Thursday, July 7, 2011

So Long Saga.

A courtesy post.

I'm retiring this blog indefinitely. No crisis, no emergency. The status of my bloggin' can be summed up as this:

When I come back like Jordan
Wearin' the 45, it ain't to play games with you
It's to aim at you, probably maim you
If I owe you I'm blowing you to smithereens
Cocksucker take one for your team
And I need you to remember one thing:
I came, I saw, I conquered
From record sales, to sold-out concerts.
So motherfuckers if you want this encore,
I need y'all to scream until your lungs get sore.

(I typed that from memory!)

Bon voyage, mon amis,

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Saga of POSITIVITY!!!

Hi friends.

If any of you were in the vicinity of Wilmington, North Carolina in the past 24 hours, you know what this blog is about. I was just outside, swinging on the squeaky porch swing, thinking I should do my dishes or vacuum or something productive in light of my Mama-san's pending descent on Wednesday, and then I realized, "No goddammit, I am feeling too good and it must be blogged about."

Friends. Friends. I tell you this, and it is true:

I made my hip hop debut last night, to a crowd of some fifty spectators, with three beers in me and a whole heck of gumption.

And it was awesome!!!

The full story is long and indebted to Karlena Janelle, my truest bluest friend of old, with whom I drove the mean streets of Tulsa blasting Jay Z, Busta Rhymes, and Kanye West. We were also searching for animals, but that's irrelevant. And over the course of these many midnight safaris, when we weren't choreographing dances to not very danceable songs, we were learning lyrics, and we were quietly living our deepest lifelong dreams: to be the baddest rappin' bitches who were ever born Caucasian.

Some years later, I am twenty-four years old and have gained accidental notoriety in the Wilmington karaoke circuit, being that white girl who raps. My canon is limited to The Black Album and "Stronger" but, as far as I can tell, nobody gets too sick of it. Meg's mom even sees it when she's in town, and gives me this big ol' hug, and seemed pretty much delighted that it had happened. (As an aside, my friends here all have these amazing alter egos that emerge on karaoke stages - I have never seen more heartfelt, kickass renditions of Elvis, Journey, and R. Kelly as I have from the twentysomethings I go to school with).

So. Every year, the MFA Program holds an "Absurdist" reading, which is basically a fancy front for a talent show. Props are encouraged, as are pyrotechnics. Last year, the reading fell on the heels of the whole Break Up Catastrophe (and lord it was hard not to incorporate some things that rhyme with "jobless dick") and there's a photo of me looking pretty much miserable, slumped over in my hoodie. I look how I felt: fat and unhappy and terrible.

This year, I wanted in.

And it's true; I'm a hog for attention. I never get so patent a rush as when I read, when I'm standing up in front of folks, and they're laughing. Hard as it is to maintain at times, being the designated family comic ("Come on Rachel, say something funny") is something I delight in more than I can say. Truthfully, at its very core, it makes me less sad.

And I did what any good wannabe rapper does: I Googled "how to write a rap."

Around forty thousand collective hours of rehearsing later, mainly in my car and in front of the mirror, my very first rap is firmly branded on my brain. I duct tape letters to the back of a giant hoodie: RACH RICH.

And then it happens. It fucking happens!

Of course, they make me go last. I'm sitting in the front, clutching my knees and vibrating anxiety, as all my peerless peers make their absurd contributions--this, also, after two weeks of thesis readings where I inevitably leave thinking "Goddamn we are a talented bunch." And then, and then, and then--

Hell, look for yourself:

That happened. That was real. That was real life.

And then, yeah, maybe I overdid it in celebrating and woke up on my couch at noon today fully dressed with Pinto's nose one inch from my open mouth, but still. Real life!

I can't name all the amazing things that folks have said to me--and not just "Holy shit" and "Oh my god" and "You did it, you're a rapper" and also "You are the craziest person I know" (okay I made that one up)--but one of my friends hit it on the head.

"You just made a room full of people so happy for five minutes."

And that's it. That's what feels best. You can hear the laughing and the clapping and the badass Mario beat I nicked from YouTube. And everyone stood up and cheered and shook my hand and it was great.

Today, after stumbling around and appeasing Pinto (who was fortunately the sole witness to my collapse on the couch following about ten vodka sodas), Meg texts me: "BREAKFAST?!"

Anyone who went to Hamilton knows there is nothing better than a huge, horrible breakfast on top of a hangover. And so we trucked out to one of Wilmington's bajillion breakfast nooks and ate ourselves silly on eggs and sausage gravy and discussed the beauty of breakfast. For some reason--probably because my body is just so glad to no longer be poisoned with alcohol--I get downright giddy when I'm hungover. It's a nonstop giggle track. And Meg makes me laugh anyway, but I doubled over dead when she said, "I'm feeling very positive today."

Which then results in us driving with the windows down and screaming "POSITIVITY!!!!" out the windows and just reveling and shrieking and butchering every song on the radio, and we drove past Greenfield Lake and whole flock of birds was fluttering and diving and the sky was so blue and the air was so warm and the clouds were huge and white and it was more than positivity, it was being young and loved and alive and so, so glad. A literal jolt of happiness.

And then we went to the dog park, and you all know my feelings on the dog park, and how they are the best place ever. And Pinto cavorted and charged and made friends, and there were little puppies tussling and getting dirty, and we didn't get back to our usual lives until six p.m., but it was still bright out and Pinto fell asleep in my bed and then I posted the video on Facebook and I'm waiting to go viral. No, not really. Okay kind of.

My mom always used to say she never kept a journal because she only felt like writing when things were bad. That's true. But it's also true that I am so motherfucking up right now, so good with everything, that it had to be written down.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Saga of You.

Let me tell you my favorite joke.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
The chicken.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
To see you.

And now, some housekeeping.

First and foremost there is an impeccable unbelievable and hugely hummable song called "Keep House" that these fellows I know, alias Ball of Flame Shoot Fire, released on their second LP, Pots and Knives, which you can actually download fo' free! JUST GO HERE RIGHT NOW ALL CAPS YOU WON'T REGRET IT.

Did this blog go AWOL? Yes. Is there a reason for that? Not really. I think I tried to sit down and be cavalier and witty and charming and vivacious but it just wasn't happening. Though, of course, now that I think about what's happened since last we spoke, ye readers, there's been plenty of wonderful, but it's documented in truer forms like photographs. But, since you asked, here are highlights:

The epic vacation to the western shores was both miraculous and disastrous and everything in between. My mother and I nearly died in Tennessee courtesy of some very icy roads, my mother's hell-bent determination paired with my epic fatigue, a cousin's house in a very beautiful but utterly remote part of the state, and more ice. Lord but I loathe ice. After much skidding and sliding and being all of twelve inches from a fifty foot drop into a river, we gave up and spent one sad and frigid evening in my cousin's car. The upside of all of this was Pinto, of course, who dealt with the whole debacle like the true and utter champion he is, and also kindly slept on my lap all night and kept me toasty.

As for Seattle itself, it was scenic and relaxing and delicious. I think everything I ate had some variety of crab within it, most notably crab mac n cheese and crab eggs benedict. We stayed in some swanky digs on a quiet little island full of dogs and alpacas, and though Matthew and I both got hideously ill (me from eating decadent foods after a semester of the grad-school diet), we had a wondrous time.

Rang in New Year's with the Riggs and my pajamas and a sparkly dress and Toy Story 3 and a gay bar. Fair enough.

I had a birthday. I wore a nice dress and rapped karaoke and ate Jimmy John's alone. Fair enough.

And now it's Spring Break. And while others are in Acapulco or just Atlanta, reveling in their days of freedom, I am, well, not. Call it a pity party, as they're my favorite things to attend.

To be blunt: It's not so easy being this alone.

And I don't mean alone as in single, and I don't mean alone as in 20 hours east of Tulsa and 10 hours south of New York City, aka where everyone I've ever known in the past 24 years happens to be. It's a little of both, yes, but it's just as much a matter of my mind as it is a matter of maps.

You know when you make a bad decision--and I don't mean life-altering bad, I just mean not too smart, like, say, having that fourth drink or watching Hoarders instead of doing your homework--and you don't reap any rewards from it? Or if you'd made the right choice, and there's still no rewards? You'll still have a hangover. You'll still be stuck doing homework. This kind of bind--how there is no good, right answer--I know it's not very articulate of me (blame the bourbon) but I feel like that often. Squeezed. Stuck.

As in, how do you go about making friends when you have very little that's interesting to say because you've spent most of the day wondering how to make friends? And how do you have a conversation when you can't think of anything to say? And when what you say will be interpreted in the same way it always is by the people you do know, and when you are certain that this will also not last, and is untrue, and there's some reason, secret and inaccessible as it is, that you are so often by yourself?

As in, the one constant factor in all your problems is you.

Reading that, I can see both how it's completely irrational and also how much ugly sense it makes.

There are only so many baths a person can take in one day. There's also only so many hours of reading, or sleeping, or walking, nice, solitary activities, before a person begins to get only slightly anxious and realize she is just one of so many billions, and then, if so, so what?

(And you have to know, darlings reading this, that godamighty I wish I did not think this way. That I'd be so glad to be able to simply be glad. It might make good blog fodder but I'd trade a lot to be able to write a blog that was less "I woke up and had an existential crisis" and more "I went shopping!!!! I made pierogies!!! I set my oven on fire OMG LOL!!!!" (I did set my oven on fire making pierogies, and it was actually pretty funny, but what kind of thesis is that?! I kid, I kid.). )

Hence the appeal of anonymity, of going to bars alone and assuming identities of omission. No, I haven't been putting on wigs and calling myself Natasha, but there is something so freakishly refreshing about pulling up a stool and knowing whoever this person is who's asking what's my poison has no idea I'm far too often romping around in my own head, or that I'd rather watch The Third Man than any rom-com ever, or that I see a therapist and will probably forever, or that I lost 50 pounds or that I am a published author or that or that or that. Anything.

I auditioned for Amadeus in, I'll admit, a desperate attempt to meet people. Okay, maybe I also want to wear period costumes and powdered wigs and I kind of love that movie, but I walked into the audition and the scrutiny was equal parts humiliating and enthralling. I'm standing there and they have no idea how late I slept or how badly my floor needs vacuuming; they see a short blond girl in a green dress with poor posture but a nice voice. Rehearsals start Monday. I'm going to make sure they're doing it 19th century Vienna style, elsewise I'm out of there.

I went to a bar alone and ended the night not alone, and it was remarkable. My therapist did not think so, and maybe you don't either, but to me, it was a kind of triumph. And pretty fun, considering.

I walked down the street today, having had just an ugly day, just a day when it's so hard to see the blue sky and feel the nice breeze, and where every little bit feels monumentally challenging--I sat and looked out the window at a man and his Rottweiler puppy in the parking lot and just cried--and some balding man on the corner says "Nice get-up you got on today. Lookin' good." Sure, it was weird and not exactly welcome, but still - does he know I've been crying all day? Does he see an ambling wreck, beelining towards the isolation of my own home where I can lock the doors and pour a drink and be in peace? No. He sees a young lady in a dress and boots who probably has a date tonight, who has lots of friends, who he wouldn't mind buying a drink for.

It's the photograph-mirror conundrum. I look at myself in the mirror and think "Jesus, Rachel, really?" Then I see a photograph of myself--it has to be a photo I didn't take--and think "Holy shit! Damn, girl! Them jeans look good!" It makes no sense. It's still me in both of them, but because it's me, my eyes, looking at me, it's hideous.

Maybe I will invent the equivalent of beer goggles for a mirror?

And now you are weary of reading of my madly narcissistic ramblings (I know, I know, I apologize), but I write these things as much for myself as anybody. And I think what I know now is this: that I am one of billions, yes, and maybe that makes me small and scared. And maybe to me I am also small and expendable. But there are billions out there, and hundreds in this town, who I could be somebody to--and I don't mean idolaters or boyfriends or hookups--but simply someone.

I will open more doors. I will stop and talk to more small children as I'm walking Pinto (and lord knows, if I'm somebody to anybody, I am the sun and moon and stars to that beloved beast, as is he to me). I was smoking on the plaza today and a guy across the way was doing his homework. Two policemen on horseback rode through, huge and loud and clopping and so very surreal. The guy and I looked at each other, looked at the horses, and had to laugh.

More of that, I think. Yes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Saga of Too Many Sagas.

Friends and followers (all FIFTEEN OF YOU!!), I bring you, unabridged and undiluted and only marginally exaggerated for humor and readability, the thesis of the past twelve months. Otherwise known as The Year in Review. No gimmicks; no sorting by alphabet. No month-by-month rundown. Simply this:

Dear 2010, You Fucking Sucked. Good Riddance. Love, Rachel.

This could have been the Saga of D part Whatever Number We're On, but it would have been all the old bads (the Dumped, Depressed, DUI) and then some (the Dogshit my neighbor put on my windshield - I kid you not. Bitches be crazy).

But I'd like instead to say this. I left the radio station today, after accidentally interrupting the President (our breaks are prerecorded and broadcast on automation, so out of nowhere, when Mr. Obama decides to monopolize the NPR airwaves for some press conference or whatever, my chirpy little radio voice cuts in at 2:39 as per the schedule and Barack is midsentence and I am all "Sunny skies this afternoon! Wind chill! Talk of the Nation! Who cares about Obama listen to me!!!"), and decided I needed more sweaters. And so I tromped out to the Goodwill and navigated the wild road design that is Carolina Beach and did not feel guilty about not attending immediately to my young beast because I looked away for like 2 seconds this morning and next thing I know my brand new (albeit Wal-Mart) shoes were essentially demolished. (But then I scolded him and made him go in his crate to think about what he'd done and when he came out he was about the most sheepish and lovable creature ever birthed and so I forgave him.)

So. I am in the thrift store, and I am, as usual, grabbing way too many things off the racks--though now I actually look at the tag, which is to say that while I still shop at thrift stores, the days of old-man-polyester pants and ironic State Fair t-shirts are long gone--and trying them on and long story short, I spent $30.

At the Goodwill, $30 means this: two Banana Republic sweaters, a Coldwater Creek cardigan, a Gap turtleneck, a lined blazer, a cowboy shirt that's dry clean only, a Loft cardigan, and--wait for it--a little black Calvin Klein dress.

The point is not that I have become incredibly shallow and brand name obsessed (at least not wittingly). The point is that I can wear these things, and I look fucking good in them, because that's what I did this year - I changed. I dropped 45 fucking pounds. I did that.

The sheer colossus of what happened in my life in 2010 gives me vertigo, and yes, this has probably been the unluckiest year of my life. But then I think how I could still be compromising my happiness and living with an insincere individual who I only stayed with because he purported to love me, and, because I did not love myself at all, that was enough to put up with unspeakable amounts of bullshit. I could still be as miserable as I was with him, and still suffering through how wrong we were together just because I was too afraid to be alone.

And then I think that yes, I now have a DUI, I am now a felon in the eyes of Canada (though who cares--sorry, Meg), but I could still be drinking myself stupid with alarming regularity and blithely getting behind the wheel to procure a Big Mac from the other side of town--and maybe I would have ultimately sobered up and realized what a dipshit I was being without any ill consequences, but I feel like it's a heck of a lot more likely that what did eventually happen--my crying in the cop car, being handcuffed to a wall--would have happened in a much uglier way. A car-wrecking, pedestrian-hitting, serious jail time kind of way.

I go to my new therapist now and think, goddammit. I don't want to be this way anymore. I wish I'd never started this whole treatment business. It's annoying. I doubt seeking psychiatric help will ever not be annoying. But at least now I know what's wrong with me. I am not intrinsically bad, as I thought during high school. I am not innately hideous, as I thought all through college. I just have a lot of bad, hideous habits that have royally tampered with how I live my life.

The sum of all of this: I'm changing, and it's for the better.

Plus--and you know you couldn't read an entire blog post without my mentioning him--2010 was the year of Pinto. I cannot believe--literally, I'm trying and I physically cannot believe--that this time last year there was no dog in my life. I was working at the mall, Rob was working at Inclinix, and I'm pretty sure we spent most of our time avoiding one another and, at least on my part, looking forward to going home so I get away from him for a whole month. Which led to a lot of hiding in my childhood closet and weeping when I did finally get home, then going out drinking myself stupid, then reading to distract myself from how fucking awful everything had become.

And now? Now I am decreeing 2011 the Year of No Badness. This will be the year I finish my novel; the year I knock off another 10 pounds and keep them off; the year I make sure my rug is usually vacuumed.

I didn't want to write a month-by-month synopsis of 2010 because I knew I'd realized how much the good outweighed the bad. When you line up the days, there were really only about 10 that authentically sucked from start to finish, versus this, which I'd like to call: Okay 201o I Take It Back You Kind of Kicked Ass Too.

Karlena Janelle Riggs, aka The Love of My Life, visited me twice. Twice! And on one of those trips, we went to Universal Studios, and we rode like a hundred roller coasters, and then we got drunk and road more roller coasters, and it was so unfathomably glorious I am kind of dancing in my seat right now. And--and!--let it be known that she not only drove from Oklahoma to see me, she also brought me QuikTrip, which is actually the most wonderful thing anybody may have ever done for me.

All summer long, actually, my house was full, even though its previous tenant was the reason I needed so many folks around in the first place (AKA IT'S HARD TO BE ALONE WHEN YOU WERE SO BRUTALLY DUMPED). My mom came and we went to Wal-Mart actually every single day. My dad came and we ate oysters every day. My brother came and we ran with Pinto on the beach! Or he ran with Pinto and I just stood by and cheered.

I worked at the Census, and though it was probably the most ridiculous work environment ever, it was also far and away the most fun. I worked on campus, and then I made the only smart decision I may have ever made and quit. I work at the radio station--yes, I, and I'm saying this more to myself than any of you, little old me who used to sit in her bedroom as a wee bowl-cut-bearing child and sing into a microphone to make Rachel Radio, is now a bona fide radio announcer. At a real radio station. I mean--I interrupted the president today!

And I went to Maine. And I emceed a bluegrass festival. And I wrote--I wrote stories and I wrote essays and I wrote some of this novel and I wrote letters and I wrote this blog. I won some awards. I read some books. And I somehow made some of the truest bluest friends who have a porch and like when I'm on it. And I moved from a shithole of a townhouse where we parked in spaces to an ancient enormous downtown apartment where I listen to the noise of playgrounds every morning and where right now the fireplace is burning and my beast is chomping on a bone and my walls are green and covered in photographs that prove how loved I am and how incredible my life has been--there's a picture of Annie covered in snow in Sweden beside a picture of my brother in Cooperstown beside a photo of my mother at Bald Head Island, Karli at Village Inn, my father in our kitchen, the girls at Senior Formal, Dogs in the Back, the Reisenrad, the Rockies, the Big Blue Whale of Catoosa.

You can call it sentimental, but I took all of those photos.

My moms is coming out to see me on Sunday, and then we're loading up my Toyota and driving to Oklahoma. Pinto will be in the backseat, possibly on Benadryll. And the Sunday after, we'll be flying to Seattle, where we're having Christmas on an island, and then we're flying back to Oklahoma and I'll ring in the new year in the heartland of my own heart, and then I'll drive back to North Carolina with Pinto in the backseat, possibly on Benadryll.

That's a pretty dizzying itinerary, but I think it's in keeping with the year itself. I want as many miles between me and 2010 as possible; as many miles to show how many I've come.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Saga of Lessons.

Otherwise known as the Saga of D, part two.

The thing about Depression-with-a-capital-D, which, in my modest view, means you take pills, you see doctors, your life is adversely affected beyond feeling gloomy, is just that: you take pills, you see doctors, your life is adversely affected. It's a disease, an affliction, a condition. Point being, I'm sick, and I always will be sick--and fortunately it's manageable, but the mere managing can be just as rough.

Here's a slew of similes for you to chew up: it's like mono. Mono never goes away, but you don't wake up with a sore throat every day. It's like diabetes; you have to monitor yourself. It's like epilepsy because you have fits.

And when those fits occur--and they will--there's very little you can do except cram a spoon between your teeth and hope you don't swallow your tongue.

Some more bad similes: it's a rip tide because you can't fight it. It's like quicksand in the same way. And it's like vomiting, because you medically can't not vomit--there's no such thing as kind of vomiting (at least according to the sagely Dr. Snickerdoodle, otherwise known as brother-in-med-school). You're either hurling your guts up or you're not.

What this looks like to a depressed person is this: uncontrollable crying. Feeling about as fragile as the proverbial eggshell. Not being able to move. Thoughts that yell at each other to a pitch that becomes sheer noise, and logic that whirls--because you've trained your brain to do this, and you can teach yourself otherwise, but there will still be days that you forget all your lessons and regress.

When you're trying to get over an infection or a cold, you wake up and check your vitals: throat sore? nose clogged? aches?

When you're living depressed, you do the same, only you think: can I do this today? And this is simply getting out of bed. Then problems create problems--you sleep through work, your boss chides you, you're overly sensitive so a totally justified criticism becomes a personal attack, which you deserve--or so you think, because you think so insanely little of yourself that you deserve all the shit the world can dish out and then some--because you are a terrible person and wasting everyone's oxygen and nobody actually likes you, it's a vast conspiracy of politeness, and really, what's the point anyway, you've fucked it up all beyond all hope of repair anyway but dying is too tough so just go back to bed and stay there.

Pretty much every day this past week has been like this for me.

I'm hollering because last night, when the police man asked me from the other side of the glass if I had any conditions, I told him I was depressed.

And he said, "Aren't we all," and kept on with his paperwork.

So there's two lessons for you and a thousand for me in this. The first is that depression sucks, it's ugly, it's unavoidable, and cavalierly suggesting to a hysterical girl who's handcuffed to a wall that everyone is depressed isn't just a bad idea, it's plain wrong. I'm not asking for sympathy or pity or even understanding. I know that I fought a diagnosis forever because we have some collective myth that equates the word depression with simply feeling bad, and anyone worth their snuff can dig out of their own hole, right? "I'm depressed" means "I'm feeling sorry for myself and having a crummy day."

False, says I!

The second is this, and if I ever wanted to use this blog as a platform, now's the time--though I debated for a long while whether publicizing this would have any other benefit besides consoling me (because if it's an anecdote it's no longer a tragedy, right!?)--but hell's bells, here goes.

Don't drink and drive.

(So many d's!)

I was not drunk. I'd had three beers. I've been drunk before, and this was not it. But I also had an expired registration and a busted headlight and a lead foot on the gas pedal because a certain beast had neither had his dinner nor been let out to pee in about, oh, ten hours.

I have been crying so much lately that when the officer's car lights started blinking, I was dry-eyed. As I was when he made me walk and count and balance on one fucking foot and breathalyzed me, again, all of a block and a half from my front door.

When he handcuffed me in the passenger seat of the cruiser, though, it started, and continued all the way to the station, where I was walked into a plain and terrible room. He sat me on a stool. He asked if I was right or left handed.

"Right," I said, and he hooked my left wrist to the wall.

And it kept going as I exhausted every number in my phone searching for the one sober soul in Wilmington still awake at 2:30 who could come sign me out and take my pathetic ass home.

To say it took forever was an understatement, but you know all the cliches: the chummy other cops, "how're the wife n' kids" as you're sitting there, humiliated beyond belief, shocked, any buzz you may have had evaporated, and the slow paperwork, the ambling, all while you're sitting there with your hand stuck to the wall.

And I was angry and shocked and decidedly unhappy and thinking psychotic thoughts, but I kept quiet, and after eight hundred years and seventeen months and a few hours more, they let me go.

Even though my license is gone for at least a month and I've got attorney bills to pay, there were a lot of miracles in the whole mess. I called everyone--my friends, my co-workers, my boss--and, in my catastrophizing mind thought I'm going to have to sleep in jail because I have no friends. But, of course, this is crazy person thinking, and not only was my sober signer there, but also the girl I'd gotten in touch with who got in touch with her and--and!--another friend who'd called the station back and somehow deduced that Little Rachel was in the slammer.

In short, they came through, and there was a fucking committee of friendship standing outside in the cold waiting for me. Not only did they save me the unforgettable shame that would've been my boss driving me home (he would have, I know, but thank god the old fart was asleep), but it made me realize what a hugely distorted conclusion I'd made earlier. You don't stand in the cold in the middle of nowhere dealing with jackass law enforcers out of simple courtesy. That's just fact.

But this is the bigger one and the one you should pay attention to: I was two blocks from my house. I felt in control. My car is intact--albeit two blocks away--and my scarred psyche and your waning attention span are the only casualties of this whole shitshow.

It could have very, very easily been otherwise.

Which was what my family kept repeating when I broke the news today, all of them knowing that I'm gonna give myself more hell than the three of them combined could: no one was hurt. And we all know--you and me and my folks and everybody else--that there have been too many times when I was in worse states and didn't get caught. It's miraculous that when I did, it was last night, after three innocent beers and not, oh, say, nights of whiskey. And you've had them too.

Are you paying attention so far? Here's what we've learned: a) depression is a bitch. b) don't steer after beer. (I just came up with that!)

Here's what I learned:

Three beers is what I would have once called a nice, semi-buzzed limit. Three beers used to work when I was 45 pounds heavier, but also when I hadn't forgone dinner and slept til three out of paralyzing misery and wasn't, well, sick.

I have got to start taking care of myself. I know, if I'd eaten, that little number on the breathalyzer screen would have been lower. And it wasn't self-denial, it's not anorexia--I just didn't eat. My doctor told me this: "You don't have an eating disorder, but your eating is certainly disordered."

And that's true--and so is my laundry, and my sleeping habits, and how I write, and just about everything.

Another D, Disorder. And another: Determined, as in how I am about how I've got to go on--harder, better, faster, stronger!

Both my parents told me, at the utmost least, it'd make a good story. I hope so.

Go forth, young readers, and be sober and mobile! May you learn from my mistakes. And may you also please give me a ride.