Thursday, July 7, 2011

Goodness Gracious!

Oh my god. So many suggestions in comments to my post this morning that I actually FUCKING do something about my crazy.
I have anxiety?
No. Anxiety is what I had four years ago. Now I just have...oh, I don't know. General fucked-upedness. Right?
I wonder.
I had a very good friend and her first marriage was SUCH a disaster. Not a normal first-marriage disaster. Oh no. This one involved every sort of cruelty and abuse and she finally gathered her courage and ran away from that husband in the middle of the night and slept in an alley and found her way back to where she could get help and after that marriage, no matter how fucked up things were, she had that as a baseline comparison and so, nothing was THAT bad. And she tolerated a second marriage which by anyone's standards but her own was HORRIBLE and AWFUL and there was abuse and cruelty there, too, but not on the level of what her first one had been and so she tolerated it for years and decades.
And then she left him and died soon after but hey! That's another story.

Is that what I'm doing?
Not in the marriage department. I don't mean that. I don't even have bad feelings about my first husband. Sometimes I get a little pissed but mostly when I think of him I am grateful for the times that were good, for the babies he gave me, for the fact that we're still friends and when I think of some of the shit he pulled, I mostly laugh. And hell, I wasn't perfect either.
And of course, now I am married to the practically-perfect Mr. Moon so...
No. Not in the marriage department.

I think it's so odd that these days we think that everything can be "fixed." And believe me- I know that some things must be and that's all there is to it. Otherwise, we'd find ourselves back in the old days of being shut up in four-point restraints when menopause hit and the crazies descended but if Emily Dickinson were alive today, wouldn't we send her to the shrink to get her over her social anxiety, her agoraphobia?

"Miss Dickinson," I can see the good doctor saying, "One cannot stay at home and write poems about one's garden for one's entire life. There is a great, big world out there and you must be part of it!"

Again, not saying I am anything like Emily Dickinson and to be completely fair, I did say that I don't want to be crazy. I want to be easier about things. But do I think there is a magic pill, treatment, or therapy which is going to do that for me?
Actually, no. I don't.
When I had the severe panic/anxiety I KNEW there was help and that I had to go out and ask for it. I knew that. Without a doubt.
And I did and I got it and I am still on that drug and it keeps me mostly okay and I do enjoy and love my life. I laugh, I enjoy friends, I am able to love and be loved. I function. I leave my house. I do things which are hard.

I spent another afternoon today at my mother's old house, looking through pictures.
Can I just say that my mother and stepfather were two of the world's worst photographers? And that over the years, as I said before, the colors have muddied to a very hazy gray and so I sat there, flipping through pictures of my brothers, their birthdays, trips my mother and THAT man took together, pictures that I'd sent my mother of my babies, pictures that my brother (a fine photographer whose pictures have held up very well) sent her, pictures that friends and relatives had sent her and I was ruthless, and threw hundreds of prints away, blurry and indistinct and sometimes unidentifiable and every damn picture that that MAN was in.
You know what? He was a good looking man.
So the fuck what.

There are some pictures of me, of course, but not that many. I look into the face of young me and I was never smiling unless I was holding one of my little brothers on my lap or in my arms. Then I looked happy, with purpose.
I look at those pictures and I wonder that I am as fucking sane as I am. That I ever lived to this age. That I raised babies who, in the pictures I had sent to my mother, were ALWAYS smiling. Always happy-looking. That I managed not only to find a good man but to have the sense to marry him. A man who could love me for me, although I have to say that when we met and married, "me" was pretty cute. And he was a god. I am not kidding you.

I suppose I feel like anything I ever do or have ever done is something of a miracle and wishing I could feel easier about traveling is like wishing I could fly.
It doesn't even occur to me that there would be a "fix" for this problem.


But you've all given me something to think about. As always.
And for that, I am grateful.
As always.


  1. You sound angry that your readers would suggest you find solutions to what is something that is causing you major discomfort and stress...I hope that's not the case. Personally, when I vent my head off to someone (even in blog-land) I want genuine feedback and thought instead of something like "Hugs!" I don't know. I hope you know the intention is all good.

  2. And hey -- I REMEMBER four years ago. I've been through this entire ride with you. No, you're nowhere near that.

  3. You know, my therapist told me a long time ago, about my anxiety, that it was always going to be there. I was super grateful that she was honest about it, and wasn't going to give me a pill or some magickal hoodoo; other therapists weren't so honest, other therapists (and my mother, and my whackadoo ex husband) would tell me it was something I needed to FIX. Get over. Become "normal" whatever the fuckity fuck that is. And it has always been here, to varying degrees and sometimes its better and sometimes it's worse but perhaps what I have learned (as I suspect you have too) is how to deal with it, as JOnah says, "more betterly." And not feel like I'm crazy, per se, but having an episode, having a reaction to my life. I don't think you're crazy, that's for sure. You describe my 'normal' pretty well, and I'm really grateful for folks like you who are willing to write about it.

  4. SJ- I don't think I'm angry. I think am shocked at the idea that there could be a cure. And I'm never really projecting what feedback will be. I write what's on my mind and send it out and sometimes I am surprised. As in this case. And I know you KNOW what four years ago was like and I love you tremendously for still being here. Jesus. I can't believe it sometimes. I'm sorry if I sounded angry.

    Sara- Maybe in a type of acceptance, we can tentatively step out of our comfort zone instead of beating ourselves up constantly for fighting it. I do not know. But than you for that comment. And it's good to know I'm not the only one.

  5. I can't imagine giving YOU advice -- I am indeed sorry that you go through depression (as my beloved sister does) and wish that you didn't, but I'm so over the "fix-it" thing. I think it's one of the most messed up things about our country and heritage, actually -- that we have the "right" to happiness.

    Don't get me started.

    I love you.

  6. I don't think there's a cure for life, Ms Moon, nor would I want one.

    It's funny isn't it? The dreadful things that happen to us, the painful things that make our lives hard and fill us to the brim with anxiety are also those things that can spur us on to bigger and better things. At least that's my take on it.

    I would not be the writer I've become am, if I had not led the life I've led.

    Our struggles are as much a part of our richness as our joys, which includes the railing against all the wrongs that have befallen us, and for you including the feelings you still harbour for THAT man.

    It's not surprising. You've been traumatised and it won't go away. Your writing though,and your living is the only way to deal with it without going crazy and I so admire you for it.

    Thanks Ms Moon.

  7. i think you've got a pretty good handle on it. anxiety isn't a problem when you CAN talk about it, it's when you CAN'T talk about it and you fill your days with secret rituals designed in your mind to make you feel better but only serve to increase your anxiety level.

    i sometimes wonder how i managed to be way less fucked up then most people who grew up like me. sometimes i blame the anxiety which led to the rituals, and sometimes i thank the anxiety that led to the rituals....know you are one of my heros mary moon.


  8. If something helps a person to correct some chemical imbalance in the brain, then I think it is okay to take that pill. If the problem isn't biochemical but just the heartache of life, then the things that I do such as exercise, having hobbies, a spiritual connection help me. Each person has to find what is right for them. I know that you have found what is right for you--family, love, chickens, and home.

  9. I don't believe there's some magic "cure-all" pill to solve anything. The large number of people struggling with their anxiety/depression proves that over and over.

    Try not to beat yourself up for wanting to live in your comfort zone. You know, maybe there's something "wrong" with all the people who can't stand to be alone. Maybe society has convinced us that if we aren't out being a social butterfly we're wrong...just like if we're not a size 0 we're fat. I'm grasping at anything here. :) Hope you find some peace tonight.

  10. 1. I completely agree with you about the "fix it all" mentality of the U.S. An American here tried to give me Al-Anon literature because I sleep with men who are jerks. Um, I do it because I like to be entertained and I have to shag a few frogs along the way. I'd love to find a great guy, but I collect stories instead for now. I don't want to be "fixed."

    2. We also in the U.S. have a very bizarre notion that we should be happy all the time. Well that is simply unreasonable and not a fair burden to put on the universe. If I were happy all the time and didn't get depressed and anxious and angry and frustrated and sad - well, then the happy and pleasure and joy would be dulled.

    3. Maybe you don't like to leave home because your home rocks. What on earth is wrong with having a wonderful life that you don't want to disrupt? Nothing, I say, nothing at all. For decades I traveled, traveled, wanted to go EVERYWHERE. Since about 40 though, i just want a home and a life that I don't have to leave. (Of course then I end up in Liberia and can never have a home here - ah universe, you are so ironic!) I find nothing wrong with this at all, and if I had a life and home as lovely as yours, it would be very hard to think about going anywhere else.

    So, there's my input. But obviously I'm insane.

  11. The way you described your life and your family reminded me of Amistead Maupin for some reason. The way he writes about fucked-up people who keep trying to do their best and keep trying to form loving bonds.

    I love you.

  12. My grandmother used to say that good looking IS as good looking DOES. THAT MAN is a fucking mutant dog in my eyes, and I don't give a shit if he looked like damn Robert Redford. Dude is a fucking PIG.

    There. Can you tell I am crabby this morning?

    Just keep dwelling on Sweet Jessie at the end of your trip. That should help you feel better about traveling. It would me.

    I love you!

  13. Elizabeth- I love you too. You better believe it.

    Elisabeth- I agree with you. We get the gifts we get- some are wrapped a hell of a lot prettier than others. But it's up to us to figure out how to use them. Thank-YOU.

    Mrs. A- And I admire the HELL out of you.

    Syd- This is all very true.

    Mel's Way- I had some trouble sleeping but you know- life goes on and then I got up and found these kind words. Thank-you. And thank god we are all not size 0 social butterflies. A world of Paris Hiltons!

    NOLA- All very good points. It's when we can't function and that causes us pain which is the problem. And yes, sometimes, I admit I fight within those boundaries.'s mighty sweet right here.

    Mwa- You know, even when I was very young, a teenager, I recognized that my particular very close group of friends all came from pretty fucked up families and that we forged bonds with each other because we needed that. And I love Armistead Maupin. And I love you, too.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- I know. I will. And I KNOW I'll have a fine time. It's just the getting out of the driveway that is usually a problem. Love you, darling.

  14. I really enjoyed this post. It makes plenty of sense to me and I certainly identify. But I haven't read the previous entry yet...

    To quote Waylon: "I've always been crazy but it keeps me from going insane."

    Love ya, Ms. Moon. Rock on, Sister.

  15. Ms. Trouble- Or, as Jimmy Buffett says, "If we weren't all crazy, we would go insane."

  16. Ms. Moon...sometimes I like to read your blog because I like to imagine what life must be like down there in Florida on a little piece of paradise like yours, but sometimes when I read your blog, you send out a little snippet of something that hits me right where it counts. This was one of those posts. Thanks for the times you give voice to the things that many feel but can't articulate. You rock.

  17. roserain- After I wrote this, I went to bed and worried that I had just been a whiny sap. And then I thought- well- I wrote what I was feeling and so there you go.
    It makes me feel very comforted to think that what I wrote might have felt true to someone else. So thank-you.

  18. My very fucked up cousin and I have this chant we do which goes something like hurray for the fuck-ups and it's always very healing to me, and I think to him as well. I often find people who weren't fucked up when they were kids kind of dull. Not always, but often.

  19. Your past won't every be different , but it doesn't define you. You don't let it. But it won't ever not be a part of you , and sometimes that manifests in ways you can't control. But you recognize it. You own it. You make beauty from ashes, pain or no.

    love you.

    and I'm still reeling from all this mom stuff. still a little off. how not to be?


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.