Earlier this year I was in a play where I was in two scenes; one with my stage boyfriend, and one where I come on broken up over his suicide. There’s no time to build up to the second scene, no chance to work out the feels within the created reality of the story. It’s just: Backstage being hungry me and wondering if I have anything at home to eat, then onstage being devastated her having just lost the love of her life, all while one of the guys backstage toots out rancid SBDs and tries to sneak away with a “no one will ever suspect me” look.
It’s an odd situation in which to attempt to feel someone else’s chaos and loss in a realistic way. So to ‘prime the pump’ I thought about one of my ferrets dying.
See, some time shortly before the show opened I had had this terrible dream where I was in a strange house and couldn’t find my ferrets. I saw a heating vent cover at the bottom of a wall had been knocked aside, and wondered if they’d gone in there. Dark, warm, enclosed- a perfect nap spot.
I looked inside, and in the darkness I saw the face of my little sable just out of reach. There was another vent closer to him, so I tried that one. The cover was closed, and heavy. I lifted it and saw my ferret had been sliced in half by the weight of the heavy grate falling shut on him when he’d climbed in.
And oh how I cried.
When I woke up I was still heart broken. It was the saddest thing I had ever seen with my own eyes.
So when it came time to run that second scene in performance, and I was backstage waiting to go on, every single time I found a spot near my entrance where I could stand facing a black, masking curtain. I stood close so the folds hid my face, the dust filled my mouth, and everything around me was dark and gone. I could hear the other actors on stage, could hear the story playing out. It was sad, but it was just a story, and the atmosphere backstage was less than conducive to identifying with memorized lines being spouted for a crowd of strangers. So I thought of something slightly more real. I thought of my dream, and of my ferret. Of seeing him so pitifully broken. Of what it felt like to scoop him up in pieces- limp and wrong.
And oh how I cried.
I received an award for that performance, so I guess it worked.
But I think I’m ready to move on to something new. To take on a new acting challenge. Bigger tragedy, deeper devastation. Medea. Lady Anne. Rose Tyler. Because today? Today I topped that dream experience. Today I shopped for blue jeans.
And oh. How. I. Cried.
I’ve been poor for so long that I’ve forgotten how to even want nice things. And while I was never much of a fan of shopping to begin with, over time it has become a downright panic and nausea inducing activity. Today I had a $15 in-store cash voucher from my grandma for the store I visited, so I thought that might put a nice spin on the trip. But after trying on several pairs of jeans- something I truly need- and having one pair after another not fit, I’d given up and decided to just spend the money on something- anything- so I could get. out. of the store.
But I couldn’t do it. $15 is so much now. I couldn’t simply throw it away on some “just get me out of here” top, no matter how cute it might be, no matter how badly my own tops fit, no matter how much faster I’d be able to call the trip Done. Especially since I had already splurged with real money last week when I bought myself two $10 tees during a big online sale with one of my favorite vendors. Spending on myself, even though I have some money now from a job last month, makes me feel guilty. And I haaaate that! The two shirts I bought are fantastic, and so me, and I want to love them. Instead I see them and feel like hiding them so I don’t have to be faced with my wastefulness.
But I wasn’t ready to give up and go home yet, so I walked around the entire store, slowly, to work up the energy to find other pants to try on. And I moped. I didn’t mean to, of course, but in failing to plan ahead I had neglected to pack a spare countenance. *shrug* It happens.
As I approached the Juniors department toward the end of my rounds, I figured I’d rummage through its clearance racks and maybe come away with a festive sweater, or yet another dress to like-but-not-wear. Instead I found myself standing in a corner and crying behind a purple scarf (20% off through Sunday).
My sadness is nothing if not subtle and expertly timed.
But my butt isn’t the only thing that’s XXL in Juniors! There’s also my heart, which refused to let me disappoint my grandma by not using her$15 voucher. So I marched myself right back to the Women’s section and tried on a damn pair of $40 pants. And they fit, dammit. So I forked over the cash, brought home the pants, took off my shoes, and crawled into bed with my head under the covers.
And cried some more.
Does this stupid emoting thing never end?!
My depression is nothing if not subtle and expertly timed.
Mom came in with the dog, who jumped onto my pillow and licked my snotty nose while mom shared her dish of dry cereal with us and said the sorts of wise and compassionate things that make her so warm and so right and so lovely. So lovely, in fact, that I didn’t cry again for at least another half hour (that jag prompted by the prospect of going out with my folks for a treat of fast food for dinner, aka another $15 suspiciously spent).
One Filet o’ Fish sandwich later I am blogging in the living room while watching Season 5 of The Big Bang Theory with my parents, and refusing to feel guilty for giggling at the snippets of blue humor. It helps that my parents are giggling too.
It’s just blogging. It’s just TV. It’s just the watered down remains of a McDonald’s Diet Coke. But it’s good. And I think I feel better. Not XXL worth of better, but I’ll take it.
Oh God. Dear God. Dear, dear God. I don’t want money. I don’t want an end to all of my troubles. I don’t even want to see the Women’s pants section destroyed by a giant fireball belched from a Revenge Volcano. I just want to rejoice. Help me with my lack of rejoicing. I want to be restored.
Holy, holy, holy.
Restored, restored, restored.
(But I wouldn’t say no to a new house, an idea on how to end the story I’m working on, and a roll-top desk.)