Sunday, January 18, 2009


There's an expression, "mad money," used to describe money you earmark to go wild with every so often. I've given myself $15 every two weeks to do this, and thus the clothes I bought yesterday when I was paid. The pants are coming out of the last remaining money from the job I lost at the end of December. I tell myself, I tell you, that this is it, yet how can I be sure? Especially when I saw what I call a beautiful "date dress" to wear out on dates in the spring. Maybe I can do that. It's too cold now to want to travel in this frightful weather.

A co-worker years ago gave me a Laundry spaghetti-strap dress that a friend had given her and when she tried it on, it didn't fit, so she gave it to me. It needs to be taken in under the armholes, so I do that tomorrow when I take the pants to be hemmed. The dress is black wool with an embroidered design and fits beautifully, is elegant enough to wear to a book signing [hopefully my own] or gallery showing.

Next Saturday I risk showing the landlord the peeling paint and asking her to repair the ceiling so I can paint the living room. The sooner I can paint it, the better. Because I want to host my own birthday party in April, and I'd like to have the Tiffany blue walls by then. I'll invite a crowd that can spill into the dining room. Maybe Mom can cater it, I'll see.

Remember how just three or four entries ago I wrote that sometimes the detours are necessary? How prescient that was it appears now. I've decided I'm going to roll with it, rock-and-roll with life. So I want to have the party dress on hand, ready to slip into at a moment's notice.

Yet the idea that a person can be in control at all times is flawed. We do the best we can. I would rather talk with a friend at a coffeehouse than schmooze at a cocktail party, even though I'm a Classic. I'm not into that whole deal-making ethic, the "corner office, I've arrived" kind of mentality.

The idea of singing my own song appeals to me because I fought for the right to be free. The Judy Mowatt song, "Sing Our Own Song" was my anthem in the 1980s even though it referred to South Africa.

Ah, pinstripes. I have a pair of brown pinstripe pants that I wear in the fall and winter. That's a creative twist on the pinstripe suit I wore to the interview that got me the job at the law firm. I'm of a different stripe, always have been. Even today I muse on the idea that music energizes me, cheers me, and I could listen to iTunes radio for two hours. Because I can't live without music.

It also helps me cope with the blues, uplifts me in this review period. I like the image of designating an "off-season" shelf in a closet for our feelings we need to let go of to make room for new ones. A new image I use along with the apothecary chest where I place each feeling in a separate drawer. To visualize this enables me to let go and let life. It's not so overwhelming after all. Everyone has feelings. In Mercury retrograde, I've revisited things and today I placed the feelings on the off-season shelf.

That's as far as I'll go without talking about what I actually felt, as that belongs in a therapist's room. Understand that things like fashion and music and keeping a journal are coping techniques, as well as creative visualization, which works wonders.

Friendships help, too. Today I met the others at the Spanish restaurant for lunch. I nearly fell asleep in the cafe afterward, so decided to come home instead of going to the theater. You do what you can.

Eddie, Ana and the others are my good friends. The diagnosis was the ice breaker, and after that, it was their personalities that hooked me. They're good people. We spoke of how others are snooty, won't even say hello to you. Some of us were abandoned by our friends after we got sick. I pretty much go my own way and as the song goes, "get by with a little help from my friends." [My chemical friends, too.]

I'm a reverse snob who doesn't expect so-called normals to understand, the people who covet living a straight-and-narrow life yet ironically pigeonhole those of us who do our own thing. We're not this indistinguishable blob. Each of us has her own quirks and traits and feelings and life experiences that make her who she is.

The revolution will be televised if I have my way. My memoir, Left of the Dial, will be published in due season. The waiting is the hardest part, yet I'll gladly wait for that day. It is something I quietly work about going towards.

I want to help others find their voices. Hopefully my memoir will inspire others to come out of the closet, take their advocacy on the road, so to speak. I consider my role in this lifetime to educate others about what it's like to live with SZ.

This is it, folks, this is all I have to give you: one woman's life, on display like fine china.

The table is set and dinner's at eight.

No comments: