my anniversary

About two years ago, I saw a mental health professional for the first time. I was diagnosed as having major depression / clinical depression. I started to take medications for my condition. (Two medications to start with: escitalopram and aripiprazole. I eventually dropped the latter one.) I started to go to therapy sessions with that same mental health professional.

At roughly this time last year, give or take ten days, I got broken up with, and had to get out of the house that had been my home for a while, in a big hurry. I moved back in with my family. I was forced to face the facts and the root causes of the problems that I had been having with my ex.

So today is 16 March and I am celebrating the fact that I am alive.

In fact, right now I am not just surviving. I am actually doing well. I have a steady job, I am writing, I turned in a story for submission to a national anthology of new fiction, I am out as a queer woman, and I have shoes and lipstick and crochet and I am alive. I am well.

I got through those dark days. I have no doubt that there will be hard days ahead, too — but I’ve survived, I’ve gotten through, and I was able to ask for help in order to get through those terrible times. I got help, I got meds, and now I have my life in some semblance of actually better working order than it once was.

I had no hope two years ago, and then one year ago. I had no hope. I had no strength left.

I am here, today, and it is my anniversary of life, and I am alive. I am doing well. I am here.

here I go again with the part where I battle my self-censorship

(and seriously, self, wtf? you even have a tag on this very blog that says “better out than in”. take your own damn advice.)

So.

Let me begin by putting my confession for today right at the very top of the post, and that confession is: I’m terribly terribly lonely.

Oh and also: there are kinds of lonely, okay, so I’m going to focus on the particular type of lonely that I have been carrying around for a while now.

And in this case “a while” means almost one year.

Except not really, because this kind of lonely is not entirely unfamiliar to me.

Imagine: you present yourself to the world as being happily partnered. You present yourself as being in love and being lucky to be loved. You present yourself as this and that and the other and what the world doesn’t actually see is the part where you’re at home, hidden in the blankets, left to yourself because your so-called partner is spending long hours with his other lovers.

You are not against polyamory. But you are against the kind of polyamory where you can clearly see that your partner is with the others in mind and spirit even when with you, where you see that your partner would rather be kissing the others, holding on to the others. Where you can see that your partner isn’t interested in having sex with you, or does it with you when they’re clearly not there because they’re with the others.

That’s not polyamory, that’s abuse.

I’m okay with polyamory if it means my partner actually is with me when they’re with me. There are different kinds of polyamory, and what I want is the one or the ones in which my polyamorous partner is actually really present in the moment with me when they’re with me.

I know. I’m needy. Too many reasons for that.

And I know that I lived for many years in a relationship that was already falling apart below the surface, so I know how familiar and intimate my particular kind of lonely can be.

So yeah. Next month it will be a year since the relationship I had been in for a long time definitively fell apart.

I’m here, I’m still here, I’m doing everything I can in order to live and to stay alive.

But I am lonely.

I miss being held. I miss having someone to be with, in all the many shades of “be with”. I miss having someone to sleep with, in all the many meanings of “sleep with”. I’ve always been one to crave physical affection and also a lot of reassurance since I’m carrying so many anxieties and issues around. It’s like that song, you know? “I’m looking for baggage that goes with mine” and apparently that wasn’t what I had, from 1999 to 2016.

My kind of lonely is something I’m sick and tired of.

And I also feel this kind of anger at myself because why am I still afraid to tell the world about my problems and my hang-ups and my rage? I’m like, really, self, get over the fear that was imposed on you. Better to be flawed and to acknowledge those flaws, better to need and acknowledge that hey maybe your needs are normal and you DESERVE to have those needs filled.

a starman, waiting in the sky….

David Bowie – Starman

At the end of the previous post I kind of got sidetracked into a discussion of the big playlist I carry around on my laptop, and the role that music plays in my daily life. Music to me is a coping mechanism, and it’s a source of occasional inspiration, and it’s also the cave where I go and hide when the world gets to be too much.

It might surprise you, but I came to David Bowie very late in life — as in just in the past five years. Growing up, sure, I was exposed to all the popular music of the ’90s and onwards. I still have good memories of listening to the Spice Girls, Boyzone, and the Eraserheads and Parokya ni Edgar. But the prevailing music at home was — surprise — techno, or what would now be recognized as something like electronic dance music. It sort of had to do with the work that my parents were doing at the time — they had collections of music that they could use at various kinds of events, so there were active-sounding techno mixes for outdoorsy events and mellower music for galas and dinners and things like that.

After that, well, I kind of started going my own way. I was and still am pretty shameless in listening to the anime music of the ’90s and ’00s. The opening and ending tracks to various classic anime series? Still my jam today. And I will still back “Yuzurenai Negai”, the first opening theme from the CLAMP manga/anime series Magic Knight Rayearth, against any and all comers (including Kanno Yoko, because I love the track that much).

I also have had a long-time yen for the scores and background music of various movies. I used to have the soundtrack of Amelie somewhere on one of my drives, and bits and pieces of things like the Pacific Rim OST and tracks from the new series of Doctor WhoFinal FantasyDragon Age, and assorted cuts from Mass Effect — they’re here, they’re part of my aural landscape, and they’re pretty handy for all kinds of writing, as it turns out.

The other thing I wanted to talk about in terms of my relationship with music is that music was a big thing between me and my ex. Working the graveyard shifts together, we’d send each other songs to help get through the night. He was most likely to have been the one to introduce me to David Bowie — we both enjoyed songs like “Heroes”. For a long time, whenever I thought of music I’d wind up thinking of him and the songs that we both liked.

You can imagine the profound surprise and relief that washed through me the first time I listened to what used to be one of our theme songs — “When You Say Nothing At All” — and only felt a sort of bittersweet pang for what that song used to mean.

Is it taking my songs back? My music? But the music was created by other people; I was only attaching some emotions to the words or to the melodies. Still, that’s the thing: the music, the playlist, that I used to half-identify with my past is something else now. It’s my present and the things I want to do now, the things that are now pretty much divorced from who and what I used to be at the beginning of this year.

(It’s still a little strange to think that I can think about getting over all those years of a relationship in just a few short months, but again: perhaps we were already falling to pieces for a long time, and I was given the chance to change and move on even while I was still clinging to what little there still was.)

Oh, and there’s some serendipity for you: as I wind up this blog entry, my playlist has just cued up one of my very favorite pieces of music. You’ve heard this tango before, if you’ve seen True Lies or, especially, Scent of a Woman: “Por una cabeza” (music by Carlos Gardel, lyrics by Alfredo Le Pera).