"If writers possess a common temperament, it's that they tend to be shy egomaniacs; publicity is the spotlight they suffer for the recognition they crave." Gail Caldwell, from her book "Let's Take The Long Way Around"

"To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. . .always the years. Always the love. Always the hours." From the movie "The Hours", based on the book of the same name by Michael Cunningham

"Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly." Baz Luhrman, "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"

"A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls." Walt Whitman

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant or talented?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just September 27, 2010

No one understands depression unless they've actually been through it.  I'm not talking about "the blues" or feeling sad or even crying at a movie because it brings up some old memory or feeling.  Depression is when you feel all alone, even though you know rationally that there are at least a dozen people you could call, who would encourage you to call in the middle of the night.  It's the feeling of being all alone even though your best friend is lying right next to you and all you have to do is gently nudge him or put your arm around him and wake him up so he can hold you and listen and tell you everything is all right.  And he would.  Deril would.  But I can't bear for him to see me cry because he can't bear it and would I really be able to convince him that it's not him, it's me; that he's the one person in the whole world who can make me feel safe and unconditionally loved?  He's the safest place I've ever been.

In the midst of depression (which still exists, by the way, even though you might be medicated), you clean up the dishes, put the leftovers away, clean the cat box and put the wet laundry in the dryer.  You manage your responsibilities the best you can until you bottom out.  It could be temporary, like you do a few yoga poses after not doing yoga in a year and the tension flows out of you in the way of tears.  And maybe you're watching the "Ya-Ya Sisterhood" again at precisely the wrong time emotionally.
It's hard to write about my childhood, even though I've talked about it, rationalized, even come to terms with it.  But really, what's hard is writing about all the good stuff, the pre-Santa Monica days, the pre-Direll days and the pre-drug days.  The days before I got bullied for a year in 5th grade.  The days before my mom stopped putting us first no matter what. The days before, as Billy Joel writes, "AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz" (from "We Didn't Start the Fire").  I want to go back to the beach with my mom and brother and sister, with Chips Ahoy and Doritos and nectarines ("this one's really juicy", my sister said).  Matt and I would go as far out into the ocean as we could, up to our shoulders and body surf until one of us got pulled under too much and swallowed salt water and got it in our eyes and noses.  And then you get home, sunburned, worn out and anxious to shower off the sand that somehow is still in your bathing suit, between your toes, under your fingernails and in your ears.  That's what's hard to write about.  The bad stuff, the really bad stuff, I can write with adrenaline racing through me, another addiction, I suppose, a crisis addiction.  Things don't feel right if there isn't some crisis to resolve and survive.

I've gotten a lot of support from the people I know who are reading this blog.  My precious cousin Marina emailed me today and I am so touched by her words, that I can only say how much I love her, how pure she is to me.  She's had her own difficulties and hardships in life, and so that's not to say that she is innocent to anything I've written about or am about to write about.  But when she was born, she was like a gift.  I can't explain it any other way.  We used to joke a little about her name because at the time of her pending birth, there was a toilet paper called "Marina" and its sing-songy slogan was "Mar-i-na-a, soft as a sea breeze yet strong as the sea."  It was hokey for toilet paper but it is so true of the real Marina.  If I could have been anybody else, it would be her.  She has the courage and confidence as a girl and a young woman that I so admire and wish I'd had at her age. 

My consolation comes from a quote from a very famous, very successful woman:  "You did what you knew how to do at the time, and when you knew better, you did better."  (My sister cocks her head to the side in a cute way when she gets to the "you did better" part.)

Or something like that.

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