The Luxury of Laughter

The Saturday Night Live episode right after September 11th featured Rudy Giuliani. In it, the cast asked him, “is it okay to be funny?” Completely deadpan, he looks at the camera and says, “why start now?” The crowd just breaks up, and I thought of it today as I was eating a late lunch and contemplating my next steps in terms of career ladder and home life.

Lately, my writing has been about my mourning process in the wake of losing both Argo and Dana simultaneously as our toxic triangle caught on fire, hot as a funeral pyre in the middle of a battlefield… just thermonuclear war as all of us knew we were going down. My thought process is different than theirs, because I know that even though all of us have stuff to own in the fight, I threw the first match. It’s taking longer to get over that fact than anything else. I beat myself up quite handily; I’m good at it, too. At night the “if onlys” eat me alive. I take medication to sleep because if I don’t, my mind will wander down every fight we ever had and it’ll be 3:00 AM before I finally succumb… which is not good, because I like to be up by 5:00. There’s a quiet to the morning, before everyone wakes up… a stillness only present when the “the moon has gone down and the sun has come up.” It is the point at which I feel the most hopeful for my future and for the future of St. James and All Sinners, the religious organization that I will die trying to build.

I feel that because I trashed my relationships with both Argo and Dana at a time when I needed them more and not less, the only answer is for me to pour my energy into creating something lasting, a legacy made in honor of the gifts they gave me because I can’t go back and undo anything. Diana Gabaldon has a great scene in the Outlander series (don’t remember which book because I am currently inhaling them) where Jem is responsible for making sure that the chickens are safely in their coop at night. He forgets, and a wolf destroys them. Jamie’s response is that “nothing will ever bring back what was lost- all you can do is feel like you’ve paid for it.” That is where I am today. Nothing will ever bring back what was lost. All I can do is feel like I’ve paid their kindnesses forward and forgiven their mistakes…. which, in theory, will allow me to forgive myself.

Taking responsibility for what I have done has given me a little more compartmentalization. I realized it was okay to be funny again. I don’t have to mourn all day, every day, as much as my brain leans into it. I am finally arriving at some modicum of peace with myself, because I have a plan of action and am past the stage where all I can manage is getting up, getting dressed, and going to look for work. I mean, that is something, but after that, I just come home and collapse. There’s been no room for fun. I haven’t made it, with the exception of having dinner with Pri Diddy and Elena the other night. We broke out a bottle of Old Overholt and just sat around and talked- my favorite entertainment because Pri Diddy is into self-actualization and I… well, I’m getting there. Mostly thanks to her help.

I have a psych appointment on the 28th, which I don’t know if I’m looking forward to or not. Getting to know a new psychiatrist can either be amazing or horrifying, depending on which doctor you get. Some like to do med checks only. Some do integrative care- therapy and meds. It’s a crapshoot as to which one you’re going to get, and there’s always the chance that your doctor will look at your protocol and call your last doctor a quack. That’s happened to me, too, and my general response to that is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The meds I’ve been given since I was hospitalized work great- the gabapentin was a smart move. I thought there was nothing I could do about my anger issues, and I’m just not able to get rattled like that anymore. That’s because my idea of threat has gone way, way down.

Part of the threat to me was e-mail only with Argo, because there were so many times that because I couldn’t hear her tone of voice (she’s pretty succinct, anyway), I thought she was getting snippy and she wasn’t. She’s just not as touchy-feely as me and I didn’t allow for the differences in our personalities. I’d just get pissed and fly off the handle. If I had everything to do over again, I would have called her. I would have Skyped her. I would have done something to get a feel for her real personality instead of trying to infer it all. However, if you think that picking up the telephone was easy for me, you really haven’t been reading that long. In fact, it took gathering up every bit of strength I had just to send her a voice mail attached to an e-mail. As I have said before, I am a lot bigger on the page. I didn’t want her to hear me that small. I just knew for sure she’d had a bad day, and I wanted to give her real comfort instead of just typing in black and white.

To date, I have never heard her voice. We talked about talking, and yet, it just didn’t happen. Mostly because it got weird relatively fast. Our brains connected, and my emotions weren’t far behind. As you can imagine, it did not go well for me.

Still sitting on that one… working it out… mulling it over…………………….. praying on the spaces.

But at least now I allow myself to be funny.

It’s a start.


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