scarce, and thankful. black friday, 2011.

i can't honestly say if i haven't been writing because i'm so busy, or because i don't want to deal with what i've been doing and thinking about, but it's now gotten to the point of being completely overwhelming.

i can't even remember what i last wrote about, but it feels like forever ago.

my headspace operates differently now. on a different level, and at a different clip. but the same things float around my brain, just at a much less crippling pace.

still feel the urge to have a good cry, and i still can't cry.

to try to pick up where i left off, i had to look back. i haven't written about what the shrink said after i got the scoop on greg.

i haven't written about the little fire i've been stoking at work, with aubree's assistance, in the shape of a boy named chris.

or about my new glasses and thrift store finds, and how all of my friends are currently trying to get me laid.

i haven't written about the work we've been doing on the house, killing ten gallons of paint in half as many days.

i haven't written about aubree's birthday party.

and now i am adding thanksgiving, black friday, and my mini attempt to pick up a bartender, part one.

things have just been so hectic, with work and the house, and trying to resuscitate my social life.

having aubree here is the most untoppable feeling - i can honestly say, when she is around, that i don't know what i'd be doing if she wasn't. i don't know if i'd still be standing. having her work with me has been fantastic. it's helped me get some of the volunteered overtime i've worked back, by drastically cutting my hours spent there, so i can do all the things that i never had time to do before she arrived.

and the work at the house? she's been my main motivator, my biggest helper, and my inpiration to make shit happen.

and now, hot on the heels of another birthday, i'm determined to make this one different. every year since i turned 22, i have cried on my birthday. reflecting on things i haven't yet accomplished. feeling like i have nothing to show for my lifetime of hard work and dedication.

but this year, i'm excited for my birthday. i want to have a fantastic party with my closest friends, but also invited people i haven't seen in a long time. i want to have a house unveiling party. like a housewarming, without gifts. i want my old friends to play acoustic sets, like the one ever and i threw when the house was ready enough. and i want to have fun.

it's such a different feeling, and by putting so much pressure on myself to have the house finished by then (well, aesthetically, anyway), it's making me push through the time consuming chore of organizing, cleaning, painting, carpeting the hall, fixing things that make me batty, and keeping things nice.

so that i can entertain regularly, which is my favorite thing to do.

i was so embarrassed by this house for so long that it feels fantastic to have made such progress in such a short amount of time, and to feel pride. it makes such a difference in daily life here, and it makes me feel completely different about making roots in phila.

i hope that the party lives up to the daydream in my head. it's so clear to me now, i will do everything i can to make it happen.

i have spent two thirds of my paycheck at home depot in the last week. and i'm okay with that. when i get rent, i'll probably continue to. doing things ourselves is a wonderful way to save money and get more accomplished.

we started painting last weekend. i'd picked up ceiling paint when dad and danny were here, and had primer left from when we bought the house, which was still good, so i had a head start. i'd taken a couple weeks, toying with paint swatches, before settling on colors for the entire house.

i started with the color i'd picked for my room. but when i got it home, i realized that i didn't really want it in my room, and that it would look awesome in the hallway. i'd decided a month ago to get carpet, too. so the goal for last weekend was to finish painting the hall before the carpet goes in.

and we did it. pam, kim, and relle came over to stay the night and help us paint the hall. there were a ton of learning curves, and it was lucky to learn from several planning fails on a floor that will soon be hidden. i had to remember to delegate jobs. i was so overwhelmed by the task and tight space with five people in it, that everything felt difficult. and what was worse, i was on the verge of a panic attack. but i managed not to get too snippy (sorry, ladies, i know that i did more than once), and go with the flow.

and i could hardly believe that, at midnight that first night, the hall was a lovely lavender tinged grey, with white trim. while painting, i figured out where i'd gone wrong with colors for other rooms in the house, and formulated the plan, which consisted of using the same color in the dining room.

what was unfortunate was that aubree got sucked into my line of thinking, which is always to tackle the entire problem, instead of sticking to the one-room-at-a-time plan we'd agreed to. because prep is 2/3's of the work, and set up is a bitch, we started to think about painting all of the ceilings at once, then decided one floor at a time. we came to our senses once exhaustion set in, and reverted to the one room at a time plan.

when the hall was done late saturday night, we slept like babies, and woke up sunday to hang out lazily in pj's with breakfast food and coffee. but like an idiot, i started moving furniture to prep the dining room, and high on paint fumes, decided to start painting and prepping the dining room. and it was contagious, and everyone helped me.

by the time we went back to work on monday, the trim was done and the ceiling was done, and the room was ready for color.

monday night, we finished the second coat in the hall after a ten hour work day. wiped out, and awake until after one.

we did it knowing that we had a two and a half day work week.

and tuesday night, we prepped the kitchen trim and ceilings.

the problem is that ever destroyed the house. finding all the nicks and dings and holes in every wall and ceiling in the house is a daunting task. but i chose to be the patcher, because every putty knife of joint compound was like a little ever-magic-eraser, removing any trace of the disrespect i feel every time i look around.

grueling, up and down the stairs, up and down four foot and eight foot ladders. physically wiped out, holding extension poles and 18 inch rollers of ceiling paint five feet above our heads. i was working stomach and arm muscles i'd forgot existed.

work on tuesday was crazy, but when i got out at four, i went home to prep some more. and when aubree got home, we went at the dining room and kitchen and living room full force. i dreamed of having all three done for thanksgiving, but as it turned out, there are simply not enough hours in the day.

in the process of sanding drywall mud, and taping shit off, and moving furniture, the entire first floor was in a state of upheaval. it was continual stress to be surrounded by such mess. truly insane.

but wednesday, we got color on the walls in the dining room, with kim's help, and i started putting the first floor back together.

we were still painting at 430 in the morning. we hadn't done anything for thanksgiving. we admitted painter's defeat, and started with the thanksgiving prep, passing out sometime after five. and like manic crackheads, we woke up after a few hours, and frantically pushed through the remainder.

five days of paint fumes and mess later, without much sleep at all, i got a shower after everyone had showed up, and made it look like it was easy in my fancy new outfit.

last week, fueled by thrift store updates from nina, i took myself shopping.

i must have tried on fifty things, and only came home with two pairs of jeans (polo and levi's - amazing finds that fit without trying them on!), a sweater, a skirt, two aprons, and a button down jacket shirt.

but the sweater/skirt combo is a knockout. and i spent a total of maybe $30, and rekindled my crush on thrifting.

aubree is still giving me shit about a retarded decision to wear my new $5 polo jeans on the first day of painting, when i was 'being careful'. raked the paint tray, and the jeans are now demolished. she is pissed. i could care less. i mean, hindsight, yeah. it was a lame decision made out of pure laziness. i have four pairs of painting jeans already. kinda happened into three of them in the same fashion, one was my favorite pair of levi's. sigh. i can't be taught.

but with new (old) clothes in hand, i am finding that i am more confident, which is something i always struggle with. i adore sweater weather, and wool skirt weather, and gone are the days where i take the easy way out at old navy. i'm so over wearing shitty clothes. so i'm finally doing something about it.

and i think it might also be related to the new pair of glasses i'm currently rocking, which are also mostly to blame.

i haven't bought glasses in something like six years. i've had the same sad, broken, tired pairs all this time. no new prescription. one pair was missing nose pads, and one pair had a broken arm. so i never wear them. but i hate contacts in the winter time, and after a failed attempt to get glasses last winter and again this summer, i put my foot down.

my friend nikki works at a shop. and my favorite brand was having a trunk show, complete with cheese, beer, wine, and raffles. so i finally went. and dropped more money than i've ever spent on a pair of glasses on a pair of glasses.

i really wanted the $500 pair, but in the end i just couldn't do it. so i was stoked on the $220 pair, and jumped up and down the next day when the $5 i had spent on raffle tickets resulted in a fancy pants $50 hair salon gift certificate. it was thrilling. and the sales benefited canine cancer research, so i was doing a good deed, too.

while i was on the fence about which pair to spring for, aubree finished work, and rode back with me to decide. there was a cute boy, naturally. and also naturally, i couldn't come up with a single line to use on him.

the next time i saw nikki at the coffee shop, i told her that i'd thought of the perfect line on the way home, hours late and opportunity missed. she knew exactly who i was talking about, and said that a few of the boys who work there were making a big deal over him, too.

and that afternoon when she went to work, in a surprisingly bold move, nikki got his name for me. now i have to figure out what the fuck to do with the information, in a totally non-stalkerly way.

the night before, i'd made plans with kit to see phantogram. she was trying to get a boy to go to introduce me to, for my casual needs. he didn't make it, but the next day was when i realized that i have now crossed the threshold no sexually awake woman should ever have to cross. if i make it to my birthday on this path, i will hit the ungodly six month mark. i'd say 'fuck me sideways!' in exasperation, but that would only add insult to injury. insert jokes about dusty snatch and cobwebs that need to be cleared and sexual frustration on a daily basis at work. ding. they're worked into shop talk when i pant after boys who are entirely out of my age bracket, and would make young mothers hide their freshly-turned-21 sons. i'm finally starting to venture into the realm of boys in their late twenties, and have my eye on a couple who have passed the 30 mark. i'm working on it...

but in spite of all that, i am proud.

this year was a bitch. starting with the divorce, learning about ever, starting to date and learning a lot of lessons the hard way, meeting having something special, and losing something that meant more to me than anything else in the last decade of my life, bottoming out, and getting medicated.

it's ending on a high note, letting me believe that 2012 will be my year. i cannot wait for the new year.

i'm starting on an upward trend, and am excited about where i live, the life i lead, the friends i've made and kept along the way. a lot of people have expressed a lot of love in my direction lately, and that is what makes me tear up.

i'm becoming house proud, instead of hating where i live and seeing problems everywhere i look.

all of this, typed out, so far, following something that might look to an outside observer to be a manic upswing, complete with shopping sprees at obscene hours. maybe it's because i was geared up for a star party, and decided to paint instead.

but i did well. my first black friday outing since i moved to phila. i'd count the appliances i bought three years ago, but they didn't require anything more than a trip to home depot the day before thanksgiving, and a streak of good luck, where i could buy all my appliances for my brand new house at a fraction of the cost.

in the last 24 hours, i bought clothes. i bought things to make myself smell awesome. i bought twister for a party where boys might be present. i bought kitchen gadgets and sets of things i legitimately needed. and a garage door opener for that project, which i'd like to finish before the snow starts piling up, to save a ton of time sleeping instead of digging my car out. i bought things for friends, which is a resurgence of an old habit that i'm really going to have to get in check soon, before i go broke gleefully every time i leave the house.

in the time that has passed, i had my 'first' thanksgiving. while ever and i had a couple where i cooked, they were sad little imitations of what people think of when they think of thanksgiving. times when i was homesick for the family and food that sits around for days following one of my mom's epic mealtime extravaganzas.

the best one in the last several years was the one when i flew home before thanksgiving, and back on the day of, to have dinner wtih ever. i had a double thanksgiving, which i needed at the time.

but this year, i hosted. and i'd have made my mother proud, if she knew what all i did.

i dubbed it an orphan thanksgiving, because most of our families are not around, and because i wanted to start a new tradition at a time of year that makes everyone a little sad, and makes everyone miss what they don't have.

i wanted to try to brighten a day that was difficult for a friend, to try to distract her from everything that makes her sad.

i like to help people. and that's not always a bad thing. it tends to backfire in romantic relationships, but otherwise, i think it's a good thing.

and in trying to bring a little of my home to the city, i asked everyone to say what they were thankful for, and aubree asked to say grace.

it was sweet. it was heartfelt. i will cherish it for a long while. and it will fuel future holiday festivities being held at my house.

one of the nicest things that kim and pam say about my house is that it is legendary. i love that people want to come over and hang out. whether it's to escape the mundane, to hide out, to run away from problems, to be with friends, to vent, or just to watch football and shitty cable tv.

i love that, somehow, without having kids, i have created the house that i grew up in - the one with the cool mom (that's what they all call me - 'mom'), where everyone wants to hang out when they get together.

i love that more weekends than not, i have overnight guests. and that there's a regular cast of characters who show up on the weekends for slumber parties. i love that people have claimed beds and rooms and things in my house as their own. i love that more space in my house is 'common area' than just three rooms on one floor that never get used.

and i love using that good feeling to ride a wave that makes me want to continue the work i'm doing to make it even better. and this past week? i love that there's a team effort to help to make it better still.

i could never have done this alone. i wouldn't have. and so much work after so much is a priceless gift that makes me realize just how great a life i have.

and i love that aubree has seemingly been the bond that holds it all together. that she is my catalyst. and that she loves it here, too. that we do things when i'm not feeling up for it, and that i have a social life again.

and because i haven't said it yet? i love lexapro, too.


miracle drug.

the past few days have been a little heavy for me. i've been physically beyond pushed to the point of exhaustion. there was a time both last night, and today, where i was shaking, and afraid that i might fall over from running on empty. but everything that is good has fueled me to this point.

i think that i'm probably more homesick than i might think. i know that i wanted to share the holidays with someone special, and i think the heaviness is probably mostly made up of that. there's nothing like sharing traditions new and old with someone in that way, and i've been craving that since summer, and fearing it since summer, too. and now, it's here. it has arrived. and i'm surviving it.

no matter how good i feel, it's going to be there for a while, i think. and now that i've bounced back from the one-two rejection punch, and seeing joey at a show, i'm ready for the next round. i have my eyes set on two potential applicants for the 'next ex boyfriend' category.

boyfriend. there's a novel idea. i haven't been someone's girlfriend since 2001. that is absurd. dear god. i need a man in my life.

to back up a little, i saw my shrink immediately following the time when i was reprocessing greg for the nth time.

and again, i figured out something about myself. the reason why i feel so stuck in the same loops, the reason why i rehash things over and over again with every new piece of information, is this:

i am an overthinker. my brain needs to understand. and i suck at understanding.

when i finally figure things out, whatever that means at the time, i start to let go of the thoughts.

but when i get new information, instead of doing what i think most normal people do (ie. 'hmm, that's interesting. moving on...'), i take the information, and apply it to all of those thoughts, from start to finish.

i rip off the band-aid, and start picking at the scab of everything that has bothered me, forgetting every time that it will leave a scar.

and when there's a lapse between information, it takes my brain a long long time to put things aside, and let go, and get on with thinking about everything else.

as it applies now, i have been at points in thinking about this greg thing, where i honestly start to let go. i don't think about it so much, it doesn't have a daily impact on me.

and i have made a lot of progress in that department. but i was starting off with broken equipment. and when i rigged the equipment to get through the worst of it, that was a shitty start, but it was a start.

and because this is how my brain works, it dealt one way when he bailed on me physically. it dealt another when he bailed on me emotionally. it dealt again when he finally explained himself to me. it dealt again when i saw him on dating site. it dealt again, probably the first real attempt, when i got medicated. it dealt again when he ignored my proposition. and just when i was angry enough to really say 'fuck all' and walk away from it, it dealt again when i found out what has really been going on.

and i guess that since that day, twentyish days ago now, it's gotten better. but for whatever reason, this week it came back. the plans he made with me, all of the things that he told me he'd introduce me to and teach me. and i think it's because i really thought i'd be with him for a lot of holidays, after that day i met him. and when he subsequently implied that i would.

and the harsh reality is that i have a pretty good clue of what he's been up to the past few days, none of which includes thinking about me at all, and all of which include self-medicating.

when i went to the shrink, i explained this to her, along with the explanation of his situation. and explained that i always want to help people, and that i always minimize red flags and shitty technique with the list of excuses their diagnoses permit.

i told her i wanted to show up on his doorstep with cookies. and when she asked why i would want to do that, i told her that for the first time in months, i didn't want him to be able to ignore me. and i wanted to see his eyes when he saw me and couldn't ignore me.

but she called me out on it, asking me what i really hoped to get from it. at first, i had no answer and said so. and i thought aloud to her, and came to my own conclusion that was so glaringly obvious to everyone else around me: it was a horrible idea, and i had nothing to gain from attempting it.

and i'm really fucking glad i didn't cave to that desire when it felt like it was striking me over the head with a frying pan. gonnnnng.

there is nothing to gain from greg. absolutely nothing.

i told her that i don't want to be with someone who treats me like that. that i don't want to be low priority on the to-do list. that i have no business at all being with someone with his diagnosis. that, once again, i found a broken one to work on. that i'm sick and tired of those boys, and that he is no exception. that it's my innate complex to fix and nurture and help that made me want to take him cookies and physically show up to offer myself to help in any way that i could.

but it was a mean trick my brain was trying to play on me. because, as i broke it down for her, only one of four things could have happened:

one, neither of us have any feelings and it's over.
two: i see him and realize i'm not over him, but that he is over me.
three: he sees me and realizes he's not over me, but i'm over him. or,
four: that we see each other and it's fireworks again.

but the problem is that the only one that would be 'good' is the first. and one in four aren't good enough odds to risk any of the others, not to mention more information to apply to thoughts. and seeing that it is really over. i'm too fragile to realize he really could care less about me. i'd feel too guilty to realize it was a flash in the pan for me, and that he really was trying to protect me. or to find myself in another doomed relationship when we're both fucked up and try to give it another go.

at the end of the day, i don't want him. i just want the version of him he presented initially. he was really something special. but i think maybe it was a joke. or a trick. or some kind of a sick and twisted game on a particularly bad day. now i believe he believed he felt it, but it wasn't real when he thought about it.

and in light of his brain, i don't think that the version of him i was with so briefly would be anything like all the other versions of him i saw then, or know about now.

no cookies for that boy. his loss. and i say that with the utmost confidence in my baking skills. dumb ass.

i had to return to my favorite movie quote of all time, and practice telling myself silently when i feel my mind start to flirt with the idea of him, and going back: 'you can't be my friend if you aren't my friend.'

you can't help those who don't want to help themselves, or those who won't let you. life is too short. i can help a lot of other people, without losing parts of myself in it.

if i could find that version of him in an unbroken package? that is what i want. not greg. not his issues which explain why such a catch is all alone, romantically. and not being put off and ignored. the well adjusted version, in the flesh.


i can't honestly say whether it was my rebellious nature or determination to get back on the horse after being thrown off for what felt like the 98276098345879th time, but after i went through that whole headtrip with her, i told her that i can't find anyone online that even looks interesting to me. and that i can't date customers, which is the only way i really meet people at all.

but i came home from that appointment, after she said that it is my brain's way of telling me i'm not ready for the next thing yet, to peruse the dating site. and whether it was some uncanny coincidence, or one of the above reasons, i was inundated with the amount of boys who appeared to be what i am looking for. i literally found myself telling my sister that i didn't know where they all came from, or if i was just seeing with new eyes.

there was snow, and nuzzling weather that week.

and orion is rising nightly. it could be any of these things.

or maybe it was my brain actually letting go of greg, and realizing that i always use fantastic distractions when i'm less than happy. and that i need a new one, in any form. or maybe it was that i decided that he was simply not worth waiting for. because, despite what i told him and myself, and anyone who would listen or read, i was waiting for him to come back to me.

i didn't want to do anything to jeopardize another go with him.

and now i don't want to care anymore.

recovery. relapse. overdose. recovery.

i'm always looking for a good blog title. too bad that one's probably taken by a junkie.

pair that with a massive influx of hot bearded dudes at the coffee shop and city bars, and away we go...

enter chris. with the same last name as my high school boyfriend i thought i'd marry, to complicate my brainwaves further. marrying back into my mother's maiden name, and hoping that we weren't related in some extrapolated way. but i digress...

chris. he's been getting coffee for years, like joey. unlike joey, we all have had crushes on this one at different times. ashley was smitten with him. pam wanted to make babies with him (jokingly, of course), and i said he looks like he'd be lazy in bed, but that i wouldn't mind fucking him regardless.

and then something changed for me. with my rosy greg-tinted lenses removed, and blinders off, i found myself looking forward to seeing him. fighting to make his cappuccinos, trying to draw hearts in perfectly frothed milk. and in the past few weeks, going beyond the mundane 'how was your weekend' small talk, asking him questions to get to know him. coming out of the back room, covered in sandwich shrapnel and smelling of meat, when i hear his voice, with an armful of food to appear coincidental and necessary.

and then enter aubree, who has a crush on him as well, and encourages this venture. moral support, and a heads up when i'm working in the back, with a tiny, 'he's here!'

we both made banana bread two sundays ago when kim had camped out for the weekend, following aubree's birthday party. and i mentioned to her that i needed to find a way to get it into his stomach.

because if there's one thing i have learned, it is that the way to a boy's heart is through his stomach. there is so much truth to it. and i love that i'm good at it. more often than not, i feel like that is my 'in'.

i don't know how we had the energy to bake, following the party, but we did. and everything turned out quite well.

her birthday party was the most fun party i've thrown in ages. everyone showed up, got tipsy together. i'd wanted to celebrate 11.11.11 anyway, and she was here for her birthday, so we combined the two. it was so awesome.

the most amazing part was this card kim and pam made for her. they gift wrapped a piece of posterboard with all of their (and our) inside jokes written out, with glitter drawings.

we've started this thing, 'remember that time', where we say things the just happened or are about to. talking about things like they were years ago, when they happened seconds before. the timing is most of what makes it so funny. it's the new 'my mom says...'

so they wrote out all of the things they remember. and the one that made aubree cry, and the one that had me choked up for the rest of the night was,

'you left and we all cried'

shit. it kills me. it was just the sweetest card ever, and so funny. we were crying and laughing at the same time. the thought and effort and time that went into it was so amazing, and all of the memories were made in a span of four short broken up months.

aubree is just like that. she's so special. i have never met anyone like her. she is the best sister. she is an awesome person. and it felt so right to honor her that night. she hugged me after cake time at 11:11 double birthday songs in the kitchen, and said, 'tea? thank you. this is the best birthday.'

kills me still.

so beautiful. i would die for my sister.

i said it. i'll say it again.

i'm clearing my throat and wiping the corners of my eyes...

back to the initial tangent, about chris.

in a brilliant wing man move, aubree asked him if he'd like to be the judge in our sister banana bread bake off on her birthday weekend.

he said he'd love to.

so we baked. and i hoped he'd choose mine, but hers was really fucking good.

he didn't show on monday to pick up the competing pieces of cake, like he said he would. he showed up on tuesday, and we gave him a rash of shit about not coming by, and he smiled when he walked away with individually wrapped pieces, designating them dark and light, since it was a blind study, and he didn't get any info from either of us, so as to not give away who had baked which.


i've come up with some pretty good one liners to use on him, if i ever find the balls, the best of which is related to the sleep studies he does at the university:

'if you ever need a subject for one of your sleep (over) studies, i'm here.' topped off with a wink, because i'm corny like that.

but when he took the entries, he said he'd be back in an hour to let us know his decision.

and of course, he didn't come back. and on wednesday, aubree sent me home early. and i missed him by about fifteen minutes. she told him that day and a half was the longest hour ever.

and he came by the next day, missing me again by under fifteen minutes. and the next day when i was off. he asked if i even worked there anymore, which still cracks me up. he agreed to come by on monday, because it wasn't fair to announce the winner when we both weren't present.

and i got ready monday morning with that in mind.

i'd picked up my new glasses that saturday, and paired with a classically hot houndstooth skirt and black sweater, i was dubbed the naughty librarian. customers were asking what was going on. it was awesome. i felt ready.

until he didn't show.

a full day in dress shoes, and no winner. it was the worst. i fought with my body slimmer the whole day. walking from my car to work, it was up around my waist. just awful.

in a world where timing is everything, i was absolutely annoyed.

and the next day, i did it all over again, two skirts and two different body slimmer fights in two days. fancy shoes and all. and because of thanksgiving, the school was a ghost town, so i left after only two hours to work. luckily, on my way home, i told aubree that, if he ended up showing up, she needed to facetime me, with him, for the results.

and sure enough, he came in a couple hours later, with excuses and apologies, to find that i was not there, yet again.

so she told him we were facetiming the results.

i was home, covered in paint, looking an absolute wreck. but it was so awesome that i didn't care.

i was shaking, sitting in my family room, laced with paint fumes, while he laughed and smiled his crooked smile, and explained that my bread had won, despite having chocolate chips.

i'll try to forget that he used the word 'moist' to describe it (my least favorite word in the english language, second only to 'pussy'). and i had rehearsed all of my lines so many times, that my giggly 'i feel like i just won the lottery!' line went off without a hitch.

it was awesome. we talked like that for a few minutes, before letting him go. he waved good bye after 'happy thanksgiving's were passed between all of us. and agreed to prove his worth in the form of pumpkin cheesecake, which is the only thing he claims to be able to bake. which, as all of you should know by now, is my absolute favorite dessert.

and that is the only reason why i look forward to going back to work on monday after a five day holiday weekend.

and last night, after thanksgiving dinner and the immediate onset of the 'itis (ask your black friend if you don't know what this is!), aubree and i found a fifth wind to go black friday shopping. and she one-upped herself.

and somehow, between walmart at 10 and target at midnight, we found ourselves in wilmington with time to kill. i'd mentally prepared for two hours at each place, expecting madhouse masses and lines that made the great depression look like a picnic. but ending up at target with over an hour to go and a line of people waiting to get in at least an hour long, i had to pee and gas stations were all closed. we found out the hard way that wawa doesn't have public restrooms, and were surprised to find that our favorite secret bar in wilmington with $3 everythings and anythings was open.

so we took a seat, i ordered a beer. and we looked at each other, like we now do a billion times a day, sharing silent thought transfers.

the bartender was hot. right up my alley. he was old enough to get her approval (no 'we've got a cougar on the loose' shoulder radio transmission).

and my wing man went to work while i used the bathroom. starting conversation. excused herself to let me pick up where she left off. and like coffee's body language i was addicted to, when he talked to me, he leaned against the bar, close to me. he smiled a lot. and when he shifted away, he hopped up onto the refrigerator to sit and talk. he lingered.

he was sweet and cute, and my hands were shaking, while my brain tried to remember all the things everyone has taught me about picking up boys. i asked what he drinks, when he has a drink. and aubree said 'oh, no' when i told her he's a whiskey on the rocks dude (greg). and again, when he took off his striped hoodie to reveal an utley phillies tee (greg). and playfully shoved me when he talked about his attempts at home brewing his own beer.

he asked how we ended up there, and when i mentioned that i worked in wilmington on fridays, he said, 'that's why i've never seen you before - i don't work on fridays.'

i ate it up. there are a lot of people i might see that i couldn't say whether i had helped before. but any boy that i think is cute? i remember that.

he said he can't drink on the clock, because they work alone there. so i filed that away, and when i ordered a second beer, i fed $3 into the jukebox loaded with indie favorites, and put on a few songs.

aubree noted that he liked and knew the songs i chose. the shins, weezer (everyone in the bar was singing that one), matt and kim, and phoenix.

and when it was time to shop again, i was drunk. my new-found lightweight status is a welcome change. and it gave me the balls to slide a $5 across the counter, telling him to have a whiskey on the rocks when he was done for the night, on me.

his name is dan.

i will go back and ask him how his whiskey was, on thanksgiving night.

i woke up thinking about him this morning.

we walked out, agreeing to go back. of all the bars i've taken her, that one is aubree's favorite.

she is the best wing man.

my own tendencies here toward the manic are attempting to make up for over twenty prolific posts. it's like a reader's digest version of my life - condensed.

just add water.

5 am is the new 11 pm for this kid. it's fucking my shit UP. goddamn sleep deprivation and prolificity and productivity and manic bullshit in the wee hours of the morning.

i can sleep when i'm dead. while i'm taking a dirt nap.

i'm feeling a little ill now, and i'm giving up on more details, in lieu of sleep. the sun is about to come up, and i cannot stand the thought of watching that happen.

i'll try to be better. i'll try to restrict the novel posts to a minimum.

i'll try to get sleep.

i'll try to think less, and do more.

thanks for reading, readers. <3

the middle. november 5th, technically.

my mood swings a great deal. it always has.

my day was pretty great. who can complain when they have a bonus day off from work, and a three day weekend?

well, i guess that i can.

i'm feeling pretty sorry for myself.

not even. really, i'm feeling supremely sad. and thanks to my newest bff, lexapro, i can't fucking cry it out and get over it.

and thanks to aubree, i got a surprise period today? so add hormones to the mix. perfect storm.

yesterday, i pulled my shit together on a would-be halfday, mailed packages to both nina and the writer, which i'd been trying to make myself do since july. accomplishing that small feat felt pretty amazing. and upon realizing that, by rearranging my two half days into one long day, i could have the whole day off today, i did just that.

which felt pretty smart. it ended up being a lot of work by myself yesterday; it wasn't easy, and i struggle to put into words how tired i was yesterday, and how tired i've been in general lately. completely burnt out. from working 50-55 hour weeks and not getting paid for the extra hours, which is mentally taxing.

volunteering for the job that takes a lot out of me, for the same amount of pay i've been making for another two years now.

last week, i told kenna i wanted a raise, and she agreed that i deserve one. it will probably be the new year before i get it. money is tight, and all.

i'm hoping the money i'm saving the company by killing myself right now creates the overage to compensate me accordingly.

that felt pretty good at the time. kenna almost always makes me feel good about myself and the job i do. she almost made me cry, telling me how lucky she knows she is and what a great job i do. how she couldn't do it without me, and how i definitely deserve a raise.

despite the fact that the next part of the discussion was about where to get the money to make it happen.

all aubree and i do every day is work. and bike home. and get into bed with our dinner, and watch some fringe, and pass out two episodes later, and do it again.

the weekends aren't long enough to recharge the batteries we drain during the week.

i can't force myself to do anything around the house when i get home. dishes, that is it. after being so motivated and inspired from dad's visit here, it sucks ass to not follow through and ride the wave. i just can't make myself do it when i'm that physically exhausted.

if i worked a desk job? cake. but the frantic running all day every day is stupid. i need to hire someone else, and i just don't want to, because in a month, it will be over for two months.

it's kept my mind off of the bigger things, for the most part.

but so much has been running through my brain. biking to work, making sandwiches in the back room by myself, extra smoke breaks during the day.

there's the stuff about shawn.

and stuff about ever.

and the emotional leftovers from greg, which have been waning, and so much better/easier to deal with, until tonight. it feels like shrink was right about that. i just needed a baseline of emotional stability to be able to deal with losing him the way anyone else would.

i've been getting over it, and moving past it.

you know, the thing is, i am the fixer-upper. i am the one who wants to save all the broken boys. i always have before, and i think i'm just drawn to the broken ones. and maybe i will always be.

i've progressed from the boys holding the giant waving red flags when i meet them and ignore them, to boys who can hide their red flags for a few months before slipping up and showing their true colors.

but it sucks to see that pattern, along with all of the other ones.

tonight i'm sad, and i can't cry and feel better. tonight i feel sorry for myself. and it coincides with aubree being in florida, and being alone for the first time in a month or so.

it's the same as my quarterly crises that always fell when nina was having a deadline, until this month. somehow i went unscathed.

my little breakdowns are always when i don't have access to the people that i have access to every day that the breakdowns don't happen.

tonight i had drinks with alice, and tonight the greg puzzle pieces kinda fell into place. it was something i should have thought of before now. but it was something so far out of the norm that it's no wonder i didn't.

i had the thought just this morning, the irony of which isn't lost on me.

and all i walked away from the conversation with, to bike home, freezing, and fucking alone, was that i always want to help.

and maybe why this is so hard for me, is that he won't let me help him. he shut me out at the first sign of trouble, on his end. and now, four months later, and one horribly timed sext message later, his number is gone, i'm embarrassed at my shit attempt to spark something visceral. all i want to do is go back and send what i'd originally written to him at the time. my intuition was trying to give me an assist. but the silence from that, and knowing this now, would have made this feel far worse. so it is as it should be.

four months later, i think about him so much less, but still sometimes. every day, at least once, but probably much more than that. every friday, i struggle to distract myself driving past his exit. every friday, at least i want to distract myself instead of wallowing in it like i did for months. and thinking about the exit long before and after i came to it or passed it by.

i traded thursday for friday this week, so yesterday, i actually listened to some pretty ballsy music (sad mixes, of course) while driving, and felt pretty decent. my resilience is building.

i think my mind only wandered to him in one direction, instead of both. and i quickly changed the thoughts that flowed after to something completely unrelated.

but tonight, the anger that has fueled my recovery, as it relates to him specifically, has subsided. it's been brushed aside by sadness, empathy, and helplessness.

after all, you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. i say it all the time. and you can't help someone who so blatantly pushed you away. but if he just let me listen to him. if he just talked to me... i know i could help him feel better.

i really wish he hadn't pushed me away.

i know that, if he hadn't, the past few months would have been rough for me. all of his issues would have become mine. because that's what empaths do. but also, i know from several past experiences that going through thick shit with someone also makes all the feelings for that person grow. and it would have made a bigger mess.

i have always mistaken someone else's pain as my own. taken their using me as a crutch as some form of affection, and run into the sunset talking about being in love and feeling love or something like it, while he (whoever 'he' happens to be), could give two shits about me once they're through their darkest hours. all fixed up for someone else to appreciate.

time and again.

not to mention, all of the enabling i am so fantastic at. every time. and usually for long stints without even being aware that i'm doing it at all.

fuck all, i'm beating myself up again.

growing pains? this part always sucks. but i'm learning. so it's okay.

i had to reschedule the shrink from monday to thursday next week. just this morning, i had nothing to talk to her about. i never cancel appointments when i feel like that, because it signals a coming freakout.

this post is ripe with forty five minutes' worth of session content. fodder. fantastic.

i've spent the last few nights on the dating site, perusing boys.

i can't find a single one that i want to instigate something with. and i can't tell if it is because i'm genuinely not interested in the lot of them, if i'm too afraid of rejection in light of the week i had, if i'm still too heartbroken to jump back into the pool after swimming season is over, or if i just sense that i'm not mentally and/or emotionally stable enough to tread the water and splash around again. smacking the water in a shark's presence. bad idea jeans.

but, shit. i am lonely. i am tired of not fucking anyone. i am tired of not being kissed and held at night. i'm tired of not having a makeout fest at least once a week. and i am too tired of being tired to do a single thing to change it. well, aside from barking up the same fruitless trees for the last time and learning the hard way yet again.

i have seriously considered emailing matthew just about every day this week. i don't know why i prefer the familiar, but i'll do it every time. like looking for a job. i'll always stay.

matthew was fun until he wasn't. he was funny until he was a tool. but i could count on him for fucking around on thurday nights for a while there, and that is what i'm craving.

not forever love, not even love at all. just attraction and lust and a very basic like, and working shit out, and going about business the rest of the week without a sex-crazed mind. getting a fix.

which is a beautful segue into ever.

so i quit bitching on cwsr months ago about ever, and the money he owes me, and the utility companies. but in my walking life, this past week has been a bitchfest. thanks to the kitchen sink effect.

it all started when shawn finally came to get his shit out of my garage, when dad was here a couple weekends ago, after four months of being a total jackass and leaving it here.

a week before, i emailed him in response to his email asking if he could come by, by saying, 'sure. will you have any of the money you owe me?'

and his immediate response was that he should.

so i was hopeful. and then, naturally, the day before he was coming by, he started with his threats and dramatic bullshit. about coming unannounced with cops and how he doesn't owe me money. out of nowhere. because i told him to give me a time, that i was around all weekend.

i wanted his shit out of my garage so much that i didn't fight him on it, but did respond accordingly. and imagine my surprise when he supplied copies of checks written out to ever, for first month's rent and last month's rent, saying he doesn't owe me for rent.

i didn't believe him.

until i went to the bank and asked if they cleared ever's account.

they had.

ever had lied several times, saying he had let him live here for free. he was given $1000 last december, when i had to pay the mortgage for the second time to avoid foreclosure. first and last month's rent, as was clearly stated on the memo line of the checks.

problem being, despite the fact that he went about using his 'deposit' entirely the wrong way, ever has his rent for the last month. so instead of getting it from shawn, now i have to get it from ever.

piece of shit junkie that he is.

all i can get out of shawn is three months of utilities.

add the $500 to the $400 i had to pay to the water department when i moved in, and ever now owes me $900.

i know he has no money. and i know that you 'can't squeeze blood from a turnip', as the saying goes.

but i can file something in the court that says he is not following the court order, and when he can't pay, maybe they'll throw his ass in jail. and maybe i'll feel okay about doing it. because maybe he'll get clean in the process.

his tailspin is so sad.

my entire conversation tonight with alice was depressing. all the things we had to talk about were sad. ever, greg, her own situations, my mentality and total lack of dating prospects, and an inability to meet new people to change it.

all of it.

at the end of my second beer, i was ready to go home and cry about it. but i didn't.

this has been my week, mentally, in a snapshot. it's what i've been freaking out about, talking about, yelling about, bitching about. and the last few nights? awake worrying about.

it feels wrong to call what i've been doing 'worrying' because of how different it is from what i was going through before medication. but the return of sleeplessness and slowly dribbling thoughts when i'm trying to fall asleep is not welcome.

and like i said to her tonight, girls just like to talk it out. bitch and be heard. get a 'word' or an 'amen' of sorts from anyone they tell.

and this week, i've been using all of my girlfriends for exactly that.

i had a funny thought yesterday.

i realized i hadn't checked in with brownies for a while, or lauren. and i thought, 'i have too many friends – i can't keep up with them!'

it's funny because it isn't true, but also because, just a couple months ago, i felt like i had no friends. especially before i got medicated. i felt that life without aubree would be unbearable, and that there was no one for me to talk to or hang out with or relate to here, once she was gone.

i was afraid the girls wouldn't want to be around the sadsack version of me. i was afraid to see alice because of greg.

all i wanted was to be alone, and that wasn't as difficult once i convinced myself that i had no friends to lean on.

and now i'm struggling to give each person the attention i want to, the attention they deserve? what the hell is wrong with me? it's the backlash from being a shit friend for those few months. now it feels like make up time... i think about each of them often, and now it's time to act on it, and make time.

and in my full circle fashion i always dream to have, it's all or nothing with me. i'm either up or down. extremes. i'm either an awesome friend or a shitty one. i'm either really motivated or ridiculously lazy. i'm either fantastic or awful.

all i want is the middle ground. it's a recurring theme in my writing, in my life, in my emotions, in my thoughts.

lexapro is supposed to help me achieve that.

when i said tonight to alice that the reason everything fucked me up so royally with greg was because, even though it was just starting, i felt and believed that he was everything i wanted, all in one neat little package. all aspects that seem so important to me at this point in my life. they were all there and accounted for.

and her response was, 'isn't that a lot to expect from a relationship?'

but it wasn't about expectations, exactly. it didn't seem like i was hanging anything on him. it was just a feeling. the feelings that undid all of my thoughts and that wall i'd built, garnered from him being the best version of himself. it was just a beginning.

and i'm hoping that the middle ground on lexapro isn't too lofty in the expectations department.

because it would be pretty awesome to get what i want. again. and to have it last a little longer this time.

here's to hoping the next post is more like the beginning of the last one, and not so much like this one.

sometimes a warm blanket feels a little like a hug... i'm going to think about that for a while.

fantastic. october 22nd-23rd.

i'm exhausted, but i feel fantastic.

it's been an interesting week. mentally, i'm feeling quite different. emotionally, i still feel a lack of sadness, even when i think about things that make me sad. but mostly i'm tired from work, and having too much silly fun with aubree.

we really just gel. it's awesome.

this week was a long one, we both worked hard. and i don't know what i'm doing wrong, but my sleep has been off all week. there wasn't a night that i was asleep before 130. twice i was up until 2, once until 230, and last night until after 3.

i try to sleep. i get into bed early, even. but i am wide awake. i've taken ativan i think three times this week in an effort to sleep. one of the nights i was awake actively worrying.

having so much going on means that i have more to think about. and it's good to be thinking about things, because it's all happy positive stuff, being busy stuff, inspirational things and motivational things. but it means that i am spending a lot of time thinking about it, especially when i should be sleeping.

i'll take it.

the house is going swimmingly well. so much is getting accomplished. it feels so good. everywhere i look are solved problems and bells and whistles. some things are a huge deal. it's a nice mix. and i can't put into words how much better i feel about the house and how much more driven i am to fix it to completion.

* * *

it's now november. i feel completely different tonight than i did when i started this and lost days, weeks, even.

but it is called fantastic, so that must be how i felt at the time.

all of this was setting up something i did. and in hindsight? maybe not my brightest moment.

but at the time it felt incredibly liberating.

and very smart of me.

i had this dream when my dad was here working. he came in to wake me up, on my one day to sleep in, to make sure i was going to work.

he interrupted the most fantastic dream.

i was having a lot of sex with intern. in many different places. it was amazing.

when he woke me up, i was pissed. first, for being awake, second for the dream ending abruptly.

i got out of bed and got ready, frustrated and wound up, as i've been for a couple months now, safely.

and i texted nina to tell her that i would try not to hold it against my dad for interrupting my dreams of fucking intern.

and she encouraged me to tell him.

and call it what you will, but i was riding a wave of natural (kindof) highs, and was feeling really fucking confident.

after about twenty minutes of giggling and daydreaming and thinking about it, i did it.

i texted it to him. and then cast the net slightly wider, including greg.

and the silence from greg was overshadowed by the holy shit i got from intern maybe an hour later. to which i responded, 'reminds me that we're supposed to have beers. when is that happening?'

and another hour later, he didn't know.

so i decided. once and for all. told him i'd let him know when i was available (sounding way more confident and direct that i could ever muster in real life). the decision: when i ask him, his response makes it or breaks it.

and greg didn't respond. so i erased his number from my phone two saturdays ago. so i wouldn't make a drunk or sober mistake like that again. or even be tempted to.

and i texted intern yesterday. asked him if he'd like to watch hockey (gross, but he LOVES it) and let me buy him beers on saturday.

no response.

his number has also been deleted from my phone.

had i been in possession of joey's number, or matthew's number, they would have received the same text.

desperate times with a dust-covered snatch require desperate measures.

for once. and for all.

the silence and static of being silently rejected, not once, but twice, and letting go, again, of stupid crushes and held-on to feelings is a painful growth.

and that brings me to today. which doesn't feel like anything that could be loosely defined as fantastic.

in the bright moonlight, a satellite. oct 13th.

i started to write this post on sunday. it just didn't get further than a title, and one word:


sunday afternoon, i wanted to write. i was in a daze, ears still ringing, from seeing the lemonheads with aubree on saturday night. my ears were still ringing yesterday. and for a bit today as well. i think i might have done some permanent damage.

it was such an awesome show. i've never been to a show like that before.

i found out about it a few months ago, and bought my tickets (luckily) a few weeks ago.

* * *

and that's as far as i got on tuesday.

and now it's thursday. groan.

moving on...

* * *

so i bought tickets, and it sold out like i knew it would.

i just kept thinking, 'there's no way the LEMONHEADS are going to play. much less a tiny venue.'

i couldn't imagine being at a bar where i could just lean over and say hello to EVAN DANDO. i mean, shit, i was really into them in high school, and in college. i stopped listening when i got his solo album because it was a little country for my tastes, but to this day i still put their songs on my mixes. i LOVE the lemonheads, and it had been so long since they were around, i chalked them up to another nirvana, who were so influential to me, and such a big part of my life. i thought he'd have overdosed by now, and that i'd never have the chance to see them live.

and what was even crazier to me, is that they were going to play 'it's a shame about ray' in its entirety. which is my favorite. just a solid album.

so i knew it would be an incredible show. i didn't bat a lash at dropping $50 on two tickets.

and walking in and seeing them do soundcheck? i mean, i was a door and fifteen feet from him. and having a beer at the bar while we waited for doors to open, he walked right past me and i just stared in awe.

it's a mixed bag for me, emotionally. his addiction to heroin was in the forefront of my mind. it brought up a lot of the ever stuff i've tried to completely put aside. for days before, and in the week since the show.

the opening band was god awful. new york wannabes, with a singer all of 20, who thinks he's the next mick jagger. and hearing the merch guy/one song guitarist outside the bar, while i smoked to wait out the rest of their set, set me off. bitching about how stressful tour is and how he is so tired.

i'm thinking, 'your band SUCKS ASS, and you're BITCHING about opening for the goddamned LEMONHEADS???' i wanted to knee him and tell him to grow a pair and be a grateful prick. but i didn't.

we went back inside and listened to another opener. they were okay. i think they could be great with some vocal training, but they also seem like they're geared to be famous.

we stood at the front of the room for their set, and suffered in the heat without drinks and a smoke break, just to have a prime spot for the lemonheads.

and it was so so worth it.

the show was amazing. seeing evan's crazy eyes and wondering about how high he was, and if he'd be alive afterwards, was really shitty. but the MUSIC.

hearing those songs, and watching his face, cracking smiles every so often. everyone was singing the words. i've also never been at a show that was that much of a sing along. everyone was as happy as i was to hear those songs. people, including me, were beaming. fists in the air at favorite lines, dancing. the whole nine.

despite whatever state of mind he was in, he did a fantastic job. his voice sounded as it always has recorded. he looked as he always has, still hot, despite his 44 years of rough living. he looked worn, but the same. and there were no telltale track marks on his arms. i worry that he'll be the next elliot smith. but that worry was not for this show, and hopefully not for the future. time will tell.

they played the album. then he played a solo set that was longer than that. and then the band came back for a few more. they didn't go on until 1130, and i think we left around 115. my ears were ringing loudly, despite my futile effort to cram a ton of toilet paper into them, because i forgot my earplugs.

i just couldn't believe that there was no person, absolutely nothing, standing between me and one of my former idol crushes. best spot in the house. it was impeccable. i couldn't stop staring.

i left absolutely thrilled with what i'd gotten for the money i'd spent.

the best part was watching him play and sing, and knowing that he was fucked up, whether he was just drunk or not was something i'll ever know, and seeing where his eyes landed. sometimes he seemed very far off, but he was noticing everything that was going on where we were standing. he'd look annoyed at people who were drunkenly talking loudly in the front during songs. he shook his head at the guy who was trying to grab him while he played, and at the guy who knocked his mic stand in a fit of excitement.

but halfway through the album, someone ripped a seriously stank fart where we were standing. it was so hot and still and aubree and i looked at each other, like godDAMN, that's awful. she said something in my ear about it and i commented back, during the end of a song. and the look on her face was priceless.

imagine my shock when evan bent down after the song, and leaned toward my baby sister to ask why she was making a face. he asked, 'what's going on? why do you have that disgusted look on your face?'

what was cute was that she looked at me, like, 'do i tell him??'

and said, 'it smells like someone shit their pants down here.'

and i said, 'yeah, it's funky down here. it's too hot for that shit.'

he said, 'yeah... it does smell pretty bad down here.'

they said something else i don't remember now, and it was over.

he stood up, and i said, 'it's okay. we're happy. it's not you.'

he smiled, and continued.

that's the story of the time that evan dando put a show on hold to interview my little sister.

it was EPIC.

i got a quick overnight visit with brownies. which was awesome and kindof surreal, but so fantastic.

i have seen her enough and talked to her often enough in the past two months for me to feel like we live in the same place, even though we're eight states apart.

her visit this summer was great, when she drove up with me, but she saw me at a rough time, and this visit was so much better. i wish we'd had more time, but it was really nice to catch up in person and get brownies-hugs.

the next day aubree came back. i couldn't be any happier. it's so awesome to have rejoined forces with her, on this side of that depression summer. i feel so much happier in general, so much more myself, and after the way she left me, i'm sure she's glad she's back, too. i'm so much healthier, emotionally and mentally.

it's a huge relief. in so many ways. kenna was here for work this week, and i didn't worry about the stores i work at and see daily, knowing that aubree was there to help, and that i can trust everyone working for me right now.

the visit was quick, as per the usual. it was nice to get kenna-hugs, too. we talked as much about life as we did about business, which is usually how it is.

soemtimes i think she likes to listen to me and ask me questions to make sure i'm not going anywhere. we're genuine friends, and we care about each other. but i think it also serves to put her worries aside, knowing that she can still count on me.

we had a very candid conversation about how much she relies on me (entirely). how nervous it makes her, and i told her it makes me nervous, too. but she was happy to see things exactly as she left them a year ago. we were able to talk quite a bit, even if we didn't get much done.

and next, my dad gets here on tuesday.

let the housework commence...

* * *

and now it's sunday, somehow. this is the longest i've ever worked on a post, a full week, and there's not much to show for it.

but i do have a lot to say.

so now, dad leaves in the morning to drive up, they'll get in on tuesday afternoon, plan and assess the work, rest, and kick my house's ass while i'm at work.

it's so exciting. i will have a party or two when it's done. i can't wait to show it off.

i'd love to reconnect with my old musician friends from my married life, and have them play a potluck like we used to host when i was still with ever.

i spent a decent chunk of time this weekend in my head about boys. well, thinking about boys, but still heady about that one in particular. because i got an invite to a party where he might be.

luckily, i had other plans. because i keep thinking i'm ready to see him and talk to him (it's been four whole months), and to also believe that i could tap it and walk away smiling without repercussions. but i don't know if i would, or if the opportunity would even present itself.

i also thought a little about intern. it's because they're my go-to's when i'm all horned up. i can't help it. they both have that effect on me. but i also know that it's because, after a month and a half of medication, my sex drive is now fully awakened. it sucks for me, on a daily basis. goddamned thirty year old woman hormones. ugh.

also, i've told lauren and my sister both that i feel better about myself. and unlike before, when my confidence was instilled by one person, and taken away when i got rejected by greg, this time, i've accomplished it on my own. so it doesn't feel like it will be so easy to lose.

i got a haircut yesterday. it's a little jacked up, but i think i can use enough stuff to flatten the poof on top of my head until it grows back the way it will in a week or two.

it also comes from feeling good about the work i'm doing at work. having a successful visit with kenna was just what i needed. i now have the balls to ask for a raise for the new year, once the work i'm doing now proves itself in better numbers over the next six weeks. and i'll be fresh off of a vacation home for christmas and new year's which will also be awesome and fun.

another road trip with aubree. and a ride back with her girl. it's going to be fantastic. new life being breathed into the house and my life, making me feel like things are back on track again.

being medicated has had an interesting effect on me that i wasn't expecting. even when i'm sad enough to cry, or in a situation that would have been emotionally more than i could withstand before, i don't cry.

the flat affect. my highs are high, and my lows aren't as low. so i'm grateful for that. all the good without any of the bad.

but it does feel strange to be sad sometimes and not cry it out. pent up, the way i feel not having sex for four months. i repeat myself, when i say that i feel for the next guy who decides to get tangled up with me in bed. i hope the boy i choose can keep up.

i put up a new picture on my dating profile. and in 24 hours, 21 guys checked me out. if only i could find a crop of hot dudes looking for light fun on the site. it's not for lack of looking. i keep finding amazing dudes who all happen to be living in brooklyn and manhattan. it's unfortunate. if only i made that trek more often, i'm certain i could have a few flings up there, come back and not dwell on it.

if i didn't suck at dating, perhaps.


i'm wiped out. a weekend that didn't do what it could have to replenish my energy. i think that it's a cumulative effect. one caused by working entirely too hard for way too long. i hope this week is easier on me, and that i can get some breaks.

i think that, at the end of the day, my life feels more balanced now. i know that doesn't make much sense after the lines i just wrote. but it feels true, regardless. work hard, play hard.

i had an abnormally social end of week, and a social weekend. and it did a lot for me, mentally and emotionally. i am not pushing friends away now, for the sake of sparing them my debbie downer mentality. and i think it's partially to blame for taking so long to get to writing this post.

i got to see lauren, which was great. and i got to see the other lauren who used to work with me. it was so much fun, despite being so completely exhausted by thursday night that i didn't think i'd make it out of bed. and old tea, pre-medicated, would have certainly stayed in bed instead. but having the motivation to go out, and have a couple drinks and feel off kilter from the lack of beer drinking i've been sticking to, is a refreshing change.

depending more on friends to keep me from feeling lonely even when i'm not alone has been a nice change, too. and knowing that i'm a better friend who isn't so consumed with her own problems that she can't even plug into other people's lives has made me feel better about myself, too.

it was a horrible phase to realize (afterwards) that my friends needed me while i was depressed, and even when i could ask them how they were doing, i felt my mind wander the entire time we talked, thinking about how awful i felt, and remembering random things that kept me depressed for those months.

i know it's okay that everything happened the way it did, because i think i should have been medicated before now. and honestly, i think that if i'd been medicated when greg was absent, it wouldn't have hit me over the head the way it did.

but on this side of it, i don't regret those things all being prodded into existence. in the end, it felt good to believe again. and i don't hate him for waking up the things sleeping deep inside of me.

the way i see it, one of two things will happen next. i don't know how long it will be, but i'm pretty sure that the next time won't hurt as much. i won't want to stay in bed if it ends. and i don't have to walk around so jaded and convinced that i'll never find it again, much less in this lifetime.

it was nice to believe, even though it was so short lived, that i could find someone to connect with that deeply. and that i could entertain stopping the path to my bed that was simply that, to have something more, something multifaceted.

it was nice to have it all. it felt right.

and i'm finally over the part where i harbor all the horrible residual feelings from losing it. i still feel jipped. i still feel like it was special. but i also feel that, if we never come back to a place where we can share that again, i'll be okay. and i'll probably find it again. and maybe it won't be so brief the next time around.

in the grand scheme of things, it didn't take long at all. i found it a little over a year after i left ever. i found it just two months after i let myself start looking for it again. and like the records i set with him in bed, i feel like i broke more records, when i think about how quickly it all happened.

and i'll never agree with alice about him being my rebound from ever. i feel pretty confident that the time i took away from males for that year (with the exception of chalk, who definitively didn't count) kept me from making that mistake. and maybe solely because ever didn't make me feel those things after the first couple weeks i knew him.

if anything, he was my rebound from the damage coffee caused. it was so much more like that than anything else i've experienced. very old feelings i didn't know i was capable of feeling again.

i felt them. and as smartly as i approached it, i couldn't have been more careful as it fell apart. there was a coaxing that had never been there before. something mutual for the first time i can honestly say i have experienced in my life.

it will happen again. and i'll be okay if it takes another 14 years to find it.

whether it was real, or whether it was just easy for him to make me feel and think those things, i will probably not ever know.

in thinking about the dinner party, what i most looked forward to about being in the same place as him was the chance to be the happy version of myself i was when i met him. to show him that i'm still standing. i don't know why it's so important to me for him to see that he didn't destroy me ultimately. but i'm also realistic enough to know that, if he'd brought a date, i'd have politely excused myself, and probably taken a while to recover.

but aren't the payoffs worth the risk? i return to the previously optimistic version of myself when i think, emphatically, that it's ALWAYS worth the risk. for the learning and knowledge and experience itself, if not for something bigger.

i'm not scared now. i'm not afraid to ask hard questions when put in a room with another boy who broke my heart, just like i wasn't last summer. fearful, yes. but walking away with answers, even when they are in the form of unanswered questions, is something i can accomplish now.

i can work a long day, come home to a house that feels so much less problematic, and so much more complete, not be a drunk, and daydream about the time when that will happen.

after a major setback, i feel like things are okay again. like i've made so much progress, just as i felt before i met greg.

in taking things back (i had a frosty with fries on friday night, and listened to songs that i was unable to stomach before, without so much as a flutter), i feel like my life isn't ruined anymore, which was how it truly felt in the months following being ditched by someone i saw a bright future with.

maybe thinking about it still is a continuation of the setback. but it doesn't feel so inescapable now. it doesn't feel like a heavy wet blanket of sadness holding me down now.

i feel free again, mostly.

and that feels really, really GOOD.

one month. sept 30th - oct 1st.

it's been an interesting month.

a good month. a better month.

weekends now are something to look forward to. fridays are usually not dreaded. except with the driving and thinking parts.

getting on medication was probably one of the better decisions i've made in my life. i spend a lot of time thinking about all of my mistakes and regrets (i'm not very kind to myself), and it's nice to know that i finally got something right.

the first few days were definitely rough, but the first week was already an improvement, and the following weeks have been progressively better. i've lost a lot of sleep from waking up in the middle of the night, but i'm on day two of not taking ativan and being able to fall back asleep. i want to eliminate it completely, which is the goal, but the last time i got to day two, i woke up in the first panic since starting the medication. i'm changing the time i'm taking it on shrink's advice to not take it at night and see if i sleep better. it already seems to be working.

being at work so much was also a good choice. it's going to be nice next week when aubree is back and at work with me, i can take it easy and coast out of the gear i've been stuck in for a few weeks now.

laughing with pam and kim every day is good for me. and spending more time smiling at work than frowning/sad is a noticeable difference. a few people i'm around at work have even commented on it.

and my drive waking up from a several month slumber has made for interesting situations on a daily basis. i feel like i'm constantly sniffing out boys, and have taken back to daydreaming about intern and hoping for that encounter. i'm just thinking about how to accomplish the feat, and then how to seal the deal.

last weekend, i'd been on fb with him about a show we both wanted to go to that was sold out by time we decided to go.

he went on saturday while i was getting fancy, and he texted me a line from ween, from the show.

it made me blush and giggle, most likely entirely too excited by the fact that he randomly thought of me at the show, and because he bothered to text me. i cashed in on the text, spouting lines back and saying we should grab beers sometime. to which he said, 'yeah definitely'.

so there's that, in the back of my mind.

in the front of my mind, as per the usual, is that other boy.

i mostly talked about that at the shrink. why it's taking me so super long to let go and begin to get over it. because i'm still not. she attributes it to being secluded from friends for a while and not having the mental reserve and motivation to get over it. she thinks i'm just now at the beginning, because i'm just now feeling good in general.

the medication is doing what it's supposed to be doing: the highs aren't high, the lows aren't low, i'm not crying, and i'm not worrying. my thoughts are slower, so i can process them like normal people do (i think). and problems are manageable, instead of overwhelming.

but instead of beating myself up about the fact that i know he wouldn't make me happy and still want him back anyway (i cannot figure out why), and besides the fact that he stole my closure from me (can't figure that out either), she encouraged me to let myself be distracted by other boys and to not feel bad that i want someone next to me, short or long term. and to not worry that i'm not able to let go. that now is the time to start that process.

in other news, i finished 'six feet under'. i'd definitely not say that it was the best show i've ever seen. there were a few actors that i really didn't care for at all, throughout the series, some of the acting was pretty terrible.

but the last three episodes. the series finale? it's been stuck in my brain for days now. i keep thinking about the way they ended it, and have been wanting to rewatch it. it feels a little like saying good bye to friends or something - i guess that's a complement to character development.

and the last time i cried, it was watching that show. it felt good to cry about fiction, not reality. the end was so heartbreaking, and fitting.

anyway, now i can't stop listening to sia's 'breathe me'. one of the saddest songs i've heard in a long time. and hearing it makes the show's end play back in my brain.

* * *

riding my bike home yesterday, out of nowhere, i wanted to smoke weed.

i don't know where the idea came from, but i came home and took an apple off the kitchen counter, and hit it.

it was lovely. after a long week, all i wanted to do was drink endless beers. and it was 3 in the afternoon, so that wasn't going to happen.

i smoked. i sat. i drank an emergen-c, which was quite the experience. i sipped off the tart powder foam and giggled. i smoked a lot of cigarettes. too many cigarettes. i looked at the clouds. i smiled in the sun on another crisp afternoon that makes me wistful for fall weather.

and mike came home from work, and came into my room. he saw the apple, and i said i'd stolen it from him, and that he could smoke if he wanted to. and i told him i'd gotten stoned and had a nice afternoon. so he grabbed everything and talked me into going outside to smoke with him. we spent an hour outside, smoking and talking. and he started giggling like a girl.

it was silly. it was fun. he said he wanted my sister to smoke with us.

we discussed it. i can't be the reason she smokes for the first time. but i told him i wanted to smoke with her, too.

then we listened to music. and made snacks and talked in my room for a while.

it was a weird night staying in, but i'm glad that we hung out.

when we were good and stoned, i asked him if he'd quit the y and joined the jcc yet. he said no. i told him he needs to go ahead and join, and meet some nice single jewish boys, because i like jewish boys. and that he should bring them over so i can make out with them. he said that sounded like a lot of work, and that there was nothing in it for him.

this morning, i woke up early and made coffee after laying in bed for a solid hour thinking, and refusing to get up.

but once i did, i stuck to my word, and vacuumed the house from top to bottom. a few hours, spent most of that time on my knees on the stairs, cleaning the runners. there's still fur all in the carpet from ever's zoo and refusal to clean anything when he lived here. i have probably vacuumed them four times since i moved back in, and there's still fur lodged in there. but today, there's a lot less.

the runners look fantastic now, and it felt pretty awesome to clean everything in preparation for both aubree on tuesday and brownies on wednesday. i'm really very excited.

not to mention, it was beautifully cool and breezy, weatherwise, and all the windows were open, letting fresh air in. and sunlight.

and after two half-caff coffees, and cleaning the top two floors, i grabbed the apple and finished off what we'd started last night. and spent time listening to music in headphones and smoking in the sun. and drinking more emergen-c.

that's the problem with me and smoking.

once i start using that crutch, i don't really want to not use it.

like cigarettes, and blaming my writing for making me pick the habit back up again more than once, i blame headphones and beautiful weather for making me want to smoke weed more.

everything sounds better. i'm in my head all the time. headphones drown that noise out. even though things are so much quieter, i definitely have heady days, and today was one of them. cleaning and baking are meditative, always. and spending so much time cleaning with music today, i had a lot of time to think.

i knew i wanted to try to see alice this weekend. it's been like a month since we hung out. and after my trip to the shrink this week, she'd encouraged me to make an effort to see her, and to not be afraid to bring him up.

i guess i've been worried for a while that things ending with him, and the two of them being best friends, would mean that she didn't want to be my friend anymore. and i guess that as far as the shrink is concerned, any time spent thinking about that could be eliminated if i just hung out with her and saw that everything was okay. and that i'd feel even better about it if i brought him up and still saw that everything was okay.

and it was. and i do feel a lot better.

i didn't say a lot about him. but i asked if he was doing okay.

and she'd made a comment earlier in the night and followed it with 'but don't tell him i said that'. and i said, 'i haven't talked to him in two months, what would i possibly tell him, silly?'

she really didn't know. she didn't know what happened. and i didn't really tell her, just said that he dumped me and crushed me and broke my heart. she thought we'd just fizzled.

and i said that i'd tried to keep her out of it and not talk to her about it because i know they're tight, but that if he ever mentioned me, that i wouldn't mind if she encouraged him to do something about it.

i blame it on the two beers i had at the bar, watching the phils win the first division game.

i'm a lightweight now. and they had bells two hearted on draught, so i had a nice head start.

it felt good to take the phils back. the last game i watched was at his house. and the only game i went to this season was with him.

and watching them come back from behind to win with a bunch of drunk happy people was a nice distraction. i think that red october is going to be fun. the past couple years of phillies post season has been an exhausting hobby, but a super fun one that gets me out of the house and in bars with friends. it gives me something to cheer about.

i'll probably watch the games at home more than out, but i'm looking forward to it.

i'm just glad i got over the sense of dread, and sucked it up, and then really enjoyed myself.

and seeing alice made it even better.

man, i love pinback.

i'm going to try to moderate with the whole smoking thing. but man, it's hard. i enjoy feeling inspired. feeling a little more open minded. and wanting to make art. and to write. and wanting to listen to music in the dark, and really appreciate it.

it's better than being drunk and sad.

i can justify anything if i put my mind to it.

tiptoe. september 14th.

day fourteen.

and what is seemingly the first day of fall. it feels like the first day of fall. suddenly, brought in by a midday shower and some blustery winds.

fittingly, i accidentally listened to some of my first-day-of-fall music when i played my 'happy for sad' mix on the way home from work, biking.

i don't know why i picked it, but what played while i rode against the wind, nose running and all, were the coffee songs of that magical fall. the songs i used to break out every fall.

this year is different.

even though last year was the first in a decade that i didn't drag out all of my old journals to read through them in order, this will be the second year i abstain.

i'm sometimes tempted to pull out the journal i started in the fall when i knew i wanted to leave ever. the one i hid and slept on top of when i was still with him. and the ones that followed, synced to this blog, ever since.

but, like the others, i don't really see the point in that. i'm sure i've forgotten a lot, and that is probably for the best.

so far, my brain is definitely quiet. it's incredible, really.

there is no panic wake up on a daily basis. there is no panic wind down time at the end of the night.

i'm having a hard time sleeping, but it's not from a racing brain. i'm simply not sleepy.

and night before last, i bragged to kit that the 4 am wake ups were over, and sure enough, the following morning, i had one. but it wasn't waking up and staying awake from worrying. it was just waking up suddenly from a sound outside, and not being able to fall back asleep for well over an hour, because my body thought it was time to be upright.

i was too afraid to take an ativan and sleep through my 6 am alarm, so i just tossed an turned for most of the two hours until it was time to go to work. i only know i slept because i woke up from a really nice dream with a start when my alarm went off.

it's not that my brain doesn't wander, or get lost within itself. it's not that i'm not still thinking about what i've lost, or how sad i've been. it's not that i'm not thinking about work and the house and finances.

it's that i'm not worrying about all of it. not simultaneously. and definitely not to the point where i'm sick inside.

i still have moments. yesterday was full of them. i blame it on suck store. everything about working there makes me think of him. all those hours and days and weeks spent writing him and thinking about how happy i was. reading excitedly everything he wrote back to me while i was bored there, in an effort to keep me entertained, like it was his job. and the drive. i thought that being away from there for a couple weeks would help get that shit out of my head, but the truth is, it just doesn't.

and some people i hadn't seen in months asked me how it was going with him. luckily, i'm medicated, or i'd likely have burst into tears. but instead, i kept it simple: 'he dumped me. i'll never understand it, but he did.'

i've been so much better. last weekend, i was looking forward to the time away from work. i've been working 10 and 11 hour days for a week now, and have worn myself completely out.

it's intentional. the busier i am, and the more i work, the less time i have to waste and be sad and think about where i am in life. it's how i got through the end of ever. i'm doing it again.

because it works.

it feels good to be doing well at work, it's rewarding. and besides hating the alarm when it goes off, i'm into it. it makes me feel like i deserve the weekends.

i woke up last saturday and went for a bike ride. a nice long ride on the path along the river. and it was so rewarding. to be out of bed and content to be alone with myself and my head. i was loaded down with freshly downloaded albums to listen to and fall for. and to push myself out of my comfort zone, which is the place where i do nothing public alone. and i didn't get all heady and ruin a good time, which was the best part of all.

i'm glad i cut back on drinking, because the other way i got through that initial time alone post-ever was to go to the bar alone. and i'm just not there yet, and it's okay with me that i'll probably never be. those nights made me feel more alone and awkward than most others. i'm all good with that. i'm plenty awkward and lonely without adding that nonsense to the mix.

most of the reason why i'm awake at night stems from longing for someone to hold me. i've caught myself smiling, thinking about the nights most recently when i wasn't alone.

i cannot believe that i've not had sex for over three months now.

i'm so grateful for a total lack of a sex drive, because it's keeping me from trolling dating site for the next boy to attempt to add to my roster, which is back to zero.

what's funny is that i've actually thought of hitting up matthew. because it was mostly fun. but i think he wouldn't accept or acknowledge my advances, so it's kept me from doing anything stupid. today is thursday, and when i feel lonely like this, i'm reminded that that was our date night, and that i spent several thursdays un-alone when i was sleeping with him.

joey floats around sometimes, too. just because of work. he'll never buy another cup of coffee from me, and i'm okay with that. but i still want to punch him in the arm and call him a bonehead and tell him if he ever wants to do that again, i'm game.

why is it so important to me to define myself by the guy that i'm hanging out with? or not hanging out with, in this case. why do i always want a boy shaped distraction from my boy shaped distractions?

i got so accustomed to sleeping alone, and then when i wasn't, it made me want it all the time. not in general. in a very specific person type of a way.

i am having an impossible time shaking the thought that nothing felt as good as being with greg. physically, while i was sleeping, but more so when we weren't sleeping. waking up next to him. everything felt so good and so right, like it could go on forever, and i'd never get sick or bored of it.

but here i am, all these months after, still wishing he'd turn up and apologize and say that it's not the same without me.

and it's never going to happen.

the sooner i realize that, the better off i'll be.

and i do feel like i'm in a rush to find the next boy like him. who makes me feel those things. it felt so great. until it didn't. and all i want is to not waste those feelings and moments and connections with someone who didn't even appreciate it.

especially tonight, because it's cold. and nothing would make me happier than to have that boy warming me up under the covers. or sit with legs touching on the deck in the sunset.

i'll get over it. before the drugs, i didn't think i would. it's nice to have hope that i'll get over this. but that day isn't today, and it hasn't happened yet. but i'll be okay, and i'm not crying over it anymore, so that's good, too. the last time that happened was about a week ago, in the throes of hormonal shittiness. i blame it squarely on my period showing up the next day. nothing more, nothing less.

i'm taking my quiet brain to bed. i'm hoping for at least a dream where i don't feel so lonely and cold.

fall has arrived in the northeast. my summer mix isn't even finished yet, but it's close.

and, as if on cue, a quick look at facebook made pictures of coffee turn up through another friend's photos. and, in fighting my nature, i didn't blow them up and look closer.

maybe i am changing...

lexapro, day one. sept 1st.

strange and weird is an understatement for how i am feeling today.

i woke up hopeful. swallowing a doubly expensive pill because of my insurance woes at 10 this morning. in an effort to change myself and my life for the better. to quiet the noise in my head. to slow the racing thoughts. to decrease panic. to minimize mood swings. to level out. to be less overwhelmed, and more motivated to do something – anything, really.

i forgot it was the first, and i'd planned to start the medication on saturday, but decided not to put it off one more day, and to start on the first for some odd reason. seemed like a good idea at the time.

the instructions stated that it will take a month to kick in and feel a difference. the shrink is glad i'm trying it, but told me that it is a six month to a year long committment, which really almost scared me out of taking it.

but halfway through my session, i decided. i told her that i'd decided on my drive back from florida with brownies that i should do it. and that i got back and had a good week, before slipping back into bad weeks. and she said that's the misconception about depression and anxiety. you can have good weeks mixed in with bad ones.

in talking about my life events in the last month, she said that i already live a very high stress life, and have, and will. and that i've been through a lot in the last two years. and said that i need to think of this as a cup filling. all the stress of the divorce put some liquid in the cup. and then the house added to that, and family stuff, and work had taken me to the brink. and then this last loss was what it took to make the cup overflow. the drug will help drain some of the contents of my cup. and will help me get to a point where i can start emptying some of it out myself, in time. i won't have to worry about it overflowing (if all goes according to plan) and eventually my cup will remain half filled/empty, and as stress piles back in, i won't be paralyzed with anxiety while i watch it overflow.

we'll see.

this morning i took it after having about half a cup of coffee. i was nervous bellied about it, didn't get much sleep last night, and woke up worrying. but instead of letting that convince me to wait a day, it motivated me to take it, so i'm one day closer to not waking up like that.

and i got ready for work, and got back onto my bed.

i had a lot of work to do at home before leaving for the stores and delaware. it was a beautiful day out, and i was happy to be driving. until i hit traffic about ten minutes from the house. and more traffic twenty minutes after that. and still more twenty minutes after that. my thought for today was, 'sometimes you can only go as fast as the person ahead of you'.

i was feeling spacey almost immediately. and i guess being aware of the fact that you're taking a brain drug for anxiety can riddle you with more, out of fear and worry that it won't work, or that your body won't acclimate easily, or for me, that i'll be stuck on this for the rest of my life.

and i tried to quiet that stuff, to keep from panicking. it felt an awful lot like the old days of dropping acid, to immediately wonder if you're in the mindset to drop, and wait with a belly full of tangles for the shit to kick in.

i tried to positive talk myself mentally while i drove. 'it's okay. you won't feel anything for a month. you're going to feel better soon. everything is going to be okay. pretty soon, you won't worry or obsess or ruminate so much. take a deep breath. just drive. get where you're going. and keep moving forward.'

but by noon, my hands were shaking, i was feeling racy and stomach-sick. she'd told me it was okay to take an ativan if i felt uncomfortable, so i did. i'd taken an allergy pill when i got up to combat the congestion i've been dealing with for a few days now. and i think the coffee and the belly full of pills was not good for me. i don't want to take pills to combat pills, and the thought that i had a belly with pills floating in it was making the situation worse.

luckily, i didn't get sick. i still haven't eaten today. nothing sounds good. nothing sounds like it would settle my stomach. nothing looks good. not even shitty fast food, which is usually the perfect answer.

i'm hoping that it goes away soon, because i have to eat something. but i keep alternating feeling sick with being hungry. i ate enough yesterday to last a few days, but that is neither here nor there.

i had a hard time speaking today. forming sentences. completing thoughts aloud. focusing on anything, particularly driving, which is a horrible feeling, when you're stuck in three separate traffic jams, and wind up in a car for a few hours.

shaky hands. shaky legs. wobbly body. slower judgments. everything today took FOREVER. i felt very scattered, and more than once had to go back and redo something because i forgot half of what i was trying to do.

i just felt slow. getting ready, doing the work from home. getting every place i was trying to go, except, luckily, for the drive home. sorting through things in delaware. everything. or as kim is in the habit of saying right now, from hyperbole, 'all of the things'.

but somehow i managed to accomplish most of what i set out to do today.

i had to put off some pretty important things, cutting myself a break, because i was an overachiever this week and got a shit ton of work done in preparation for back to school traffic and business next week. i probably had worked all of my hours by lunchtime today, but kept going, and will continue to tomorrow.

had i been thinking clearly, i would have spent today working on more things from home, and had a full day in delaware tomorrow. but now i have two days worth of stuff to do, and i'm halfway done.

i drove home feeling strange. one part sad. one part nervous. one part heady. one part slower. one part cloudy. one part shaky. i'm in one of those phases where i check everything three times. i have a list. did i do that? can i cross it off? stay focused. cross things off. and keep to yourself, and try not to talk a lot. write everything down when you think it. and then don't forget where you wrote it. and then don't lose the list.

i tried to talk as little as possible today.

because when i'm quiet, i don't feel so strange. but when i open my mouth to speak, it's like i've developed a stutter or something. nonsensical things pour out. and there are long pauses while my brain matches subject to predicate.

i'm going to feel better soon. that is my mantra for september. and my optimism is telling me that, by the time aubree gets back, even if it's just for a visit, in october, i'll be up for a weekend in new york, and social outings with friends. i'll be up for housework. i'll have burned through all of the internet tv and won't have the desire to lay around and watch things in an attempt to shut off my brain, which is only ever a temporary solution and a profound waste of time. one that drops my brain right back off at the start when the credits roll.

yesterday, i came back from running work errands and popped in my netflix movie. one day, i'll think to read the little blurbs they write about movies before i watch them. i hate spoilers, so usually, i'll watch something based on who is in it, and intentionally not read the synopsis. i happen to love joseph gordon-levitt. mostly thanks to 500 days of summer. but there was a movie i watched a couple months ago that he was in, that was fucked up. and i still didn't learn my lesson. and found something else he was in. i watched 'mysterious skin'.

really really rough. and like always, i'm stubborn about finishing what i start. so ten minutes in, when i knew where it was going, i kept watching, until the end. buckle up if you watch it. two themes: pedophiles and teenage prostitution.

just awful. so fucked up.

but i finished that and sealed it up, feeling relieved that it was over, and kept working.

something really fucked up happened, right after that.

i was home from work early, i had a lot to do for work, but from home on my laptop. i didn't much feel like running errands, but didn't want to put them off, so i made myself go. came home, worked some more.

it's never unusual to hear sirens in phila. all day, all night, randomly. busier streets have more. the street i'm on now and the one from the apartment i shared with ever were frequent. halfway house apartment and the one i lived in alone, not as much.

i thought nothing of the ambulance, and plugged along.

two hours later, after the movie, mike got home from work and called out to me from the front door.

there was a sound in his voice that set off little warning buzzers in my brain.

'did you see what's going on outside?'

i said no, and dan and i followed him outside to the stoop.

a block up from my house, on my street, everything was cordoned off with police tape. crime scene units, tons of cops in cars and vans, news camera crews on all sides, one camera pointed in our direction. and of course, every neighbor trying to see what they could see for two city blocks.

the commissioner was even there.

a mother had killed her two children in their home. one block away.

word on the streets: she shot them on sunday. and they were all inside until yesterday at four, when the ambulance showed, and the flurry began.

i don't know the story. i don't like to watch the news. but i'll look it up online to see how much of what was said was true.

but how fucking FUCKED UP is that? killing children? i cannot fathom.

(she stabbed them, the grandmother came home and found them. twelve and eight. the rest was accurate)

and that experience on the stoop two short days after dan moved in led to a conversation about street smarts, and crime and violence in the city. and i'm pretty sure he was horrified.

i did my best to tell him that i only feel safe because the crime is almost always targeted. drug dealers and thugs taking each other out and the like. but mike kept saying things to detract from that.

and after we all sat outside and smoked and talked for a long time, we went back inside, making our dinners and going our separate ways. and that ill feeling didn't pass for a while.

* * *

i don't know. the last few hours since i started this felt normal. and now? back to weird. uneasy, but not bad. it's all in my gut. that sinking feeling you have when you get bad news. i hate that feeling. i live with that feeling often, because of all the worrying, panicking. but this is that feeling without the panic. it's like the aftermath. calming down, and feeling drained, depleted, empty. but still sick.

in an effort to not be a complete retard, i had one beer when i came home, with dinner. i really want another, because that is my habit. but if i want this to work for me, i'm going to have to save two beer nights for weekends and special occasions.

i thought today about trying to quit smoking. it was fleeting. i know it's awful, and expensive. but, like my ramen dinners, it's comforting.

today, all that driving, i'd normally have killed a third of a pack by the time i got home, maybe more. today i had half as many, because of the feeling in my stomach. it's not uncommon for antidepressants to accidentally help people quit smoking who didn't set out to.

and what's more, after a day of not being able to eat, one beer would normally set me a little off-kilter. but not tonight.

it's most likely in my head, but i am wondering if reuptake inhibitors keep alcohol and cigarettes from achieving desired effects.

maybe that long list of side effects will include some positive ones as well. cutting back on things that have exceeded beyond most people's idea of moderation for me personally won't be a bad thing. it's something i have known i wanted to do for a long time, but just couldn't.

having a few drinks to relax and fall asleep at night, smoking and thinking, smoking and trying not to think, they became my comforts when i left ever, and during all the rough patches since.

but i think that as long as i'm taking such a drastic measure to make myself feel better, knowing the things that don't make me feel better, and trying to ease up on them a little, seems like the right accompaniment.

smoking might be a little harder to squash. and i'm not by any stretch of the imagination saying that i'm trying to quit.

this entire process is going to be about breaking associations. taking back all the things that i experience daily, that have made me sad enough to cry when i happen into them, is the start of it. today i hit a few songs on the road that normally would make me skip them, because i just can't sit through them. because of where they make my head go. and call it my psychology background and training, but i made myself sit through them today, some little version of exposure therapy. and my mind went there, but i didn't cry. baby steps.

next will be baseball games on tv. i've missed quite a bit, in an effort to not think about who i'd rather be watching or attending them with. mike said last night that it's ridiculous to let someone take away an entire sport. and he was right. it sounds absolutely asinine. all the things like that, i need to start taking them back. the drives past the exit, the cars i'm stuck on the road with.

one day it won't matter anymore that once they stood for something very different. once they made me smile while i passed them. and i'll be better when they don't make me sad anymore. it will take a long time to get there, and it starts with averting my eyes now, which i've been doing for a few weeks. eventually, i won't even see them. i know this from my past.

all of the music was different just a few short months ago. and in a little while longer, they won't make me embarrassed and sad anymore. they won't make me feel such strong regret for getting swept up in things and carried away before i was so violently dropped.

they won't make me want to waste time. they won't make me wish time away. they won't make me feel the desire to be un-alone. and they won't make me sad to be alone.

the shrink said this is, at a minimum, a six month commitment. that she'd prefer a year. and that most people, after that time has passed, don't want to live without the drug, because they don't prefer their life before it.

and despite the fact that i knocked the dust off of my dating site profile today, maybe three months is a smart window to tell myself that i will not actively pursue a relationship of any variety. six months would probably be better, but i don't want to set myself up for failure.

because it turns out that i crave that attention. that interaction. i want to curl up with someone so badly. in three months it will be much cooler than it is now, and i think that six would just mean another unbearable winter. and at the risk of picking up where i left off with some other undeserving guy, i don't think it's safe to play in those waters right now.

things are starting to make a little more sense to me, when i step out of the cloud of that boy, and just put him aside. i was drowning in there. i have been. past tense isn't even appropriate, because several times a day, i go right back there again.

but to know that it is over, and that i can't imagine a future where it doesn't stay that way, it's giving me a little clarity, and i'm grateful for that.

i fell hard and fast. and i fell after being persuaded to jump. i'll be smarter next time.

because, really, that's all i can ever do.

with new scars and bruises. rebuilding that wall that i so smartly built for a year. i learned it the hard way once already, so the second time around should be a little easier.

is that optimism? i'm calling the placebo effect. but there it is, regardless.

happy pill. day one. done.

i survived, mostly without incident.