melancholy and the infinite madness

i am a canoe. i float, somewhat bravely, atop of all of the dark, sad, awful things that exist within my life.

there is the potential for so much sadness….

my grandfather, losing my grandmother (with Alzheimer’s)  day by day. conversing with a shell of the woman the he fell in love with , who raised me, tha

t we all knew….

my grandfather aging, growing more fragile every day….despite my childhood memories of him as a superhuman figure – both in body and mind. 

my father. gone. the “authorities” having deemed it suicide. yes. suicide. 

i will never fully know. it will. always be a guessing game for me…of i…had i…could i…

 

i was confronted this evening by a well-meaning person who knew nothing of my life, and i laid tis out to him in rough and un-emotional terms. the look that i saw on his (my best friend’s boyfriend’s) face confirmed my strategy from the start: “i’m fine. nothing is wrong. everything is fine, nothing is ruined.’

innocently enough, though, as a woman, this question is never innocent, it all began with “so, what’s the deal, why are you single”.

where, i beg, does that ever begin?

for anyone, but, much less for me. 

a year ago,  i would have said the following: 

– i’m fiercely independent

– i don’t need anyone….for anything

– i’m the happiest, most even-keeled woman you will ever meet

 

Sadly, strangely, or naturally. My outlook….has changed.

– i don’t lead with my problems. they are too vast, troubling, personal and dark to share. i prefer the “fall for me then i’ll drop the ball method” here

– i fight with everything i have, for none of it to show. i’m in constant peril of the dark waters overtaking the boat, but you would never know looking in from the outside.

i have worked so hard, initially  professionally, to ensure that no traces of my inner turmoil ever leaked out. but i’m afraid that the steely exterior has permeated my personal life. and that it has been a failure all around. 

true. worse things could have happened. but the end result would be the same. i’m here. alone, save my adorable dog and some shred of dignity, wondering how i will pull myself, and everyone else, through it all. comma splice and all. 

 

 

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weak 1/week 1 day 2

In the first 24 hours, we struggled to hold on to outward experiences. Or at least not to cry constantly. So many questions, so many people with theories and well-intentioned advice, everyone wanting to pull us through the muck of it all….

I am now, and eternally will be, grateful for all that they did. All they tried to say, the distractions they tried to offer. But in the end, their individual contributions are muddy, lost, and only a small part of the muddy sensations and individual clarity that comprised the week after my father ceased to exist in real terms. Yes, his body was still there, but it was not him. It was a shell, a fake remnant of a man. It tried to capture the genuine joy of his smile, but fell shockingly short. Nothing more than a ghost of a man. Of a man that, only 24 hours prior, lived, breathed, loved, supported and well….lead a life and all that that entails.

I remember only the distinct actions that my brain hangs on to – the gesture of a warm pot of coffee delivered by a family friend whom we’ve all known since birth, accompanied by fresh-baked blueberry muffins. Because she could not sleep, and knew that, if nothing else, we had not slept either. And would need both to get us through the day ahead.

The sincerity and comradery of this gesture was not lost on me. She had felt as close an approximation as possible of our pain and loss; she has two sons and a daughter who mirror the ages of my sisters and myself. Her husband has battled cancer for a handful of years. When the time comes, I will return the favor. That simple offering of fresh coffee and a warm muffin meant the world to me, and provided the base substance on which to build strength for the day ahead. She treated neither the cause nor they symptom, but rather fueled my way forward. She may never know what this meant to me, but my simple hope is that someday, someway, I can share with her what she did for me.

It’s funny. The simplest of gestures – a pot of fresh brewed coffee – stick with me the most. All of the flowers and charitable donations, much appreciated, blend together. One blur of more of the expected. Not unappreciated, but somewhat unfelt. The flowers just gave the dogs and cat one more thing to make a mess of, and one more thing in the house to die and eventually require removal.

Oh the flowers…..they quickly took over every flat and semi-flat surface in the house. I appreciate the gesture – I really do; but the smell quickly became cloying. Their presence a continual reminder of why we were all gathered there. In that house.

The house, my parents house, our home. It was a painful place. Filled with constant reminders, smells and feelings. And the ever-present visitors, flowers, more flowers, and more visitors. Some familiar, some strange. All there. When all we really wanted was a moment to process the profound ways that we were changing – as a family, and as people.

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I miss him so much it feels like a space has in my chest is caving in

My father died on June 13.

It was supposed to be a monday like so many others, but this is a day that will haunt the rest of my existence.

It should have been normal monday: work, too much coffee, too much self indulgence. A pedicure to prepare for the month late housewarming I was throwing for myself that Friday. Which would have been another flippant excuse for excess, self indulgence and self absorption.

Instead I got a call from my baby sister, a person whose detachment from the brutality of reality I’ve actively promoted. And then another. And then another.

Annoyed, and bitchy, I finally took her call while a small and quiet Asian woman scrubbed at the left hand- five nails frayed, brittle and picked apart as so many parts of my life (but we’ll get to that, won’t we). And words I never imagined from that source and in this decade: “dad is dead, Bonny, come home and fix it, please”.

At least I think that is what she said. It’s hard, even now, so many weeks later, to remember any of the details of that moment and so many that followed.

But this time it’s not the blur of too much….well, pick your decade….to blur the lines of memory, but rather my body trying to protect me from it all.

But what I do remember, aside from the shock, is the coldness that swept in. Like that first rush of cold air hitting your face in the dead of a chicago winter. I’ve never realized how appropriate that particular turn of phrase is until now. The way that rush of frigid air stuns you and silences your brain.

So I did what any rational woman would do, and bought enough camel lights (or whatever effing color they are now) to kill, well, a camel. And then I walked Home, tearless, booked a flight, called a friend to keep an eye on me, packed a bag, made care arrangements for the dog, and drank a bottle of vodka.

Hey, I’m not perfect, but I never pretended to be.I’ve always traded on my mix of brashness and confidence, not my vulnerability.

The days that followed are a mix of my own personal horror movie and a looped reel of the decorum and responsibility that I’ve always imagined I was to portray.

I was early for my 6am flight, had a latte. Checked a bag and my work email. Cool customer, right? Well…until they separated me from my electronic stimulus (aka preparing for takeoff). Then I became a darkroompredawnsunglasswearing version of myself who sobbed silently in my seat.

How shameful, no?
Thenfuck you. You’ve never unexpectedly lost your father. While insipidly getting your nails done.

First flight: 3 hours.

Layover: 30 minutes

Next flight: 45 minutes

Just enough time to buy myself shields in terms of crappy magazines simultaneously telling me to be myself, lose weight, feign interest in sports I loathe and wear blue eye shadow to find my happiness. Distractions. Ah….to be. Capitalist. Seriously, they make the marketers job easy. Pick a topic, tell women it will fix their lives, and count your cash. Yes, I know, I’m one of them, and I enjoyed counting your hard won dollars, too.

And then I landed. At home. I’ll level with you, I hid from my family for 20 minutes to chain smoke because I was trying to steel my nerves before I had to face them. I instinctively knew that i was less daughter of the recently lost and more new head of household, decision maker and person to deal with everything that they could not.

And I guess it is a good thing I did, because within an hour of my arrival I got to do things that no one ever imagines including selecting a casket, planning a funeral, and selecting burial plots for both of my parents. Yes. Because the mother refused to participate, in that awful hour, I am responsible, for eternity, for my parent will lie…together…and alone…for the last time.

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happy new year?

for the record – 2 things:

1. this was quite a year.

2. i haven’t cried this hard in years.  – you were an ass – you almost killed my mother, you took my sisters farther away from me, seriously challenged me professionally by threatening to take my career from me….you were an ass. and i let you be. i let myself have more hope than warranted. my bad.

yes, there were some good times,but, in the end, they were nothing but lies. i’ve not learned a damn thing from our little experiment, and in many, many ways, i’m no better now than i was a year ago when we started this…..just older and more broken.

and, for some reason, i can’t quite stop myself from crying.

happy new years.

B

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On the job front

I guess I should also take a minute to explain the job situation:

This year, my Christmas present was that there is not a job for me here. No future here. I can move further north, if that is possible, if there is a position, or I can move on.

In truth, I’ve know for a while that my future was not here, in this role, in this division of this company. But I wallowed in the comfort of looking for a job while still having a job. It sounds, dear friends, as if that time has passed.

So, here we go again. No idea where the world will take me this time. But, maybe it is time to move one.

Afterall, I’ve always said it was easier to move on than to deal with the messes I make in everyday life.

~B

 

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Frozen

What makes it all worse, really, is how deeply I let him in. How truly I feel duped. By a child. By a child who cannot possibly comprehend the severity of this wound. Or who refuses to. Either way, it doesn’t matter. He is oblivious. And that is what matters.

I put up with him running off other suitors, telling me WE were inevitable. That I was a great friend. Fun. Good in Bed. Etc. Ad nauseum.

I fell for it. And, after all, after all that I’ve been through. After all the life I’ve lived. I fell for it. I believed him.

Which makes the wound so much more crippling. To be rejected by a guy on the street, or some guy you went out with a few times but knew was incompatible. We shrug that off with the toss of another Whiskey down the gullet.

But to be rejected, ultimately, by one of the chosen few people in the world with whom you shared your true self…..despite the walls I build around myself…..is crippling in its intensity.

And this, friends,1 is how I return to my current chosen home, my frozen home. Frozen myself. Paralyzed by the pain that I cannot face head-on. Terrified that this is just another beginning to another terrible personal avalanche of grief, pain and change unwanted.

On the brink of unemployed. Unfriended. Unloved. Un-understood. This is how I limp into another year.

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I can feel the sting of your hand across my face

You see, when they say “I don’t want a relationship right now” it always, ALWAYS means they don’t want a relationship with YOU.

We understand this as an almost universal truth, no?

Yet, why, oh why, do I fall prey to it? Repeatedly?

Cougarbait, who we will now rename SirDoucheBag, Jr., has entered into a relationship. With someone else. I know, none of you are surprised. But I am.

And hurt.

I’m not always terribly conscientious about who I let into my bed, that is no secret. But I am, however, incredibly careful about who I let see me for who I really am. I let very, very few people in. And I do it deliberately. I can count on one hand and not very many fingers (on that hand) how many people really understand me. What I’ve been through. What keeps me up at night, what wakes me up in the morning and drives me from bed into the world. Very, very few.

And I let him in. I did. I was 100% completely myself. It felt glorious. It felt accepted. And we carried on this way for 6 months. And some days.

And then, when I get back from Thanksgiving, he tells me that SHE is coming to visit him. I shouldn’t think much of it. Its not a big deal. Just friends hanging out. And then he fucks me. Every day between Thanksgiving and December 22nd.

Then, on that night, he chooses to tell me that he’s just been to visit her. And that it’s kind of “a thing”.

In a quiet calm that belies my inner shock and horror, I ask him if he is truly my best friend. “Of course,” he answers. So, I ask him the eternal burning question: what makes me the best friend, and never the girl friend?

Stunned silence on his part.

Very helpful.

So, after a discussion that leads to the escape of tears from my time-hardened eyes, he tries to comfort me. And fucks me. Twice.

Now, just a few short days later. He comes over. With her. And we’re all supposed to be besties.

Then, they leave b/c I ask for a few minutes to unpack and collect myself after this ambush.

And now, they’re in a relationship. On facebook.

After he told me that I was the best sex he’s ever had, his best friend, and the person he most enjoys in the world.

I can feel the imprint of his fingers across my face. Real or imaginary, the sting is there.

~B

 

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