Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | July 31, 2006

the real v. 3.13 of Survivor

Let me tell you what you feel like when you know you are ready to die. In fact, you feel like a burden to those around you. The funny text messages get no reply other than a playful one liner with a follow up, “Some of us here are at work.” It’s a smack across the face and has less effect than a terse reply. This, is why they amuse me or I them with my humor. Either way.

When you’re upset and borderline depressed, you sleep a lot. And when you wake up, the very first thought in your head is that you want to go back to bed. I slid through the last several months, not having to be anywhere, do anything, my job was to just be. The dark days were the worst. Waking up, I’d walk to my fridge, hope to will myself to go for a run, log on to the computer, do something productive. The starched light of the fridge hit me each morning like a storm cloud as I eyed the bottle of wine and retracted the creamer. Nine times out of ten I chose the coffee because I knew I had the option to choose wine. And that just means trouble. Mel Gibson trouble.

I went entire days without eating, dwindled down to 113 pounds and allowed food to become a commodity that kept me here.

I read the same page of verse a hundred times before realizing an hour had passed.

I rewound my life like a videocassette and saw things that made me weep, slices that make you pause, nothing that makes you want to play it forward.

I forgot to comb my hair and used the excuse, “I don’t want to go because I will have to shower.” As gross as that reply is, I used it more than once. Ask Agnes, Aparna, or Manfred, my favorite attorney’s, they won’t lie.

And then one day, when you make the decision you have enough energy to do this one, last monumental thing, there comes a peace. Suddenly you have a secret that makes you smile, that makes people say you look wonderful, although you feel like a shell – brittle and capable of cracking into a million pieces.

I remember that feeling, like I would break. Feeling lost and knowing I was looking for something unable to remember what it was. It’s like being drunk without with the fun. Pitiful really.

In short, I had set up shop in this mood. You, of all people should understand wanting to give up, when the ache is too great. When you miss your former self and the life you once knew…and the people in it. When you begin to Miss the past. Terribly. But instead, I feel myself fighting furiously, grasping for breath to succeed in the spaces I once failed.

This morning, I woke on the couch. My dinner had not set well in my stomach and I fell asleep with the television on. A perky brunette was stating with a smile, “convenience store robbery. As the robber was leaving the store he shot the man behind the counter three times in the head with his gun. The store clerk was pronounced dead at the scene. The robber is still on the loose. If you have any information about this incident, please call Crime Stoppers at. 713 – Blah – Blah.”


My friend’s Father died like that. A gun shot to the head. Actually…Christ…I have two friends whose Father’s died that way. Both, unrelated. And both victims of ruthless crimes.

They say there are moments that open up your life like a walnut cracked and change your point of view so that you never look at things the same way again. Before the answer forms in my head I realized it’s something I’ve always known, but never really understood. That’s when I realized, I’m alive. I was already dreading the day after waking up to a terse scene and because I have to be somewhere and I didn’t “feel like” being anywhere.

Then, my sister called.

At 7:40 am I walked down stairs and said to Ali, “I have no idea how I woke up with a bottle of Tabasco sauce in my purse.”

Then, I laughed, because I could


  1. Ummm…wow.

    Powerful stuff, really. Glad you’re laughing again — there is not nearly enough laughter in the world!

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  3. Wow.
    I wish I could say I didn’t understand any of that, but, sadly, I do understand. All too well. I was married, trying to support a family that wasn’t even really mine, out of work, and messed up in a bunch of other ways, too. I had live rounds for my .357 that I kept locked up in an incovnient place, just to slow me down if I went for them.
    I went from being over 230 pounds to about 175, in the space of about six months.

    I’m glad you found a way out of that deep, dark hole. It’s a scary place to be. But, you know, I wish I could go back to being that weight again. Only this time? Without the dark moods or thoughts.
    Welcome back to the land of the living.

  4. I feel you, Jess. Totally. More than you know.

  5. hip hip!

  6. Welcome back, red tornado.

  7. Jess I think a lot of people go through these periods. I don’t think a lot of us have the strength to write them down, or pull through them. I don’t think we are ever the same but I hope we grow stronger from the experience. Stay strong.

  8. I am glad that you were laughing. That is a great post. You described a couple of different periods in my life there. Cool stuff.


  9. You have this ability to write how I have felt in my life- just perfectly. Great post!

  10. eyes forward, spud.

  11. I’d like my Tabasco sauce back, thank you very much.

  12. As J said before me (and he usually does), welcome back.

  13. hey i got shot and lived, no bull. hope you do better.

  14. hey i got shot in the head and lived, no bull. hope you do better.

  15. Great post Jess, I remember days feeling like that, I am on the upswing. Life is strange isn’t it?


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