Saturday, November 21, 2015

Anatomy of a Breakup

You meet a guy. It starts with a smirk directed your way in a training at work. You resist because it's a bad idea to date a co-worker but he makes you laugh. He says it's a free country. You acquiesce.

But you worry, because you are already in a relationship with Depression. You try to tell him this. He assures you that nobody is perfect and if you feel bad, then just feel bad for a bit. It's a risk, you're not sure how jealous of a lover Depression is, but you go with it because it's nice.

You fall in love. He falls in love. It's the way it's supposed to be, glorious and comforting. It's so nice to have a person. There are moments you look at him and imagine a life. That he could be The One.

Early on, Depression pays a visit. It tells you the normal lies, like you're not in love, you have no feelings, you aren't worthy of them. It's scary because you were so sure just the day before. You don't say anything to him because you don't want to worry him. And, sure enough, when Depression leaves and you can breathe again, your heart melts and you're so glad you didn't say something to scare him away.

The two of you talk about The Future. It's nice to think it could happen. You ask each other questions about what it would be like and how compatible are you. The usual things. There are small arguments, like any couple would have, but it's mostly easy. Depression comes and goes, but it never stays long. When it does, you hide it. That way you know how. Because you've had practice.

A year goes by. An anniversary is celebrated.
A week goes by after that.
Depression stops in. It settles in to stay for a while.

One week you are perfectly happy and the next you feel nothing. He notices. You talk about it. I'm feeling sad, you say. He makes jokes but you can't laugh like you usually do. There are more sad days and you fall inside yourself. He asks if you care. Yes. Yes, I care. It isn't you. It isn't us. I just need some time.

More days go by and you are drowning, He is not concerned, he is alarmed. He says he doesn't feel connected anymore and inside you are screaming, I feel that way with everyone. I'm disconnected from the world. I'm alone. You're right here and I'm alone and I can't stop it and I can't get to you and why don't you understand me??

It doesn't stop. You are waiting and he can't wait. You are more alone than ever. He thinks he's alone and you can't say the words that will help him because you can't help yourself. You might be dying inside but he can't see it. He can't see the wounds and the scars. He can't see that you're bleeding out on the inside so he thinks you're making it up.

You give up. You both give up. It's mutual. There is no more anger, only resignation. There are tears on both sides because it's sad. Endings always are. You hold onto each other for a little while knowing it's the last time. You say you're sorry but those aren't the words. They're not enough for what this is.

Depression comes in after he leaves. You are smart enough to know that there were other problems along the way. It's never just one thing because life is complicated and relationships have three sides. Your story, his story, and the truth that is mixed in the middle. Depression, though, is a bitch and mindfucks you when you're down. It was your fault. You are not lovable and you will never be happy with someone because of it. You are doomed and should just stop trying right now.

So you cry. You will cry. You will hide under blankets and miss the good days. You will go through the motions and move so carefully so that you don't break because you are made of glass. People can see into your soul and see you are damaged and broken but they are whole so they keep going by.

You will surrender to Depression for a little while. You hope that you can slip under that dark water and not feel for a while. Not feeling is easier. Numbness is welcome when it doesn't scare you because now you have nothing to lose.

And then one day you will breathe again. One day you will realize that you stopped crying even though you're not sure when it happened. You will reach out to friends and you will do things that comfort you and you will come back to the world. You will be able to give back again and you will mean it when you laugh.

You might even allow yourself to hope again.
Some day.
But not today.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What a Difference a Dollar Makes

Last week I went to see one of my very favorite bands, Pink Martini. They were playing with the Nashville Symphony and were more fantastic than any other time I have seen them because of the concert hall. Extraordinary. Really. If you have never seen them, shame on you and change that very soon. But that's not what this is about.

Lately I've been hearing about people being shot and kidnapped downtown. It seems a bit too much for Nashville where everyone is so friendly and nice, but we have to remember it's still a city. I parked in the expensive lot right across from the concert hall.

As I was about to use the pay machine, I heard someone yelling at me and when I turned to look, it was a dirty, old, frightening-looking homeless man. "Hey lady! Girl! Excuse me, lady!!!!" He was gruff and loud and I have to admit I was frightened and tried to ignore him. He walked right up to me and proceeded to tell me that I could save $11 if I parked in the lot a block away. I was quite surprised that someone who appears to not own a car knew the prices of the parking lots in the area. He did quiet down once he had reached me so I thanked him for the advice and hoped he would just move on. He was holding a small handful of pansies and offered me one. "I carry these around to hand out to the ladies." I thanked him and chose the purplest one.

He then asked me if I could help him get a hotel. Excuse me???? "Could you help me get a hot dog?" Oh, a hot dog. Yes, of course. I don't usually carry cash but I knew I had change from earlier in the week so I gave him the $6 I had. You would think I had bought him a house. "Six dollars!!! I can go to Burger King. My sweetie and I are pretty hungry. We can both get a meal there because they're $2.89 so we can each get one. Thank you. Thank you so much."

I waited to use the pay machine while he walked away but then he turned around again. "God bless you. And you know he does. Bless you."

That encounter stayed with me all night and throughout the weekend. Who the fuck gets excited to go to Burger King? That's what I settle for when I'm starving and nothing else is close. Starving. I really don't know what it's like to starve. Not truly. Not like that man. I think he told me his name was Jeff. He had manners and shook my hand. And, stupid me, in my flustered state, I shook his hand while still holding my debit card. I don't think he could have gotten far in his state or at his age, but he didn't even touch it. He was a gentleman.

My depression has been nearly overwhelming lately. The attacks in Paris. Political posturing and daily arguments from both sides. Sex slave trading. Shootings and kidnappings. The complexities of the world are too much for me to bear most days. I cry and moan over these things while I sit inside my dry house, sipping wine and snuggling puppies. Reading books that are easily bought; I can even have them delivered to my home. Under cozy blankets. Those things do fill me with gratitude. I have the love of friends, I have a job. I am thankful for these things.

But I'm also grateful that I had a small glimpse into the life of someone without these things. I'm grateful to know that people who live with so much less have so much to offer. He gave me advice on the price of parking and offered me a cheap flower he probably picked from an empty lot, but it was more than that. It sounds trivial even trying to describe it in words, but I think what he gave me is hope. Hope that even when you have nothing, when your belly is empty and you have let your pride go far enough that you will ask a stranger to buy you a hot dog. That even then, you can be kind to someone who has so much more than you. You can use manners. You can offer help. You can change someone's night or their weekend.

I hope my friend Jeff got to go to Burger King twice that weekend. I hope his flowers were accepted graciously. I hope he had somewhere dry and warm to sleep. I hope someone hugged him and appreciated his presence.

I hope we all have reminders of how lucky we are. How we're not alone. How it's the little things that bind us together. I hope we never lose this humanity.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Some Kind of Woman

George, the security guy at work, likes to ask me what I'm doing for the evening as I'm leaving. This was today's conversation.

George: Is it a salsa night?
Me: No, I'm going to see Pink Martini with the Nashville Symphony.
George: You are a special kind of woman.
Me: ......
George: You're like a woman on TV.
Me: You mean like Cops?
George: No, like those women who drink martinis. Like Sex and the City.
Me: Well, Pink Martini did do the opening credits music, so I guess it fits.

Also, I do drink martinis. But you'll have to guess which Sex and the City broad I am.
The Martini Chronicles. Design by Exotic Mommie. Illustraion By DaPino