Monday, December 15, 2008

subway catharsis

I've made it through finals, a month of travels through Soberland, and was blessed by a weekend visit from two of my guardian angels, Girlfriend and Sharp. I don't know how, but somehow I have collected some of the most loving, devoted people on this whirling ball of carbon. I had been hotly anticipating them coming, but kind of not believing that two people unrelated to me by blood would love me enough to fly across the goddamned country for the weekend just to lay eyes on me and make sure I was doing okay. It kind of freaked me out when I got home Friday morning from my yoga class and there they were. The confusion almost made my head explode.

The takeaway messages from the weekend were that (a) I am abnormally harsh on myself, (b) Undoing this is a long and arduous process (b.1: but I AM GODDAMN WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!), and (c) I absolutely cannot do this without my friends.

I spent about an hour and a half crying on the subway yesterday, 45 minutes with Girlfriend as I rode with her halfway to JFK, and then another 45 minutes on my way home from yoga class. There is something deeply satisfying about crying on the subway. You are in public, you are moving, and you are crying. It's like you get to disperse your emotions through the crowd, leave them somewhere else, and get off somewhere else, refreshed.

When I got off the train at 181, this dreadful station on the 1 line where you are forced to take an elevator to exit the station. This is the stuff that my worst nightmares are made of, because if you are a control freak like me, you like to have stairs that you can run up and down in case of emergency. Like I was telling Doll the other day, I grew up not being allowed to wear flip-flops on airplanes in case the need to run should arise. Well, as I finished crying and neared my destination, the nightmare came true. The doors opened at 181st and we walked off into a haze of smoke because the fucken station was on fire. At first everyone just calmly covered their faces with their hoodies and scarves and walked toward the elevators, but then someone screamed "FUEGO!!!! AIIIEEE!!!" Then, of course, people started to run and scream and push.

There was a part of me that wanted to self-preserve, that wanted so much to make it out of the smoke and up and out and onto the street, to live and to breathe and to be okay. When Sharp asked me one night how I've suddenly gone from Detox Doctor's estimate of 56 drinks a week to zero, I shrugged and almost cried in front of Duff's. As I nimbly made my way through the smoke I suddenly recognized what was keeping me going, because it was kicking into especially high gear at that very moment: a desperate, adrenaline-filled part of my body that I suddenly recognized as what has been what has been keeping me alive during the past few weeks, in the absence of booze and drugs, in tandem with pharmies, and it is also what is making it difficult for me to sleep at night. It is hard to turn off. Survival instinct! So strange, so natural, so unconnected to brain, just body.

But as we choked on smoke as a motley crew of men and women and children the color of the rainbow, my brain mostly thought "I am going to die down here and at last I will be at peace."

Detox doctor says: we will work on this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

love you. LOVE your writing. LOVEYOU!