• Adventureland!,  Depression is a Bitch

    Let That Be Enough

    Perpetual dissatisfaction marked my childhood. The neighborhoods I grew up in were too sterile, too full of cement and subdivisions. There was nothing left to explore; nothing that hadn’t already been tracked, catalogued and secured by adults. I could never properly explain this feeling to my mother. “I want to live in nature!” I would whine. I would plot how I could possibly run away and take enough reading material and Oreos to last me to adulthood, in a My Side of the Mountain scenario. Both my parents tried to explain how lucky I was. Everyone wanted to live in America, and everyone who already lived in America wanted to live in Los Angeles.…

  • Depression is a Bitch,  This is Me

    Take Me Away

    “Natalie,” Mrs. Stenninger bent down to my desk. Tall and angular, she always squatted to talk to us at our tiny desks. I quickly shoved my book into the cubby. “Yes?” I asked, feigning innocence, like the pro liar I was fast becoming. “What are you reading?” she asked. Mrs. Stenninger suffered no fools. I sighed. No point in trying to salvage the fib. “A mystery book. It’s called Mandie and the Forbidden Attic.” “Is it good?” I searched her face to see if she was genuinely interested. Her brow raised, her face open–all signs pointed to “yes.” “Yes. It’s exciting.” I grasped through my ten-year old mind to express what that meant to…

  • Depression is a Bitch

    Do Not Pass “Go”

    I suppose the idea burrowed into my brain during my first upper-division literature course, which makes sense. It was Victorian literature, and the professor was a midwestern transplant who wore loafers to class and introduced Dickens in a way that actually made him interesting to me. She had mentioned her plans to spend the summer abroad in England, touring the homes of all her favorite Victorian writers. You can do that? I thought to myself, as if I had just discovered I was an adult and could eat all the candy I wanted. My imagination began stirring up a misty future that up until that point had been rather blank. That idea never really…

  • Damn the Man,  Depression is a Bitch

    Not Waving But Drowning

    Walking usually boosts my mood, but today the walk is a mistake. My forehead glistens with sweat and my skin feels like a droplet of icy water might sizzle on it, like a searing griddle. The temperature makes the air seem white, as if bleached by too much L.A. sun. One minute I am walking my dog around the neighborhood, trying to smother the invasive thoughts with an inspirational podcast that I listen to like it’s my daily dose of Zoloft. The next minute I am drowning. My chest constricts and the memory of advanced pneumonia covers my vision with its wet fingers. I slow my walk to a halt and the dog…

  • Alcohol and Sobriety,  Damn the Man,  Depression is a Bitch

    Baking on a Friday Night

    I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but when I’m stressed out, I bake. Sometimes cookies or bread, but more often than not, I bake complex items that take on lives of their own. Dishes with several well-timed steps that take hours to bake, chill, whip and beat into submission. It’s like choosing a geometric theorem over simple addition; it takes every ounce of concentration, so there’s no room in my brain to fret and run my worries over and over like a hamster wheel. So, when I’m stressed out, I bake. This is why I have a platter of chocolate mousse in my refrigerator, why I have a tiny mountain of scones…

  • Alcohol and Sobriety,  Depression is a Bitch

    I’m Going to Talk About Suicide

    I woke up on my 27th birthday on a shitty mattress in rehab. The December light speckled in through the gritty window, and I lay there for a few minutes and thought about him. Of course I did. He had been 27 when he died. He had been an addict too, like me. So was Jimi and Janis and Brian and Jim, all dead at 27, but I mostly thought about him. When I was a young teenager, Kurt Cobain was very important to me, like I suspect he was to a lot of teenage kids. He wasn’t just a rock star who killed himself. He was a mythological figure.…

  • Adventureland!,  Depression is a Bitch

    Ride of a Lifetime

    “So, see: clutch, front brake, your back brake is down there, and here is where you shift.” He demonstrated with each punctuation, squeezing handles and pointing to various pedals. The bike stood silently, a lime-green beast that looked as if it had chewed and spit out riders far more experienced than I. Nodding, the giant helmet forced my head to swing a comically wide arc. “Do you want to try and start it?” he asked. “Okay,” I said. I was along for the ride, an empty shell. I would do whatever he asked. “It’s not just a push start, you have to kick-start it, here,” he said, sliding out the…

  • Depression is a Bitch

    I Am Not A Grown-Up

    The most unexpected part of being a grown-up is how little I feel grown up. My life does not in the slightest resemble the one I imagined for myself (well, except for the handsome husband part––shout-out to Mike!). Although Happily Ever After does not exist, I keep chasing it down, believing that once I’m “there,” then I’ll finally be a grown-up. When I was a girl, I was seven going on 40. Or an old soul, as some call it. I could not wait to grow up, so I could be free. Free to travel the world, free to do what I liked without permission, free to drive to the…

  • Damn the Man,  Depression is a Bitch,  This is Me

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Work Today

    A funny thing happened on the way to work this morning. And by “on the way to work,” of course I mean walking the twelve steps from the coffee maker to my desk still clad in my pajamas. Let me set the scene for you: Late Wednesday I lost a copywriting contract that was important to me. It was steady, well-paying work that I enjoyed doing – the first time in my entire life I did something at which I excel in exchange for monetary compensation. I didn’t do anything wrong, it was just one of those downsizing things that have become an integral part of this post-apocalyptic economy. I’m no…


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