Category Archives: Writing


While you may never expect to find yourself locked down in a mental institution, nobody can prepare you for what happens next.  I spent most of my time at Gateway thinking about getting home, about the cats & how worried & confused they had to be, my computer, my bed, my shower, my clothes, where I was gonna get my rent money from, etc. Yet, when it was time to get out of the cab that brought me home, I was once again filled with all the worry I left in this place….money, work, when I’d be able to eat again. Nothing went away, except a few days of my life. Somehow I had thought that this would be a cleansing of sorts for me, that I would walk out of the hospital healthier & stronger than when I walked in.

When I got into the apartment, I must admit that it was awesome to see the cats. They were as happy as dogs would be to see me. I’m sure it was just so I would give them the wet food they’d gone without for the past few days. Whatever the reason, they made me smile & cry at the same time, the innocent victims of my meltdown. Within 5 minutes, everything was normal & fine for them, but not so much for me. I was sure the first thing I would want to do was take a shower, but in all actuality, it took another few days to bring myself to do that. I did at least change my clothes. I had to make a plan to pick up my car in Culver City, which involved 2 buses & a two hour total trip there & back. Even my car felt weird, different. Maybe it was just me. I’m sure it was me, because everything looked & felt weird to me that first day home.

I came home Friday & fought my way through the weekend, hiding for those three days from the world, isolating once again. Starting Monday I did make it a point to go out & do something with a friend every day. It was difficult, but in the end I’m glad I did it. I went to lunch & hiking in the canyons while talking about my fears with a good friend. I went to see a live show & a jazz lounge with another friend & didn’t really talk about my experience at all. I prefer it that way with her. Then on the third day, a sweet, dear friend came over, we went out to lunch, came back here, got baked & watched a movie, laughing the whole time. That was great, very healing!  Later in the evening, after a nice nap, we went to see a friend of mines band play at the Viper Room. Amazingly, when we got there, Prince was there. That was an amazing moment & one that made me glad I forced myself to leave the apartment that night. Unfortunately, we left before my friends band came on. We were both so tired, it just wasn’t in us. I even went on a job interview Thursday morning & feel pretty confident about how it went, but learned a long time ago to be optimistic without expectation. I know I’m qualified, but it’s okay if they go with someone else. I’ll keep searching for what fits me.

At the same time I began going to Hollywood Mental Health, which is a lot like Team Mental Health in Detroit, only on a larger scale. It could just be me & my personality that brings the good out in the staff, but I found myself comfortable there, not afraid as I normally would be. I really like my case worker & my psychiatrist, even if I don’t agree with her treatment plan. I trust them.

On Tuesday, I ended up having to spend 5 hours there. It always takes that long for an intake. The only bummer was that I didn’t eat before I went in at 8am, so I was starving most of the time. It could have been worse. I could have been one of the old dudes passed out on the sofa’s in the waiting area. I could have been the screaming girl in tears insisting on seeing a supervisor, because “everybody here treats us like shit”, I could have been any one of these people, but luckily, I’m me, the good & the bad. I’ll take that any day over what I see in these environments.

I have asked myself what have I gained from this experience & it’s pretty hard to nail one specific thing down. I think I learned that having a mental disorder/illness isn’t the taboo that it is in my mind. Knowing this about myself makes me feel broken, tarnished, damaged. Then again, who of us isn’t damaged in one way or another? Mainly, I have taken from this experience that it’s time to get off all these drugs that cloud my mind, see if they are really helping me, or if they are altering me the wrong way & being healthy & active is the right choice. This is the direction I am heading in. It’s not gonna be easy, nothing for me that is worth having ever is, but I know in my soul it will be worth it. I can make it!

Everything is different to me know. The world outside feels & looks different. My belief in myself is different, stronger. I realize that I’m not as crazy as I thought I was, which was a HUGE relief! I am putting my energy into my creativity. I realize now that I need a creative outlet to not only survive, but to thrive. That is my goal. I will say yes to every creative impulse I have, within reason, of course. This is my time, my shot….



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For years, the first thing that came to mind when I heard or read that number was the album 5150 by Van Halen. I guess if I think about it, I have known for quite some time that this number stood for a 72 hour psych hold due to concern of people who may be a suicidal threat to themselves or a threat to others. What I can say is that I never thought I would associate it with myself or my life experience. That all changed last week.

I have sought medication treatment for my anxiety & personality problems for several years now. Sadly, of the four I have tried so far, not one has worked. They have, however, given me many not-so-fun side effects that include weight gain, loss of orgasm or even much interest in sex at all, dry mouth, insecurity & a certain amount of shame for even taking such drugs. The stigma of mental illness is something that I can not seem to reconcile myself with. I consider myself to be a highly intelligent, if not highly educated, person. Most roadblocks that have been thrown my way throughout my life I have easily been able to either jump over, walk around or just knock down as I walked through it. This is not the case with my struggle with anxiety. I have written extensively about my anxiety in the past, so I’m not gonna rehash it here. What I do want to focus on in this particular blog post is the results of adverse reactions to psychotropic drugs, the pain & suffering involved with weaning off of these drugs & strange situations one may find themselves in as a result of isolation, confusion & fear.

For the past year I have been taking Zoloft in an effort to curb my anxiety & panic issues. I believed for a while that this medication was helping me. Six weeks ago, I realized that with my situation in Los Angeles quickly deteriorating, something else was off, so I made a visit to a doctor I found on the internet. His determination, in a most non-medical term, was that I was suffering from the “Prozac Poop-Out” as he called it. His suggestion was for me to up my daily dose of Zoloft to 100mg from 50mg. To me, in the moment, that seemed justifiable. Not even considering the consequences, I agreed to this plan & began doubling my dose immediately. It didn’t take more than a day or so for me to notice the difference, the problems, the crippling fear, the severe mood swings. My rationale was to wait it out & see if once the higher dose got into my system, maybe the side effect symptoms would dissipate. Well, they didn’t. What happened next is something that I never would have been able to admit or ever write about until now. I have come to a certain peace within myself & an understanding that I have an issue, it is mental, but it is still, whether I like it or not, an illness.

Here is my 5150 experience~

I have always had a way of finding free or inexpensive services, especially when it comes to mental health services. I am very grateful for that ability. I also believe it has a lot to do with my strong need to be well. I will stop at nothing to get the very best out of the life I have been given a chance to live. I fight my illness, always have. I don’t like it one bit. Imagine if you can, loving something so completely that to be without out it causes you an ache to your very soul. This is how I feel about my desire & almost constant need to travel, either for work or for pleasure. Although, I admit, I haven’t been doing much pleasure traveling in quite some time. I haven’t left Los Angeles in six months now, which in itself is usually a sign that something is wrong. I don’t enjoy sitting around any one place for that long, without a break. Okay, I’m getting off track here, too much back story, not enough relevance.

After my experience with the doctor who doubled my Zoloft & then refused to see me when the side effect symptoms began taking over my life because I was unable to pay for the visit, I needed to dig deeper for help & it had to be immediate. Don’t you just love that? A doctor can alter your life, your mind & your ability to care for yourself with a medication, but they can’t be bothered to see you for an emergency follow up due to your inability to pay. Oh, how I love being American! When I ran into this roadblock, I scoured the internet for mental health services in the area & came up with Exodus Mental Health Urgent Care. It sounded perfect to me. Finally, a place where I can explain what is going on in my mind & they will help me make it better. YAY! My euphoria was short lived when the Nurse Practitioner informed me, after about an hour of being there, that she didn’t feel comfortable sending me home, as she thought I may harm myself. As she was saying these words she also informed me that this was to take place immediately. In that moment I was the property of Los Angeles County Mental Health Services for at least 72 hours, or so they thought!

I have never had a suicidal thought in my life. I have too much to live for, mainly me & my desire to have as many good years on this planet as I can. I refuse to allow my life to be one entirely made up of tragedy & failure. This is why I fight. This is why I get right back up every time I fall down. Needless to say, I was not too excited to hear those words coming out of Erins mouth. I admit that I made a terrible mistake during my conversation with her. In explaining the adverse side effects caused by the Zoloft, I explained something that was happening when I would go outside for a cigarette. I would just be standing there, on the balcony ledge, staring up at the beautiful Griffith Park Observatory & suddenly I would get these frightening thoughts that I was going to fall off the balcony & die. Never did I say jump or having a desire to jump. It was all based in fear. That statement is what caused me to be locked down. It is frustrating when someone takes your words out of context, especially when your freedom is at risk & your mental capacity is questioned like never before. I felt fear, frustration & at the same time complete defeat. Let me explain why I chose that word. I had given up control of my inner battle to the “professionals”. I figured “screw it, I’m not doing such a great job managing my anxiety symptoms, I’ll take the help being offered me”. I made a conscious choice to give in to the resources given to me. I was exhausted & could really use the help of a support system. Seeing that every member of my close knit support system is in Detroit, I needed to trust these strangers. It was not easy, but they gave me drugs to make sure it was much easier, as I slept away much of my first day locked down, before being transferred at 3am to Gateway Mental Hospital.  This was the second sign that things were not going the way I had hoped walking into that facility that morning.

I spent 18 hours of my initial lock down in a reclining LazyBoy chair, covered in a blanket, surrounded by severely mentally ill people, as well as homeless people who were in a bad way, needing to be fed, showered, given some meds & a comfy place to sleep for the night. It wasn’t frightening, though it was annoying at times. I guess I was more flattered than annoyed at the male nurse who hit on me during his ENTIRE 8 hour shift. I’m pretty sure that’s unethical, but it was flattering, so whatever. He gave me special privileges not given to the others, such as smoking more & for longer periods of time, where I would just lay on my back on the round table in their smoking courtyard, enjoying the warmth & the beauty of the sky above me. Does any of this sound like it’s coming from a woman who is a danger to herself? I digress…

I am guessing on my timeline, as this weaning off Zoloft, as well as the medications I still have in my system from lock down have clouded my short term memory a bit. It was around 2pm that I was given the Risperdal & Ativan. Needless to say, I was out for around 6 hours. There was no real explanation as to why I was taking the Risperdal, other than to say it was an Anti-Pyschotic (which I was then reassured I wasn’t….duh!) & helped to quiet irrational thoughts. Well, it certainly did it’s job! When I woke up after dark, there was an entirely new & not nearly as friendly group of staffers. The night people do not have the people skills that the day staff did & I was pretty troubled when I woke up to see all new people. The fact that they were unwilling to speak with me, except in short, snippy comments to anything I attempted to ask them. My only choice was to go back to sleep. They informed me that I was to be leaving soon for Gateway at 10pm. I was awakened at 3am & expected to just jump up, climb up on the ambulance gurney (that’s right, an ambulance ride, care of the county) & be strapped down for “safety”. I was really out of it, still a bit woozy from the drugs they gave me, the Zoloft side effects & having just been woken up to leave. It was a quiet & not too long ambulance ride across town. When I arrived at Gateway at 3:30am, I was expected to sit down for an intake meeting & answer all sorts of questions. It was annoying, exhausting, repetitive & the room literally smelled like shit. (I later learned that the staff restroom was out of order & that was where the smell was coming from) After all my belongings were inventoried & taken from me, dozens of papers being shoved in front of me for my signature without any explanation, it was after 4am & time for me to get a few hours sleep. I was shown to my room, where the other 3 women inhabiting it were obviously sleeping on their twin beds. The room was one of three in the ward. The other two rooms only had two beds & also came with their own bathrooms. I wasn’t so lucky, given the time of night I arrived….whatever, just let me sleep already, damn! As I lay down on the small bed that would be my home, it felt as though I was laying on a cold cement slab. Not only did they leave the ward chilly at all times, but we were only provided one small, thin blanket to cover us while we slept. I was told I could ask for another for more warmth the next morning. I still don’t understnad why that lady couldn’t just go get me one. It was a very uncomfortable few hours sleep & I was in for a different kind of awakening the following morning…..the patients.

Come back again tomorrow for the second part of this stories….Gateway Hospital (or as I like to call it now “Gated, Locked Down Looney Bin”)

For now….it’s time for me to sleep. The sleeping pill I was given by my new Psychiatrist is kicking in & I look forward to a full nights sleep for the first time in over a year.

Until the next installment, my friends…….<3

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19th Nervous Breakdown

As I write this, at 5:30am, just over 24 hours since my last post, it feels likes weeks already. The pain that has been lifted from my soul, my heart, my shoulders, my brain….it’s immeasurable. While I was typing yesterday, I felt hopeless & scared beyond anything that I have felt in years. I hate that feeling & was falsely under the impression that I had fought & won my battle with anxiety, panic & fear. Why do we do this? What it is that makes feel such shame for having a mental disorder? I have a dying kidney & I’ve never been ashamed of that. I’m just saying.

I have suffered both of these ailments all my life, but the anxiety is humiliating in my mind. I don’t openly share it with people. I actively hide it, in fact. I have so many stories of having anxiety or panic attack in social or public situations throughout my life that I could fill a book. I have left friends at concerts just because I felt if I didn’t I would die. I have hidden in bathrooms, so the people I was with wouldn’t see me freaking out. I’ve collapsed when my legs would give out on me. I used to go directly to the ER from the bar when I was young, for either problem, but as far as my friends were concerned, it was always about the kidney.

You know what just hit me? It seems as though being a drug addict or alcoholic is even more acceptable in our society today than mental issues are. That’s just bullshit! Oh & while I’m on the subject of drugs & addicts…Wait, let me preface this by saying that I have no animosity towards addicts. I love & have loved many….friends who have died, a lover who died, many family members who are either in recovery or still struggling. That being said, there is a phenomenon brewing these days, which on a very serious level, is justified. Benzodiazapines have become, as a recent doctor describes them, the devil. I can see the point, to an extent. While I am very against the over-use of prescribed drugs & even any use of some, I have found that one medication helps me feel more “normal” & capable of being a productive member of society. I have also tried quite a few anti-depressants to see if they can curb my sometimes crippling fright. I have found one of those that works & I am not necessarily ashamed that I take these meds, but I don’t advertise it. It’s because of the stigma attached to these drugs that keep me in silence, for the most part. Those people who are closest to me know of my struggles. Trust me, I tried for 35 years to curb the anxiety & panic without any drugs. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did try using alcohol for several years when I was young, but that just made me act like an idiot, so I gave that up. I tried breathing, meditating, therapy…nothing made it stop, until I was prescribed, against my wishes, Xanax. I am both sorry I ever took that first one, knowing that I may never feel that calm & normal without medication again; and relieved, that there actually is a way to feel like a functioning human being.

What I really need is to find a way to accept my shortcomings. I deal with all my other ones, why is this one so difficult to just accept? Why is mental health such a taboo? Maybe I should look for a support group or something….


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Far Away Eyes

Have you ever looked deeply into your reflection in the mirror & seen a stranger staring back at you?

Well, this is the place I find myself in these days. I’m not exactly sure when it happened or how I missed the transition. Was it sudden? Or did it happen gradually? However it came about, it has scared me to my core. What I find myself allowing to happen to my life disgusts me in ways I can’t even find the correct words for. Tonight was the breaking point for me. Something has to change, NOW, because I can NOT do this! I will not lay around on my ever-expanding ass while I watch everything I worked tirelessly over the past 6 years fall further from my grasp. Suddenly I feel a sense of panic that I can’t shake, the likes of which I thought I overcame 4 years ago. I realize that when the plans I had when I moved to Los Angeles began to crumble, I could feel the confidence I had in myself slowly begin to chip away, as if I had an internal sledge-hammer & I was subconsciously tearing myself down from the inside. There is no way that I, with a little hindsight, blame this descent on the city or the inhabitants. I did this at first, because it’s always easier to blame your circumstances on other people or your environment. I am smarter than that & know it comes from within.

Why wasn’t I born with that genetic drive to succeed? How is it that I can be so naturally creative & talented, yet have no motivation or discipline to pursue my dreams. I really can’t stand that cliché’ “Chasing your dreams”. It’s not how I see things. I believe more in pursuing your passion, the need to create to feel vital, as if it is water & when you deprive yourself of that outlet, you die a little inside, until one day you wake up & find yourself feeling empty & broken. I am beyond angry with myself for being such a lazy, slacker slob.

Today I woke up & felt as if I had fallen asleep in a bed of wet cement, only to find myself feeling stuck & unable to move. By later in the evening the panic attacks I thought were long gone shook me so deeply that I was afraid I may die. I truly hate that feeling with every ounce of my being. A major problem with having this feeling now is that being new to this city, I have yet to find resources & a support system to turn to for help. I don’t know how to find a doctor or a therapist who will work on a sliding scale, because I have fallen so low that I am honestly destitute. I am days away from losing the apartment I feel blessed to have found 3 months ago. Everyone back in Detroit wants me to just pack up & drive back there, so I am surrounded by my built in support system. Yet there is this screaming voice inside of me that says doing that would be a HUGE mistake. Here I am, crippled by fear, unable to even force myself into the shower or to fold & put away my clean clothes that I finally washed yesterday after a month. If I don’t find some help TOMORROW, I don’t know what will happen.

Let me make this PERFECTLY clear, I am not now, nor have I ever been, suicidal. Too many years of my life sucked for me to just give up on it now. Besides, I couldn’t do that to the people who love me. It’s just a pathetic, cowardly way out of a bad situation & usually, if I stick it out long enough, things will turn around for the better. I just don’t think I can hold on without having a complete breakdown if I don’t find the help I need tomorrow. When I think about that last sentence, my level of panic begins to rise again. Since I don’t have health insurance, like so many people in our country, if I do have a breakdown I’ll end up in some disgusting, scary state mental hospital. That is a fate as bad as death to me.

My brain does not accept any of this. My logical side is bitch slapping my emotionally driven side. There is a huge war going on inside my brain as I type this. The main question being asked is “how could this be happening? I don’t get crippling depression, never have. Why this time? Why now?” I wish I knew the answer to even one of these questions. Damn it! I am wasting away & feel too overwhelmed to stop it on my own. It’s actually pretty amazing I even found the strength to type this out tonight, as I haven’t written in nearly two months, even though I think about doing so daily. That’s something at least, a positive sign. Now, here’s to hoping I can wake up in the real morning hours tomorrow & find some fucking help! I refuse to feel again what I felt tonight.

You know what the worst part is about where I find myself mentally at this moment? The fact that I can’t cry, nothing, not a drop. It is such a healthy release of pain & stress, yet much like sleep, it is starting to elude me again. I haven’t felt this lost since last year when Corey & my Grandfather passed in a 7 day period. At least that was justifiable. This is just unacceptable to me! If anyone is reading this & has some useful suggestions for me, I would greatly appreciate whatever you think may help.

Here’s to hoping that tomorrow is the first day on the road back to my happy & successful life!


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Emotional Rescue

I was having a conversation with one of my closest girlfriends back in Detroit today, about our concerns for a couple of our married guy friends & the way they are, in different ways, ruining the lives they wanted so badly now that they have them. Only this time, as we were talking, it turned towards our own lives, how neither of us could understand how a person can want something so badly, only to be miserable once they have it. It truly makes no sense to either of us. These guys are literally the greatest guys we have ever known, yet they don’t see it. I never did understand the concept of wanting something you can’t have & once you do get it, you don’t want it anymore. Or allowing yourself to be lost in someone else, caving to their needs, their insecurity, their unhappiness, in spite of your own needs, wants & desires. I just think it’s stupid & a waste of time. I mean, why even bother if you’re going to throw it all away once you find something or someone who makes you feel good, makes you smile, makes you look forward to spending time with them, getting to know them, even their weird habits & quirks?

At a certain point in the conversation I finally said out loud for the first time in ages that I don’t like the idea of spending my life alone, that I would prefer to spend it with a good man, someone who gets me, who actually likes me, who thinks I’m pretty as well as funny or sexy. That appears to be a far-fetched expectation. First of all, I don’t attract those types of guys. I attract the broken guys, the closed off guys, the cruel, addicted & lost. So, what exactly does this mean for me?

I’m 40 fucking years old! When did that even happen? Why don’t I feel it? When will I be able to wrap my brain around this fact & accept it already? How did I miss out on EVERY good thing a person is meant to experience in life? I seriously feel like I’ve been in a coma since I was a child & I’m just waking up, feeling really groggy & confused. I have been so filled with fear for as long as I can remember that I have missed out on milestones & important moments that most people experience like high school prom, graduation (which I attended to watch my friends graduate, crying the whole time), a real college experience, marriage, children. I may have a genius level IQ, but I didn’t even complete grade 9! I did, however, receive my GED at 20 years old & considering the wild child I was at the time, it is a fact that I am extremely proud of!

I was speaking with a guy recently & he asked me if I had ever been married, to which I replied honestly “no, I just never got around to it”. He laughed, guess he thought it was a joke, but it was true. It’s just another thing I never allowed myself. Same thing with my not having children. I just couldn’t do it, no matter that I know with complete confidence that I would have been a loving & wonderfully patient mother. Oh well, chalk it up with the rest of the things I’ll never know or feel. When you grow up seeing every possible bad thing that can happen in a marriage or of being a parent, it does tend to scare you away from making these mistakes yourself.

Sure, I’ve lived a life of adventure, so to speak, but if you really look at it, I’ve actually lived the life of a carny, a gypsy, moving from town to town, never putting down roots & always just passing through. It’s a life that suits me for one reason & one reason only. It allows me to keep living in the fear. It allows me to keep from being hurt AGAIN. It allows me to hide my pain, my sadness, my broken heart, my complete loneliness. I realized today, while talking to my friend that I am SO lonely that all I really want is a guy to hold me, brush my hair out of my face & kiss my forehead. Simple, sincere affection. Again, it seems too much for me to ask. I suppose that’s what I get for spitting in the face of opportunity for so many years. I’ve watched my entire life pass me by like a moving train & now I want it back! I want to feel what other people get to feel. I want to feel love, without the fear of being betrayed or being left behind to mourn their death far too young & before we were even given the chance to start the life we planned. I want to feel safe. I want to feel desired. I want to feel……..anything!

The brain has an amazing way of protecting us from going completely insane. It blocks out the most painful of events. Considering the stuff I’m stuck remembering, it frightens me to think that some day the periods of time I don’t remember could come rushing back & cause me to snap. I realize that at the age of 40 I should be over all the bad that has happened in my life. I believe that I have done amazingly well considering. I have a good relationship with both of my parents now & it feels normal for the first time in my life. It took a lot to get here, on all our parts. I had to break the cycle, jump out of the hamster wheel, someone had to!

Not that long ago, I watched a great documentary of Carrie Fisher‘s one woman show “Wishful Drinking“. At some point, early in the show I believe, she said “If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true”. When she said that, I burst into hysterical tears, because I understood that sentence to its very core. A lot of what I’ve survived is funny to me now, because I lived through it, I survived it, I didn’t allow it to totally break me. Don’t get me wrong, I am slightly broken. I am damaged. I am scarred. But I’m still here, so there’s still time to make the best of every day, right? That’s where my surprising optimism comes in.

Look at it this way. If 75% of your life was difficult, traumatic, painful, sad, frightening…if you were molested at the age of 4 by a group of young boys who you were left in the care of, then taunted & teased for several years after, not even being able to understand what had happened, let alone why you were being teased; if you walked in on a man beating your mother nearly to death & then have the gun he was using to torture her with pointed at your head while you called the cops on him at the age of 14 & you then found yourself living on the streets of Detroit, being raped because you chose the wrong house to pass out drunk &/or stoned in more than once, having to figure out for yourself how to survive on a daily basis, because home wasn’t a pleasant or safe option with either parent; if you were a ward of the state at the age of 15, taken in by your grandmother, for the second time, who didn’t know how to deal with your actions & were then expelled from school & sent to a special ed school because you couldn’t relate to anyone else your own age or even stay in a single class because you were too restless; if you kept running away at every opportunity, never realizing it was you that you were trying to escape; if you OD’d at the age of 17 & had to force yourself to stay alive, because no one around you would help or take you to a hospital….wouldn’t you want to have as many good years as you possibly could have before it was all over? It is truly all I want. Sadly, these are only a few examples of the pain & horror I have experienced the entire time I have been alive. I try to remind myself that there are people who have had it MUCH worse than me, but it really isn’t any consolation. It just makes me sad for those people, because I know what real pain feels like & the fact that I am an extreme empath makes my heart ache for all those who have been damaged in their lives.

My dreams are very simple, yet so difficult to achieve, mostly because I have no idea how to go about attaining this. I am ill-equipped at completely opening up to someone & trusting that they won’t be disgusted or repulsed by me & my experiences. I have mastered, for the most part, my disguises, my masks that I wear to hide the sadness & shame. On the occasions like I wrote about last night, I freeze. I shut down. I considered running out the door of the coffee shop where we were talking at least 3 times, not because of anything he was or wasn’t doing, but because he could see right through my walls, my mask & it scared the hell outta me. So what do I do? I make it a point to freak him out, scare him away….so I don’t have to see him again & risk letting him in. Now I actually regret that. It is beyond rare that someone can see through to the real me. I had the possibility of having a new friend in my life that I wouldn’t have to hide all my deep, dark secrets from. I could tell I would have been able to open up to & be honest with this guy & he wouldn’t judge me at all. Now, there is just a guy walking around Los Angeles freaked out by the thought of running into me. That fucking sucks! It makes me feel like shit! But I won’t do anything at all. I won’t attempt to change his mind or contact him. If I do see him around town, I’ll do my best to make sure that he doesn’t notice me & if he does, I’ll get myself out of whatever place we both happen to be in. I’m too ashamed to handle it any other way. This is one of those cases where I wish I could get a do over, even if I’m not sure I would do better the second time, but something in me feels the need to make it right. I fucking like the guy, damn it. Believe me, I don’t want to, but I do. I like that he could see me. I just wish I could have felt it in that moment.

What I do know for certain is I can’t sit around & throw myself a pity party. I hate that! I write this out so I can not only get these thoughts out of my head, but to attempt to leave them here, so I can keep moving forward in life. This blog is my sanctuary of truth, confession & hope. It provides me a place to let my deepest thoughts & fears out, so that I can let the good in. I know good things are coming my way…I just have to be open to it & not run & hide.

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Just another Saturday night here in Los Angeles, the only difference being that I am SO tired of sitting in this apartment by myself ALL the time. Let me make something clear right away. I have no problem being by myself, in fact I rather enjoy it for the most part. As far as going out on the weekend is concerned, I did the hell outta that (most nights, in fact) from the ages of 14-32. I don’t need to go to a club, bar, theater, whatever. There are times though where I feel as if I’m climbing the walls if I spend too much time at home working, lacking any sort of human interaction, unless you count the occasional telephone conversations with family & friends, which I don’t. I truly love these people, but if I talk to them too often, it reminds how much I miss their physical presence in my life & I hate that feeling. So instead, I just don’t use my phone much for talking, unless it’s business. I’d have to say my closest friends in Los Angeles are the homeless people I see most days around my neighborhood…well & the 7-Eleven guy I get my Dr Pepper Big Gulps from every day.

I bet you’re asking yourself as you read this “why hasn’t some guy snagged this gem up by now”. Let me briefly enlighten you on that subject. I had managed to attract every Douchebag in the metro Detroit area, with the exception of one great guy, who I will always love. He’s married now, but we’re good friends. I’m grateful for that! Then one fateful day in 2008, I ran into a guy, or I should say met a guy, who I fell in love with within the first 10 minutes of knowing him. I didn’t even see him coming. I was SO exhausted when he approached me getting out of my town car at the hotel I was staying over the weekend before flying to Detroit to FINALLY meet my brand new niece for the first time. I was working Warped Tour when she was born. Specifically, I was in Milwaukee & I cried the whole day, because I wasn’t there. These are the choices we make when choose a life of traveling. So, back to the guy, that weekend began a tumultuous 2 year off & on relationship that ended when he died last year. I was planning to move to Los Angeles to be with him when that happened. 7 days later my grandfather passed away. I believe because of these two events, as well as far too many losses over the 3 years before that week, I chose to follow through on my promise to move to Los Angeles last October when I was offered what seemed to be a dream job that paid amazing, still allowed me to travel, but on a smaller scale & moved me up in my industry. What has transpired in my life in the 7 months since I moved here can only be describes as complete bullshit! I have repeatedly trusted the wrong people, which is SO unlike me. I lost my job, had to move 3 times due to crazy living situations & even spent a little over a week sleeping in my car, mostly because my pride & shame are so strong that I couldn’t bring myself to tell my loved one’s what was going on, telling them when we would speak that all was well out here in LaLa.

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering what the title of this blog has to do with the personal ramblings I’ve typed up to this point. It was a lead in that I needed to put out there, as it does tie into the person I mention in the title, Marc Maron. Back in January, when my living arrangements were falling apart & the tension in that apartment was so bad I didn’t know if I could control my Machete tongue if I was confronted in any way by my former roommate. A week or so before this, I was visiting with a friend at her apartment & she showed me an episode of Conan in which Maron was on. He was hilarious. His stories were real & dark & felt honest. Cut to a week later, I’m reclining in my little car, in Laurel Canyon, because I really like it there & I stumbled across Maron’s podcast WTF with Marc Maron. If you haven’t listened to it & you are a fan of comedy, you should really give it a listen, good stuff!

Anyway, there were two interviews that were listed that caught my attention right away….Kevin Smith & Henry Rollins. I really enjoyed the Smith Pod, he’s always interesting. But listening to Maron interview Rollins while I lay in my car, feeling beyond alone & too ashamed to call or write a real friend, I made the choice (which I now regret) to write an email to Maron. He really does endear himself to the listener. I don’t in any way believe it to be a put on. I think he is genuine in his caring for his listeners & fans. He is not a guy who is all caught up in his success & he doesn’t seem to be affected by it in any way. To my surprise & delight at the time, he wrote me back immediately. We went back & forth, ending with him yelling at me (because he typed in all caps) to suck it up, go home & sleep in my bed, so I did. I actually listened to this guy & felt bad for upsetting him enough with my self-pity & stupidity that he felt it necessary to yell at me. At the same time, it felt nice to feel understood & cared for. It was also a relief to be talking to someone who is just plain honest & not afraid to be, like I am. (Usually, I’ll explain in a sec)

I didn’t continue writing to Maron right away. For many reasons, why would I keep writing some dude I don’t even know? That’s weird. Mainly though, it was because when the end of January came around I had to move out of my apartment & hadn’t set up a new place to stay. I had spent all my savings & was waiting on my tax money to get into a new apartment or go back home. I spent a total of 9 nights in my car before finally sucking up my pride & calling a friend to ask for help. While I was spending that time in my car, I continued listening to the Pod & it kept me company, made me laugh, cry & forget about the fact that I was sleeping in my car in Venice (so I could be close to public restrooms & because I LOVE the beach). I wasn’t as scared, because I was distracted, by both WTF & Keith Richards Life Autobiography (which was AWESOME, I highly suggest it!)

I think it was when I got slightly settled at the Hollywood Tower, staying with this roided out (juiced), obnoxious gay friend of my friend when I made the choice to write Maron again to give him an update on my situation, in case he was concerned (right). We exchanged several emails & one day, when I know I was being incredibly pushy, he said he was gonna be in my neighborhood & asked if I wanted to come to where he was to say hi. Of course I said yes, I wanted to thank him & I’m always up for making new friends. Thanks to the boy I was staying with, I didn’t get there until he was about to leave, but he was gracious enough to suggest we grab a coffee & talk. Well, I don’t drink coffee, hate it in fact even though I do LOVE the smell….odd, but I said yes anyway. We went to a really cool coffee joint, independent, the best kind. It’s actually become a regular hang of mine since. We sat down & talked for about a half hour & it was a disaster. It wasn’t him at all, he was great. He was friendly, engaging, made eye contact. He was cool & I liked him. It was me. I couldn’t seem to keep up my defensive walls with him & that FREAKED ME OUT. I didn’t want to be honest with him about the boyfriend who died, that I hadn’t hung out with a new guy since that time & also that I was still recovering from nearly two weeks in my car. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t look him in the eyes. I couldn’t be me. When we were walking out, he asked how long we’d been there & when I said about an hour he commented that it had felt like ten hours. That felt like a dagger in my pride. I knew that I couldn’t even argue that fact. I should have paid closer attention to that sentence. If I had, I would have never contacted him again & been able to hold on to a bit of pride.

I should have been smart, like a guy, about the situation. But did I? HELL NO! My dumb ass text him, telling him it was great meeting him. I emailed him, saying nice things to make him smile (well, that was the intention anyway), trying to somehow make up for tanking on our first meeting. All that got me was even more embarrassment & him pulling back & eventually never replying to me again. I thought I had a shot at maybe making a new friend who I could talk to, but that wasn’t to be. A few weeks after the last time he replied to me, I went to see him perform at a small bar in Hollywood. When he walked in, I noticed that he had a girl on him, I mean with him. She was young, I wouldn’t put her any older than 27 & it was obvious she adored him. It was sweet. I always like it when I see people like that, so into each other, gives me hope that I’ll get another shot at it. Either he didn’t remember me when I said hi to him as he was standing next to my table or he was so freaked out by me at this point that it caused him to look at me with a slight contempt in his eyes. Who knows, maybe he thinks I’m a crazy stalker fan girl, which if you know me is laughable. He doesn’t know any better, so I don’t blame him. His set was short, personal, honest & pretty funny. He talked about the girlfriend. He talked about having no interest in “nice, age appropriate women”. Immediately I thought “Damn, does that mean I have to start dating wrinkly 60-something guys now because all the guys in my age group choose to date 20-somethings for their youth & a longer time frame in which to have children if that’s a goal?” Or am I supposed to follow the new “Cougar” trend & find my own 20-something? There is NO way I’m doing that! I felt so awkward about our cold “hey” experience that I was relieved when they left. I never made eye contact with him once after I greeted him, not even when he had to walk past me after finishing on stage. I just stared straight ahead & continued clapping. My friend who had come with me that night said he would look over at our table with this concerned look on his face. What am I gonna do, go over to him & cause a scene? PLEASE! First of all, I don’t do that sort of thing. Second, while I did find myself kinda liking him the day we met, my hands were sweaty, I felt the butterflies, I giggled like an idiot…..whatever. He not only has NO interest in speaking to me, but HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND! You will never meet a woman more respectful of that than me. I don’t mess with attached men, it’s bad karma & is also something I am very familiar with, as the girlfriend being cheated on by uncaring boyfriends & disrespected by other women.

I wrote him one last email, on the 1 year anniversary of Corey’s passing, because I needed for him to know, for whatever reason, why I was so awkward the day we met. I didn’t really address any of the other stuff, because it truly is irrelevant now. I misread him, or more likely, I put too much into the possibility of a connection. I thought maybe he liked me as a person & we might become friends. That was stupid of me. Like I said before, none of the blame lies on his shoulders, it was all me. I was going through a dark period, feeling lonely & reached out to a stranger, because it was safer. I then made the mistake of thinking it was becoming something more than just a guy feeling sorry & concerned for another human being. He was being nice. He was trying to help. He is a good person.
Now, I dread the thought of running into him somewhere. I doubt I would talk to him now, don’t think I would even make eye contact. It’s not worth the awkwardness. I am not the person he thinks of in his mind. The bad thing is, when you make a really bad first impression, it’s basically impossible to recover from that. What can I say, sometimes I don’t like it when people don’t like me.

Back to my original story (wow, that was a LOT of back story, huh? sorry) Tonight I heard he would be doing a set at the Smodcastle, which is owned by Kevin Smith & Scott Mosier. It was cool to go there. I went alone. I sat in the back row. I watched his set. I laughed. I clapped. Then I left, as soon as he finished his short set. I’m glad I went. I’m also glad I didn’t have to interact with him. On the drive home I nearly got into 3 car accidents, because that’s just how horribly the people drive around here. The first incident was caused by a cop car who cut in front of me, slammed on his brakes & turned on his lights. I was SO mad, but am glad I have good driving reflexes. Then there was a box truck & another car, both who cut me off as if I was invisible. I have driven in 46 of the 48 continental states & this city is easily in my top 5 worst places to drive! Especially on a weekend night.

The moral of this story…….I need to get over myself & let this irrelevant bullshit go. Who gives a shit if some guy doesn’t like me or want to be my friend. I have a beautiful array of friends, many of whom I’ve known for over 20 years. Life is too short & precious to worry about shit that doesn’t matter in the long run. At least he got me into checking out live stand up gigs, which I never really bothered to do before meeting him. I mean, I worked at Second City in Detroit for a long time, LOVED that time of my life & my friends there, but it’s a different world from stand up. I’m starting to enjoy the hell out of it. So, thank you Marc Maron….thank you for being a decent, funny, good person. I wish you a good life that makes you smile more than it makes you cry.

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Torn & Frayed

Many people in this world pack up their belongings & move away from the place they are from. They do this for a myriad of reasons ranging from job relocation, a new job opportunity, love, adventure or just to get away. While it seems so exotic & exciting, which in part it is, most people don’t consider how difficult, lonely & scary this is. The toll it takes on a person’s soul can, with some, be quite heavy. For some, it has no effect on them at all & for others the effects are mild. When you think about the strength that comes with such an endeavor, taking this chance is a very strong & independent choice. Sometimes we are very close to our family & friends, in which case putting a great deal of distance between yourself & those you love the most hurts immensely. Many people actually end up moving back at least once.

I am one of these people. Honestly, I never really thought I would leave Detroit, although I had wanted to for many years, mostly when I was young & still extremely troubled. I just couldn’t find the inner strength to leave my comfort zone, even if it wasn’t very comfortable. It was what I knew, it was home. I was a BIG fish in that small pond. I was known, had & still have MANY friends, real friends who I know to this day I can turn to if I need them for anything & they can with me. In the last 10 years my relationship with my family has healed completely. When I say family, I mean immediate, not the assholes I happen to be related to. I’ll never accept them into my life now that my Grandmother is no longer around to force them on me. It is a very healthy feeling after a lifetime of pain, fighting & the blame game to have such love & support. The one person who means more to me in this great big world we live in is my 2-year-old niece. She is truly the love of my life. She makes me laugh more than anyone I have ever known. She is beautiful & brilliant & no I’m not just saying that because she’s my niece, it’s true. Skype is a great helper to stay in touch & allow us to “see” each other, but I can’t hold her, tickle her, kiss her, chase her. I think of & miss her every single day I am not with her. My baby sister, who I adore as much as her daughter, is getting married this August. Knowing that I won’t be there for 80% of the planning for this event breaks my heart. We had a long conversation about this however & she made it very clear that she would be angry at me if I gave up my plans to move to Los Angeles. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. I hope with everything I have in me that this marriage lasts for the rest of their lives, because she deserves it & is VERY loved by her fiance’, my brother-in-law-to-be. He is a wonderful, loving & sweet addition to our family. Besides, he makes a beautiful child with my sissy.

Friends…….oh the space I could take up writing about my love for my chosen family, which is what I call them. The majority of these bonds were formed when I was at the end of my teen years, when life was so unbearable for me that I was rarely sober for any waking moments. What we have gone through together over the course of 20 years wouldn’t fit in a single blog, unless I wanted it to be 25 pages long. We grew up together, our “crew”. While we may not see or speak to each other nearly as much now that we’ve grown, with some marrying & starting families, others carving out careers for themselves, but we’ve never lost our deep connection & are always there for the important moments in life. I hate to say this, but Facebook has been very helpful in keeping us connected when life gets in the way. I have also formed some very strong bonds with people I have met along my journey through this beautiful country of ours. Mine is an amazing life. I have what I consider to be the best job in the world, unless you wanna be involved in a serious relationship. Sure, I’ve had “friends” in cities around the country, who I find comfort & affection in while I’m visiting, but that starts to feel empty after a while. These tour friends, ones I’ve worked with, or whose paths I’ve crossed while staying in their town, have become a part of my chosen family. It’s wonderful how many lovely people there are in this world & I am blessed to have met so many of them. I have the unusual ability to make friends with just about anyone I meet. What can I say, I’m really good at my job. I am overjoyed when I find out I will be spending time near certain road friends, as I enjoy them SO much.

Now, Los Angeles……I have said before & been told by others that this place can really put your dedication to your dreams to the test. It can make or break you. Most of the time, this is up to us. I learned that last statement from a new friend who pointed out to me that we make this place our own personal heaven or hell. I don’t believe in religion, but the analogy fits perfectly. Since he said this to me & opened my eyes to the idea, my life here has been so much more positive, happy & enjoyable. To be fair, I have friends who live here. They are amazing people & I love them. I don’t see them often, due to their busy work schedules. When I first moved here I had a very busy work schedule as well. I believe I have mentioned in an earlier blog that I moved out here for a job that didn’t work out. That was sad & difficult to deal with at the time, but I made the choice to stay here & fight it out. More than likely I will have to return to the road. It’s not that I don’t love it, I do. I’ve just gotten to a point where I would like to stand still for a while, maybe meet a guy to hang out with. The ability to do this is while living your life away from home for months at a time is made extra difficult when you are a woman. For whatever reason, men have a much harder time accepting a woman traveling for work, as if we are somehow less capable of controlling ourselves to the power of other men. I believe the reality of the situation is that the men don’t trust themselves in that type of lifestyle & project this fear onto the women in their lives. I have said this many times & I stand by it. I truly am comfortable enough with myself to be single. I like me & enjoy my own company. I have done many things alone that most people wouldn’t think of doing. It’s fine. I would, if I’m to stick to my full disclosure promise on this blog, prefer to find someone to look forward to seeing, to come home to, to be home for someone, to laugh with, explore with, cook with, watch movies with, etc.

There are so many thoughts that run through my head when I think about this topic, such as the thought that I chose to move to one of the most shallow places in the world to call home. I’m not sure my quirky style & look will be as appreciated here as it is in other cities. Also, with men insisting on dating younger “girls”, I don’t see me being comfortable or interested in dating someone pushing or already having passed 60. Lastly, this “cougar” phenomenon holds no appeal to me. I’m not down with dating 20-something boys, the idea makes me cringe. I do have friends who have found love with guys in their 20’s & I am profoundly happy for them, but it’s just not for me.

I am a firm believer that one shouldn’t actively look for love. If they do, they will miss it at every pass & settle for less than they deserve, only to have it end ugly as it always does when you make a choice based on loneliness and not attraction, connection & chance.

What am I gonna do about all this you may ask? Well, nothing really. I will continue to live my life. I will keep searching for work that keeps me a bit more stationary. I will more than likely continue to tour some, because I love it, probably not for 3 or more months at a time anymore though. I am ready for love & companionship. This is me releasing that thought out into the universe to do what it wants with this.

Hopeful still

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