Latin complexion could get that red, and wonder if his dick works. Because I already have a nice guy.

” what’s the matter? Your chicken tastes like pork?” Janelle Monae

The simplest advice I can remind myself of today:

Even if I don’t get to retire from the military,

My life is not over.

Even if I get stuck for a while in a job that is not my goal career,

My life is not over.

Even if things don’t work out with The Man of My Dreams,

My life is not over.

If my plans don’t pan out,

My life is not over.

Even when I lose my loved ones,

My own life is not over.

Do you wanna build a snowman?

No, I want to build pipe shelves. Starting with a toilet paper holder with a small shelf above it. If I can make that happen I think I can go crazy with industrial-meets-rustic shelving.

I have these moments where I feel like myself. I’m not depressed. Ive been depressed and I don’t think this is depression. But I don’t feel like myself either. But then the lsight switch flips on when I walk outside and think about going for a hike or just being inspired by a project (like the pipe shelves) and think “yeah! I wanna do that!”. And then it passes so quickly. The light switch flips off and I’m left alone in the dark again.
So maybe I am a little depressed.

Which might stem from always being tired. A coworker asked me how I was feeling and when I replied “tired” he said “That’s not too bad”. My eyes narrowed and I said “Sleep deprivation is an effective form of torture”.

But I got up when the alarm told me to and didn’t reach for my phone right away. Instead, I took an extra few minutes working through my morning routine. Took time to blow dry my hair and carefully apply eyeliner. I probably don’t look different as a result but it helps me feel a bit more “put together”, at least on the outside.

“And all I really want is deliverance” ~ Alanis Morissette

Plugging away at monkey work, typing up a veterans benefits letter for a widow whose husband, my age, died of cancer. Coincidentally he was born and died on the same day. My birthday. She only asked for one letter but I gave her everything she was possibly eligible for. And it’s still not enough.

I answered a flyer hanging in Starbucks, a woman searching for a Kidney donor for her husband. I called the hospital and did the initial screening but they informed me that I was not now or ever would be a potential donor for a kidney. The damn MEN 1 again. I joked “Am I so broken that I can’t even give my body away now?”

I should be grateful but I still hate the job and continue to search for something else. It’s hard to get a call back. I tread that line between enthusiastic and annoying with recruiters. I also suspect I blow formal interviews. I know my worth but struggle to articulate it. I rely too heavily on my professional and personal references to say nice things about me. I appreciate it truly but I need to be able to get a job on my own. One of those references pointed out gently that we need to soften my edges. And I agree, I’ve become a Jagged Little Pill over the years. But can’t we just have a conversation? Do you want someone who fits your organization’s needs or someone who just interviews well?

Dont mind me… tired and rambling.

This is what Friday night grad life looks like.

“Oh, Saturday sun, I met someone…” Vance Joy

I think I met the love of my life when I was 41. Well, actually I was 24 but at that time, we were passing acquaintances and I couldn’t get past his prematurely silver and unfortunately long ponytail.

Now here we are, making out like teenagers on the couch and I whispered in his ear “You are going to be such a good dancer” which got a good laugh out of him.

He calls me “Hon”and “gorgeous” but I’mpet names. More or less 14 years of singledom left me out of practice in terms of endearment. I’ve called some exes “hotness” and or “pookie” (jokingly, obviously). But CK doesn’t have a fake tan (or a real one for that matter) no a douchey frat boy haircut, although he did cut off the unfortunately long ponytail years ago. So “hotness” doesn’t fit.

I could see myself marrying him but it would probably go down something like this: I email him a link to some ring with skulls on it and ask “So are we going to do this shit or what?”

I write that even as it still feels premature to say “I love you”. Although he has said it in letters and my inner dialogue says “I love this man”. Also I’m afraid if I break that “I love you” seal then it will turn into that habitual, afterthought, obligatory “I love you” and not as meaningful.

I may be paraphrasing or outright plagiarizing another writer (Fitzgerald or his wife?) when I say I’ve met the one with whom my heart and soul is at rest. Like a shot of bourbon on an empty stomach, he blooms in my Heart.

Sometimes he still asks “Why are you with me?” Because he leaves love letters in my underwear drawer and draws hearts on the windshield of my filthy car. And I save them in a shoebox or tuck them into a Bible that I no longer read.

“Nothing ever comes without a change” ~ Grouplove

Day 1: The sabbatical has come to an end. A bit premature because I still have 6 months of full time school left but I started back to a full-time job on top of that. So from here forward, my bedtime is once again 9 p.m. except for the four nights a week that I have class later than that or the remaining nights when I’m up late working on assignments. So If you need to reach me, make an appointment and I will pencil you in during the 5-7 minutes per week that I’m taking a constipated shit. Unless I’m extra constipated and unable to shit at all that week. Otherwise, see you in roughly 6 months after graduation. Make it 7 because Ill need to catch up on sleep.

I woke up on Day 1 with a twin growing out of my bottom lip. The worst collection of fever blisters I think I’ve ever had. And I swear, I’m not that stressed. I told myself “Maybe this job will be like Korea: I think it will suck but I end up loving it”.

This job is not Korea.

I nearly walked out day one when someone asked about claiming “Secondhand PTSD” from listening to someone talk about combat. I wanted to tell them “Go kill yourself”.  I’m not convinced all the positive reinforcement of long-term benefits can turn this shit job with shit pay, surrounded by talking rocks, into gold.

I’m fair and kind but I am not nice. I’m also judgmental, I admit. Everyone has flaws and that’s a biggie for me. Judgmental and unforgiving. I’ve had exciting careers all my life and starting over in something ordinary and mundane feels beneath me. Even Saturday night at C’s work party, it was torture listening to these people discuss their unimportant jobs and their unimportant lives as if they were important (I’m in confession now so hold YOUR judgement, Father). I always say I am not my job but I feel sorry for people with lives so small, so sheltered. Maybe pity isn’t what I truly feel rather than a sense of satisfied superiority (and boredom) while I sit there too good to try and engage anyone in conversation.

Day 3: When Black Magic kitty hears my alarm go off, she immediately comes running, purring, walks up on my chest and lovingly bites my nose with that dirty lizard-eating mouth.  It’s not a bad way to wake up. Last night as I fell asleep apologizing to G-d for being ungrateful. Then I prayed for patience, tolerance, and Direction. I know going in that this was not the Final career Destination but a stepping stone, one of many paths. But as with my “land nav” skills, my “life nav” skills have led me in circles. “Look kids! Big Ben…”

But I spoke with a Navy reservist who frankly answered my questions and put it back in perspective. Stick it out. Do the time. One year, maybe two, then transfer. It’s not Hell. Hell is eternal. This is more like a prison sentence.

 

Day 5: Today we learned about mandatory overtime. A few of us had “Da’ fuck you say…?” reactions while the rest cheered “Yay! Time and a half!” Our choice between extended work days Monday through Friday or giving up every other Saturday to come into work for 10 hours. I’m pissed.  At this point in my life, I value time more than money and this job does not pay enough. I took this job for stability and to escape the 12+ hour shifts. If OT truly is mandatory, then I might as well go back to doing what I was doing before. At least I was getting paid decent then.  The work schedule already is such that I had to drop first, my ballet classes that I’ve been taking for 3 years then today, the salsa team.
So G-d forgive me but it has been a struggle this week to keep a smile on my face or have a sense of gratitude. It’s worse when people tell me congratulations on the job because I feel like crying. I went from dancing 5x a week now picking just one. Dancing is my sanity and I’m giving it up for a job that I hate…