I was walking through Chinatown last week, listening to my ipod on some awesome new headphones I got on sale via the Wendy Williams show (“How you doin’?”), past spitting old Chinese men and sad fish markets. It’s a nightmare, overcrowded, slow-moving and stinky, but cool that it still exists in all it’s old school New Yorkness.
I was feeling melancholy. Drew and I just can’t see eye to eye at the moment and it’s painful, even though I understand his point of view and that it’s part of the process. I’m doing pretty well now, but I am still processing deep personal change/death, so while insanity and darkness seem past, residual sadness clings like a smoky film some days.
Sometimes I wake up with the words “I’m sorry.” already on my lips. I apologize constantly in my sleep. I remember nearly every transgression I’ve ever made, starting with that kid in high school who made a comment about the Doobie Brothers that I shot down so hard I know I destroyed him. I’m so sorry, dude. I still wish I could take it back.
But I find long walks with a musical accompaniment are good for head sorting, even if it’s also accompanied with a bit of elderly Asian snot rocket dodging. An exceptionally sad song came on and the sorrow under the surface came bubbling up and expanded within me until it felt as if my chest would crack open. So much sadness in this life, how do we manage to process it at all? No wonder so many people become drug addicts. And I am fully aware that my first world issues are not really problems. It’s a luxury to fester the way I do.
I let the feelings roll through me without judgment. A phrase popped into my head–”the exquisiteness of sadness”. Then I thought, all emotion is exquisite really. Love, sadness, joy. That’s why we love music (and art and movies) so much, it makes us feel. Our souls are here to feel. Pain sucks, doubt sucks, fear sucks, numbness sucks. Anger can be good, it’s my personal favorite. But it’s only a protection and often destructive. Sadness, when it’s allowed to rise in its pure form, isn’t so bad. It bubbles up and flows like water, sometimes rushing, sometimes rolling quietly. It passes by.
I allowed it to consume me, tears behind my sunglasses, and then let it flow out of the cracks and through the top of my head. After a few minutes I felt better. And then a drunk Euro kid with a big backpack slurred, “…You’ve got a good ass for an old lady…” and I went back to pissed off with a soupcon of amusement. Fuck you, Junior. And thank you I guess.
Anyway, the primary focus for me today is not sadness, but the energy shift that seems to be fluttering under my feet, preparing to carry me somewhere new soon.
I have spent my life suspicious and fearful of money and of people who have it. It didn’t fit into my rock and roll mentality; punk rock and I came of age together and from the time of first memory I always felt that I was “other”. I related to very few kids in school, I purposely marked myself with clothing and hair and jewelry, later tattoos, to telegraph to the world that I was unwilling to join the club. Some of that bravado was conscious choice, some of it was rejecting “them” before they rejected me. The popular kids scared the crap out of me. They always had a handle on what to wear, they didn’t worry about chewing food in front of each other, they knew the right things to say, there was an ease of movement that I never had. Until I put on a Fiorucci snake print stretch tee and a homemade “Sid is innocent” button and raised my middle finger. Then they all thought I was darling without me having to say a word.
So, into adulthood carrying that flag, wearing that flag. Rock and roll life, rock and roll boyfriends, East Village wildlife, drugs, fights, passion, obsession, music, I’m crazier than you, tougher than you, harder than you, I raise that same middle finger to the popular kids of my adulthood, which I suppose are investment bankers and models and the children of the famous and wealthy these days. In some ways exactly like it was in high school, what has always hidden behind that finger is fear and the feeling of being less than.
I had a terrible, awful time when Drew was in the band Bloody Social, because most people in and around the band were models, children of the wealthy, children of celebrities, everyone rich from birth, gorgeous to look at, younger than me, more confident than me, shittier than me. They didn’t give a fuck about anything. They were the real nihilists because they could afford it. I was older than them, covered in tattoos, hailing from another era that they could neither reference nor respect. I fought with Drew constantly as bisexual 20 year old beanpole assholes spilled drinks on me as they shoved past to throw their vaginas full of gold cards at his head. Excruciating. I drank and scowled and railed against it all until even the nice ones had a hard time breaking through my angry wall. It wasn’t until the incandescent May Anderson ignored my cornered snarl and pulled a bottle of Jack Daniels out of her purse, grinned and handed it to me, that I was able to breathe and let my guard down a little and make a friend. But only her. That experience was devastating to me, but with the cushion of time, so informative.
Fast forward to now. I posted a status about this on facebook and got an avalanche of response, so it must be hitting a nerve–maybe it’s our age or maybe it’s a movement of the tide. I was sitting in a basement watching a friend’s band, at a show I had booked, and this thought came floating up and lodged itself in the front of my brain. I could die happily never seeing another rock band in another basement for the rest of my life. In that one moment I was changed forever.
What? Blasphemy! Or preaching to the choir, depending on where you sit, rocking chair or bar stool. But before you send me a dreary email saying you never go out anymore, you hate going out, people who go out are losers and you’re content to knit potato chip bag cozies by the fire, understand that I am not talking about that. I don’t want to retire necessarily, more that I feel the urge to live fresh I’m talking about releasing an energy that has had a hold on me since I was three and dancing in front of the television to the Beatles. I still wanna go out; I just want to go out FANCY. I want to use graffiti-free bathrooms. I want to wear my good shoes without fear of stepping in mystery liquids. Or I want to sit on a beach chair looking at the ocean with no shoes on. The details aren’t important. I just wanna get out of that basement that I have been sitting in for about 30 years now. I’m not afraid anymore.
Again, first world pondering, but I gotta give you what I got.
I am still very much in love with my world, but the ATTACHMENT to only that has dissipated. I am ready for new experiences, new environments, new people, new outfits. Somehow, after this long stretch of suffering and confusion and self-hatred, I am expanding inwardly and seeing glimmers of what could come outwardly. I can see now how my mental state of insecurity and judgment has kept me stuck at a less than perfect financial state, at less than perfect contentment levels. And along with that I can see that it’s all an energy game. I can be whoever I choose to be now. Well, except for a bisexual 20-something asshole beanpole with a vagina full of gold cards. I suppose that ship has sailed. But there is still a myriad of possibilities. I simply need to make space for myself, for the options to show themselves. That is incredibly freeing.
So I’m doing the work. I’m working on my thought patterns around money, I’m taking a second to ask my body what it wants before eating. I’m actively choosing quiet time, I’m walking around Chinatown crying it out instead of picking up the phone to try to fix what isn’t mine to fix. I’m allowing people to pick up the check without fighting about it. I’m accepting compliments without deflecting them. I’m cool with my age. I’m cool with some people not liking me. I’m daydreaming about all of the things I can do or see or be that I never considered before because I thought I was anchored into one state of being for this lifetime. I’m feeling love and forgiveness for myself without having to do a big flagellating apology and atonement dance first. For the first time ever.
If you are new agey of mind, this particular video has been very helpful to me:
If you’re not, watch this instead because it’s time that more people appreciate the awesomeness that is Linda Belcher.