Blame the Lack

What’s missing, in no particular order as neither am I:

A job
An ovary, fallopian tube
Working joints
Christmas festivity - tree, lights, music, etc.
Pain treatment, management, healthcare in-general
My Daddy

More that I cannot dredge up as of now; my mind too muddled with the flux of hormones and the emotional cyclones they spew. “More” is so much mental debris, detritus, splintered sighs in salty corners of a brain that cannot fathom: half the plumbing yet…twice the deluge of estrogen?

I spend two weeks of every month at the mercy of a dysfunctional ovary (a fierce, angry organ that reverberates piercing, dissonant cacophony throughout my abdomen like a drunken, irate, stone-deaf Beethoven pounding against an out-of-tune piano) and have done so since age eleven because I so desperately want to be a mother. Now, at thirty-three, I recognize that with each passing month, hope wanes. It is a good thing that I am not, as yet, a mother; a child prior to now would’ve made what was a disastrous decade catastrophic for me, my partner and, worst of all, any potential child. What bursts fresh pain with every rupturing cyst - what terrible beauty is born - is the realization: not only does it seem I am not meant to have a child of my own, but now, after all of the incredible fucking-up that I’ve done, I’ve no means by which to have this god-forsaken useless beast removed, as I’ve no money, no job, no healthcare and, regardless of such, the notion of any medical treatment that might require the usage of narcotics for the assuaging of pain… As one in recovery from a severe addiction to painkillers, nothing terrifies me more.

So, what rough beast remains…slouching, this dreary December, towards Bethlehem.

It is difficult to garner upon myself any sympathy, as much (if not all) of my present circumstances came about by my own doing. Those conditions beyond my control, however, are my Hellers - my ever-present, ever-multiplying Catch-22s. I suffer from arthritis and poly-cystic ovary disease; these illnesses were treated with painkillers; after successfully taking my medications as prescribed for six years, things fell apart - stronger meds were prescribed and those chemicals served as the glue for a mind which, at its centre, could not hold; I majored in addiction, flourishing in self-destruction; despite the grades, the nominations and success it was all on paper and the page burns. My degrees went up in smoke in a conflagration of incalculable heat. It’s all I know, teaching. All I ever wanted to do - write, teach; teach writing. How lucky, I thought many years down the road, that I didn’t want to become an astronaut or ballerina or doctor or chef. Those jobs require a lot of movement - a lot of being on one’s feet and hustle and now that I am older, in this chronic pain and know that no, I could not work in fields that mandate such of my body - how lucky, how lucky that no, I do not have to do such things.

I’ve worked other jobs, of course. I’ve cashiered, I’ve retailed, I’ve outfitted, I’ve telemarketed (I’d rather die penniless, lice-infested and disease-ridden in a shoebox at the bottom of a toilet than do it again and I mean that with every ounce of my 108 pounds), I’ve booksellered (ooh - I like that one) and myriad other jobs more affiliated with my career-path (i.e., tutoring, proofreading graduate papers, etc.) but here’s the rub, Billy-Boy - even back when, working at this major pet store chain or that mall fashion store or perhaps a horrific bridal outlet which I most certainly DID NOT LOVE - all but the telemarketing job (which required nothing but the signing-away of my soul every morning) were held when I was using (or abusing) pain meds. And still - once I was older and more advanced in my illnesses - I couldn’t hack it. My knees, ankles, back - I’d drive home shoeless, feet swollen to…well, gross proportions and I’d shuffle to my room and fall - flop - into my bed. And cry. Take more pills and sob. Because all I wanted to do was sell some fucking tops and jeans to the sweet co-ed without having to stop to nurse my screaming knee halfway along my journey from the racks to her dressing room. Or to not have to make more than one trip to carry the hideous bridesmaids dresses to the pissed off best friends, cousins and sorority sisters because my arms feel they are about to snap off at the elbows from the weight of all that satin and taffeta, only to drop the few dresses I do manage to sling over my forearms. (And once you get ‘em delivered, said dresses are received by a general outcry of, “Oh, I am NOT wearin’ that ugly-ass thang! Take it back! Not even lookin’ at it! Jenny, get Julie’s dumb ass on the phone NOW and tell her I am NOT wearing that!”)

Only job I was ever fired from. Go figger.

Point is, this thirty-three year-old professor of English would happily hand you your order through a sliding glass window at your local Taco Bell or Mickey-D’s or what-have-you with a genuine smile. The happiest damn fast-food server on earth - me, right here. But I know from experience as a cashier (a few times over): stand in one place on your feet all day…you will want to kick your own ass - but your busted back and swollen, purple knees won’t let you. Dummy. (Me - not you.)

And this pain…this kind of pain…it’s just the invitation my addiction is waiting for. Is avaricious for. My fucking ovary tempts that devil enough, as do my regular arthritic flare-ups. My loved ones - they are so wonderful in their worrying for me, keeping an eye out for stressful situations that might pose the potential for relapse but it is not stress that pushes me into the path of the speeding train, My Darlings. The tracks make their mark when the physical pain overwhelms and oh, I wish…sometimes, I do wish I didn’t hide it so well. Because I do. Even when I exhibit some signs of hurt, physical anguish - it’s not even a raindrop of the internal maelstrom, and I like to keep it that way now. Sometimes, though, it does work against me; to my detriment, people mistake me for healthy or, at the least, feeling well and I let them. This is one of my many character flaws. My motto: “I am the multitudes.”

Alas, this one has been coming back to kick me in the ass as of recent…multitudinously. ;)

There’s so much I do not discuss. For all that you think I reveal - so brazen, outspoken is Annie! - I say so little about the inner-workings of my life. Mostly, you know my past. I think it good to divulge history; understand the current event that much better. That’s my theory, anyway. (Not like it’s a new one.) As far as the current tides rolling in, however…the Christmas tidings roll tired. Tired of explaining: I’m broke - I cannot go to ______ event/dinner/social gathering. And no - I am not cool with you paying. I have a “thing” about that and my “thing” is, if I can pay you back in kind - coolio. But I cannot, so no-go, Coolio. I’m in poor health - I never like to commit to engagements as I never know if my body will negate my RSVP and make of me a classless no-show. I’m weary - My Daddy doesn’t know what day it is, what year and I don’t want to continue on, detailing for you all the everyday maudlin details of his decline. I’m lost - I worked so hard for a career I let slip away - nearly four years gone, now - and today…I seek and seek, day after agonizing day and…I come up empty, save handfuls of burnt paper ashes.

I’m lonely - because I am far away from all of you. For all of the above reasons and more - more that I cannot dredge up. Because I am tired - and because I am unwilling. Scared. Retribution is for New Year's, no?

Many of you have written emails recently for various intentions, purposes and I’ve yet to respond and for this, I am so sincerely sorry. I find it so difficult, for reasons unbeknownst to me, to write back. I fumble for words, struggle to find the energy to just write that simple reply… I don’t understand it myself, so I surely cannot explain it to you. This - a rambling, Woolf-ian stream of words - yet I’m unable to write back, “Sure! Sounds good!” or, “Thanks - that’ll be great!” or, “Sorry dude - I’m not into that scene. Try Jon Zimmer.”

I looooooooooove you, Zim.

In all seriousness, I think the difficulty…I’m not one for one-line replies. I’m not one for one-line anything, save zingers. I feel insincere if I do not put great thought, care, genuineness into a response. And it depletes a woman, over time, that hopelessly devoting to you. Remember, My Darling Friends - “in the multitudes.”

It’s Christmas time, which means I am hearing from more of you now than usual. Sadly, this coincides with a time of my greatest depletion - of all resources. How do I… I am thinking in this way: It’s not Christmas without the lights, tree, music - presents. I’ve none of any of those. (The latter - none to give.) It’s not Christmas without friends and the joy of catching-up, reminiscing, familiar faces, old stories retold. It’s not Christmas without giving - I suppose that’s my point - the aforementioned exact a giving and oh, My Beloved Friends, I am empty. Of purse, of spirit, of mind…the right words

It’s not Christmas without My Daddy - our annual drives around Venice to look at the “billllllionties of lights!” Even when years passed and time moved, scattered us all about, I somehow managed to be there for his last ride around (by luck or, in 2006, more accurately, by lack) - the radio set to a dulcet default all-Christmas-themed station, Daddy warbling his best Bing, me laughing when he messed up the lyrics, Daddy indignant: “Crosby sang the wrong words, dammit!”

Oh, I miss My Daddy, so far away - in so many ways.

It’s not Christmas without children - yours, theirs, anybody's. Therein lies the spirit of Christmas - the holidays, whatever you celebrate - and I never had it more than when in the presence of my father, as his daughter - his child.

If you are reading this, have read this through no fault of your own (meaning you weren’t tagged), please remember that Christmas is the season of forgiving (isn’t it? Or am I making that up?) - I implore you to do so, regardless. All these pent-up emotions, now doused with hormones like so much gasoline to the fire? “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…”

I won’t quote the following line; a tad-bit too apropos. :D

It’s a wonder I’m here. I do not believe in God but I do believe in the miraculous. That I live and live (somewhat) functionally - miraculous. March 13th, 1971 - eht elcarim taht emaceb ym lodi dna oreh ni esohw spetstoof I yrt ot wollof. (Don’t worry - I could have posted that upside down as well as backwards and he’d still be able to read it - he’s that cool - whether he likes it…or not.) March 14th, 1984 - the miracle that saved my young life. That…is just fact.

I suppose I simply wanted for you to know - I’m not ignoring you, ungrateful, slothful, angry, (too) unhappy, hardhearted or Scrooged. No. To put it the best, I quote one of the best:

“First of all: I am tired. I am true of heart! And also: You are tired. You are true of heart!”

Know that - as I do.

I think of all of you, all of the time. Do not doubt that. All of you - all of the time.


This is dedicated to Nick Young: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…

From the bottom of my tired, true heart: Thank you, Dear Saint Nick.

1 comment:

  1. Annie, your presence, even your virtual presence, is such a gift.

    I identify with so much of this, but I feel so deeply for your particular pains, hoping your centre does indeed hold.