Berkeley, Aug. 20

I’m sitting next to you, but I just popped a klonopin. You don’t want me to, and yet I do it anyway.

Am I self-destructive? Do I defy you? Or do I simply want to sleep tonight?

We’re watching Harry Potter 6. I need some cheering up and how better to send me off to what I hope will be a sound sleep?

Thirty-three minutes remain in the movie; the perfect timing before the chemicals kick in and flood my system, allotting for the bottle of pinot that accompanies them. Thirty-three minutes before I drift off to a dateless, timeless sleep.

How lovely. How elusive.

Sleep: such an escape, but oh how it evades me. A chronic insomniac, I’ve been not sleeping since I was two years old. Three a.m., it turns out,  is my witching hour…still is. Every night like clock-work, I greet the hour with a lucid mind and ready eye.

We’re nearing the movie’s end and my head swims with these last moments of narrative. Dumbledore caught in the breeze of the Spring evening on the Astronomy Tower. “Severus…please.”

Such duplicity.

I wonder now, sitting next to you, if you find my taking this klonopin as duplicitous. Or, if you see it as the coping mechanism that it is.

I crave the escape of hours spent seemingly unaware of what is, the escape from being present in my own mind, if only for a time.

 

Sausalito, Aug. 5

I suppose it’s generally considered a bad thing when the hostess of the bar leaves for a break only to return and chirp, “Oh wow! You guys are still here!” with the genuine enthusiasm reserved for youth.

Does she know she’s being insulting and condescending? At this point in our lives, J and N (both men) and I aren’t deterred, but, in fact, take it as a point of pride that we know how to properly wile away an afternoon day-drinking. Having the freedom to do so. The luxury. It’s rare these days to find those with whom to share such proclivities what with kids and jobs and travel and responsibilities and the like.

And yet, the hostess’ comment makes me wonder about my own drinking habits as a woman and those I’ve encountered recently in books and TV. It makes me wonder about the casual alcoholism of women in general, seemingly “normalized” and ingrained into our modern identities.

The pouring of vodka into water bottles in Sharp Objects as Camille roves the streets of her hometown, Wind Gap, accosted at every turn by her traumas, literally carved into her skin.

The pounding of caffeine, bottles, and pills by the nameless narrator in My Year of Rest and Relaxation, drugging herself into a near perpetual state of unconsciousness in hopes of avoiding the inevitable: reality.

These women are aggressively grasping at something else to guide them out and away. And it’s their choice. They’re choosing to destroy themselves in the process and who’s to stop them? Who’s to stop me?

Is this the turn that modern feminism has taken?

Berkeley, Aug. 1

I take my pills with breakfast, when I remember to that is. I hide each tablet in a chewed up mouthful, just like a puppy, except I’m swallowing my sanity.

One pill to increase my energy level. Check!

Two to fight my depression. Check!

One to even out my cycles of extreme mood drops. Check!

And those are just my morning pills. At bedtime, there’s another pill for depression, another for motivation, and a seventh for sleep.

I’m 38 years old and I subsist on seven pills a day just to function.

Berkeley, July 25

A bad day. I woke up and cleared my calendar and then went back to bed.

I don’t know what to say. Sometimes it’s all I can do just to take a shower and brush my teeth.

This apathy is breathtaking. It just never ends.

Laying in bed, my thoughts wandered back to April when J and I stood overlooking the Seine’s right bank from our VRBO’s floor-to-ceiling windows. It was our last night in Paris and I tossed my only remaining Euro from the Ile St. Louis apartment, watching as it was engulfed by the pulsing water below, alight by the overarching pont.

I made a wish as one would upon a birthday candle then and I remember it now. Will always remember it.

I hope I survive.