THE HOPE OF THE IN-BETWEENS

I’m always a bit uncomfortable discussing the situation much less writing about it. But, my struggle through this PSD “episode” seems to be dragging farther than I ever imagined. Of course, insurance is not providing much in the way of help other than to toss pills at me. And, not cheaply either.

One pill, the best one, causes cravings in most people who take it. Cravings for sugar. Sugar. My mortal enemy and dearest of vices. I fall into the group who craves it. So, what little I have gained in my predicament — I’ve also started to gain in pounds. My waist size is about to verge on 32! I was a waist size 28 just a little over a year ago! Arghh!

Still, I soldier on. Isn’t that the saying? As always in life — I do my best to push forward. Tho, lately I seem to be losing my ability to push. As the nightmares and night fears grow so do my daily challenges.

Confusion, crying jags and moments of despair show up at the oddest of times. Like a gun someone else holds, I lose track of what causes that person to pull the trigger. But, pull and shoot he does. I never know when to dodge bullets. I try not to fall. I might end up in bed or hiding in some public corner trying to pull it all together. But, I always manage to do that.

So, in this respect I feel I am winning the battle. But, it looks like I might be losing my employment with the first place for which I’ve truly loved working. And, with that bit of news I crumble a bit more. I try to hide it. I try to act as normal as I can.

It feels like I whine about it. I don’t mean to do that.

I am blessed.

…So very blessed to have my B. Who, keeps us floating. I’ve lost count of the plans he has had to cancel or restaurants and movies which we’ve had to leave before the meal or film is finished. And, Bagel, who never casts doubt or judgment. Puppies and dogs. They just want to be loved. That’s easy. And, I’ve got some great friends. I get great emails from people I’ve never met but who I count as very dear friends who I hope to meet one day. From all of these souls I gather strength.

It was B who decided that it would be a good idea for us to “invest” in a dual membership with the SFMOMA. We joined on Sunday. We roamed two floors and saw the two “big” exhibits. Both of which were of merit and interest. As per usual of late, I found it hard to focus and really be present. To be in that moment to appreciate the art.

But there was one piece. A piece that belongs to the museum. The artist, Jim Hodges, has carefully sewn together thousands of plastic, silk and polyester flowers to form one huge curtain of absolute beauty. He spent a summer sewing the various pieces together with family and friends. SFMOMA acquired the piece and it currently hangs like some promise of beauty and hope. It starts from the ceiling of the gallery and falls with a trail on the gallery’s floor. The piece is called “No Betweens” and it was finished/created in 1996. No Betweens by Jim Hodges, 1996

I am not much for flowers, plants or even nature. I actually prefer the artificial. This might be the first reason Hodges’ piece pulled me toward it. So, perfect but without the issues of nature. No pollen. No bugs. No soil or mud. Honestly, I’ve always been more comfortable in the cement walls of an urban landscape. I think friends think this is a joke, but I never really get the whole nature thing.

However, as I stood in the gallery in front of this huge drape of man-made fabrics forced into the form of flowers I gained a bit of footing. I stepped closer and looked at the other visitors in between the many flowers. Some people looked a bit surprised. Others amused. More still seemed to be smiling and even internally laughing at the extreme absurdity of the piece. Some were, like me, in absolute awe.

Then I saw B standing on the other side. He was surveying all the flowers with only a little interest, but there was this fleeting look of “happy” that came into his eyes. No matter how fleeting, I saw a glimpse of happiness in those eyes which have been showing so much sadness and pain. Pain for me, for his family and for his own personal struggles. But, for the first time I saw happiness and hope creep back into his eyes. And, for a moment, I also felt happiness flow through my veins. Something I’ve not really felt for quite a while.

I returned to the piece yesterday. It had a similar impact on me. Flowers and string. Sometimes – maybe there is no betweens. Sometimes — there is no getting around the truth of things. Sometimes I feel like I will never have my bearings back. That I will never find a way out of this bubble in which I seem to be stuck.

It is so hard to explain. But, it feels like I’m watching everything but I’m not really here at all. As if even a hammer to my head would cause no pain because this can’t really be me walking down the street, washing the dishes, climbing the stairs, riding the subway, taking a shower, trying to read a book, talking to a friend or taking a picture.

This feeling of almost 24/7 “dis-association” takes a toll. All the more un-nerving are those moments when this scary sensation almost starts to feel like my “normal” — sometimes, like quiet, it feels unbearable. I start to feel like nothing will smash through it.

I smile, but I am falling a part.

A Part. Separated. Damaged. Ugly. A feeling that everyone who looks at me can see my past like scars across my face. Of course, intellectually, I know this can’t be true. But, emotionally, it is what I feel. The intellect loses out in the fight against the emotional — at least for me.

Feeling at my rope’s end, we’ve decided to pursue additional help on our own. Fears of going into debt now feel me with even more dread. And, even now, the cell phone sits a few feet away from me. Just waiting for me to make the call to schedule an appointment. But, as silly as it sounds — I am struggling to find the strength to make the call to schedule an appointment. I want to toss it out one of the windows. I haven’t even turned it on today because I so dread making the call(s).

“What are you looking to resolve?”
“What has put you on disability?”
“Let’s talk a bit to make sure it will be a good fit.”

…and those horribly awkward and embarrassing moments where I stumble to answer. As the rain pours down the windows of our loft I am not sure I’m up for those questions. Questions required for any decent therapist. But, the answers are not so simple for me to answer. Especially on a phone.

Hodges named this piece “No Betweens” but I think the real secret of this tapestry is found in exactly the opposite of the concept implied by the title. It is the In-Betweens that really bring meaning — and there are as many of those as there are flowers. What we see through the open spaces in between is what brings the true color. It is the in betweens that bring me hope. …and some fleeting happiness.

I take Bright Eyes off the record player and replace it with the club noise of Siouxsie’s new LP. And, I notice that the cover of that LP reminds me of Jim Hodges gorgeously absurd curtain. I wish I were standing in front of that curtain right now. …Peeking at the spectators on the other side.

“What in the world is happening?
What in the world could this be?
I’m on the verge of an awakening.
A new kind of strength for me.

…I feel a force I’ve never felt before.
I can’t hold it down.
I’ve just got to soar.
And, I laugh in the face that is vulture law.
I burst out.
I’m transformed.
I burst right out – into a swan…”

Siouxsie, 2007

I can be whole again. I can be me again. I can beat this. I just need to make this call. And, I need to get back to that curtain of faux floral color that Jim Hodge made.

There is hope. I push forward. I will transform.

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January 8, 2008. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized.

13 Comments

  1. Miss S replied:

    I wrote a big long entry on my journal just for you!

  2. ing replied:

    I loved that curtain! I had a dream about it last night. So beautiful!

    Oh, Matty, I know my experience was waaaay different from yours, but I went through a crying-jag period where it’d start in the wierdest & most embarrassing moments. It did go away after a while. Mostly. I hope it’s the same for you.

    I love you.

  3. Pants replied:

    “No Betweens” looks absolutely gorgeous. I wish I was there to see it. I miss SFMOMA!

    I’m sorry that you’re in so much pain right now. Needing to therapist shop while in trauma is beyond challenging. Not the therapy part, but getting there. I had to kiss a few frogs (so to speak) before I found the right therapist. Sending positive energy to you from a dreaded red state…

    xoxo,
    Pants

  4. The Sagittarian replied:

    I believe this butterfly is going to find the wings that will help him to fly.

  5. Old Cheeser replied:

    You’ll get through all of this Matty. I think it’s great that you’re writing so honestly and openly with us about all of this, it can’t be easy!

    Fabulous looking art! Now, why on earth did you post a pic of that godawful Tom Cruise on “Oprah” moment?! I feel there should be a speechbubble coming out of his mouth going: “Yaaaaaay!! I’m even further back in the closet than I was before!!”

    Sorry to trivialise an essentially serious post, but then again, humour can help!

  6. johnNokc replied:

    I read your blog and many times, more than I can count, I want to write those magic words that take away all of your pain, your fears, and doubt. So I start writing and quickly discover that I don’t have those words, much to my great sorrow. So, as much as I would wish it otherwise, I’m not smart enough or wise enough to be able to do any more than be a mute, ethereal presence in your subconscious — a presence that offers you strength and reassurance so that you can and will ultimately prevail.

    Or something like that.

  7. hot-lunch replied:

    i have hope too, Matty! pick up that phone!! we’re all behind you all the way!! *hugs*

    and the last time I was a size 28 was maybe about ten years ago!!! OY!

  8. Krafty Bitch replied:

    Dearest little Matty,

    Child, I’m sending you all the healing energy and warm fuzzies I can muster! I know what it is like for the logical to battle the emotional. My wish for you this year is that you find the peace and serenity in life you so greatly deserve.

    Hugs and kisses from the South!

  9. ing replied:

    Jandek!!

  10. Anita replied:

    I loved JohnKnoc’s reply and feel as he did: I am not wise enough to know what to do or say to really help you; and my time to do that seems to have passed anyway .
    This much I know: You will survive this too and you will soar over the rocks and mountains and fly to live and rejoice another day with your loved ones and good friends.
    I wish I had the riches of Donald Trump to buy that beautiful work of art from SFMOMA for you; or even a way to steal it for you!! But, you have it in your head and heart and I pray that is what you see in your dreams from now on.
    God bless B and Ing for the love and support they provide you.
    Now to Ing; I know your Mom quite well and she would never scare a great guy like B who is so important to you–and, I don’t know why you put that picture of her on your site except that she has always provided entertainment for you and friends ; and I know she is happy to do that.
    However, to Ms. Ing your Mom told me to say there is no Hee, Hee involved: The Proof is in the Pudding as they say. HA HA
    I love you more than you can ever know. Anita

  11. matty03 replied:

    Hey Kids,

    I can’t begin to thank you all for the comments and emails.

    I will be OK and I’m going to try not to be such a Sad Sadie with blog. In fact, I’m going to create a new post now.

    I’ve officially been terminated from my job effective today. I loved that job and employer. What can one do?

    B says we will be OK and will make it just fine. I trust B with my life. If he says it will be OK — I believe him.

    I survived a lot worse in my childhood. God damn it if I can’t find a way to beat this shit! Beat it I shall! I will not surrender.

    I will find my curtain of flowers and I will transform to a great strength!

    …If only I had better balance and felt like I was actually “here” and not perpetually floating about in an odd state of confusion. But, I digress.

    Send me your positive thoughts and love (as you all have!) …and I will sort this mess out!

  12. javabear replied:

    Dearest Matty,
    Well, what to say? Stuff like this needs something more physical than words on a screen. Like a huge curtain of fabric flowers. Or a hug, or even a hand to hold.
    I totally get how hard it is to make a call. I’ve been there more often than I care to remember. And sometimes I’ve had others to make that first contact for me.
    I am sorry your employment has been terminated. There will be other opportunities in other places at other times? I suspect so.
    B is there. There! You have shit to deal with, and B is with you, for you.
    I’m sure you know all this. But know, also, that I care. Keep fighting, baby!

  13. matty03 replied:

    Javabear – Thank you. I will keep on fighting.

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