BooHooWho

This is the only place where I feel the power of having a voice. The blank page listens to me. It gives me its full attention. I feel heard.

It would be unfair of me – as well as a cognitive distortion  – to say “no one ever listens to me”. But I’m going to be upfront: this is the first thing that pops into my head when someone I want to hear me, doesn’t. My immediate emotional reaction to a present instance of not being heard, that frustration – and on a much deeper level, hurt, because not being listened to is being rejected – colors my perception of the event, and it is added to a long narrative of other such events which resemble it in any way, no matter how small. The only thing needed to set off the telling of this particular Tale of Injustice Against Me is a little tap on that button there, which got hit when this not-getting-listened-to business bounced in unexpectedly.

So there in my brain is this entire unfolded saga and every stab of the knife of the central emotions is happening at once, it’s on however many flickering movie screens in that space in my consciousness that’s so close to the world it almost feels outside of me, each screen supercharged with fermented, risen-from-the-dead painful emotion. And all those rotting zombie emotions get together and form a groaning horde, focused on only one end: To eat my brain.

Because now everything I see is colored by this fucked-up perception, so I am not seeing clearly, and if I’m not seeing clearly, I’m not thinking clearly. Not only has the current event been distorted, it’s been tossed into a pit with however many other events where it will endlessly reanimate when new, fresh meat is thrown onto the pile. And rest assured, it will be – because the bigger the pile, the more I’m going to see this negative theme in every interaction. I’ll actually ignore the good things to look for it.

That is, unless I can recognize that this happens. Recognize the distortion, the generalizations of “never”, of “always”… These words are usually good indicators that maybe I need to take a look at the evidence. And if I look at what is real, and not just what I perceive in my moment of pique, I find that actually, quite a few people have listened to me. There have been many people who have, in fact, heard me. So while the zombie horde of emotional baggage wants to pull me into the Victim Dimension, I know that I do not belong there.

And because I can free myself from this vortex of the Woe Is Me Narrative my brain is for all its might attempting to suck me into, I am able to figure out that actually, in this particular instance, it’s just that the people I want to hear me, aren’t. There could be any number of reasons for that. Some of those reasons may have nothing at all to do with me. And just because they don’t hear me now, doesn’t mean they never will. This may be a situation that can be remedied. It may even be an opportunity to learn something – if only how not to get triggered when Life hits one of your sore spots.

Of course, this is all well and good when you’re able to think things through. That doesn’t always happen though, does it?

Coming soon: The Trigger Plan…

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Happy Birthday, Maggie Estep

Happy Birthday, Pants.

You would have been 57 years old today. I miss you so much. Your friendship and guidance changed my life. You inspired me with your work, and then years later I was lucky enough to know you. I hope that right now you are somewhere beautiful, playing skeeball with Vonnegut, laughing with Prince over blowjobs & career advice and what Lulu was doing on her Top Secret Assignments, having tea with Carravaggio, betting at the track with Charlie. Thank you for all the beauty and verve and truth and love you brought this world. You were a true friend.

Love and particles forever,

Grill

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Hey, Andy Lassner…

…I fail to see how tweeting YET AGAIN the SAME “and that was their final command” Orwell quote does more to help anyone than retweeting the question I have about whether painting respirators could be used by the doctors currently out of N65 masks so that this idea might POSSIBLY get in front of them and either be ruled out or MAYBE even HELP THEM…

I usually don’t call people names, but you, sir, are a prick.

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Training wheels are wobbly, but they work, and I’m pedaling to a place I’ve not been in a long, long time. Nothing I’m doing right now is anywhere near perfect – and it doesn’t have to be.

It’s a beautiful day.

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Facts Don’t Care About Your Fat

The party’s long over. It’s a closed subject. And I’m still thinking about it.

I realize how ridiculous bringing this up now is. People don’t even care about what happened last week. Or yesterday. I know – this was millenia ago. But, I’m sorry, I have to say it, because I need to stop thinking about it. See, the whole idea is to get it out of my brain — by putting it into yours. It’s the story of how little blogs are made. But anyway, it must be addressed and purged.

I’m talking about the fucking White House Correspondents Dinner with Michelle Wolf.  (See, I told you –  it’s ridiculous. But also, you’re already reading the post. So who’s really to blame here, hmm?)

HEAR YE, HEAR YE! THE NATION NEEDS A MIRACLE EAR!

I AM SHOUTING BECAUSE NONE OF US HEAR VERY WELL!!

Michelle Wolf said the word “facts” – but everyone INITIALLY thought she said “fat”. As in, “Sarah Sanders burns fat and uses the ash to make the perfect smokey eye.”

NO. The ACTUAL joke was: “Sarah Sanders burns FACTS and uses the ash to make the perfect smokey eye.”

People went on and on about how horrible it was for Michelle to insult Sarah Sanders’ appearance. But she did nothing of the sort. Everyone else did.

They all HEARD “fat” because they THINK “fat”. “Fat” doesn’t even work for the joke. Burning fat until it is ash isn’t some popular or common activity we all engage in, we consider burning fat to result in something else altogether (there’s a multi-billion dollar industry built around that cultural definition, even) and that F-A-C-T alone blows the “fat joke” theory all to Hell. Michelle Wolf was actually paying Sarah a compliment on her appearance, I mean, backhandedly, but she wasn’t calling her unattractive, or even suggesting that the smokey eye look is passe (cough) or awkwardly applied. The “Perfect Smokey Eye”. If someone said I had the perfect smokey eye, it would not hurt my feelings, unless maybe I wasn’t wearing eye makeup.

Michelle Wolf, Sneaker Aficionado

Michelle Wolf also pointed out that Sarah Sanders was a liar. (ETA: This is what you call a truth-based joke. Sarah Sanders is verifiably a lying liar with lying fire pants.) No one mentioned that part. Which kinda seems like the IMPORTANT part. Don’t know about you, but I would be a little more insulted to be called a liar than an expert at applying my eye shadow.

The point is, the whole outrage over it was nonsense, a bunch of cartoon hens cluckity-clucking their faux shock between commercials for A Place For Mom and Have You Had a Slip & Fall? Attorneys are Standing By! (Spokesperson is not an attorney)

I feel like a burden has been lifted. The truth is FINALLY out there.

See you at the next useless post!

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I Think You Just Don’t Want To Be Happy

Hey EVERYBODY!

I think that this unhappiness thing is just getting out of hand. I mean, c’mon. You’ve been skulking around here FOREVER. It’s like, SO obvious what you need to do. I think you know that. But I’m your friend. Your pal. Your buddy. So I will happily remind you. You’re doing this to yourself, you know that, right? You really just need to get out of your head and…

FORGET GRANDMA!

Yeah, she was nice and all, and like, related to you or whatever so she was around a lot, but still – never, ever, EVER think of her again. No holiday visits. No birthday presents. If you smell a cookie and it smells like hers and you involuntarily think of her cookies which automatically before you can control it leads to remembering that time you made those cookies with her? You see what you’re doing here. And you see that you’re doing it to yourself, right?

I’m telling you:

FORGET GRANDMA. NEVER THINK ABOUT GRANDMA AGAIN.

Also, don’t think about your parents. Or your siblings. Or any pet you had, or any house you lived in, or any kid you knew in school. Don’t dream about them either. Especially don’t dream about them. Because, really, if you dream about them? What good are you doing? You need to control that shit. You need to focus. Mind over matter.

Don’t think about classes you took, schools you went to, foreign lands you visited, books you’ve read, clothes you used to have, shows you used to like. In fact, you need to forget everything that ever happened to you. Seriously, man. Forget the past, will you? You’re fucking STUCK there, jeez. We ALL see it, and we really think you have issues. It’s like you WANT to have problems. Do you even WANT to be happy?

Oh, shit. Hold the phone, folks —

Sorry, but, uh… I just looked at my notes here.

Apparently, when I said “EVERYONE”, I was supposed to say “People with PTSD”, and when I said “GRANDMA”, I was supposed to say “the trauma you experienced”.

Otherwise, the advice is exactly the same, and it will work JUST AS WELL.

Whew. Fixed it.

(Hey! Thanks for checking out Armchair Therapy, where people who lack self-awareness counsel you about your own problems before tending to their own!  The moral of today’s story: Telling people with PTSD that they “seem stuck in the past” is a stellar comedy premise, truly. I mean, thinking that people can forget their entire lives by sheer power of will! COMEDY GOLD. If only Mitzi were alive for this, sniff (RIP, Babe). But hey, take part in the “Armchair Therapy Challenge” and give forgetting your life a shot! And please, write in to let us know how you do – oh, wait, you won’t be able to, because if you succeed, then you won’t remember reading this. Well, pin a note on your shirt for someone else to do it, okay? Armchair Therapy – if you don’t have an armchair, a broken futon will do!)

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A Post About Singing, Yeah, That’s It

The late, great Maggie Estep used to say that singing was one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. And she’s right. Singing gives you all this endorphin action, and all the benefits of extra oxygen. It reduces stress, it increases your immune system, fosters clear thinking through correct breathing, improves your memory, and benefits your heart. It also lessens feelings of depression and loneliness because of the oxytocin released when you sing.

Basically, it does nearly everything except cure those pesky little abandonment issues. I mean, an emoji just made me cry. What the fuck.

Anyway. Singing does all this really great stuff for you if you just sing. But I grab a digital recorder and try to be a One Take Sally with every single syllable and note absolutely perfect in a room that’s about as acoustically sound (pardon the pun) as an outhouse. And I have medication dry mouth so it sounds like I’m trying to sing with a tongue piercing. Clack clack clack. So I frustrate myself. But I busy myself, also. Focus elsewhere (except for that fucking emoji thing). And dare I even say it.. I feel a little of that energy, bouncing off what Lynch has referred to as the radio, and I feel a little better.

And then I get sidelined by something and it’s a sob-show again, but this stuff comes in waves, this recurrent shock of loss comes in waves that knock you over just as you get upright again. And that is normal grieving. And it sucks unbelievably, and those waves have been part of my life for nearly a decade now between the losses of my parents, my friends, and my kitties. But I also think it’s okay to say that it sucks. Because if I say something that feels so debilitating and painful actually feels how it feels, that’s how I get past it. And I’ve been kicking myself for laying out the eviscerative (if I may make that a word?) nature of this particular pain, asking myself who cares, telling myself I don’t matter, plus the usual difficulty I have whenever I say anything in public, no matter how strident I sound, because for most of my life, exercising my freedom of speech has meant sacrificing my physical safety. So putting thoughts into the world can feel a little uncomfortable sometimes.

But the only way to purge a thing is to tell it. It’s the only way to be free of it that I’ve found works.

And I forgot the power of that. I forgot the songs and poems I wrote about traumatic events that freed me from them, only because I wrote about them. I somehow forgot through this past fucked up decade, so unlike any of my others which were fucked in their own way but at least contained some really cool shit too, that it’s not just comedy that saves. It’s art, and music, and film, and singing, and kitties in sweaters.

The only problem with purging the stuff is that while I’m doing something very healthy, people who don’t understand can read it and be like, oh, this bitch is really crazy, look at all her problems, she can only focus on the past (separate blog post coming soon) as if I am trying to wallow and be unhealthy. Nope. I am sincerely trying to get better. I don’t want to BE my disabilities. I am NOT my disabilities. My disabilities are challenges that I have to deal with and manage and despite them somehow be human, and some of the challenges I face make being human not only like walking over hot coals, but standing on them.

And honestly, a lot of the coals are the judgments of “normal people” who don’t even ever have any kind of dialogue with me about my disabilities – or about who I am OUTSIDE of them, how I view the EXEGESIS of all of this. No judgmental person goes meta. They barely even go SURFACE. Give a little tip of the iceberg to try to foster some understanding, it will not usually go well but instead be more grist for the mill of how you just really need to be avoided because ISSUES.

(I have to interject here that I cannot recall a single time a smoker has judged me for having mental illness. They {we} are all dopamine-deprived and seem to understand one another. And we all know what it’s like to be ostracized, that’s for sure.)

We are a nation of alienated people. We don’t exactly welcome those who are different. We don’t listen to their stories without judging them. We don’t look into their eyes and try to imagine what it must have been like to have been them, what it is like now to be them. We find every way we can to Other each other. So if me making myself sound like a total sailor-mouthed basket case – which I may well be, but also, a lot of other things, many quite positive and healthy and good – helps someone else? I’m down.

And it’s also okay to cry, is what I’m telling myself, because finally now, we are getting out of the Mewling and Puking phase, and into the cathartic phase, and with that comes clarity. My perspective is a lot different than it was a week ago. So ironic I had all this stuff I was trying to work on in myself and my life, but now I think it was all the wrong stuff. So concerned about the future when I am still trying to get a handle on the present, and then Typhoid Mary-ing the person I loved best in the world with my toxic panic and grasping at them at the worst possible moment.

Which .. the whole grasping thing, anyway… damn, what the fuck, Annie? This is like a question on a test, and I knew the answer, but I put down the wrong answer, couldn’t understand why I got it wrong, and then burned down the school without realizing it (while my fucking coat was on fire). Which is to say, grasping is fucking stupid for ten million reasons (and Four Noble Truths, cough cough).

So, um, yeah.

Singing.

Ask for it by name.

ETA: Oh, shit. Pretty sure the original point of this post was to say that I WROTE A SONG.

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