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Now, where did I put the Tylenol?

February 14, 2022 Journal Entry

We’re the ones that mark the passing of time, assign significance to particular days. Why do we find that necessary? Time pays no mind to such things. Time is simply a construct to help us categorize and make sense of our existence. We have no past, we have no future, we have only this second. Right this second.

Right this second, I’m sitting in my mother’s living room, pounding on my laptop which sits on the tray in front of me. I’m not pounding because I’m angry. I’m pounding because I eat and drink sitting in this same place. Then I type, hours each day, and my fingers have made some of the keys sticky.

Right this second, I am alive, everything is working in my body as it should. No headache, although I downed five lemon drops on my date yesterday. But I ate, and it was over a three-hour period. The poison didn’t overtake me as it most often does. Poison. Hmmm.

I’ll probably have a headache later. If not from the lingering effects of yesterday’s poison, from the transfer anxiety of listening to my mother hyperventilate all day, going through her checkbook, the VISA statement, making lists of things she doesn’t have, things she thinks she needs. Constantly ruminating over all the places she feels lack, which seems like everyplace.

“Oh, I wish I was rich!” Just now, she exclaims. Once, perhaps more times a day. Sometimes many times a day. I ignore her, keeping my eyes trained intently on the laptop screen.

She’s just finished her requisite 45 minutes vigorously scrubbing the glass stovetop, which she does every day, regardless of whether or not it’s been used (today, it hasn’t).

It occurs to me; we really do create a hell existence all on our own. All in our own minds, melding ourselves to our own dangerous and incredibly harmful beliefs, resting in the tendency to succumb to lack instead of living in this second, which in this second, contains everything we need.

“I’ve got to start saving money!” Just now, she exclaims.

I feel the faint onset of the pain from the steel halo that encircles my skull. I always feel it resting there, but it takes on weight and tension as the day progresses. Some days, it’s just a background sensation. But today, I anticipate it will be worse. It feels like a two Tylenol day. Perhaps a four Tylenol day. Then add in a Klonipin. Maybe more than one. Maybe more than two. Maybe a handful more. I have to be careful, though. I have to count them. I can’t take too many.

“My hair is so white!” Just now, she exclaims. She must have come across that Facebook picture posted by a friend she had lunch with last week.

My hair is so white, too. But I vacillate on whether to color it. I’ve worked so hard to look this old. I wasn’t just the passing of time that did it. It was so many many things. My tendency to create a hell existence all on my own. That would be the primary contributor. But other things, too. More meaningful things, like caring for mom. Writing, getting published, creating the blog. Integrating into critical advocacy efforts. Writing letters. Making phone calls. Fighting injustices. All good things, meaningful things, positive lasting things, but all things that write out in wrinkles and grey on my body.

That I have aged so rapidly and so obviously just in the last year is quite unexpectedly no longer troubling, but has instead become gratifying. So that’s a relief. That’s a victory. The benefits of aging far outweigh the negatives. It’s just in the last week I’ve come to own that belief. It feels good to hold fast to that belief. Anymore, I don’t wince at the wrinkles and the grey in the mirror. But still, there's the weight to address. I've so much work ahead. Good work, though.

Yes, I had a date yesterday, a new fellow. Only 13 years younger. So that's a good thing! I connected with him on the Reddit herpes page. I posted a link to “A completely boring HERPES educational blog post that you should absolutely read anyway”, which contained my email, and a handful of folks contacted me. I’ve had some good conversations.

Incidentally, that blog post has 1,162 views right this second. I’m smiling. That is worth some grey hair right there. Now, 1,162 people have some good information about this monster that lives inside, information that supports the fact it’s not a monster at all. That’s some really good stuff I did.

Mother is back at the stove. “I don’t know why she does it…” she mumbles. What she’s asking, is, why do I make such a mess of the stovetop when I cook? Because I cook! Seems pretty obvious to me. I would clean up, but she insists I not.

“I have to have something to do. I have to keep myself busy! Otherwise, I just sit on the fanny!”

I always ask if she’d like me to clean up, she always says no. I wonder why I ask. I should just do it. But then, I’d be stealing her joy! Yes! Joy! She loves it that she can play martyr while tending to the kitchen, the laundry, organizing and reorganizing and reorganizing and reorganizing her bedroom closet. And the bathroom drawers. And the pantry. What the actual fuck? Really? Yes. Really.

Back to my date yesterday. Very nice man. Kind, first and foremost, which is my only true requirement. Intelligent, educated, well-traveled, a great storyteller. He has many long stories, just as I do, some joyous, many heartbreaking, just like mine. Perhaps we’ll be friends, perhaps we’ll have sex. We both have herpes, after all. Disclosure is the big deal. Herpes is just a nuisance skin condition. Disclosure is the monumental hurdle.

We discussed the stigma at length. Is it helpful for people with herpes to talk about the stigma? How misguided? How uneducated? How uninformed? How thoughtless? How cruel? How pervasive? We seem to ponder endlessly on these mysteries. It can be quite troubling. But I choose to stop at baffling. To give herpes any more credence, any more power in my mind and in my life is not somewhere I’m willing to live. I have the bipolar to deal with, after all. The bipolar is enough; too much, actually. Herpes is simply a nuisance skin condition. I have bigger mental shit to manage.

And that’s it. Those are my seconds. My last roughly 2400 seconds. And now, I have just this second.

Happy Fucking Valentine’s Day!

Now, where did I put the Tylenol?



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