I remarked to Daisy and Hero as we walked down Willow Street on Thursday that I feel good. "Not happy," I added. "I'm still scared about money and I'm really lonely and I don't know how to have fun and my body is too big. But I feel...good."
Late this fall I think I was on the verge of a depressive psychotic break. I remember walking along and thinking, "I need coffee, yogurt, soup and I wish I wasn't any more." I'd stop and think, "Hunh??" I wasn't, in the beginning, consciously suicidal, I'd simply move from one thought to "If it weren't for my debt and Daddy and Daisy..."
After that happened a couple of times, of course, I became aware of what was happening which made it a lot worse.
So when I say I feel "good," the baseline is that I don't feel like that.
I've been working on Sex and the Pity every day and have come up with a dumb device that I like a lot: at the head of each chapter I give a pertinent sexual fact from the animal kingdom. It's good because it sets the episodes off on a lighthearted note. It's also good because I got to spend a couple of hours one day searching for these factoids. We're familiar with the black widow who eats her mate: it's that kind of thing. They make me laugh.
I have an editing project in-hand and that's always something I like. It's there when I'm sick of the computer and it makes my brain go on working in writing mode, only it's objective.
Then there are days when I have to study what I need to do to remain feeling "good". Yesterday I woke up and was really tired. I'd had a busy couple of weeks with dogs which would end that early evening and I'd been such a Good Girl about writing and editing and getting things on my list done. When I reckoned I had to write three pages a day to turn this manuscript in on time, I didn't give myself any days off. That was insane of me. Yesterday I required of myself that I write one page. I almost accomplished that. It will all probably turn out fine in the end. I'll get a couple of five-page days but I'd better start including some slump days.
I've just realized that walking in the fresh air helps a lot. Duh! I know. I'm an idiot. It's partly how I get to the Novembers of my life. In my defense, we're just coming into pleasant walking again after some months of acutely dangerous to miserable walking conditions.
I'm moving through the world with a conscious rule to forgive myself. I slept in too long this morning, so long that I was kind of hung over from it. I don't like getting up in the morning because I'm so scared of my precarious bank account and of writing and of time; today I pushed it too long. "If you don't write early, you'll work tonight," I had to tell myself.
I'm scared of what will happen if I don't take it everything except Sex at a slow pace (yeah, I see the pun), and even that I have to offer up to the blue sky with the attitude that I'm in it for the long haul now and that the mounting page count proves I'm doing what I should be doing.
I don't even feel out of the woods of depression yet. There are signs around the house that tell me I have a ways to go. For instance, Wendy, I'm sorry I haven't opened your Christmas package yet. When I do, I will...have to acknowledge it and you, which will force me to join the human race by another increment. It will probably mean I have to acknowledge that you like[d] me, ibid. on the human race. It will probably introduce something nice into my life when I'm still living in this bubble of make-do.
These are not the feelings of a terribly healthy person.
I have several such packages around the house.
There are a couple of spots in the Bat Cave that could use some cleaning...except that would mean I could ask someone to come in. I'm afraid of letting any one in.
I might open one of those packages today. I might -- I've sat here with my chin in my hand for about four minutes trying to finish the sentence with no real triumphs. But you know? I don't care. I feel good.
"Mystifyingly, when Cathy was fighting lung cancer, people who knew her well and should have known better would ask me to forward her their suggestions that ...