Category Archives: What I Want

Silver Linings Playbook

silverlining

In an effort to escape my current reality of sifting through the granular remnants of time, I’ve been focusing on Silver Linings Playbook this week. First, there was the audiobook. I’m not sure that I liked it, but it was interesting. Trying to delve into the complexities of life with mood disorders and other problems while explaining societal response to “problems” is a uniquely captivating – and prevalent -subject.

I didn’t have high hopes for the movie, because most of the book occurs inside the protagonist’s head, and how can a film convey all that?

Answer: not well. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good movie, it just has very little in common with the book. In the movie, he’s delusional undiagnosed bipolar with mood swings, and you find that out within the first fifteen minutes. In the book, the guy doesn’t remember the crime that landed him in the psychiatric facility until nearly the end of the story; in the film, he remembers it the entire time. In the movie, he was in the facility for eight months, while in the book he was in “the bad place” for four years.

Behavenet.com had a field day with this film, tagging it with:

Anxiety Disorders | Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder | Bereavement |boundaries | delusion | depression | dose | drug | hallucination | Mania | mental illness | mood swings | obsession | Obsessive Compulsive Disorder | persecutory delusion | psychiatric hospital | psychiatrist | psychotherapy | stress | lithium |Seroquel | quetiapine | Abilify | aripiprazole | trazodone | Xanax | alprazolam |Klonopin | clonazepam | 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine | ethyl alcohol |venlafaxine | Effexor

There’s a lot of good in the book (and even a little in the film, too). One of the best parts of both is that it actualizes the struggles many of us live with (or have lived with) in our day-to-day, validating them with the stamp of public attention. Having spent years of my life looking for answers in literature and living through a couple of dysfunctional relationships, I have to say, most of us deserve better than a silver lining, but from within a bad situation, sometimes that’s the most we can bring ourselves to hope for. We look for answers, advice, and even treatment from the outside- but all change starts within.

My favorite quotes: “Life is not a PG feel-good movie. Real life often ends badly. Literature tries to document this reality, while showing us it is still possible for us to endure nobly.”

“When I read the actual story-how Gatsby loves Daisy so much but can’t ever be with her no matter how hard he tries-I feel like ripping the book in half and calling up Fitzgerald and telling him his book is all wrong, even though I know Fitzgerald is probably deceased. Especially when Gatsby is shot dead in his swimming pool the first time he goes for a swim all summer, Daisy doesn’t even go to his funeral, Nick and Jordan part ways, and Daisy ends up sticking with racist Tom, whose need for sex basically murders an innocent woman, you can tell Fitzgerald never took the time to look up at clouds during sunset, because there’s no silver lining at the end of that book, let me tell you.”

The story reminds me of this Rilo Kiley song:

And the grass it was a ticking
And the sun was on the rise
I never felt so wicked
As when I willed our love to die

And I was your silver lining
As the story goes
I was your silver lining
But now I’m gold

 

One more quote from the book: “And I still love you in my own fucked-up way. I miss you, I really do. Can we still be friends?”

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Someone please buy me this house.

It’s only three thousand dollars, and it is AMAZING. I want to move in immediately.

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Anais Nin Again

I realize the irony of following a post about submissive wifehood with one 20121218_200658about Anais Nin, but Anais has had an equal – if not greater – impact on me.

Nearly a decade ago, my poetic downstairs neighbor introduced me to Anais Nin by drawing parallels between our styles of writing (Perhaps he was hoping for other parallels, who knows?). He ranted and waggled his eyebrows and waved his wine glass enthusiastically enough that I picked up a copy of Henry and June. I was shocked, horrified, and relieved.

She was dissatisfied with her marriage, and I immediately realized that her feelings about Hugh did echo mine about my my then-husband’s, a Baptist preacher I’d met in Fundy U.  He was safe, boring, and most of all oblivious. When I read further into her work, though, I was appalled. While I turned pages she went through lover after lover after lover, squeezing four into a week, sleeping with both Henry Miller and his wife, June (who denied the whole thing). I couldn’t understand the depravity, the feeling of loving more than one person at a time, the raging hormones involved with a libido that active. My neighbor asked if I thought someone could be in love with more than one person at a time. No, I said flatly.

When I was in high school, I had a sex-ed course that consisted of learning the moral virtues of abstinence until marriage. The end.

sexpyle

The more I read of Anais Nin’s journals, the less I understood but I knew that my relationship at the time felt as unfulfilling as her marriage seemed to be. If I was that unhappy, I decided, I should hold out for a Henry of my own (although I was even more repulsed by Tropic of Cancer than by Henry and June). I promptly dropped my Hugh. Her writings gave me the courage to take the leap out of my hopelessly incompatible marriage to a good man and explore my sexuality. What I failed to realize was that Anais never dropped her Hugo; she kept him around like a shadow. Mere months after my ex moved out, I was in a serious relationship with the man I married and had a child with (in no particular order), and the books saw me through that divorce and some dating afterwards.

This compulsion to understand her, to see if she found happiness ran the course of the Expurgated Diary volume oneThe Little BirdsA Spy in the House of Love, two volumes of the Early DiariesIncest, and The Novel of the Future.

What I’ve learned is that Henrys are never far away, but true to character they are undependable and selfish. I learned that it is possible to be in love with more than one person at a time, but it shreds you to fragments (and generally doesn’t go over well with them, either). Instead of being illuminated by my reading, my path has grown dimmer, twistier, wider. Now I know that there are worse sins than being boring, that love is often oblivious,  and that a woman’s emotions can change her life if she lets them – and not necessarily in the way romance novels incite us to believe. Most of all, now I know that hedonism doesn’t work for me. I’ve come out of the Anais Nin experiment feeling a bit like someone that’s gorged herself on fruit from the forbidden tree.

I still have a bookmark in my copy of Fire, but I’ve been dragging it out for the last couple of years. After watching Anais’ gradual descent into megalomania, I  finally put the writings down and skipped to the last chapter in a biography. It seems she died of uterine cancer while maintaining a bigamous bi-coastal marriage and Henry Miller went blind (gee, I wonder…) and spent the last year of his life in delirium. They weren’t together. (I think he died alone, but I’m not sure about that.) It sounds like a sermon illustration.  But at the end of her life she said she was finally happy. I’m not trying to moralize, but I’m not sure if she was. If she was, I don’t understand how she got there.  I guess what I mean to say is that my quest to understand her is finally over. I don’t need to search for answers in her any longer: I finally understand myself.

20121218_200836

My Anais stack

“The entire sky a warm blanket of eyes and mouths shining down on her, the air full of voices now raucous from the sensual spasm, now gentle with gratitude, now doubtful, and she was afraid because there was no Sabina, not ONE, but a multitude of Sabinas lying down yielding and being dismembered, constellating in all directions and breaking. A small Sabina who felt weak at the center carried on a giant wave of dispersion. She looked at the sky arched overhead but it was not a protective sky, not a cathedral vault, not a haven; it was a limitless vastness to which she could not cling, and she was weeping “Someone hold me – hold me, so I will not continue to race from one love to another dispersing me, disrupting me… Hold me to one…”

– Anais Nin in A Spy in the House of Love

NOTE: I purchased all of these books for my own personal gratification, and am not being paid to endorse any of them. However, if you’d like to earn me some money, feel free to shop in my Amazon store.


If you want to change your life, change your hair. And then your heart.

For some reason, some of us do drastic things to our appearances  every time we go through a major life change. In college, I said silly things about how that was unstable; now I know that if you don’t allow yourself a visible expression of the changes going on in your life, you’ll probably turn that expression inward in a potentially injurious way. Breakup? Cut. Color. Change your perfume, lipstick, or wardrobe. Do something manifestly different. Life is dynamic, and if you stay the same, you’re going to draw the same.

I didn’t just go through a breakup. A couple of months ago, I broke up with someone that invested a lifetime’s worth of love and time and energy, and changed my life in a thousand wonderful ways. It still stings. When a bad relationship goes awry, it’s angsty but just. You know, deep down, that it’s for the best, and sometimes you want to wallow in the pain anyway, or you need to mourn the potential future that never showed up. When a good thing goes awry, you don’t want to wallow. You want to ignore the pain, and assume that your life will continue to blossom in the same way without your best friend. It may. When it does, you feel the soul-crushing that is not being able to share your triumphs and successes with the only one you want to talk to. Worse, you come to realize that you can’t be there for them anymore, because they may not let you.

In my case, I owe a phenomenal karmic debt to my last partner, and I can’t pay it off, because I’m not still in his life in any significant way. This is worse, I think, because it means that I didn’t outgrow the thing, and I can’t repay the debt from without. In addition, I have all of the same “I miss him” feelings I’d have had breaking up with a jerk- without the justification and damn good reasons.

For the first time in my life, I’m doing something different by returning to myself. I’ve gone back to my natural hair color. I’m letting my hair grow out. I’m not going to slap on the band-aid that is someone new. I’m going to give the relationship the time of mourning that it deserves, and hope that at the end of it all, maybe love will triumph for a change. If not, I’m not sure I want to bother to date again.

This blog isn’t normally a forum for my personal life – it tends to focus more on books, poetry, web content, and the like – but I feel like I’m only now cutting my teeth on a couple of subjects that are very near to my heart, and there are books that tie into major life changes I’ve made over the years. I’m going to explore some of those for a while.


What I Want Wednesday

In honor of wishing the weekend to hurry up and get here, already, I’ve decided to devote my entire day to what I want. Here goes:

  • World peace.
  • More shelf space.
  • More Lilly Pulitzer. Even though I’ve already blogged about Lilly Pulitzer once today, love of Lilly inspires love of Lilly, and all I really need is just this one teensy little thing and then I’ll stop. Maybe. Today, what I really, really want is a Lilly Pulitzer Home Collection ottomanwith shoe storage.

    16 shoe pockets.

    Show me a girl that isn’t in love with this on first sight, and I’ll show you a girl that doesn’t have enough pairs of shoes.

  • This great laser key-board, so I’ll never again drip water onto mine leaning over the side of the tub to type…
  • The weekend to hurry up and get here, already!