NORMA JEAN: 3am Angst

[Ed. Note: Artwork must accompany column. Designed to your specifications at no cost by Missy Neal, Art Director. Call 505-268-8111.]Once in a while I have a complete hurricane of fear, doubt, guilt and confusion that pounds at the edges of my brain waking me up in the middle of the night like a slap upside my head. Tonight's a storm.I go out onto my porch after slamming down two Tylenol, sit on the bench and light a cigarette. The crickets are making their familiar soothing hum, and the darkened houses up and down my street look so peaceful. I imagine couples and children snuggling under warm blankets together with perfectly organized lives. My mind races, my heart pounds audibly. Is this depression setting in, or a more intense PMS? Whatever it is, it's all too familiar. The same nagging words keep running around the soft tissues of my brain: "Will I ever get out of debt, own my own home? Will I find someone to talk to about these things besides a therapist? Is my son O.K. with a distinct absence of father? Should I get out of this city and move to New York or Los Angeles?" The scariness of being an adult is momentarily paralyzing me. Anywhere, U.S.A.-- it sure can be a lonely place. Is it me, or does everyone feel this horrid emptiness worming around their guts when the kaleidoscope of classes, money-earning, child-rearing, 'movies to see' and love-hunting subsides for a moment?Pretending to be fine is an essential survival technique in our busy world. Throughout our lives we are expected to get along, maintain friendships and somehow submerge the emotional rampages caused by divorce, betrayal or even a brief romance -- not to mention the simple anxieties of driving in traffic at rush hour, fighting for unreturned security deposits, tensions with roommates. What a scary mess. I want out, and there is nowhere to run from thoughts like "No one will ever really love me," "I'm going nowhere fast," and "Life and the pursuit of love and happiness is all one fucked up lie." It's depression all right; I recognize this loop of dreadful thoughts -- it's an old buddy of mine.So what does one do feeling like this? Usually I run out and have an affair. Sex is a wonderful drug. Somehow it gets endorphins up for a while and puts a little band-aid on the boo boo. Maybe I'll go on a trip somewhere -- somewhere that something might happen and transport me away from the tedium of getting through each day--opening all the mail, getting to pre-school on time, keeping one nostril above water.So ladies and gentlemen, it is quite apparent we aren't all "fit, stable, professional, attractive" bright-eyed wonders out here every minute of every day. People are either lying outright, in total denial, or on Prozac. I open 50 to 60 personals ads a week and 80 percent of them are from what reads like the same plastic fantastic lover. Anybody living in the world I am?[it.]now it's raining it's pouringthe ol' man is snoringnow i lay me down to sleepi hear the sirens in the streetall my dreams are made of chromei have no way to get back homei'd rather die before I wakelike marilyn monroeand throw my dreams out intothe street and therain make 'em grow.--Tom Waits And this too shall pass,[signature] Norma Jean

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