Saturday, July 22, 2006

sleepless in tacoma

1. the 98 percent

Travel is healthy, right? Expands your horizons and all that? Helps you discover who you are?

Apparently who I am is a neurotic mess, although honestly I didn’t need to go to Seattle to figure that out. Maybe I did, though, because in LA I’d been coasting as of late, enjoying my life, my lady, and the thought of having an extra $75 a week when I quit therapy, which I’m planning to do…any…minute…now.

Seattle was 98 percent lovely, as was Tacoma, where I spent the weekend with the perennially awesome Daisye. We indulged in such Western Washington activities as rummaging through antique stores, eating farmer’s market raspberries and shopping for custom-blended hand lotion. I got to meet Laura, Daisye’s new love, who is ideal for Daisye because (besides being really nice, funny, engaged and engaging) she A) is into rummaging through antique stores, B) likes wearing jewelry (Daisye likes making jewelry) and C) sees ghosts, which is just fucking cool.

2. the two percent

Yet for some reason, along about Saturday night, my brain decided to take a little vacation from my vacation. It was as if my brain said, “This is just too pleasant. We need something to stress about!” So it decided to snag on the fact that I hadn’t heard from AK for like five whole minutes which must mean that A) she was lying in a ditch or B) she was no longer interested in me, since I wasn’t there in person to smother her with kisses and regale her with fascinating tales of the nonprofit arts sector.

Actually, my brain did not say, “We need something to stress about.” I know exactly what it said, thanks to a couple of years of the aforementioned expensive therapy. It said, “Remember how your last relationship ended following a prolonged period of travel on B’s part? And how even though that’s not really why it ended, the extended absence wasn’t entirely unrelated either? Oh, and remember how you tend to think, in general, that you’re only as good as your last thoughtful gesture? Well, Cheryl, that’s all gonna add up to a new little phobia for you. Have fun!”

So there I was, wide awake in Daisye’s dark, beautiful, probably haunted apartment, already mourning my good times with AK, even as I rolled my eyes at myself. I probably could have left it at that and just willed myself to sleep (I am really good at sleeping), but I decided that if I’m going to quit therapy, I need to take advantage of free substitute therapists wherever I can, and I knew from past heart-to-hearts that Daisye was a pro.

“So, um, I’m realizing that I have some serious post-B anxiety about being apart and disconnecting from the person I’m with,” I said.

Daisye jumped right in. “That’s completely understandable. And I would imagine that you also have some anxiety about loss that relates to your mom’s death.”

Yeah, she’s good. She’s actually in therapy herself because she has a tendency to set aside her own needs so that she can play therapist to everyone around her. She’s getting over it, but, fortunately for me, old habits die hard.

She’s not a bad psychiatrist either—she prescribed some homeopathic stress drops that took miraculous effect at the exact moment when AK sent me a really sweet text message.

3. the mercy of the easily stressed-out

Dar Williams has this beautiful song called “Mercy of the Fallen” that includes the lyrics:

If your sister or your brother were stumbling on their last mile, In self-inflicted exile,
You’d hope they’d meet a humble friend. And I hope someday That the best of Falstaff’s planners
Give me seven half-built manors, Where half-dreams may dream without end.

There’s the wind and the rain, and the mercy of the fallen,
Who say they have no claim to know what’s right.
There’s the weak and the strong and the many stars that guide us. We have some of them inside us.

Which is way more deep and wonderful than the meaning I’m taking from it right now, which is: Don’t get all sneery at those “Oh no, he didn’t call” girls because, guess what, you’re one of ‘em (and worse, because he—meaning she—did call).

I’m appreciating the mercy and active listening skills of others, and trying to be merciful to my own fallen self and neurotic girls everywhere. Thanks, Dar. Thanks, Daisye. Thanks, SeƱor Freud (as AK calls him).

P.S. I’m thinking of changing AK’s blog-name to “De Mille.” When I look at “AK” on the page, I’m like, “Is that ‘ack’ or ‘ay-kay’?” and I don’t handle ambiguity well (see much-aforementioned therapy). What do you think? AK or De Mille, as in Cecil B.?


Tracy Lynn said...

Ahhhhhhh yes, the thinking. Amazing that something so useful can turn on you so badly.

I like AK. Stop fucking with stuff that doesn't need to be fucked with. Silly. :-)

Cheryl said...

You are wise, Tracy. That's why there's no "Ask Cheryl" column.

ER said...

Don't sweat the small shit! When you find the person you're really supposed to be with, you'll be amazed at how little you'll think of ditches and picking out new nicknames......

ER said...

Oh my, that came across totally wrong...What I meant is that I agree with Tracy Lynn--don't fuck with stuff that doesn't need to be fucked with. Sorry C!!!!!

Cheryl said...

I know, I know--it's nice that you all agree with my rational mind instead of my irrational one. And although this particular post would not imply it, the ditches-to-nice-happy-thoughts ratio has been pretty good overall.

Anonymous said...

Stress is an ignorant state. Nothing is that important; just lie down.
--Natalie Goldberg

Cheryl said...

Maybe there should be an "Ask Natalie Goldberg" column too.

erin said...

funny... i was listening to mercy of the fallen on my very hot drive home today. that dar... she's got the gift for words. much like our bloggity hostess. sorry we missed your trip to sf... next time, yes, bring your laundry.

Claire said...

I always read it as the individual letters A, K, which I like, so I'm with the rest on leaving it.

As for the rest, I really like this post... not quite sure what, it's pleasant rambling nature perhaps. Not rambling in a bad way, mind you, a nice flow to ideas. And I like that Daisye has an 'e' on the end.

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Claire. I like a good ramble, so I'm happy that you're up for rambling with me.