God, I remember when this was a thing. This was a multi-day/week occurrence with me. I couldn’t go without sitting in the library and pumping out at least one entry, while writing stories on top of it. But now? Now I don’t write at all. I watch everything. I never read. It’s a shame, really. And I don’t know what to attribute that to. Is it my current relationship with Brendan? Is it that I don’t want to write? Is it that any idea that I do scribble down gets scraped for the next thing until I’m left with a trail of unfinished scripts for the same story in my wake? I don’t know. I do know that once someone spirals down this rabbit hole it’s almost like getting better isn’t in the cards. I don’t care what anyone says about “recovery” and all that bullshit. Because it’s just that, it’s total bullshit. You’re going to have your good days and your bad days just like any other human being, sure. But most other human beings don’t need pills, drugs or the threat of death at their own hand to motivate them into the next tomorrow. I follow a lot of people on Instagram. Some have chronic health problems like me and others have mental health problems (again, like myself). That unspoken view on life we all share was once what was so appealing about following them. When I was depressed, I loved knowing there were other people on this Earth that had experienced the same things I had. But now? I’m not sure if it’s a hindrance, a trigger, I don’t know. I see someone post about the ever-revolving door that is healthcare and I’m inspired to call my doctor and complain about my treatment. I see someone else post about how close thy were to taking their own life a few hours ago and I wonder what exactly I have going for me that I can just sit here with aimless abandon and do nothing. I watch shows and want to know where these characters get their passion, their drive to spend countless hours working for the greater good of someone else. I sit in the library, sometimes watching those shows, and wonder what inspires someone to bring his tutor flowers, or another dude to watch Trump rally videos the entire time I’m here. I used to use this stuff. I used to sit there and attempt to understand the human experience, to write with wild abandon, even if I was only one reading it. Now? Now the only solace I get from my boyfriend, my pathetic attempt at being an adult and my ever empty bank account is sleep. And even that is forced now. To get any sleep of decent quality, I have to drug myself. And once those drugs kick in, it is the greatest thing ever. My mind runs with wild abandon. I’ve even begun to relish my nightmares and let me tell you, that part of my head is a place even Stephen King wouldn’t go. Part of the sleep problem is the fact that Brendan is taller than me, I only have a full bed and the dog and cat insist on sleeping in it too. So, I’m short-changed in the space department. If I stay up, I’m literally up all night because the three of them are taking up so much space that my hips and back end up paying for it. I don’t have an excuse for the rest of it. Laziness? School? I don’t know. But it hasn’t happened. Writing used to be the way I got things out, it used to be the way I processed things, the way I understood the world. I mean, it got to the point that I wouldn’t go anywhere without a piece of paper somewhere on me. I can’t explain how many napkins have idle musings or story excerpts on them. Once, I had no paper, no napkins and a dying light. Still, I wrote in the margins of my wordsearch book until all of those were completely full. The next morning I went back and couldn’t make sense of most of it because in the lack of light, I’d double-backed over my own writing. But it was out. The idea was no longer this virus inside my own head. Now, though, that’s all I seem to have. And the only way to escape them all is to sleep, which doesn’t much work since once I fall asleep, I’m trapped with them. I’m trapped with the gruesome thoughts, the murderous fears, all of it, until my alarm sounds the next morning. And then I wake up, and guess where I am? Back in the cramped bed, in the disgusting house, with way too much to do and no motivation to do it. When I first saw the Matrix, I remember riding to school on the bus (this was in high school, sometime before my license so maybe early 10th grade? 9th even? I’m not sure) and having the same freaky thoughts just about everyone has when they first watch that movie. Is all of this real? Am I in some sort of Matrix? Up until then I’d only experienced one tragedy in my life and created this world of fear and doubt on my own. I was relatively naive at the time and m parents had done a fine job of trying to prevent that from changing. Eventually, the thoughts led to a few story drafts, none of which went anywhere, but the fascination with the storyline changed from utter obsession to mere enjoyment. The possibilities the Matrix creates by questioning our very existence was revolutionary. That’s why that movie is so revered. And in my high school mind, there was some bleak amount of hope that this really wasn’t it. That there was more than waking up, going to school, learning shit I already knew, going home and generally being miserable. Now, though, I sort of feel like Thomas A. Anderson. No, not Neo, the hero of the free minds in Zion. I feel like his Matrix counterpart, the man before Morpheus, the one with his mind still plugged into the Matrix. I’m the one Mr. Smith hasn’t even started looking for because as far as that program is concerned, I’m just another mind plugged into the machine. Sleep is the only time my mind is free. And then, when it’s allowed to roam and fight off society and other radicals, it’s trapped with the Matrix that is my body. I have nothing to do. I’m literally frozen by my own body, stuck to drift through whatever mindset or thought my brain has until the next one appears and the door continues to revolve. Maybe the Matrix isn’t quite the analogy I’m looking for. Maybe it’s Avatar. No, not the Last Airbender with Aang and Katara (though that is one boss show). I’m talking about the blue aliens subjected to human terraforming for some rare mineral on their planet. Jake was a Marine with the loss of his legs. Once a Marine, always a Marine that much is true, but Jake’s body didn’t know that. The only return to the life of walking he was accustomed meant he had to close his eyes and upload his mind to his avatar. When his avatar slept, his mind returned to the shell that was his human body. That’s what I do every single night. I operate this avatar that looks like me, sounds like me and generally shares the same feelings but the only time I actually, truly feel is when I’m asleep. When I’m alone, when I’m sad, all of that is genuine too but if a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, did it fall? Does it count if I’m not sharing the experience with someone else? In both movies, they had someone to share all that with and were the better for it. Me, I have someone to share it with but don’t know how. I don’t know how to do what I want and do what he wants. I don’t know how to function on my own unless I’m on my own. Ask me to share that experience with someone else and it’s like giving the reigns to a blind horse and trusting it to lead me home. I can’t. I just can’t. I guess I’m going from one extreme to the other and back again. I was utterly devoted to Mara, with no thought about laying down my life for hers. There was no doubt in my min that it would have been a loss for anyone else but when it came to her happiness, devotion was the only thing I knew. Then, when we stopped talking, I became a loner. I was literally locked in my room with a subscription to Netflix and unwavering Internet access. I ate on and off, either starving or gorging to the point of topping my own previous weight by nearly half. I absorbed series like there was no abandon and found solace in the sad, the ugly and the beautiful. I found my way out of that hole for a brief moment in the sun. I righted wrongs, I did things I hadn’t thought I was capable of previously and so on and so on. Now, though, I think I’ve scrambled back into the nearest foxhole. I hate it in these things, as most soldiers do, but can’t seem to stop diving for cover the second things get tough. I’m in a relationship with Brendan and find myself compromising on the same things I did with her. I find myself enjoying the moments I have alone more than the moments when we’re together. I want to use my family as an excuse for just about anything. I never do the things I love and loathe the things we do. I always refer to whatever I’m doing as what we’re doing. At first, I took some liberty. I was happy to use we instead of me because it meant I had someone to “we” with but now, now I can’t stand it every time it comes out of my mouth. Now, I’m forced to correct myself for those times I’m not even referring to the two of us and just mean myself. My former empathy has turned to bitterness, my former companion has become my foe and I have no idea what to do.
Finals. Oh, how I hate you. Long time, no blog. I can’t leave the building yet, as I have another final at 12:30 (I had one this morning at 8…AM), so I’m sitting in one of the alcoves, full of sunshine, typing. I’m listening to music too but that was sort of a given. Watching people study is sort of like watching people in the bookstores and coffee shops. Some people are obviously not doing anything but trying desperately to hide that fact. Others aren’t even trying to hide it; they’re talking, looking at their phones, anything to keep the books shut. And others are legitimately working…and being greatly annoyed by those of us in the other two categories. That’s okay, though. I like the anonymity of it all (I spelled that right the first time! That never happens!); hiding in plain sight and all that. I have to work tomorrow, after another final, that I haven’t studied for. Exciting.
This week, I was super depressed. I got blown off multiple times by the same person, was left alone a bit too long and spent too much money. I’m sort of like a dog with a credit card. Leave me alone and I’ll buy ten pairs of shoes rather than eat yours in protest. I’m not sure if the emotionality was because of this semester ending; you know I don’t do well with endings. Or if it was because I have major decisions to make. I don’t know. I can’t figure it out. The decisions I speak of: graduate school, to take or not to take the GREs, and what to do about my living situation. Let’s break it down.
Graduate school: Brendan. That’s pretty much the concern there. He’s assured me he will follow me to the ends of the Earth, or Pennsylvania because that’s where I think I’m going, and get a job wherever we land. He’s supportive like only my parents have ever been. It freaks me out sometimes. Other times it’s the best and most perfect thing. He’s not the only issue though. The other problem is uprooting my life to go to school. That means being an adult. Like all the way. Shopping, not having parents within proximity, not having anywhere to run when we fight, not having anywhere to run: period. I’ve lived here my whole life. While it has not provided me with the ample running zone I would like, it has been sufficient. Having an alcove at my parents’ house is perfect for those times I just can’t stand to be in anyone’s company. If I move, that won’t be there. I’m like a baby bird leaving the nest, except the only reason I’m leaving is because I’m being forcefully shoved by society. The GRE problem is pretty much wrapped up in this too. If I go to a school that requires the test, I’ll have to take the test. If I don’t, I’m sure as hell not taking it. I will write a kick-ass essay though. That’s a given. Well, come to think of it. My living situation is sort of wrapped up in this too. Brendan is coming with me, no matter where I go, as he says, but what am I to do now? We live in my grandmother’s house in the middle of nowhere. It’s big and empty and drafty and good. But there’s no Internet. Like, at all. And, as much as I hate to admit it, we are children of the 21st century. We want the Internet (note: I didn’t use the word “need” because we don’t ultimately “need” it but we desperately, desperately want it!). It’s that simple. Having spoken with at least 2 Internet providers (I don’t know if B has talked to anyone), we have gotten no further on the issue. He wants to move but I know he’s reluctant to make that jump without having that tether to the real world. And I get it. But I also don’t want to live without him right now. I have to add the “right now” because I’m such a fluttering flower that I may not agree with myself in 5 minutes!
I’m going to watch Supernatural when I’m finished typing this. I was watching it the other day and it was fueling my depression more than I care to admit. Why? For those of you that don’t watch the show, I’m going to try to sum it up in a few sentences. Dean and Sam Winchester fight otherworldly creatures as a duty to protect humanity from said otherworldly creatures. They receive help along the way, from various human beings, creatures of the kind they hunt, and heavenly bodies. One of these heavenly bodies has played a key role in their success: the angel, Castiel. Now, if you are suddenly compelled to watching this (amazing) show, please skip to the next paragraph, as I am about to spoil some it for you. If you already watch/don’t want to but wish I would shut up and get to the point, keep reading this paragraph. I am Castiel. No, I don’t mean in a vessel-I’m-losing-my-mind-Joan-of-Arc-style. I mean, the character. The struggles, the trials, the tribulations, yadda yadda. Okay, here’s what I’m thinking. Cas saves Dean from Hell. Why? Because he knew he had to. It was his duty. Yes, I am aware there is more to it but I’m trying not to totally spoil! Then, he takes on the Leviathan (spelled this right too! YES!) and it ultimately (sort of) destroys him. Then, he survives purgatory without understanding why; he was totally expecting to rot there for the rest of his…whatever. Now, here’s my analogy (it’s me we’re talking about! Of course there was going to be some symbolism!). Cas did what he thought was right (twice) only to have it bite him in the ass. Then, he had the chance to pay for his crimes (though they weren’t really seen that way), he’s saved from that curse and is left to figure it out (I’m only on season 8 so no one spoil it for me as I’m writing this!). I’ve made countless mistakes trying to save other people, myself, whatever and whomever you want to “insert here.” I’ve never been to purgatory so I can’t say that but I was saved from my self-inflicted punishment for some unknown reason. I don’t know what I did to deserve the people that are in my life now but I can tell you, whatever it is, it didn’t happen in this lifetime. My punishment for all the pain I’ve caused, all the people I’ve hurt, all the hell I’ve raised (not in the good way) is having to live with that knowledge. But, like Cas, I’m still left with the confusion of what I did to deserve my saving. I’ve tried to kill myself before. Cas rotted in purgatory. I keep watching the show, hoping he gets some redemption, some relief, so I know that it can happen to me too.
It’s the same reason I read that book, Borderlines by Carol…something or other. That’s what started me on this journey. The divorce from Mara, the craziness that followed. Even the day it happened, I called my mom, crying, wanting to know the end of the book. I needed to know that she survived, she made it, she put her life back together. I keep watching because I need to know if Cas redeems himself. I relate to that with so much of my being, it’s insane. I’m afraid that I will never get to redeem myself, to forgive myself.
It ebbs and flows. Sometimes, I’m just as angry as Dean, just as flustered and frustrated but understanding as Sam. Sometimes, very rarely, I’m happy and carefree like Garth. Most of the time though, I’m pining for forgiveness, some sign that things will be okay despite everything that has happened, like Castiel. B has been my steadfast rock; my constancy through it all. Somehow, he’s forgiven me. Though he wasn’t at the eye of the storm, things were pretty rough on his shore because of me. Now? Now I just need to figure out how to do it for myself.
Not even going to degrade you with apologies about how long it has been. I’m waiting for Behavioral Statistics to start…in another hour and a half. But that’s fine with me. This has become my routine and I like it that way. I’m left alone in this classroom for stretches at a time, and I can do what I please, for the most part. But that’s not what has drawn me back to these digital pages. That isn’t what has brought me back to the gentle clicking of the keys as I bang out what I’m dying to say. Nay, what has brought me back is a bit darker. I’m taking a personality class for my major in the 8 o’clock hour (yes, if you are paying attention, that’s the hour just before this one) and as it is supposed to do, it is getting to me. We’re analyzing Freud but, before you misjudge, Freud was given a very bad reputation by school systems at large. He is not some weird pervert who just likes to talk about sex all day. There was a point to it all that seems to always be glossed over when you cover him in Psych 101, or go through history books. Anyway, today we discussed Dr. Sigmund’s Structural Model of the Mind. For those of you not familiar, that’s the id/ego/superego version of human psychology. Brief rundown: id is the instinctual, pleasure-seeker in all of us that simply wants to do, ego is the rational, logical one that follows the rules and drones on like a good, little human being, and superego is the conscientious, guilt-ridden, devout one that never slips from their moral path. Alright, so as this conversation is going in class, we’re rolling through these, and I’m getting a bit freaked. We get to the superego (the pious one) and my teacher breaks out this continuum. Down at one end is the id, that’s where all the pleasure-seekers are. Think Sherlock, the Benedict Cumberbatch version, he says. At the other end, is the superego, patients who are so locked into what is right and wrong that even ending their own lives becomes an issue of morality instead of what they want to do. My classmates are all scrambling to write this down, as I am, but in the back of my mind, I can see myself, casually riding one of those little red tricycles up and down this continuum like it’s meant just for me. Perfectionism at an extreme, he interrupts my thoughts for a moment and locks eyes with me. Superego is regulated by the ego, reasoning and logic, but if that sort of reality base is skewed, this can effect both the regulation of the id and the superego. A shiver literally went down my spine. And like I was being pulled backwards through open doors, I was running through all of my stays in the hospital, every therapy appointment, every failed psychiatrist appointment. My teacher told us this was what the class was meant to do. It was meant to stimulate our brains (duh, that’s what the whole purpose of college is) and make us take a good, long look in the mirror. But that’s all I ever seem to do. The image staring back at me is forever changing. It’s like instead of a mirror, I’m staring in a pool of water that is being stampeded through by a herd of rhinos. It doesn’t matter what I do to see myself, the image isn’t clear. For a while I was managing my symptoms, things were going okay. But after that last class? I feel like my skull has been cracked open, and someone is staring at me naked, while I cower in a corner of my own brain. Hold on, I don’t feel like I’m being clear in what the problem is. Imagine 2 children standing on either side of a parent. The child on the left is id, the child on the right is superego and the parent in the middle is ego. That is how a normalized model would be. That is what Dr. Freud would call a “healthy” individual. Now, my issue, my reasoning for freaking the fuck out right now is that when my teacher started opening this can o’ worms is that instead of having everything nice and even like that, and taking my id and superego to the park to kick each other in the sand like normal kids, I’m not doing that. My model is more like: id is the child on the left, ego is the child on the right and superego is the parent in the middle. And they are constantly shuffling. When I was friends with Mara, the single parent was the id, and most of the time, her two kids were trailing far behind. I know with things like this, nothing is set in stone, and people are forever changing and adapting. But with superego in charge of two rambunctious kids, well one that is more closely related to a sociopath (id) and one that is probably closer to an actual human being (ego), how am I supposed to function? Superego cannot please everyone, and even that goes against its every principles. Principality cannot run a kingdom, or rule a nation. It cannot govern a state, or much less, a person’s life. I’ve tried it this way and it got me nowhere so why would it work now? I’m confused and I’m scared. And I felt like my professor knew that. Like a shark, he could smell blood in the water. Maybe he’s just that good at what he does. I don’t know. His eyes locked on mine and I felt like he was piercing through me, reading my thoughts. I endured the class, stayed the length of the hour, but regardless, I feel as though my superego has been exposed. Does that mean I should find a phone booth and change, tell the world who I really am? Or should I just run up and ice him because he knows too much? Comic books run on id/superego logic and well, we all know that works out in real life. Because it doesn’t.
Superheroes usually have one thing in common. The angst, the fighting urge to push forward no matter the odds or the obstacles, no matter their own personal pain. They have to continue for the cause of the Greater Good because if they don’t, well, the world is lost. And so are they. I watched Blade today (this is the part where I warn those of you who haven’t seen it that there are spoilers to follow). Blade wanted so desperately to find the vampire that killed his mother. And even when he was given the chance to give up being the “daywalker,” being like them, he didn’t. Why? The war wasn’t over. He continued to live as a “monster” and struggle with his own battle because he knew it was bigger than him. Don’t believe me? The Dark Knight movie (again, spoiler notice) was the same way. Batman lost the one woman he desperately loved and sacrificed his own reputation, the one he had trained and worked so hard to establish, to make sure that Gotham had a hero. He realized, despite everything he’d sacrificed it couldn’t be him, so he gave it up. Just like that. I could go on and on and on. But I won’t. Because this blog isn’t about superheroes. It’s about little, old me. And how much I envy them. I know if you look at it from a psychological perspective (something I’ve grown accustomed to doing since this trip down the rabbit hole), superheroes are…well, insane. They’re adrenaline junkies with a death wish. They have unresolved issues in their own personal life and take it out in a tunnel-vision-sort-of-rage. But, if you think about it in a non-psychological perspective, think about it like a normal person (not that I am), superheroes are like the example people need when they have emotional pain. Note: I’m saying that at the beginning of this entry and will probably come to a less than similar conclusion towards the end. Sorry. Their personal vendettas, while they are what originally drive them, are set aside and they learn important life lessons through their overall goal. Their one achievement in life is to take down Dr. Doom, or destroy Magneto or end Lex Luthor. But in that struggle, they learn so much about themselves along the way. They love, they lose, they get hurt, they win. Things are taken from them, they take them back. Strength is sapped right from their body, their weaknesses are exploited and it always seems absolutely hopeless. But…but, Lois Lane managed to dig the kryptonite out of your side in time, or Wolverine regained consciousness just in time to free your hands from the handcuffs they’ve been locked in. The only difference between superheroes and us (and I’m not talking about normal people now, I’m talking about the freaks and geeks who read this blog. You know who you are), is that superheroes have a tangible, touchable, visible, viewable enemy. In our lives, there is no Lex Luthor. He isn’t a living, breathing person. He can’t be shot and the war is over. In Blade, Deacon Frost exploded in a blood bomb induced by EDTA (an anticoagulant). I can’t do that with my problems. There is no final resolution. And I know in the comics, there isn’t either. The Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum, Magneto tricks his way out of a plastic prison, Loki uses magic, the cycle goes on and on. But there are moments where there is some finality. You have some moments where you can take a break, you can put your feet up and rest for a minute, thinking that for a just a little bit, you can get a massage or take a bath and not have any problems. With depression? With pain? With personality? Nope. That shit is stuck to you like flies on flypaper in a creepy farmhouse. I’m stranded in the ocean, like I started to say. And sometimes, my little dingy washes ashore and for a few brief nanoseconds, I can grip the sand, thinking that I’m on my way to freedom. Freedom from the roller coaster of tidal waves and random storms, of shark fins that appear out of nowhere and threaten my existence with their razor sharp blades…I mean, teeth. But before I can even climb out to stick my sunburned toes in the sand, to feel the warmth of semi-solid ground on my calloused feet, the undertow rips me back out into the surf. I’m gone again. There’s no oar, no paddle, and even if there was, it wouldn’t make a difference. Whenever this happens, the swell is stronger than it was when I came in so I have to fight just to stay above water. I take my meds every day as prescribed, even sometimes having to take the anxiety meds as needed, I “cope:” showers, singing, movies, sleeping, (friends), whatever I can think of to not stick my hand in and let the sharks feast. I do whatever I can to not simply drop my whole body in and just sink. There’s a song by Blue October called Into the Ocean. I love that song. I would love to float away. The only…and I mean the only peace I get (and don’t get it confused, it is fleeting, at best), is the fact that I’m alone. I don’t mind talking to Poco, and sometimes to Allison, or Jackie, but for the most part, I’m most content when I’m alone. And even then, there’s unhappiness lurking like No-Face in the corner (spoilers for the movie, Spirited Away. Haven’t seen it? See it!). He offers me gold, all that I could ever imagine to get me to wallow with him and usually, it works. I do. I give in and I want to sit with him. I go to Barnes and Noble and look at nude photography, wishing my body looked like those girls. When I watch movies, I wish my body looked like theirs. When I sit in the shower (we’ve already discussed this oddity, haven’t we?), I think about how no man is ever going to want me, touch me, hold me, hug me, love me. I think about how Rooney Mara (Girl with The Dragon Tattoo spoilers!) was a ward of the state because she was so F. Up. Well, I’m a ward of my parents. Yes, I know, I am their child but you know what, 23 is not a child. In anyone’s eyes. The state, the law, the Army, any of it. I can vote, I can drive, I can have legal sex, I can join the armed forces, I can drink alcohol, I can rent a car and/or a hotel room. No one can justify that. Those superheroes I wouldn’t shut up about had justification for their actions. Sometimes, yes, they went a little above and beyond the call of duty and performed their vengeance a little too well, but nonetheless, they did their cause due justice. How can I be expected to do anyone justice? How can I be expected to have a child, or even have a relationship? Have a job when I can’t do anything physically? Maintain a state of living when the polls are too close to tally whether I even want to live or not? I broke down in the shower earlier, crying about how much I thought I disappointed my grandmother before she died. I was crying because of how much I allowed my life to be ruined by Mara. I was crying because I have yet to do anything. I have so many things I want to do but for one reason or another, they will never happen. How does a bird accept that he will never fly? Maybe I should be worried about those sharks around me. They’ve managed to keep hope alive that I will be dinner. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but the word “hope” was in that sentence. Wasn’t it?
Well, things have certainly flipped around within the last two weeks. It’s a little incredible actually. The plans for ECT were changed after my doctor decidedly retracted her previous statement and said it wasn’t a good idea. She declared that she no longer supported the decision and wouldn’t write the referral. Pissed off my parents and I were. But the same day she told us this, we had a family meeting with Allister and that diffused the tension a little bit. We ended up right back where we started. I was depressed, we hadn’t talked about any medication changes or options for a different approach for my depression so things were at a standstill. Moving out was mentioned more than once but we couldn’t wrap the financials around it so that idea was sort of abandoned. And admittedly, the crippling, suicidal, I-want-the-world-to-crush-me-into-oblivion depression started to lift just the slightest bit. I was making plans with a very good friend. I was going to therapy more than once a week. I was engaging with my family. But people were missing the point. When in crisis, everyone can acknowledge and see the depression. But after the crisis is over, people forget the depression ever existed in the first place. They just expect everything to snap back into place and everything to be fine. The thing is though, that’s not how it works. My problem is that, even though, with the crisis over, I still have an underlying depression. I dip lower when I’m in crisis but I never come completely back to the surface. But…things did slightly turn around. I was able to sort of snap back into perspective. I took some action and got information I needed about my Social Security. I edited my resume. I actively stayed in touch with friends. I stayed physically active. And then, I got a phone call. My old softball coach and sort of pseudo-Mom called and said she had a family friend living with her. We’ll call her Billy Goat. Ms. Hubbard (my extra Mom) informed me that they were having a rough time with Billy Goat’s home health aide because she was from an agency, they didn’t personally know her and she was really only in it for the money. Aunt H (again, my extra Mom. She’ll be either Ms. or Aunt) said she wanted someone she could trust caring for Billy Goat. I have certifications and she knows me, trusts me and knows that 99% of the time I’m not doing much of anything (not to be offensive). And you know what I did? I took the job. I’m being paid to act as a caretaker for a family friend of a family friend. It’s emotional and intense but I like it. It’s a distraction from my own life and a reflection into someone else’s. This week has been stressful because it’s a transition. We’re switching from the home health aide to me and things in her treatment plan are moving forward. I adjusted my schedule to make sure she was comfortable this week, to give her some stability and to make sure she knew I was supporting her. And I know it will be rough the sicker she gets, and the more time I spend with her, but I think I can handle it. When I was with Uncle Fish, there were times when I had to leave the room and take a walk. I had to breathe some fresh air and remind myself that I wasn’t the one dying, he was. I had to remember that this is the life cycle, that it’s not an omen or anything like that. It’s just life. And I think this will be good for both her and me. She’ll be getting the perspective of someone who’s sort of seen this first hand before and I’ll be getting some, well, exposure therapy to one of, if not my biggest, fears. Plus, having a relationship that this so inclusive will give me a chance to exercise some boundaries. I’ll be able to practice being my own person and knowing that I am not her, she is not me and we do not have to be the same person. I think this will work. I hope this will work. We watched the end of The Breakfast Club yesterday. We caught the part where they’re all leaving the building and the letter they wrote to the principal is being read. “Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is that we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of is…a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.” And it’s true. People don’t care what you think of yourself, they’ve already got what their own perceptions of you. But that’s not what matters. And that’s the point. The Breakfast Club knew what happened in that library. We know what happens in our own lives. We know what goes on in our own heads. Admitting things, coming to term with things, all of that, is up to you, not someone else. Convincing Billy Goat of that, I sometimes I feel like I’m convincing myself. But that’s okay. I think the crisis has been averted. Now, that doesn’t mean the war is over, but as of right now, the battle has been won.