It was one of those nights where I was so sad, I just couldn’t sleep. I tried, but it was impossible. Nothing was helping quiet my mind. I Facebook-stalked everyone I could think of; I repeatedly refreshed what was trending on Twitter. To top it off, the wind outside was making me think someone was lurking about, just waiting to pounce. I watched the shadows move outside the window. I watched the cats watch the shadows move outside the window, convinced they saw something I didn’t, and by the time I’d see what they were seeing, it’d be too late. When the authorities found me inevitably mutilated on top of what would most certainly be a misunderstood pile on my bedroom floor — my phone clutched tightly in my rigor-mortis hand — they’d realize why I didn’t have the chance to call 911: because I was too busy reading people’s tweets about hashtag something-or-other to prepare myself for a possible home invasion. Then they’d deduce, and rightfully so, that I wasn’t even the type of person who ever really cared about hashtag something-or-other, and then they’d shake their heads, shaming my poor decision of putting my personal safety at risk simply to be a social media spectator. Then the news would pick up the story, and that would forever be my embarrassing legacy.
Obviously, my insomniac-inducing sadness had given way to paranoia, which had given way to fear. I acknowledged this on my sixth trip to check the front door while I walked back and forth, back and forth in front of the kitchen window to convince myself that the shadowy person-like shape I kept seeing move in the reflection of the microwave was, in fact, me.
My heart felt like it was going to jump right out of my chest.
Just then, I heard a loud thud coming from the bathroom. Oh great, now the cat has somehow scaled up the wall like some sort of spiderman to get to those free plants I brought home that originated from the Philippines that are most likely not only highly toxic to cats in and of themselves, but even more highly toxic to cats because of some exotic, feline-specific disease on their leaves, or on that water-retaining gel in the bottom of their containers. Oh great, now the cat’s going to get sick, and then when I rush her to the emergency animal hospital, I’m going to infect the entire staff with some yet-to-be-discovered pandemic plague from these plants I just had to bring home even though, deep down inside, I already knew I wasn’t going to have the energy or follow-through to take care of.
I checked the bathroom. The cat hadn’t scaled the wall like some sort spiderman. The plants were intact. OK, that’s something. I told myself to breathe. I laid back in bed. I thought horrible thought after horrible thought after horrible thought and knocked on the top of my bedside table in my normal OC pattern to ward off the manifestation of those horrible thoughts. Then I realized I was knocking on a different part of the bedside table than I normally knock because I didn’t want to move too much for fear that the soon-to-be intruder hiding in the shadows outside my window would see me. So then I had to knock in the normal place to counteract the knocking in the non-normal place, and then I had to knock some more to counteract the knocking for something other than the original horrible thoughts, and then I realized I was thinking too much about the thoughts and not enough about the knocking, and I couldn’t be sure what knock I was on, so I had to start over and knock to counteract my non-focused knocking, and when my knuckles began to throb, I pulled myself together and turned on the light.
Obviously, my fear had given way to guilt, which had given way to anxiety. Now all I wanted to do was get back to that simple sadness which had started this whole mess in the first place. Typical me, trying to outrun my emotions by moving my thoughts in my mind or my fingers on my phone or my feet on the tile . . . My neck started to get so tense from my frustration with myself that I started to hope that someone actually would bust inside my house, and then maybe I could convince them to just give me a quick neck and shoulder rub to calm me down for a moment before they brutally did away with me. Then I started thinking about how long it had been since someone had touched me in a nice way, an intimate way, in a stress-relieving way. I thought about the hands that had touched me like that in the past and started wondering what those hands were doing now, and whose stress they might be relieving, and even though these thoughts were still a distraction from the true cause of the depression with which I started, they brought me back to that lying-in-bed-but-I-still-can’t-sleep-because-I’m-just-so-sad-inside insomnia I began with more than five hours ago. This was somehow comforting. I breathed.
I picked up my phone. I was just about to start internet-stalking people I thought may possibly be on the receiving end of those aforementioned hands, when I had a moment of maturity, clarity: The only person who had the power to make myself feel better was me. I had a wealth of knowledge literally at the tips of my fingers on my phone. Rather than use it to torture myself further, why not use it to discover some techniques to pull myself out of my sadness? After all, what harm could it do? So I googled and quickly found myself reading a WikiHow article: 5 Ways to Overcome Sadness.
Sweet. Five was on OK number, an odd number. I could deal with that, especially if I approached the number like I do the volume numbers on the car stereo.
Step #1 - Cry.
OK, this seemed simple enough. I tried. Nothing came. I tried a little harder -- still nothing. I was just going to give it another try even though I was worried I might bust some capillaries in my face from the pressure when I suddenly had the brilliant idea that I could chop some onions to make the tears come. Then I realized I didn't have any onions; I couldn't even remember the last time I went to the grocery store. I did have some dried onions, but I actually used the last of them up that very night making some lentils. I did, however, shake the jar a little wildly, and some of the dried onions spilled out onto the counter and the floor. I cleaned them up, but it wasn't like I gave the cleaning 110%, maybe a good 67%, so there was bound to be some dried onion pieces lying about the kitchen still. I started thinking I could get out of bed and go out there and find the dried onion pieces and shove them into the corner of my eyes, directly into my tear ducts, and the gooey-ness of my eyes would rehydrate the onions, and I'd be crying in no time!
Just as I was about to try and move out from under the covers, I read a little further. WikiHow told me not to force myself to cry if I couldn't, that in fact, crying because I felt obligated may even hinder my recovery. Well, gee, thanks WikiHow; maybe you could have put that oh-so-important piece of information upfront so people don't shove dirty, cat-hair-covered pieces of dried onions into their eyeballs.
Step #2 - Exercise
Yes, exercise! Of course; why didn't I think of this? You know what they say: A body in motion doesn't think of inevitable, impending doom. I had the perfect workout partner too . . .
I had picked up this sweet gem at the thrift store not long ago, and now was the perfect time to use it. Man, I was actually starting to feel better already, and even more exciting, I was actually looking forward to something. I couldn't even remember the last time I had that feeling. I was just about to bound out of my bed like a princess in a Disney movie who knew her entire life was waiting for her just outside her door, when I remembered the tape deck on my boombox recently broke.
I've had that boombox almost my entire life too. It could possibly be considered my longest relationship. This realization threw me into a complex, multi-layered sadness that made me put my phone down on the bed beside me and turn my back to it, like it was a lover, and we were in a fight. After awhile, I realized I was being immature, and I turned back to the phone to read some more and see if I could find a way to feel better before I had to start getting ready for work.
Step #3 - Smile
Smile? That kind of sounds stupid. And like the whole crying thing. In fact, I'm a little fearful of smiling too much and not in the right moments. I don't want to look like I've completely lost my mind -- just some woman lying alone in her twin bed with her two cats, smiling at the ceiling fan for no reason. Then again, smiling is probably good for the facial muscles to help keep the skin's elasticity, or it's bad for you because it stretches and wrinkles the face. Shit, which one was it? Well, regardless, I didn't feel much like smiling either way when I realized I could just tape my face into the shape of a smile, so it would stay like that on its own without any effort on my part. I metaphorically patted myself on the back for that great idea. It would be like muscle memory. My face would just learn to instinctually smile on a regular basis because it was used to it, kind of like how my hand used to know the exact distance in the dark from the doorway to the light in an old lover's house. Remember that, Ronnie? That was muscle memory. The distance to the light thing, not the love. Remember love, Ronnie? Huh? Remember it? Huh?? Huh???
Step #4 - Listen to Music
According to WikiHow, there's such a thing as the British Academy of Sound Therapy, and they have a playlist of the world's most relaxing music. I didn't see the Cure listed on there anywhere, but they did have Coldplay. I had a Coldplay CD somewhere, but I decided against listening to them because of the whole Superbowl thing. That whole Superbowl thing is a bit too emotionally complex for me, and I didn't want to add that into the mix. I browsed further -- Enya. I actually like Enya. I even had one of their tapes. Perfect! I can just . . .
Step #5 - Take a Warm Bath or Shower
I stayed there thinking how nice it would be to take a nice, warm bath, but I didn't have a bathtub. I did, however, have a big, blue Rubbermaid tub that I used to store the extra bags of cat food. I thought that I could empty out the cat food and use that like a bathtub. Why not? It always did hold the scent of the cat food though, so I would probably have to wash it really good first. And then maybe I wouldn't be able to get all the scent out, and then it would stick to my skin. And then people at work would be like, why does this chick smell like cat food? And then the neighborhood feral cats would flock to me even more than they already do, and I'm just in no position -- obviously -- to take on any more cats right now, which is really sad because there are so many poor, little cats needing homes. The whole thing is just so sad. Man, the world is just so, so, so sad. I'm so fucking sad, and I have to get up for work eventually.
I looked at the clock.
Shit, I only had a couple of hours left to get some sleep before work. Work.
I wish I didn't have to go to work. It just stresses me out and makes me sad. I started thinking, you know what, if I didn't have to go to work, I'd feel way better.
Wait . . .
If I didn't have to go to work, I would feel better. I wouldn't be so sad or stressed. It's not like I have to work where I work. I am allowed to quit my job. I can do whatever I want. It's my life.
And with those realizations, like magic, my sadness and anxiety drifted away. I had finally figured it all out. On my own.
I was just about to drift off to a nice sleep when I decided to pick up the phone again and -- real quick -- google that health symptom I'd been meaning to google for awhile, you know, just to clear my head completely before I went to sleep.
OK, cool, it could be nothing at all . . .
Or it could be terminal.
And not just terminal, but terminal and extremely expensive. Fucking great! Now I can't quit my job because I'm going to need my health insurance and my income. I'm going to have to stay there indefinitely, no matter how miserable I am, so I can afford my obvious, terrible, terminal disease.
Then I heard something outside. Oh shit, what was that? The cats obviously heard it too. And they see something; they're both staring out the window. Fuck. I hear the police chopper too. They're obviously looking for whoever's outside my window. Should I turn off the light? What am I supposed to do??
*knock on wood, knock on wood, knock on wood . . . *
Recently, I did a show up in Flagstaff, home to Northern Arizona University. I started my undergraduate studies there the year most of the kids attending the show had just learned not to piss all over their miniature, orange, plastic grade-school chairs. I loved Flagstaff, still do. It was chill, mellow, the perfect place to just go wander out in nature to hike, study, meditate, or possibly collect mushrooms of the mildly psychedelic persuasion. I'll tell you, there's nothing like cruising through the Ponderosa forest in a Geo Metro stacked ceiling high with cow pies while blaring happy hardcore musing with your friends that the worst part about getting in an accident in this situation wouldn't be the fact that you might die immediately with your face in bovine shit, but the possibility that you might not die immediately, and you'd have to lay there during your final breaths doing all your final-breaths thinking while that tape dubbed from a DJ Frisky dance party in a Buffalo warehouse pumped away in the background. Don't get me wrong, we all LOVED that tape -- so much so that we had rotating, coordinated custody -- but it probably wouldn't have been the most peaceful way to die.
In case you're wondering, yes, this is one of my absolute favorite tracks of all time, and also, yes, my resting heart rate was a consistent and calm 99 beats per minute during this phase of my life. Add the anxiety I often had over my love life and the heart palpitations I experienced whenever meeting someone new due to my PTSD about trusting other human beings, and I could push it to a nice cardio 140, 145. Who needed the gym? Add dancing non-stop for 6-8 hours in the middle of a cinder cone volcano, desert, or a crowded Walgreen's and voila! It's like I hit the stair-stepper 7 days a week. In fact, I've just spent so much time this morning on YouTube going down memory lane with this music, that I think I've counteracted all the junk food binging I did this week.
It's a happy hardcore miracle!!
True, this music is certainly an acquired taste, but it's not like I only listened to happy hardcore; I loved all electronica. My sometimes-boyfriend at the time was a classical guitarist, so my love for this type of music used to get his goat like nothing else, as did my dancing in what he deemed barely any clothes. Buuut, he did appreciate my Rainbow Brite costume in ways only he ever could, and we both kinda had this weird thing for Elmo, so it wasn't always so bad.
I remember even wearing this costume to one of my NAU poetry classes when I presented a compilation of writing on the theme of growing up and time (yes, I've been worrying about time since I wish I wouldn't have been worrying about time). I even resurrected it recently for a comedy show when I graced the stage as Rainbow Dim, Rainbow Brite decades after the world was no longer just rainbows and stars. She even had a house-arrest anklet, an illegitimate child, and a paper-bag 40. Needless to say, this costume is an integral piece of my being.
But I digress . . .
I was recently in Flagstaff for a show, and I was like the oldest person there. It was cute to hear the comics just out of college complain about their seniority. Of course, I imagine that's how people my age used to feel about me when I was their age and complaining about being old, or how people now who are older than me hear me complaining about how I'm so old. It's just what we do, I suppose, and since I can recognize it, I also suppose I should try and fall deep into the moment where I am and live, live, live without the notion that I'm too old to do so, but that'd be far too emotionally and spiritually mature for my Thursday, especially after reminiscing about how skinny I was back then.
Oh man, I'm just so old.
Well, after the show, we eventually ended up at the Gopher Hole in the basement of the Hotel Weatherford. It was 80s dance night. Now I can get down with that. Of course, if there's music, I'm gonna dance like an idiot no matter what, but it certainly helps when it's jams I like. Last time I was up in Flagstaff for a show, and we ended up at the Gopher Hole, it was dub-step night. Arg. But I danced anyways. And yes, I understand the parallels of me judging this music when I just posted that Rush Hour song. But come on! What is up with music these days??
It was cool at first because they were playing good 80s dance songs like Depeche Mode and Soft Cell, but then every once in awhile, they would play something fucking lame like "Oh Mickey, You're So Fine' -- ummm, 80s dance music is about black eyeliner, androgyny, and varying levels of bondage, not stupid clapping. Anyhoo, the DJ soon corrected his wrong, and I was back at it, dancing amongst a sea of children who still weren't born for over a decade when these songs were released. Out of the corner of my eye, I kept seeing this guy wanting to dance with me. Ladies, I know you can relate to this: no matter how clear you make it that you just want to dance alone, they still keep following you around the dance floor, looking for their opportunity to grind on you even though the song does not require grinding. So, I notice him moving in, and I dance away to another spot and continue my solo groove.
Oh, I forgot to mention that this guy was wearing a black, floor-length, fake fur cape.
I'm not judging this fashion choice in the slightest; in fact, I have a pink, fake fur, blanket cape I made myself for Burning Man one year. It's not floor-length for a couple of reasons: 1) I couldn't afford that much fabric and 2) even if I could have, I wouldn't have wanted it to drag on the playa floor. It was created for its functionality. I would wear it around my shoulders and button it at my neck to keep me warm while I was wandering about, but whenever I needed to just stop and take a nap or chill somewhere on the playa, I'd simply unbutton it and cover myself up wherever I happened to land. I call it my marshmallow, and I still use it like every day. It's one of my favorite blankets, and anyone who's ever been to my home knows I seriously love blankets, so this is saying a lot.
So, naturally, I'm not gonna rag on this guy for wearing a cape. But the thing is, it was HOT in that basement. I had to remove my jacket and my scarf, so I can only imagine how hot it was beneath that black, floor-length, fake fur cape. Sure, it probably looked fabulous when twirling to some synthesizers, but come on, function over fashion on the dance floor, buddy. So, I'm really feeling the groove now and forgetting that I could have possibly birthed any one of these kids in my near vicinity, when all of a sudden he appears behind me. It was like one of those animal nature shows when the male just makes a run for it and quick-mounts the female without any warning or consent. That's exactly what he did; he quick-mounted me, did a of couple pumps, and I -- in complete horror -- danced away yet again. Sure, I'm a fantastic 80s dancer. I was spinning myself right round, baby right round, like a record baby, right round, round round, but that in no way invites a quick-mount. I grabbed the back of my shirt in fear, like shit, was I just inseminated?! It happened so fast. And to add insult to injury, the heat and relative humidity he gave off due to his dancing in that damn black, floor-length, fake fur cape was palpable. Seriously, dude. Come on! Gross.
Now as I'm typing this though, it dawns on me that this guy in his black, floor-length, fake fur cape didn't look around that dance floor filled with all those just-21 year olds and think to himself, mmmmm, I gotta get me some Ronnie D, He looked around that dance floor with all those just-21 year olds and saw me, the lame, oldest member of the herd and made his move, increasing his chances of survival in a hostile, natural environment.
Fuck man. I'm so like, tragic, I-can't-bear-to-watch-how-this-turns-out, Planet Earth old.
Oh my god, you guys! I had a sexual feeling!! No, for real!
I totally wanted to lick this guy's neck . . . but I didn't because I know it's a neck I shouldn't be licking. Unfortunately though, the necks I should be licking, I have no interest in licking. So it's a bit of a conundrum.
Yes, I totally drew this. During a work meeting. The hair is not an indicator of the neck I wanted to lick. It's just where I started doodling a couple minutes into the meeting before I had the fabulous idea of drawing this instead. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I'm pretty impressed with how spot-on I drew my own tongue. It's like a spitting image. (Ohhhh!)
Come on out to The Mystery Show at The Lost Leaf in Phoenix THIS Thursday 2/16! With art, music, comedy, and anti-masturbation education with Fappy The Anti-Masturbation Dolphin! I'll be performing, along with a lineup of fantastic performers.
The show starts at 9 with a drink and draw, with comedy from 10 until midnight, and then the live music continues with Andy Cooper until closing time. You can also win some super sweet prizes from local businesses. Proceeds from the evening's festivities will benefit SockItForward.com, a great local chartiy that provides brand new socks for homeless people all throughout the Valley.
Hosted by Paul Horner with comedians:
Aaron Kyle Miles
Cierra Renee Miranda
I'm thinking about quitting my job so I can focus on taking more selfies.
It's not too early to start thinking about next Saturday night, 2/18! Come on out to Gary's House in Coronado (2021 N Mitchell St, Phoenix, AZ 85006) for this killer show hosted by the one-and-only Jessie Johnson!!
BYOB with a $5 suggested donation which is really a steal to see Jessie, Rob Maebe, Cierra Renee Miranda, Anwar Newton, and headliner Pat Regan in Gary's beautiful backyard venue. The weather's perfect, people. Make sure you enjoy it before your clothes start sticking to your skin.
I'm in one of those moods where it's difficult to shower. Go ahead and judge me if you want. Sit there on your high horse of mental and emotional stability as the commander-in-chief of your own personal hygiene.
First of all, as Americans, we shower way too much anyways. In Europe, they'd applaud my current mood as an altruistic, water-saving gesture, rather than the behavior of a woman who lays in bed for hours not quite sleeping, just clenching her jaw and trying to force back a dream where things felt good. Oh man, that dream was nice; can't I please just go back there?
It's not that I want to lie around in my own filth. On the contrary, while I'm lying there thinking about what an insurmountable task cleaning my 5-foot-4-inch frame will be, I envision myself as a normal individual, someone who just pops right out of bed ready to start the day. Hell yeah, life feels great! I can't wait to get out of this cocoon created of clearanced dorm-room bed accessories, cat hair, and Kafka quotes and get my carpe diem on. I wanna get up and shower and put on capris and hit the Starbucks before I hit the bank, before I hit the store to buy decor and teeth whitening strips and then hit the cafe to get something with kale sans gluten before I meet up with my girlfriends and discuss anything but the patriarchy before I go home and shower again and put on something from a non-second-hand store before meeting up with my boyfriend or fiancee or husband for date night at the place where we always go and we always order the same thing and then go to the store to buy more decor before we go home and fall asleep binge watching something we only half give a fuck about. I mean, I truly do want that life. But I'm stuck in bed -- and by bed, I mean the couch -- thinking of other things. Thinking about time, how there's not enough of it, there's just never enough time, and I'm running out of it while I lie here thinking about the swiftness of time, trying to motivate myself to stop wasting time, to get up and shower and start my day.
Now don't get it twisted, I'm still washing my hands. And washing them often. In fact, I caught myself washing the soap before washing my hands the other day, so don't fret, I've still got that going for me. Actually, all this talk about washing my hands is making me think I should probably go wash my hands. Yeah, I'm gonna go wash my hands. Hold on just one minute while I go wash my hands . . .
I guess it all comes down to depression. That's the easy, condensed explanation, and let's face it, in this world of one-hundred-and-something-odd characters, that's all anyone ever wants to know is how you feel in passing. Even doctors or friends or sandwich artists . . . "What would you like on this one?" "Soul fulfillment, a right to my own body and mind, no regrets on my death bed, oh and salt and pepper, please." I mean, who gives a fuck about anyone else's suffering these days anyways? Think about it when you drive to or from your time-sucking job when you're surrounded by rush-hour traffic. Think about the complexities of your own experience, and then look into the window of any of the cars that surround you and let it soak in that every, single person on this planet is experiencing their own complexities that very few ever get to release. I like to get upset and want to hate the people around me, the people that bring me down, but then my stupid humanity kicks in -- which is truly a shame because I really thought it was most certainly sucked completely out of me between the years of 2009-2013 -- and I understand that we're all just trying to get through this life the best way we can. I can't imagine that other people don't lie in bed not wanting to shower, not wanting to do anything, because their lives are so far from actually living, truly living within their own definition, that the burden of passing time doesn't weigh them down, tie them down to the pillow, overwhelm them with the simple tasks of what culture tells them is actually living as they focus on being a 'productive member of society."
Franz Kafka once said that productivity is doing something you were never able to do before. It's like celebrating the small successes, even if you hit reset over and over again. Like, hell yeah, I was able to shower on Thursday, but not on Friday, but here comes Saturday, and I'm gonna try again. And I don't know how it's gonna turn out because Billy Joel is on the radio, and seriously, fuck that guy.
In Case You Were Wondering . . .
Sometimes Ronnie D writes funny stuff. Sometimes she writes desperate teenage prose. Most times she just slams her feeble, little woman-hand onto the keyboard in an attempt to feel something, anything.