Having explored some other people’s blogs, I’ve found respect for others’ uplifting and/or inspirational musing and I have thought about trying to mimic such an optimistic style for my posts. Lately I have been shamelessly writing away my woes and posting without regret as a way of laughing in the face of fear and secrecy, and maybe attracting someone who is as low down in an uncanny, bizarre, self-righteous depression as I am.
This is just a moment in time; I am old enough now and hopefully learnt enough to know that none of this is “eternity”. Maybe one day, I will have found my sparky steed of hope or wisdom upon which to mount a better, happier me, who writes with the same comical whit I admire, who asks questions I already know the answers to, and who inspires the good in people like other writers selflessly do.
But presently, I am the struggling young woman; I am the psychologically defected, I am the stereotypically depressed. Best I can do is to share records of my experiences in these precious moments of insanity, as I do hope they will not be forever – just as I hope that no one who reads this will be either offended or disgusted by my egocentrism, and by my honesty.
And maybe in some weird and unexpected way, my sharing of experiences in the dark will help someone else to find the light.
At night when I come home from work I settle into a new kind of skin and I become more than just myself.
It’s the same routine, which I consistently plan against toward the end of my shift at the restaurant, but which I consistently repeat day-in and day-out.
I approach my home: I unlock the door and wrestle it open for all it’s latch’s faultiness as quietly as possible. Which means I am kind of holding my breath, and pushing, which gets my heart pounding before I’m even through the door, which makes for forced quietness of breath and a lack of balance as I try and gently kick off my shoes without untying them for an aversion to pressing between my fingers the grease saddened laces that leave a sticky film on your hands if you try and untie them, and in this shaky dizziness I feel foolish and anxious and I can hear stirring from the upstairs, and I know I am really being obscenely loud, and I run through a course of calm-associated words in my head like “Zen”, “Ninja”, “Ohm”, “Whussah”, “Grace”, “Water”, and “Light (in the sense of, as opposed to ‘heavy’”. And it is mostly all in vain, because my setting down and picking up of my backpack and the removing of my coat and all of that, the sound of it, I know has traveled right up the stairs and gently disturbed probably everyone except for the younger of my two middle-brothers, because he lays like a log and sleeps like a bear in the cold.
This is every night, except for the ones where I’ve botched up and not brought a house key again, and have been locked out and don’t feel like imposing on my neighbour, so I go about the ground level of my place and find a window whose latch has been left up and free, and bust in that way, which is so totally humiliating after the first four to six times and counting that I don’t even want to get into detail about what it is really like.
On nights that I have managed to salvage leftover goods from the restaurant, I creep into the kitchen to put the things away, refrigerating the meats (which is to say, a deep-fried chicken-thing that is shaped like a fillet) and pantry-ing the breads (that is, some bleached bun-thing with a spongy texture that is supposed to be synonymous to a wheat product, but actually is more likely a composition of sugar, salt, water, soda, and nutrient-starved flour that suffocates your insides for their vital effort in trying to suck some good out of it, on its way down and through – In lower-class Canada, this is the shit we call ‘food’).
I’m thinking along the lines of having a shower or cleaning my room or writing down a list of what would be smart to get done tomorrow, which is actually later today, because it is at this point always after midnight. But once I head down the stairs, I’ve already lost that battle; my intentions are immediately done for and I’m getting so used to this defeat that it has brought me to a point of not caring, which is dangerous, because then I wake up in the day with the same submissive attitude and continue on my way of not giving a good God damn about practically anything at all, until the absolute last second that I have to leave for work in the late afternoon. Or, sometimes, I’ll actually go early; any excuse to getting out and away of the distractions and the stress and the utter emptiness that is the inescapable void of apathy that surrounds me for some stupid damned-selfish reason when I am at home and among family.
Instead of my practical plans, what happens is I sit on the toilet and generally speaking I have a shit, some nasty mush comprised of my body’s rejected portions of the aforementioned stolen goods (not actually the ones I brought home, but ones of the same family that I had for dinner earlier in the evening), plus other deep-fried nothings I might have stolen bites of while I was supposed to be working, plus unnecessary amounts of caffeinated beverage mixed with soft serve ice cream and, on days when I’ve felt a healthy kick come on: processed cheese. The shits are unpleasant; the kind where you wipe your ass like fifty-thousand times and you still can’t come clean between the cheeks, so you do that funny half-sit half-stand over the toilet seat to reach for the tap with your wad of shit tickets and try and wet it a little, mopping your asshole tenderly with it and checking on the spongy mass until it appears to have wiped clear – or, almost clear, but you’ve given up on the whole ordeal of sanitation because you don’t plan on anyone being up your ass until after your next shower, anyway, so what the heck.
Then I stand and turn and kind of hold my breath and kneel over the toilet bown, so I can check out what is visible of my soppy shit, beyond all the wads of TP. I formed this habit about a year ago shortly after catching a strain of parasites from a stray animal we’d been keeping at home, and whose litter-room was connected to my bedroom so her freshly soiled paws, chalk-full of worm eggs, were always all over my stuff which I never cleaned. So I got really sick for a while and now I’m paranoid about having worms in my crap again, so much that over time it’s becoming more of a frequent quirk, to need to have a good long scan of my fecal matter before it goes down the flusher. Even though I’m pretty sure about not finding any worms, the world of your shit is still really interesting, like it’s something alive in its own right with the way it swishes round and bubbles if you’ve eaten something that’s made you especially gaseous inside; a defeated swap monster trying to wrestle out its last, dying groan of evil and despair.
Provided the toilet doesn’t get all clogged up with the overabundance of toilet paper capping my mulchy, monument-to-my-unhealthy lifestyle final shit of the day, (in which case I kind of stand over the bowl and flush over and over, watching the shit separate itself until the toilet’s innards are just a whole soupy mess right up to the rim, generally still clogged tight until the morning after, or the morning after that, or whenever I can’t keep the window open any longer for my aversion to the cold and yet I also can’t stand the smell of it any longer, and finally make the journey upstairs to borrow a toilet plunger) I then take off all of my clothes as quickly and effectively as possible, which usually means my uniform T-shirt and bra are kicked into the corner in front of the toilet, and then a weird chain of socks-pants-underwear that manage to all come off in one go are thrown on top, where I fold a pant leg over the soiled part of my underwear just in case someone makes the unhealthy choice to use my bathroom, at least that’s not the first thing they see. I don’t wash my hands because, one) the sink is so low to the ground I have to duck down to use it comfortably, which causes me an undue amount of stress, and two) there is not an appropriate amount of counter space about the sink for the things I have seen fit to be placed there, and it requires great skill and patience to get around it all to adjust the taps and pick up and replace the soap bar and scrub your hands under the water, without bumping or knocking or otherwise misplacing anything, the thought of which also causes me an enormous amount of stress, so at the end of the work day I generally don’t bother washing my hands.
Next comes the challenge of the ¾ length mirror I’ve stupidly put up in the bathroom. See, at this point, despite the fact that I’ve tried like Hell to avoid stress by cleaning my ass to the best of my ability, deciding I have no parasites, ditching my work garb, and avoiding the booby trapped sink, inevitably my imagination will have wandered off somewhere about the time while I was in mid-shit, and here I am challenged with images of my real life. So when I get up before this mirror, I do a very practiced set of things:
1) I see first my eyes, which is extremely uncomfortable. So I navigate to the next point of immediate interest; a blemish on my face.
2) I start to think. I think about things that have happened or things that could have happened or I imagine scenarios that might potentially happen, if I had the will or the guts to make them. And I start to go for this one, little blemish. Harmless. Just a quick squeeze, see if there is anything in the sucker. And I go deeper into my imaginary scenario and I start to feel a whole flurry of emotions surrounding these thoughts and images, which get me real excited or upset in some way, either or, depending on what thought has crawled into my head and which direction I have taken it. So I get all wound up in these feelings, and as I do, I start frantically looking for more blemishes, more visible pores, anything; blackheads, bumps, whiteheads, scabs, scars, rashes; I literally scratch and dig and squeeze and tear, in what after minutes of increased flurry would I think appear to be a panic, and everything and anything I think might give way to something just underneath the skin that is under some kind of pressure, and might relieve me with a pop, a squirt, a brisk snap, a tiny shard of lovely pain.
3) At some point I realize the thoughts and images have begun to loop in my head, like a reel, with my favourite or most climactic part occurring over and over again in my head, with maybe slightly different connotations highlighted each time. At this point I also generally realize that, meanwhile, my face, chest, back and even nipples are becoming seriously red and swollen and that I need to develop some mental Segway that will draw my self away from this – to stop, breathe, carry on. Lately the Segway has been to go for a cigarette. But the nicotine and other poisons create a vicious addiction that has, in turn, made these “picking frenzies” notably worse. Of course the thought to “stop – walk away” will have come and gone periodically throughout the episode, but it takes a certain focus that I feel I have to wait for to actually be able to change the course of action and carry on.
I have at times of being otherwise occupied, made these episodes last as little as <20 seconds, but otherwise I might stand there “freaking out” before the mirror for up 20 minutes; often more than an hour for the entire bathroom excursion, from the time I walk in to the time I can push myself out.
When I finally throw the curtain aside and come out from my chamber of defeat, I am physically and emotionally exhausted. Realizing this, I come to not care about any kind of preparation for the next day. So instead I might surf the net. Or read, or write a little, go for that smoke, take the dog out, eat something, text someone, pretend that I can start all the “important stuff” tomorrow because tomorrow is a new day, and it will be better.
But I wake up unmotivated, and I’m still bound by these emotional fits. My self-esteem is mostly wrecked, for I’m a destroying myself on the outside and a being made to feel like I have no strong will over craving, on the inside, which is in a sense a definition of personal worthlessness. My family is as frustrated with me as I am, but they don’t know what to do either; they treat me like I am too fragile to criticize and possible not worth the honesty, on the best of days. I don’t enjoy being babied. It makes me feel like none of the times that I have been brave or tried to keep a level head on for them in the past, in moments of extreme chaos, means hardly anything at all. I’ve proven nothing positive about my respectability to anyone, so that in myself I have glorified my own rare moments of self-control; I recognize them as something, and I cling to them, hoping for some revelation that will bring all this back to me and make a peaceful soul out of me, in permanence.
My mum’s my top councillor, the only one I have the energy to go to and also the only one I’d like to think I can truly afford. But she must be mad as Hell to see her oldest kid be such a flop, when at 21 she was working multiple jobs to support our family and little me, already a terrible-two-year-old. So sometimes she says really hurtful things like, “the problem with you is, you do one good thing and then you think you’re off the hook for however long afterwards”, and boy that is so true, but knowing it is true doesn’t help any. And when I get sad and try to tell her how confused I am she says things like, “we should have had this conversation when you were 13”, to which I want to scream, “but I didn’t feel like this when I was 13! Christ, I was smarter when I was thirteen!” My old, dearest friend who more or less abandoned me for a better life (and in a sense, I’m glad she did, but I still pine away for the wholeness I once experienced only when I was with her) said it best, when we were in high school: she started to cry on the phone, while I was doing my usual mental breakdown only this time I caved in to the heaviness of all my aloneness and effectively pitched away the safety net of secrecy and took a shot at ‘explaining everything’, and she is clearly crying and angry and she says, “what happened to you? You used to be so, like, calm and wise and beautiful and now you’re… I just don’t know. I just don’t understand.”
I am sorry, Sarah, but neither do I. There’s a whole world of things “out there” that I desperately want in on, for self-respect, for re-definition, for refinement… but I’m all caught up in this ill apathy and this distractedness that draws me in like a wicked spiral, like the nightmares about whirlpools I had as a kid; the harder I tried to beat against the current, the faster it sucked me in.
And I really just don’t. I dream, I muse, I lie to myself, but otherwise I don’t... anything, at all.