Momma’s In the House

     My mother is coming to visit me, so I probably won’t be able to blog again until Sunday.  


      I’m glad that she’s coming.  I love my Mom and because I only get to see her a few times a year, our time together is very important to me. Her visit will anchor me and entertaining her will keep me busy.  She’ll also keep my mind off my problems and prevent any backsliding in my resolve about remaining out of touch with the Attorney (I feel pretty resolute about that, but I still have had dreams about him).  


      I have to admit, though, I’m a little concerned because I can’t work while she’s here, and I can’t afford to lose the money right now.  I can’t take phone calls to book appointments for my secret job. I also can’t attend AA meetings while she’s here–she doesn’t know that I attend them. 


       Preparing my apartment for her visits–“Family-proofing” it–is a bit of an ordeal: make sure ALL of my S&M gear is on lockdown out of sight, get all of the addiction and psychology books off my shelves, wash my phone in case someone uses it for anything, check and double-check that nothing remains out that could provoke unwanted curiosity: “Margo, when did you go to Toronto..?  How was it?  Why didn’t you tell me?”  


       If the weather is nice on Friday, I’ll try to take her to the Cloisters.  I’ve never been.  Also the Empire State Building and the jewelry and diamond market on 47th Street.  We probably won’t buy anything there, but for Honkeys like us, it’s super fun to walk around and watch.  Note to self: must go before 3 PM on Friday.  Hahaha–that would be funny–to show up on Friday night and have it be crickets and tumbleweeds around there.  Why isn’t anything open…?  


      Another bonus…sort of: my mother will scour this place clean until it reaches a shining, hospital-sterile cleanliness.  She will probably start doing this an hour after she walks in the door.  There will not be a dustbunny underneath the couch and escapes her eagle eye.  


     I thought of that today–the Attorney is so meticulous that I would never, ever be able to keep the house perfect enough for him.  


     There would always be something wrong.  


     

The Spell

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This neglected houseplant did not survive my encounter with the Attorney.  It cannot  be revived and  must be euthanized.  BETTER IT THAN ME, BUDDY!

  
       Well, that was fucking terrifying.  


     Or perhaps I should say, is fucking terrifying, because it’s not completely over yet.  


      I haven’t been blogging for the last few days because I have been obsessed, in spectacular and unhealthy fashion, with my encounter(s) with the Attorney.  


     Obsessed is a strong word, but I believe it is accurate and fitting. As in, obsessed to the exclusion of everything else.  As in: wait, what the hell did the last page of this article I’m reading say, again?  As in: if I don’t take my dirty clothes down to the laundry mat, they will magically clean themselves!  As in: my houseplants are magical houseplants that do not need water!  As in: the news (even with my beloved studmuffin Brian Williams) is nowhere near as interesting as fantasizing about my future relationship with this individual I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT.  As in: blog…?  Email?  Communication?   What?  I was supposed to bake cookies?  What?


        Basically: I wish to be alone with my bottle of Scotch.    


        My friends are freaked out.  Something’s gotten into you.  


        It’s been like watching a train wreck in slow motion, except that I haven’t experienced any horror or revulsion.  I saw it happening!  I fucking saw it happening!  I knew it was going to happen before it happened!  


        The Attorney has emailed or text messaged me every day since I saw him.  Every day.  He communicates with me even when I don’t respond, which is, like, the last four days.  


         Did I mention that I’ve known him for approximately four hours?  


         My analyst said that he sounded like a highly functional sociopath.  She also said that I probably wouldn’t stay away from him.  I was still unaffected.  


        It hit me this afternoon, when he texted me, yet again (his tone is always flirtatious): imagine what it would be like to break up with this person.  Imagine trying to divorce him.  Imagine a custody battle over children. 


        I thought of my father.  I thought of John.  I thought of the Surgeon, who, unbelievably, was the least weird and dangerous of all.   


        My perspective was instantaneously adjusted.  Three stalkers! Can I get four…?  Four stalkers…?  Going once! Going twice! 


       NO THANK YOU!  I’ll be damned if I go in to this quagmire and emerge three years later (and 100 years older), freshly damaged (and probably not sober) and barreling towards middle age.  


      Fuck that, man.  And if anyone thinks I’m exaggerating, you don’t know stalker controlling dudes.  Men like this don’t just let you walk.  They punish you for it, and punishing you becomes their default recreational pastime.  God help you if you have a kid, or even a house.  Or a futon.  John harassed me for months, after a restraining order, about a fucking pair of gym shoes. 

The Attorney (II): My Analyst is Grievously Concerned

      This morning I went to see my expensive neo-Freudian analyst.  I was tense and had difficulty being verbal, so we did the laying-on-the-couch thing.  It really is amazing, the way conversation is facilitated–and inhibitions are lowered–when the person one is speaking with is out of eyesight.  I use blindfolds myself on repressed and anxious individuals; it really turns a trick.  Try it yourself and see.


      Anyway, I told her about the Attorney I met last week.  


      To say that she was concerned would be an understatement.  


      After listening to my recollection, she declared him to be a sadist and incapable of having a loving relationship.  


       I thought this was unfair and rather harsh (not to mention incriminatory).  “But how do you know?


       “You just told me.” 


       “I did…?”


       “Yes.  You said that he was a tightly controlled, impassive sadist.”  


       “But I’m a control freak with sadistic instincts, and I’m capable of loving someone!”  I cried.  This seemed monstrously unfair.   


        “He’s not like you.  That beating he took is nothing compared to what he’ll do to you.  He’ll show you how it’s done.”


       I figited, upset.  Then I confessed The Awful Truth: “He’s seen me at my worst.  He knows about my secret life and accepts me anyway.”


       I twisted my head to look up at her.  Usually she has the smooth, neutral psychologist expression on her face (in our first two sessions together, I thought for certain that she didn’t like me.  Interesting, that.).  This time, her eyes were wide so that they showed the whites all around.  She looked kind of freaked out, to tell you the truth.  


      “Margo, this is not a relationship.  He does not know anything about you.  He is not accepting Margo.  You are an object for his hostility.  He wants you because he intuits your masochism.  You are acting out and he is acting out, too.  That is not emotional intimacy.”


       Hello!  Hello!  EARTH TO MARGO!  Come in, Miss Margo!


      “This man will make John look like a toy.  Actually, that is what you will be.  It’ll be fun to be played with, until he turns on you and revokes his compassion.  Then you’ll be confused, and try to win it back.  Sound familiar?”  


       I looked at her, startled.  Appalled, actually, by my capacity for self-delusion.  


      Consider this from the Attorney’s perspective: he hires a pro and hits the jackpot.  She is beautiful, educated, childfree, vulnerable, and sexually relentless.  And let’s cut the shit, here:  I quit the booze and I quit the Surgeon, but my life is weird as hell and I’m not living this way because I am Ms. Norma Normal NYC 2012.  While I wouldn’t describe myself as unhappy, I still live with a goddamned parrot and fifty million books.  My career is languishing, and it’s not because I don’t have skills, credentials, or talent.  


      I have to protect myself.  


      I have an appointment with this guy.  I was sort of counting on the money so that I could buy new boxes of contact lenses, which is actually pretty ironical.  


       Better to cancel it, and borrow from my brother, or something.

The Lead Gift in the Twilight

(Miss Margo Note:  I loved this poem from the first time I read it in my childhood, and I love it today.  I think that what makes poetry unique is its ability to provoke strong emotional reaction.  If I read a poem and it makes me want to throw up, or raises the hair on my arms, or makes me cry, or makes me furious, then it is, in my estimation, an effective piece of poetry.  In this way, poems are like music. ) 

Hurt Hawks

I

The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,
The wing trails like a banner in defeat,

No more to use the sky forever but live with famine
And pain a few days: cat nor coyote
Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons.

He stands under the oak-bush and waits
The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom
And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it.

He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse.
The curs of the day come and torment him
At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head,

The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes.
The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those
That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.

You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him;
Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him;
Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying, remember him.

II

I’d sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk;
but the great redtail
Had nothing left but unable misery
From the bone too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved.

We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom,
He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening, asking for death,
Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old
Implacable arrogance.

I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.
What fell was relaxed, Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what
Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising
Before it was quite unsheathed from reality. 

Robinson Jeffers

Breakup Update

     For the last three nights I have dreams complex, vivid dreams.  Very strange content matter.  Some of it was new material, which is interesting.  Although they were not nightmares, the dreams were mostly unpleasant in tone–even the sex parts, and usually sex dreams are awesome. I woke up feeling disoriented and a little upset.  


     The Surgeon backed off a little bit and I thought that the worst was over, and then he sent me something in the mail.  Not sure what to do with it or how to respond (or whether I should respond at all–probably not).  


    I told my friend about it.


   “It’s a bribe!  A bribe!” She declared, reminding me:  “He’s a sick fuck!”  


    Ah, indeed it is, and indeed he is, and I am in a vulnerable position right now, and so very bribable.  


    My emotions cannot be trusted and my frustrated sexuality is being a total pain in the ass.  It is just so unacceptable.  If I wanted to be sexually frustrated, I’d get married.  


    I was advised by another M.D. that I could get the Surgeon off my back in two seconds if I complained about him to his professional organization.  This is excellent advice that I will file away for safekeeping, but it’s a last resort, for obvious reasons.



Ravenous

    The last few hours before bed are the most difficult.  Waiting waiting waiting.  A test of endurance.  It is a one-player game, like solitaire.  My opponent is myself.  


     I made a lot of money yesterday. Today was not as lucrative, but I did have a booking at the Studio and a tutoring appointment immediately afterward.  I stopped by the pet store to get food for the birds (I splurged and bought Parrot a new toy) and then came home, exhausted.  I missed my Friday night meeting and I feel badly about that–can’t afford to do that too often–missing meetings is one of the things that contributed to my pre-Christmas relapse.  


     I am very hungry right now.  But I know that if I can wait it out till bed, I’ll wake up thinner.  I know that this thinking is dysfunctional, but I want to be honest here, to tell you how it is.  


     When you are very hungry, you will find that you do crazy things.  You start to obsess.  I have had the opportunity to speak at length with other girls who endeavor not to eat, and they all relate similar behaviors.  You start to spend a lot of time thinking about food.  Fantasizing about it.  Tonight, for example, I have perused four restaurant takeout menus.  I ask myself: if I were to order something, what would it be?  Which sounds best?  I weighed the merits of each.  A distraction, a flirtation with danger, as I watch Charlie Rose interview Bernie Sanders on the television (actually, the program is mostly in the background; I am primarily focused on the idea of a chicken avocado sandwich).  Then, in a burst of determination, I put the menus away, only to end up reading the restaurant reviews on the New York Times website.  


    When the disorder was at its worst, I would read cookbooks and Gourmet magazine recreationally.  I would pour over them, devour them with my eyes, collect recipes that I had no intention of ever cooking, squirreling them away.  This behavior is not uncommon.  


     Six years ago, I cooked all the time.  I loved to make dinner for my boyfriend.  I loved to work with food.  No longer.  I am nowhere near as bad as I was–nowhere near–but even now, the idea of cooking beyond a subsistence level is incomprehensible to me. 


     And tonight, this.  This back-and-forth with myself, this struggle. It is all internal to me.  I have created it.  It is mine, my pure gold baby.  


     Another hour, and I can go to sleep and wake up hollow, leaner, smug.  I’m never hungry in the morning.  It’s smooth sailing till mid-afternoon, at least.  


     You see, gentle reader, what an evening I’ve had.  One day, when I have the courage, I’ll write about what it’s like to be insane with an eating disorder.  The really scary stuff.  At the party I went to on Wednesday, an English Lit professor I am quite partial to told me that I ought to stop drinking 2-liter bottles of diet Coke every day.  “It’s awful for you,” he said.  “You’ll ruin your beauty.”  


     I let out a short, barking laugh.  I didn’t mean to be rude; I couldn’t help it.  “My beauty,” I snarled.  “I could tell you stories about what I’ve done to myself.  They’d make your hair turn white.”


    In the course of my studies and therapy with a psychoanalyst, I have been told that every masochist is also a sadist, consciously or not.  We possess the opposites within us.  I’ve blogged about this before; I won’t go into detail now.  


    In this case, this dynamic, I am both.  I am a disobedient and disappointing child, and I send myself to bed without any supper.   

Climbing Back on the Horse, and Channeling My Inner Fascist

      This morning I met my friend, she of the fantastic envy-inspiring hair, at a coffee shop.  Then we went to an AA meeting, my other home group, together.  Again, I confessed terror and vodka-swilling–meeting the grad director and snarfing gummi bears on the train.

        Huge amount of support.  People reached out to me afterward–CALL ME NEXT TIME.   This was a different sort of AA group, a group for people who, like myself, are not religious and do not believe in God.  My other group is important to me but I am also very fond of this group because I am intellectually at home here.

     We all went out to eat together.  I had a CHEESE!!! SANDWICH!!! AND FRENCH FRIES!!!

      Afterward, I came home and worked out my schedule for the weekend.  I have only one meeting with a student–it’s the end of the semester, and the others I have are laying off for the Holidays.  So, I’ll be pulling double shifts at my secret job at THE SUPERSTUDIO for the next three days.  I can’t rest until I finish making my back rent.  It sucks, because I hate working nights.  Also, there’s a saying in this sort of work–you should never do it because you need to do it.  If you go in there needing to do it, it can make you vulnerable to a whole shitstorm of consequences.  Need can make you weak.

      I want to see my analyst this weekend and bounce some ideas off of her and seek her advice.  If I turn money tomorrow, it won’t be a problem.  But if I can’t, I don’t think that it would be responsible of me to spend the money on her fee.

      I’m wary, because I need to stay focused on my most important goals: not drinking, and finishing my academic degree.  I also need! some money! right now!  Working at THE SUPERSTUDIO is a timesuck, but more than that–it has the potential to become a TRAP.  Moreso than any other place I’ve worked–infintely more.  It’s like The Surgeon.  It’s fantasyland, baby, it’s drugs.  For someone like me, wired like I am?  It’s drugs.  Or at least, it has the potential to be. (FYI: I never used drugs, I just mean ‘drugs’ in the metaphorical sense.)

      I am thinking about how I am going to maximize my earning potential over the next three days I’ll be fucking living there.  Because I must have a plan; I can’t just go in and hope things work out for me.  I have seen the other employees.  Competition I’ve never experienced before–and I’m not bitching about that, I’m saying it in total admiration.  This is a totally different level than what I’m used to, and I didn’t fall off of the turnip truck yesterday.  I have to develop and utilize my existing skills.

       What do I have on the others…?  My education, obviously.  I speak very well.  In formal situations, nothing about my demeanor is rough or uncouth; I can be very convincingly bourgeois.  They respond to that.

        What sort of energy can I project…?  I think, a fascist.  I find the politics reprehensible in every way, but that is neither here nor there.  As I have joked in the past, I am the Frederick Taylor of Pain and Suffering.  Order–we will have order here!  Ideological, demanding, impeccable, meticulous–unassailable and effortless authority.  The science of exploitation.

        In short, I need to take the voice I do to myself, and instead project it outward–much more than I usually do in these circumstances–to the Nth degree.  My father’s incredible greed and casual disregard and fearlessness; my mother’s military discipline and OCD.  These are a few of their gifts to me–whether they are good or bad is irrelevant in this context.  They exist within my personality; if I give thought to it, I can harness them and channel them when I want to.  If I master the knack to do so.

      I had a dream the other night.  I dreamed that I was dressed in my finest clothes, and reading journal articles at my desk.  I was taking notes in a notebook.  There was a man outside the room, and when I registered that he was there, I told him to come to me. On the floor.  I didn’t look up.

       When he shuffled up to my desk, I extended my free hand, encased in a brown leather glove, and instructed him to take off my glove.  With his teeth.  I only looked up once or twice.  “Do not leave marks on my glove!” I ordered him.

        After he finally managed to take it off, I seized it in my other hand and beat his face with it, hard, until he was crying.

      I dismissed him then, and went back to my papers.

I Feel Like Bill the Cat (II)

      Fucking insomnia!  I feel like Bill the Cat.  I wrote about feeling like Bill the Cat here.  This is a pic of Bill the Cat, in case you need visual aid, good reader:

       I fell asleep for a few hours and the came awake, startled.  I dreamed majorly weird dreams.  Bad tone.  I dreamed that I was a little golden-colored parrot flying through the streets of New York.  I was being chased.  Eventually, I was caught and put into a cage for Guinea pigs.  


     Well, you don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to figure that one out!  (BTW, I used to be utterly skeptical of dream interpretation–or the idea that the subconscious really exists.  Sounded like a lot of woo supernatural horseshit to me.  I BELIEVE IN MATH.  Or empiricism.  Anyway, I have reversed myself about my position regarding dreams.  I kept a dream journal for two years and then did a qualitative analysis on it.  The data strongly indicates that my dreams are germane to the problematic issues of my life.)


     Arrrgh, now I’m awake and tired but I cannot sleep and there are drunk people on the sidewalk fighting and shouting for cabs and throwing up.  I have to give myself a manicure and pedicure for work at THE SUPERSTUDIO tomorrow and my landlord wants his $$$ and I gotta meet grad director in 48 hours and I have to give myself  a crash refresher course in Francis Bacon for another student and my little betta fish Rooster needs his water changed and I HATE MY TORSO IT TAKES UP TOO MUCH SPACE and I need health insurance and I am moonbat crazy right now.


    What do I do, what do I do?  And on that note, I have two and a half college degrees–why am I even living this way?  


    I am not sober.  I need to ramp up my program.  

A Map of the Pain (The Morning After)

     Got up and re-read yesterday’s blog post.  WOW, did I sound high. My mind was all over the place–fucking Sylvia Plath!  I haven’t thought about Sylvia Plath in years!  How’d I come up with that bit of poetry?  And more importantly–did I quote accurately (ha, ha)?


     To follow that, let’s hear from your friend and mine, my favorite poet, Walt Whitman: 


Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself.
(I am large–I contain multitudes.)


      Exactly how I fell in love such a romantic poet, and Transcendentalism in general, I’ll never know.  My personality is mostly hard-headed, rational, unemotional.  I fancy myself a positivist.  Swoon over David Hume, and all that.  Loved stoicism; Marcus Aurelius.  


      But there is a something in my character…something incongruent with the rest.  Something extreme, radical, excessive, violent, illogical.  Like a streak of fantastical ore in the granite of my character.  


      I must get it from my father.  One of his gifts to me.  


      If I can harness it, it is a tremendous source of power–great talent.  


      If I can’t, it destroys me.  

Guarding the Perimeter

         I returned to the place I grew up to spend the Thanksgiving holiday.  As the airplane began its descent to the airport, I opened the window by my seat and peered down. 
        
       The landscape was so different from New York that I might as well have flown to my destination in a NASA space shuttle.  The quality of the sunlight was amazing.  It burned my eyes. 
        
     Later, at my mother’s house, I helped her bake pies.  The television was on in the background.  There was a brief story about Amy Winehouse, the young singer who died of alcohol poisoning. 
       
     “She was so young!” my mother said.  “Such a shame.  I don’t know why she did that.  Some people can never overcome the bad things that happened to them.  I wonder why that is.”
  
     I was crinkling the crust of the pie dough with my fingers and didn’t look up.  It crossed my mind that she might have been trying to suggest something, but I doubted it. 

       “Such a shame,” my mother said.  We put the pies in the oven.

       Late that night, before bed, I looked up from my computer screen to see her in the living room, going from window to window, checking the locks.  She does this almost every night.  Sometimes more than once.  The house is the cleanest house I’ve ever seen, and it’s locked up like Fort Knox. 

       The suburban streets outside were vacant, motionless.  The neighborhood was very low crime.  As safe as the safest in America.  I’d never felt the least bit menaced there.  Nevertheless, my mother feared home invasion, prowlers, some faceless threat.  Night terrors.

      She stood at the window by the door, scanning the yard and the street outside.  Her hands were clasped together in front of her, worrying each other.

      “Mom, it’s okay,” I said gently.

      She looked back at me.  “I know.  I’m just checking.” 



      I pictured her in my mind, doing this ritual at night when I was gone.  Guarding the perimeter of her house.  Patrolling.  Checking.  Making sure that nothing could get in.