05-08-05: operation hatbox

This here pretty much sums up the last few months for me. Turn it way up. Way, way up. Do not turn it off until the sound clip ends.

So, I'm single again. Hard to believe, really... but also, not.

Let's leave it at this, as details are moot at this point: I am mourning a significant loss, one that on some levels was a necessary pruning to enable necessary growth, and on some other levels was IMHO the Wrong Thing To Do. I think the reason it kills me so hard is because I've simply never worked harder at anything in my life, and now I feel like it was just wasted effort. Ben Folds said it best in "Give Judy My Notice." (The EP version, not the new album version. Why did he have to go adding drums? Blegh!)

Last Monday night, which was my first night back in Delaware, I got together with Joe for some pie and it felt like the first social interaction I've had in eons. I've been reclusive lately, and getting out just felt good. For the last five months I was sitting home during peak-go-out-and-have-fun-hours so I could be sure to catch a person in another time zone; and I was also trying to save my money for airfare and nest-egg rebuilding. This put a damper on my social life... but worse, after a while, it became normal-- I didn't want to go out anymore.   At the diner, Joe threw 1000 ideas at me and now it turns out I'm now busier than I've been in almost a year. People are starting to call me again. It's a weird feeling to have, ya know, options now. The options aren't as plentiful as they were this time last year since most of my friends are involved in their own projects, but I don't mind this, really. I can use the time to get my head back together.

Speaking of getting my head back together:
I made my first appointment ever with a shrink, and I go on 5/20. I am terrified. I used to think that therapy was for the weak nutjobs of the world, but at this point I'm the only person I know who has never gone to one. Jeremy has gotten so much out of it, and that is a very strong vote. He is neither weak nor a nutjob; if he can embrace it, then so can I.   Dela (Quaf's wife) works as a counselor in a Wilmington practice. The doctors there aren't accepting new clients, but she was telling them about me and they all said that I could feel free to give them a call and that they'd make an exception to take me on. I was very flattered-- Dela rocks the house.   I don't expect this to be a long-term endeavor, but a few sessions to sort things out can't hurt.

Anyway, my fear of going to a shrink comes down simply to trust.   1) Do I trust the therapist enough to tell her the whole truth and not back down (like, even the stuff I don't want to admit to myself)?  2) Do I trust that she won't judge me?  3) What if she diagnoses me as a nutjob? Can I handle that?  4) I secretly believe that most Psych majors are wackos, so someone with a PhD in Psych has got to be a class-A loonball. Can I get over this? Will I trust that she can do her job well?  5) Will I trust her to back off if she's going into territory I just don't want to get into? What if she's persistent? What if she tries to use the Jedi Mind Trick on me?  But I'm gonna have faith here. I'm gonna give it a shot. Dela rocks, she is clearly one of the good ones... and if she recommends these folks, then I've gotta jump.

OK, enough of that.

So waaaaay back up there I alluded to having some stuff going on now. Yay, for the less-blank calendar!

  • Thanks to Matt Hearn, I'm on a softball team (the Prancibald Duckshirts, named after this StrongBad email). I like having the achy-muscle feeling, the thrill of actually getting on base due to batting skill, the silly dances we do when we cross home plate, etc. The fact that they have pinball at the batting cages does not suck at all, either. (Pinball and batting cages? Where has this place been all my life?)
  • Durk is gonna be in town in June, and I'm singing two gigs with The Industrial Jazz Group. One gig at 12 Miles West, and one at the final Knappuccino's. We've been in mega-arranging mode, and we're gonna do some recording while he's out here.
  • Ben E. King is gonna be visiting during the first weekend in June! Wheeee! We've got a gig at the East End which will rock. (Don't worry, Joe: he's not crashing here.)
  • I've been asked to contribute something for the Small Teeth label this summer; so I think the stuff I record with Durk might make it. I'm praying we get a good take of Absolutely Nothing; I've only been working on this song for.... how long?!
  • I'm playing bass for the pit band for WDL's July production of Rocky Horror. Very excited to be rocking with The Fertilizers again. Will have lots of quality Joe/Lee/Sam time.
  • We're doing The Wall again in late September/ early October. Woot!
  • and of course, I've got my job to hash out (which has strangely been going better this past week. Someone is definitely looking out for me up there).

    So, plenty of distractions.


    Today is Mothers Day. Last night I met Mom and Dell in Atlantic City, and we had a nice dinner and played some slot machines. I was very happy I got to see them-- my mom rules and Dell is like a second mother to me. I'm hoping to see much more of them once choir is done for the summer and I get can get home more often.

    Since I saw them yesterday, I don't have any Mother's Day obligations for today. I sang at church in the morning, I finally took out the 9871629876 metric hectares of recycling that had been stacking up since the winter (yikes!), and it's a HUGE relief to walk into my place now and see the clutter gone. I opened all the windows and let the sun/breeze in (it is absolutely glonious out), I took some deep breaths, and then started (dun dun dunnnnnnnnn) Operation Hatbox.

    Whenever I go through a breakup that is significant, I take the stuff and symbols acquired throughout the relationship and I put it in a hatbox. Regular old cardboard boxes don't work; they seem disrespectful to me. Besides, driving to Pier One Imports and picking out the right box is part of the process. The people who work there only see me after I am freshly single. They must think my eyes are this red all the time. :-)

    Breakups are like a death; you have to bury the dead respectfully, acknowledge the goodness, make peace with the stuff you never got to do or say or resolve and let it go peacefully. I do this hatbox ritual to protect my sanity, really. I can't have all of the relationship nouns strewn all over my living space looking at me; but I'm not particularly angry (well, not most of the time) so I don't want to dumpsterize everything in some pissy door-slamming dramatic spectacle. Instead, I put everything in the hatbox, making peace with it as it gets laid to rest. Everything: Pictures, CDs, 100+ votive candle shells from my nightly whisper-magic-to-the-ninja ritual, emails, burned out blinkie lights, BMan photos, a swatch of ladybug fur, krispy kreme paper hat, roadtrip CDs, SMS logs, MUNI transfers, Launderite receipts, the scrubs shirt I stealthily stole when he was packing before he moved from Delaware, a Philz T-shirt, my trophy sock, DVDs, books, parking passes for the airport, unsent letters I wrote on the airplane, airfare receipts and boarding passes (almost $5000 worth... yikes); it all goes in the box. And the box goes in the closet. Out of sight = out of mind. It's not that I want to forget about it, it's just that I don't want to be reminded of it. It's a subtle difference, but the difference is that I get to choose when I think about it, as opposed to having a fork shoved in my eye. This is why I removed him from my default-read LJ filter. If I want an update, I'll totally seek it out. I will when I will. But I can't stand that punch-in-the-stomach feeling I get when I'm surprised by something I don't want to see.   Someday once the sting wears off I might want to wear that neat bracelet John got me for Christmas. But for now, I can't even look at it. So it goes in the pretty box.

    These boxes also give you precious perspective down the road. As time passes, you tend to only remember images, flavors, warmth, a look, the way something felt on your fingertips, the way a person smells. Hurtful things become pearlized to hide the edges, and magical things get blown out of proportion in either direction. But revisiting the source material years later after the dust has settled offers you precious, distilled morsels of reality. You can see just how far you've evolved since then, you can also see what a buttpipe you were. It's a great learning tool, and always bittersweet. Like, here (ya gotta scroll down a bit.).

    Anyway, so I got the hatbox mostly done and am taking a break right now. I'm doing pretty OK with it. I'm meeting Boutell and Jon for ice cream in a little while, so that's helping me along. Speaking of Boutell, he just bought a rockin' new place in Philly, and we all helped him move yesterday.

    Throughout my life, late April and early May have always been a time of renewal. My birthday passes and I take the annual inventory; the trees in my front yard explode in flowery goodness; my car insurance, domain renewal, LJ account and apartment lease are all up, too. So it only makes sense that in the midst of all this, we actively re-choose the things we want to renew, we pay our respects to what is gone, fix the broken parts, and then turn ahead towards the possibilties.

    With that said, Jeremy asked me the other day: "When was the last time you boarded a plane for the sake of taking a vacation? Not a vacation to help someone move or to help find someone a place to live or record an early music CD or keep up a relationship... When's the last time you flew somewhere and was actually able to relax and be treated like an honored guest?" It's been a long time.

    I guess the good news is now I'll have about $1000 extra a month to put towards the ol' savings, with some leftover for something awesome at the end of the summer. Visiting my peepz in Phoenix? Sounds great, as it's been too long. BMan on my terms? Possibly. Visiting Hamlet in Seattle? That would rock, and he's been inviting me patiently for years. Chasing up that traveling a9.com job from dreadlock-man and discovering a new city? Who knows. Saving up to buy a wee condo down Rehoboth so my dad can keep his boat in the water? Going someplace very dark to watch the Perseids in mid-August? It's a moral imperative. Enroll in massage therapy school part time and be done in a year, and finally get out of I.T.? The possibilities are endless.

    Suggestions welcome.