You’d think after approximately two years of riding mass transit, I’d remember that the bus stops running at 6pm on Sundays, not 6:30. Since the driver offered me a transfer, I thought maybe I still had the chance to get on another bus. Nah.
“Where you getting off at?” asked the driver as we neared the downtown transfer.
” Uh, I was hoping to get on the 202.”
“No, the bus stops at 6, so you going downtown?”
“Yes, I guess I am going downtown,” I said with affected cheer. Now, I could have got off earlier and went to a different grocery store location with more of a walk, but the dread of extra walking made me take my chances with a transfer. Fail. Well, I’m here, I thought. Might as well enjoy myself a little while, then walk 10 blocks up to a Family Dollar and do my shopping there. All downtown were the signs of life being lived: people drinking, eating, and sightseeing. I drowned my sorrows in frozen yogurt, saving the colorful plastic spoon for my collection. Then I began my quest for the 10th Street Family Dollar. Passing by Ye Olde Church, a sight caught my eye. The gate to the oldest cemetery in town stood open. Before now, the gate was always locked. My mother and I always wanted to tour that cemetery, but Mom was a little ‘late’ to this Land of Dead Episcopalians. So it was just me and her ashes around my neck. And this is what I saw:
Strangely enough, March 25th will mark my third blogoversary. Time flies when you type five words a minute. Picture it, I a callow youth of 32, rose in my cheeks and tortured genius illuminating my eyes, typing my first words! Oh how the muses danced, the angels wept, and the majestic turkey vultures soared! Three years, still here. In case you missed those 3 years, let me summarize:
Lisa, the OCDbloggergirl, lives with her mother and 3 cats. Lisa has OCD and is getting into fights with her mom, mainly because Lisa cannot be the perfect person Lisa wants to be and this pisses her off. Poor mom. The years are swallowed up with Lisa writing, Lisa getting published by online journals ( reprints of blog entries, mainly). Lisa’s writing improves. She thinks “Hey why don’t I get my own website, maybe I’ll get rich or at least be able to have a meowing cat widget!” Life is swell. Then Fate says, “Hey why don’t I let your mom die of complications from pneumonia, that would be a plot twist!” Life sucks. Some social worker says Lisa might have to go to a group home if she can’t find somewhere to go on her SSI check. Lisa would rather die than be separated from her cats now that there’s no one else. Neighbors step in and she and the cats go live there. Life is very good again and Lisa finds her Soul Mate in her gay neighbor (Dumb, OCDbloggergirl. You get what ‘gay’ means, right?) But gay friend and jealous partner are kinda messed up themselves and who was wrong? Who was right? Who was fucked over? I think Lisa was, but maybe they were, but maybe she was, but then …All the lies and uncertainty make Lisa do something to herself, she ends up in the hospital. Then she ends up in hell…er a nursing home for two months, until her roommates cave and let her dumb ass back in for a nominal hike in rent (475.00 instead of 240.00). Life is teetering from good to bad back and forth. The man she loves, Gay Romeo, likes to lie, and has stopped taking his medicines. He forgets he cares about Lisa altogether, but she is saved from hell by a program. Lisa now has her own apartment for the first time in her life, and they all lived happily ever after maybe. She hopes that now her blog will stop being a total buzz kill.
I guess you could say I am at a good place now. Well, almost. Oscar, my grey and black tabby is missing now for over a month. I remain hopeful he will return, just as my Phillipe did 9 years ago when my mother and I moved into our old apartment. Phillipe was cooped up 2 weeks before we opened the door and let him go outside. He didn’t come home for 2 and a half months. Came home though, and no worse for wear. I suspect someone took him in and he finally got away, which I suppose happened to Oscar too. I think a good post would be to tell the stories of my 3 cats one day. For those of you who pray, please pray Oscar comes home. Thanks.
But yeah. Good place. Now. I am happy for the most part. There is a strange sort of freedom to being alone in the world. I find my life worth living, even if only for my cats, and the occasional ‘rescue mission’ for Bestie, who is a bit of an anxious lass. I don’t have to be useful to anyone anymore, and that’s freedom in a way. When I was with the roommates, my use was measured in my finances I guess. When I was with my friend I knew from way back, all he wanted was a batch o’ my snatch. When I went to that ‘home,’ almost everyone wanted me for one reason or another. Eh God, vultures. I am better off on my own having my own adventures and my own life. Hanging out with Bestie, my friend of 20 years, basically fulfills my social life, that and my online life. Soul brothers are merely mythological creatures, unicorns. I miss my unicorn though (we even watched My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic together, sigh).
And now, not to be all Jodi Arias stalky or anything, but I did have someone drive me by ye olde home place, just to see if the members of the She-Male Lisa Haters Club had indeed left town as they said they would in March. Part of me prayed that they were gone, that seeing an empty apartment would cure me of my feelings for The Unicorn nee Soul Bro. But neighhhhhhhh, the signs that they were still there abounded. First, the plants that I gave him from my mother were still there. The chair that once was mine was still there, as no doubt the rest of the lawn furniture that he felt was his due (I would have left that chair for him anyway, the way I had left half of my hard candy for him). There is a yellow truck out in front. I wonder if it’s his. He always wanted a yellow vehicle. If it is, the straits they said they were in due to me must have eased into gentler waters.
But the doubts are ever present in my mind. Is it because of me that they aren’t gone to fulfill his dream in DC? Is he sick? Or, like so many other things, was living there just another of his stories? Once, The Partner told me that I was a boil on his butt that he just can’t lance. Well, I was lanced wasn’t I? Shouldn’t they be happily ever after now, and shouldn’t I, like a normal person, stop giving a fuck about The Unicorn? Somewhere over the rainbowwwwwwww….
I am happy now. I am almost at peace. I must put them out of my mind. I am eternally grateful that he was there when my mother died, but that chapter of my life must close. That way I can truly be happy, That and finding Oscar. Where the hell are you, Oscar?
PS, other fun incidentals. Remember for a time I foolishly flirted with having a self-hosted site? Well when I hung up the towel there at ocdbloggergirl dot com and let my domain expire, guess what happened? I thought maybe some other blogger might buy it, but I doubted it. Nope. Ocdbloggergirl dot com didn’t even become a Canadian pharmacy. Cough. It became…cough…a porn site. A porn site boasting Polish lesbians. I’m not joking, And as Paul Harvey used to say…”now you know the rest of the story.”
Well, Mr. Lennon, funny you should ask, because I’ll tell you if you have the time. The world didn’t end and you’re still dead, so I reckon you got all the time in the world, right? It really depends on what you mean by “done.” “Done” like What I did for Christmas, or done in general?
Another year over and a new one’s just begun.
I know, right? Ho hum, seems like it should still be 2011 or something. It’s like I paused myself, yet the world went on without me. How the hell did I turn 35? I’m the same age my mom was when she had me. I suppose there’s still hope that somewhere out there, there’s a neurotic alcoholic husband for me too. I think I’d not be a good mom, so it’s probably a good thing my biological clock isn’t a Timex. I can just take care of myself and my cats. Why would I want a pissing, crapping, crying kid who’d open my Barbie dolls’ boxes? But I digress, what have I done? Nothing and everything! I have my own apartment, a first for me. I’m a late bloomer, you know. Well, more like I was weeded out of the garden, cast into a mulch pile, and re-rooted myself. But hey, I bloomed.
If my mom hadn’t died and my gay guy crush hadn’t gone rabid and threw me out, I’d still be living with someone now. I’d still depend on that man’s approval just to get by. I saw my gay guy crush as a gay guy god even as he grew mean. But oh, Mr. Lennon, if you ever saw him smile or heard him laugh, you’d see what I mean. I thought he was my Soul Bro, but sadly, he became my Faux Bro. I wanted to be with him until the day I died. Sigh, I guess I drank the grape kool-aid. Too bad I didn’t do much of his housework though or paid the back rent I owed.
Mr. Lennon, I know you’re all ‘money ain’t shit,’Kumbaya, and what not, but I’m still torn. I really didn’t pay about $200.00 in rent. I pawned my computer and gave them $80.00 and then I gave them $10.00, so if I really do owe them that money, it would be $110.00. But here’s where it all gets trickier than a truck stop hooker. I gave them money whenever asked. I took them out to dinner at about $70.00 for the three of us, gave them $65.00 to go out with when The Prick The Partner was upset about having skin cancer on his face (but they did give a lot back I think) and gave them $100.00 to fix the air conditioner in their van. The air conditioner wasn’t fixable though. But I got a lot of free meals and rides before I began having to pay for all my stuff, and cat food. And then it gets even more messed up. They wanted $100.00 a month after I moved out to pay for what they paid for: pot, food, etc. And Faux Bro said if he factored in expenses going back to when I first moved in it would be double the amount, somewhere in the $2000.00 region. That part casts suspicion on the whole thing. I must have been had somewhere in the equation, but they seemed so adamant that I owed them and that I was the advantage taker in the mix. Plus it seems that I broke everything I touched. It makes my brain hurt, and everyone says I don’t owe them jack.
I messed up:
A wine glass of sentimental value.
They say I broke a remote control (but I don’t recall it)
I made a couple of his keys on his laptop stick.
I lost and/or damaged a couple of books, one was damaged, plus I think a cat vomited on a couple others.
I tripped several times on the PlayStation 3 cords, causing the part where the player connects the controller to short out. I replaced his PlayStation 2 when it stopped working.
I think he wanted to say I messed up the controllers on the Sega Genesis, but I think it was how they stored it.
I played a game on his IPod and it erased everything
An app I asked to be installed on the PS3 erased all the game data.
I lost a set of keys.
Wow, no wonder they hate me. Good thing all I have to break is my own now. Jinxed people should be mandated to have their own apartments, where they can lock themselves in and not be a nuisance, you know? I guess I’m still haunted by Gays of Christmas Past (Too bad Logo no longer airs gay-themed shows, because that would be a kick-ass name for a Christmas special). I wasn’t intending to talk this much on this, but…
My life is different now in a good way. I have a one bedroom apartment, a lot bigger than the rooms at the old complex. I’ve literally stuffed both closets in the living room and bedroom with all the random crap from my storage unit. I’m about to get a hide-a-bed couch for the living room and that will be a vast improvement than the deflated airbed I’ve been chillaxin’ on since late September.A nice woman on Freecycle gave me a TV and random odds and ends that I truly appreciate. I could have more by now, but I can’t stand my social worker, so I avoid her at all costs. My decor is a mix of minimalist and très clutter. BUT WHO GIVES A FLYING F, because IT’S MINE! There’s nothing like living exactly as one wants, without fear of being verbally annihilated or thrown out. When I was with Soul Bro, I forgot how much I liked being alone. I wanted to be with him all the time until he just popped. There’s always going to be a part of me that wants to be with him, and a part of me who thinks it’s all my fault.
I try again on that red phone and this time we are allowed into the ICU. The third time is the charm. My mom is in room 14. The doctor I met in the ER asks me questions, the one with a European accent and wonderful bedside manner.
“We can keep the antibiotic drips going, which may let her live for a little while longer, but I’ve rarely seen anyone get better this far along. But it’s your decision.”
“How much difference would there be in time if I take her off the drips?” I ask.
“It’s hard to say. She could last a few hours or a few days.”
“But it’s near impossible for her to get better?”
“Less than a 1% chance, but if you say to keep going, we will keep pumping her with antibiotics and doing all we can.”
“I need to think about it a bit.”
He asks me about taking extraordinary measures to keep my mother alive, but I know my answer already. “No, my mother wouldn’t want that if she would be brain-dead. I’m certain I don’t want you to resuscitate and she’s told me before she wouldn’t want it.” Break my mother’s ribs so that she can be a dead woman breathing? No. NO.
“I don’t know if in her condition any of her organs could be used, but if they can, I want them to be donated. My mother wouldn’t mind. She had ‘organ donor’ on her driver’s license. It would be nice to know my mom hadn’t died completely in vain.”
They are going to do some other procedures to my mother, so Bestie and I go out to the waiting room again. Bestie is on the phone with her mom and telling her about my indecision in keeping Mama on the antibiotics. And of course Bestie’s mom wants to give me her sage advice in the matter. I politely listen.
“She’s your mom. You can’t give up on her.”
“Yes, you’re probably right,” I reply.
“What kind of insurance does your mother have?”
“Well, you know with people without anything but Medicare, they try to do as little as they can with them and get them out of there.”
I tell the doctor that he should keep the drips going just in case. Afterall, they are also keeping her on pain meds and sedation just in case. I probably would’ve made this decision anyway without the intervention of my bestie’s dear Mama, but…
I have to ask, though. How do you ask such a question without giving offense? “Um, I don’t believe this of course, you’ve all been so wonderful, but…my friend’s mother is a bit of a cynic, and she told me y’all don’t do everything for Medicare patients because of their insurance. Is there any truth in this?”
The doctor’s answer was no. “In fact, this is a teaching hospital, and most of the patients that come here don’t have any insurance at all, so we do everything we can for all our patients.”
I decide to go home for some sleep. I am assured that the nurse would call me should my mother take a turn in the night. A nurse is attending my mom’s IV and I remark to him, This must be one depressing job.”
“It can be.”
“How much of the people who come in here live?”
“About 50 %.”
It is 10 pm when Bestie and I head home and I collapse into bed. I know no more until about 4 am when the phone rings.
“You might want to come now. She’s taken a turn for the worse,” says the doctor.
“Hearing the phone at this time of the night doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling,” says Bestie. She was sleeping on the couch and we go to the hospital in the quiet of the ear morning. This time I don’t have to wait when I pick up the red phone. I tell Bestie that I want some time with my mother alone at times, but would check on her in 20 minutes because my friend is an anxious soul too.
I tell my mother that I would understand if she has to go, that I would be fine, but if she could, please stay. I make myself not beg her to stay for the sake that if she can hear me, I don’t want her last thoughts to be worry over me not being OK without her.
I see the chaplain when offered. He is a young Episcopalian and we pray together. I like him so much I take his number in case I need someone to preach a funeral (my mom and I hadn’t been to church in a number of years). I even end up asking him if he thought my mom would be OK if cremated. My grandmother didn’t believe in cremation and I suddenly felt the need for reassurance from a man of God. “God is bigger than that”, was his answer. My mother felt cremation was fine and to rid myself of the ashes in the sea was what she wanted.
I even saw an old high school friend and he was a nurse there. Small world. The last time I’d seen him he was a server at one of those steakhouses where they think it’s a good idea to use roadkill as decor. I guess the road to the original Texas Roadhouse was fraught with many an animal.
Shortly before 8 am, September 13, 2011 my mother took her last breath. I couldn’t restrain my tears now. She was gone and I held it together as well as I could to not upset her. I tried to calm myself again for the Bestie to not upset her more than she was. Who was that woman that shoved anxiety ridden Lisa into a corner and took her place in my body those two days? It wasn’t the me who had dreaded this day for years and went to extremes to prevent her death. It was the Lisa that only comes out when I’m drowning and that Lisa swims.
About a week ago, I went with my friend on our second solo dining experience. You know who I mean, the one who likes showing affection with his tongue as the Continentals do. As I have said before, this guy has the distinct honor of being my first date and my first French kiss. My life before my mother’s death was a bit uneventful in its solitude.
I’ve known this guy off and on since third grade and have off and on liked him since about the fourth grade. When he gave me the surprise kiss and even more surprising tongue, I thought, Hey for the first time someone I could like likes me back! Winning!
This last excursion began with Mexican food, and I have a big steak. We both have a touch of Habanero sauce, a green pepper sauce that is hot as hell. We have blue margaritas, another new experience that are tasty for alcohol. The drink goes to my head and before long I’m exclaiming, “Oh shit!” – at what, I don’t quite recollect, but I have enough of my wits to feel a hint of embarrassment. Neither am I so buzzed that the running commentary in my head doesn’t play. Why is he interested in me?, I keep asking myself. I’m so shy, my conversation isn’t funny or fascinating, and I am less than average in looks. Could he have liked me all this time and waited for a proper time to act on it?
We are home and I know he will try to kiss me again when we get to the door. I try to suppress my giddiness on the way. “Come here,” he says, just as he did before, like he’s going to give me a hug. This time I know his modis and am preparing myself. I’m going to kiss him back this time or die trying.
Now we’re going to count down all the first times in this one…
I manage to tuck my tongue under his in his mouth and leave it there for a couple of seconds, all necessary and proper. When I retreat to my tongue’s natural station, I say “Heh, well at least this time I got my tongue in too.”
I find myself relieved when his tongue returns to my mouth in a way which needs no reciprocation from me. It is a kind dispensation of heaven for a socially anxious woman to have a kiss with a guy whose tongue would be the envy of the Geico Gecko. And herein comes another first, he’s copping a feel of my breasts. Cupping them and pressing me against him, and then, he caresses my bottom – another first. I want to discern whether his pole is raised to attention, but short of grabbing him or applying continuous pressure with my pelvis, which I don’t have the balls to do in either case, I decide I must not look either. It’s as though he’s trying to lift me. “Um, I’m rather heavy and we’re practically making babies in the hall.”
His solution is to pull me under the stairway conveniently next to the fire extinguisher lest we get too hot. More kissing with his tongue. Oh look here, he’s nibbling on my ear. A first! And there he is kissing my neck, another first! I dare to look into his eyes once or twice and he indeed looks as though he actually wants to have me, devour me even.
Then he asks that question every gal dreams of hearing: “Do you have a ‘fuck buddy,’ Lisa?”
“Um no…I’m still a virgin.”
“I have a couple of them.”
“Who are they?” I ask, thinking GERMS!
“Nevermind about that,” he says. “Do you want to be my ‘fuck buddy?'”
I am not aroused because I’m too shy to be aroused being pressed against the wall. So that’s why he’s interested. Oh.
I actually think about it. I’m 34 years-old and my flower is wilted and gathering dust. I say that I might let him have dessert one day as long as he has protection to keep from having a Junior running around. I am giddy and want to hurry off lest Wilt Chamberlain here tries to gain entry when a neighbor might walk by.
I’m excited and happy that I am desired, the margarita still numbing my senses. I tell Soul Bro and we are giggly. It’s after I wake in the night that the tears come. I thought he had feelings for me. Nah, he just needed another fuck buddy to go with his harem. Waaaah!
The next day I talk to Soul Bro, crying even though we are having a bowl. I want to divest myself of my virtue, but by someone who doesn’t love me? I don’t want to die a virgin. I don’t want to die alone. I mail him with a “when and where,” but several hours later seeing that he hasn’t responded, I write, “Nevermind, I’m chicken.” I hope he will write back, but he doesn’t. Feeling my impending old age and ultimate death, plus the fact that I want Wilt in my life whatever way, I make another bid on Facebook, declaring “Fuck it. I’m tired of being a virgin.” That gets an answer and he agrees to Friday night.
Taking my best girlfriend’s advice, as well as my therapist’s, and casting it to the wind, I am ready for my virtue to die. My girlfriend tried to convince me I’m not worthless and that I will meet someone someday. Noted, but life is such a damn transient thing, and unless I start hanging out with mutes, I will be at a disadvantage in the dating world. My therapist also had similar objections, plus the whole ‘fuck buddy’ thing being crass. Yeah. But I am resolved.
Then Team OCD decides to ruin any chance of me ever getting any. Ugh.
My Soul Brother has made me up nicely – eyeliner, sparkly eyeshadow, and everything…when I get the call. Wilt’s tire blew out on the way to buy condoms and he will have to cancel. “I’ll get it fixed first thing in the morning,” he says.
I decide to ask him then the questions I felt must be asked before I let anyone into where no man’s ever gone before.
Perhaps if I had left it at “Do you have any STD’s?” this story would have a happy ending. But no. I ask him if he has a medical encyclopedia’s worth of diseases, even if he has sores near his genitals.
Oops. Apparently, that’s not a turn on. But it get’s worse.
“I know we’re not in a relationship or anything, but you won’t just drop me one day, right, or try to break my heart?”
AND, help us all…
“Maybe my mom is telling us we shouldn’t be doing this.”
Needless to say, he cancels the next day and says he’ll call in a couple of weeks. Let’s hope he calls before the world ends on December 21st.
It is a full day on my usually empty dance ticket. I, Lisa, professional mental health seeker, have the joy of seeing both my therapist and my shrink. Rolling out of bed, nicking my legs shaving, and dressing in my new Family Dollar ensemble, I get to my therapy session at 10 am. As I suck on a starlight mint, we go over my myriad of “issues.”
“I went to see an art house film called The Smurfs in 3-D this past weekend, and went to the library before the film. This was the first film I ever saw in 3-D and I thoroughly enjoyed it,” I say as my therapist inspects the little book she caught me reading while I waited for her. She admits to never having seen a 3-D flick, and I praise the medium, that one can almost catch a bird flying out of the screen. “Though I don’t think The Smurfs would be your cup of tea.” I then bemoan the cruel truth that kids’ movies would be great except that kids actually come too.
“What is your comfort level standing in a line at the movie theater?”
“Well,” I answer,” not bad really. Crowds don’t bother me, individual interaction does. I can even ask for movie tickets, as long as I have the money so the person will have a reason to tolerate me.” I show her my latest acquisitions in my quest to get all the McDonald’s Smurf Happy Meal toys, the Baker and Brainy (I happened to have them stuffed into the labyrinth that is my purse). I then tell her that I’m too childish, too child-like, but the therapist likes who I am because she’s known me since I was 15 and because she gets money to like me -but honestly, I think she likes me anyway.
“It’s normal to be enthused about something you collect. My mom collected a particular pattern of carnival glass and was very excited when she found a piece at a secondhand shop,” my therapist assures me.
“I have to see the psychiatrist today. I’m not looking forward to it.”
At some point in the session, my therapist says, “but you feel comfortable talking to me, right?”
“Yes, but you don’t poke me with a fork.” One therapist thought I was sexually abused and my psychiatrist feels I have the ways of an “abuse victim.” Once my psychiatrist threw out there one time that maybe I had Aspberger’s syndrome since my social anxiety wasn’t getting better and it’s a struggle to look people in the eye (I’m very self-conscious).
“I’d have to research it more,” I remember the psychiatrist saying. “But I have a lot of empathy. I thought they didn’t,” was my defense. I did not show how upset I was to have a new diagnosis until I was outside and started crying and fussing at my mother. (No one thinks I have Aspberger’s, though, and the psychiatrist never mentioned it again, so it must have been a passing fancy for her too. Let’s just face it, Shrink, I’m f****d and you can randomly flip through your DSM IV and diagnose me with whatever is on the page, but there ain’t no fixing me, not really. But with that cheery thought, let’s continue ).
“I’m thinking about asking her about Abilify,” I tell my therapist. “She’s talked a couple of times of putting me on an antipsychotic in the hopes it would help with the OCD and everything, but I’ve been afraid of getting tardive dyskinesia. Do you have any patients on it with OCD?”
My therapist is looking far into her memory and comes up with 75% of the folks she saw with OCD who are chomping on the Abilify say it helped them, 25% said no it didn’t, and if she remembers right, 10% got off due to side effects.
I imagine people who’ve been on Haldol for years, the excessive drool foaming from their mouths. I imagine lactating. But have mercy on me, I’m so tired of not being what I yearn for the most: Ideal. Everyday I feel I’m not doing things just right and some days it throws me into a rage. I take three times as long as anyone else to do anything. I’m more depressed than I was and I feel as though I have few redeeming qualities. I begin to hope that my shrink knows that I will dramatically change from my lifetime membership at “Camp Clucky.”
Yes, yes, Lisa. We get you suck, life sucks, everything sucks. Blah, blah, boo-hoo. Get on with the story.
My mother and I are having a spot of lunch and I’m trying to look up Abilify just to make sure I want to try this, but my mobile phone’s battery dies on me. I try to recall the latestAbilify commercial. Cartoon woman literally weighed down by her depression and falling into the “hole” of the depression. Then her kindly looking doctor helps her out of the hole and prescribes her Abilify. Some side effects, what were they? Happy family having a picnic. Happy. “Resulting in coma or death.” What? I don’t remember, must’ve been really rare. Still at happy picnic, even Depression Hole sits nearby. Everyone is at the picnic having such a nice time. I want to be at that picnic, so perfect! “Depression used to define me, then I added Abilify.” Ah, how nice. I’ll just ask my doctor all about it.
When I’m in Dr. Shrink’s office, I have my $3.00 ready to throw at the receptionist before she can ask, because I always get the sense she thinks I’ll run off without paying. It’s the rule of the house, yes, but I can’t help see it as a slight towards all psychiatric cases (power to the people!). I don’t think the receptionist likes my mother and I much. I can imagine her thinking “Sod it all, here comes that rubbish. If I wanted to deal with folks on the dole, I’d have stayed in Merry Old England, wouldn’t I?” Even before Dr. Shrink took Medicaid, though, and I had to somehow hack up $75.00 for my 15 minutes, I don’t believe the receptionist liked us much. It may be in my head, and I don’t seem much different from the others in the waiting room: they mainly look depressed, maybe a couple now and then look mildly apes**t. I’ve been with a friend to Mental Health before and they look worse and more interesting. I remember some young woman, obviously in a manic state, talking on her cell, “Friday night I tried to kill myself but they gave me some lithium and I feelsoo much better now!” I wonder if everyone is still getting help since our genius state thought it was a good idea to close the county mental health and the mental hospital to “privatize it.”
I tell Dr. Shrink my decision. She tells me to avoid grapefruit juice (which I already do since I am on Luvox) and to watch for slowed down movements, that tardive dyskinesiawon’t happen suddenly if it happens at all. Two milligrams, not a big dose at al,l and come back at the end of the month( to see if I’m still alive). Ok, great I can do this!
This might fix me.
Or not. Twenty minutes after taking my first cockroach shaped and colored Abilify stuff starts to happen. I am me but I don’t feel like I’m really here. So I’m not at the picnic yet I guess. My thoughts are my thoughts but I feel strangely like I’m not thinking. OK weird. I rush to look at the guide that comes with my prescription then augment it with the internet. Sometime during all of this I start feeling angry, really angry. Smack myself angry, yay!
Apparently on Abilify, I could develop diabetes, go into a coma, and croak, but hey, I won’t be depressed anymore! Since I’m already fat and haven’t checked my blood sugar in ages, I’m not a happy fat camper.
Stay out of the sun and don’t get overheated…What the frostbite? Am I going to turn into a gremlin?
Weight gain! Do I need to say why I might not like this?
Abilify and Wellbutrin should be used with caution because it might lower one’s seizure threshold. Well that would be a different experience! Might lower my immunity…that should be a hit with someone deathly afraid of going to the doctor.
I try to sleep. I can’t, just as I fall asleep, I feel like I can’t swallow and jerk back awake. I sleep an hour to fly awake and feel angry. Repeat this 2 or 3 times in the night. It feels great!
The next 48 hours are interesting. I’m angry at everything and when my best friend annoys me by what I perceive as lectures instead of swallowing it, I tell her off over and over. I can’t help myself! Freedom such as the ability to tell off your best friend over stupid stuff is not a freedom a social phobe like me wants.
Today I returned to my psychiatrist. “I’m doing OK, but I had to stop the Abilify. After one dose I knew I couldn’t take it. If I had done thorough research I wouldn’t have tried it anyway because I’m afraid of getting diabetes.”
“Yes well,”Dr. Shrink replies, “if you look on the internet, getting diabetes from Abilifyseems as common as getting the jitters.”
True, but I feel I should be more concerned due to the fact I’m overweight.”
Later I visit with my professor from college, the one who I named my oldest cat after in tribute. The college is only a couple of blocks from my psychiatrist’s office. We talk various things and then I talk about how awful I sometimes was when on meds that opened my mouth so that I’d say whatever I wanted back when I was in his science classes.
“Don’t ever feel sorry about the things you say unless you hurt someone’s feelings, and I don’t remember you ever being mean to anyone.”
“Well no, but I’d say anything and I cringe at the thought now.”
(Flashback: pointing at a faux skeleton in class and saying, “Look he’s got a boner!” Flashback: among the things I inherited from my grandmother, one was her old lady bright red lipstick. My reply to the comments I got when I wore it, “Hey, this was a really popular color in the 1940s.” I was shy then too, but accepted as the oddity that I was and I’ve always liked making people laugh. In many classes I was near silent anyway, but not my science teacher’s class. It’s a pity he isn’t my real father)
You learn to have patience says my professor at some point in our conversation. ” I guess you have had worse than me as long as you’ve been doing this,” I stammer.
“At least you aren’t an ax murderer. That would be worse.”
“Have you actually had murderers in your classes?”
“Two of them. One the cops chased into the mountains and he was killed.”
So the Abiify didn’t help me become the person I want to be, not close, but, the moral of this story is, no matter what I do, hey, at least I’m not an ax murderer!
PS: Abilify has helped many people, it could help you too. Sometimes the risk is worth the gain. As my pharmacist said, “Line 100 people up, and two would have the same reaction as you did.” Besides, my body’s wired different anyway. I was the 1/10000 of Paxil patients who lost her period on Paxil (happened on Effexor too!). Soon as I stopped, flowed like the red sea. With that, I bid you adieu.
What do you get when you cross a Moveon.org organizer at 8:30 am on the phone with a half-asleep broad with social anxiety disorder? A Moron left to cringe at her conversational gaffe and a liberal activist wondering if she called Michelle Bachmann.
Ms. Moveon.org: I wish to speak with Lisa B.
Me: This is she.
Ms. Moveon.org: This is P with Moveon.org and I was wondering how the Clean Oil rally went? (or something to that effect)
Me: I’m sorry, what did you say?
Ms. Moveon.org. repeats as before but the slight edge in her voice is getting edgier. It’s 8:30 in the morning, I just woke up, and feeling attacked makes me very nervous, so I say…
Me: I’m sorry I don’t know anything about a Media Matters Oil rally. (Eeps, the least I can do is keep my progressive organizations straight. I knew right away what I said. Oh. Sweet. Liberal. Heavens).
Ms. Moveon ‘not Media Matters’ .org is not happy with me. I knew from her voice beforehand that she was going to give me hell for not being at a rally, but now she has to deal with an idiot too.
Ms. Moveon.org( in such a snotty voice you’d expect her to sneeze): I must have the wrong number.
Ms. Moveon.org: Yes, I must have the wrong number. Sorry.
Click. This adds to the pile I’m amassing of reasons I suck and I felt embarrassed. Oh well, screw her. Sign a petition or two (not even about the environment, alas) and suddenly they think they own you.
In the bathroom, I see a roach in death agonies. I hate roaches. I hate death agonies. I can’t bear the nastiness of squishing it in the piece of tissue, so I throw it in the toilet alive and have a case of the guilties as I watch it struggle to live when I flush. I’m sorry. I should have killed you first, roach. More fodder for the “I suck” pile.
Later in the day, phone call. We go to a friend who is sick. I explain what ‘psychosomatic’ means to her, a word which the emergency workers used, as they cart her away. I haven’t been to the ER since the Great Kidney Infection Debacle of ’10 and was grateful to be on the visiting end of things. You can just feel the germs hopping around. I have a little fear myself when I see something at the visitors desk that looks like blood and hope my arm didn’t touch there. All was well in the end. I was there for a friend and we are all huggy-lovey as we parted ways afterward. I can take one log off of the “I suck ” pile, thank God. I was needed for a moment and that makes all the difference.
I was originally going to give it as a guest post to a blog, but the story is so PURE T WEIRD that I decided I’d just publish it on my new blog. Want to hear how this story came to fruition?
Well, let me tell you!
Hang on, some douche is making a scene at the restaurant I’m at. Picture it: Man drinking a Corona. First time I’ve ever seen someone drunk at a buffet, and as you can tell I’ve not skipped too many buffets in my life. I’m getting so pissed off right now.
Thank God, he’s left. He was an obnoxious drunk, rude to the waitress, but you’d never have known from how she acted. I’m pretty sure she understood every word. I’d have had to tell the manager or something if he’d touched her (or beg my mom to).
I’m home now, safe and sound. But anyway, how my story came about. 5 weeks ago I checked by Magpie Tales to see what the picture writing prompt was, took one look, and thought, “Ain’t no way in hell I can come up with a story for a picture of an African mask.” About a week later when it was too late to submit, the story somehow came to me. If you want to see the writing prompt picture from Magpie Tales, click here.
And now 4 weeks later, the story is finished and up at my blog. My mom says she’s never read anything like it before, but she’s my mom and thereby obliged to like my crap. Please read or skimit and let me know what you think for real. Sorry also that it’s a little over 2000 words. You can tell me here or there if it was any good. Thanks very much!
This is the story of a cliché. Her name is Mary Smith like thousands of other women. She’s in her thirties and lives in a high-rise apartment in New York City, Boston,Chicago, or perhaps in Los Angeles. What does she look like? So many choices. We’re pretty sure she’s white though, the ultimate cliché color. Is she a ginger? No, too uncommon. We want something common in print. Golden strands of blond silk luminescent in the sun? Possibly. Brunette, her hair nearly as dark as her disposition? Also a possibility. Chestnut or mouse brown hair, tied conservatively behind her in a style reminiscent of a school marm? Depends. Is Mary Smith a savvy professional woman with three or four friends trying to find love and sexual gratification in a city? Or is she the tragic soul who ends up throwing herself from a bridge in utter agony (Oh the demons! The demons of her psyche! Oh lost love!)? Or is she that woman from whatever romantic comedy is in the theater every other week, who by happenstance finds her true love? We think Mary Smith resembles the marm the most. But let’s read on, the obligatory scene before the mirror is being written…
Mary Smith stands before the mirror, a figure of brown. Her hair is mouse brown, her skirt tan cotton and slightly jutting away from her skinny frame. Her eyes –brown also- appraise herself with care, bringing her ponytail from her back to spread down to her small bosom. A heroine.
Mirror spinning out of the way, she begins to sing a ditty:
Today, maybe today. Today!
Not yesterday, maybe today. Today!
Today could be the day. Maybe today!
Today, please today, something could happen today!
I feel it! Can you feel it? I think I feel it!
Maybe today! It didn’t happen yesterday, could be today.
Maybe love today, my destiny today. Today!
My life could change todayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
This song is transcribed here for inspiration and hope. But a story needs a hint of pathos or some critic will criticize this as being too one-dimensional. Since Mary Smith is a cliché, we really shouldn’t care, though, should we? She reaches into her medicine cabinet and becomes the face in the latest anti-depressant commercial. I talked to my doctor about my depression and he gave me…
What should we say he gave her? Something easily recognized as an anti-depressant. Prozac? Paxil? Zoloft? Lets say Zoloft. Zoloft for the so lofty dreams soaring over whatever clichéd demons Mary Smith subscribes to.
It is summertime and NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA, or wherever the hell our cliché lives. It is an oppressively hot day late in July. Mary Smith works in a paperback exchange, but will one day be the editor of a large publishing concern or maybe the romance columnist for a woman’s magazine. Some people are coming in, milling through the narrow aisles, not really interested in the mass market used paperback bonanza around them. Nor is Mary Smith interested in them unless they approach the counter, book in hand.
“Is it hot enough for ya?” is Mary’s attempt at being friendly with a book-clad fat woman in her 40s.
“Yeah. Hot.” A book called Savage Passion is dropped on the counter. Typical cover in the Indian/White Heaving Breasted Lady genre: An American Indian who looks like he lifts weights. He’s wearing a feather, loincloth, and not much else. A lady, poofy blond hair like a 1980s porn star, with lots of green eyeshadow. A bit of tit and leg is showing from her Victorian gown, leaving enough to the imagination to be allowed at a grocery store bookrack. Mary Smith used to read such books, mainly when she was 14, and grew weary of the genre shortly thereafter, for even clichéd characters can only stand so much of the same. Mary Smith prefers the various yarns spun by Danielle Steele. Now that is literature, is what Mary thinks, and that she need never vary in her choice of author, as Steele releases a new 400 page tome to indefeatable true love every three days or so.
And then he comes in. Mary Smith hears the refrain from that awful song she somehow made up on the spot this morning. Todayyyyy…
He’s the one, thinks Mary. He likes to read, he’s handsome, he’s perfect. Will he notice me?
What does Mary Smith’s future lover look like? Hugh Grant ( He’ll look like Hugh Cronin by the time this story is over)? We think he should look like perfection, the sort manufactured not by nature but by a Mattel factory. He is Ken articulated with the breath of life and perhaps looking for his Barbie in the flesh.
Mary Smith is a Barbie doll, Paperback Exchange Barbie, not manufactured by Mattel, but still ‘swell.’ She fantasizes about this man coming up to her, giving her a lengthy kiss rivaling a 1940s movie scene. I love you, Mary…
He’s coming to the counter. He’s coming.
“Hi,” Mary Smith says for the first time in a long time without having to fake enthusiasm.
“Hey,” says Ken, putting one hand in the pocket of his jeans. “You got a public rest room?”
The day progresses. It is around 3pm. The book store has thinned out and now Mary Smith is alone with a newspaper crossword. A mother comes in dragging her son by the hand. He looks to be about 6, years-old, brown hair almost the color of Mary’s. Mary Smith thought as a young girl that she would one day have a child of her own. Maybe her phantom child would look somewhat like this little boy.
She goes back to her crossword puzzle. The boy is bored as his mom looks at suspense novels. The owner of the bookstore likes knickknacks, the kind that have a sticker on the bottom that says, “Made Exclusively for Dollar Tree.” Cherubs, frogs, gnomes, and ceramic Jesus Christs all vie to be noticed on the tops of the bookshelves. One curio, a genuine African Mask (made in China of painted china), has caught the boy’s attention. His mother is oblivious to him though she is roughly 8 feet away. He starts to climb one shelf to get the mask. It would be fun to put over his face and pretend he is a masked superhero , we believe the child thinks.
The shelves only are about eye level to the average adult, so from the first shelf, the boy can reach…just reach.
Suddenly a crash, the little African Mask now lies on the linoleum floor in several pieces. Mary Smith turns to look at what happened. The boy is still standing on the first shelf, one hand frozen in mid-air, the other clinging to the shelf. Before Mary Smith can reassure the boy’s mother that the mask was of no real consequence, the mother has gone red with rage. “Now what have you done? G—damn IDIOT!”
Don’t look, Mary. Not your problem, Mary. Mary Smith resumes writing an answer on her puzzle. Her hand is shaking just a bit. She isn’t looking, but she hears. We see that the mother is small, blond, and in her early twenties. She doesn’t look capable of hurting her son, nor does she look capable of keeping him under control. Her frustration and rage is peaking. She grabs the boy off the shelf, but holds him kicking at the air 2 feet below him. Walks far enough away with him to clear the remains of the china African mask before dropping the child to the floor. The sound of the child’s body hitting the floor makes Mary Smith’s pen draw a line off of the paper as her shaking hand drops the pen.
Mary Smith can’t open her mouth. Her lips are stuck together, her tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth. Her voice is paralyzed. A movie of the week scene and she can’t turn the channel or swallow. The woman grabs up her son so that he stands again. He is winded, shocked, and not crying. She grabs his hand and they leave the store as they came.
Mary Smith is alone now. The mask is in the floor in several pieces. One piece containing a hole for an eye and a bit of forehead is on its side. To Mary Smith it looks like the eyeless socket is staring at her.
There was a time when Mary might have said something. How long ago was that? Ten years ago, maybe fifteen? Since before she let life pass her by. Before she began just trying to get on with life. Before her ideals began to shrivel and maturity blotted them out.
Mary Smith begins to pick up the pieces of the china African mask until she feels a sharp pain in her palm. The piece that had pricked her conscience has now cut her hand. This is the high melodrama we hoped Mary Smith, cliché of the great American short story, would give us. Emotional, physical pain, the kind that will translate well on the silver screen. Keep going,Mary!
Mary Smith drops the offending piece into a plastic bag she is using to collect the debris and then opens her palm. Blood, not massive, but considerable enough is leaking from a small cut. She stares at the red fluid that pumps through her body as though entranced. Funny the thoughts one thinks. Look, Mary, you’re alive. You’re still a person. Can you feel it? (Mournful reprise of the “Today” song’s music should be placed here in the movie version).
Perhaps a potential vampire boyfriend should materialize like a shark smelling blood? You know, a nice pale guy, handsome, opens the door for his lady-love before draining her of her lifeblood. So popular now, but we decide we like this story sans Dracula, and…
Mary Smith bandages her hand in the bathroom, places the last piece in the bag, and makes her way to the wastebasket behind the counter. But for some strange reason she can’t toss the tied bag into the basket. Something, some force has prevented her from throwing the mask away. Perhaps the mask is cursed, right? Not likely. Hello, it came from the wild forest pf The Dollar Tree, not an ancient African tribe. Probably something else. It seems to her that to throw the mask’s remains away after what happened would be wrong…almost bordering on disrespectful for her phantom son’s pain.
It’s time to close. Mary Smith is glad. It’s been a long day. I’ll throw it away when I get home, and with that she stuffs the plastic bag in her purse. The ‘closed’ sign is hung on the door, she sets the alarm, and locks the door . She is out on a generic sidewalk in NYC, Boston, Chicago, or LA.
The loneliness of a large city is something Mary Smith is used to, but something has happened. The late afternoon sunlight is almost like it’s not there to her. The oppressive heat seems to not bother her. She almost feels cold. The world is gray like an anti-depressant commercial pre-pill. People are all around her and she feels invisible until she bumps into a man (OK, here must be the meeting of the male romantic lead. FINALLY. Such a tedious read).
“Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” a man in a business suit admonishes.
“Sorry,” Mary Smith replies in the same tone as the gent.
Everything is wrong somehow. People are so unkind and she is tired of it all. Mary Smith is relieved to lock herself safely into her apartment away from everyone. Suddenly she remembers skimming through the paper that day, the stories. Along with the daily dose of murder, mayham, and outed gay conservatives, there was the story of a man who lived in an apartment building not far from where Mary Smith lives. He hung himself in his closet and wasn’t found for a week, not until someone smelled him. What if one day that happens to me? What if I died one day by natural causes or by dispatching myself and they only found me because I stunk? Would anyone wonder what happened to me? Would anyone care? Oh, knock it off, Mary. Someone would call, your employer, your landlady sure would be on the case if the rent was late. Maybe a friend sometime.
My life doesn’t matter.
Eat something, Mary. You’re just tired and hungry.
Would anyone remember me for anything? No one would. I’m nothing in this world.
Rinse off your face. Get a grip. Ugh, no wonder no one loves me.The mirror doesn’t lie!
The mask is still in her purse, which she has hung on the coat rack. She takes the bag out of the purse, empties the pieces on a tray, hunts down her super glue, and pieces The Dollar Tree African mask together.
Watch something on the TV.
Canned laughter, fake, beautiful people sitting on couches talking their humorous adventures in love and life. Oh kill me now. I’m goingto bed.
“Maybe today? Fuck it. Tomorrow,” she sings as she slips into bed. Mary Smith covers her head with her pillow and drowns the out the world.
The next day she picks up the dried mask from where she glued it together. The mask falls to pieces again. Mary Smith sweeps the pieces into the plastic bag and throws it away on the way to work.