Woke up today with another hangover. Truth be told hangover doesn’t really do it justice. If I have to call it a hangover then you’re going to have to imagine that I’m dangling halfway down the Eiffel Tower held in precarious position by a thin cord of Silly Putty wrapped around my left ankle. Going on three hardcore days of the hangin over and the putty string is stretching so thin that I thought it imperative to have a mental health day.
Melanie’s mental health day consists of comfort food, candles, my bed, Van Morrison, and the second and third seasons of Sex & the City on DVD. (For future reference in all blogging done by me I do nothing in moderation. Food, alcohol, smoking, twelve hours of Carrie and the girls, even masturbation. To say I’m an extremist is to say hangover rather than dangling by silly putty.) With those things in my muddled mind I head to the market on West 9th to visit my friend Costas who hooks me up with the best cuts of roast beast in the city. This man is my comfort food savior. They don’t sell roast beef on the shelves of Constantino’s Market, but I ask with my pleading bloodshot eyes and he kindly goes to the cooler and cuts a slab right off of the cow, or so I imagine. He also brings me a baggy filled with a smear of tomato paste, a few bay leaves, a stalk of celery, a couple sprigs of thyme, and instructs me on how to prepare the beast. I leave with said heifer and sixty-four dollars and some odd cents worth of comfort.
One stop on my way home with the plastic sacks o’ solace for two packs of smokes (hoping that will be enough) and I remember Costas told me to tie this particular cut with string. MacGyver meets Betty Ford at this juncture while working on the simmer. I open the bottle of Merlot and decide it’s time to develop a taste for wine because the recipe only calls for one cup which leaves a lot in the bottle. Mr. Morrison starts crooning on my shuffled playlist and it just seems the right thing to do, though I’ve never tried a wine I’ve liked throughout the whole of Europe. Betty Ford carries her bitter glass of vino around the apartment looking for string and recalls that she once bought a kite to fly drunk in a lightening storm. A sort of Ben Franklin experiment gone awry. Betty Ford, holding kite string, meet MacGyver.
After some extremely clever handiwork, a glass and a half of the red, and my dinner in the oven, I was feeling like a most brilliant chef and most skilled craftsman until I realized that if I were watching my friend decide in an afternoon to force an acquired taste, to eat for twelve hours, and to wallow prone on her eleven hundred dollar mattress on Labor Day alone I would be pounding on her door forcing Milk Thistle down her throat in a vain attempt to resuscitate her curdled liver. This caused me to further reflect: Why is it that we treat ourselves, and allow others to treat us, with so much disrespect when we never would allow that for our friends, our families?
I’ve had a golden rule for years that I do three nice things for myself every day. Sort of an “Invent Yourself meets Love Yourself”. Once upon a very-long-time-ago I used this gold star system to give myself kudos for a two hour workout, for writing three hours a day, for meditating. Now my stars shine dimly next to things like this:
Friday, September 2nd
- Remembered to eat twice
- Masturbated five times
What’s more disturbing is that I actually include masturbation as a nice thing to do for myself when I would have already done it anyway. It’s like making a to-do list and listing things you’ve already done just so you have a few check marks and you don’t feel so daunted by said list.
Saturday, September 3rd
- Drank Smoothie
- Used the stairs rather than the elevator
- Masterbated four times
With all of these addled thought processes trudging through my fog I recall that I wrote a letter to my best friend last night inspired by the quote that taunts me from my desk every day, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Don’t think I ever planned to give it to him, frankly surprised I remembered that I wrote it. Sort of a free flow regurgitation meets blank page after fourteen shots of vodka and a Budweiser, but I pour another snifter of the vile and decide to see if there’s any steeped wisdom on the page.
I find that there is indeed and apparently I felt so brilliant that I repeated the same things over and over and over… well, that was the vodka. You have to know my friend. He’s smart, he’s sexy, and he’s one of the best fathers I’ve ever met. He’s a talented musician with a dry wit and a suit and tie charisma that attracts. But like most of us he doesn’t realize it. Or… at least doesn’t feel deserving of what comes when you are that person because he’s on a sort of toxic roller coaster relationship ride. Like one of those coasters built out of wood in the sixties. Maintenance has been sporadic and left for far too long but the ride is familiar and with familiarity comes comfort and the memory that it used to be a good ride, despite what it might be now. Visions of cotton candy, carousels painted brightly in red, blue and yellow, the ride smooth, the equipment well-oiled. (I’ve often pondered why memories are usually sorted through and how only the good ones are retained regarding relationships but think that might be saved for another time, another bottle.)
So imagine that your best friend comes to you upset, again, about the sadistic relationship they have resided in for the past three, four, five years. You try to give advice again, you work to console again, you call your friend’s significant other foul, or any other word that might act as a temporary band-aid for said friend’s psyche. You have full reign at that moment to do so because they’re upset with that person. You know what’s good for your friend, you want for them all that they want, utmost happiness, health, prosperity in all aspects of their lives. So why don’t we believe we deserve this for ourselves? Why is it that I freak on a friend who’s letting themselves be shite upon but when it’s happening to me I push it aside, I make excuses for it, I explain it away.
This got me thinking on an even deeper level and it hurt. What if it were my child in this current situation? The one who innocently looks up and asks, with whole sincerity, “Does Jesus pee?” Not having a child I can only imagine the depths of which we wish, hope, pray that their lives turn out perfectly. Void of heartache, pain, suffering, a scraped knee. Can you imagine standing by and watching your child in a poisonous relationship like the ones we inhabit. The innocence and beauty of a child who loves herself, unconditionally. Who knows what she wants and how she wants to be treated. When she wants to cuddle she demands it. When she needs her alone time she takes it. Where does this go? Does it change when she refuses the broccoli and we make her eat it?
Where’s the transition to not feeling that you deserve all that you want, all that you deserve as a good human being? Where’s the self-love? At what point do we settle for, “sometimes he’s good to me” or, “once in awhile she’s just with me?” I’m going to return to the pre-schoolyard mentality in my relationships. Frankie throws dirt and I stalk away with pudgy arms folded telling him I won’t be his friend cuz he’s mean and I just stop, cold turkey, being his friend. I don’t need Frankie, or his dirt. I’m going to hang with Billy who holds my hand and helps me up when I’ve skidded in the gravel. Jane who tells me I’m smart and trades one of her cupcakes for my granola mix. I’m going to work on my gold-star system and I’m going to spend more of my precious time contemplating the important things, like whether the savior urinates.