It’s totally normal to wake with jolts of anxiety over a concert, right? I’m unsettled, like despite my pleas with my favorite band to keep playing as long as is humanly possible (which, thank you, Tyler, you did announce to a crowd of several thousand people last July that you would, we totally heard it! Oh, and by the by, it’s not like they actually listen to me personally) you just feel something’s not perfectly copacetic with your universe, and what if this is the last time I’ll ever get to see them? What if I wake up tomorrow and everything has changed? What if I sleep through my flight? What if it snows and my flight is canceled?
I’m watching my dog sleep–it’s 3:38 AM and so should I be sleeping, but the bully named insomnia claimed victory in tonight’s battle. My mutt looks like an angel–peaceful cycles of puppy inhales and exhales, all four paws racing as he chases bunnies in his doggy dreams, and I think I would love nothing more than to kiss his squishy face just above his eyes right now. Then I remember the terrorist he is in daylight, and question “Who hates their dog?” Oh yeah, it’s me, I’m that horrible person engaged in a love-hate relationship with her dog. I love him. I hate him. I love him. Ask me again in two minutes. What is wrong with me?
The weeks-long, snail’s pace strain of viral and/or bacterial shit pummeling my body into an inert blob of coughing spasms, congestion so entrenched I’ll never enunciate a clear p, m, or b again, strep-ish throat, and other super sexy symptoms loves me bestest. It will not take its leave.
I have time for neither insomnia nor the modern plague. You can’t reason with anxiety, and you can’t affect the longevity of your fave band by enveloping them in the bubble wrap of your good wishes. People, it’s show time.
Several weeks back (you can do the math here if you like) I rose to get my coat, and noticed the office countdown wall had been amended extra-special, just for me. See, we’re educators, so we need things to look forward to more than other worker bees. My friend Christine once stated, and I quote, “People who don’t hear the phrase bitch-ass motherfucker thrown at them in the workplace don’t need breaks as often as we inner-city teachers do.” Preach, sister. Anyway, one of my office mates, Melita, very quietly and much to my giddy delight added this. I snorted. My poor office mates
tolerate encourage my crazy, and OK, I don’t mind it so much. I do mind the use of bitch-ass MFs, four-year-olds telling me I get on their nerves, or eight-year-old girls blowing snot rockets on my therapy room floor while “sneakily” giving me the finger. Like I didn’t see it. Amateur.
I have this group of friends about whom I’ve written before–my Barenaked Ladies super fan friends, the #Ladiesladies. Not a day passes that one of us eleven misses reaching out in some way to the group. The #Ladiesladies are privy to an impressive volume of confidences, pinky sworn to secrecy. We use our message forum to share our lives–the good, the bad, the ugly.
I’m closer to owning up to what I’ve been tap-dancing around: I may just be tilting a little closer to depressed. Since my boy’s diagnosis, I’ve acknowledged a range of emotions here in print. WordPress is much cheaper than therapy, and rereading my history on this platform evidences tremendous personal growth (and I’m not just talking the ten extra pounds–now down to seven, go, me!–of belly floppin’ here). I’ve intermittently permitted that maybe, possibly, could be I’m depressed, or that I’d consider thinking that maybe I’m depressed during the last two years. But over the last several months I’ve noticed how I’m not bouncing back like I typically do. I don’t look forward to things with my customary energy and enthusiasm. I don’t laugh as inappropriately or loudly as is my norm. I’m still functional, and still appear mostly Wendyesque, so I don’t feel my malaise rises to the level of clinical significance. I don’t know. WordPress is cheaper than therapy, sure, but not quite as interactive or diagnose-y.
My #Ladiesladies probably see it. They notice when I’m posting and responding less frequently. We all notice that of each other actually, but no matter what, no matter what! we are there for each other. They’re some of the first people I told about my son’s diagnosis. “Hey guys! How was your Wednesday? My older son was identified with muscular dystrophy this morning. I’m the walking dead.” It actually did go something like that, though I don’t precisely remember. What I do remember is that they were there. They’re there when I’m sick or annoyed or worried. And when I’m joyful or exuberant. We’ve been together through broken hearts and broken bones–cancer, automobile accidents, the loss of parents and other loved ones, our babies’ first home runs, their dance recitals and choir concerts. We represent two provinces and seven states–of all the gin joints in all the world, we found each other. To the actual Ladies, our band–these women who hold my hand as I peek over the precipice? We are friends because of you. Thank you.
Eleven strong last June, clad in our fuchsia team shirts, a few women asked us about us. “Can we be in your club?” a woman asked of me outside one of the beer gardens. Someone tweeted, “Help a sister out, #Ladiesladies, I need in.” “When can I get my shirt?” asked yet another.
You can’t. And not because we’re some middle school junior bitch clique, no. You can love the band, and you can be their #1 fan in all the world (well you can think you are. . . Even I am not top five, but really I think it’s because I am simply too broke to make it a full-time job), and I will look forward to seeing you again and again. Fans of our band, not just my inner circle, are good, good people. It’s a blast to go to shows anyway, but those hugs and time spent at shows with people I’d otherwise never have known? A gift. Since my concentrated hobby ramped up to its current level of investment, I’ve asked my husband not to buy me material gifts. My friends and the shows I attend with them are privilege enough. He doesn’t get the band thing, but he doesn’t have to. I do. And that’s enough.
#Ladiesladies membership cards are worth their weight in platinum and out of print. You can’t deny the oddest of odds–eleven random people with nothing but a shared musical hobby clicked. Eight of our eleven are making the run this weekend, only 72.7%. Gonna miss my Amy, Jen, and Katie for sure–love you, friends! But for the rest of us? Let’s go, girls. I need you to keep me strong.PS–pleaseplaymysongpleaseplaymysongpleaseplaymysongpleaseplaymysongpleaseplaymysong