I have had a very long week. That said, I realize it was not a long week like people with actual, real world issues have, for example, I’m not a gay person in Sochi. Still, for whatever reason, by Thursday night, late, The DuBois Dolor had announced its imminent arrival; like a migraine with its precursors of aura, tunnel vision, seeing stars, so too does my dysphoria have its portents of the coming doom; the trouble is, too often, I try to ignore these.
And Tennessee as Blanche takes over.
First came the unmotivated weeping. It is as if I have been suddenly dropped into a film – both in the sense of a cinematic event and something distanced from reality, seen through a blur and a haze, and inside that opaque miasma, I am watching myself drowning in sorrow, and the “aware” or stronger me can’t reach through the veil to give comfort.
By Friday, I had the thought, briefly, “Oh, dear, I am in need of being held. Saved. Again.” It is what happens next, that dangerous mid-level symptom, this “Kindness of Strangers” neediness. And when the veil of sorrow has dropped, really dropped, everyone is a stranger, and I open the trunk of costumes and props and play the role of Charlie, so as not to alarm those with whom I regularly interact. I was never much of an actor on stage, honestly, but off-stage, dishonestly, I am some sort of genius of schizophrenia.
By Saturday morning Tennessee as Blanche had taken over completely. What little of me left was buried so far beneath the lunatic, manic, melancholic man who was desperately running from the blue funk, that it could not come up for air, and, as ever when the DuBois dolor hits – it fears for its survival, and wonders if the actual Charlie will emerge, alive.
I do, and, the thing is, no matter how savaged I have been by the cruel self-hatred of despair, I can almost always write. The writing cuts through the Tennessee as Blanche. But the writer is still – like those others who love and support me – never really able to diagnose it, let alone cure it, or, even, help lift it. As one of those loved ones once said to me, “I don’t know what to do or say, you’re just determined to be sad.”
Well, no, not really. It comes, unbidden, regardless of the treatments chemical or behavioral. No matter the spiritual or medical emollients, it comes. Still, I know – or, this part of me who writes, knows – it also goes. But, in its going, each time, that Tennessee as Blanche takes another little piece of me, leaves me needing to stand a little more distant from the bright light.
What caused it? This one or the first? Or, any of the episodes? What ever causes it? I do not now and never have known. This week has been – as I said – long and busy and more filled with people than usual with less time for writer Charlie and batcave Charlie to renew. Too, there was a Tweet. And unexpected sightings. And a ruined cake. And hours in a WalMart, which always terrifies me and leaves me fearing future lynchings by locals I can usually pretend do not exist, those who wrap themselves in manufactured-in-Taiwan DuckDynasty camouflage and made in the Republican-reactionary-right beliefs. And also, the whole Sochi / Coke / McDonald’s / Visa thing has been extremely terrifying – and the IOC DEFENDING the Russian police actions makes me even sicker (CLICK HERE). And not being able to watch ice skating is upsetting me – which is upsetting me – that I’m upset about it – because, after all, I’m not being stalked, hunted, and jailed for my sexuality. And, too, I’m upset about all these upsets in one such short swath of words; but I am hoping you, dear reader, will think it another of my feeble feints at syntactical styling.
I am able to depend upon those strangers found in my own private versions of Tarantula Arms, and while I still mourn that young man who danced with the young man I once was, he who taught be about moontans, he who could not, would not, who ran and destroyed himself, and then that other, another who – but stop, stop, no, of late, I remind myself of those with whom I have done that Tennessee as Blanche dance; that collecting PaperBoy and that Mitch, both of whom were particularly good at pretending to be kind but, even so, they were, I think, also, yes, definitely they were, onto me. Yes, I could not stand far enough away from the unforgiving, unfiltered light and so, even the glare off the paste-tiara – which by now has so many missing faux-diamonds – could not – did not – blind them even for a moment, could not – did not – distract them from the ravages that time has wrought on my face, the “tragic radiance” of my soul seeping through, oozing the truth of the sorrows.
So, today, I am cocooning. I’ve a magical book to read. I’ve a blanket beneath which to hide. The only bright light is shined (yes, I meant to type “shined”, not shining, not shone, allow me my syntactical pretentiousness, these signs of my particularly literary disease and eventual demise) here, on the page, into which I am jumping, words are my life raft. We all must find our way to do, to stay afloat, until we don’t. As Eunice says to Stella, “You’ve got to keep on goin’, honey. No matter what happens, we’ve all go to keep on going.”
Indeed. Even if the cost is a steady dose of the ether of delusion and denial, we must keep going.
Until we don’t.