That Wasn’t Rock Bottom

Musings

Moving home and the breakup and going for broke and the looming big 3-0 all seemed like really good contenders for rock bottom—ah-ha, so nice to see you again, you rotter, long time no see—But no, no that was premature. That was a very, very premature statement. And I fear I was remiss in thinking it.

Let me give you a piece of advice, friends. Don’t ever say you have hit rock bottom. Don’t even dare think it. Because if you think you are at rock bottom—you are in fact not—that is just the sludge, and you can sink infinitely deeper into the mire than you ever thought humanly possible, and that may be rock bottom, but it’s hard to say. It could get worse. Don’t tempt fate.

I had decided after being home all of two days and having the onset of pretty heathenous panic attacks, that I simply could not live in the Midwest for anything, not love or money—though neither of those things were batting at my door. And I decided I would turn around and go right back to Wyoming.

However, my fundage was not exactly ideal. I had enough to get back and the ever-so-smallish cushion of once I got back, having a teensie dot to work with should I need to fill up my gas tank to go apply for a job. Being footloose and fanciful, I thought that was fine.

Though I feel I should interject with this little tidbit: before I left the Midwest I was having chest pains, reminiscent of what I thought were heart attack symptoms. Perhaps that was premonition. I even went into my chiropractor in a tizzy of distress and said, “is it possible I am having a heart attack?”

To which he laughed and asked how old I was and promptly told me no.

My cousin—also a chiropractor—told me it could be residual effects of heartbreak. Cool, awesome, I thought snidely. During my first breakup, I got so stressed out—to be fair there were other factors then as there are now—that I started to give myself hives. All. Over. My. Body.

Now, I had simply worked myself up to heart attack symptoms. My breakups are bound to kill me in time, it seems. This is why I should probably just date the mountains from here on out. If those kill me, at least I will be respected and revered as some sort of mountain woman and not some overly sentimental fool.

I digress. Naturally.

So how did I go from deciding to move back to my beloved Wyoming while somehow manifesting my life into wild writing success plus owning a ranch, to heart attack symptoms and crying in a car repair shop in Fargo, North Dakota?

Well, you see it went like this: I thought taking the more Northern route seemed fun for a change of pace and to see things like the famous Fargo, and the Painted Canyons. It was only forty five minutes off course, anyhow. Big whoop. I made it to Fargo last night and had good intentions to keep going. But see, I haven’t been sleeping all that well, on account of the chest pains and the worry, so I was plum tuckered out and my mom rather insisted on an airbnb.

So I found a nice single mom with a bed to spare in her house for $32. I slept poorly even though the gracious hostess gave me a heaping glass of Chardonnay—she didn’t know about my nerves but I had told her I just drank a coffee amped up on espresso and probably wouldn’t fall asleep.

I woke at 6, to my harp sounds alarm, which no matter how you dice it, is always irritating. It jarred me from sleep, but still I felt exhausted, but once I was awoken, I couldn’t fall back asleep for my constant companion Incessant Worry was now up too.

I packed my things, wrote a note to my hostess, and got in my car. Only to have it lurch and sputter and barely accelerate while the check engine light blinked at me as manic and pulsating as my heart.

I made it to a McDonalds where I got out, tried my mom and sisters, to no avail and then broke down and texted my ex. Because I am mostly an idiot. But I am also a sad and distressed one at that. He gave some suggestions, and made me laugh, to his credit and then my mom called. I began to get hysterical upon hearing her voice, because by this point I had driven to a car repair place and called several and apparently “free estimates” are not a thing that is done in Fargo, North Dakota. Everywhere starts out around $100 to simply tell you what is wrong.

What else was wrong, was that my mom was calling me from the hospital for chest pains of her own.

I began to have visions of being stranded in Fargo. Of something happening to my mom. Of truly being in a sad, sad state where things definitely could go from bad to worse. I checked car repair, after car repair, only to be told diagnostics were around $100. And that is when I lost it on one of the men:

“But what if I pay you $100 only for you to tell me it’s a $200 repair?! I don’t have that kind money!” I yelped with a wavering voice. He just shrugged and said, he was sorry.

I get it. He is sorry. Sorta. But he can’t give me preferential treatment because I am a sobbing girl and my life is scaring me to my marrow and my mother’s in the hospital. I get it man. And I told him that I got it. He was running a business, not a charity. But that is when I calmly-ish-walked back to my car and all hell broke out from my attempting to hold it together by repeatedly telling myself this would one day be funny, when in reality my emotions needed to overflow.

How dare you think that other stuff was rock bottom! I berated myself while I sobbed big gut shattering sobs. That was clearly not rock bottom. Now, possibly having to live in Fargo, North Dakota to work off a car repair I cannot afford, while my mom is in the ER and I am not there because I am a flighty human, is definitely in the vicinity of rock bottom.

I looked up and saw that my eyes were the color of a mermaid’s tail reflected underwater and I noted the irony of their beauty when I was truly at my most downtrodden.

I called a friend who is very calm and helpful in these situations and she took the reins and made me a car appointment and told me to go in because nothing could be done until the problem was diagnosed.

So now, here I sit. I think I’ve worried all the worries right out of my system because I actually don’t have any more.

At any rate, what can be done really? This is the exact mire I am in right now, and the beauty of rock bottom—yes there is beauty, and no it’s not that you can only go up, gag, I hate that cliche—is that I think I am about to be on the threshold of brilliance. I deal very poorly with initial curve balls, but once I adapt I am very resilient.

Plus one of my favorite quotes of all time is from one Ms. Incredible J.K. Rowling stating as follows:

Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

I guess it is rebuilding time. Also I am going to learn how to fix my own car. And have a proper savings account that has more than $5.70. I guess I’ll start there.

Why Hello Rock Bottom

Musings

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
J.K. Rowling

This has been my mantra for the past few weeks. Mostly because things keep seeming to spiral out of my control and I have to chuckle (alright fine when I am not having smallish panic attacks, brutalizing myself in the gym for the endorphin rush, or clutching a novel to my chest while staring at the stars repeating this other mantra of

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”
-Albert Camus)

because that is my approach to life. Make everything funny. Always. I have to make it funny otherwise my life would just be a tragedy and I cannot stand for that. It has always been and always will be a comedy. Or in this case a tragic comedy, but still. Comedy. Long live the laughter. Lucille Ball would understand.

Here are the tragedies I have been trying to re-work. They are in no order of importance.

I remember a few years back seeing my mom pluck a hair from her chin with tweezers and shuddering (sorry mom). I thought, this is the end of the line man. When hair decides to grow from your chin. I thought I’d have until I was at least forty before facing that certain fate. Nah. It’s happening now. Not cool, body, seriously not cool. I already have cellulite, so you’d think I would’ve caught a break on all other forms of horrifying body problems, but alas, I now have to tweeze my chin hair too. I am not exactly sure how to make this funny other than sharing my shame, so, please, I hope your Tuesday is better knowing you don’t have chin hair… yet. It’s coming for all the rest of you beasts! I swear it.

I applied for a job at Country Living thinking it was a total shot in the dark. I actually heard back from a recruiter. She wanted to see my work. Then the editor-in-chief emailed me and asked me to do some pitches for the magazine. Suffice it to say, all my hopeful dream writing job eggs were thrown into that basket immediately. I was all but putting down a deposit on an apartment in Birmingham when I got the notice that I did not get the job. I was planking at the gym at the time. I had to calmly finish my plank and walk out to my car so I could snivel like a baby in the privacy of my vehicle. Crying while planking would have just made me look like I couldn’t handle a plank, and please. I can plank all day.

Okay it’s all cool, guys. So I have rogue chin hairs and I didn’t get a great magazine job on my 70th (or is it my 700th) try. I am so much tougher than crying over broken dream eggs. Seriously don’t even worry about me.

Except…

I got an email from my current editor a few days ago telling me they were discontinuing my health blog as they were going in a different direction. Clearly my having chin hair and cellulite and being 28 living with my parents in my mom’s Etsy room in a bed with no sheets, (because honestly I can’t even find the energy to bother and that actually happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves) was not rock bottom. This had to be it, I realized with an almost palpable relief. I am finally at rock bottom, so I can stop worrying about my body and my career and my errant hair, or the lack thereof on my head. Now I am in the deepest bowels and every idiot knows this place of utter wretched manure* is where the real growth begins. In the midst of my quaking panic, I clung to the idea that my life was now akin to Detroit, a phoenix just waiting to rise from the ashes. This was good. It was all good. I kept panic at bay with a toothpick and though my head wobbled from the effort, I held it high anyway.

*“They say the seeds of what we do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life, the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.”
-Ernest Hemingway (sent to me so thoughtfully this morn by one Mr. Amazing Hulz)

But wait…

I know, I know, if I had a puppy, right now would be the time for a villainous ruffian to come by and kick it for shits. But no, I don’t have a puppy, but I do have this love…

And I had one too many cocktails in my beloved Detroit city on Saturday and thought it’d be wise to send him a nice message. I thought it was just pleasant drunken banter. Sure with maybe some undertones of my love for him, but he already knows I love him, as we say it to each other all the time, so it seemed harmless enough. Nope. The next morning I awoke to questions from him, followed by a painfully uncomfortable phone call. I refused to clarify exactly what my drunken ramblings meant and he didn’t press the issue very hard. I think neither of us truly wanted to go down that road, because we’ve been down it once before and it didn’t end well last time and it won’t end well this time. So we’re both in denial. Or maybe he isn’t. Or maybe I am. But either way, I think those cocktails unlocked Pandora’s box and what was inside can’t be shoved back in, even for the good of humanity, or for salvaging what he have. If he was unclear on the depths of my love for him, this wildly confessional blog ought to really tidy that up. (And I am sorry for that sir. If I could actually be sorry for loving someone such as yourself, which in fact I could not). But now… now I am officially at rock bottom, but a little scared to say so, because I am fearful that one of my legs might fall off for good measure.

Here are the swell facts, however, because in the mire that is my life at the moment, there is always room for a wee bit of swell. I have never been so scared, which also makes me very bold and perhaps bordering right back around to fearless, because now I don’t feel I have all that much to lose. Plans are being put into action with more attention to detail than I reserve for shaving my legs when I have a date.

I am going to seize the day. And do some very, very uncomfortable things like sell my beloved belongings, which I already started to part with today. Insert emotional upheaval here. And head West, which after all, was the plan all along. And yeah, yeah, some might say I am just a runaway and maybe I ought to stay and face the music. But I faced the music today, that music being Gregory Alan Isakov and this lyric in particular:

I picked up all the arrowheads off buffalo trails of the Indians
the Oklahoma sky was cutting through
along the tracks with the Runaway
he just talks and talks and talks
honey, I’m just trying to find my way to you

I choked back sobs not on the word runaway, but on the words Oklahoma sky, knowing without a shadow of a doubt, that yes I will go West because I am a runaway and at 28 I am just as comfortable with this knowledge as I am with having thighs that will always touch. Also, this wouldn’t be the first time G.A.I has brought me to tears. During his concert which I attended a few weeks back, this same song struck a chord within me, on the words, “honey, I’m just trying to find my way to you.”

And those words have never been more true of anything in my life. Honey (meaning the mountains, the sea, God, my grand love, goats, a farm, babies, a writing career, and maybe gaining back one or two of my vintage trunks) I am just trying to find my way to you. Always. I am always trying to find my way to you.