“Jen, I cannot talk to you right now. I was sabotaged today. I have to go.”
I hang up the phone and sit at the counter for a moment thinking about what’s unfolding all around me. A good friend in the hospital for mental health issues and other friends who feel much like me and the waves affect us all. Who can I call now? I can write. I can go into my mind and sort through what it feels like to be two inches tall. I think to myself about how we all have those we love and how we all hold back to cradle them gently in a heartspace that keeps them around. Listen. Just listen. Eventually they come to that very idea that’s been gnawed by bottom teeth on a bitten tongue and lip. I didn’t say what burned in my throat because it had to come from the choked throat of the love object. The times when the words don’t come, when the lip becomes raw and red, are the times I write. Wondering the whole time how many red and raw lips I’ve created around me.
I’m embarrassed and ashamed and become aware of my own stigma and the mountain I climb as one of my best friends does a stint in ye ol mental health jail. She’s locked away somewhere in Massachusetts pumped full of drugs and unable to hear me when I tell her about “good time.” Good time is doing what they say, not putting your paper towels in tiny bags, reusing your towels, asking to talk to a lawyer every 5 minutes. Good time is nodding, taking your meds, remaining as quiet as you can stand, reading a book. Saying thank you. But, she knows this. She coached me through my longest stint of sanity this year. I read an article at 3:16 am about how it takes 11 times to leave an abusive relationship. How do I start and stop to count when, like the mental palace in Mass, I’m in my own crazy farm of relationships. Forever going back to the big house of love pumped full of drugs. I’m certainly not doing good time.
Free now, and another loss of meaning. Deconstruction and analyzing pretty useless at this point. In this present moment I feel pretty clear and I’m clear on what really helps me feel good. Doing yoga. Being quiet. Reading. Writing. Helping others by listening. Hearing a kid say “you are SO LONG!” Running so early in the morning. Running more than 10 miles in the morning. Not worrying about who I choose as my friends—mental illness ain’t mean nuthin. Appreciating the weirdness in tiny spaces. My truck and all it’s memories. Doing good time is reading books about travel, discontinuing the hate of everyone and everything that is assumed to have created despair, diving inside, writing letters, moving the body, playing cards. I can choose what I might do right now because there are a few feelings with which I can empathize. This unfolding is its own imprisonment and I can relate to those four walls.
I have to go. I have to go away from whatever mental space has brought me here. I don’t want to live my life scared of what one silly man thinks of me. I can still be so vulnerable and say I get so, so, anxious and angry. I play the ice queen. My closest friends are very odd and eccentric. I really mess up with money stuff. I yell when I get angry. I grab cell phones, I posture. I’m embarrassed that I’m not smarter on paper. Most of my lovers do not please me. I don’t trust anyone. I’m working so hard on that last one. Trust and love just melts away that anxiety and anger (rooted in hurt and fear), when I trust I become a goofball that’s excited for any time together, I listen and empathize, seek to understand, remain curious, speak clearly and softly, love gently and loyally. I’m very odd and eccentric, living in poverty, have a hole in my wall from punching the drywall in frustration, am worried about writing these words, but I know I am not sabotaged. I can talk. Right now.
“Calling it lunacy makes it easier to explain away the things we don’t understand.”
― Megan Chance, The Spiritualist