“Laughing at the behavior of a person in the throes of addiction, or dismissively treating it as entertainment, is no less unforgiveable than making fun of someone who has begun to deteriorate from the damages of any other chronic and debilitating disease.”— Jared Leto on the media’s treatment of Amy Winehouse
I throw my keys into my purse and bound down the stairs, open the garage door. I fish out said keys again and open my car door. I’m simultaneously dreading and anticipating my arrival at my destination.
I turn the key in the ignition and begin to drive. The wallet attached to my keys frees itself from the surrounding keys and hits me in the knee. Glancing over the clock, I see that I have timed my fifteen minute drive well. I will be fifteen minutes early.
The office building is located across the street from the first place I was taken when I realized I needed to be fixed. Savoring this small bit of Alanis Morrissette “irony”, I turn off the engine, nervously click my car shut twice, and enter.
It’s the typical set up, sans receptionist, chairs bought from Rooms-To-Go and white noises coming from a CD player. I answer the questions presented to me on paper and promise I won’t sue her if I stay broken. I recognize the risks. She eventually comes out from the door that I didn’t notice before, giving me a few more instructions. Thoughts about how her picture on her website don’t really do her any justice pass through my head, but I instead thank her and tell her I’m nearly finished with the forms.
Entering the room, she says more things she must say to me because I am broken. A risk. A potential problem. I nod and smile, trying to psychically communicate to her that I don’t plan on attacking her or going to trial anytime soon. She goes through the papers and begins to assess the brokenness. This part is easy. I can always tell my story, but I always wonder if they believe it. I wonder if the several men and women I’ve confessed to in beige colored rooms really believe it the first time I speak. I wonder why I’m so comfortable in beige colored rooms with people I’ve googled to make sure they have the proper letters trailing after their surnames. Nonetheless, I tell her everything. However, unlike the others, she brings up the things I’ve always kept guarded. I wonder, once again, does she believe me. I decide she believes me.
We conclude discussing costs and co-pays. I call my father. I become aware of my posture and the fact I’ve been scratching my arm during this entire session. She doesn’t take credit cards. I fumble for cash; she tells me to bring a check next time. We decide on Wednesdays, which I note in my BlackBerry.
We say goodbye. I get into my car and return to pretending.
People create blogs to express themselves, and the one emotion that we are taught to repress is anger, right? Or did I just grow up in a too white family that teaches you to act nicely and smile in order to show everyone you are handling your shit well?
Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
Can someone please explain to me how someone can think they understand the complexities of Southern culture after a few weeks working with other transplants in a highly controlled environment in Mississippi?