Sort of sad and draggy today. The Lovely Emily has moved back to Wilmington for the school year, and I haven't been keeping in touch with Clifton too well--need to get hold of him again. I have a lot of small-talk acquaintances, you know, the kind you're glad to run into and can hang out with before classes, but... yeah. There's just something about living together that just forges a completely different kind of friendship. In Clifton's case, we kept having classes together and totally turned into Will and Grace and I need more of that, I think. More from the Stalwart Pal department, I mean, not necessarily the Sitcom Refugee department.
The thing is--dealing with clinical depression, i.e., a constant condition that gets better or worse by turns but never goes away, I've learned to sort of divorce my thought process from what I'm feeling, because I may feel sad or irritable or insecure or needy or tragic or whatever for no reason at all. It's completely irrational, as I found out when I was a college freshman one January term--I was having a great time, great class, great people to hang out with, and then I'd go back to my room and cry for an hour, and I didn't even know why. It's sort of a cart before the horse thing--I would feel sad, so I would pick a reason that I must be feeling sad (I'm lonely, ugly, unwanted, hopeless, whatever bullshit adjective I felt like that particular day). It was that Jan term that finally made me realize that sometimes my emotions were completely arbitrary and out of whack and that I shouldn't listen to them. Example: objectively, things are going great for me right now. Why should I be sad?
And it's not even that I won't let myself feel emotions. It's just that I tend to treat it like a cold or the flu, and just sort of ride it out and try to ignore it as best as I can, try not to wallow in it. Just push it into the background, you know? Not really respect whatever I'm feeling as a valid emotion. If you want to be practical, you can say that the net result is basically the same--whether I say, "That's crazy talk, man! Everything's going great right now!" or "Yeah, that does kinda suck. Wahhhhh!," I'm going to push it into the background and keep doing my thing, and as long as I keep on keeping on, it shouldn't matter what I feel or why.
(I don't want you to think I'm intensely repressed here. I mean, I'm a pretty easygoing person, laugh easily, mope a little, have a quick temper, etc. I'm speaking of this in the sense that this is what functioning people do: they have classes to take and jobs to do and kids to raise and can't, you know, take to their beds like Victorian belles every time they feel jealous or depressed or cranky or fat.)
The problem is that I think I don't listen to my emotions often enough. They sort of do whatever they want in the background, like children behind a closed playroom door, and I have this very Elinor Dashwood sense-not-sensibility thing going on in the Grown-ups' Room. There's a difference, of course, between arbitrary and warranted emotion, and I need to start making that distinction. I mean, everything's going great and I'm sad. That's bullshit. Everything's going great, but a really close friend who was in town for the summer has moved away again, and I'm sad. That's normal; that's human.
Before you scoff at my taste in music (although it deserves a full serving of scoff), by the way, I have to tell you that my "Current Music" selection always makes me think of that week I was in Havana, because that's what was playing on the TV that night I sat in my hotel room and decompressed instead of going out with our group. And God, was I glad to hear some English. So it's more than just a crappy Ricky Martin song, you know? I really wish I could find the journal I kept--I tried to write a nonfiction account and kept slipping into bullshit Rebecca-style "The hotel stands so faintly in my memory" crap. ("There were days that spring when I would begin to wonder if Havana had only been a dream." Oh, honey, you can do better than that.) And I would really, really like to write about the whole experience--I wonder if it's because The Lovely Emily and I watched the first half of Lost in Translation before "Six Feet Under" came on. Because I think what I want to say about Havana has a little of that feel to it, only with a lot less moping and 85% fewer panties.
Still working on the m15m book. Have talked to Ginger; she says August is pretty dead, so we won't be talking to American publishers until September (so yes, it will be published here in the States; we just don't know when or by whom yet). Mom came home with an upset stomach, so she and Sister Girl and I (I was up last night with a tummyache myself. Hey, Em: Mom feels really bad about the tiramisu. Apparently everyone at dinner last night hated it, and it was just bad tiramisu) sacked out in the den and watched ROTK. Mom hadn't seen it since that one time in the theater and was still asking all kinds of questions, like, "Is he the king's son?" and "Why is she dying?" and "Is the Van Helsing guy dead?" I hadn't taken too many notes on Two Towers or Return of the King because that was the afternoon that the cat bit the everliving goddamn shit out of my hand (it's healed up pretty nicely, by the way), so it didn't really hurt to sit there, the three of us, and eat leftover chocolate cake and sort-of bond in this miasma of estrogen ("Wake me up when Viggo comes back, kids").
(I need to figure out what to do about this teeth-grinding problem I seem to have inherited from my father. I've suspected that I do it for a long time now, but after sharing a room with me in New Orleans The Lovely Emily confirmed it.)
Anyway. I'm almost done with my Alcott collection, and then it's on to either A Long Fatal Love Chase or Alias Grace, depending on how sucked-in I can afford to get. I'm also reading through some scanned e-texts on Victorian London, from Victorian London, which are hell on my eyes but there you go.