(This post was started April 16 and only finished today, the 27th. Segments, Lisa. You must learn to write in small segments. )
Dear most appreciated blog reader,
Regarding my “Can’t Say No” post, I have yet to be hauled away for the crimes of Little Hippie /Fundamentalist Woman, so perhaps she wasn’t a criminal after all and just a gal who really needed to write an email or two. I have a vivid, abominable imagination. So for now we must file this worry away and send our neurotic heroine Nelly on to other fabulous adventures, like chasing windmills and shit.
It’s Wednesday and I’m late as always to my therapist. I can’t for the life of me be on time for anything. One day I will be late to my own funeral, you just wait and see. Assuming I don’t die penniless and bereft of friends and family, I will be cleaned and dressed sans my rituals and won’t try to do 3 or 4 things at the same time. Then, since you can’t take it with you when you go, I won’t be searching frantically for whatever the ‘it’ is of the day that I wanted to take. So who knows? I might make it on time for my funeral sometime in the future (hopefully the distant future), but as it stands I won’t to the therapist. And the ‘it’ that I need to take with me is my fucking purse, which I forget at home, and helpfully remember 15 minutes down the road. We debate on returning for the purse. I didn’t pay my Medicaid co-pay the last time because it was the end of the month and money was mega tight in March, but to let the payment go twice in a row is positively horrifying to me, especially since now I can pay for it just fine.
Nervous Nelly here is a dependent personality if ever there was one. I can’t bear the thought of telling the sweet, non-threatening receptionist to ‘put it on my tab.’ I can say hi warmly, flash something akin to a smile, politely answer questions, set up an appointment, pay, and wish her a good day each time I see her, all the while avoiding eye contact as much as I can. But the words, “I’m really sorry, but I forgot my purse at home. Could I please pay you next time?” like someone climbing Mt. Everest to me. Not impossible, but who wants to be so high up in the atmosphere you can barely breathe? Not I. Hellll no.
“If I have to not pay my $3.00 twice in a row, will you please tell her,” I beg my mother.
Ok, seeing this in print is really showing how stupid this is. Oh, man. There is inside this woman, me, a little girl who never grew up and she wants her mommy. She fights with adult me, who is a bit of an old lady. So this perhaps is why I don’t ever quite fit in, can’t be 32…I can have the emotional maturity of a 6 year-old and sometimes I’m 62 (I am so screwed).
What clenches the purse-fetching debate is the gas tank is almost on empty and we will need to get gas pretty soon. I feel my frustration scale about to go through the roof. I hate messing up, hate it. I regard forgetting my purse as some terrible flaw in my character, a sign that I’m a total fool. How disgusting. How ridiculous. How abnormal. How imperfect! The little things in life get me, as I’ve told you before, and this little thing has sent me into a rage at myself. I covertly pinch my arm hard trying to get a grip. I tell myself under my breath what exactly I am. “Stupid, worthless piece of shit.”
Ok, let me step back a sec. That’s embarrassing to relate, dear reader. I wouldn’t say that to anyone else or pinch anyone but myself. I am my own worst enemy. In situations like these I don’t just dislike myself, I loathe myself. I don’t hate other people and seldom get really mad at others. Guess I save it all for myself. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy. I don’t hear voices, see things, or think I’m Joan of Arc. I know it’s totally irrational and yet I can’t seem to stop.
Ok, intermission over. Back to the story.
Back at the apartment, I grab my purse, all the time berating myself. I pop an ativan (those are only for emergencies and I deem this fit an emergency) and back out I go. At the therapist’s, I go in with extra apprehension for being almost 15 minutes late. I am supposed to meet the eyes of my therapist, but I’m ashamed for being late, and ever since my antidepressants seemed to start failing me ( a couple of months now), I can’t make the effort for her or anyone. I’m ashamed and afraid for being.
I have an implicit trust in my therapist and can tell her anything. I knew her when I was 15 and in a group for teens with various problems. I saw another therapist one on one in those days, but my current therapist was one of the leaders of the group, and to be honest, I liked her much more than him. My male therapist, besides the fact he was a man and I distrust men, I felt was too critical of me. He wanted to change my personality and I felt he secretly didn’t like me much. But I can thank him for many things, one is I knew where to go when I needed help again, my current therapist. Another, is I met my best friend of 17 years there and half the time she’s more neurotic than I am, though hers is more from her life experiences and not an anxiety disorder. Yet another is that I learned that no matter how bad things are, there’s someone who is in a far worse situation than I am. You never know what someone is going through or what made someone become who she/he is , and it is vital to realize and be compassionate. I wonder what happened to those kids. Did that girl who kept a knife under her bed for when she decided to make another suicide attempt live to adulthood? I hope she is alive and well, the poor thing was only 14, and no child deserves such unhappiness. My best friend and I were the poster girls for good mental health compared to the overwhelming majority of those kids. So awful.
My therapist says I must stop beating myself up for simple mistakes. NO ONE IS PERFECT. FORGETTING STUFF IS NORMAL. It’s hard for me to not try to do things just right, though, because I’ve done this in one form or another since about the age of 6. She tells me to continue going for walks everyday. Besides being good excercise, she thinks if I’m out among people I will become less nervous around others. I’m just so afraid of making an ass out of myself , of committing the great social blunder of 2010, and I feel they’re thinking about how I look.
Lastly, my therapist tells me to remember to do more stuff that will make me more independent. I am peaceful as I hand my money over to the receptionist. She tries to schedule my next appointment still in April, but I say best make it May since it’s getting toward the end of the month and money is tight. To which the receptionist answered, “If you ever need to see her, it’s ok to wait until later to pay.”
Note to self: Lisa Ann B., you’re an idiot.
It is Thursday, a beautiful spring day in the southeastern coastal town where I live. The flowers have burst forth. Spring’s trademark is stamped everywhere. Dogwoods, other flowering trees, and azaleas are exploding with color. There is no more beautiful time of the year as when the azaleas pop out, but don’t blink too much because within two weeks they will have wilted away until the next year. All this renewal of life freed from the clutches of winter by Mother Nature makes me want to…..makes me want to plant a garden? No! ……Makes me want to go to the cemetary!
Well, this is not just any cemetary. This one goes back to antebellum days. I don’t actually like to think about those times (except for the beautiful Scarlet O’Hara dresses) because I hate to think of the atrocities done to slaves . But I mega dig Victoriana. And anyway it’s not so much the graves that attract one to the cemetary, it’s the azaleas. The azaleas are everywhere in the background of the monument-like graves of the élite families of our town.
In fact, this cemetary, and the two others next to it, give a glimpse of society from around the Civil War to the present. The azalea-ridden cemetary with its monumental graves is a memorial to what wealth will buy. It’s rich, white, and prestigious. Filled with people with interesting lives and even more interesting deaths. Just a few:
The Sea Captain’s daughter who gave up the ghost while far away from home, so they nailed a chair down inside a barrel. Then they tied her mortal remains to the chair and filled the barrel with liquor. When back home, they buried her still in the barrel. If that keg is made of wood, I bet she is no longer pickled. If it is metal, maybe she’s down there still sitting in her chair if it hasn’t rusted away (which somehow is even more creepy to me than her just being bones). And to add to the sorrowful tale is that 4 months after his daughter died, the sea captain’s son washed overboard and drowned. Now talk about your bad luck!
The Confederate spy who put her bag of gold coins (royalties from her memoir) around her neck so she wouldn’t lose them when the boat she was on capsized. Unfortunately she didn’t lose her gold when her lifeboat flipped and she was weighed down and finis.
The volunteer fireman who was buried with his dog. The man and dog died together when he was pinned down in a fire and rather than leaving his master, the dog remained with him and perished too while trying to drag his master to safety.
Next to Rich White Cemetery is the African-American Cemetery, historical in its own merit because people were buried there since the days of slavery too. In the Black Cemetery, the socio-economic barriers that permeate the Rich White Cemetery do not seem to exist much. The poor people are differentiated by the quality, flourish, and size of stone on their graves. The Black Cemetery is kept up in a minimal way, the grass cut almost everywhere, the dirt path bumpy and hard to pass through but passable. The edges of the cemetery are what screams lack of care. These parts of the cemetery have grown up with grass and brambles, with stones just peaking out showing someone is buried there. These are the people gone and long since forgotten. Shame on our city, when this graveyard is a part of our history as vital as Rich White Cemetery! I consider our coastal southern town fairly progressive, but some things are hidden just underneath the surface in our turbulent past. The city that I live in had a violent race riot in the 1970s and even a coup d’état in 1890s by overthrowing the majority black government in our city.
The third cemetery, separated by the African-American Cemetery from its richer peer, is Poor to Middle Class White Cemetery. Well kept, small but dignified, it’s better cared for than her black neighbor, but not nearly as interesting.
Now, after that impromptu treatise on race relations, back to the story!
So we’re looking at the flowers and eerie beauty of Rich White Cemetery and getting a tad lost, because this cemetery has planted folks here for around 160 years and some of them have huge monuments, mausoleums, and whatever it took to be funereal chic in the Victorian era. Apparently, the good people of Rich White Cemetery in their good sense, believe a decent cemetery should expel all living patrons by 5pm sharp regardless of time of year. But the fun part is locking the gates without a glimpse for suckers who failed to read closing time upon entering. I wasn’t too concerned, though, since I had my cell phone, not to say that would be too fun a call to make to the cops. I suggest we walk around, that surely somewhere remained unlocked, especially since I saw a not-so-paranormal-looking couple just a few minutes ago walking.
Two gates locked, we’re padlocked in Perdition. We keep walking until a third gate. This one looks a tad different and I walk up to it, a side entrance and the damn thing opens like the pearly gates to Glory. Mama walks back to our ghetto fabulous classic 1994 Mazda MPV, me waiting so no one locks this gate on us. I look at this gorgeous azalea I remember from last year, a dark red-purple flower about the size of a common magenta azalea but much darker, so awesome. I take a peep at the graves near the gate, all the while keeping my eye on said gate. No one, not St. Peter, not the devil, not a grounds keeper, is gonna lock that damn gate without me at least screaming loud enough to wake the dead.
Safely delivered from captivity, we go downtown to have a look at the teabagger rally, I mean the Tea Party, that has gone on all day. We listen to Sean Hannity on the radio waxing rhapsodic about the noble Tea Party activists nationwide and Reagan this, Reagan that. Every time I listen to Hannity, I tend to think if he could dig up Reagan and marry him he would, anti-gay marriage or no.
So the noble tea folk are down at the federal courthouse at the river. Good for them, I suppose, since the joy of being American is the ability to protest for what you believe. It’s WASP Party 2010 downtown and rather fun to look at as long as you recall everyone is entitled to believe as they like, that is until I see this one woman and I have my What the Flying Fuck?! moment of the day. She has this sign, “Obama, Go Back to Kenya. I Will Buy the Plane Ticket!” Now, I could be wrong, but to me it sounds like some racist saying no more than “Go back to Africa.” Sure, I get the whole Birther rumor popular among some people. But honestly? Honestly. Could Obama be from Kenya and a closet Muslim? Could I be an Ethiopian albino and a closet Hare Krishna? Anything is possible, but probable? Um no. She has a right to her opinion and I have the right to think she’s plumb ignorant with a limited touch on reality.