Thursday, October 2, 2008

Keeping My Nose Clean and My Hands Busy

      I pulled an ant out of my nose yesterday. I don't know how it got there. I wasn't resting my face in the grass or against trees or anything. It was right after work, I'd been waitressing. I like to imagine that it came from above, that it fell on me and took the short trip from my head to my nostril rather than the long way from the ground up but either way is disturbing. Somehow it had to have crawled across my face undetected to get to the seemingly attractive ant cave that is my nose. This bothers me. If an ant can get into your nose without you noticing, anything is possible. In my fragile emotional state this seems to be perfectly indicative of the fact that there are no constants in life. We cannot count on anything. We might fly off the earth at any moment, and when we do, there may be ants in our noses.
      I tried calling around the other day to find a therapist who takes clients on a sliding scale, or perhaps a program to help people dealing with depression. Those who I talked to said I was brave to try to get help, but that I did not meet their criteria as I have never been hospitalized before for depression or addiction, and I do not have children. I never imagined that birth control and AA would betray me like this. The therapists given to me by the help line did not call me back. 
     I'm not going to give up so easily. Even if I didn't wake up pondering the pointlessness of life everyday, I've accrued enough baggage in my 30 years of misbegotten adventures to believe that talking to someone might be a good idea. In the meantime I'm putting myself in my own rehab, MayA, so to speak.
     Activities include: Walking Around Outside, Thinking A Lot, Arts and Crafts, and Crying when Necessary. So far I have made a purse. It can hold my cigarettes while I walk around outside.
        My sewing machine, not unlike my heart, is broken, so making the purse took a very long time. That's a good thing because I also did quite a bit of Thinking A Lot while sewing. 
      I believe that we hold feeling memories in our bodies. People get sad around the anniversaries of loved ones lost without consciously thinking about it, and conversely certain times of the year make people happy because of the happy times in their personal pasts. I thought about the assurances that my AA friends gave me when I told them I was despondent. They said that everyone gets like this around their 10th month of sobriety, they said "Don't beat yourself up, don't put the shit in your body, and go to a meeting". Okay, so this is normal. Great. Why? What is it about the 10th or so month that sucks so bad? I thought about muscle memory, I thought about last year at this time. As we get closer to a year, I think that our bodies are remembering how bad it was the year before. This is when we began to hit rock bottom. Last year I taught my body and brain that when the weather turns cool it's going to mean that there's going to be alienation, loneliness, and despair. This year I'm reliving all those emotions because that is what my caveman survivor brain tells me I have to do, and it's been so bewildering because my life doesn't suck right now. 
       Also, and without a doctor's evaluation, I think I may have a touch of the hypoglycemia. It's pretty common in alcoholics, what with the overtaxing of the liver and kidneys and the all sugar diet that is alcoholism, so I'm adding Eating Smaller Meals More Often to my list of activities. And I'm giving up wheat, just for kicks.
     I think the slogan for MayA is "Do what you can, then do it again".
     As I sewed I thought about all this, and thought about my past, and thought about my future and all the while the sewing itself kept bringing me back to the present. The wrestle of the thread, the heavy fabric, the tangle and untangle, the finger jabs, the geometry of purse without a pattern, and sometimes oh sweet the smooth sail of a straight line of stitches, you have to pay attention. I had forgotten how much I like to do this, but my hands remembered and were sure and steady and patient, even when I wanted to cry over broken needle and fray of thread. They just reached for another sharp from the packet and pulled another long length from the spool and began again, and therein lies my constant. Every time I wrap the doubled thread around my finger, twist and pull to make a knot, that very necessary base to hold my work, I think about my mother's beautiful hands because she is the one who taught me that particular practical magic trick. A knot where there was not. 
       She was sitting in a chair, there was sunlight, I was small, her hands at eye level and over and over she showed me how to do it, until I did. It's so easy, and so small a thing, but if you don't know how to knot a thread with one hand it can be a difficult and frustrating thing. And if you make no knot at all your stitches will fall out and all your effort will come to nothing.
       Hearts and needles and thread may break, but we do what we can and we do it again. We make our knots tight and sure, so when they break we don't lose everything. 
       Next year, when the air turns cool, maybe my hands will turn to sewing and my brain will turn to thinking instead of feeling heavy feelings absent of their meanings. I will Walk Around Outside, I will Cry When Necessary, but not too much, and if I find an ant in my nose I will remember that as weird and disturbing as that is, I'll try not to feel overly concerned. When it comes down to it, a nostril is by no means the worst place on your person to find an ant. 


Ms. Moon said...

You made me cry with your beauty.

honeyluna said...

You made me cry too, with your beauty of course.
It sounds like you are doing what you need to be doing and I am so proud of you. I'm really so proud that you are writing and sewing and not giving up on yourself. You have so much goodness and beauty and talent in you, and even when you feel bad and don't want anyone to see you, because of pride or whatever it is, you must know that I, along with many more of us, love you just the same as when you are in a fun, flirty, happy mood. And I think you feel the same about me. I love you so much!