Monday, January 16, 2012

Crazy Talk (Drink Lattes, Not Poison)

There is power in saying aloud the crazy things we think.

Trust me on this. Over the past two and a half years, I have thought plenty of crazy thoughts and, sometimes, the only way I truly recognize how insane/nuts/irrational/unfair-to-myself these thoughts are is to say them out loud to a friend.

Thankfully, today, my friend Erin was there to listen. Honestly, I couldn't tell you a day when she hasn't been willing to listen. If I text her something slightly dark, she immediately responds: What can I do? Can we meet for coffee?

When I have fallen down the rabbit hole and I'm about to suck down a bottle of poison (mean thoughts that will make me feel small or ugly words that will make even my smallest problem seem as big as a giant), Erin will say, "Hey, want to meet for coffee?" Then, instead of being like poor Alice, tiny and wishing she hadn't cried quite so much because now she is drowning in her own sea of tears, I am saying out loud each awful thing and recognizing how illogical it is.

Earlier today I was having a serious case of "What's the point?" There are millions of blogs and millions of books already written and what is the point of me adding my voice to all that white noise?

Lately, I tell myself that maybe I'll finish the last few chapters of my book and then I'll hide it away in a drawer.

Inspirational stories about the author of The Help getting rejected by 60 agents - "And look at her now!"- don't really help. Rejection does a number on a person. After awhile, you realize you're trying to win the lottery. Except, instead of choosing random numbers, you are writing hundreds of pages of soul-baring truth.

It would be a hell of a lot easier to drive to a nearby state where the lottery is legal, grab a No. 2 pencil and fill in the bubbles on a Powerball form.

I often slip into the belief that I don't deserve good things because, once upon a time, someone I loved died in front of me and I did not save him. Whatever I should have said, I did not say.

“'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' says the White Queen to Alice.”

Frankly, this is the hardest truth of my life, that sometimes this fact will attack me again, that my memory will work backwards. I told Erin it is like I have an autoimmune disease of some kind. It's usually in remission. Then I'll get a tiny cold or an infection - in the form of doubt or an unexpected disappointment or a reminder of something that I do not have - and the disease will roar back to life. And even if I know that IT'S JUST A SMALL COLD, I will experience all the symptoms of the disease that is always within me. I will drink the poison.

“If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison' it is certain to disagree with you sooner or later.”
Lewis Carroll

It hurts to believe the worst about yourself and to believe it on a regular basis, to have once been much more muchier and to have lost your muchness.

“Who am I then? Tell me that first, and then, if I like being that person, I'll come up; if not, I'll stay down here till I'm someone else.” 
― Lewis Carroll

Here's what helps:

Today, I said these things out loud and Erin helped me shine a light on them.

It was not your fault, she said.

Keep writing, she said. 

Keep putting your voice out there, she said. 

Here is what is true in a sea of salty tears and bitter regrets:

We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
When you get off the sofa and get dressed, when you get out of the house and drive to the coffee shop, when you sip something warm from a cup, when you laugh at your own silly joke that you've made a thousand times (Barista: "What name can I put on this for you?" Me: "Mrs. Clooney, thanks."), when you share your insecurities and doubts and worries with one friend, a friend who is listening, you feel better.

The Duchess: You're thinking about something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk. I can't tell you just now what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit.

Alice: Perhaps it hasn't one. 

The Duchess: Tut, tut, child! Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.


  1. You do the same thing for me when I'm struggling (a lot). One thing I know for sure is that it feels better to not feel alone on this ride, and to be able to voice our darkest thoughts. If we do nothing else in this life, listening is good enough. By acknowledging -- and writing about -- the poison we tell ourselves -- you help me and all your friends. I just show up with the coffee ;)

  2. YOu cant stop.....You gotta finish Amy B. regardless of rejections or annoying success stories or anything. or voices in your head. if someone can sit down and READ AN ENTIRE BOOK..not just a blog, but a book in its entireity with you at the other end feeding them goodness after goodness of pages...well FUCK. they should be so lucky. This blog is outstanding. (i know im 6 blogs or more behind but catching up daily)...ITS TRULY OUTSTANDING. so i can only imagine your memoir is going to be d'fuckin'vine. seriously. Even in your darkest hour...its still gonna be good and its still gonna get someones attention. and they'll think, just as i do, she's magnificent.

  3. Thank you, my dear and wonderful friends. I don't even want to imagine what I would do without you lovely ladies in my life!

  4. Arthur Miller said in the play After the Fall "A suicide kills two people, Maggie. That's what it's for". Darling, don't let this "kill" you. Remember to be the beautiful woman Charles loved so much. She's still got a lot of living to do.


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