Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sin of the week, 2/24/08

It was 1995 and I was in my mother's bedroom. The windows were open and the TV was on. I was at the foot of the bed, painting her toenails. I stopped to look at her. She seemed to want to say something.

"Nini," she said, "I just can't seem to get it back."

"Get what back, Mom?" I asked.

"I can't explain it," she said. She levered her thumb over her morphine drip and pressed.

"What can't you get back, Mom?"

"It," she said.

I put the cap back on the polish and turned my attention to the television. She was watching home shopping network and she was, near as I could tell, moments away from ordering a door stopper made out of lead crystal.

"What is it, Mom?" I said.

She looked at me again and I could see that her pupils were dilated and that it had taken all she had to say that one thing to me. She was already on to the next thing: buying a charm bracelet off the other home shopping channel, the one she flipped over to so that the subject would be effectively changed. A month later, she died. My dad still has that charm bracelet.

For years I wondered what the It was, but now I think I know. The It she was trying to get back was hope, belief, even the weakest grasp on the idea that It might be okay somehow, that It might all work out. That It was all part of a plan.

My crime this week and every week is my belief that that there is no "It," that my life so broken that there is no "It" to fix or any "It" to work out okay or any "It" to hope for. Every time someone says "it" is going to be okay, I think "you say that because you think there is still an 'It' that can be saved. Every 'it' in all areas of my life has already done its turning out and "it" turned out the opposite of okay. But thanks for trying."

I know. I got a serious break. One thing did turn out ok. My dad is alive and well and that was a huge friggin' "it" to have break my way.

The odd thing is that I can't seem to get "it" together in the other sectors of my life. I can't quite transition into behaving as if "it" is going to be ok because there was a whole lot going perfectly wrong in my life before my dad ever got cancer, and even now that he is ok, all that "it" is still right there waiting for me, and "it" is all just as bad as before - only I am two years older and a lot less resilient, emotionally speaking. You would think that I would extrapolate the miracle down the line and have hope that I might someday get my career together, that I might stop behaving like a droid and start dating again, that I might stop mainlining cupcakes and staying up all night clutching my skull, sobbing, and saying "no no no no no no no" as many times as I can say it without needing another thimble of vodka/cupcake/white xanax or, as is lately my custom, Cheeto.* Um, no.

Like my mother, I can't seem to get it back.

The living as if I were going to die** next week, as if there is no future but waiting to die, is I think what they call the opposite of having hope, which is to say "despair," which if you know the rules I operate under is the queen-mother of all sins. It's worse than being a thief, a hooker, or a megalomaniacal serial murderer who rapes children and tortures animals. But that's me, really going for it, as usual.

This concludes Dark and Stormy Week, 2008. I hope you didn't dislike it as much as I did.

* Yeah, I ate about ten Cheetos at three in the morning. I couldn't very well dip into the vodka. I was fresh out.

** Stop calling your local intervention hotline. The list is (mostly) a metaphor


Julie said...

I go through periods where I believe there is no "it."

They're very depressing periods.

Anonymous said...

rough patch uh? really dark.. there is really bad shit goin on in my life.. career wise.. personal life wise.. its been that way for the last 4 years.. and i have been wondering to myself whether it could get any worse.. every time anything goes south for me i think to myself 'shit happens .. ' and i try to move on to the next thing. atleast i try and most of the time it doesnt really work out but then i have to keep on living right?! there are just those few people in this world who love me and would miss me if i wasnt around any more.. and thats pretty much the only thing that keeps me going..
shit happens in life, and life is probably not soo fair to the few like me and you. but things could had been a lot fuckin worse.. get over with it and move on..

LAS said...

Oh my gosh Nina, this post hit home, right to the heart of it for me. I relate - I know what you are talking about. I don't have "it" either, on most days. AA has tried to train me to believe in "it," to "act as if," as we say - everyone in there believes in "it" and lives as if "it" is all going to be okay. They say it over and over, and the thing is, I might say it right along with them sometimes, but on most days, I don't believe it and instead what I believe is that it has all already gone horribly and irreperably wrong. I had a therapist who suggested that perhaps I was living my life the way I was because I didn't believe that I was going to have a life to live - and she is probably right. I do think that. I keep waiting, I'm waiting to live. I'm waiting for "it" to all be just right and okay, so that I can live. I think I may be waiting forever. And I think I may be unhappy forever too.

M@ said...

I had IT briefly a couple of years ago. :)

ByJane said...

Yeah, I call those my Sartrean moments--the times when the veils part and you really see that being and nothingness is all there is. Drat it.

Annie said...

Nina, I am so sorry. The loss of hope is an awful thing, and I have been there too. However, it always comes back. I don't think that the point
is to have everything work out, all the time, the way we want. I think the trick is to know that no matter
what happens, it is what had to happen. I believe in hope and I
hope for you that you get it back in spades.

Em said...

I feel this way sometimes. . .or something like it anyway. I'm glad to know cheetos help. . .I will certainly keep that in mind for when I run out of wine and reese's peanut butter cups.

Willowtree said...

Of course there's an It. I saw him just the other day, he's that little guy with the floor length hair on the Addams Family.

LizB said...

I've been there, and it sucks. I'm sorry that you're there now. Hope the fog lifts soon, Nina.

Avitable said...

It's out there. You have much to offer, which only increases what it is for you.

Anonymous said...

Who in the hell stops at ten cheetos?

Nina, you are very strong. I would have taken many more xanax and then eaten a bag of cheetos and then washed it down with the vodka.

It's probably a good thing I don't live closer to come over and influence you in my ways of dealing.

Catherine said...


Hey, you do have super cool dudes like the AVITABLE leaving you little notes on your blog. That is at least like twenty three Cheetos.

Also, for what it's worth, and if you can trust me when I say you and I are very closely alike in some ways: "It" is very much around. It's here. And it isn't elusive or hiding or difficult or rare. It's just waiting, and you will come around when you feel like it. I hope that time is soon, and I am saying this almost as much to myself as you. But a little more to you at the moment.

Sending some love your way.


Maggie said...

I hear you, sweets. I don't even know where to start with the comforting supportive words, but you know we all love you and have great hope for you.

I still think we should down a couple of Dark and Stormys.