Advertisements

Tag Archives: WPLongform

Breaking out is hard to do

I am in an abusive relationship, and I need it to stop.

We’ve been together for a long time. It showed up when I was about twelve, all excited about life and ready to start my teenagerdom, which I would, without a doubt, totally win. I was very much looking forward to this new adventure, which, I was sure, would bring a boyfriend, and the ability to fill out a tank top like no one’s business, and a new cutting-edge teenage attitude.

However, I woke up one morning with a huge red swelling to the right of my mouth. I’m not talking about some cute little blemish. No, sir! Not me! Everything about me has always been very go-big-or-go-home. So I’m talking about – well, have you seen those photoshopped photos, the “before” photos in the late-night acne product commercials? I mean, you can tell they’re photoshopped. The eyes always look like they’re on the wrong level, and the acne looks cartoonish. Well, I looked like one of the cartoonish acne before-photos on late-night television.

I have my doubts about Proactiv. I think if you need to market on television at 3 am, you probably aren't very good.

I have my doubts about Proactiv. I think if you need to market on television at 3 am, you probably aren’t very good.

Mom and Dad were all “uh-oh, sorry for the genetics, kiddo” because there are very few photos of them from high school, but the ones there are show a couple of pretty miserable teenagers with really rocky complexions.

Well! This was not acne’s only appearance. Oh, no! It decided once it arrived, it’d set up shop. It was like those disgusting phlegm-monsters in that cough medicine commercial that makes me disgusted. It packed little greasy suitcases and moved on in. My face was its resort town, and it decided to live it on up. No part of my face was exempt, either! Forehead and nose and chin and cheeks! Once, close enough to my lip so it swelled up as if I’d been stung by a bee! Sometimes, right on TOP of each other, like it was living in little apartment buildings! Sometimes? In my ears, so my ears would swell up like a boxer’s! And sometimes it’d take little vacations and move onto my back or chest! And it HURT. Imagine huge swellings on your face and back and chest, sometimes more than one in the same place, as if you’ve been stung by a number of angry wasps. OUCH.

Ugh, seriously, I hate these commercials. STOP MAKING MUCUS TALK.

Ugh, seriously, I hate these commercials. STOP MAKING MUCUS TALK.

It got so bad at one point, someone stopped me in the hallway at school and asked me what had happened. “With what?” I asked. “Were you in a fire?” he asked, in a hushed tone. In a fire! Well. Isn’t that nice! YOU MADE ME LOOK LIKE A THIRD-DEGREE BURN VICTIM, ACNE. What the hell did I ever do to you?

Thanks for the reminder, helpful sign!

Thanks for the reminder, helpful sign!

My parents, who’d suffered through the same thing, finally were grossed out enough that they brought me to a dermatologist, who visibly recoiled when I walked through the door. Nothing ups the self-esteem like having a doctor who DEALS with such things for a LIVING recoil as if you’re Frankenstein’s MONSTER.

BACK! BACK I SAY CHILD OF SATAN! Oh, it's my next patient, come on in, then.

BACK! BACK I SAY CHILD OF SATAN! Oh, it’s my next patient, come on in, then.

Back in the late 80s, if you had terrible skin, they prescribed you Retin-A. I don’t know if they still do such a thing. (Apparently they do, but don’t have babies while using it, or their skulls will be too soft, and I assume babies with Play-Doh skulls are bad. Also don’t get waxed, or it will PULL YOUR TOP LAYER OF SKIN OFF. Good grief.) I also got this…I don’t know, alcohol solution I had to dab onto my face. These things had to happen every morning and every night after I washed my face. Also, I wasn’t allowed to go out in the sun, or if I HAD to go out in the sun, I had to wear like SPF 1,000 sunscreen. (Retin-A thins the top layer of your skin. Somehow this stops your acne. I am not a doctor. I don’t know how that works. But this skin-thinning thing also makes you burn in the sun, and you can’t get waxed, and your face gets really, really red when you first start using it.)

Good grief, it still looks the same 20 years later. Who's your PR person, Retin-A? Time for a packaging overhaul!

Good grief, it still looks the same 20 years later. Who’s your PR person, Retin-A? Time for a packaging overhaul!

I was somewhat skeptical, but at that point, I would pretty much try anything.

Well! Come to find out, RETIN-A WAS MADE OF MAGIC. I don’t remember how long it took, but one day I woke up and although my face was a little red (and I had to hide in the shadows like a vampire-person) I HAD NO ACNE. All the acne had taken off for sunnier climes. I LOOKED LIKE A HUMAN AGAIN. At one point, I even got a – GASP! – BOYFRIEND. (A few of them, actually. Well, not at the same TIME, I wasn’t a teenage WHORE. They were nothing to write home about, in retrospect, but at the time I felt like this was the BEST THING EVER.) One of my mom’s friends, when she and my mom were talking about my skin problems one day, said, “Amy has skin problems? You’d never know! I was just saying to my husband the other day she has just the most beautiful complexion!”

I HAD WON! I HAD BEATEN ACNE!

Yes, I looked JUST LIKE THIS! Oh, wait, no, Retin-A doesn't turn you into a model. Sorry. Sorry.

Yes, I looked JUST LIKE THIS! Oh, wait, no, Retin-A doesn’t turn you into a model. Sorry. Sorry.

I stopped using the medication in college – my doctor didn’t think I needed it anymore, and it was very expensive on our prescription plan – and all was well for quite some time.

Until probably four or five years ago.

Acne! YOU TRICKED ME! What IS this shit?

Apparently, what this shit is, is ADULT acne. It is ACNE that appears when you are an ADULT. It is the ghost of terrible complexions past COMING BACK TO HAUNT YOU.

Oh, stop. I had to.

Oh, stop. I had to.

It’s not as bad as it was when I was younger – oh, thank goodness – but it’s very hard to be almost 40 years old and have the occasional breakouts of a teenage face. It’s very embarrassing. I mean, yes. Odds are good that people aren’t going to make fun of you now (what kind of asshole mocks you for breakouts when you’re an adult? we know better now) and you know (hopefully, at least, if you’re female, although I’m sure men can use cover stick if they want to) tricks with makeup to downplay the fact you’ve got a gigantic blemish on your chin or your cheek or whatever.

And NOW, adult acne, you complete wanker, you have decided to pop up OVER ONE OF MY EYES and I’m waking up with ONE EYE SWOLLEN SHUT EVERY MORNING BECAUSE OF YOU and it takes like TWO HOURS for that swelling to go down and I LOOK LIKE SOMEONE BEAT ME UP or maybe THE ELEPHANT MAN. Dude, I have to go out in PUBLIC like this. SOMEONE IS GOING TO ASK ME WHAT IS WRONG. “Oh, just a gigantic pimple above my eye, like normal almost-middle-aged women get all the time,” is a thing I will not love to say at all.

I look a little like Rick from the Walking Dead after he got all beat up, which is nice, right? Very classy.

I look a little like Rick from the Walking Dead after he got all beat up, which is nice, right? Very classy.

My mother’s still getting you adult acne. SHE IS IN HER 60s. THIS IS NOT RIGHT. Somehow, my dad avoided this and his torment ended when he was in his late teens, but me and my mom? We’re still sporting the skin of teens. Sad, sad teens who don’t get asked to the prom.

Acne, you’re going to have to take a hike. I think I’m too old for Retin-A (and at this point in my life, if I don’t get waxed, I’d have a whole other problem to deal with, called My Eyebrows Have a Mind of Their Own and Would Make Me Look Like a Yeti) but there must be another solution. And I’m calling a dermatologist. Tomorrow.

You don’t get to win, bub. I have an excellent prescription plan this time, and I’m a lot angrier than I was when I was a teenager. If you’re not going to leave, I’m going to kick you out. I’m changing the damn LOCKS this time, acne! I am not going to my grave with you still in my life!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go figure out the best eyeshadow to go with one normal eye, and one eye swollen 3/4 of the way shut. I’m thinking a kicky bejeweled eyepatch. Arr, matey. Walk the plank.

Pretty sure everyone would just think it was a fashion statement and not ask me what was going on, right? Right.

Pretty sure everyone would just think it was a fashion statement and not ask me what was going on, right? Right.

Advertisements

Mom always told me my big mouth would get me in trouble someday.

“When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.” –Bette Davis

This week, I was VERY controversial.

I met with friends for dinner early in the week. When I arrived, J. said “I don’t know, should we be having dinner with such a controversial person?” and I was all, “Whaaa?” and they all giggled and then got serious faces because they assumed I’d heard and now they were tasked with letting me know what was up.

Heard what, you may ask? What exactly WAS up?

Well! Apparently, I angered some people with a review I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Angered them enough that I got two – count ’em, two – letters to the editor written about me, and a comment on the review itself, and a private message on Facebook.

Whoo! Look at me go! Angering people all OVER the region!

A little background, I suppose, is in order.

I went to the show. It starred some of the area’s best actors. The kind of actors that, when you say their names around here, people take notice. The set was gorgeous. The costumes were perfect. The acting was quite good; the direction couldn’t be faulted.

That having been said, it was the second-worst show I’ve seen all year. And I’ve seen a LOT of shows.

It was the show itself that was the problem. It was extremely dated; it had very little to do with anything contemporary, so it was very hard to relate to. It was abnormally long; almost three hours, including intermission. It was extremely talky; a good hour could have been cut from that script and not sacrificed a single bit of the action. Sorry – “action.” That needs ironic air-quotes. Nothing that could be described as action happened in this show. Like, at all. It was painful. I wanted to leave at intermission but I was getting paid to review it so that wasn’t an option.

VERY close to me during Act II. Not quite, but almost.

VERY close to me during Act II. Not quite, but almost.

I’m not saying I need, like, a shoot-out scene or a huge sex scene or anything. (Well, not EVERY time.) But something needs to HAPPEN, dammit. And nothing happened in this play. There were some scenes that I think were supposed to be shocking, but they were just yawn-inducing. Maybe they were shocking in the 30s when this was written, I don’t know. The characters were written so flimsily and ridiculously that only a couple of them were at all believable.

It was a TERRIBLE show. It wasn’t terribly acted, directed, set designed, or costumed (or even lit or sound designed); it was just a poorly-chosen show, and poorly-written, and it was so hard to watch.

Now, I realize this is just my opinion…and you know what they say about opinions, right? Yep. Just like…elbows. Yeah, that’s it. Elbows. Everyone has one. (Or two, really, if you’re going with the elbow thing.) Thing is, I get paid for my opinion.

I don’t like to be mean. I really think there’s something to be celebrated in every piece of work, no matter how much I dislike it. I wrote a review saying how much I liked and admired the actors, set, and costumes; I even gave the director kudos (although I did say he could have cut some of the script, for our sake.) I did, however, excoriate the script. Listen, I’ve read a lot of plays. I have a decent handle on what’s out there; I have a somewhat informed opinion. That’s why the paper hired me, and not some yahoo who’s never been to the theater before.

I ended the review with the following, which I think I can share without being fired for sharing something that you’re all supposed to pay for:

“It’s a shame that, with such powerful actors on stage, their talent is being wasted in such a lackluster play. With so many shows in the area currently in production, audiences are — and I say this with regret, as these actors alone are worth the ticket price — advised to give this one a pass.”

I’ve ended a number of reviews with a similar sentiment (as have other area reviewers) – either that I recommend the show, or I don’t. It’s usually clear, from my review, whether or not I actually SAY I recommend it or not, whether or not I do. (I think that’s the point of a review, isn’t it?)

Apparently, it’s this last paragraph that upset people.

The comment on the review said they “felt (my) review was unfair-especially your final comment” because it “probably kept many people from attending.”

The first letter to the editor said the author took “exception to one of (my) comments” because “(e)veryone has the right to their own opinion; however, to come out and tell people not to see a show is going too far. People should be able to read a review if they need to, and decide for themselves…a comment (like this is) hurtful and detrimental to the company.”

The other letter to the editor said (in short; it was a VERY long letter) “Amy…advises potential patrons to give it a pass. I disagree with that.” (She then went on and on about how flawed the script was, but that the show was so relatable, and then broke down my review point by point to say why she was right in her opinion and I was wrong.)

Oh, and I also got a private message from an aquaintance on Facebook, asking me to explain myself – why did I advise people to not attend a show he’d PERSONALLY enjoyed very much?

OK. Here’s the thing.

First: I didn’t write that review to hurt anyone. I actually went out of my way to NOT hurt anyone. The only one at fault was whoever chose the show, and a lot of factors go into choosing a show. I’m not going to pick those apart; I wasn’t part of that selection process.

I stand by that last paragraph. I couldn’t recommend the show. (And I’m not naming names, but I spoke to a number of theater friends who saw the show over the couple weeks it was playing. Not a single one recommended it, either. And I got thanks – thanks for writing a review of a terrible show in such a way that it highlighted the positive, and didn’t hurt anyone. I take their praise over these letters any day. They matter to me. A great deal. These letters? Meh.)

When you read a review – a movie review, a theater review, a book review – do you read it thinking it’s an encyclopedia entry? Or do you (as you should) read it thinking it’s the author’s opinion, and when you see/read what’s being reviewed, your opinion might differ? As it’s an opinion? And what worked for one person might not work for another?

As I said, I’ve said “I do recommend this show” or “I don’t recommend this show” before. As have other reviewers. (And I don’t want to play the sexism card, here, but I’ve seen a lot more Letters to the Editor/mean comments on the reviews written by the female reviewers in the area than on the reviews of the male reviewers – and there are two, maybe three, female reviewers in the WHOLE AREA and, oh, I don’t know, maybe a dozen or more male reviewers – I just have to think that maybe men having opinions, that’s ok, but women? GAH WHAT DO STUPID CHICKS KNOW WITH THEIR STUPID CHICK BRAINS.) I don’t see anyone complaining when I DO recommend a show. So I’m allowed to recommend a show – because that INCREASES their box office – but I can’t NOT recommend a show, because that would DECREASE their box office. Because people are JUST THAT STUPID. They will read my review and walk, all zombie-like, to the theater…or they will STAY FAR AWAY.

Listen. I worked at a local theater for 8 years. We weathered both good and bad reviews. Did they have an effect our box office? Sometimes, yes. An excellent review got more people in; a bad review did tend to keep some people away. But that’s just the way the game is played. Sometimes the reviewer has an axe to grind; sometimes the reviewer only likes comedies or dramas; sometimes the reviewer is just extremely negative all the time; sometimes you luck out, and the reviewer loves the show, and you read it and you just grin. It’s just a review, in the grand scheme of things, really. It’s a quick flame of either helpful or hurtful.

But these letters and comments and private messages…

Listen, people. It was my opinion. As I say, I stand by this opinion. If I had it to do all over again? I’d write it exactly the same. (And, just so you know, my editor read that review, and ran it exactly as I wrote it. She had no problem with it, either.) Amy the reviewer couldn’t recommend that show; Amy the PERSON couldn’t recommend that show. If I’d just seen it for fun, I wouldn’t have recommended it to people. To be honest, I texted a friend while the show was in intermission who I knew was trying to find a way to squeeze it into his schedule with “DO NOT SEE THIS. DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF. TALK TO YOU MORE ABOUT IT WHEN I SEE YOU ON MONDAY. DO NOT DO NOT DOOOO NOOOOOT.” And that was Amy the person, not Amy the reviewer.

I could have left that last paragraph out. Sure I could have. Thing is? Not to be too horn-tooty, people, but I’m a decent writer, and from the rest of the review, you’d know exactly where I stood. I came out and said I couldn’t recommend the show, but without saying it, I said it all through the rest of the review. That last paragraph was really just a summation of what came before. Take umbrage with it if you must, but the rest of the review said the same thing. Also? If you want a rainbows and sunshine review, and the show’s not (in my, as stated, OPINION) good? You’re not getting that from me. I don’t lie. Even if I have people I care about in the show, which has happened in the past. I will not lie in my reviews. It’s a promise I made to myself when I started, and it’s a promise I have vowed to keep to myself. I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the eye if there was something published in the paper I didn’t 100% stand behind.

And, much as I have the right to my opinion, those people all have a right to theirs. I’m so very glad they enjoyed the show; I have to say I can’t exactly understand HOW they did, but I do understand that everyone’s respective cranks are turned in different ways, and this show turned theirs, and it left mine completely frozen in place. (THE CRANK IS NOT A EUPHEMISM.)

However: I do believe I’m completely in the right, as a reviewer, to say IN THE REVIEW that I recommend or don’t recommend a show. How this affects your ticket sales is not on my shoulders. As a friend who will not be named said when I told him this story: “If you don’t want bad reviews? STOP PRODUCING CRAP.”

Also, I’m pretty sure once you start getting hate mail, you’ve totally made it, right? I’m a wicked big deal now, yo. Look out, world, I’m like the next Michiko Kakutani. It’s only upward from here. Today hate mail, tomorrow LETTER BOMBS. Whoo-hoo!


I’m ready. I’m cookies.

I’m going to let you in on something I’m not at all proud of.

In college, I was a huge dick.

I’m not even exaggerating. I had my moments of NOT being a dick, but overall? Huge, huge dick. I thought I knew everything, and I was drinking, like, constantly, and when I wasn’t drinking I was crying or throwing shit around or overreacting about something and being a total theater queen or going on and on and ON about something and the sheer fact that people that knew me back then still want to talk to me kind of amazes me, to be honest.

Yup. Me. Pretty much.

Yup. Me. Pretty much.

Now, I know. College-age is a shitty time for a lot of people. We’re just babies when we’re that age. I look at kids that age now and I seriously think, “OMG, you are just a BABY” and usually I forgive them a lot of things because that’s a really tough age. You’re away from home for the first extended period of time in your life, and you’re experiencing a million billion things for the first time, and you have all this crazy-ass heady FREEDOM, and some people handle that better than others.

And some people come from a very, VERY small town, where their graduating class was 60 people (the same 60 people, give or take, that they started kindergarten with 13 years earlier) and their parents didn’t give them a curfew because why give someone a curfew if they’re not allowed to go out at all anyway? Curfew was whenever I got home from school, and it ended whenever I LEFT for school the next MORNING. And then they got to college, and there WAS no curfew, and there were all these PEOPLE, some of them MAN-PEOPLE, and there was ALCOHOL (even though a person was seventeen) and some of us may well have gone a little crazy. For quite some time. Years longer than was necessary, actually. As if it was ever necessary.

I think of Buffy a lot when I think of myself at that age. (I look to Buffy for a lot of life lessons, actually. Don’t we all? If we don’t, shouldn’t we?) I think of Buffy telling Angel, “I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking. I’m not finished becoming whoever the hell it is I’m gonna turn out to be. I make it through this, and the next thing, and the next thing, and maybe one day I turn around and realize I’m ready. I’m cookies.”

I think a lot of us in college were cookie dough. Gooey, poorly-behaved, self-absorbed cookie dough. Waiting to become whoever to hell it is we’re going to turn out to be.

It just takes some of us a little longer to bake, is all.

In college, I had a friend named Josh. Josh and I met in my sophomore year and his freshman year. I believe we met in a playwriting class, or were perhaps introduced by David, who knew everyone who was anyone. It’s been a long time. And I was gooey cookie dough, remember.

We had a lot in common. We were theater people. We were readers, which was perhaps even more important; our mutual Stephen King obsession was HOURS of conversation. We were both writers. We both enjoyed movies, and picking them apart into little teeny tiny pieces afterward. He introduced me to Kevin Smith films, which I will never be able to thank him enough for.

Problem is? Cookie dough.

I don’t think I appreciated him enough. Because I was a dick. Because I was so mired in my own shit and my own broken brain that I found it very hard to pull myself out long enough to give even a moment’s thought to anyone else, or what they might have been going through. I think I put on a good enough front; I don’t think people walked away from me thinking I was a sociopath – at least most of the time. I’m sure some people did. Those people were probably the smart ones. (Smart ones: I’m better now. I promise. I spend most of my days thinking of others now. I most sincerely guarantee you this.)

Not long after I graduated, Josh and I got in a fight. Well, no. That’s kind of strangely overstating what happened. I’m not going into detail; it’s no one’s business but the two of us (and the third person involved, I suppose, even if he was involved tangentially.) I got angry at him for something that, in retrospect, was very small. Words were exchanged. I remember very well the last exchange I had with him, which was on our terrible inter-collegiate email: I told him I would neither forgive or forget what had happened, and I would never, ever speak to him again.

I am quite old-world in my vendettas. If someone is dead to me: they are dead to me. There’s no gray area, here. I erased him from my life. I erased three years of friendship; I erased three years of spending time together almost every day, of longhand letters back and forth in the summers, of constant conversation and sharing of ideas and writing and our lives. I took a big old Pink Pearl eraser and I got rid of all of that. Because I was angry. Because I felt betrayed. Because, as stated? I was 21, I thought I was always right, and I was a dick.

And seventeen years have passed. And we didn’t speak. For seventeen years. Because DEAD TO ME.

We had mutual friends; I knew he was teaching, and writing, and that was about it. I didn’t want to know anything else. No interest. I would have made a very good Italian widow, forking the evil eye and spitting when my enemies passed my doorstep.

And then, through a twist of very, very weird fate, we ended up with a mutual friend on Facebook (who was not a mutual college friend, but a mutual friend we didn’t know each other knew.) And Josh reached out to me.

This panicked the shit out of me.

Didn’t he know he was dead to me? What the hell with this? I waffled back and forth on what the hell I was supposed to do, here. Ignore him? Delete the friend request? Send him a message telling him thanks but no thanks and THEN delete the friend request?

Then I thought, Amy. Amy, it’s been 17 years. You need to be an adult about this.

Also, I don’t know if you’re aware, but carrying a grudge? It’s a very heavy weight. And you carry that alone. No one helps you carry a grudge. No one can. It one of those loads you HAVE to carry alone.

I accepted the friend request. I sent him a message that was probably ruder, in retrospect, than it should have been, telling him I was ready to forgive, and move on. I was bristly, though. I don’t trust easily, once trust has been broken. This comes from years of practice with broken trust. I’m a wary little wombat.

We’d been tentatively in contact for a while when he said he was coming to town for a conference, and did I want to have dinner?

Yeah, you think being friends with the guy online scared me? Invite me out to meet in person. You know I have social anxiety. Rachet that up with this kind of baggage, and I was MANIC.

But I thought it out. Like a grownup. Like a fully-baked cookie. And I thought of that heavy-ass seventeen-year-old grudge riding my back like a jockey who didn’t make weight, whipping me when I wasn’t going fast enough and muttering hateful words in my ear.

Yes, I said. Yes, I will meet you for dinner. Yes. Let’s do this.

Then I panicked quietly (and sometimes not-so-quietly, sorry, people I panicked to) for days about this, because, well, it’s what I do.

We met for dinner after work the other night at his hotel. I put on my brave face. I can do this, I thought; I can do this. This is dinner. We eat, we don’t talk about touchy subjects, I am light, I am breezy, I am Monica leaving a message for Richard, I CAN DO THIS SHIT.

And there was Josh. And Josh looked the same, only like a grownup now. Seventeen years will do that to a person. (Seventeen years – a seventeen-year-old is only a year younger than I was when I MET him. That length of time – a bit mind-boggling, really.)

I’m not going to go into detail. We didn’t have a grand adventure; we didn’t take a billion photos. (Or even one, actually. I know. I’m terrible about photos.) We spent the evening reconnecting. We spent the evening drawing back what I’d erased, all those years ago, when I was 21 and I knew everything and was, as mentioned, kind of totally a dick.

There were waffles and a waiter who was possibly with the mob and coffee beverages and terrible music and the sharing of war stories and eclairs that were sexworthy and talk of books and movies and shared stories of the meeting and geeking out over famous people and laughter over possibly inappropriate things.

And guess what, you guys?

It was awesome.

It was awesome because we are the same people who connected all those years ago, but also better.

Because we’re ready, you guys.

Josh and I? We’re cookies.

And as we said our goodbye, much later than I’d planned because I’d had the whole evening mapped out in my head and I was SURE it would be awful and we’d have nothing to say to one another because I (shock! awe!) freak out sometimes, and gave each other a super-fierce hug, I felt this weird thing.

A seventeen-year-old grudge disappearing, that weight being gone, is a nice feeling. A light one.

A better feeling?

Forgiving your dicky younger self for, well, some of the dickishness? An even lighter one.

The best feeling?

Having an old friend back in my life.

The lightest feeling of all.

(Thanks, Josh, for not giving up when you most definitely could – and maybe should – have. Thank you for understanding I needed to keep baking, and for being patient enough, and kind enough, to wait. You’ve baked into a most fantastic cookie, my friend.)


Kicking the bucket list

I don’t believe in bucket lists. 

OK, back up. I believe they EXIST. And the idea of them is valid. I think it’s nice for some people to have a list of goals to progress toward; things that, if done, would make them happy. 

The idea of a bucket list, however, is creepy on one level and flawed on another. 

Creepy on the level that, once you’ve crossed everything on your list off, you’re ready for death, apparently. I saw the movie with that sassy Jack Nicholson. I know the score. You skydive, you climb a mountain, you make up with your estranged daughter and then you can die with a clean conscience and I need like a whole BOX of tissues because my ALLERGIES, damn, you know? 

DAMN YOU NICHOLSON!

DAMN YOU NICHOLSON!

Flawed in that the bucket list overlooks where, I believe, your true joy lives. 

Let’s say your bucket list has things on it like “visit Rome” and “walk along the Pacific coast” and “sing karaoke in a dive bar” or something. Sure, you can do those things. They’ll probably be fun, too. 

But I don’t know about you guys, but me? If I build something up in my mind too much, it reaches untouchable status. I make up mind-stories about it. And those castles in the air are SO ELABORATE that once I actually do the thing, it can’t live up to the story I’ve spun about it. Sometimes it still does, but sometimes I’m disappointed because, say, I’d imagined that once I got to Paris, I’d have a torrid Parisian love affair and really it was rainy and overpriced and the people sneered at my pitiful attempts at high-school français, you know? 

No love pour moi dans le city d'amour, non non non!

No love pour moi dans le city d’amour, non non non!

My best memories, my most bucket-listy memories, are the ones I didn’t plan. They’re the ones that I didn’t write on a list and didn’t expect to happen and didn’t check off when I was done, but that stay with me; the ones that glow warm inside me, the ones that I have folded and tucked away and when I revisit them they’re golden and they’re the kind of memories I’ll revisit when I’m really bucket-trending, (hopefully) many years from now. 

Watching fireworks over the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Being completely alone at the South Street Seaport, eating breakfast on a bench, reading the paper, watching the city wake up around me. 

Walking around a museum in Rouen with my headphones on, experiencing art and music at once, feeling at once both very adult and very young. 

Waking up for the first time with Dumbcat sleeping on my pillow, when he became brave enough to creep out from under the bed, and having him headbutt me in a tentative “you are mine now?” way. 

Holding my nephew for the first time, and having him scowl up at me, and knowing I’d do anything for this kid, and that I always would, for the rest of my life. That this kid I’d just met absolutely owned me. 

These aren’t things I planned. I didn’t write these things on a list; I didn’t say, “man, someday I really want to do the 4th of July in the City” and then work toward that goal. A few days before the 4th that year, my then-roommate said, “why don’t you come with me and the boyfriend to the City for our annual 4th thing we do?” and I was like “yes, that sounds like an adventure” so I did. Bam. I didn’t plan on going to Rouen; it was a last-minute decision when I was in Paris, and the museum was just there, and I had a few hours to kill before my train back to gay Paree. 

This is a lot of buildup to the main event, here. 

I did a non-bucket-list bucket-list thing last night. And I glowed like a little potbellied stove with the unplanned wonder of it. I’m still glowing the next day. I can’t imagine I won’t always be. 

Some (typically Amy-lengthy) background: 

I got assigned the review of Ghost the Musical this month. I remember being a fan of this movie back in the day. The jaded lady I am now thinks it’s a little cheesy. But I can still appreciate that its heart is in the right place. And I do so like “Unchained Melody.” And Demi Moore’s haircut was fierce. 

GHOOOOOST! Aw, this was a nice movie, right? Kind of, in a cheesy 90s way.

GHOOOOOST! Aw, this was a nice movie, right? Kind of, in a cheesy 90s way.

(Dad still can’t watch it. The black hell-ghosties scare him too much. “Those scary bastards!” he calls them, and has to leave the room. Dad’s not a fan of scary things.) 

So apparently someone in the UK made Ghost into a musical, which came to New York last year, and closed after 4 months, and now it’s on tour. We’re the first stop on the tour, actually, which is super-cool. The show’s been teching here for three weeks. We’re on the Wikipedia page for it and everything. And remember I met the lead girl when I was having lunch with David on Sunday? Yep. 

So friend N. (who doubles as Boss N. during work hours – having a boss who is also your friend? Total win) and I went to see Ghost the Musical last night. (Well, that’d be your Tuesday night, I suppose.) 

I’d heard mixed things going in. I knew it’d be tech-heavy (there are a lot of effects when your lead character spends 85% of the show dead) and that there had been some issues; the early reviews from people I knew were good, but the people I knew were biased in one way or another, so I took them with a grain of salt. (I try to go into shows I’m reviewing with as little prior knowledge as I can. I think it’s only fair. I mean, there’s baggage we go in with that we can’t ditch, but you don’t need to add traincases and hatboxes to that baggage, you know?) 

Effects like this happened. PEOPLE WALKED THROUGH DOORS. Only not really. IT'S THE MAGIC OF THEE-AY-TAH.

Effects like this happened. PEOPLE WALKED THROUGH DOORS. Only not really. IT’S THE MAGIC OF THEE-AY-TAH.

So N. and I settled in for the show. 

I realized about 15 minutes in I was not going to be able to give this show a good review. 

Now listen. I’m usually the sunshine and rainbows reviewer. Some of the reviewers in the area are often very negative. I’m usually not. I’m pretty easy to please. Honestly, the hardest part of this job for me is finding theaters I’ve never been to before when my GPS is being a dick and finding thesaurusy ways to say “amazing job.” 

The show was too tech-heavy. The plot was put to the side to concentrate on “ZOMG LOOK AT THIS EFFECT WE CAN DO!” The actors weren’t fantastic. (Luckily, the girl I’d met with David? One of the two watchable people onstage. WHEW.) The writing was TERRIBLE. The songs weren’t good. The band was too loud. Someone had the bright idea to have lights the wattage of the sun shining right AT the audience; it got so bad that a., I felt as if I was involuntarily trapped in a tanning booth and b. there was one whole song I covered my eyes for because OUCH and I was pretty sure I would need my retinas for driving home.  There was a random parasol being wielded in one number. There was a rapping Dr. Seuss ninja. Sam yelled “Mollyyyyyy!” much in the style of Rocky calling for Adrian. There was much too much use of projections; at one point, it got so silly I got the cry-giggles and N. was all “I CANNOT EVEN LOOK AT YOU OR I WILL LAUGH” so we studiously ignored one another. “Unchained Melody” was sung (poorly) like a BILLION DAMN TIMES. Once it was sob-sung while projections of a screaming Sam were all over the background. I can’t even. CAN. NOT. EVEN. 

This is Ninja Dr. Seuss, also known as "subway ghost."

This is Ninja Dr. Seuss, also known as “subway ghost.”

(This makes me sound like I was being obnoxious-loud. I promise I wasn’t. I’m a good theater-goer. I held in my noises to the point of almost exploding my eyeballs.) 

At intermission N. said, “You know what’s the worst?” and I said, “That there’s an Act II?” and we giggled all over again. 

This is not the bucket-listy thing, just in case you’re wondering. Not even a little. 

So a couple of weeks ago, the reviewers found out that the review date for Ghost the Musical had changed. It was supposed to be on opening night, Saturday, so that’s what we planned, with a run-date for the review in the paper of Monday, giving readers 5 days to see the show, if they were so inclined. The venue changed the review date due to it being so tech-heavy (it happens) so the review date was Tuesday. The show closes Friday. It usually takes two days for a review to post; mine wouldn’t post until Thursday, giving readers only two days to decide whether or not to see the show. 

My editor contacted me on Monday, concerned about the lateness of the review and that it would be useless to our readers. Could I file that night, as soon as I get home, so it could get in the Wednesday paper? (Usually our deadline is 1pm the following day.) 

Well, I always file the same night, for two reasons. One, because I have a terrible memory, so I like to write when it’s fresh in my mind, and two, because I (almost) always have to work the next day, so the night of is the only time I have to write. I wrote back to her and assured her it would be filed that night and to expect it by midnight. 

“In order to make the next day’s paper, it has to be filed by 11,” she said. 

Eek. 

“The show’s out at 10, and it takes me a half-hour to get home,” I said. “It usually takes me 45 minutes to an hour to write a review. I can try, but I can’t guarantee anything.” 

She wrote right back. 

“What if I had someone let you in the building, and you wrote it at the Gazette?” 

ZOMG ZOMG ZOMG 

See, the Gazette’s about 5-10 minutes or so from the theater. So I could get to work faster. 

But ALSO? 

IT IS A REAL NEWSROOM. 

I WOULD GET TO GO INTO A REAL NIGHTTIME NEWSROOM AT A REAL PAPER. 

I did not take this. I found this online. But this is totally what it looked like.

I did not take this. I found this online. But this is totally what it looked like.

I’ve been in three different television newsrooms. One on the NBC tour, one on a tour of our local NBC affiliate when I was a counselor at summer camp upstate as a teenager, and one when I interviewed to work at a news station (not on-camera, something in the office, and I didn’t get it. Sigh.) 

Television. Whatever. Fine. But NEWSPAPERS? You GUYS. You KNOW how keen I am on newspapers. I love them more than is even LOGICAL. And as a freelancer I NEVER get to GO to the BUILDING! I emailed all my people all “ZOMG Z!O!M!G! I need a fedora! And a press pass! EXTRA EXTRA I’M WITH THE PRESS I AM FANCY!!!1!!” 

Then I tried to be all professional emailing my editor back all, “Yes, that would work, thank you so much, cheerio, wot wot.” 

(She also was all, “I hope you have a laptop. And here’s our wireless password.” I WAS ONE OF THE ELITE, BABY!) 

So after the show, I did something I HATE (I think it’s so rude, seriously, but I needed those extra ten minutes) and I got up the MINUTE the curtain call started and ran out to get to the car to get over to the building to write the review. My normal top-secret easy-enter-easy-leave parking lot totally got found out and now is barricaded, so I had to park like a billion miles away and THAT was a bother. So I had to hoof it to the car. Also the show started late. And intermission ran late. So I was later than 10 even getting OUT of there, even leaving the MINUTE curtain call started. N. and I zipped up the aisle and of COURSE I got behind some old man who was all putt putt putt and N. was all “important lady coming through! REVIEW TO BE WRITTEN, PEOPLE!” but it didn’t even faze him. Kept on a’puttin’ along. Sigh. 

Race-walked to the car. Got in the car. GPSed the Gazette. ZOOMED to the Gazette. Almost missed the building because it didn’t have a sign by the street but it looked so newspapery that I was like, “This MUST be it.” IT WAS! 

Called the guy who was supposed to let me in. Waited in the dark outside A REAL LIVE NEWSPAPER. Imagined what the guy letting me in would look like. Decided probably Cary Grant. Rumply suit. Tired but ruggedly handsome. 

Yowza. YOWZA.

Yowza. YOWZA.

Not really Cary Grant, but I got the tired part right. He was a very nice man. 

“I AM AT A NEWSPAPER,” I said. 

“Yes,” he said, looking at me like I might be a looney. 

“How COOL is this?” I said. 

“Not so cool if this is your job every night,” he replied. 

“Oh, I don’t know. I can’t imagine that this would ever get old. NEWSPAPER!” I said. There may or may not have been jazz hands. He kind of laughed. I don’t think he quite knew what to make of me. No one does, really. When you’re faced with the full-on force of this kind of enthusiasm, you either go with the flow or it blows you away, really. Choose go with the flow. It’s a hell of a lot more fun. 

So he brought me upstairs and was all, “Let’s get you a desk and a computer” and I was like “DUDE I HAVE A LAPTOP AND THE SECRET CODE” and he was all, “Um.” And I said, “Ha. Wifi password, I have it” and he was like “’kay, let’s get you a desk, then, here you go, I’m right over here, come get me if you need me” and I WAS IN A NEWSROOM. 

Now, by the time all this happened, it was 10:30. I had to write a review in 30 minutes. Also, my laptop takes a long time to turn on, and I WANTED TO LOOK AROUND THE NEWSROOM BECAUSE YOU GUYS, NEWSROOM. 

But I had to write the review. I’d written the basic frame, like, show title/run dates/cost/etc. so I just had to write 500 words about it and I was DONE. Luckily, a bad review’s easier to write than a good one. 

I wrote like the wind, you guys. Any idea when I finished editing and proofreading that bad boy (and also I emailed three people just to say, “I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO MENTION I AM EMAILING YOU FROM THE GAZETTE I AM GEEKING OUT ZOMG?!?!”) 

10:49. I hit save at 10:49. I emailed it to the proper address where it goes at 10:51. 

I wrote that sucker in NINETEEN MINUTES.

I then surreptitiously peered around to report back to you about a real live newsroom. (I couldn’t take photos like I wanted because there were SO MANY PEOPLE IN THERE.) 

There are a ton of cubes and desks with computers. Not typewriters, but it is 2013. Everyone has all the fun flair on their desks like wacky stuffed animals and bumper stickers. It is all gray and industrial carpetinged. It is very busy, even that late. There are a lot of windows. There is a police scanner at one chick’s desk, I assume so they can write about or go to emergencies that are newsworthy. No one was wearing a fedora (sadtimes.) One lady said, “I’m going to add three sentences to this copy” and that made me smile because COPY is totally a newspaper term and I WAS IN THE KNOW!

Everyone was sleepy but also very alert at the same time and you could feel all the history and newspaperiness. Like, if a story happened, you could tell all these people would like RUMBLE into action like BEARS COME OUT OF HIBERNATION. I just sat there and thought about all the history of these people, and how this job went back and back and BACK, and what a proud job it was, to be someone who reports the news, who tells the people what’s happening, and I got all sniffly that I was IN THE NEWSROOM and then I was like “dumbass, you have to go to work tomorrow, yo, you need to get HOME” so I went over to the guy’s desk who let me in and made sure my article arrived to the place it was supposed to go (it did) and we joked a little bit about how bad the show was and he gave me quick directions to get out of the mazey newsroom and to the elevators and then I was leaving the newsroom. GOODBYE NEWSROOM. 

In my head, it was totally black and white and looked like this, by the way.

In my head, it was totally black and white and looked like this, by the way.

You guys. YOU GUYS. I want to work in a newsroom. Don’t you think I would be the best at this? Why do I have to be in love with a dying profession? Sigh. 

Then I drove home and the GPS hates Schenectady and was all TURN HERE and it was a one-way street and tried to get me killed. DAMMIT GPS YOU STOP THAT. So then I was driving through all these little towns with the knowledge I totally just got to be in a real live newsroom all bright in my chest and I kept grinning recklessly about it. 

And today I am SO SO TIRED because I couldn’t get to sleep because SUPER-EXCITED and Dad and I had this conversation:

Dad: You’re just like Jimmy Johnson.
Amy: Am I? Who’s that? Someone super-famous at writing?
Dad: Yes. He worked with Spiderman.
Amy: What? He did? Jimmy Johnson?
Dad: EXTRA EXTRA! Remember? With the hat? He was like a cub reporter. But not a BEAR cub.
Amy: No, I don’t…do you mean Jimmy Olsen?
Dad: Yes, that’s what I said.
Amy: He worked with Superman.
Dad: They’re all the same person. You can’t see their faces.
Amy: You can see Superman’s face.
Dad: Whoa, that’s a really good scoop, there, Jimmy Johnson. 

SUPERMAN'S PAL! Look at this cuckoo-bananas comic, yo.

SUPERMAN’S PAL! Look at this cuckoo-bananas comic, yo.

Usually you have to pay to read my reviews, and I can’t guarantee you won’t have to pay to read this by the time this posts, but as of THIS VERY MINUTE, the review I spent NINETEEN WHOLE MINUTES writing is FREE on the Gazette site (due to technical problems on their end, all their stuff is free until they fix the site) so you can actually read one of my reviews in its native environment where it belongs. I KNOW! (And in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t write the title, the guy who let me in the building did. It makes me laugh. It’s a very good title.) 

Sometimes it seems like I’m living this weird velvet-rope high life. I assure you most of the time it’s me, the cat, and a plastic tumbler of grape Koolaid. 

Bucket list, my ass. I’ll keep blundering into these kickass situations. With my jazz-hands. Who needs a damn list when you’ve got shit like THIS going on, I ask you?


This is not my idea of a good time

Imagine you’re walking down an abandoned street in a town you’re unfamiliar with. It’s night; there are a lot of alleys off the street you’re walking down, and there are noises in the alleys that imply there are people down there. The noises sound menacing. You hear a scream off in the distance; a portentous chuckle not too far from where you’re walking. People whispering from one of the openings ahead.

What emotions are you feeling right now? What is your body urging you to do in this situation?

Most likely you’re not seeing this as an fun adventure. Your fight-or-flight has kicked in. Your startle reflex is high. You want nothing more than to be out of this place; your heartrate is up, thumping away in your ears, your nerves are jangling, you’re attuned to every little thing around you, ready to jump at the slightest noise, touch, scent.

You want out. You might walk faster to get out of here; if you’re really freaked out, you might run. If you know you’re going to have to be in this situation, in this place again, you’re going to probably avoid this street, and you’re going to go another way, or stay home altogether.

Now: imagine something so much nicer.

A party. Everyone’s wearing nice clothes; there are frosty beverages, but no one’s really over-imbibing. They’re just drinking enough that the conversation’s flowing and there’s a lot of laughter. People have gathered into small groups, two, three, four or more; everyone’s very happy, talking a lot, if there’s music playing, it’s low enough in the background that it’s not distracting. Every now and then someone’s voice spikes up over everyone else’s in a laugh or a joyous cry. Snacks on the tables, never a long wait for the bathrooms. It’s a good party. It’s a party everyone would like to be invited to.

How does this make you feel? What emotions? What’s your body telling you to do?

Calm and happy; you’re having a good time, you’re among friends, you’re relaxed and safe. This is a good place. This is something you look forward to for weeks. This is something everyone likes. When this ends, people are already talking about when and where the next one will be.

What, exactly, is wrong with someone, then, when the second scenario creates the same emotions as the first one does? (Or – and this is even better – the first scenario is LESS SCARY than the second?)

The thought of a party like this causes an increased heartrate, sweaty palms, and an upset stomach; actually having to (heavens forfend, and only if you really, really can’t avoid it) attend one means you spend the days leading up to it in an heightening state of panic, characterized by the inability to sleep, headaches, and nerve problems (such as jumping about two feet in the air when a coworker taps you on the shoulder when you’re not expecting it.) Once you’re there, you’re the person in the darkened street. You’re in fight-or-flight mode. You’re sure everything is out to get you (including yourself; everything you say/do/are is wrong, and you’re a total embarrassment to life.) If there’s a room no one’s in, you hide in it, but someone always finds you. Mostly what you do is sit very quietly, like a deer in headlights, and hope no one sees you. Or talks to you. But they always do. And usually in that pitying “oh, this poor dear, she’s so lonely and sad and pathetic” way.

This is social anxiety, kiddos. No, it’s not just “being shy” or “hating people” or “not being good at parties” or whatever. It’s social anxiety. And it sucks. Like, sincerely, sincerely sucks. Because going into a social situation is, to those of us who have this, to me, akin to going on live television naked, and the studio audience consists of my high-school nemesis/bully who is screwing my current-day crush. While they both talk about me meanly. And laugh. (DAMN, but they’re multitasky.)

Here’s one of the (many) things that sucks about social anxiety.

You are constantly having to defend yourself. Because no one believes you have it.

Yes, I have trouble going to parties, and actually haven’t been to one in years because of it. But also, yes, I am active on the internet, and can function (albeit somewhat nervously) in smaller social groups, or (even more strangely) larger groups of people I don’t know at all. And I SEEM like I’d be a lot of fun! “Amy!” people say. “You must be SO MUCH FUN TO HANG OUT WITH!”

If I know you really well, and it’s just a few of us or just the two of us – yes. I’m a barrel of friggin’ monkeys to hang out with. If we’re at a large party, I’m in a corner trying not to vomit. I am not fun. At all. I am not HAVING fun, and I am not fun to BE with. Sometimes I’m crying. Why? Because no reason at all. Fear. Nerves. Straight panic.

“Oh, well, you could be having fun if you TRIED harder!”

No. I couldn’t be. Because my brain utterly will not let me; it shuts the hell down. Or, I suppose, goes on overdrive.

“Well, maybe you just need a drink. That helps everyone.”

Yes. That helped me for years. I was a HELL of a lot of fun when I was drunk. It helped me forget I was afraid of social situations. And then I realized it was helping me right into early alcoholism, and I refused to lean on a crutch that was actually less of a “crutch” and more of a “thing I needed to both get out of bed in the morning and get back to bed at night.” The crutch became a wheelchair and the wheelchair was threatening to become either that thing they strap Lecter into when they want to take him out into public, or a coffin. Either way, probably best to walk away from that crutch before it bludgeons you into the inability to function, right? Right.

I get severe stage fright having to talk in front of groups; however, I can act in front of people with no problems in the least.

“THIS MAKES NO SENSE!”

Actually, it makes tons of sense. If you’re acting, you’re using someone else’s words. People are judging your ability to act, and that’s it. There are also (usually) other people on the stage for them to concentrate on other than you. If you get in front of a group to talk, be it to give a speech, or present something, or to read something you’ve written, or what-have-you, people are not only judging you, they’re judging what you’ve written. They’re judging a LOT of things. That’s terrifying.

When people HAVE seen me in social situations, I seem like I’m fine. I’m not rocking in a corner; there are stories floating around about having seen me at parties functioning, being friendly, funny, and fine. Therefore, I must be lying about this, and just don’t want to attend parties because I’m a terrible human being and/or a huge bitch.

Well, both items in the latter might (eh, fuck it, they sometimes are) be true, but just because you saw me being personable ONE TIME at a party doesn’t mean inside I wasn’t petrified. I’m a very good actress. I can pretend to be someone I’m not, if I have to. I can pretend I’m not petrified; I can bite back the tears (and the vomit.) I can tell entertaining stories and I can laugh and I can be engaged in what you have to say. And the minute, THE MINUTE, I wave my last wave and am all, “Oh, my, yes, we will HAVE to do this again!” and drive off, I’m a shaking mess, and no, we don’t do it again, because I was LYING to you. I was NOT having a good time. I wore the mask of someone having a good time. While you were enjoying yourself, I was working. Does that sound like fun to you? Because it wasn’t. Not even a little. I’m tired, and I want to go to bed and cry a little, ok? And why the hell would I want to put myself through that AGAIN?

I really, really thought this would get better as I got older. In a super-fun (in a not-at-all-fun way) twist of fate, it’s gotten worse. To the point that I sometimes get paralyzed at the thought of these things. I have a wedding to go to, and I just found out there’s going to be at least an hour of socializing before the food gets served.  Now, I was cool with going to the ceremony, going to the banquet hall, eating, then immediately leaving so I didn’t get sucked into the drinking/dancing/having to make small talk part of the evening. I attempted to plan ahead. It’s how I handle these things. I specifically asked if there would be downtime before the food; I was specifically told no. I assume I was misunderstood, or perhaps I misunderstood the answer.

I’m therefore leaving right after the ceremony. I’m pretty sure no one will notice. A lot of people will be there. I’ll just walk like a lady with purpose. Maybe people will think I left something in my car. It won’t matter; by the time anyone notices I’m not there the night will be in the wee hours, anyway.

I am furious about this. Not at the setup of the wedding – that’s probably how weddings work, I’ve only been to a few in my life, my friends tend to live in sin rather than make it official – but I’m furious at MYSELF. I’m furious that I can’t celebrate my friends’ special day with them like everyone else who will be there. I’m furious that I have a broken brain and I can’t make it behave for a few hours so I can make nice and go to a damn wedding reception. I’m furious that people think I’m making this up because I don’t WANT to be there. Because it can’t be an actual PROBLEM. It’s easier to just think I’m an antisocial bitch, not someone standing outside the pretty party wanting so, so badly to go in, but it’s like there’s a force field around it: one, that, if you crossed it, your entire body would rebel, and you’d start panicking, freaking out, getting physically ill.

This is an illness that takes lonely people and makes them MORE lonely. So it nicely goes hand-in-hand with depression. What are you going to become if you desperately would like to connect, but your brain just won’t let you? Well. I’d think depressed, probably.

I also hate feeling out of control, and I hate hate HATE feeling weak. And this makes me feel both of these things. What’s wrong? Oh, nothing, being around people makes me have a panic attack, like a Victorian lady swooning on the couch, is all, I’m getting the vapors, where are my smelling salts. I hate complaining to my friends; I feel like in doing so, they will run screaming for the hills because ANNOYING. Why the hell can’t Amy have a NORMAL problem? No. SHE IS SCARED OF SOCIAL GATHERINGS. Shun the nonbeliever. Shunnnnnn.

I like being the strong one. I like being the no-nonsense one. I like being the one all “I will solve that with COMMON SENSE and also a little SPIT AND WILLPOWER.”

I am quite aware I need to go to the doctor at some point and get some Xanax and maybe some therapy. The last time I attempted to do this, the therapist told me the only problem was my attitude and to get more sleep and exercise and THAT was dismissive and shitty, so I haven’t been back. I’m sure there are good therapists out there. I just have this thing where, if you fool me once, shame on you, but if you fool me twice, well, that won’t happen, because I’m long gone after the first time and you’re dead to me. So therefore, all of therapy is dead to me. I realize this is not the best way to approach life.

I’d love to give you some sort of pithy ending to this, but I don’t have one, other than this, I suppose: please, for the love of Pete, stop being a dick to people who have actual problems THAT YOU CANNOT SEE. The depressed person isn’t just “sad” and she will not just “snap out of it.” The person with social anxiety isn’t “antisocial.” YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN SOMEONE’S HEAD. Stop judging them. Everyone has something they’re dealing with. Either help them or get the hell out of the way, but don’t make it WORSE.

That’s all the pithy ending you’re going to get out of me. I’m tired. My body’s been on high adrenaline for days in a row. I’m like a sniper waiting for the target to step out of the treeline. AND THIS IS ALL BECAUSE OF A WEDDING. I just want to sleep for a week.

Also, I think it goes without saying that none of the rest of you can get married, or, if you do, you need to livestream that shit because it’s just way too stressful for me to attend. As it’s all about me. Me, me, me. Me, the antisocial bitch who hates everyone.

Back to watching the treeline for those damn targets. It’s exhausting, but my brain tells me we’re nowhere near done. You can’t just walk away. You never know when that wily badguy will step out of those trees. And when’s a brain ever been wrong, I ask you?


%d bloggers like this: