So, specifically, my dog pee’d on the electrical outlet in which my refrigerator was plugged. When you stop laughing at this and read on, I’ll tell you that I handled this situation with grace and intelligence. I had a short-term plan and a long term plan. A temporary fix and a permanent repair plan. And I was able to do this without interruption of the day. Literally moving the fridge to another outlet. Easy right? Well I tried to explain, and my old pal understood that on a different day, that action would have been excruciating.
Yesterday morning, when I flushed the toilet, the handle popped off. Just broke. These things happen. I take a breath, but instead of exhaling a plan to go to the store, buy the piece and replace the broken bit, I broke down. I sat and drank a couple extra cups of coffee and fought against crying because regardless of all the things I pretend to be capable of dealing with, I feel like the mask of normalcy cracks, and I’m not even sure why I try at all. I went to work, stopped at the home improvement store and bought the piece. Waiting for the bus to get home, I wanted to collapse. The piece weighs less than half a pound. It’s a toilet handle. Just the handle. It seemed unbearably heavy.
I was starving. I wanted to eat. I wanted to put the piece on the table and make something to eat first and I knew that would leave me exhausted and I would promise that I would change the piece the next day. After all, the toilet still worked – just not the way it should.
I took another breath and walked upstairs to the bathroom, opened the package and twisted the nut off the handle. I slide the rod through the hole in the tank, twisted the nut back onto the threads. Done. Test. It works. Even running down the street for the eight dollar piece, all in, active time for this fix was less than a half hour. It was exhausting.
These two things describe my complacency and agony with my brain. Today is the agony.
I used to scratch my skin until it bled. My ex said, ‘you’re horrible to your skin,’ even though I knew I would use rich and expensive lotions and oils to keep it soft and elastic. And yet, I scratched it open. Frequently. I was treated (in error) for kidney failure and next for a bum pancreas, with doctors explaining to me that my body is suffering malnutrition along with the anemia I knew I had. I became enlightened to the fact that malnourished individuals have a habit of rubbing and scratching their skin as a means to stimulate nutrients to get to the extremities. A survival instinct. And I looked at my fingernails with an understanding that I had to stop scratching my skin open. I reasoned that I could not keep bleeding. And at my most recent doctor appointment, I was told, ‘no you cannot donate blood right now. You don’t have enough for you.’ Quite honestly, I may be doing a disservice to those relying on the blood banks by giving them a batch of mine.
And today, years after I’ve begun wearing acrylic all the time on my nails so they are not sharp enough to cut, and I have lessened the habitual scratching, I feel a feeling that I know was a piece of that cutting and scratching.
I’m crazy. Or anxious. Or manic. I don’t know exactly what this is but it is what I know. It’s a part of the home that’s inside me. It’s a part of what makes me too uncomfortable to sit among the normals. It’s a feeling that I want to peel off my skin.
I received a notification for a Halloween even. It’s a burlesque show celebrating a performer who shows graphic sex and violence in his work. Brutal bloodletting and torture as well as sex and anger. I suppose there is a pleasure in the release of the heavy emotions associated with this type of act. This type of art. So, my brain went to work, skimming through my slim list of friends to invite to a nudie show that is going to be challenging to watch with my past experiences and the current state of my brain. But I want to. I want to go to this show because it sounds interesting and I want my brain to stop shutting down when experiencing the sights and sounds of brutality. I want to train it to be better than it is.
And then, as I sit and get on with my day and drink another cup of coffee, I realize, I’m completely mad. I’m crazy. I’m anxious. I’m manic.
I’m on the brink of tears without the strength or calm to reason why. I feel dumb and brilliant at the same time. I feel like this mass of blood and flesh is getting in the way of letting my brilliance shine. I want to tear off my skin and be truly who I am without the mask everyone sees and judges.
I wish I had a lifestyle that allowed me to cocoon up and wait for this to pass. (I do still have faith that these periods of insanity pass… or at least wax and wane with the movement of the moon and earth) I’ve considered that if my lifestyle did allow such hibernation, it would be detrimental to my health and extend these periods of chaos. For crying out loud, I was frozen stiff at an historic tour because there were birds crunching in the dry leaves of the park. I know if I didn’t force myself to face the sunlight on the days my brain is most unprepared… well, I think I would devolve into a corpse with a ferocity slowed currently by the sheer will to see one more sunset.
It’s hard. It’s fucking hard to be crazy. It’s even harder to be strong through it. I feel weak and small so often and then I have to remind myself that I am strong. I carried a heavy thing yesterday and did an important thing. The perception of others that it was small doesn’t change the greatness it means in my life.