- 1:31 p.m.
Looking for my funny.
Have you seen it?
Since the last time I reallyreally updated, I’ve done the following:
FALLEN off the “NO DIET COKE” wagon (again… then, again).
BITTEN all my nails off (yeah, I was so proud of them, too)
FIRED my trainer (that’s a good story)
Been aided and supported, as always, by my AMAZINGLY PATIENT
Lather, rinse, repeat.
So….I’m writing this now, just moments after my weekly PHONE-
THERAPY because my THERAPIST (ISH) demanded, no requested.. wait, demanded that I do so.
She’s big on assignments, major homework assignments—especially to writers who can’t/won’t/aren’t writing due to, among other things, OVERWHELMING DEPRESSION(ish). So, I was ordered—wait, instructed to “go write in that diary of yours”. Tell them what’s been going on. Share something. Reach out.
So.. yeah, this is me… sharing and reaching out.
(pause while I nibble at what’s left of my right thumb nail).
So…I decided to try and express SOMETHING about my most recent (and most painful) DIET COKE RELAPSE which occurred RIGHT AFTER my Sister’s 2nd Suicide attempt a few weeks ago.
I’m so very sorry that THE FUNNY ain’t really there, just mostly the hurt, but I guess I’m wanting to show you all some of THAT right now, for whatever reason… mostly because I can’t really FAKE the FUNNY… and this is what I’m filled with right now.
It’s REAL for me, you guys.
"Just before our love got lost you said
"I am as constant as a northern star" And I said,
"Constantly in the darkness Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar"
Oh you’re in my blood like holy wine.
Oh and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
And still be on my feet
I'd still be on my feet
(“A Case of You” Joni Mitchell)
I am an addict.
I am a failure at stopping a bad habit.
I’m a cheater.
I cheat because if I’m cheating, I’m doing something wrong, and if you do something wrong it’s okay to feel bad about yourself. I do it so I can justify feeling bad about myself.
I used to get a high from it.
Now I just hate myself afterwards, almost immediately.
Almost immediate hate is pretty good. Maybe it’s just that THIS.. this failure gives the self-hate/disappointment a place to land. Something to pin it on. An embodiment. The rest of the time it probably just sits somewhere inside me, like an idling plane, lined up at the airport, waiting for it’s signal to take off. I am the airplane, the pilot, the air-traffic controller, the fidgety toddler in row 16 AND the seat cushion, which becomes a flotation device… all rolled into one.
One day, a few years ago… I became terribly depressed after a GIANT BINGE on DIET COKES. Too many in one day… the next day I was caught under an avalanche of caffeine-overdose and sadness. I was despondent. I was literally FILLED with DARKNESS instead of DIET COKE. I realized that I needed to take a step back from the dangerous liquid.
I went through WITHDRAWLS and HEADACHES.. but came through the other side… caffeine free and big gulp-less.
As time passed, I went back to it.
I don’t even remember how or why.
I just did it.
No big hoopla or thought. Just did.
And… back then I still enjoyed it.
It was an enjoyable beverage that I obviously enjoyed.
DIET COKES in GIANT WHITE STYROFOAM CUPS with NO LOGO.
GIANT WHITE CUPS from the cafeteria at St. Josephs Hospital as my grandmother was dying. One Giant White Logo-less Styrofoam cup after the other. Filling my empty insides with caffeine. Trying to fill some whole. Some HOLE.
I gave it up again. Stayed off for a while, then went back on.
Around that time, it became SO MUCH ABOUT THE RITUAL.
Leaving my desk, leaving the writing…
Getting in the car.
Driving to a 7-11.
Walking in, seeing people buying lotto tickets, gum, chili-dogs and pantyhose… and me, there for one thing: DIET COKE BIG GULP.
I would seriously approach the BEVERAGE DISPENSER as if it were an altar. I’d select either the 32 or 48 oz cup (and on rare occasion the 64ouncer, but usually there was TOO MUCH SHAME involved with that size, so I’d stick with the more socially acceptable sizes).
After pulling the cup out of the dispenser, I’d step back. I’d take in the whole scene. The DISPENSER with all its selections (fanta orange? Mountain dew? Please… gimme a break).
I’d press the cup up against the metal plate that activates the ice cubes. It had to be the perfect mixture of 1/2 ICE, 1/2 LIQUID LOVE (diet coke).
Sometimes I’d even fill it with 1/3 ICE, then move the cup under the DIET COKE LOGO’D NOZZLE and begin the filling. Watching the carbonation… sometimes having a bit of it spray on me, tiny brown pieces of DIET COKE DNA… proof that I’d been there…and been apart of it. I’d stop, put in more ice, making the ratio perfect, then top it off with more liquid. I’d step back, find the proper sized lid (not always easy), pull an extra long, neon-colored straw from it’s area—tap, tap, tap the paper sleeve off and gently insert the straw into the little opening in the lid. It was slightly sexual, I think.
I’d take a deep breath, then a long sip.
Pure, rush of adrenaline perfection.
And then… once again, realizing… being told how TERRIBLE the chemicals were for me… I went off of it again. I had success staying off of it.
I had a good long period of NO DIET COKE…and then a few months ago, I broke it. I broke it and FILLED MYSELF with DIET COKE… and it still felt good. I felt the rush. The rush, followed by the guilt.. but, the rush… definitely the rush first.
The last time… this last time…THERE WAS NO RUSH. None. Just guilt and sadness and anger and disappointment and self-hatred and more anger and even more sadness. Trying to fill the place that was so sad.. so sad for myself… and so veryvery sad for my “almost-killed-herself-sister”.
It’s as if I’ve found a way to BEAT MYSELF UP without leaving scars or attracting too much attention.
THAT last time I did it, it was so sad.
All about sad.
I walked into the 7-11 and didn’t even notice any of the other people inside the store. I walked over, grabbed the cup, filled it with ICE… almost to the top… watching each cube of ICE drop into the cup, feeling like each of those cubes of ice might as well be rocks.. rocks that I was throwing at myself… throwing them at myself and calling myself a FUCKING LOSER while throwing them at myself. Schoolyard bullying myself with the ice cubes and the liquid and the failure.
I aggressively, almost violently shoved the cup under the Nozzle labeled DIET COKE … almost NOT EVEN CARING how much got into the cup…due to the overflow of ice. It was the fact that I was going through the motions of filling my cup with the liquid. Losing my battle. Quitting. Cheating. Failing. Loser.
I grabbed a lid and a straw. I paid the cashier. I went to the car and jabbed the straw into the opening, seated right out in front of the 7-11, with customers coming and going… and I took a deep, sad sip.
Nothing. No buzz. Just a cool liquid entering my throat. No rush… no rush of energy or excitement. Only a rush of total and complete sadness and failure. A giant, 32-ounce serving of the reality that I was a FAILURE. A loser. A quitter. A relapser who was powerless over her addiction to caffeine and powerless over the pain and powerless over rescuing her family members from their troubled lives.
If I could have driven off of a cliff at that point, with no consequences.. if there was NO ONE that would be hurt by my actions (other than myself) I would have done it… I would have done it to end the fucking cycle. Cycle of Failure. Cycle of not-finishing. Cycle of not doing. Cycle of inability to fix things and make it all right in the world.
I once thought that I was powered by diet coke… that I did my best writing when HIGH on diet coke. I didn’t think I could write anything or be creative without it. I’d sit at my desk with that red and white cup and sip and write or sip and be funny or sip and create.
Now I realize that I USE Diet Coke to punish myself for the things I can’t do. A constant reminder.
Never again a refreshing beverage.
Xoxo more soon.