It's been long overdue, but I finally get a week off from everything. Well, most things. The whole trouble with my worsening condition reached a head, and surprisingly enough, my week away from work actually became one of my more eventful and restless weeks, more so than I've had in a long time.
My anxiety attacks have escalated to the point where I spend entire nights in tears and walking out of my Fortress completely surprised that the sun has risen. It didn't help that certain individuals have bailed on me at this point, but it's not like it hasn't happened before, and that I haven't survived that sort of treatment before. But, this time, I avoided some of the mistakes I committed before, and actually placed my condition in the hands of people that have earned my trust.
Water, Water, Everywhere. Things, in a way that shouldn't surprise anyone, turned for the worse on a Sunday at the Think Tank. Then other shitty things happened, and of course, it did not take long for everything to seem like they were viewed from a fish eye lens. The things that I was going through for the past couple of weeks paled in comparison to that moment.
One phone call saved my fragile sanity. it was the Salesman, fellow stand up comic and Southerner, the guy who introduced me to a bunch of geeks that made my move to Las Pinas a little less lonely. We had a couple of beers and talked about the possibilities, as the Salesman actually accomplished on his own what we both set out to do a few months ago, which was to find a new spot to do stand up regularly. we worked on a few jokes, exchanged a couple of tips, and then we got to the main reason why I asked for the face time. I, for one of the rare times in my life, asked for ad
vice. For someone who's been through rough times himself, the Salesman managed to cheer me up and give me a little hope that things are going to be better. Plus, between him and the Therapist, I knew I wasn't alone in facing this crap.
I went home thinking that things were actually looking up, despite the troublesome affairs with work and others. Plus, it had been raining again, and nothing cheers me up more than a nice pour down. Yeah, things seemed like they were going to be fine. All that got flushed down the toilet the moment I went in my apartment. Water. Lots of it.
Apparently the pipes were fucked up due to the massive construction and shit like that. I fell to my knees the moment the landlady left. A whole lot of my shit were doused, wet comic books, magazines, clothes, everything. Remember that scene from the Sixth season of Buffy where she finds the basement flooded and just sat there for hours staring at the flood, finally feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders? It was exactly like that, only in my case, there was no Slayer strength to to rely on, no easily beatable monster to kill and serve as a distraction, There was just me, breathing funny, anxiety crept up to me, looking for a friendly voice to listen to, and when that didn't come, I slept in a puddle that was ankle high. It was going to be a long ass week.
De Ja Freakin' Vu. It's amazing that two events separated by two years can be amazing identical. On the first day of the vacation/nervous breakdown, my first visitor was The Girl Who Saved My Life. Back in 2009, I was a wreck, and she was the one constant that showed up in my lonely Fortress to literally and metaphorically save my life. Now, 2011 comes and I'm in the middle of an untreated crisis, and there she is once more, in my empty house, sacrificing time just so to cheer me up.
She changed a lot though, now that she was a graduate and now working. She's a little more mature now, and far less like a lost little girl who got abandoned by her boy. It's good. Two years ago, we both had baggage. Now, mine's a tad heavier than hers, and she's still willing to share the weight.
I went to Cavite that night, and it was the first night in a couple of weeks I actually slept without any attacks of any sort.
Road Trip. The following day, I paid a visit to the Big Man's house to talk about this new project I was going to work on with the rest of the boys, and to talk about what has happened to me. His reaction to my condition was expected and understandable, being a concerned friend and all. I think, however, his interest was piqued more by the news that I took a week off from work. It was 1 PM, I was in their house, with no plans at all, he was itching to do something fun (since his wife got preggers, along with a few other less than ideal conditions, his opportunities to just fuck around like the old days were limited at best), so, much like how we did things just a year ago, we went and had ourselves a road trip.
The Big Man. Myself. The Tapa King. The Big Main's long lost brother. A crazy (but intelligent) old dude. Two teenagers. One really wasted waitress. A set of wheels. A collective desire for doing fucked up shit. All those elements culminated into a single perfect moment where I, all issues and problems aside, stood staring at the vast and beautiful darkness of Tagaytay and allowed myself to breathe easy.
Everything was chaotic, but I never was one for the peace and quiet bit. Three important things happened that night. One, the possibility of the Big Man and I working together professionally was put on the table. Two, I met some really crazy people that would feed me material for a long time. And three, my sort-of-manager sent me a message, saying he booked me to do stand up for a TV show. I said yes, of course, cause nothing helps my anxiety quite like fucking up in front of a live studio audience. The catch? No dirty language, no blue stuff, no English. Just good ol' wholesome mainstream comedy. But, that's another story for another time.
I had a good night, and I went home with a few new friends, a new awesome hat, and a whole bunch of stories.
Wednesday NIght Delights. In my life, few things suddenly feel more right than a Wednesday night open mic. The Salesman did good. Nice bar, nice treatment. Amazing crowd. I actually brought the Human Torch and the BIg Man to watch me make the younger people of the audience laugh ad the older bunch shy away in disgust. I love being rude and crude and right.
Before the show, the Big Man and I also walked around the streets of Manila, mostly in fear. I don't know if it's because we're getting older or what, but we longer are as comfy trudging down the same streets we used to fuck around in while we were in college. I guess we all got too suburban the moment we all found ourselves living in Cavite again.
It was a really long day, really. After the show, we had time to hang out at my place before going all the way to Caloocan to pick up his mother and some random friend she met on the bus. I have to tell you, it was quite an experience. It's good that the Big Man and I have managed to get caught up once again. What with all the shit he and I have been dealing with as individuals as of late,I guess we mutually need the back up. In fact, we even went out and saw a movie a day later. The break from everything was beneficial to all of us, I think.
And since I still haven't raised enough funds to get therapy, I discovered that consistently keeping myself in the company of people who do not add to my problems is the best way of keeping a handle on this thing.
A Bigger Think Tank and an even Larger Generation Gap. The Therapist actually hooked me up with a possible quasi-teaching job. This one, if I manage to snag it, will not only will I have enough for financial obligations, it would actually enable me to work two jobs at the same time, which, given my current situation, is good for my mental health in the long run. The less
idle time I have, the less opportunities for the darkness to set in.
I took the test, I passed, and I left to meet up with one of the people I met during our recent road trip. The rationale was simple. I should not have time alone, and I also need to get a general feel of a "normal" person if I were to do that TV thing right. The experience did nothing but make me feel old, but it also was enlightening. I'm happy that people of the Facebook generation can still muster some semblance of toughness and real courage. Most of the younger people I meet are the usual bunch of sycophants who don't know any better… thinking that just because social networking sites offer them an opportunity to express themselves gives them a certain level of entitlement that allows them to speak without doing the very basic thing of thinking first. I was pleasantly surprised.
That night, I went home alone once more, and it doesn't take much for me to notice a pattern here. I spend the night in a ball.
What Remains of the Empire. Last year, a friend of mine plucked me out of my little home based paradise to work in the Evil Empire, a place where reality is somewhat contorted by the sub-culture that was established by folks who were more than happy establishing themselves in their little pocket dimension rather than work on being, you know, chilling the fuck out. It was like the Superbowl of territorial pissing contests, and you had to look very carefully to find someone cool to hang out with. One of those people who was more than pleasant to speak to daily moved South recently.
I was torturing myself in my less than glorious return to the Think Tank when she sent me a text message. Drinks at my place, and we spent the night talking about writing, the Empire, people in general, my shit, her shit, theories about people we both knew. It was pleasant, and I was back to sleeping peacefully.
Vacation's Over. I have a hell of a climb in front of me, but after the week that started out with busted pipes, and ended with a quiet night, and everything that's happened in between, I realize that I will never be in a situation wherein I'll have someone constantly watching my back as I deal with this. (I hope no one goes and reacts to that statement by giving me a speech about how you have to look out for yourself and shit like that. Usually people who talk about things like that have always had people around them that it's gotten to the point that they no longer recognize their constant support system and have mistaken not having the need to ask for help as actual independence.) I hope, someday, as the Gadgeteer once said, I will be, once again, a "titan among giants". Right now, I'm just a guy trying to survive the day to day. I'm glad my support group is more firmly implanted than they were a couple of years ago.
I will be shiny. Just not yet.
"We used to tear it down,but now we just exist.
The things that i did wrong,
I'll bet you've got a list.
Now i know how you remember
and those moments that you choose
will define me as a traitor,
stealing everything you lose.
Forget about what i said,
the lights are gone and the party's over.
Forget about what i said.
Forget about what i said,
I'm older now and i know you hear me.
Forget about what i said.
You'll stay up late tonight,
you'll turn off your phone.
Well you were selfish too,
but you were never all alone.
In those ugly pink apartments
with the hustlers and the kids,
mapping out some retribution.
Do we have to go through this?
Forget about what i said,
the lights are gone and the party's over." - The Killers, "Forget About What I Said"