The Palace Park

The Palace Park

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Trick or Treat?

So it almost Haloween, little one. There is a great costume of the Count (get it? Because I call you Fanglet? I know. . . I know. Good thing I'm not a commedienne.)

I have been taken over this week by ennui. And if I can't figure out how to nip it in the bud, I am afraid it will roost permanently on my shoulder, a crow's carcass. A bag of Chips Ahoy.

Over the weekend, your papa and I went to Suffolk for the races (a small, unspoken tribute to your Aunty Susan) and then to Norwich of an evening. On Monday, I met the Biscuit in town for a coffee, and then rushed and rushed through the rest of the day: JobCentre, Meeting, Pilates. Stretch, Chubby, Stretch!

On Tuesday, I took my driving theory test. I went early, stood at reception and as I signed in, the receptionist looked at me, puzzled. 'I think I recognise you! You were pregnant? I remember all the pregnant ones.' He smiles as he hands me the documents. 'You were big! Twins, right? How are they?' This man is one of the friendliest Englishmen. I smile softly, take my documents.

'The wee one passed away. 2 days after he was born. But he was so lovely.'

Kicking puppies, kiddo. Kicking puppies. He tears up, walks away and I'm left in suspended animation. I still need a locker to check my bag and coat into, I still need to sign in. . . And all I can think about is your tiny little hand and the way you smelled. Your hair and your little slate grey eyes.

'A little boy.'

And that is pretty much where I've been for the last few days, when I'm not going through the documenting that is part of the emotional maladaptive schema therapy I'm doing. Which is so painful at times, I think it is going to devour me. Part of the process is about establishing provenance over skewed reactions to people, conversations, emotions, etc. It requires me to note how/what I am feeling, catagorize where I fit with the schema and match the schema up with the earliest memory I can conjure on where I would have learned such reactions. I won't go into detail here because your grandmother visits and I don't want to make this about having a bad childhood, because I didn't. I had a lovely childhood, much of the time. And when it wasn't lovely, it was so dysfuntional, I don't think any of us - my parents, my brother, me, any of us - realized what was going on or how upside down the world had gotten. I stopped looking for people to blame and be angry with a long time ago. The kicker about this whole thing is that I can see it all - I can see how two tremendously beautiful, shiny people like my mom and dad meet, how they fall in love, and how it all goes horribly awry at times. I can see where my mom's parents - both of whom are so lovely - had some seriously fucked (now, don't suck your gums at me; mommies swear sometimes. That's life) ideas on what life was supposed to be like and they had exacting expectations. And your Grumpa's parents? Well, let's just suffice it to say Olympia Biniweski crazy drug-created family in 'Geek Love's family has nothing on them. Seriously. And all of that trickles down until I go through the better part of my twenties thinking most men are shit-eating cheats and women are just crazed. Or that I am crazed and deserve to be punished for it.

So, yeah. Therapy is going really, really well. It is so much fun to live in all of the schematic moments of my past. We'll get to the good parts, where I learned positive schemas (I'm making a separate list of them too), but right now, when I'm down too far to care, this is kind of like kicking a horse when it has missed the wall and is waiting to be shot.

Tomorrow I leave for Lyons where I will see Magali Sapet-Butel, an exchange student that lived with us my sophomore year of high school. Sophomore year, it is safe to say, was the worst year of my educational life, 1st year of grad school not withstanding. Kids can be horrible and I was an easy target: frizzy hair, kooky glasses, enough orthodenture to choke a horse. . . I was too misearble to do anything but curl up in a porcupine like ball rather than fight back. I was branded a bitch, a witch (literally, prayers being said in attempts to save my damned soul), was stuffed in lockers, the whole shebang. I don't think there was a day until January that I didn't cry sit in my bathroom digging into myself with my nails or the like. I was not a happy bunny and I wasn't easy to be around. And when I think about that time that Maggie lived with us, that is what I remember: being ashamed of who and what I was, of being defective and not good enough at anything. I didn't even feel exotic enough; German is not exotic unless you're into Kant, Goethe and S&M and I'm not really into any of them (although I like a nice latex dress as much as the next girl). French on the other, well. . . That's a different story. Maggie was exotic in a way I would never be and instead of making friends with her, I saw her as yet another cross to bear. Damn cheese-eating surrender monkeys, as the pater Simpson would say. Which is so unfair and yet so very, very true.

When I think about going to Valance and seeing Maggie, time slips away and I'm gauche, awkward and 15. I am terrified and it is ridiculous. I have no cause to be. This is going to be a great good thing, if I can get out of my own twisted snit long enough to pack underwear.

Note to self: pack some underwear. And a toothbrush. Unpacky the cookies. They are not your friend.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

22 September

22 September
Cincinnati, Ohio

I’m sitting in the lobby of Union Terminal in Cincinnati and it is half past midnight. This is one of my favourite buildings in the world; perfectly preserved and converted into a museum and still functioning as a train station. There’s a full moon out and I’m waiting for the 3:27 to Washington, having decided a few months ago that a train trip would do me good. It would force me to slow down and be patient, 2 things I am not always great at; especially the slowing down part.

We arrived in Dayton on Sunday the 13th to blue skies and a parched autumn. Since the cold has arrived early to London, I had been craving an Indian Summer, so this suited me down to the ground. There was a BBQ, there was Karaoke at a dive bar called Dizzy Jim’s where one can sing their hearts out 7 nights a week. There was a week of early morning coffee with Gigi, a week of all night drug stores just waiting for a bout of insomnia, a week of Law & Order marathons; a week of just good stuff happening. A week of living like I’m sixteen and the world is just itself.

12 September 2010

12 September

The last two weeks have been a bit of a nightmarish haze. I think it safe to say that mentally, it has been the worst period I can remember in recent years this side of Chicago. And cookie – Chicago got bad.

The thing that I’ve had with managing my depression, in creating a collaborative environment for both Depression and I to be in, is that when a downward spiral starts, I don’t always know how to prevent it when there is more than one catalyst. You, my sweet, are a case in point. Life with out you is hard enough to adjust to. Add to that life a work environment that has turned so toxic that I break out in a rash thinking about it, the death of two incredibly close friends, and one health crisis after another and you can almost see how, a week ago Friday, I wind up in tears at the Priory (I know, right? What a great name for a loony bin). By this point, outraged with myself to the point that I actually started hyperventilating. My shrink – I won’t call her a lovely woman but I will give a nod to her competency – thinks I should be admitted but we’re US bound and let’s face it: the last thing the Priory needs is Ohio crazy shaking down the walls.

Something is off in my body; later that evening, I start my period unexpectedly (I know, little one; not something a boy should have to hear his mother prattle on about until he’s at least 45). And it leaves me flat out. I’ve started working with a naturopath and have started working with my acupuncturist again (who, bizarrely, I ran into outside my own house – literally, outside our flat. She had just come from looking at a house on our road. I hadn’t seen her in over a year). As I type this from a Mid-Town apartment in Manhattan, I also have numerous magnets taped across my upper body, drawing out an infection that started out as a common cold and before the 2nd sneeze had turned into Strep. I know, I know. 2010 and I have issues.

Your first Rosh Hashona has come and gone. Your first new Year. No apples and honey for you to try, no breaking the fast (not that I would’ve been with you around).
But all in all, I’m pretty lucky. My worries and woes are strictly first world and I have a pretty swish life. I mean, I’m writing this in Manhattan, for cripe’s sake, so how hard done by can I be? In the next 2 weeks I will have been in NYC, Ohio, Washington DC, back to London and then off to Prague. That, my little cherub, is pretty fucking sweet.