Archive for August, 2010


30 August 2010

i cut myself a little over a week ago. i assure you that i wasn’t trying to kill myself. it was more like a young girl, locking herself in her room, music blaring, while she runs a razor across her inner thigh just so she can feel something in this terrible world. honestly, i’d rather be dead right now from self-afflicted wounds than admit that i’m a pathetic little teenager seeking attention, but it’s the truth, sort of. at least the sentence about cutting myself and the next one about not trying to kill myself are true: i mean, i barely even broke through the skin when i slid the knife back and forth across my upper arm a few times, i merely wanted to see how it felt (i’d remembered from years ago not feeling anything when i tried the same thing and this experience was consistent — the cuts produced a small crease, and the following day a scab formed, making it seem worse than it actually was).

recently i told someone that while i’ve had suicidal thoughts for most of my life i would never be able to carry it out. my ideas of death over the years have been focused on hoping something would happen, like a satellite falling out of the sky to crush me or an errant hoof hitting me square in the temple (you know, when i’m cleaning out the family stables).

i came across something i wrote over eight years ago: every time i breathe, the earth’s supply of oxygen is depleted to such a degree that other people begin to gasp and, after the blood vessels in their eyes burst and form branches, die. a couple of years ago, while walking between the lines of a crosswalk, i started to become plagued by the thought that, instead of pavement, the road was composed of babies, staring unblinkingly into the sky. no matter how gingerly i stepped, my footfalls crushed them, suffocated them. since then, i haven’t been able to walk through the full length of a crosswalk. i wonder how much longer it will be before i decide that breathing is not worth the possible fatalities.

i want to draw lines across my back yard, forming a grid. in one square, a land mine would be placed. if i were feeling especially charitable, i’d take bets (in which square resides the blast? how many steps before i choose poorly?) with all proceeds going to a worthy cause, like my parents’ son’s funerary preparation fund.

i know what you’re thinking — how is it possible that this guy used to be even more melodramatic? — but let us try to overlook this stunner. the fact remains that i’ve obviously been failing at treating my mental health on my own, and pretending that sometimes-debilitating depression and suicidal ideation is somehow necessary for creativity has robbed me of a good number of satisfying endeavors. and it goes further back then the text above: it’s just that my writings from the womb have been obscured by amniotic fluid and such.

it’s not too late to change. life is what it is, not what it was (yes, that is a conor oberst quote, evidence the melodrama is still present).


an apple a day.

24 August 2010

i had an interview with a marketing company. i may as well tell you the name, because even if they call me i’m not going to take the job — and, also, i really want to show you their website. break point marketing.

(questions regarding the website: what’s with the shadowy figures with briefcases approaching x-files style? is business really just about globes and handshakes? why is the m in marketing a fleur-de-lis (you would think i’d have a leg up having a french surname)? on the contact us tab how did the shadow of an at symbol become a dollar sign?)

i’ve been to interviews before where i’ve arrived early to watch thirty people or more, resume in hand, walk into a nondescript building. i was thinking this would be the same, with depressed people being herded through as if on a conveyor belt. there were only four others in the reception area when i arrived, one of whom, who looked like he was on his lunch break from his job on wall street, kept shifting between looking at me and checking his watch.

i was the last applicant to make my way up the elevator to the second floor and mr. apple’s (yes, his real name) office. he was very short, small enough that he should have probably been buying his clothes in the junior’s department, the neck of his shirt gaping beneath his tie.

he started off by asking why i wanted to get into marketing. then he asked me if i had seen their website. i said, yes, fighting back the urge to giggle. speaking very quickly he told me the company set up shop in large stores like costco (he named half a dozen other places, finishing with, big names! you’ve heard of ’em) where they told customers about vizio and directv, though i’m not sure if they had separate or combined kiosks. the first step on the corporate ladder was entry-level marketing manager. at this point you were making six to eight hundred a week. then you were promoted to training manager, where you made the same amount of money, but had a lot more responsibility, managing a few locations and conducting the training at each. the next step you were promoting guys you had initially trained, firing the weak, and hiring those that were eager for success. at this point you’re making over a hundred grand, something to do with residual income from those under you.

the first promotion was guaranteed after twenty-four to forty-eight months and the second — get this — just four to six months later. the reason for the accelerated timeline, he said, was because they were way behind their store goals. they were a burgeoning company with a ton of opportunity for the motivated self-starter.

he asked me if i would be interested in such a position, but he didn’t seem too impressed when i answered that he, mr. apple, and i would make a great pair. i asked if he’d heard that one before and he kind of smiled, replying, not today, as he shuffled me out of his office, adding that he would be contacting candidates later that evening if they qualified for a real interview.

outside his office was a room that looked perfect for a children’s nursery (grey carpets, white walls, nice size), except there was absolutely no furniture. on one wall was a dry-erase board, full of numbers, like a scene out of a beautiful mind. there were three guys in navy polo shirts and black pants, talking to two others wearing earth tones, obviously in some sort of training. i heard one of the former group, pointing at an equation, say, see, right there? you’ve got it. that’s it. that is how vizio televisions are sold i presume.

as i waited for the elevator, i pictured mr. apple huddling with the others to come up with a stratagem for their after-work trip to the bar. it went something like this: if we all go for the blonde and block each other, not a single one of us is going to get her. so then we go for her friends, but they will all give us the cold shoulder because no one likes to be second choice. but what if none of us goes for the blonde? we won’t get in each other’s way and we won’t insult the other girls. it’s the only way to win. it’s the only way we all get laid.

q without u.

21 August 2010

today i saw a psychiatrist, and i don’t mean i watched an episode of fraiser, and i began taking the following medication. currently it has just made me feel extremely anxious, which i’ve read may continue for another week or so. more on this soon if i can succeed in winding myself out of bed (see, that was a really funny joke. geez, just watch the commercial).

i really like the thought to work???? caption. i mean, thanks for testing the drug so vigorously, wyeth pharmaceuticals.

coming to terms.

19 August 2010

when i purchased the stone diaries for my mother, i didn’t realize the book was a bildungsroman where the main character’s mother died during childbirth. i only knew that she had enjoyed a few of shields’s other books (unless and swann are beside me on the shelf) and that shields herself died of cancer (breast). also, the book was only a dollar at edward mckay’s.

i don’t think she ever read it, receiving it just a month before her death, but i wanted to isolate one section, spoken by (the character) labina anythony green dukes:

i held my tongue and tried not to scold or fret too much over the things she’d do. i’d say to myself, remember this poor child is motherless, and there’s not one thing worse in this world than being motherless

i know i’ve talked before about the concept of being an orphan, growing old enough to, in a sense, be my mother’s mother, and, as her biographer, so to speak, being the one people rely on for the story behind her life. i’ve written at length about the way our legacy changes once we die, with some uplifting us to pedestals we have never reached (and would be uncomfortable to reach) and others (this is where i, hopefully, come in) clinging to veracity, attempting to stay as close to reality, even when it is stinging.

i would love to give you a review of the book but anything i write would be filtered through loss and tainted by grief. obviously it can be argued — and i would not win this argument — that art is always shaped by experience, but still i don’t really want to talk about the book, okay?

i think i want to talk about my mother. it’s been slightly over a year and a half since she died. sometimes it feels like she died during childbirth, my memories of her foggy and made up from stories my family has told me, at other times — more frequently — it feels like it happened yesterday or is continuing to happen, playing on repeat to relive continuously.

while my mom was dying i sought comfort wherever i could get it, mostly in the wrong sources, mostly in dangerous places, because, so my flawed thinking went, if, for example, i was held at gunpoint with only a slight possibility of surviving, perhaps i’ll concentrate on that and not on the fact that my mother is strapped to machines, progressing quickly toward death.

for a long time afterward, i continued, keeping people at a distance, thinking that if i didn’t let myself become vulnerable, thinking that if i didn’t grow attached to anyone, then i could never possibly feel that amount of pain again.

i was wrong. you grow close to people even if it’s not your intention. we’re like stones, over time tiny cracks form and water freezes inside those cracks and the cracks become larger. it doesn’t make you a failure to confide in people and show that you are not as strong as you’ve let on. not that it makes you a success to confide only in the four people that consistently read your blog, but i’m just saying.

i guess i’ve recognized a lot of things lately, over the last few months, and i’ve tried to quickly fix those things without asking anyone for help. maybe it’s time. maybe the people i have hurt along the way can forgive me for not being strong enough to tell them the truth in the first place and being too stubborn to speak to someone who could help me.

i know i’m being vague, but some of you know what i’m alluding to, and others can at least glean some form of advice, a primer for how to act, or a moral behind the fable. but i’m not asking anyone to make excuses for me, to restrain from scolding merely because i’ve been left motherless.

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