Back in 2004 the band “Bowling For Soup” release a song called “1985”, about a woman who one day suddenly woke up and realized that she was a grownup, not a teenager anymore, and that her high school glory days were way behind her.
“She was gonna be an actress
She was gonna be a star
She was gonna shake her ass
On the hood of white snake’s car
Her yellow SUV is now the enemy
Looks at her average life
And nothing has been alright since
Bruce Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
Cause she’s still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985”
Well, I finally FINALLY admitted to myself recently that I have the same problem as Debbie, the girl from the song. My body may be here in 2010, but my mind is still stuck back in 2006, trying to recreate things the way they were back then.
August of 2006 was a great time for me. I’d had the very first version of my humor blog for a little over a year, and it was a rousing success. I think it was a huge surprise to everyone around me that not only did I write, but I was a really good writer, and not only was I a really good writer, I was a really good humor writer. So there was lots of newness and novelty and compliments and cheering, which was great.
And then I joined Toastmasters to start exploring the possibility of becoming not just a humor writer, but also a humorous speaker. And I won a ribbon the first night I attended as a guest. And then I won the “Best Speech” award when I gave my “Icebreaker” speech, and the people attending that night were kind of stunned, and said they’d never seen such a good “first speech” before. And then there were more compliments and admiration and awe and Raving Fans.
And so I was totally flying high on ideas and dreams. It seemed like every experience I had, every thought that blew through my mind, everything I touched turned into comic gold. I couldn’t stop The Funny.
Looking back now, I think it’s probably accurate to say that I was experiencing a bit of an extended manic state. Not that the things I was doing weren’t fun or really well done. But that I sort of spun out from there and kind of lost touch with reality a bit. “Delusional” is the word my psychiatric nurse practitioner used when she first diagnosed me with Rapid Mood Cycling Disorder, which I jauntily refer to as “Bi-Polar Lite”. Not grounded, spinning out into space, leaving my body, and yes, delusional. Like taking all the compliments I was receiving and then spinning them into this story that said that the next post I wrote on my blog would somehow be “discovered” and then I’d be an overnight sensation, and score a massive book deal, and become a hugely successful speaker and instantly be making enough money to support us so that my husband would no longer have to work anymore The Very Next Day.
Of course, this seems funny now (from the perspective of Stable Moods and Better Living Through Chemistry), and clearly from the Obviously-Not-Going-To-Happen Files. But when you’re caught up in the mania mindset, thoughts like that feel like they are the truest and most reasonable thoughts that exist in the Universe.
But then, of course, came the depressive crash after the manic high. By September of 2006-a mere one month later-I was really depressed. And the depression lasted about a year, then ushered in The Takeover Of My Body By The Hostile, Alien C Diff Bacteria, which led to The Year Of Pain That I Thought Was Arthritis Pain But Actually Wasn’t, which finally led to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. And now here we are.
I am slowly but surely recovering from the past 2 years of being deathly ill. And my mood cycling has been diagnosed and stabilized thanks to some wonderful medication. So I am slowly starting to feel better.
But the thing is, I definitely don‘t feel like I did back at the end of 2006. And I doubt that I ever will. I have tons of other ways of feeling good-it’s just that I’ll never again feel good in that particular way. And who knows if I would even want to. But it was the last “feeling good” period before my many years of illness, and so I’ve had this idealized version of it in my mind, one that I’m continually comparing to how I am now. And of course, “now” always loses in that comparison.
And it’s so painful to keep trying to make Now be Back Then. But I’ve been doing it so long that I don’t really know how to stop doing it.
And so somehow in my mind I have made this into a story that says, “I have not felt good since 2006,” which has then morphed into a story which says, “I have not been funny since 2006.” And so for the last few years I’ve been locked in an epic struggle between me, my desire to write, what I eventually eek out and end up writing and posting here, the stories my mind has created around writing and humor, and this blog. It has not been fun.
Because every time I’ve written something and posted it here, I’ve been trying to magically bend time and space so that when I write it is me writing back in August of 2006. (And I’m sure you can imagine how well that’s worked out for me.) And since, according to the laws of the known universe, what I want is impossible, in addition to rejecting What Is Now for My Idealized Version Of Fall 2006, I have also rejected everything I’ve written since September 2006 as complete and utter crap. Which is why I want to break up with my blog approximately every other day.
OK, I think that’s all the true confessions I can manage for today, so I will stop here and leave this To Be Continued.
In our next installment: “Jenny and the Cranky Fibro Girl Smackdown Pt. 2: Meet The Monsters.”