Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Polly-Who?

It’s been a long time. I would love to say it was because I was busy being fabulous or shepherding a burgeoning career along. Anyone who has been with me from the start will know I had a fairly Pollyanna outlook on life and my career potential as a writer. My tagline: ‘for the naive and hopeful’ pretty much says it all. As the years passed by I’ve lived a sort of Hollywood-adjacent life. After a while, I didn’t have a very Pollyanna outlook anymore.

I recently spoke with an eternally optimistic friend about life in general. He shared how great life was going for him and I was genuinely relieved. It felt so nice to hear about good stuff happening for a good person. When I replied with my laundry list of life he said “Jesus, how do you get out of bed in the morning?” It finally dawned on me: it’s not just me being whiny. I’ve had a shit-pile of a year and since that's what is, that’s what I’m going to write. I promise not to be morose or self-pitying (as much as I can). I will look for the humor and snark whereever I can. I’ll look for the lesson and the growth.

I’m going to start with the hard stuff: my mother is entering hospice care in a few weeks. My family is braced for that end and dealing with the emotional roller coaster as it comes. How does one go about saying goodbye to the person who gave you life? My father is aging and it’s not easy to watch. He forgets our wonderful, long conversations and chastises me for never calling. He is in a world of pain of his own making I cannot seem to reach or help him out of.

My husband and I live in a dark, noisy condo with a crazy shut-in for a next door neighbor who verbally assaulted and threatened me for the fact that my husband and I apparently spend our free time standing outside her door meowing to try to make her dog bark. Really? (Yes, I see the comedy potential there and I DID get to make my first police report so that was exciting.)

That same neighbor led the charge against us this year when we got a new puppy who had severe separation anxiety. In the end, we were forced to return to the shelter a beautiful dog who could have been a great family member given enough time and training. His loss ripped open the scab that was still fresh from losing my beloved Simon last year.

I do rewarding, important non-profit work that doesn’t pay much. It occupies my scant waking hours. I do the job of at least two people and am never able to get ahead of my to-do list or do the outreach I need to do in order for our organization to thrive. I spent a good chunk of time this year dealing with a vengeful idiot who was more interested in being right (though she was wrong) than in taking responsibility for herself. She, more than anyone this year, made me lose faith in humanity.

Underscoring everything is the fact that I’ve been sick for the better part of two years with what has generically been dismissed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I’ve been poked and prodded by every specialist imaginable. I’ve been told I have cancer several times only to have the tests show nothing of the sort. (An “I’m sorry about the C word” would have been nice, Docs.) Most days I cannot function for more than four or five-hour chunks in between which I have to sleep. If I don’t, my body shuts down as in seriously: I crashed my car one day because I pushed too hard past shut-down.

I pretend that I am fine most of the time and people get irritated that I cannot be productive like I used to. They have no idea that it’s a struggle to be awake and that I can’t remember what I promised to do for them last week unless I wrote it down. Aside from the deep circles under my eyes, I don’t look sick so it’s hard when I find myself in the awkward position of convincing someone I am and not just making excuses for having neglected that to-do item. It has brought home to me the Philo of Alexandria quote that a friend signs her emails with: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

Then there’s my life’s mission. To write. I don’t write anymore. Except for two weeks in the summer when we go on vacation, my life is absorbed by these duties, dramas and disappointments. I came here to write and I don’t. That, more than anything, breaks my heart.

When I did write something, it was stolen from me and produced without crediting me. Someone I’d known it was a mistake to trust had lied to me and I hadn’t seen it coming.

When I look at it all in a pile like this, it seems to be a year soaked in tears and heavy sighs. To put it succinctly, I can’t do another year like this.

So I am pulling myself out. My blog header used to say something about believing in the dream and the day I couldn’t say that anymore would be the day I’d pack up and leave. By all accounts I should have left by now. But I am choosing to stay. I don’t know why, really, except maybe force of habit. Maybe there is a tiny speck of me that does still believe.

I am working with a new doctor now who finally has me on a road to recovery. My mother’s hospice is twenty minutes from me so I will get to spend many more hours exploring the mystery of life with her. I have a beautiful new niece who reminds me of life’s joy every time I see her. I have some wonderful new friends of wisdom and integrity and am slowly culling the crazies out of my life. I have some wonderful old friends who’ve stood by me. I see my daily work rewarded in the smiles of my students who find their power and live better lives because of me. Despite my best efforts, I find myself married to a lovely man who adores me and makes my days warm and safe. Together we run a screenwriting intensive in Tuscany in the summers and being in Italy yearly feeds my soul.

And I’m writing again. I have a wonderful new creative partner and there are interesting things brewing for us. I’m thrilled to have the energy and will to sit and write this right now. I may be a little rusty. But I am making a commitment to be back in the blogosphere for 2012 – this month marks the seventh anniversary of this blog. It’s going to be a strange, heart-breaking, wonderful ride. I hope you will take it with me.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Wzzy said...

Everything that's gone before has brought you to where you are today. Kick ass, take names, and above all KEEP WRITING! xo

10:03 AM  

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