Yesterday was what I refer to as a “bad day.” Seattle was gorgeous.
The sun bared its chest and the wind licked its hairs. I, however, still laid in bed for too many hours shutting out the world. The night before I went to see a coworker perform stand-up and had about a half a drink too many. After a few hours my weariness grew neck and neck with my desire to be at home. I finished my 3rd drink — too quickly I’ll add– and went to the bus stop. I’ll admit: I was acutely aware of how dangerous it was to be drunk and alone in an unfamiliar neighborhood riding an unfamiliar bus line. It was scary, but so is life and I endured anyway. After all, cabs don’t scour the South End looking for fares. It’s just not that kind of neighborhood…
The bus came I got on, went to the back — which, by the way, is also not the safest place to be at 2am. A few stops later two gentlemen joined me. I put on my accent like a coat. Different degrees in different degrees. They recognized its presence and asked me where I was from. The flirtation was obvious and appreciated, They wanted to come home with me and “hang out.” I respectfully declined and they respectfully accepted. Eventually, my stop arrived and we said our goodbyes. The one with the nice facial hair commented on the largeness of my belly button –which made me pause–, made a statement about my thickness, and bid me safe passage.
I am learning the dangers of alcohol. I make calls and decisions I’d rather not. My mind is not my own and this depression becomes a stranglehold. I am not myself. On Saturday I spun and slipped into the spiral at my feet and used my covers to seal the space. I know what I am like when I am like that. It’s not good and quickly becomes worse. I contemplate the hated thoughts of a Christian god, weep for no reason, and wish I could just rest–forever.
I could feel the worst of it approaching and so I chose — no, forced myself to — leave my house.
A friend –well, not quite that but something close– was scheduled to be the featured poet at the Ladies First poetry night. I knew there was an open mic scheduled beforehand and felt the need to speak my words. And so, I forced myself to go; sans make-up with a little style I journeyed in that direction.
A young woman greeted me with laughter and friendly antiquity. I signed up for the open mic then panicked in my chair. I wanted to read two pieces but opted, safely, for one. The second was ill-constructed, controversial, unfinished, and raw. I needed more time to be as comfortable with those words in my mouth as I was with them on paper. The audience snapped and “Uhm-hmed” in agreement. I left the mic with the support of joined hands and sat down. It felt good to have people want my words.
At the conclusion of the evening they invited anyone to sign up to be Featured poets. I didn’t. I assign a level of importance to titles like that. Later, the MC came up to me and asked if I’d be interested in being a Featured poet. I thought she was making a funny so I laughed. She wasn’t. I agreed as long as it wasn’t anytime soon. I need to time to write, create — build on experience.
I know I’m depressed or at least crazy because I still can’t shake the feeling Featured poet status was offered out of pity. I came up with a working title for my show on the bus ride home. Cystic: sloughing away that which harms me. There are people in my life like the cysts on my kidneys, taking up space and eating away at the healthy parts of me. I would love to slough them off and dialyze my blood with the healthiness left. I’d like to cleanse myself of their remaining spots with the hope that there is something substantial beneath. I need this cleansing now and am grateful for the opportunity to create.