Sunday, March 27, 2011

I make all my best decisions while watching Grease

That’s what my sister said I should name my autobiography after I told her the following story.

I love the movie Grease. I always have. I saw it for the first time with my sister, my cousin, Kelly, and my I-was-too-young-to-know-I-shouldn’t-have-a-crush-on-my-super cute, cool, older cousin, Brad. That they took us to any movie bode well for how much I would love it.

The music was great, as were the performances, and I don’t know a single girl my age who didn’t dream of being black spandex, curly haired Sandy. I’ll admit right now that I dream of it to this day. In my advanced age of 35, I’m sure I could still do the part on Broadway if out of sheer love alone.

Grease came out when I was eight. Three years later, after countless viewings, (and this was before VCR’s, mind you) I saw it once again on television and it changed my life forever.

I tried to kill myself.

I know. It’s crazy. But I remember watching the ending and getting that feeling I have always gotten (and still get) of possibility, joy, and how beautiful friendship is, and I thought, I will never be that happy. So why keep on with it? (It’s worth noting at this point that these thoughts did not occur in a vacuum. I’d been struggling with sadness, depression, and suicidal thoughts for as long as I can remember.) But on this night, while my sister sat on our sofa, (ok, it was really a twin bed with a bolster back—we were poor.) and my mom was with her boyfriend, Allen, I started counting pills.

WARNING: If you are ever going to off yourself, don’t do it with Tylenol. I’ll tell you why later, but in case you abandon this essay before then, just trust me. Tylenol is not the way to go.

I counted out the amount I was sure would do the trick and stood in the kitchen swallowing them, one or two at a time. I went into my bedroom and addressed a note to everyone in my family: every aunt, uncle, cousin, sister, mother, father, brother. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I know that I expressed something I’d been feeling for years: My life was a mistake. God had screwed up by putting me on Earth. I knew that I didn’t belong, that this was not my home. I did not include in the note that for months I’d cried myself to sleep, begging God to kill me, waking up disappointed at another day, solid in my conclusion that God didn’t love me or he would have taken me home. How could anyone who loved me keep me in this hell against my will? There was a time I thought I was an atheist. Now I realize that I did believe in God, I just thought he was a Motherfucker.

So I took matters into my own hands.

I don’t remember exactly how I felt when I went to bed that night, but I think I was scared and relieved. And ready. God, (Motherfucker!) was I ready.

Three hours later I bolted upright in bed, two thoughts shotgunning one after the other:
--I’m still alive (surprise and horror)
--I’m going to throw up. Now.

And for the love of Motherfucker, I did. I spewed bile for three days. I ended up in the hospital—everyone thought I had a bad case of the stomach flu, and I didn’t disabuse them of the notion. (Not until several weeks {months?} later, but that’s another tale.)

Which brings me back to my caution about Tylenol and suicide. Technically, it can be done, but if you are off even a little, your pancreas will make you pay like you cannot believe. You think you wanted to die before…

So while I sometimes agree there might be too much violence on television, I can’t lay the ills of the world there. Aside from Eugene hitting the coach with a pie, and Kenickie blacking out from an accidental blow to the head, there certainly wasn’t anything in Grease that would push the average mind over the edge. Although truth be told, that wasn’t the first time (or last) my non-average mind has led me to places others would prefer not to go.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Media Deprivation

I've got one more week until I need to turn my manuscript over for proofreading and have much more to do than I'd hoped, so I am now in a self-imposed exile. No television, web-surfing, or radio. The only exception is for an hour a day when I go for a hike/walk/jog, (whichever I feel like that day) during which I can listen to Sirius Radio if AT&T feels like giving me the reception on my iPhone to do so. I've engaged in media deprivation before and have always found that after about day three, my restlessness settles and I am in a much better space creatively. Why don't I always live like that if it's so effective? The same reason I eat crap I shouldn't and sometimes neglect to exercise--it's just easier. But up against this deadline I have no choice and am determined to get done. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Writing Update

So it's been a good few days of writing. I messed around two days last week so I've been pretty much working non-stop since Saturday morning, taking a short break to see a sweet movie my friend wrote called Spooner, and make a quick stop at a friend's party at Spot 5750. I think I've got a great working outline and am hammering out rewrites of chapters that no longer work.

Meanwhile, as I type this, Benjy Bronk of the Howard Stern Show is tweeting me and it's made my day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Was More Beautiful in Greece

I was more beautiful in Greece than I am in the plastic surgery soaked streets of L.A. In Greece men sang to me on the street. Of course these were the same men that repeatedly said “vissia” when I passed which translates to ”nipple,” but really means “nice tits,” but they were men, and they were singing. For me. So it’s still flattering in some too-embarrassing-for-a-feminist-to-admit kind of way. Although just once I wanted enough command of the language so that when a man would pull over, look me up and down and say “vissia” I could answer back, “Katelavano. Meelo Elaneeka, Malakis!” Which means “I understand because I speak Greek you bastard,” but I never got it out quite fast enough and instead the man would always drive away laughing like a school boy. Apparently in Greece nice tits are funny.