So, you have found my “secret” online diary.


What tipped you off that this is really me?


Is it my idiosyncratic, slightly pedantic syntax?


Or just that fact that it’s obviously me?


Some of the things herein were obviously written under the influence of prescription medication which has all been metabolized and excreted.  I could tell you the very minute that the last molecule of valium left my body, my soul, my mind.


Some of the things that I wrote are barely recognizable to me as mine.  It is as though they were written by not-me, by another me.  Jack said it was me but “a heightened version of yourself,” which is considerably less scary.  I just feel like I lost several weeks, but I am glad that it all happened.  (“Why?” is another post for another day.)


I wrote earlier about Eminem and how he overcame his addiction to Vicodin.  When I initially torqued my spine and pelvis a month ago, I refused narcs, remembering how hard it was to wean off the stuff.  Then I got the script from my PCP, realizing that I really did need it.  Then I was obstinate about refilling it, and went through a difficult, painful weekend…got the refill…and watching the number of white oblong magic pills decrease (slowly, with wise, judicious use)  is giving me a weird feeling.  I don’t watch the clock anymore- but I still need them in the morning to get moving, and before PT (my PT is awesome.  Although I shocked her today by asking if it was ok to resume sex again.  Did I mention I torqued my pelvis?)   She did say that continuing to play the bass will be no problem, but she didn’t directly answer the sex question.  Hmmm.  (Don’t worry about Jack.  I take good care of my man.  I am a creative girl.)


So I am hoping this is the last bottle.  But man, if I could be on valium forever, now that would be something.  What if I just get a valium tat?  It will always be on my body then.  Would that, like, work?  What if the ink were made of slow-release valium?  Hmmm… now there is a thought.  That’s an even better idea than white-ink tattoos for black people.

I realized that my valium (which I need to function because of ongoing muscle spasms) is the exact same color as the Statue of Liberty.  It gives me freedom.  It keeps me from being stiff like a statue.


I love symbolism. 


I also love life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and valium- and all that Lady Liberty represents- give me these.

How do  cats know when we need them most?

Somehow they just know.


The other day, I was in the bathroom- without my phone, of course- as I had just awoken from a much-needed nap.  I did not know whether or not Jack was home.  My back started to spasm something horrible and I could feel that it just might become the intolerable, devastating pain that I have had in the past.  I hollered for Jack to no avail, since he was indeed not home.  Sheba came running, bless her kitty heart, and started rubbing, rubbing, rubbing on my legs, and somehow, her calming presence and furry massage allowed the muscle spasm to abate enough that I could get back into the bed and get some valium and my cell phone.


I was unable to clean the litter boxes for about two weeks.  Sheba and Marilyn seemed to understand.  Marilyn has had some “issues” with thinking outside the box, so to speak, in the past, but she was perfect.  Like I said, somehow they knew.  They looked at me funny when I kind of dumped the catfood into just one dish from waist-high (the best I could manage) at first, like, “Um. Mom, that’s not how you feed us.”  But they got used to it.  They learned to eat out of only one dish- a good lesson for both.


Some people say (Jack too) that animals do not “love” us, that they only have some kind of rudimentary enlightened self-interest: that is, they know who fills the dishes with kibble.  But this has not been my experience. 


Even my neurotic first cat, M, with whom I never really bonded, knew when I was sad and would comfort me.  One time I was  deeply devastated over a lost love (some loser boy) and cried and cried, inconsolable.  M came to my bed, lay by my pillow, and allowed his fur to absorb each hot salty tear.   (M was a strange one.  He was very jealous of Jack: when we got married and finally moved in together, M showed his displeasure by pooping under my pillow- clever!- and  I could not find it.  I searched everywhere.  I had to sleep like that.  This is a gross story, I know, and I talk about poop way too much, but M had this jealous love.  He did not want to share me.  He loved me.)


All of my fur babies have been rescues in some form or another: M came from a co-worker who asked me to cat-sit and then said she didn’t want him back; Sheba came from down south with five kittens in tow, and Marilyn had had so many homes and been in the shelter twice and a foster home as well (she’s only about four years old, give or take).  Maybe that is why they truly do love me, and show it in strange ways.  They know that I, like the Statue of Liberty, welcome the huddled masses of fur yearning to breathe free…

send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me…” 


Like I said, somehow, even though I never got that cat translation dictionary, somehow they just know.

I had the best visit to the dentist EVER yesterday.  I had taken a valium beforehand- for muscle spasm, mind you, not anxiety- I am not afraid of the dentist.  In fact, I rather enjoy going.  Since almost all my teeth already have fillings, there’s rarely any more bad news.


Anyway, they put me back in this wonderfully comfy chair and it was just like being asleep with my mouth open, except I started having these really awesome hallucinations!  (They were not dreams.  These drugs put me into the deepest of dreamless sleeps.)  There was an Asian girl standing in front of me, wearing the cutest t-shirt ever.  There were little brown snippets of hair all over the place like when I cut Jack’s hair (this didn’t gross me out.  It was just weird, and I like weird; this was a tactile hallucination, which is pretty cool!).   Then Sheba was standing on my right shoulder, with her nose by my ear (so comforting).  Then it was over.  They (back to boring reality here) told me my teeth look great despite two weeks of subsisting on the stale, sticky Nutri-Grain cereal bars (strawberry) that I had bought in an institutional-size box at Big Lots, and decided to hate halfway through.  (I hadn’t even been able to give them away at work.  Who turns down free food?)


Nothing like that has happened to me since I saw Bert and Ernie doing the jitterbug on a Greyhound bus at 3am- and that is why I never take Benedryl anymore.  I didn’t even trip when someone (surreptitiously) put a little paper square in my Mountain Dew at one long-ago summer music festival.  Bummer, hey?


(I feel like I need to add a “don’t try this at home” disclaimer: I seem to remember an old movie- I saw it in Spanish (El Dentiste) but I don’t remember if it was dubbed or really in Spanish or what.  It was about this evil dentist that gave women too much anesthesia and…well…bad things happened. ) I told you I have the gift of extra angelic protections, and also just a really great dentist, so just…I’ll leave it at that.

Saturday was the first day in two weeks that I spent any amount of time functional and upright. There were two music events that I really wanted to catch, knowing that they would lift my spirits and require little physical exertion. Going to both was the right choice. It was a tiring evening, but so worth it.

The first was a Gospel music event held at one of the many churches I used to attend. Three groups “performed” (although I hate that word when it comes to praise music; it has such an egotistical connotation). It was powerful. I wept. I knew so many of the people there- and had to explain my injury and my cane about 30 times, but it gave me an excuse to say “No hugs!” (lest I break into vicious muscle spasm!) I tried to sing along to the songs that were so familiar to me, and choked up every time. Eventually, I realized (now, this concert was at the church where the pastor had told me that I was having a pity party)- that I was, indeed, at that very moment in time, having my very own pity party. It was a humbling moment. He may have hurt my feelings then- and definitely did not help me spiritually at that previous vulnerable moment- but sometimes words have a way of showing their meaning at a much later- and more appropriate- time.

Please do keep in mind that at that point I had been out of commission for two weeks that included my birthday. I had managed a calm optimism and problem-solving skills, and actually enjoyed the freedom to write things with the disinhibition that only valium can provide- but the day before this concert, I just finally broke. I melted down completely, having hit the limit of what I could bear. The previous afternoon my old suicidal ideations had came back with a vengeance. Being currently physically incapable of my standby “plan and means,” I started to look with different intent at my three pill bottles, so handy, so full, such a perfect handful. But how would I get myself into my Marilyn Monroe gown, so that I could shit all over it, in a perfect final “F**k You!” (Elastic waist pants and a t-shirt- the same ones for days and days and days (some days unable to even get that on)- then suddenly the formal gown that I was saving for Russ Feingold’s big Inaugural Ball when he finally gets elected President? That certainly would look suspicious… besides, I’d like to be an organ donor when the time comes.

But something happened at the gospel music festival. There was such power in the words- in the music- such faith emanating from the singers; it was palpable, electric. I am getting teary-eyed again just writing this. Such love and care from all the diverse and wonderful people I’ve worshipped with over the years-– some who have had it way worse than I have, coupled with amazing worship music- brought me out of the pity party, into the real party: the party everyone there was planning for, the one with trumpets and angels and Christ’s triumphant return.

After I got in a needed a couple-hour nap, Jack joined me for the always-amazing (and full of existential angst himself) Mark Mallman. The sound in the club was terrible, but the performance was energetic and just…amazing. I spoke with him at the merch table- he was selling his own merch and being friendly to each and every fan who came out. He is one of the musician I aspire to be like. He sings from the heart: from brutal honesty, from pain, from joy- from real life.

Today a dear longime friend called, encouraging me to seek some professional help (not from professional musicians; although as stated above, that is excellent therapy as well) and we had one of the best conversations possible: she showed me the angry love that I needed to hear. She shared her gift of self. She shared her personal trials and listened to mine- she showed me how God couldmaybe- just maybe- be using me for something bigger than myself. I have some ideas. I have some new plans- not to off myself- but for a new project or two that’s been percolating in my brain for months, and suddenly taking on a form, a shape, and a whole new life.


Stay tuned.

Time has become such a different substance for me these days- the age-old question of whether time is a wave or a particle seems silly to me now- it is obviously a substance.  A thick, sticky, viscous substance, flowing slowly like mucilage from a brown glass jar, catching unsuspecting valium-takers, and slowly thickening around them until…