lundi, octobre 11, 2004

(Anticipating) Feeling Fine

I know I have been cranky lately while I've been sick. In fact, I reached a very low point here recently (which you couldn't know about without me describing it.) A couple of weeks ago, I hit a one year anniversary of adrenal exhaustion due to out-of-control pollen allergies. Truly, I am a person to be pitied. I moved to New Orleans- one of the premier party citays on the planet- and a month and a half after arriving was knocked flat on my ass by allergies which are off the Richter scale.

I'd never experienced anything like it before. Ever. So, yes, I have spent the past year pretty much incapacitated energy-wise. Lovely things happen to you when you become this run down: you lose the ability to concentrate, think clearly, manage your emotions, feel optimistic, feel joyful. Your appetite runs away with the spoon. You sleep and sleep and still wake up feeling like you've been hit by a Mack truck.

You visit your cute, young doctor who tells you it's all in your head. He wants to prescribe trendy antidepressants. You want to kick his tanned shins. "You're just depressed," he says kindly. "I am not depressed! I am seriously excited about my life, I just don't have the energy to live it," you retort helplessly. You suddenly understand the bullshit women have been putting up with for centuries. (OOOOH, so if you'd just cut out my uterus, I'd feel great and stop bothering you! Thanks, doc! I really AM insane! Good thing I have a rational man like you around to tell me what I'm feeling and thinking. Wshew! God's really looking out for me, isn't HE.)

You lose your temper easily. (Exhibit A above.) You exercise- which feels good- but still doesn't raise your energy level. You learn to manage your emotions. You learn to ration out the bitter grief you feel about losing month after month of your own personal, amazing existence to this idiotic exhaustion. You learn that you have to figure out how to be "happy" in a smaller and smaller corner of your world. Your expectations dwindle. You try to settle.

You can't. You weren't made to settle and you know this with your whole soul and it's breaking your heart. You begin (for the first time in your life) to think of food as medicine. You jettison all of your favorite things. Your cravings go away. If it works, you won't mind being a food monk. It doesn't work. You can tell you're better off eating healthier (duh) but your metabolism is still dragging its ass and your immune system has turned into the worst whore ever- consorting with any damn infection that's interested.

You make AIDS jokes (about yourself, obviously. There's no way in hell you'd joke about anybody else's suffering.) You make SARS jokes. Anthrax jokes? Anything to be able to laugh at how stupid it feels to be so diminished. It's not funny. But you're tired, so sometimes it's funny how not funny it is.

But... you start to write for the first time in your life. (Everybody's doin' it.) And this, it turns out, is something that a tired person can do. And this, it turns out, is something you have a gift for (to one degree or another- new and unpolished, certainly.) And this, it turns out, keeps you sane. This delivers up the same kind of joy that you find when you dance or sing or design for hours on end. And that, it turns out, is even better than nice. You don't feel "happy" . You feel thrilled.

Still, before you know it, a year of your life is gone- a year in which you couldn't get to the design work you love, the dance lessons you promised yourself, the singing you need to do to be happy, the social whirl which awaits your inner drag queen's entrance, the up-to-your-eyeballs amour fous you were going to have with this beautiful and decaying place you will only live in for a brief time- no, you can't get to any of that. You can't have that. Your mail is delivered each day to the 7th ring of hell. You can look, but you can't touch. You are reduced to longing- to pleading- for one single drop of the life you knew, the person you have known yourself to be. There is no Lazarus. Don't even ask.

Yes, that one year anniversary rolls around and you crash and feel lower than low. And remember again the heights from which you've fallen. And everything tastes like dust. And you get kind of cranky online- thinking all the while now why would I be that way with people I like? And you know the answer, but it's not a good answer (such an unsatisfying answer!) so you don't even bother to speak it. Until now.

This is current. This is work in progress. This needs to get better soon. So, I'm going to Houston, fokles, to see American doctors practicing European medicine. (Hope is a thing with feathers- and beads, probably- falling down drunk on Bourbon Street.) I can hardly see straight when I think of the time I've lost, but I'm screwing my courage to the sticking point, 'cuz I've had it with a year that has invalid-ated almost everything I am. I've had my last 'nice cry'. I'm not a girl now- I'm a fighter. That thing up there at the top of my page is aimed at me alone. I am this close to fucking fierce.

Oh, and did I mention that I never have been anything less than completely loved this whole lost time? God, it turns out, doesn't give a shit about me not being as cool as I can be, so long as we're not separated. He's so damn loyal. So, I got that going for me, which is nice. Hell, that is way nicer than nice.

I'm still tired, I can tell, 'cuz my eyes are watering. (Loyalty always gets to me.) Oh, dammit to crap. I'll say it, so you don't have to: I'm still definitely very much a girl. Happy now?

Me, too.

10 commentaires:

  1. This valentine has got your name all over it, M. You'll get yours. That promise doesn't break.

  2. Author's note: I have noticed that I often describe people as young when they are nearly my age and sometimes even when they are older than my 31 years. (My face isn't doing me any disservice. People usually guess that I'm anywhere from 19 to 23 when they look at me. I think I just feel old. And tired. And old. And tired. And old- you get the point.) I don't mean to be condescending, but I suppose, in a way, that's exactly what I am managing to be when I describe them thusly.

    I should do us all a favor and start feeling like the pretty young thing I actually am. Any day now... and how does that work anyway? Something about kicking up one's heels or feeling one's oats (oh, my) or laughing too loudly in public- how did that go? I used to be very good at this.

  3. Another beautiful work, h+p. Love your writing. One question though. What keeps you there? Must be something you love a lot. Enough to put up with such hell. Otherwise you'd leave. Or at least you should leave.

    I'm a big advocate of leaving if you don't like your life. A friend was stuck in a town she didn't like in a job she didn't like, and now she's wandering around Scotland, a place she's always wanted to go, and having the time of her life based on similar advice. I'm in Seattle based on similar advice. I was just in the wrong city before.

    If NOLA isn't your city, go and find it - it's out there waiting for you.

  4. Hey, World, there you go again with the good questions. I suppose it must be for something I love. A lot. Otherwise I'd leave. And maybe I should.

    I give myself that good "go and find it- it's out there waiting for you" advice, too. One way or another, the fuse is lit on this misery. Promise.

  5. One more thing. Don't feel like you have to leave the thing you love just because you're leaving a city. My wife took me along, and now I live in Seattle. Which turned out better for both of us.

  6. I'm very happy for you both.

  7. Oh, H+P, now don't you feel a little better for having written all that out? And so beautifully. You do have a great joy in writing (your slip is showing) and what's even better, you can do it anywhere! (Duzzit duzzit everywhere!) So it's time to move to Portugal. Or Milan. Or Chicago.

    NOLA, NOLA, you broken beauty. Our HP is allergic to you and must flee.

  8. This post is as purty as a ballerina with a stuffed up nose. Heck, you're graceful even when you sneeze. God bless you.

  9. h&p, I'm sick of complimenting you on everything; couldn't you just make a stinky some time so that I could switch up my feedback.

    (grumble, grumble, you prolly fart cute, sheesh)

  10. SBD's, darling. But I announce them like Grandma Hoagland. (I haven't forgotten my manners.)