I collect journals, notepads and blank books the way Imelda Marcos stockpiled shoes. My ex once suggested I suffered from a Need-Another-Notebook fetish. I have tons of them stashed in various places so that I’m sure to spread my thoughts thin. I often have two in my purse, a few on my bookshelf, and one by my bed.
Last Wednesday night—while I was hovering in that one foot wide awake and one foot in slumberland state—I had a fill in the blank sentence form in my mind. I grabbed my pen and wrote: The first time I ______________, I was _______________. It was the middle of another week as a member of the great unemployed; the blank possibilities were endless, but the one thought that kept recurring was ‘The first time I knew fear, I was five.’
Sigh no more, labourer, sigh no more. Let me clarify my current state: I have three jobs, yet no work. I am an ESL supply teacher, a medical receptionist and an office temp. Hey, nonny nonny. I understand there are no guarantees in life; as the daughter of a woman with severe, treatment-resistant schizophrenia, my earliest beliefs about the world were skewed: I could conceive of Medea’s motivation before I could grasp the all-encompassing love of motherhood. Growing up with the chaos of psychosis meant there were many days when the effort to remain calm was a Sisyphean feat. I failed more often than I succeeded.
Members of my family have been hospitalized due to my mother’s actions, a direct result of her brain disorder. Times like those, there is no point in giving me the tired (not a typo) and true “Hate the illness, don’t hate the individual” spiel. Truth be told, there were days I spat on both.
Even with his comforting presence and nurturing advice, last week was lost to a fog of fear. This week, I'm getting back on the Live Like Julia train.
Next stop, Amusement City. Climb aboard!