This is me today: I wake up with a smile, a bubble of joy in my heart fluttering up and morphing into a laugh for the beginning of a most excellent series of hours coming to me on this Tuesday, hopes high for possibilities, I smile at myself in the mirror, I hug my cat, my coffee is just right, perfectly sweet and milky, I feel sublime, my morning music flowing through the house as I clean and clean and clean, then clean more, I rearrange my closets and look fondly upon the beautiful colors and textures that hang there, I dress in my most colorful, my most stylish, happiest outfit. I experiment with contrasts and loop necklaces and bracelets around my neck and arms, my makeup is stellar, what beautiful eyes you have my dear.
I make big, expensive plans. I am settled on the edge of huge discoveries. I begin an ambitious art project, supplies spilling out of my cabinets and spreading across the dining room table in a friendly sloppy and oh so creative way, I sing along, I paint, I cut and paste, I see miracles forming before my eyes, I am so. Very. Talented. I phone every friend I can think of, to tell them about my miraculous day, about my new plans for the golden future, I chatter and gossip and giggle and I feel so loved and understand that I am so. Very. Special. I am a silver girl, my heart is wide open with love and forgiveness and pure, unadulterated bliss. This is my new beginning, my day of reinvention, my talents and my sparkling personality are jumping like prisms of crystal-shot light. I twirl and dance, I scream out loud in a storm of perfect, champagne happiness.
I see an apparition out of the corner of my eye, but when I turn full-body to face it, it vanishes into air that suddenly feels brittle, uncomfortably fragile. Through my haze of lunatic joy there looms—visions of mortgages, angry collection letters, piles of unattended business. They are unwelcome intrusions in the unsteady walls of my mind, that space I envision now as a huge, spirit-filled room with cracks in the floor that I have plugged with fog and mist. Reality fights through the cracks, its light is foreboding. It is no fun at all.
I push and push and plug it all back. I feel rising anger at the reminders of tedious, boring, soul-sucking life details. I turn to my philosophy books, I study works of art, I read articles on metaphysics, I pace in my pretty skirt and recite Shakespeare; I try to use these ephemeral, floating wisps to recover my arching joy. There is a needle prick in my hot air balloon from the morning. I begin to leak air, I begin to waver off-course, into the swamps and ravines of ordinary. My laughter begins to feel more like hysteria. My hands tremble and my lines are crooked. I begin to color outside of them. I feel hot tears mingling with the hysteria and I close my eyes, frantic now, I cling to the morning’s mist of opportunity and hope, I clutch and grasp and gasp with fear, begging the rays of sun to stay a little longer, make me silver again, don’t leave me here by myself with silent eyes watching me from the corners of my rooms.
Must medicate. The medicine folds my spirit back into its cage. I lie on the couch and travel with strangers. I visit Thailand and Sumatra, Iceland and Madagascar. I do not move for a long time, my body is a composite, a still-life of inertia. I must go to the bathroom, and I stand there, groggy and wooden, staring at a shadow in the mirror, an old face that has no clarity any longer. I drag my body to the bed and I sleep for a while, precious, rare, and I cry because I wake up again. Those gaping spaces in my head now pound full-force with roaring, ferocious voices that shrivel any earnest hope left from the morning.
I was not pretending, I believe in that honest transformation for a brief moment, like always, hoping it’s real, thinking that I deserve a break today ... but it is only to be yet another tired trick in which my psyche is the butt of the joke. I lie there on the bed and watch the ceiling fan turn. I see accusing faces from the past, old friendships that have atrophied, lost jobs that held promise and which were destroyed because I could not hold back the darkness. I have no business messing around with joy. My jailor always comes back to tie my hands up and hang me on the wall with chains and on the way to the dungeon marches me through memories of failures, one after another, failure and loss and supreme, white-hot pain.
The day comes to a trembling halt, and my soul has run another endless marathon. Alone becomes my present tense. I am losing time and I feel myself growing odder and odder. I cannot look Normal in the eye anymore. I sit down to write it out, prying these thoughts from the tangled wires in my head. I write these words and cast them, like messages in cyber-space bottles, out into an ocean of eyes, hoping that someone will read my words, that I will forge some understanding in that I do not choose to live this way.
I write the truth of my existence, I want it to be understood. I want there to be allies, others out there that may think they, too, are drifting off into a state of absence. Isolation grows out and around me like a thicket of thorns. I feel as though I am waiting, and waiting and waiting for something good to come along, for a salvation and rescue from a long sleep. I know that for every hour of happiness I experience, there is always going to be a darkness that hands me ten. I am sentenced to live in a world of extremes, and there is no safe place to rest in between. There is only this, me, alone, to write and wait and wonder … why?