Thursday, September 1, 2011

If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands! ***crickets***

Greetings from Nonsense Headquarters on a sweltering Chicago day. It's 94 degrees at 5 in the afternoon but I won't bitch because before we know it, I'll be putting on long underwear and cursing the day I made Chicago my home. This summer has been the usual overwhelming parade of excess, lots of food, friends, music, laughter, drinking, carousing, and rear ending of police cars. I've had more fun in the last few months than I have had in a long, long time. I'm surrounded by great friends, I've discovered my artistic side, I've found someone who makes me laugh that I want to spend all my time around. I have a job that pays all my bills with enough left over to fund my silly whims, a job that affords me the ability to travel and a lot of time off. I have my health, which eluded me for awhile; in fact I'm in pretty good shape for someone who is often powered on wine and salty snacks and ice cream. So WHY do I wake up in the morning feeling like Courtney Love after she consumed a mojito made with minty fresh bleach?

A few hypotheses:

Hormones! You boys might want to sit this paragraph out, although if you're straight, it might help you understand your loved one, if you're gay, you've probably heard all of this before, even if you spent girls night with your fingers jammed in your ears. I was never a big PMS sufferer, but in case your mama didn't tell you, menopause is much like the asteroid in Armageddon: a vicious life sucking bitch from which there is no escape. You definitely feel like your emotions are on one of those mechanical bull rides and you're just holding on for dear life, trying not to hurt yourself or anyone else until the ride stops. I don't have any answers or miracle cures besides the tried and true: just eat the Reeses or take a nap or watch ten episodes of Arrested Development or do whatever makes you feel better, whether it seems logical or not.

Years of Denial! I spent a good part of my life living in situations that ranged from just okay to completely untenable, all the while telling myself everything was fine, perhaps because I didn't think I deserved for things to be better. Telling yourself it will be fine is an effective temporary method of self preservation, but as time marches on, your bad feelings have nowhere to go. Once you're filled with toxic energy, it's hard to get yourself cleaned up again….you're pretty much soaking in it, Madge. All the antidepressants pills in the world will just make you not feel anything anymore and will make a lot of intolerable situations "fine". I'm not against psychotropic drugs… I think they are very effective if prescribed properly for people who really need them. But I often feel if I'd just allowed myself to be pissed off instead medicated, I would have seen things more clearly sooner. I was recently asked to rewrite a story I read earlier this year, a piece that started as a funny story of meeting someone for casual sex. As I edited it and was forced to make cuts to all the superfluous material, I found that the jokes were all on the cutting room floor and I was forced to face the fact that often comedy is a shield. I enjoy making people laugh and I intend never to lose my snarky edge, but I've recognized that humor and pain go hand and hand and it's completely acceptable to own up to your fears and insecurities without always having to make yourself the butt of a joke.

But the simple answer as to why I'm crabby for no apparent reason: It's a bad habit. One I'm seriously trying to break. So what's the plan to shed the cranky pants? Surround myself with smart, kind people who love me and treat them the way they deserve to be treated. Take good care of myself and my circle, absorbing all the wonderful things life has to offer and recognize that some days and some people just suck ass, but they aren't part of the permanent landscape. And cutting myself a break when I am cranky, because to be cranky every so often is to be alive. And those Reeses aren't going to eat themselves, dammit.