Here’s the thing. I’ve been stumbling through the past couple of years of grad school in the unpredictable and impervious current of depression. I have managed my way through. I’ve stood upright at least once every day. I take my medication with food. I reach out to friends and family sometimes. sometimes. I see my therapist. On the days I want to hide away and bury my head in my cat’s soft, warm tummy, I push myself to walk the 20 feet to the mailbox across the driveway. Other days I run my 3.2 mile route to Meridian and bounce back on the Interurban Trail. Sometimes I force smiles at passersby. Sometimes the smiles are spontaneous. Surprises. they’re real. Felt.
This dichotomous existence of depressed and ‘un-depressed.’ It’s exhaustive. It’s distracting. Its splindle-y fingers like to play with my hair. and tie knots in my clothes. Some days I stick my tongue at depression. And then. again. I find myself at the edge of its undertow. Grabbing my tongue from choking my throat. Clenching my neck from tearing away. In my head, my mush-of-a-brain swirls and squishes out thoughts. black sticky thoughts that barely convince me that I’m not whole and I can’t be. that I’m broken and bruise easily. that I’m not worth the wait and it’s easier to cut loose. that I’m not meant for this world. and it’s not meant for me. it’s not my oyster. it’s not my playground. it’s not my anything.
And in my head, where these wicked mumblings meander through mush. I tap it on the shoulder. scream in its ear. and I say what I always say, “Shut the fuck up!Shut the fuck up!Shut the fuck up!” “You’re not winning.” We’ve had this conversation before.
Coaster poetry for Christi, who provided the inspirational word:
You say blue, I say gray. You see the sun, I see turbulence, vitriol, and mangled decay. You always wanted to live then. French Revolution. In your sodded petticoat and shaved matted hair, swept down cobblestone streets in this week’s ferment. Will you regret that you pushed me out the window? or do you just like the sound of “defenestration”, the way it rolls off your forked tongue? You use to scrub your eyeballs clean.
Coaster poetry for Rachel, who provided the inspirational word:
wait. yell my name in to the ceiling. I’ll do it too, with yours. but you have to look up. up up up up. they watch us through the rafters and let them go. the sounds. if. we push just perfectly. Do you hear them laugh when we pretend? Winks are echoed through eyelashes. eyelashes dance upon cheeks like trees on breezes. You are my favorite tree. I don’t give words to the truths I carry. They’re just for us. just for us and scream when I scream.
Coaster poem for Natasha Livesly, who provided the inspirational (and homegrown!) word:
place the stone. you place the stone. it balances. the way the tufts do to the core before you blow. they dance as newborns before they walk. they dance to words they don’t yet know. to be words or other things. a garbage truck. an ice cream truck. they smile anyway. pick your nose like you pick flowers. with care and calm. craft your moments. share your wishes. crawl to allow mute to speak. Frankenstein your life. freezer pop your lips. look at all this bliss. it’s an old country buffet. cake bits mixed in with everything. everything. go on. pick up a spoon.
the place i thought was just a dream. a bad one. the place i thought that’d shut its gates. rusted shut. encrusted in messy overgrowth. the place i thought that wasted away. recessed past the gray. matter-of-fact. place that i can’t touch. don’t want to touch. that hurts to touch. has extended its pricks and pins and needles. to pierce my flesh. again.
here is dark. here is an empty heavy lofty dark. no laws. no ditches. no perfect plastic limbs. no juicy sweet. no salted rims. no cataclysmic jellyfish. to wrap and tangle. strangle. choke. giving you a Heimlich. to upchuck the wicked sticky ball of reality. that tries to kill you. kill you slowly. as it makes its way up.
of my 3 dear brothers, i’ve spent the most time with Anton (Tony). we used to fight as kids. all the time. but, just before he left for college and i was starting high school, he and i formed a bond. seemingly, all of a sudden. we got along. we composed songs. he played guitar, i sang. the lyrics were fraught with teenage angst-y metaphors like being locked in a tower. and someone threw away the key. (deep stuff) he never judged.
over the past 10 years, tony and i have lived together 3 times. we lived together for a few years recently, until he moved out early this year. and moved in with the love of his life: Sarah.
i’ll miss his infectious laughter. his frustrating logic and solution-oriented responses when all i want to do is vent. i’ll miss lobbing back-and-forth the made-up words and strange sounds we’ve acquired over the years.
i’ve been hoping for Tony to find his partner. and i’ve often wondered what she would be like. i wanted her to be fun, kind, intelligent, caring, social, a traveler, and family-oriented. Sarah is all of those things. all of those things and more. she’s a beautiful person. she has become one of my best friends. and now. she’s my sister. she’s the love that Tony found. she’s the love he married on July 13th, 2013.
I’ve never read “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”. But I’m pretty certain there is an entire chapter about how to support a woman when she’s upset. (And I realize I am stereotyping here.) When a woman is upset. And is talking to a man. Unless she explicitly asks for advice from you – she is venting. She doesn’t want solutions. Or explanations. She doesn’t want silver linings. Or bright sides. Or to be told about the other door. that’s now open.