At some point in every day, usually when I first wake up, I will have the thought that I have irrevocably fucked up my life. In fact, to call it a thought is like calling a Great White Shark a fish—factually correct but deceiving. Us writers tend to be obsessed with calling things what they are, really burrowing in and putting words to things other people can’t. At that point we don’t even care if other people can’t express things, it becomes a matter of urgency to name what we want to name at any cost. And thus, I inadequately call what inhabits my mind a “thought,” but it is really more like a shark. A ferocious killing machine, intent on taking a chunk out of both my day and my life, content only when it tastes blood. Perhaps that is why I rarely use the phrase, “Good morning.”
I live in my ex-husband’s garage. Technically, I suppose I co-own the garage, or the bank co-owns it, nevertheless I have chosen, for reasons becoming increasingly unclear, to stay in this place, though it has no bathroom and renders me completely dependent on my ex. Okay the reasons are not that unclear—I do not have the means to support myself, I am incapable of figuring out how to support myself with my art, and getting a ten dollar an hour job so that I can pay someone else to raise my kids does not make any sense. I have failed in such an unspectacular fashion that I am woefully unqualified for decent employment, so I continue in this purgatory, this hell’s waiting room on a hill, trapped as I was when married, by a golden cage.
I expect by now you are crying large salty tears for the attractive woman, lying in her home in Malibu, unable to leave the house and go into the sunshine. (Go trolls!) I lie in bed in my pajamas for days, or until literally the last second before I have to go pick up my children, paralyzed by failure. Even as I know that I am lucky to have a bed, and pajamas, and a shower (if I manage to take one) that gratitude does not eradicate the doom in my brain, any more than you could rid yourself of a shark by spraying it with RAID.
My depression flicks off my AA mandated gratitude like an errant bug. The stench of failure is on me, and will not come off with a pleasant smelling exfoliant. I look outside and see trees moving softly in the breeze, and wonder how long it will be before I can feel any pleasure again. A dim part of my brain, like a long forgotten but untrusted memory, knows that this passes. Doesn’t it? Just yesterday, I could have sworn I interacted with adults, and children, and there were pleasant moments, weren’t there? I didn’t kill anybody, and no one died. I mean, not that I’m aware of, but I haven’t checked my Twitter feed. In fact the very goodness of yesterday throws today in sharp relief. It is like the second night of a play, or that time you fuck someone when you already know it’s over, or when your kids cry—the knowledge that all good things will turn on you in the end.
If you haven’t killed yourself yet, please persevere to the last paragraph… that should do it.
Today I shuffle around like an old alcoholic man on Thorazine, if you saw me climb stairs you would assume me to be gravely ill (perhaps I am.) I can read no more than ten pages of C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia,” but did finally manage to read some short stories from an author I am supposed to interview tomorrow. It is an interview I have set up, and asked for, and yet I would cheerfully munch on a plate full of broken light globes rather than talk to him or anybody else, so should be a good one, you guys, stay tuned!
Today I am bereft, and cannot remember the taste of happiness or even neutrality any more than you can re-create a chocolate after you have eaten it. Today nothing could make things better—not a chocolate, or a chocalatey man, not Willy Wonka’s entire factory could drown out what besieges me and convince me that anything is worth this shitshow called life, because even when I was married and still loved and adored and yes, even cherished, the gaping maw was waiting to swallow me if my foot slipped off the balance beam for even a moment and the judges score was always a 2.
I have always been fucked, even when I was not literally being fucked, and anyway that only works for about twenty-five minutes and then. Nothing.
I do not want your pity, or your empathy, or your advice. I do not want your questions, comments or concerns, my triumph is that I’ve just managed to write these 973 words; that I managed to sustain my attention this long could only be trumped if I developed stigmata (only bleeding palms could be more miraculous than thinking in this fog.) I’m posting this because someone somewhere, even if they are as big an asshole as I am, will for one second feel that someone feels as they do today. This is not a cry for help, it is just an expression of what is true for me right now, because I may as well, because people read this, and wait for me to post shit, so there you go, my dysfunction, vomited up for your entertainment pleasure with swirly, colorful patterns of negativity, pessimism and self-disgust, isn’t it beautiful? (I hope you know a rhetorical question when you see one.)