One day I’ll take my eyes off the rearview mirror

May 30, 2006

I was all set to write a cute blog post about the Netflix movie we didn't watch tonight. I had the title all set to go in my head and everything. I was going to call the post "How the West Was Filthy" and write about the first 20 minutes of Deadman, the random Western directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Johnny Depp that the hubby put on the queue. We gave up, but not before we saw the scene where Depp walks down main street of the frontier town he lands in just in time to see dead buffalo bodies shrinking in the sun, a horse peeing, and a guy getting serviced in the alleyway. Talk about out Deadwood-ing Deadwood.

But that would be a very editorialized view of my evening, which has not been a bad evening in any way but turned a little more complicated than a witticism about a weird movie. One of my goals for this blog is honesty, and only this morning I was thinking about how I didn't want to use easy eloquence as a shield for substance or emotion. I've done plenty of writing in that vein in the past and it's always been missing something. Not that I want to totally spill my guts online, but what admire most in blogs and other personal writing is the courage to make it totally obvious that you are a lovely, messy, confused as all hell human being.

My sister and I spent the better part of an hour debating via IM whether or not we should splurge and spend a night in the Keys during her upcoming visit. We could super-budget and probably pull it off for 80 bucks a person. That used to be small change, but now that I'm a grad student it ain't. Still, we could probably squeeze it in. What to do? Splurge or save the money? Splurge or save the money?

The whole thing should have been fun to decide, but I felt my brain slipping into one of its terminal toggles, yes no yes no yes no yes… ending up completely dissatisfied with both choices when either would have been fine if I had just decided and stuck with it.
This in itself started making me sad, as in the past couple of weeks I've been in what passes for a pretty good mood these days. I've been starting projects and exercising and choosing not to freak out about bird flu. I've been doing instead of retreating into victimized passenger mode. It has felt really good.

I guess it felt good enough to get me started thinking I wanted to feel all the way good again. So instead of succumbing to this vicious indecision, I unlocked the gate to a few of the things that are really bugging me, things that I have been dealing with by not thinking about. Out of the box came the health issues–the Faux Dermatologist and the Series of Unfortunate Events, the 8 months of chest pain and shortness of breath, the anger and anxiety that I have to admit has affected just about every segment of my life at this point–work, home, friends, hobbies. None of these things are so terrible, none of them are beyond the range of everyday human life, and although I've had some pretty crappy days I haven't lost my job or even flunked a paper. As my mom would say, this is called growing up. Then again it definitely has sucked, and I'm ready to feel better. And right about when I got to that part of the thought, I broke down. Who would I go to? My family and friends have done everything imaginable. Chest pain, panic attacks, various and sundry unbiopsied moles–at this point I think I need a doctor to give me a once over and say looks like nothing or looks like something. Sounds simple enough. But after the medical uselessness that I've put up with since senior year of college, that sounds impossible. I know the drill. I'll go see a doctor, and they'll say, well, what do you think is the problem. And I'll say I don't know that's why I came to see you, but I was thinking maybe this or this or maybe nothing. And they'll say well, do you want this test and that test or do you want to wait? And if the tests turn up nothing I get the bill and still don't feel better. Human bodies are complicated things, I know. No one has all the answers and if you are dead set on finding one you have to put up with expense and uncertainty. It's just been so long since I saw a medical professional that gave a damn that I really don't think they exist anymore.

So that puts me back here, which is a better place than it was before this evening, because after I cried and made D listen through his soccer game I noticed that my chest was feeling an eensy bit less trapped in tightening barrel staves. Maybe these past few months have been getting better, slowly, and if I hang on all the slow better getting will add up to a person I recognize.

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