September 24, 2018

I had a terrible dream. I was desperately begging someone not to do something and they kept doing it. I’ve never felt that desperate before. I was crying and begging and watching him ignore me. I felt powerless and hopeless simultaneously. It was the worst.

But then I woke up like: Oh, thank god, that was just a dream.

But no. The reality is so much worse. I woke my boyfriend up to comfort me because I was completely losing it.

To realize that your real life is worse than your worst nightmare??? Fuck me.

Day 106 – Waking Nightmare

June 15, 2018

I bought over $500 worth of clothes today. Did I need them? No. Hardly anyone ever needs new clothes. But I bought them anyway because what feels better than a little retail therapy – especially when you can do it from THE COUCH??? Seriously, I can’t think of anything better other than a perfect chocolate chip cookie. I know I should be supporting local. I know I should only be buying one thing that I absolutely can use all the time that’s on sale and then donate something from my closet in exchange. Should.

I know I am doing it all wrong, constantly, every time. But when I open up my computer and within a few clicks find a dress I like, a coupon code, and put in the credit card number I’ve memorized from doing this so many times, and I’m in my pajamas with a TV show on in the background, well, Heaven may not be so far away after all.

I realize that 99.9% of what I’ve said that I’m doing is TV/food/shopping related, which is interesting because I define myself as much more well-rounded and far less shallow than that implies, but it seems like I am wrong. It’s possible, highly likely even, that I spend most of my time on the three things I listed above. Hmmm.

Well, I think food makes sense. We have to eat to live. Granted, I live to eat, but potato-potahto, right? Some people consider themselves foodies, but I’m far too picky and lazy to be a foodie. So, I just really love it? My pants tell me that’s true. The food wrappers on my coffee table tell me that’s true. (Sometimes, I realize that I must have eaten a lot due to the amount of food wrappers I’m surrounded by a la an entire frat house of boys, but then instead of adjusting my behavior, I just clean them up and throw them out so it doesn’t look like I ate anything at all. I feel like that solves the problem.)

Television is a real issue. I love it. It helps me get through the day. I mean, we did coin the term “Netflix and Chill,” so I’m obviously not alone. But maybe those people Netflix and Chill after work, instead of at noon with a Trader Joe’s cauliflower pizza cooking in the oven so they can pretend to be healthy while they snack on Milanos as they wait. I don’t know anyone who would do that, it’s clearly just a fictional story, but…

Shopping… I don’t do it often. I don’t even really like it all that much. If I’m in a store with someone, I get instantly bored and want to leave. I’d rather be anywhere else in the world. But if I’m at home…in my pajamas…and there’s a sale…and I hate all my clothes in my closet because I do and they suck and I’ve had most of them forever and I wish I could burn them all and start over (not to be too dramatic about it but for real I hate them all)…and there’s a really pretty model who looks nothing like me rocking a dress that probably won’t fit over my chest, well, then, I’m already on the “checkout” screen. The fun thing about credit cards is you get to pay them off later, when the bill comes and you nearly fall over dead at the amount you managed to spend on brunch and t-shirts and Postmates delivery and that cute necklace you just had to have.

Day Five of grieving is costing me a lot of money. I don’t think I’m doing this right.

June 13, 2018

 

Well, I watched a lot of Parks and Rec today. I seriously love that show. I know some people don’t like it, and that’s fine; you’re wrong. Just kidding… But it really is so good.

I miss the characters when I’m not watching it. I wonder what they’re up to after a series ends. I cry at their failures and successes, losses and wins. I can’t wait to turn the show back on and see how they’re doing. That’s real. I do that with Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, The Office, Friends, Burn Notice… And when I’ve finished re-watching the whole show, sometimes I start it over again right away because it’s too heartbreaking to think that it’s actually over. I want to live in Stars Hollow with Lorelai and Rory. I want to be in the Braverman family. I want to be best friends with Jim and Pam and Dwight and Michael. I want to live in NYC and hang out at Central Perk and drink coffee with the whole Friends gang. I want to be a badass CIA agent with Michael, Fiona, Sam, and Jesse (and I kind of want to date Jesse/be with him forever and ever and have his babies). I want to work with Leslie Knope and watch her take over the world. They’re not characters to me. They’re friends. I DON’T NEED YOUR JUDGMENT.

Anyone else? Just me? As long as there are a few other people who do the weird things I do, I feel slightly less crazy. Strength in numbers, I guess.

I also walked around outside today. And I met with that friend I mentioned yesterday. The one I haven’t seen in a while. We hung out for two and a half hours; we talked about her for two hours and 22 minutes. I consider that a win. I love asking the questions and I hate answering them.

I don’t always want to talk only about someone else. Like with the Lyft driver the other night who spoke nonstop (I swear he didn’t even breathe) from the time he picked me up at the airport to the time he dropped me off about VIDEO GAMES. Now some people – women included – enjoy video games. The fine art is lost on me so I hated Every. Single. Second. I didn’t even know how to respond to him as he rambled on about E3 (gaming convention), his streaming channel, the games he plays, the games his friends play, and then made me watch a live video of someone AS HE DROVE AND WATCHED AS WELL. It was a whole new level of Hell that Dante didn’t anticipate.

Today, when I wasn’t watching TV, I had to re-order a Rent the Runway dress (if you don’t know what that is, it’s a site where you can rent dresses for events instead of having to buy them…could be a rip off. Unsure.). I ordered it two months ago for this formal wedding I’m going to in a week and got a text message – A TEXT MESSAGE – from the company (why do they text now? I feel like that’s weird. Do I text you? No.) saying the dress is now unavailable. How does a pre-ordered, reserved dress suddenly become unavailable? The customer service rep I spoke to had no answers. “Maybe some of the beading came off” was the best she could come up with. Well, shockingly, one week before the date, there really aren’t very many dresses left. In fact, there are only a few and definitely none in my size. Surprise, surprise. My mom always told me that if I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Well, after four hours of my day was spent trying to find a dress that would fit my body, my chest, my height (I’m 5’11”), and my sense of style, we landed on a dress that I didn’t like very much that was over $100 less than the original dress I chose. When I pointed that out, she said, “I see what you mean” and didn’t say anything else. It would have been cheaper to cancel the order and re-order it at the new price. I would’ve saved $115. But I didn’t do the smart thing, which is shocking to no one who knows me.

After that debacle, I obviously needed a nap. And food. And then the walk in the park with my friend who spoke about her life. Why do other people’s lives always sound so much more amazing than mine? She just got engaged (it’s fine, I’m happy for her) to the guy she’s been traveling the world with for the past year (it’s fine, I’m happy for her) and stopped by LA for a summer vacation (it’s fine, I’m happy for her) before they move to Boston to live rent-free with a friend, plan their wedding, and start jobs they managed to secure while traveling (it’s fine, but I’m becoming less happy for her). She looks amazing and happy and carefree.

I remember being carefree, or as carefree as someone who is constantly wracked with crippling anxiety can possibly be. Does anyone else have this problem? From the time I get up in the morning until I finally manage to momentarily defeat my insomnia for a few hours, I feel a general anxiety about everything. I think they make a pill for that, but I’m just so (wrongly) convinced that I can beat it myself through binge watching Parks and Rec or eating cookies or thinking about – but not actually – exercising that I have refused to take anything for it so I continue to suffer from the anxiety.

I spoke with my mom today, but we didn’t talk about IT. Weeks have passed since I last talked to her. Somewhat by design, but somewhat because she’s busy. I just hate talking about it, you know? I hate living it. I hate that IT exists. I hate that it’s happened. I hate that this is the new normal. I hate that I feel like I don’t belong in other people’s normal. I hate that every time something funny happens, I feel like I have to stop myself from laughing, because that’s not fair that I get to laugh and enjoy things.

I bought an overpriced chai tea latte today to make myself feel better. It didn’t work. I donated stuff to a school in need today to make myself feel better. That didn’t work. I told myself that if I make an “easy” to-do list and cross off at least one thing (“make a list” is what I crossed off), I’d feel better. That didn’t work either. So I’m obviously still hoping food and Netflix are the answers, but I just don’t know anymore because the sadness keeps creeping in. And then it ends up in the background like white noise. And then I feel bad for not thinking about it and it comes to the forefront again and then I want it to go away. What do people do when they’re actually dealing with their grief? I don’t like any of this at all.

I ate a fudge brownie and three Milano cookies (double dark chocolate) for dinner. I wore my pajamas all day until I had to meet my friend, and then I put on the same outfit as yesterday because she hadn’t seen it yet. I didn’t realize it had dirt and stains on it until I got home. The stress from that realization led to a nap.

And I wonder why my mom thinks I haven’t lived up to my potential… It’s a mystery.

June 12, 2018

Food is more than comfort. I ate toast with tomato on it for breakfast. Impressively healthy, right? I washed it down with apple juice (eh, still fine). And then I followed that up with two donuts, a banana, and a cookie. And that was just breakfast. Then I got a delicious strawberry lemonade from a small coffee shop where they asked me, “Where have you been? We haven’t seen you in a while.” Even though I’ve been there a total of five times in my life. Nice to be remembered, I guess…

For lunch, I made chicken, roasted broccolini, and rice pilaf. Killing it. But I followed that up with two blueberry cookies (more like scones). Still feeling peckish, a few hours elapsed before I found myself eating a turkey burger, fries, and chocolate cake with ice cream. (It’s amazing how writing all of this down and looking back on it not only makes me feel terrible, but explains the reason why not even my elastic-waistband sweatpants fit.)

I needed the comfort today, and the friendship. I flew back to Los Angeles today just in time to make it to my regular trivia night with friends at a dive bar down the street. We laughed so hard I forgot for a brief moment why my life is different from theirs. And then it all came rushing back.

Today was one of those days where I didn’t cry (yet) but I felt down. And I fought it hard. I went out to a victory parade for the NBA Champion Oakland Warriors. I (clearly) ate my weight (and my neighbor’s weight) in delicious food. I laughed. I told stories. I spent time with friends. But underneath it all is that sadness that still manages to taint everything. It crops up constantly to remind me that I’m not like everyone else. I’m Hester Prynne but with a “G” for grieving instead of an “A” for adultery, though I might actually prefer the public shame of one over the other. Having a “G” etched so clearly on my face, in my eyes, makes me feel like an “other.” Like I’m different. Like my friends love me, but they’re scared to get too close for fear of catching my grief. For fear of contracting it like some awful disease and looking more like me.

I told at least five good jokes tonight. Yes, I counted. Yes, I’m a loser. It’s the little things that get me through the day most of the time.

I’m dreading tomorrow, when I have plans to see a friend I haven’t seen since December and she inevitably asks me “How’s everything going?” with that look on her face. The one that says, You know what I mean and I’m glad I’m not you and I don’t really want to know all at the same time. And which she also inevitably follows up with, “What’s new?” Nothing. Nothing is ever new. Grief is like that. It’s the same every day. Painful. All-consuming. Hard to talk about. Harder to live. Harder still to pretend like it’s fine so as not to bother other people with the truth.

I still haven’t faced it in the way I should. “Should.” I hate that word. Like there’s a manual someone wrote of how to behave and what exactly to be doing all the time and we all just walk around expecting ourselves and others to do those things when, really, we should be doing what’s best for each of us, individually, even if sometimes we have to be selfish.

I feel like I’m being selfish all the time. I can’t get a gauge for it. I agreed to go to Vegas this weekend (to distract myself) for a friend’s birthday (to distract myself), but as it draws nearer, I realize that I want to stay home, and maybe cry, and definitely eat ice cream, and for sure turn on Netflix, and without a doubt chill with myself. But then a friend might call and I might go out because it sounds better than sitting in my house, absorbed with my grief. But then again, I “should” go to Vegas. I already committed. It’s not like it’s torture. It’ll be fun. Then again, I should give myself the time to deal with what’s happening in my life. To remember how he always had my back. To listen to the voicemails of his I saved but haven’t been able to open. To be present in my sadness so maybe, just maybe, I can someday fit into my pants again and step outside my house without convincing myself over the course of several hours and hang out with my friends without silently acknowledging to myself that they’re actually just great distractions.

Day two and I’m already not living in my grief. Who would want to? It’s not fun like a water slide or a day at Disneyland. It’s like a terrifying drop on a roller coaster where you can’t see the bottom and you don’t know when it’s going to end and you feel like you’re going to die if it doesn’t stop soon. Dramatic, yes. But true.

But in case you were worried – even for a second – that I would get through the day without embarrassing myself, I coughed so hard I farted at trivia. And then I coughed louder to cover it up. And then I farted louder. So. Just be thankful you’re not me.

June 11, 2018

Almost two years have passed. Actually, 23 months and 17 days. I thought that every minute that ticked by, every day I put pants on one leg at a time and buttoned them (they became stretchy pants instead of jeans after a while), every grocery trip to the store where I made it through the aisles of over-priced organic products, I was healing. I was healing one stoplight, one alarm clock that I didn’t snooze, one chocolate chip cookie at a time.

It is complete and utter bullshit. I am not healing. I am ignoring. I am distracting myself. I am lying to myself more convincingly than Paul Ryan lied to his constituents or OJ Simpson lied to the world. So today is the first day – 11:08 PM on June 11, 2018 – that I will face my new reality. I will do it from my couch. In my pajamas. With unbrushed teeth and an overly full stomach.

So what did I do today? Well, I took my dog to the vet and found out that all 5.4 pounds of her are perfectly healthy, except for her teeth, which have to come out. And just like that, at six years old, my adorable, beautiful companion will sit with her tongue hanging out, drooling uncontrollably onto my Goodwill couch.

What else? I applied for jobs. And got rejected. Isn’t rejection just the swift kick in the pants you never need? Then someone reached out to me about a job, and I got excited by the possibility, and then discovered that he wanted to pay me $8 to buy his sunglasses off Amazon and leave him a glowing review in their place – as long as I have Amazon Prime and he won’t have to refund me for shipping. I didn’t even bother to turn that one down. I might need $8 tomorrow. I haven’t checked my account yet (too afraid).

I also moved my friend’s car to the correct side of the street for street sweeping tomorrow. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, neither does anyone else. It’s some lie where they drive giant brooms around and pretend to “clean up the street” (on the second and fourth Mondays of the month – I never know what number Monday it is, to which my parking tickets will attest), though it’s rarely dirty before and never any cleaner after. For the record, I’ve never seen a street sweeper in action. They’re like the male protagonist in a romance novel: good in theory, but doesn’t actually exist.

I ate a banana for lunch. I told myself I was going to go work out and then took a nap. I applied to a few more jobs before giving up and driving around aimlessly. I took a walk around a lake in a maxi dress (long, maidenly dress that’s only appealing on Heidi Klum) and promptly got it covered in dirt and algae (I got too close to the water – “slippery slope” signs with their image of a person sliding down the hill into the water, be damned). I downloaded Abode onto my computer when I realized I couldn’t convert my old resume (that I’d been sending out all day) from Word into a PDF.

 

What makes today unlike any other day? I discovered that I am disappointing the only person who has truly supported and understood me. He’s stood by me for 19 months and hasn’t said anything the whole time about my obvious (to him) struggles. When I tell him over a chicken burger he bought me that I need him to sacrifice more for me, a sadness rolls over his face like a cloud blocking out the sun. Try as I might, I can’t ignore the pained look he’s giving me (I’m REALLY, EXTRAORDINARILY good at ignoring reality).

By bedtime I manage to get past my own hurt and selfishness and really ask him what he sees in me (he doesn’t answer) and what I’ve done to bring this on (he doesn’t answer) and how I can solve it. He says, “Grieve. Just let yourself grieve. You’ve never grieved and I think it’s time. Take a year. Let yourself grieve.”

Take a year… I cry unrestrained at the idea that I haven’t grieved yet and it’s been almost two years. I cry those really unattractive, hiccuping sobs onto his green Bucks and Trucks t-shirt. I wipe my eyes on a pair of pajama shorts I find on the floor that I apparently never put away. Tears fall again immediately onto his bedspread, t-shirt, legs, anywhere and everywhere they can find a surface to land on. I don’t know who the pretty, contained, big green-eyed criers who look sexy when they’re sad are, but fuck them because I look like I got rained on and simultaneously melted on a hot and humid summer day. He takes all this in stride, rubbing my hair the wrong way while he comforts me and creating a tangled mess. I resist the urge to correct him.

I leave the room because I need to process this. He follows me. He hugs me.

“Okay,” I breathe out into his chest.

Okay.

This is the start of that year. One year. To see if I can survive the grieving process.

Just as I am about to post this, I cough so hard I pee my pants.