Self-discovery, Xanax, and Rock&Roll

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My friend told me recently that I should write a pain blog. At least that’s what I remember he said. It’s possible he said I should write a drug blog. Honestly, I was on quite a little cocktail when he said it, and my cognitive, uh, remembrance? isnt the most efficient or effective system at times. I’m not exactly sure what his idea was per se, but here we are. 

I’ve been lamenting recently about having lost who I used to be and being ashamed of who I’ve become. Not in such a macabre, melodramatic way. Relax. What I mean is if my 16y/o self came to my apartment last week to say hey, she’d be speechless. In the Papa Callahan way. You know, the scary way. she’d look me in the face and say “what the fuck happened to me?” Because she wasn’t afraid to say it as it was, when it was. She didn’t trifle with others’ petty feelings. If they couldn’t control themselves or handle it, that wasn’t her problem, nor was it her responsibility to teach them anything. That’s the girl I miss. I know it may sound callous and apathetic. 

Anyway, she made an appearance last night. and this is where we get back to the point: drug blog. Because of my back pain, which I’ll thoroughly explain later — and give you a warning so you can skip it — I was anxious about flying home to California to see my like-a-sister, so my psychiatrist prescribed me Xanax. When I started feeling the beginnings of those chest pains I was having last December -the pains that made my mom go, “put on a bra. We’re going to the ER,” but ended up only being an anxiety attack manifesting as chest pains – I ditched my thousand and one friends in my living room and popped that pill. 

Remember in high school when you were out on the patio or the quad or the lawn or the steps or veranda or the courts; you were with your friends, telling jokes and doing cartwheels and dancing and acting out, goofing off? Or when you would write publicly in your journal, pages spread wide? Remember the intense conversations in the lockers? Remember the feeling of doing something fully without a percentage of you checking the windows for prying eyes, the corners for unwanted ears, or Twitter for judgey tweeters? I didn’t. I couldn’t. until last night. I found her, you guys. I found her “chillin” at the bottom of well, buried under a mountain of coiled chaos: anxiety like barbed wire or pencil scribbles. 

So the Xanax created, I don’t really know yet, an invisibility cloak(?) for the chaos and the barbed bullshit. Out she climbed, cool as a cucumber. She wrapped her arm around me and said “I got this one.” and boy, oh boy, did she get a chance to stretch her legs and play. 

Now, I could see the potential for danger here. People talk about Xanax as if it’s this dangerous secret that no one must know about because it is highly addictive, blah blah and so on. I understand how a person could develop a reliance on this magical pill that gives you your courage back, your backbone, and your mind.  Anxiety fogs almost every part of my life. In addition to the physical reactions to anxiety – sweat, nerves, accelerated heart rate – it also stumps my vocabulary, affects my memory, and mimics Dimentia. I live in a constant state of fear. What the Xanax did, what that anxiety-invisibility-cloak did, was free me of my fears. It grounded me. Smacked me in the face and said “you’re the strongest person I know. What the fuck is stopping you?” To which I could only say, “well, nothing.” So, having a shortcut to your real self is a sexy notion, I admit it. However, this experience hasn’t shown me that Xanax is the only way to find her – well, me. It has shown me only that she is, indeed, findable. I haven’t lost her. I’ve just buried her. I will see her again, and not through a really, very tiny white pill, but through a lot of work untangling that mess above her, trapping her in the well.

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how to start that. I have a theory as to what those pieces are. Unprocessed emotional experience. As a kid, I repressed like a goddamn professional, and those feelings have recently begun to leak out of me inappropriately. maybe if I get them in order, let myself experience them again- and this time, fully- I can release them and further understand myself and unbury myself once and for all. …?

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Original Wingman

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This is the story about a little girl and her Robin at the beach. 

This little girl preferred pigtails and skinned knees over frilly dresses and Mary Janes. She favored trees and man hunt to dolls and playing house, and her favorite Barbie was a little action figure Robin from the DC Comics with limited motion and the paint chipping off his face. She kept him in her pocket, and he knew all her secrets. She loved him. He trusted her. 

One day, her family went to the beach. She was very excited because she and Robin were sent on an important, top secret rescue mission. She knew she had to send in her best operative, so she did. She scouted the area, Robin did some recon, and when they found the target, they knew what they had to do. She buried Robin in the sand. 

“You’re going to be okay, Robin.”

I know I am, silly. It’s you.

“Of course it’s me. I’ll be right here the whole time. You just call out if you need me.”

I’ll get them out. I’ll save everyone. 

“You always do. Be careful.”

I don’t need to. I’ve got you. 

“Always,” and with that, she covered him. 

This is where it gets foggy. Somebody or something distracted her mid-extraction, and she didn’t dispute, for even as a girl, she wasn’t very contrary. By the time she got back to her mission, it could have been seconds, it could have been hours, and by the nature of the tide, and the nature of the ocean, and the nature of the magic of the sand crab demons underneath, she couldn’t unbury Robin. 

Now, it might have been a normal day, with the sun shining and the beach full, but in her memory, there was only a gray breeze and wet sand and chaos as her heart pounded in her ears and panic set in. She frantically dug through the sand, then methodically, then frantically again, then everything stopped. All sounds, mute. All thoughts, blank. Her breath stopped and started, shallow in her throat as she realized that Robin was lost. 

Her mother pulled her arm, forcing her to her feet. She reached out to him. She told him she was so sorry. She never said anything to her mother; she never told her, never could. The guilt was unbearable. She buried her best friend. She abandoned him in the sand. Alone. Forever. Lost.

Back at the house, she took her remaining two best friends, Blanky and Mutsy, into her arms. “I’m so sorry,” she said with tear-soaked words, promising she will never abandon them the way she did Robin. Twenty years later, ragged, ripped, and ratty, she whispers these words to them still. 

subway squeeze

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Ever been that one guy on the train, eyeing a spot on the bench, like “i can fit there. Can i fit there? I can totally fit there.” And you take off your backpack and squat into the spot that you grossly miscalculated, and your curvy hip brushes against the middle of the little Asian dude’s thigh, and you over-correct so the meaty part of your butt – the bit beyond your tailbone, ya know- finds the edge of the bench as you slide back methodically, willing your hips to be either thin enough or cushy enough to allow the squeeze. And you’re wedged between a beautifully figured lady and a petit Asian adolescent with a pierced cheek, and you try to cross your arms over your enormous backpack, realizing your shoulders are just as wide as your hips, and there you are, scrunched over your stuff like an old witch or a leprechaun hoarding gold. And then, as you’re all snug like snails in a sardine can, your phone alarm blares, echoing in the quiet train, and it’s in your jacket pocket, wedged somewhere between your rib fat and your neighbor’s side boob.