Ugh. I do hate this time of year. For me, from my birthday through the Holidays is horrific. I've always hated these months because that nagging DOWN feeling, accompanied with booze and pills, always manages to take over. Frankly, if we could just remove the final three months of the year from our calenders, I'd be delighted.
It started kind of early this year. In a quel dramatique moment, I took a handful of Ambien, promptly barfed it up, and slept for two days. Naturally, I ended up in a hospital, which is fine, because those friendly nurses feed you valium every couple of hours, change the sheets, and are nice as can be. Now our local hospital is a joke, especially when you've spent some time at CEDAR SAINI for chrissake. Yes, I was in the Elizabeth Taylor Ward. Why? Because I got hit by a truck. But that's neither here nor there. This time I was in for Medical Detox. The stooopid fucking Doctor didn't know a thing about HIV meds. You can't take them piecemeal. One has to take ALL the meds, or none at all. So of course, I was deemed problematic, and shot up with Haldol, which they give to psychos. It takes a month to purge the shit from your system. Not to mention the fact that the food is GHASTLY, so I wouldn't eat. I mean, I've been in several hospitals and generally speaking, you get a menu in the morning. But if you want a breakfast of gruel, go ahead. Check into Saint Joe's. Finally, one of the nurses told me that I could order from the grill downstairs, instead of consuming some crap I wouldn't give a dog, even though I know they'll eat it. Then after day four, and feeling much better, the Doctor urged me to stay on. Fuck that!
My fabulous therapist, Lisa Harmon said something to me that really stuck. "You've already written that book. How about we try writing another story." She was, of course, talking about the acclaimed FABULOUS HELL, which everyone in Bellingham has read so my shit is plain to see. I wrote that damn book after I got the AIDS diagnosis, and the story is pretty ugly, if I must say so myself. I mean, droning on about drug addiction, falling out of men's beds hither and yon, dissing your Mother, and living like there's no tomorrow (there wasn't) can be a little tedious. But writing with my usual dark sense of humor and sarcasm made the book palatable. And also gave me a sense of who I was. It was like THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, only I didn't have a portrait stashed away in the attic. The canvas was me, and it weren't purdy.
Now, if you've never experienced mental illness, and go blithely about your life talking a bunch of happy bullshit, you can just stop reading this blog right now.
So. I've made a harm reduction plan. I see Lisa once a week, a drug/alcohol abuse counselor. My apartment manager and her assistant are VERY supportive, and I got a job!!! Well, the job fell in my lap, and I'm thrilled with the challenge. Content Manager for the local AIDS SERVICE ORGANIZATION'S Web site. Very adult content, and considering that with all the sex I wrote about in my opus, I never talked weenies and the like. I steered clear of that, believe me. Plus it's part time, I can work from home, and afford to buy a pair of shoes once in a while. EVEN underwear, which is the first thing to go when your on a strict budget. So feeling frisky, with a lovely Land's End gift certificate, I bought three turtlenecks and a pair of cords. You see, my turtlenecks are YEARS old, and though I take good care of my clothes, the goddam necks are shot, and I wear them up all the way ala Katharine Hepburn. Oddly enough, as I was quite the clothes horse in my 20s and 30s, I've found a look that suits me. I am (ahem) 46 after all. My main expenditure is my hair (sometimes highlighted), and Mandy's not cheap. But her haircuts last for months!!!
My birthday went off smoothly, as I only celebrated with La Dragonessa (Mom), and we had a simple day of shopping followed with happy hour at my new fave haunt, SCOTTY BROWN'S, which is about as sophisticated as it gets in a town that's five cow patties away from the Canadian Border. The servers are model gorgeous, and the bartenders pour a liberal martini. The yam fries are to DIE!!! As everyone knows, I eat like a bird, preferring nibbling to gorging. If every hour was Happy Hour, I'd be happy as a pig in shit. So anyway, we ordered one appetizer after another.
Yes, the Harm Reduction plan is working, I have more than enough support, and I just don't think I'm ready to die. Lord knows I've seen my life flash before my eyes more than once.
And why in the hell do I have to go through a seasonal fiasco, drink myself into oblivion, and bitch and moan when they start playing BRING A TORCH JEANETTE ISABELLA on the Muzak system in late October. I have the unfortunate habit of channeling my grandmother, who whenever she heard some song she recognized, she's say: "There's old Dino." Or "There's old Perry." The words just fall out of my mouth, and mom always gives me the same snarly look telling me SHADES OF THAT OLD BITCH, YOUR GRANDMOTHER! I always retort with SHE WAS YOUR MOTHER. And mom always comes back with I'M ADOPTED. She's adopted, I'm a bastard. Some family the Curti are.
I'm finding that cleaning the psychic house is wonderful for one's head.
And there's no point in repeating the same mistakes year after year. I used to be the first one to volunteer to work on holidays. Hell, it was time and a half, and I didn't have to deal with anything but fussy guests like Dame Joan Plowright, who prefers to be called Lady Olivier, for chrissake. Lady Olivier was Vivien Leigh!
No, I don't want to die. Not just yet.
I have too much to do.