Monday, March 17, 2008

Futility Mode, and then a little better

"Futility Mode" is a fancy-ass term for depression. It's that state of mind I get into that goes, why bother doing anything? Why make the effort? We're all gonna die anyway! I got a bad attack of it this morning before leaving for work. And last night I got up from the dinner table because I had a flashback of a bad childhood incident involving my mother.

However, by the time I got into the shower this morning I had started my self-talk. Mom was a great role model for what not to do. Any time I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, or her birthday, or Mother's Day, she'd just give that wistful, willow-in-the-wind sigh of hers and say "Peace....happiness..." in a tone that said she'd never, ever have any of those things and it was all our (Dad's and my) fault.

Blanche Fucking DuBois.

Even as a tiny little kid, I knew when she said this, that it was bullshit. It took a few decades before I could put it into words, but to summarize:

  • I am not responsible for anyone else's mental state, and
  • No one is responsible for mine!
I may not be able to control the thoughts or emotions that come into my head, but I certainly can control how I respond to them.

If you want the image I keep handy for moments like this, catch the movie Gypsy next time it comes out on AMC. It's the movie with Natalie Wood as Gypsy Rose Lee. In one of the scenes just before the end of the movie, Gypsy's finally made it big. She's stopped being the mousy, dutiful older sister to Baby June, who has run away. She has unwittingly become a burlesque stripper and to everyone's surprise, she's taken off like a rocket and she's the hottest thing in showbiz at that time (a true story, by the way). But her mother still wants to run the show. They have one of their innumerable arguments, and after Mama Rose storms out, Gypsy realizes she has to put her angry, hurt feelings aside because she's just about to do a photo shoot. She sits on a stool and the guy who's setting this up says "C'mon, Gypsy, give us a smile." And oh, does she smile. You can see her summoning every ounce of willpower she's got, and then she tosses back her head and splits her mouth, her entire face, into this absolutely stunningly brilliant smile that everyone is looking for on a magazine cover. You can almost hear her thinking, here's your fucking smile, goddamn you to hell, all of you. KISS MY ASS, WORLD!

So that's a good thing to fall back on when I feel myself sinking.

I exchanged e-mails with Doug today regarding Wally. I thought he was going to get on my case like he often does, but I told him straight out what my situation is, and he managed not to jab at me.

Wally is looking forward to seeing me this weekend. I hope it goes well.

No comments: