Hovering At the Edge of Things

I feel as though I am starting to lose it a wee bit again. I know, again. Eventually, you would think I would get tired of this and move on to other kinds of adventures, but no, I seem to be inextricably caught in the hypnotic spell of my neurochemicals. We are lovers whose entwined limbs cannot be unknotted.

It's time we break up. I'm willing to try a home labotomy kit.

Everything is paper thin. I was expecting something else, something better. I went off my winter regimen of St. John's Wort four times a day, which spring anxiety signals me to do, and the anxiety faded as it usually does by the beginning of summer. I have not been imagining social derision or self-diagnosing physical ailments or having dreams that leave me hollow. These things are good, and I expected them, I wanted them, I have them. I am fully grateful for these things, because it is difficult to find them again every winter and such a relief to be rid of them at the end of spring. It doesn't work out so smoothly every year. This is a good year in a string of years in which the absence of the negative becomes the positive.

Something that usually comes with these things, though, with this alleviation of my winter depression and anxiety, is not here now where it should be, but I cannot put my finger on what that something is. I am standing on the other side of a glass. I am set upon this chair. There is a pen in my hand, but it rests against the space between its barrel and my skin. My window is a television. It is a stage, it is a set, the world is a scene that I watch, and I wonder where the exit is. If I could step through it, I could touch things.

This is very The Bell Jar à la Sylvia Plath. I read that book repeatedly when I was younger, when the weight of depression was unrelenting and less likely to follow the seasonal rule. I remember sitting in cafés and smoking hand-rolled cigarettes, the Drum tobacco tasting like smoked meats, the dollar coffee limp-flaoured in stained mugs. I had stolen a copy of the book when I was taking a secretarial course that was housed in my old high school. It was a copy made for institutions: double-stitched library binding, navy naugahyde hard cover, gold-stamped lettering on the front, and hand-printed numbers on the spine used to keep track of the book. It had the sweet smell of dust and dry book mould.

Although everything around me hovered, removed itself, receded from immediacy so that I was left floating slightly apart from the true snap of reality, holding that book in my hands felt undeniable. It was solid. The yellowed pages felt rough and dry under my fingertips and the naugahyde I absentmindedly picked from the spine left curious splinters under my fingernail. Esther Greenwood and I knew each other. I could feel the way her eyes scanned the world. I imagined the feel of the physical set of her face, and it mirrored my own impassive expression.

I did exist. That my experience was not singular and had a corollary out in a distanced world, confirmed that. I would not blow away in the night like an exhalation. I would wake up. I would be here. I would walk through that door.

I am waiting for that again. This time, though, I don't have to hold on to a book like a thumb-sucking child. I know within myself that my life is full and that there are people like the Fiery One to meet me when this veil between realities lifts away. At the same time, I am worried that without something like that book, I might not find the fingerhold I need.

The real question is: Am I enough?

Despite the fact that I know I must be enough for myself to have made it this far, there is the fear in me that I am not. I was once told this by a great woman: we are all born with everything inside us that we need to make it through, and to use it we only need to remember that it's there. If she's right, then I am enough, and I'm not about to second-guess her. Until I find my misplaced internal floor maps, I will put my faith in her knowledge and allow her to direct the first steps. This will change. All things change. They have before, and they will again.

Oh, yes, and one more thing: Don't worry, our stove is electric.


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