May 12, 2002
I'm getting much better at this, aren't I? (Posting regularly, I mean.) No, it isn't a thirst for fame because of the Webby Award nomination-- it's this frigging insomnia. If my Maritime manners haven't revealed my heritage for all to see, the fact that I'm beginning to look like a Tar Pond bullfrog from lack of sleep should make it obvious. If I were called to the Bar in Nova Scotia, I'd be leading the charge. Don't get me started on what they've done to my beloved Island and all the people down home. Check it out: http://www.web.net/~sierra/stp/
I'm pouring as much Visine onto my corneas as I am coffee down my gullet -- it's not doing much to render me any more alert. I used to have my mother's eyes: now it looks like I've made away with Rasputin's. We seem to be sharing the same hairdresser too.
I feel compelled to respond to an email I received recently. I normally
don't do this (though if George Clooney wants to drop me a line, I may
make another exception. He's hot stuff for an old guy and the sexiest
thing about him is his sense of humour. But I digress.)
Turns out this young lady had read my May 18, 2001 column and it struck
a chord. Seems she had moved in with one of our boys. (Why did I get the
feeling that she was from overseas? Could have been because she sounded
so isolated and lost?) Things had not worked out. He dumped her, but
stuck around in the apartment they'd shared for a month after asking her
to help him find a roommate then vanished, leaving her with an expensive
place to pay for, few resources and little idea of what to do next. She
sounded awfully young and very sad and scared.
I had some suggestions (like calling local prisons to find out which
violent homosexual rapists were about to be released and required shared
accommodation, then effecting the introductions), but after having had
some time to think it over, I have a few more. For what they're worth.
Sweetie, you'll be fine. I'm not saying it's going to be fun and it won't be easy but you WILL get through it. There are a few things to remember, though.
1. Alcohol and drugs are not your friends, however desperately you think you need a few hours of oblivion. They solve nothing, may prompt you to do very stupid, humiliating and potentially dangerous things. They cloud your mind and sap your strength. I won't even go into what they can do to your health. I have no objection to hoisting a few on a patio on a lovely spring afternoon, but you're in no shape for it at the moment. You can go out and get pissed if you feel you must, but your problems will still be there when you sober up and you'll have a hangover to boot. Similarly, I firmly believe pot should be legalized but that doesn't mean you should smoke it in the state of mind you're in even if you live in Amsterdam where it's legal. The last thing you need right now is The Fear and I guarantee that in your condition, you'd be unlikely to get the giggles. And do you really want to be sporting an extra ten pounds courtesy of the Munchies? Besides, it makes you lazy and you don't have that luxury right now.
2. Ditto the casual sex thing. I know, I know: sometimes it hurts so bad that you just want somebody to hold you. Two things about that -- sex and love are not the same (especially not to men) and self-esteem is not generally to be found in the arms of some guy who didn't quite catch your name. I won't even go address the health or personal safety issues -- that should be obvious by now. If you're unspeakably horny (which I doubt -- depression doesn't tend to excite the libido in my experience), get a vibrator. There are millions out there on the market and I'm sure you can find one to suit your taste and budget.
3. Look at this as a beginning, not an ending. Is there anything you've always wanted to do? Join the circus? Skydive? Paint your kitchen? Now's the time, kiddo. While in the grand scheme of things your achievements may seem small, each new challenge met, each fear conquered and each small flake of confidence will compound -- before you know it, you'll be feeling stronger and more confident. I promise.
4. Do something for someone else. In this fucked up world, there is misery everywhere and loads of people who could use your help. (I can hear my mother already: "Don't say "fuck" dear, it isn't nice.") Take yourself out of your own head and look beyond your own pain. You will make some new friends and as an added bonus, you'll develop a wonderful new skill: empathy. I have no idea if you subscribe to any sort of religion and I'm certainly not advocating that you shift responsibility for your happiness to some Being in the wild blue yonder (I'm going to have to do an extra 400 Hail Marys in penance for that one), but consider this: in my humble opinion, if God exists, s/he is manifested through the connections we make with others, through the sparks of common humanity that can be found in the eyes of the person next to you on the subway. Scratch the surface. Share a smile. Find delight in small things -- the daffodils are blooming. Consider what a miracle that it is, especially after a Canadian winter.
5. Take the high road. Just because your dearly departed is being an asshole doesn't mean that you have to sink to his level. And it doesn't matter if nobody in the whole world knows you're being noble and mature. As long as you do. Spite and malevolence corrode any vessel they reside in, and I think you're better than that. There's nothing wrong with righteous anger but take it out on the weights at the gym. Think about constructive ways to release it. Use your head, not your neighbours.
6. Talk to your mother and your girlfriends. Your mom especially. She's been there, hard as that may be to imagine. And she loves you -- while she may not "understand", she'll always be on your side.
Be good to yourself. Have a good cry if you need to. Strength isn't gained by never falling down, but by having the courage to dust yourself off again and get on with things. It certainly cannot be had at the cost of diminishing someone else.
Good luck, girl. You know where to find us.
Till next time,