Monday, July 2, 2012

the insomniac ramble

It's almost one-thirty am. I went to bed at midnight. Cannot sleep. I had a lot of trouble with insomnia and sleep disturbances right after I got sober (nearly 26 years ago), but I've basically had it licked via (safe) prescribed meds. One of them, an antidepressant with the side effect of sleepiness, is the one that permits me to stay asleep through the night once I've fallen asleep. That's the lifesaver. If my mind is so busy that I will have trouble falling asleep, I add a (safe) prescribed anti-anxiety med. Nothing worked tonight,and I am following one of the anti-insomnia rules of getting out of bed.

I did have a busy mind, but the med did not put a dent in it. I sort of mentally narrate to myself some events of my life that I feel the need to revisit. I'm not sure if these narrations are writing (though some of the topics will subsequently turn up in this blog or something else I write) or imaginary therapy sessions (would that I could go more than once a week!).

Oh, hello, some of my newer friends...did I mention that I'm in therapy and suffer from depression and occasional anxiety? I wonder if the boom in treating mood disorders in the US isn't somehow related to the increasing complexity of life here. It's kind of what it's like when I spend a weekend in Pennsylvania and then come back to New York - it's a lot of effort to live here, pretty hard work. You always have that near-unconscious routine of noting suspicious or oddly acting people, handling cash discreetly when you're in public, and so on. It eats up quite a lot of energy, negotiating a crowded sidewalk. It's actually pretty calm where I live, but when I get off that train and them am launched into Penn Station (which is built under Madison Square Garden making things even more hectic), then a block of midtown street, then the subway. And a lot of people outside NYC have cars and their own houses, which also brings oodles of stress and bad financial surprises.

Our parents kick us out of the nest as soon as possible, so we don't have the support of mother, siblings, grandmothers on a daily basis. I admire the way Indian families live. (The Chinese also keep the generations close.) My remaining parents (father and stepmother) are very remote, not welcoming and generous. My mother was the exact opposite, but she died when I was 22; and my stepfather had no intention of complying with her wishes, so there was no more emotional support, no "home" to go back to, and not even the security of a few extra dollars.

My father has been so adverse to spending an extra dime on my brother and me that he actually makes excuses when he and my stepmother do things like go to Bermuda for a week. I guess the idea is that if we know he has enough money for a vacation, HE SHOULD GIVE US SOME. So he'll say things like, "You know, we booked this three months ago and got a very good deal, and we haven't gotten away in a year, and some friends of ours are going to be there..." C'mon, just say "We're going on vacation." I promise not to ask you to buy me something or take me along.

Actually, I did sort of do it recently. They were going on a Caribbean cruise, and I asked them if they could pick me up some larimar stud earrings set in silver, if they were not insanely expensive. Larimar, which is a little whiter than turquoise and has chatoyance (cat's-eye quality), is only found in the Dominican Republic, and is hard to find and pricey over here. I really did stress that the cost might be too high and they should only get something very reasonable. (I was thinking about something dead simple, like studs in a 3 or 4mm round cab, or similarly small in an oval, in a plain silver bezel, period.) What they came back with were BIG heart-shaped studs, really substantial pieces of larimar, and a story. They found the earrings in the very last store on the very last island on the very last day; they had a hard time finding any anywhere. But this store didn't take credit, so they had to scrape every last cent out of their pockets to buy them. This was a rare act of real generosity, and I think Mary really drove it.

My relationship with Mary has improved immeasurably, believe it or not, because of the internet. She speaks in a kind of acerbic, non-warm ways; so when she makes a joke about something I've mentioned, it always seems as if she's making fun of me in a mean way. She just has that affect. But when she and I started emailing, she was extremely nice, and I started to see her as truly affectionate and sweet. I think I finally became 100 percent sure that she didn't dislike or resent me in some way, after 30-plus years.

And back to jewelry...I have two other pieces of larimar. One is a big old pendant, roughly pear-shaped, that was given to me by an old boyfriend who had family in the DR. The second is a silver wire bracelet with a small oval cab near the clasp (it's a design called the "Cruixian Hook," with a hook clasp worn on top). I bought that in St. Croix in 1995. I also have about 40 larimar beads (faceted rondells, 4mm I think), which I've been hoarding for years. (There are some beads I sit on for years, waiting until I think of a design that does them justice. Some beads just demand it.)

I actually started working on a pretty elaborate pair of earrings today, the first piece for the crafts fair in November, but I ran out of thin enough headpins. I had more headpins, but they were a thicker gauge and wouldn't go through the stones I was using. I almost never let this happen, and it's really frustrating.I'm going to have to go back to them and get myself to that same level of concentration and careful work. I'm capable of working fast, but these pieces will have pretty healthy price tags, and they've got to be just right and not sloppy in any way. The price of silver has become murderous, so I always dread running out of headpins, wire, clasps, earring hooks, and so on. (I've actually broken up some old pieces to reuse the clasp.)

One of these days, I will come up with some way to photograph my jewelry properly. Or have someone else do it.

I think I'm gonna try bed again. Good night, and thanks for keeping me company.

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