How often do you think about suicide? How often do you think about following through with it? Are you holding the bottle of pills, the razor blades, the bottle of bourbon and you pass out from sobbing for hours before you get a chance. How often is it your boyfriend tells you, Cheer up. Or Let’s have sex. Or What do you want for dinner. Or, How was your day? And how much of you wants to die more. It’s small but the increments add up. How much progress can you make until you think, there’s no way I could slide back into where I was before. But the shadow is sly and sneaky and you think you’re on the outside but really the tendrils are wisping at your wrists and you’re all in and here we are again.
What happens when you think you hit rock bottom and you find out there’s so much further you can go. Do you shop for handguns online so a salesman doesn’t have to ask you what you’re use will be and so he can’t see your shaking hands. I wonder, What if it’s killed somebody before, it’s cold and surprisingly heavy. It’s been years since my father dragged me out to the desert as a kid to shoot at milk jugs and soda cans and paper targets mesmerized by my careless meticulous aim, my good shot.
I’d tell you what was wrong but it would probably be easier to tell you what’s right. I’ve embarrassed myself so and pushed my closest loved ones away. I’ve watched with dead eyes when a best friend cried in front of me, me shrugging saying, I have literally nothing to give. I have nothing to give and the people in my life have nothing left to give either. I hold the razor, the pills, the gun.
It’s completely reasonable to want this jacket this much, right?
I’ve been thinking about you, how I’d like to sit down and tell you all the things about my life without a filter and see how you can redirect me to the right path.
Whenever I have these periods of happiness I think I become a little more dumb every day. It feels like what I imagine ADD is like. Try to concentrate on a simple short article and there’s always a million other things asking for my attention. It’s only through touch and sight I feel I can learn in these times so I have to explore my environment via bicycle and let the repetitive motion of knee to chest around and around again soothe me. I read an article last week Tuesday about how we shouldn’t follow our passion instead we should find our passion in what we do through learning and mastering our skills and it felt like the missing puzzle piece I have not been able to articulate all these years since I entered the professional job market. Last week Monday I got a raise and a promotion at a new company and I had no choice but to take it even though it felt like a dead end. Has anybody ever felt that way before? I cried. I wonder what I would be like if I grew up blissfully unaware. If I didn’t need to escape into facts and stories to get away from my own head. How dumb or smart I would be. I wonder if I didn’t need to escape to school to get away from my environment at home if I would be interested in learning. I wonder if I would associate periods of sadness with periods of great growth but only come to that conclusion after 28 years on this earth. How much of this is inert. How much is escapism. How much is fight or flight.
New Orleans was seven days of everything I needed. Food and bike riding, a few sunburns and a lot of sweating. A few hundred miles in just a week by my legs. Beginets at midnight and 10a and 5a and glorious dirty rice, rabbit jambalaya, jazz with a glass of whiskey dancing to soul and funk and big band and beers in a dive bar and a burlesque show then three nights later befriending one of the dancers and her boyfriend. A city full of people in love with the struggle. Intelligent people who need to remember their sadness to keep moving forward. Pursuit of something better through struggle. Drinking until 5:30a with the dancer and her New Yorker boyfriend and a bartender from Arizona and a band from North Carolina. Alex said with short of breath that he loves me and then he said Did you hear me. I just never thought I’d be here again. I’m sorry if this hurts you but I need some input from you. Your perspective, your brain, your kindness.
A week of sickness from touchdown to taking off to drive across the country in a Uhaul with crooked alignment. Driving through Texas and cow fields, oil fields, forests and Springfield, IL where we saw a production plant that looked just like the Simpsons. We ate the best bbq I’ve ever had in a gas station in Kansas, got a flat in Missouri and discovered what the country is like where the biggest store is the WalMart people drove an hour to get to. Hint, there’s a lot of overalls, flip phones and overweight people. Drove in to South Bend, IN just as Notre Dame won a football game and hung out with drunk ivy-leaguers. I’ve discovered a family that only sleeps on $3,000 mattresses with $15 sheets. Drove 2200 miles in just three days, traveled by plane, train and automobile and then flew back to Phoenix on 90 minutes of sleep and was laid off from my job because the department was closing. I didn’t cry but I stopped eating. In two weeks I went from being told my job was being eliminated, I could not apply to any other jobs in the company and a forced interview was to be held with the vendor that is taking over our services otherwise it was a resignation and I would get neither severance nor unemployment to a job offer with a raise and bonus and only 24 hours to sign the offer. I signed. I cried. It was a rough 6 weeks from the day we left for New Orleans to just this Monday when I waited with baited breathe to hear if I would have to move back in with my parents because a vendor was not willing to create a new position to hire me.
I’m guilty of thinking a pregnant woman was fat recently. I’m guilty of being afraid of this change. I’m guilty of always jumping forward to the part where I get left behind. Of feeling sad and then irritable at others’ victim complex. The weather changed and I sat on my porch thinking if it were nice all the time here there’s no way I would like living here. I like the struggle and hate it at the same time. I bought a hundred dollars of high quality weed but yet to smoke any of it in two months. I wish more of the world had some autonomy. Sometimes I feel like the people I would die for are a burden. I didn’t get to swim or hike nearly as much as I wanted to this summer. I can see the state fairgrounds from my house. The ferris wheel lights up at night and fills my kitchen window. Maybe none of it is as romantic as it seems.
He’s going to be leaving for the PeaceCorps and I’m so invested it brings me to tears at the slightest thought of it. Again I’ll be an island soon. He said to me one night, What makes you think I’m not jealous of your career, your established salary. And then I was almost without a job again and I didn’t know which one of us I’d rather be.
Extreme anemia has the same symptoms as West Nile and Mono. I wish I knew for better reasons.
"Not only should connoisseurs of bourbon not read this article, neither should persons preoccupied with the perils of alcoholism, cirrhosis, esophageal hemorrhage, cancer of the palate, and so forth—all real enough dangers. I, too, deplore these afflictions. But, as between these evils and the aesthetic of bourbon drinking, that is, the use of bourbon to warm the heart, to reduce the anomie of the late twentieth century, to cure the cold phlegm of Wednesday afternoons, I choose the aesthetic. What, after all, is the use of not having cancer, cirrhosis, and such, if a man comes home from work every day at five-thirty to the exurbs of Montclair or Memphis and there is the grass growing and the little family looking not quite at him but just past the side of his head, and there’s Cronkite on the tube and the smell of pot roast in the living room, and inside the house and outside in the pretty exurb has settled the noxious particles and the sadness of the old dying Western world, and him thinking: “Jesus, is this it? Listening to Cronkite and the grass growing?"
You guys, this. Also, fuck this season of change. There is not enough bourbon. Or red wine.
We said I love you to each other for the first time in this city, rode our bikes a couple hundred miles in just a week, and didn’t eat a single vegetable for a week. New Orleans, you will always be amazing. I miss you, your potholed roads and late trash pick-up and the bars where we get recognized as adorable idiots but lovely people with southern drawls, our Cajun waitress as the wonderful diner in CBD who called me honey as in, Are you okay honey when I was hungover as death and she rubbed my back and brought me tea. Reality is going to be hard tomorrow and I’ll have to wear pants to cover all the bruises on my legs from pedals striking me but I needed this to remind me why I am alive. Or remind me that I am alive. He loves me, you guys.