Sunday, June 04, 2006


This probably doesn't qualify as progress, but when I got an e-mail from my ex telling me she's officially set a date for her wedding, I didn't feel like killing myself.

In fact, there was barely even a twinge of sadness. Bad news is a given these days. Terrible things happen all the time. My ability to react to these things, or even process them, seems to have short-circuited. I'm just numb.

I would say it started when my mom died, but it probably started last summer, when she first became ill. At first it was nausea, which was kind of unusual for her. It got worse. She went to the doctor. She wound up in a hospital, then another, then another. Some kind of intestinal blockage, they decided, and surgery was scheduled.

They removed the blockage in question, but discovered something else: cancer. After the surgeon explained this to us, my sisters and brother all agreed they sort of expected something like this.

Well, I didn't. Yet the news didn't freak me out as it should have. It was at that point that I just stepped back, disengaged from reality and stopped feeling. A coping mechanism, a way to deal with a reality too terrible to accept.

A good thing at the time, and a good thing subsequently. I had a relationship blow up in my face, a health scare of my own, my divorce was finalized. And oh yeah, Mom got better and then, suddenly, got a whole lot worse and died. Plus the usual small things, day to day irritations, the thousand natural shocks all flesh is heir to--all of it rolled off my back. I didn't feel any of it.

But that's no way to live. It's time to start processing all this, to cry, to be angry, to be something. I'm in a permanent semi-bummer state, and I'll never get out of it unless I can start feeling again. Ah, but feelings are dangerous things, they can take you to terrible places and overwhelm your common sense. When my emotions take over they take over completely, sometimes euphoria, sometimes despair. An excess of emotions was largely responsible for blowing my marriage apart. Why would I want that again?

I don't. But I want something.

Or, as a great sage once put it:

Gonna get a running start and hurl myself at the wall
Gonna hurl myself against the wall
'Cause I'd rather feel bad than not fel anything at all...
--Warren Zevon