Wednesday, October 29, 2014

If Tomorrow Starts Without Me

Luke doesn't want me to die. Breathlessly. Desperately. My friend posted this video today, and I think he meant to post it primarily for the musical background. But as I listened to the words of the essay, it struck me. I hanging around, when everything is black? Why did I forward it to Luke? What was my point?

That point was the tiny little hole of light pinpointed in the direction of life that is my son.

I cried most of today, for reasons understood and not understood. Remember, it was Englishman Stephen Fry who said to please resolve yourself never to ask a depressed person WHY they're depressed; just be there for them when they come out the other end. I just hope there is an end. I would like to smile beamingly and laugh heartily. I would like to take pleasure in the world. To not dread the holidays already in October. To not risk failing or incompleting another class in school. To not ache and hate myself as much as I do. To have the smokin' bod I had a year and a half ago. To be more than just somebody's friend.

I resolved myself to working all day today, to play catch-up. In reality, nothing got done. Nothing will get done. I need this space to vent and let out my feelings as they engulf me. My mom wasn't feeling well this morning, so when I got up at 10am, thinking she'd be gone, I was surprised to see her bedroom door closed and checked on her. She didn't make it to Bible class and stayed in bed for several more hours. I basically hung around the house until Meg convinced me to get out of the house for at least a little while, so I drove across the county to buy cigarettes and get gas. That took all of an hour.

I was up at 2am making Ramen. (Thank you, Ambien Walrus. I hadn't had anything to eat in 12 hours.) Luke let me know tonight that I'd left the stove on all night. I have no recollection of this. Thank God we have an electric stove. He didn't report me to Grandma, because he knows better than to get me into more trouble than I usually already am. 

After school, I had awoken from a nap about an hour after Luke got home. He was lying on his bed video chatting with friends. I tearfully asked if I could lie down beside him, just for the comfort and the tenderness. He said no. Then he said something snarky like, "Get a boyfriend or something," which hurt even more. I gave it some time, and tried again. No again. I went back in my room and cried mightily. Luke came in and asked me what was wrong. I couldn't tell him. I couldn't let him into the loneliness and despair I felt, because to do so would be to sink him into the same sand which was choking me.

He told me he ran the mile today and cut 2 minutes off his time, and for that I was proud. Still crying, but proud. He quickly retreated back to his room,and I asked him to close my door. He wanted to know why. I said, "Just close the door." I reported back to Meg that I'd failed to win over my son's affections. 

I sent the above video to him, and he bitingly wrote back, "You have no reason to die, so stop." I found it pressing to find any reason besides him to keep living. Apparently, he was able to talk via chat instead of in person. I think that's a fear and defense mechanism. And I totally understand. He said it was far from true that he wouldn't care if I lived or died. We exchanged a bit more back and forth about me wanting to die and Luke not wanting me to die, to the point where I asked him if my life held any value to him. 

"What would I do without you?" he asked.

That made me relieved and sorrowful. What I don't put that boy through. His resilience is remarkable. I know what it's like to have a depressed parent, because I have one, but her depression seems totally irrational and kooky. Luke knows the root of my depression but is afraid to expound upon it. Not to play down my mom's depression entirely, but she refuses to get help for hers, whereas I seek medication and counseling. 

What would I do without Luke? I would die. Of that I am certain.

We had our practice session last night with our student therapists with whom we'll be assigned the rest of the semester. It was tough. It was hard enough to break down how I was feeling to one girl, let alone 3 observers. But we are to be truthful. And I got choked up a few times talking about the last week or so. About falling behind on projects. About being unhappy and missing Guy, which I have lately. About feeling inadequate in all facets of my life. 

But I also mentioned my son. It was funny, and harrowing and informative and probably more than the student counselor was prepared for. I told her, really as an aside, that I'd lost my father when I was 11, and she didn't interrupt (when she could and should have) and that when that happened, and I'd never told this to anyone before, that I'd constructed a whole make-believe world where I would let my mind wander, where everything was okay. Where I hadn't lost my parent. Where we wanted for nothing. And that was my escapism. Later in life, my escapism would turn to drugs and alcohol, but I still remember the fantasy life. Sometimes my psychotic mind wanders and constructs what it'd be like now in a utopia. 

Perhaps an early symptom of psychosis, I don't know, but whenever the real world got to be too much for me, I'd retreat my head into this fantasy world. I'd just lie down and imagine how nicely things would work out if things were different than they were in real life. Or I'd roller skate in the basement, around and around in circles, listening to music. That was my way of not dealing with the pain. My son has a much more direct and solid approach. I think that's largely due to his personality and largely due to the bone-crunching realities which he's seen. But he can breathe easy at night, because I haven't died. I wonder if, when he rests his head at night, if he says a little prayer that I made through another day. That's probably a delusion of grandiosity and he's just tired from the rigors of the day.

I'd hate to be Luke, teetering with a mom who's as unstable as I am. I feel an immense amount of guilt about how he must feel, what thoughts must go through his head, and the overall feeling that is morose in our household. Still in all, I know he wouldn't trade me. He wouldn't want any other mom than me. And my love for him jettisons into the stratosphere. I'm mamby-pambying but I'm a very lucky woman. I have a young man who, in his own way, won't let me sink the Titanic I feel my life has become.

Which only proves that he's just as crazy as I am.

Friday, October 24, 2014

I Told You Beatles Purists Would Rip It to Shreds, So I'm Ripping it to Shreds.

I'm almost sorry I missed the "Glee" renditions of Beatles songs on television.

Somehow, my psyche blocked the travesty that was the Bee Gees' remake of "Sgt. Pepper" in the late 1970's, with Peter Frampton, which resulted in a bomb of a record and an even worse film.


They were probably (in some cosmic, out-of-body way) truer to the Beatles than "With a Little Help from my Fwends," the tribute set to be released by The Flaming Lips, covering the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

While you can, the album is streaming for free on NPR at

The Lips' cover of  Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" was respectful but fresh. I really liked that album.

Have you met Sir George Martin, the Beatles' producer?

I have, he's a freaking legend who made my knees buckle, and I have sat in on a two-hour lecture about the making of this monumental album, oh gosh, some 15 years ago or more. (My most memorable moment from the lecture being body-slammed by Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen in a hallway.)

Martin lovingly took the crowd track-by-track as to how the songs were written, produced and performed. He gave us an insider look at the laborious process through which the boys went to bring the album to the magnitude that it is and always will be. Tape-looping and cutting, overdubbing, re-recording things backwards, using strange instruments lying dusty in the Abbey Road studios...all of that was resurrected by the Beatles' ideas and Martin's natural genius as a producer.

On June 1st, 1967, a masterpiece was released.

Specifically, what interested me the most were the stories behind "With a Little Help From My Friends" and "A Day in the Life."

Ringo Starr, not being the best singer but charming nonetheless, tried take after take to nail down the closing note. Martin's story was that the other 3 Beatles and he, himself, sat in the control room while Ringo listened to the recording track, and once Ringo "got it," they all cheered. Martin nearly teared up. It is rather remarkable and touching.

Regarding "A Day in the Life," Martin thought the Beatles were out of their minds. Converge an entire symphony in the recording studio to produce what Martin called an "orgasm of sound" at certain junctures of the song? The group (mostly McCartney) wanted the symphony to play their instruments at louder and louder notes until, finally, a piano coda lasting 45 seconds would conclude the song and the album. Counting the beats between notes for the symphony and the band was reliable roadie Mal Evans, which you can hear in the final track.

I have little doubt that The Beatles would imagine a performer as mediocre and foul as Miley Cyrus would conclude a remake of the song. I think what irritated me most about the Flaming Lips' cover is that they could've done SO much more with it than produce annoying noise, especially with "A Day in the Life." If that's their interpretation of it, so be it. It just seemed awfully benign and anti-climactic.

I'd be interested to hear what McCartney and Starr have to say about the Lips' remake. They're hip, they're cool, but would they be in favor of a messy, quickly-thrown-together onslaught of stomach flu that is "Fwends?" I'll concede on one point alone: the proceeds from the album are going to a charity. To be fair, you should buy it for that alone, if you're a life-long Flaming Lips fanatic or a Beatles fan, both of which I am.

But I'm one of those Beatles purists. My ex-husband likes to taunt me relentlessly, and has for the 22 years I've known him, with mostly extremely horrible covers of Beatles songs, knowing how much they annoy me. It's an inside joke these days, which doesn't bother me as much as it used to, but it further cements my impression that you can't top the best. The Beatles were the best.

That said, the Flaming Lips have put out an enormous amount of product in the last few years, from "Fwends," to "The Terror," to "Embryonic" to "Heady Fwends." But I think they're getting tired and lazy. George Harrison said during the making of "Cloud Nine," that he recorded in analog because he preferred "real people making real music." Of course, that was in 1987. The Flaming Lips utilizing technology and computers (which aren't my issue) to create much of their music as of late, the "Sgt Pepper" cover being no exception.

The Lips' remake is a hot mess. It was decent enough live at Riot Fest, when they did "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" without Miley Cyrus, and Steven Drozd's vocals on "Fixing a Hole" are beautiful. Otherwise, holy crap, stay far, far away if you really love the Beatles. I have a feeling you will.

This remake isn't fresh,. It isn't an intense, trippy psychedelic adventure. The overall criticism I've read and explored has been that the record is "messy." Indeed it is, and I agree with that. I read Rolling Stone online reviews that were far more scathing than that which I'm offering..."I lasted 11 seconds...." "I lasted 48 seconds...." "This is a piece of shit." Same with NPR's reviews, but a little less vulgar. I have yet to read a glowing review.

I attempted to be more constructive with my criticism with the band itself. Never mind that Wayne Coyne is going through a huge midlife crisis, divorced his wife and took up with a tramp....he and Miley got matching "With a Little Help From My Fwends" tattoos, (So did the girlfriend, inexplicably.) I told Wayne all along, "Bad idea, bro...." to a guy who said 10 years ago he vowed never to get a tattoo for any reason (GO TEAM MICHELLE MARTIN).

But I digress.

On Instagram, I offered an extremely brief review of the record, which was negative. Not only was I blocked from being a follower of Wayne, but I can't even look him up. My son can, and has. This boils down to enough Coyne/Cyrus fans complaining about me to get me booted and blocked. To that, I say fuck you all. I don't need that negativity in my life. Remember this, Wayne?

I heard his ex-wife bought a boat and a bunch of books on sailing, and is keeping away as far as she can from someone who is, as she iterated to me, "killing himself." I wish Michelle nothing but all the joy she can muster in this life. She's a beautiful person.

The Flaming Lips as a band stopped following me on Twitter. Fine, because all I post is stuff about psychology and shit about Luke and how crazy my mother is. 

If my only connection to the band remains Steven Drozd, I'm fine with that. He is my friend. He is not superficial and does not draw rock star attention to himself. If he reads this review and it pisses him off, we can talk about it civilly, not ban one another on social media. Our bond is solid, social media be damned. I'll still see them when they play Chicago, but just because I want to spend time with Steven and hear what they're up to musically. I certainly hope it's better than "Fwends." Because as this Beatles purist would say, it sucks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nothing In This Life That I've Been Trying Can Equal or Surpass the Art of Dying.

Meg and I went out to dinner the other night. Much needed girls' night out.

We lamented about what's going on in our lives which causes us to feel craptastic. But we had a lot of laughs too.

She has some negative coping mechanisms, but far more positive ones than I do. For example, when I feel like self-harming, I don't forego the impulse and go for a FORTY MILE BIKE RIDE. I sleep.

For me, in any case, it seems I've done everything wrong when it comes to POE. Granted, Guy was frequently less than a mile away and POE is thousands of miles away, but Guy, for his extremely shitty responses to communication, was more communicative than POE. I understand busy lives. I have one too.

I started to tear up with Meg when I told her how much I miss being able to text Guy all of my little observances and tidbits of the day, which he loved to read but didn't always respond. But he'd check in once in a while. POE? I send tidbits to of rather dire or great importance regarding school or what have you, and it takes him like 2 weeks to send me a quick message back. I should have his license by now. I should have his graduation stuff by now, and I don't. When I try to iterate to POE that these are sort of crucial things, he just doesn't answer.

I get it. He has spotty internet reception, the power goes out a lot, and he found a job that keeps him busy. That said, like Guy, it takes 30 seconds to type over a reply, or say hi, or just let me know I haven't been forgotten. Meg and I talked at dinner, wondering if Guy has been on the blog just checking in, and he hasn't to the best of my knowledge. Neither has POE, who I still think doesn't know much about me having a blog.

Last night, I had these horrible dreams. One was a PTSD dream about Chris during which he was telling me all about his new girlfriend and telling me he didn't want to see me anymore (which isn't that far off the mark of what really happened) and the other; Craig became a transsexual, and I wouldn't let him have any custody of Luke. Not that I inherently have anything against transsexuals, but in the dream, I had absolutely no patience for Craig's lipstick-donning bullshit.

Point being: there's something amiss about every fella I know. And it's probably all my fault. I really thought POE was a slam dunk of luck--but then my brain catches up with me, and reminds me that I'm most likely too overweight and homely for him to give a shit, other than to get his paperwork in on time. Meg has more internal, serious problems, but half of her maladies are because she's TOO pretty and awesome.

The transition to Argosy has been relatively smooth, save for one class where you have to do weekend residencies. I was sidelined by a nasty injury and infection last week that had me just SLIGHTLY under the weather:

Attractive, isn't it? Anyway, I have to find my old syllabus from when I took the same class at Adler, which I've asked the professor to email me, which she hasn't yet. If I can get credit for having taken the class already, I won't fail. If I do fail, I have to take the course again. The ring beside the infected one is my father's wedding ring. It was also in danger of having to be cut off, but thanks to Luke and a trick with a string on YouTube, he got it off intact, thank God. Still, antibiotics that made me feel sick to my stomach, pain pills that put me to sleep, and soon enough, like this morning, I've fallen into a depressive episode.

Kate was totally on top of my finger situation, though she was on holiday in Maine and then had to go back to New York because her father-in-law passed away in Colorado. She kept insisting that no matter what these other bozos think of me, I always have BMF, which is true, and Meg reiterated that at dinner. Seeing BMF had me on like a 3-week high, during which I largely ignored how hurt I was feeling from POE being so unresponsive.

But that's worn off, and now I'm aggravated and lonesome again. I don't like to cry in front of Meg. I hate to. I'm supposed to be her rock. Her go-to girl. But at dinner, I broke down just a little bit and once again resigned that my life heretofore will be my son, my work and myself, by myself, and that it was just something I'd have to get used to.

No, I'm not going to join an online dating service. It is my belief that one shouldn't have to pay to find love, and I think the whole concept is ridiculous. Even free sites, like OKCupid, have the worst algorithms for matching I've ever encountered. But I'm just tired of it. Tired of it all.

I expressed to Meg missing Guy, missing POE, being perturbed at POE (over which he did apologize once), and my general discontent towards the lack of affection and love that I have in my life.

Recently, I read an article on social isolation and loneliness. It concluded through a study that social isolation is twice as deadly as obesity, worse than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and far more people will die from it than they will from Ebola, I found these statistics to be probably pretty accurate. Thank God I'm overweight and smoke like a chimney. That triples the rate at which I could die.

It doesn't help that I'm completely not sleeping well. I'll doze off around 11 or 11:30, but I wake up at 12:30 and am up until like 3am, fall back asleep at 5am, then up at 7 to instinctively make sure my son has left for school, then going back to sleep until almost noon. That's not healthy or helping much. I think it's part of being manic depressive, the disruption of the nocturnal pattern in a mixed mood.

My thyroid's still fucked up, so the doctors increased the dose of the medication, It's not supposed to see-saw numbers around. It's not stable. It took my prodding and medical knowledge to convince the doctors that I needed to be on a higher dose of medication. Idiots. No wonder I'm not losing any weight.

I'm sure I have some paper to write, or some other work which to attend, so I'll put a cap on this one. A cap on the crush on POE. Reel in the flutters of missing Guy. Mentally prepare myself for growing alone, surviving alone and dying alone.