May 14, 2017


tomatoes and beans

I remember when I was growing up, my Mom always had these "things." One thing I recall distinctly is that she needed a blanket covering her ear to fall asleep. I don't recall which ear, but I remember it being a "thing." 

As I'm aging (which we all will happen to do) I am understanding myself more clearly. And defining my "things."

I am an anxious person.

Placing all other things aside for a moment, I want to really isolate the anxiety that I wake to every fucking earthly day.

I'm dreaming at a rapid fire rate. I remember no less than three dreams per night, and they aren't cute unicorn dreams. Last night there was a torrential downpour and a woman was frantically evacuating the venue (which was a semi-finished Roman Coliseum) and I snuck into a cue for the cab line that landed me with Stephen King as my cab driver. And the dream just kept going and before too long I was forced to force myself awake because I couldn't get the fuck away from Stephen King.

(I don't think I've even read one of his books?)

This is actually quite the most simplistic of all of the dreams I've had in the last year. 

I remember them all (it's a wake-sleep-dream-wake cycle) and in final essence, my morning routine consists of me calculating, mentally, where my brain was hanging out over the course of 8 hours. 

In dreams: I go to parties, I drink wine, I eat overcooked eggs and hard bread and try to talk through thick tongue to strangers. I try to read words (that is allegedly impossible in dreams?) and I am quite, quite present in these scenarios.

Anxiety: I've barely breached it. 

Take this as a for instance:

Everything on my desk is in alignment of some nature. When something is slanted at an angle that is anxiety-inducing to me, I shift it. Sometimes I'll even, as an anxious response, shift someone else's something crooked on their desk.

I have so many variables, most of which are unidentifiable or unable to be quantified specifically.

Allow me to insert that I'm aware of how widespread and intense anxiety is and can be for so many people.

I am unsteady when it comes to medication and being prescribed. I am aware that medication can be addicting, habit-forming, and compromise long term health status. I am unsure of therapy because I've been in it on three separate occasions, two of the instances overlapping while I was dating Greg, and none of these experiences did anything shy of bleeding my back account to an empty vacuum.

Ingrid, Denise, Robin. Three wonderful women with exquisite speaking mannerisms and unique separate styles of help. Denise was/is Greg's therapist, and he suggested sharing his sessions with me on occasion, meaning, we'd see Denise together. Oddly enough, as these things go, Ingrid, during my sessions back in 2010, was in that same Union Square office building (small world?)

I remember their spaces fairly well.

Ingrid's was slightly unkempt. If I recall, she actually shared that specific space with another therapist (I had originally attended a session in her UWS office, however with work conditions as they were, and hours, I was unable to leave Brooklyn, where I worked at that time, to travel that length of time to sit with her for a full hour for $150 a session. I learned, over time, that $150/session is fairly standard for out of network therapy. Ingrid, after one session, determined that she would wedge me into a more workable schedule for me at her Union Square office then.)

After that session, that very day, I saw Wendi the illustrator/tattoo artist at Rising Dragon tattoos who gave me my "Consumed" wrist tattoo.

Denise's office was far tidier, which made dumping my soul onto her carpet and into her ears more reasonable and possible. I got the feeling Denise was quite the bohemian in her younger life, and held onto some of those qualities as she aged (I could never really gauge any of their ages, however Ingrid was far and away the younger of the three) and then there was Robin. Robin came recommended by Denise as an alcohol-specialized talk therapist. Denise was gentle in her urges for me to seek my own therapist, and I wound up with a discounted rate of $75/hour, because I frankly was open that I could not drop the previously instated Ingrid rate. Oh, that, and lest I forget, Greg actually paid for my first handful of sessions. He had sold some Google shares and made out far more than he'd anticipated, and offered that, regardless of our relationship outcome to follow, as a generous gift.

I liked Robin. I to this day am unsure why I deleted her from my life. I didn't like any of the three better than the other, but Robin had a very poignant way about her, and she brought up alcohol gently as a discussion point to lead me to understand some things.

I remember, actually, it was during some of those final conversations that my pending relationship with Jon was surfacing, and that the decision of Greg v. Jon was a delicate but distinctive point in our discussions (mine and Robin's.) It was sensitive, of course, because Robin and Denise are/were friends, and Denise's loyalties to Greg were loud and clear, for they had been talking for an abundance of years already, so I was cautious with how much I confessed in terms of Jon and me (knowing that "patient confidentiality" was, well, somewhat a thing - not to say Denise and Robin didn't share stories over martinis at their beach homes of the saga of a slightly offish computer engineer, an alcoholic construction manager and a newly single web designer Dad.)

I do not, at all, disrespect talk therapy. In fact, in a different world, a different lifestyle, a different financial circumstance, I might consider maintaining it as a perpetual part of my week. But it was draining on so many levels - actually driving me to a more anxious mind frame versus doing the reverse. I kept feeling like I was handing over a wad of hard-earned money to basically talk my personal business with a very expensive friend. Imagine spending $150/week on dinner with a friend?

Anyway, so that was an unintentional tangent far removed from what I want to address, which is my increasingly alarming anxiety issues. They've escalated so badly that I look for excuses to work remotely because my office mate has her own host of nervous habits that drive me completely insane (and she is a good friend - I actually really adore her and love having her in my life.) First, if you look at our spaces respectively, the near-sociopathic borderline OCD tidy insanity of mine is basically the polar opposite of her fire hazard disastrous stuff everywhere approach. She actually wads up discarded (insert: whatever: napkins, Kleenex, post-its) and tosses them in the direction of, never quite making it to, our shared trash receptacle. Out of ten times, three or so does she actually stand up, pick up the miss and properly dispose of it. It literally has me in mental disarray.

She...ok, well, we all do this? Eats noisily. I've almost come to the determination that humans were not meant to eat near one another. Those few fortunate individuals who can slurp silently or chew with no escape of unwarranted soundtrack to accompany are select, and amazing. I'll eat with all of you at any meal at any time.

Office mate? I can hear the Drunk Thai noodles sloshing around through her teeth like fingernails on a chalkboard. When she gets a sandwich at Pot Belly, which she did Friday, it's like an entire conversation happening between her bites and her mouth's response. I actually fled the scene to take a phone call in a spare office specifically to avoid hearing all of that.

AND AGAIN: I eat like a disgusting slob making gross noises myself. I get that. And I can't stand it. My jaw makes sounds and my tongue and saliva and just...SERIOUSLY. We should all eat in the privacy of our disgustingness.

The host of things I can sum up is too voluminous to do so. I crop up a new anxiety-inducing item daily, if not hourly.

I was explaining a story to my office mate, who has a Mom who has an 8 year-old that she delivered much later in life, hence the 20-odd years of difference between office mate and her brother (Nathaniel) about Fitz, Jon and me. So office mate always has input when it comes to 8 year-olds. Actually, I think her brother just turned 9. In any event.

Now, here is me, on this fine, fine and glorious Mother's Day, reacting as a NOT-mother, rather, "co-parent," if that remains to be the case.

Last weekend, when we had Fitz in Queens, I sort of inserted a food laying of the law scenario. I'm truly tired of Single Dad Jon thinking Easy-Out Lazy-Cook Hot Dogs are okay for Fitz for every fucking meal. "Fitz, you hungry?" "Yes, Dad." "What do you want?" "Hot dogs." "Okay."

I am so over this approach.

When I was a kid? I had structure. I was disciplined. I was told things, not asked for requests. I mean, "Kid, what do you want for Christmas this year?" isn't, "Kid, do you want to instruct me on how to regiment your dietary interactions in order that I may better please you?"

It was this: "Kid. I made food. It's on your plate. Eat it or starve."

And that is exactly how I learned to function in life, moving forward. Let's disregard all of the really stupid awkward mistakes I've made outside of the eating discipline, for the moment. Agree to table. This is my blog entry so I get to do what I want anyway.

So over the weekend, I basically suggested that we would not serve Fitz hot dogs for an infinite amount of time, that we would fix meals and Fitz would have a say in the ingredients but it would all shift to homemade? Mind you, this recommendation came on Sunday afternoon after we had made boxed brownies the night before as a fun dessert snack for us all. Am I being hypocritical already in this conversation? Shit. Sorry.

Jon and Fitz agreed, and away Jon went to the grocery for turkey sandwich fixings. Upon his return, he prepared a turkey sandwich for Fitz: turkey, cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise, and plopped on the plate two huge brownies next to the sandwich.

What exactly is a child going to do with that open opportunity? Let's just be realistic. I can give him street kid cred for starting with half of the sandwich. He then went on to completely ingest the brownies and with nothing but the other half of the sandwich left on his plate, declared, Dad, I'm full.

These are the things...I mean, I'm not brilliant and I'm not skilled when it comes to "parenting," and I've clearly elected to not take on that full responsibility myself in this particular life, but these things seem like obvious no brainers to me? And part of me doesn't know if Jon continues to feel very guilty that he and his ex separated and that Fitz has been granted this life of a split family? Or is Jon just fucking lazy? Does he have old man mental incapacities that he swears he does that are compromising his judgment as a parent?

It may seem a minor parenting offense/example (my office mate suggested it so, as gently as she could) but in my mental state, where I'm at today, where I've arrived and with so many mounting anxiety effectors, it made me completely insane that this occurred.

And again - I'm stating something completely random that doesn't even remotely illustrate how intense my anxiety has become.

Part of my wishes to live in some other anxious person's brain for one day, someone actually clinically diagnosed, to see if I can set the record straight and just stop letting stupid shit bother me. I actually am not sure if I'd endure because I think I'm overly exaggerating every instance in my own head.

In other news, I did listen to an Alcoholic Recovery Podcast this morning and have discovered an Agnostic AA Meeting group and they happen to have Saturday morning meetings in Queens, at Woodside, one LIRR station away from Forest Hills, that I may attend this coming weekend. We have Fitz, but it's easy for me to step out of the apartment for a bit.

I'm not committing 100 million per cent to this yet. I'm at, maybe, 45. I just know I need to do something super major to not lose my boys. Jon is a foot out of the relationship door as it is.

Sad face.

May 07, 2017


potential pages from poetry book a.k.a. someday...

It's a regular overcast Sunday and I'm out to lunch while Hatch and Little Hatch collect themselves for a road trip upstate for Little to return to his Mom's house.

I used to go on those trips. I suppose that was when I was embedded in the throes of new love, much as those were the times he'd stare at me while I slept and when my eyes would flutter open, he'd say something to the effect of, "Creepy?" and I'd nod, and he'd proceed to tell me that I'm beautiful when I sleep, that I could be a "sleep model." Oh, the things we do and say when we're in those wooing stages, right?

But I don't go anymore, and he sleeps with his back to me. When we embrace, he pats my back gently like I'm a neglected cat. Our kisses are like old relative kisses on the mouth of a family member you haven't seen in twelve years and are awkward around. 

Honestly, though, it's going to be alright. 

Last week, he Photoshopped two photos of me that he had taken long ago, a gesture of love. And more recently, he has been helping me re-learn Adobe Illustrator so that I can kind of wedge my way into digital art while at the same time using my hand-drawn ink smears and creative gut instincts. 

Above: a smattering of things I've been up to over the past week. He's excited for me, for this and for us and for us to embark on future creative endeavors together. Equally, he forwarded me links to two electronic full songs he has been composing for a long time now, and they sound fantastic (electronic not being my genre but he's clearly quite talented, and I'm blessed to have his soul in my very midst.)

The weekend has been pleasurable. Fitz really loves joining us in Queens. We played Scrabble, Clue, some numbers game he loves, watched Discovery curiosity "Weird Wonders" episodes, ate homemade hamburgers and homemade potato chips, boxed brownies. We cuddled a lot - he's getting bigger every time he visits, but he's still limber and slender enough to fit comfortably against me on the couch while twirling my hair in two fingers. I gifted him $25 after he performed one miniature chore that I asked him to (we need to work on that) and his Dad took him to a neighborhood Party Store to buy a stuffed Husky dog (Fitz is currently obsessed with Husky dogs.)

Jon and I enjoyed each other, as well. We did a FaceTime session with Fitz's Mom Friday night and she wound up giving us her Hulu account for access to The Handmaid's Tale; she was exuberant about us watching it, so we did that Friday after Fitz went to bed (just one episode - I liked it, however feel that Jon and I should read the book - I've read, so it'd be a re-read, but it'd be his first time.) We had coffee Saturday after he went to the gym. Last night we rented the latest Rings movie, and had a nice couch date. 

Here is the thing, the ultimate thing:

he is my best friend in the entire world. That will never change.

If I do not stop drinking (I haven't yet) there is a chance I'll lose these two. I'm trying in my own ways, but I'm fairly sure my own ways are feeble and somewhat insincere (I'm just being open.) It's like...I want to? But I also don't.

I have vivid memories of the times I'd be restricted from alcohol - not that I had to have it if it were accessible but that its inaccessibility was a reality - and that anxiety is something I never want to endure again.

If I can adjust my mental and physical dependency to the knowledge that having it nearby relaxes my anxieties, yet I don't necessarily vie for it in my system, I'd be on a fair plane.

Of course, any alcoholic would tell me I'm crazy to think and dream of these scenarios.

Regardless, my most recent priorities are prioritizing healthier and more fulfilling things right now.

Work is massive, to me. I need to be a smashing success at it.

Being a semi-Co-parent to Fitz is huge on my list. That plants sobriety as a requisite in my garden of living.

Proving to Jonathan that our love of Phil Collins, Hall & Oates, Hangman, painting, music, language, horror movies, commuting together, iced coffee, hand-holding, clean laundry, going to bed before eleven, asparagus, Forest Hills, all as meaningful to me today as it was when we met three years ago...if not one hundred million times more. 

He has adjusted plenty of his lifestyle practices to my whimsical anxieties. But not all. Which should be okay.

I told him, two weeks ago, while walking to the train, that he had been cited a violation in the bathroom. He resigned a sigh and asked, What did I do?

I explained that I found his two sticks of deodorant facing different directions in the medicine cabinet.

He looked at me as if I had cracked a really bad knock-knock joke and said, Honestly, that isn't something high on my list that I care about.

He puts me in my place, is my point.

My other point? I will love him to the ends of the Earth and back, regardless of the outcome of this relationship.

And I will eternally regret if I ruin this.