the missing all.
it’s been a long rainy week. with the nights getting shorter. it’s the first we’ve felt of fall. i am beginning to feel the dread and misery that comes when you’re staring down the holiday season alone. thanksgiving, christmas, my birthday (32 dear God), my anniversary. alone, alone, alone, alone. God, i remember last christmas was especially harrowing—i had a fever and a horrible cough. i put on christmas pyjamas and laid in bed crying about being alone and having no one to take care of me and then at some point watched ‘the apartment.’ in a very lame attempt to cheer up. i have to think of something to do this year so i’m not frankly miserable…i should google this. there’s got to be some service or home for all the miserable lonely people out there, right? i mean there’s millions of us. someone must be capitalizing on it.
Tread-Lightly leaves a void. he was the promise of something. he represented something to me—something comforting and wholesome—something i’ve never gotten to have. you’d be so nice to come home to sums it up pretty well. (the barbara lea version is particularly devastating.) whether it was love or wanting to be in love or pure pathology—i guess it’ll take a little hindsight to figure that out—all i can say is that something chemical happened to my brain that never happened before. he set something off. my mind doesn’t know what to do with itself now—it just keeps replaying the scene where he told me he felt at home when i held him—or the one where he told me i was so sweet i made his heart melt—or the one where well you get the idea. over and over again. very unhelpfully. here’s how stupid gone i was: i usually had a hard time sleeping at Tread-Lightly’s house—we usually went to bed earlier than i’m used to and for some reason i could never quite get comfortable—but i didn’t mind because it was wonderful to lie there and watch him sleep. i mean, i didn’t want to stare at him—i didn’t want him to wake up and get totally creeped out—so i’d set up a kind of pillow-barrier and make up rules about how often i was allowed to open my eyes. it was a whole discipline. i looked forward to my miserable sleepless nights. yeah. that’s the level of abjection we’re dealing with here.
i am supposed to focus on myself and making it happier. my new therapist said so! ha, not in so many words—‘i don’t like to give advice. i prefer to make suggestions.’ (though my favorite thing-a-therapist-said has to be ‘who knows why anybody does anything!?’) (‘uh…dr. carmichael…aren’t you supposed to to know?’) i’d prefer not to. oh how i would prefer not. but obviously it’s a solid suggestion and obviously it’s what i’m doing already anyway—i mean otherwise i wouldn’t even be seeing a therapist. right.
i don’t know why i want someone so badly these days. i spent so much of my life alone—i could go for a week without even speaking to anyone when i was in grad school and i was pretty much fine with it! (well sort of.) in (large!) part i think i’m sort of mourning all the years when i didn’t feel like i could be with anyone—all the aborted relationships, the relationships i fled, the confusion, shame, pain, etc. and now i’m at an age when people are getting married and having children and reaping the rewards of glorious love fulfilled or some such heteromercantile nonsense as i’m pleased to imagine and i want it to be me, damn it. i’ve only known the saddest, shittiest parts of love—and living in general, to a certain extent—i never get the good part. i want the good part. i want the yoke. i want all the transcendent shit. i want it to be my turn. why did i have to suffer? when i told Tread-Lightly about the history of my affliction—which i did in some detail—which i rarely do—i ended up saying something about how it was such an incredible experience to be healed, and healed suddenly, it actually felt like a miracle—and i would never have felt that if the suffering hadn’t come first. and Tread-Lightly said it was so admirable that someone would feel that way, i had such a grateful spirit it was a privilege to hear my tale of woe, i ought to write it all down, etc. etc.* and i felt slightly saintly. definitely superior.
and i did mean it, obviously. (don’t know whether this is more blasphemous or more disgusting, but when i had sex for the first time, it was like the magnificat. sorry! sorry i had to tell you that.) i think i have a ‘grateful spirit.’ but lately i keep remembering the sad things. crying a little. sometimes getting angry. i’m not all goodness gratitude and wonder. there was one day this summer when my mother and i were cleaning out my grandmother’s house and i burst into tears. it was sudden, i surprised myself. of course my mother thought i was crying about my grandmother and was touched. ‘no, i’m not crying about that.’ and i told her that i was crying about this hypothetically happy youth that i never got to have and she basically said WTF, but you’re fine now. which was sensible.
i asked my BFF recently if he was ever angry at God for making him be born female. he, ever sensible, was like WTF, are you really asking me if i’m angry at God? (it sounded overly dramatic to me, too, as soon as the words were out of my mouth. quite tread-lightlian.) and then he said, well, no, because i wouldn’t even be remotely the same person i am today if i hadn’t had the experiences i did. and other sound and comforting things. he was like the friend Job should’ve had. really, he is so admirable in so many ways—he’s happy with being alone, doesn’t have anything like my madness to find someone to love—and yet he still listens to my boy nonsense, even finds it genuinely interesting! for hours at a time. he’s a keeper and a wonder, that one.
again i have to conclude: my friends are amazing.
* contrast with The Gift Horse. when i said i thought maybe i should write about my affliction he said: ‘but who would the audience be? only people interested in medical oddities.’