I didn’t get home from acting class until 1 am. That was the beginning of this day. When I woke up at 6:30, Robert asked me how the class was and I told him that it was pretty hard. It was very uncomfortable, brutal, even. He told me to power through it. It’s tough to power through when you think you suck or when you don’t want to fail. Failing makes the big hole bigger. If acting, as a means of creative expression is supposed to fill it, why does it feel like it really could deepen it? Anyway, it’s easier to quit than fail so I told myself I was thinking of quitting.
Well, not really. I’ve hardly even gotten started. Quitting is a mistake anyway. It’s a mistake I’ve made before.
My friend told me this quote about mistakes that has reverberated quite a bit since hearing it. It’s a quote by Dali:
Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them. Understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.
I’ve really taken this idea to heart. I think about the mistakes I’ve made and I talk about them and I’m trying to figure them out. Quitting is a big one I’m ready to sublimate.
After breakfast I did my usual routine of checking my emails and facebook. Stephen had a post that I couldn’t shake all day. It said:
“it’s 2 am, & all i want in the world is a fuckin cheeseburger deluxe, & i just can’t fuckin do it, & nothing anybody can say is gonna make me feel better about not having it, but i’m still not gonna have it. because fuck it.”
I played it in the back of my head while the rest of life happened. We went downtown to see Dr.Kumar, then we went to our community parent education class. The discussion was about TV. A heated debate ensued. It brought me back to Stephen’s post. Late night cheeseburgers, video games and so many other vices don’t start as vices. They start as physical pleasures. When do they become obsessive and injurious acts of self-violence? I think it’s when they’re used to fill the hole. The endless lonely hole.
After parent ed we went to buy a refrigerator. Appliances and other home improvement projects or purchases are one of my favorite fallbacks for hole filling. I bargained and begged for a good price. They offered 10% off. I bargained and begged for 20% off. He firmly denied me and repeated his offer of 10% off . He didn’t seem to care about my sale and I felt stupid for trying to get a deal. I went home, spent a few minutes on the internet and found the same refrigerator for 25% off at another local retailer. The reviews on this retailer were horrendous but the prices were incredible. I couldn’t decide if saving the money would be worth taking a chance on being ripped off. So, I called the first place to ask the man for a price match. He didn’t pick up the phone so I called again. No luck. So I saw the email on his card and sent him my request. Then I put on a pot of Boeuf Bourguignon a la Julia Child and left to pick up the other children.
When I got in the car, I thought again about Stephen’s cheeseburger. I decided that all these babies and the dog and my horse in the stable were all I needed to fill the hole. I was ready to forget the refrigerator and the acting class and everything else. So I picked up my beautiful kids, we stopped by the stable to see Velvet and headed home to tend to the stew. Robert came home early and I stole the extra time to go to Curves. I had a wonderful workout, was feeling good and got in the car thinking about the waiting stew. Our little town was dark and buzzing. I haven’t lived here long and I’ve never walked the main street so while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic I was looking at the lights and the stores and the people on the street. I saw a hairdresser cutting a woman’s hair and I was wondering if I should have my hair cut there. I was wondering if I would be doing my part to better the world (and my hair) if I chose a local hairdresser. I was wondering if I could walk to a haircut instead of drive. I was wondering if I should try the restaurant next door to the hairdresser or the natural healer or any other small businesses on my own little main street when suddenly there was a huge bang. A stranger hit my driver’s window and screamed, “HEY!” as loud as they could. I was startled, scared, terrified actually. Then I realized I was in a crosswalk and in her way. She was coming from the left and I was looking through my front windshield and to the right. I didn’t see her. I didn’t see her coming and I didn’t see the crosswalk. It was randomly placed in the middle of the street and it was dark and there were no lights or signs. The stranger walked around the back of my car and I inched forward as far as I could to get out of the crosswalk and I broke down crying. It was hard to imagine that I could’ve killed someone while thinking about doing something to save the world. Or even worse, that while I was thinking of my hair, somebody somewhere was dying, somebody was being hit by a car in a terrible avoidable meaningless accident.
Late night cheeseburgers. Late night cheeseburgers. Lonely late night cheeseburgers. Life is full of late night lonely cheeseburger cravings only no one wants to talk about it. No one wants to admit their weakness. No one wants to admit how vulnerable we all are. No one wants to admit the extreme sorrow that comes from seemingly innocent deviations and desires. No one wants to talk about the hole.
When I got home there was a message from the appliance dealer. They’d do a price match. It felt a little like a betrayal. He could’ve sold the refrigerator to me for 20% off and I would’ve been thrilled but instead I was buying it for 25% off because I’d found his weakness. I couldn’t help but feel like I was a fink. I felt like I had ratted him out. It felt like a scam. What about the people who don’t know how to price match? Do they have to pay more? Even if they ask to pay less? I don’t get it. Somehow the whole thing felt a little too slippery for me to celebrate. It was definitely not working out as a hole filler.
Finally, I responded to Stephen. I am touched by his cheeseburger confession. I felt empowered by his unedited admission of vulnerability and powerlessness. I felt inspired to face my own demons as open-eyed as he is. If only appliance dealers could be so forthcoming. Only I didn’t want to tell everyone, so I just sent him a private message.
Now, with stew in our bellies, we are sitting in front of a snapping popping and crackling fire. Asher is laying on the hearth with Huck. Elkin is wrapped up in my old wool blanket cuddled close against her father’s chest. He is content watching his Lakers game while she is telling him who everyone in the room is, repeatedly. Orion is in the studio with the piano and Charlotte. I think he’s playing the Ukranian Christmas carol some of those fast food restaurants use in their commercials to sell extra cheeseburgers to people digging holes.
Tonight I think I’ll go to bed early.