This month marks seven years since I quit drinking, since my life went off the rails and skidded out of control. I memorialized that experience with a post I shared last year, a warts-and-all portrait of alcohol use gone unmanageable.
I believed my drinking gave me an edge, allowing me to express my most unhinged, outrageous desires and thereby differentiating me from the group at a time I felt invisible. It turned out, however, that when I got right down to it, blackout drinking (I know no other kind) was a form of self-erasure, a way to pull the plug on my conscious self and disappear. What good is standing out from the crowd when you’re not even there? What had gone so horribly wrong socially that I felt such a need for otherness, when my sense of otherness was the source of such pain? Why was I unable to make a choice about how many drinks I was going to have and stick to it? Why wasn’t one cocktail feasible? I was living with my foot pressed to the gas, and dying all at once, and these questions had to be answered. Continue reading
I stood cowering in the middle of the mall, as my fifty-five year-old chain-smoking boss spoke harshly, angrily, an inch from my face. Her blue eyes turned to ice and narrowed, she hissed threats, her hot, tobacco-and-death-reeking breath penetrating my nose. Humiliated, scared and disgusted, I took it, without taking a step back or saying a single word. I was shaken and upset the rest of my shift at the MAC Cosmetics counter, and I cried my eyes out the moment I got home. Continue reading
I’d been up to Sedona once, last decade when I was living in Arizona (before the ill-fated move back to Seattle) and hadn’t given it much thought since. I remembered the stunning unreality of the colors–rusted reds striated with washed out yellows, deep azure and dark greens. I had the overall impression of a tourist trap, however, and didn’t go for the whole vortex, center-of-the-universe spirituality trip. I’m too atheistic, too urban. Ten years later seemed like as good a time as any to make another visit, see what I could see. Plus, it was a full moon that night, a blood moon, in fact, and maybe we would stay long enough to see it rise, away from the bright lights of Phoenix.
In the car on the way up I jokingly suggested to my two companions we should buy a crystal each and use them to guide us to the vortex. Why not embrace some irony while reveling in nature? Continue reading
The first Bowie song I remember hearing had to be either China Girl or Let’s Dance, the title track of the record my music-loving parents played often. I must have been three years old (yes, I can remember back that far, my memory is a steel trap, for better and worse). I can remember the lyrics of both songs setting my little imagination on fire, respectively picturing glitzy red high heels dancing on a field of blue (part Wizard of Oz, I suppose) or the singer clutching a Chinese porcelain doll. Seeing Labyrinth for the first time, the connection was made between the Goblin King and the singer of these songs. His presence in the film, and voice blasting from our speakers was electrifying to my toddler self. Nothing has changed. Continue reading