1. In the gaping sinkhole of earlier days, kicking and screaming served no discernible purpose, it only made me sink deeper, and tired from flailing and wailing, I’d give in, spent.
(Did no one hear me? ‘Cause I was making quite a ruckus.)
I lay in bed, an anesthetic veil pulled between me and all of you normal, smiley people, and I drifted, waiting to bump up against something, anything, just to be jarred. Between numbness and despair, I preferred despair. Feeling its wretched undertow was actually molten relief.
Contemplating suicide was how I nestled with that despair, after the daily masquerade of pretending ceased. It was comforting, like the activities of childhood we revisit when under pressure: coloring, doodling, stacking blocks and knocking them down, just to see them fall.
In this secret room my fantasies of escape could gently inhale, exhale. Spaciousness dwelt in macabre scenarios. Imagining how I could die was my oxygen tank and I pulled on that tank as if……….as if my life depended on it.
And it did.
I had no control in my life. Nothing happened the way I wanted it to. Hell, I didn’t even know what I wanted, other than to stop feeling this way. Helpless and victim to everyone, to all the circumstances I was born into. All I knew were puppeteers and wardens.
And then it dawned – my first moment of light – If I had the power to kill myself, then I had the power to choose not to.
Slowly, more light crept under the door, washing across the floor and up along the bedcovers.
My mind split in two. Cleaved open. I was not just suffering anymore, I was the one witnessing the suffering.
And if one of those voices had the wherewithal to choose, even if the other one couldn’t see it, then there was still a way out. All I had to do was acknowledge it. I didn’t even have to decide. Not yet.
Just knowing an option existed was the most roof-raising, holy-fucking-shit revelation I ever had.
2. I think it’s time to start throwing parties again.
Not the sophisticated dinner party variety that I’m age appropriate for, where all the guests read the same online news reports and exchange their latest restaurant and movie reviews, and flatter each other’s weight loss, but the Sunday stew pot Bacchanalias I hosted in my twenties. Disparate groups showing up at my house wondering if they got the date wrong because while, yes…there I was, who were all these people?
Gay boys dancing, pickup-driving rednecks drinking beer, long-haired metalheads surrounded by the prettiest girls, stiff brainiacs from class, and the neighbors who weren’t sure if they were more nervous about the rowdy, muscled jocks or if they might actually be having fun amidst the cornucopia of humanity.
What I mean to say is, maybe it’s time to raise the roof again and watch the festivities commence. Remind myself of all the characters I’ve cast myself as, and all these other fabulous expressions I’ve gallivanted through the seasons with.
Who can I resurrect that will be the most playful?
The giant instigator?
The sexy flirt in leather boots?
Damn the torpedos! Someone turn up the music, will ya? And make a beer run; it’s gonna be a late one.
3. I have a box on my desk with five passports in it. Four of them are mine and one belonged to my father, who passed in November. His was issued the year we met him (technically, he’s my stepfather); he went to Germany with his mother and sister.
It used to be that when you went to Europe, you got a stamp for each country visited, and collecting these inked pages was like those old photo albums that sat on your grandparents’ coffee table – signposts of a time and place that only exists in memory. Now that we have the EU and global connectivity and paperless paper, aren’t we playing in a unified field of dreams, where everybody’s simultaneously in costume on stage and clapping from the orchestra seats?
If we’re all collective conscious-ing and retina-scanning, how will I remember what my dad looked like in 1976?
4. Recall those T-shirts from the 80’s, the ones that said in bold letters “Frankie Says Relax” and “Choose Life?”
5. This year, I’m throwing a balls-out, come-as-you-were or who-you-want to-be party and all of you and all of me are invited. Shakespeare said so.
Do you want to join me? I think it’ll be a rollicking good time.
The choice is always yours to make.