October 17, 2005

In Which Queenie is Gripped by a Hopeless Melancholy

Disclaimer: If you're not interested in self-indulgent entries about my mood-swings, skip this one.

I feel like Eeyore today, bitterly depressed and dogged by a sense of failure that I can't seem to shake. On the way to work this morning I gazed pensively at the full hunter's moon, hanging low in the still-dark skies; it was so silvery-beautiful and distant that I almost ran my piece-of-shit car into a ditch from distraction with it. I'm inclined to place blame for my alternating fits of rage and sadness on that moon, but it could just as easily be a hiccup in my hormones, or the fact that, after a good long period of time sober, all the THC has indeed been leached from my fat cells and my cerebral functions are waking from one long-ass slumber. Whichever, I wish the fuck it would quit. I'm not good at being depressed.

As I washed our supper dishes a short while ago, a prodigal memory returned to me, vivid and sharp. I was in high school, and one of my teachers had noticed a marked dip in my usual participation levels, a blown fuse in my "bubbly vivaciousness", as she put it, that was to stay with me until after graduation. She, being a thoughtful and kindly woman, took me aside, and asked me what was the matter. I don't even remember what I told her - some load of absolute crap, no doubt, just to get the bitch off my back. I do remember, though, that she took my chin and turned my face to hers - an actionable offense in today's public-school climate - and asked me, "Queenie, why are you so angry?"

A dam burst. I rattled on and on and on to this poor woman, the usual teenage claptrap that I'm sure she'd heard - that I'm sure that all of you with teenagers have heard - a thousand times: "I don't belong here. This isn't the life for me. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing or where I'm supposed to be doing it, but this...this bullshit...this 'mind your manners', this 'keep your mouth shut', this 'do your best', this 'act like a lady' shit is just killing me!!"

That teacher comforted me as best she could, but the feeling stuck with me, that intrinsic out-of-placeness that made me feel like an animal in a cage. As I grew older, and had more control over my life, I drifted further and further away from all that, those everyday conventions and fucking niceties that drove me so bats as a teenager. My life swung in an eccentric orbit, yes, but I was happy. I had an unusual and catholic education; I saw the world. I had unconventional jobs in unconventional places, with unconventional people - okay, mostly nutjobs, I'll give you that - but I was doing what I wanted to be doing. Except...

...except. I wasn't "respectable", and the knowledge that I was moving further and further away from the mainstream nagged at me like a splinter in the soft flesh between thumb and forefinger. I wasn't doing the kind of things that one hopes one will be doing when one returns to one's high-school reunions, fifteen or twenty years later. My parents, though they loved me, were shocked and saddened at some of my choices; after all, they raised me to be somebody's trophy wife, not some artist, not some shady gallivanter. And slowly, as the years wore on, I came to want to see how the other half lived. I was tired of letting my family down. I was sick of seeing the look of shame in my mother's eyes when she told her friends from the country club no, she's not married yet, she's not working for a major corporation, she's...well, she's traveling at the moment. Right.

Keep your mouth shut. Act like a lady. Fools' names and fools' faces - always seen in public places.

So, I set about the gargantuan task, the painstaking reconstruction of a life. I dropped what I was doing, and flew "home", back to the bosom of my family. I got a nine-to-fiver. I bought suits and pantyhose, and wore them. I tamed my wild hair, tamed my wild tongue, bent, and put my nose to the grindstone. I got married. I had children. I got older, and older, and older.

Until, well, there I was at the sink, washing the supper dishes. And looking at my life. I'm a perfectly respectable adult at long last, though something short of a trophy wife. I haven't picked up a musical instrument in ten years. I work for that corporation now, the one that my father always hoped I'd land a place in, and I'm back in the selfsame money- and status-conscious suburb that I left lo these many years ago now. Daily, I keep my mouth shut, I do my best, I mind my manners, and I act like a lady.

And, once again, I'm depressed as shit.

"Queenie, why are you so angry...?"

Posted by Queenie at October 17, 2005 08:15 PM | TrackBack

Queenie, you haven't figured out it sucks on both sides of the coin? Doomed aborigine on one side, a buffalo's ass on the other? Hit man. That's the job.

Posted by: Velociman at October 17, 2005 09:06 PM

There's always two sides...the free side, the tamed side. And, you go through phases where the grass is greener...or more purple, in a drug-induced state.

Point being, who are you living your life for and why? Feeling lost is surely a reason to be angst-riddled.

Although, I am no friggin psychologist, nor am I one to be giving any sort of advice. I'm just as screwed up as the rest of them.

Posted by: Dana at October 17, 2005 09:44 PM

You are not having longings for the "eternal cheap thrills" are you? I loved a "Queenie" a long time ago who's quest in life was that. Your
writings remind me of her, but fortunately you are not her. You have a good life and a God given
talent in relaying it to us. Enjoy it and your family, for life is shorter than you think. I'm
realizing that the older I get. I gave up the "fun life" but will all ways keep my Harley though.

Posted by: Captain Harley at October 17, 2005 10:02 PM

I have nothing smart or witty to impart.

One thought popped into my head, though, as I was reading: My mother is a wonderful, talented artist. She can do things with pen and ink and oil paints that would make the baby Jesus weep.

And she hasn't picked up a brush or a pen in well over 30 years.

This makes me so-ooo sad.

Girl, there's no reason that you can't nurture your creativity and still remain "respectable" (whateverinhell THAT means).

No. You're not happy. So DO SOMETHING 'bout it!

Much, much love,

Posted by: Margi at October 18, 2005 03:16 AM

Just remember, it's always darkest just before it turns completely black.

Posted by: Bane at October 18, 2005 01:16 PM

Queenie, who writes at Inblognito,
Longs for Bohemia, 'cause it was "neato."
But memory plays the cruelest tricks -
Fun's fun, but when you burn both wicks
You start to look like Mr. Acid,
With legs and pecker both all flaccid.
Degeneracy's wasted on the young -
Big-titted ladies, boys well-hung.
Myself? Although sometimes I hobble,
It's fun to act respectabobble.

Posted by: Elisson at October 18, 2005 04:11 PM

Respectobabble? Yes. But a woman with a "secret" past that none of the rest of us can claim... or ever hope to live up (or down) to.

Posted by: Omnibus Driver at October 18, 2005 04:45 PM

My father, now 85 and a major league heavyweight who blazed a mile-wide path for 5 decades, told me long ago it didn't matter if I was a Governor or a ditch digger, as long as I loved what I was doing. And no matter what I've done or not done, he has always treated me as an equal and never criticized my mistakes. Seems to me if it's good enough for him, anyone else's opinion is meaningless.

So now I can lawyer, write and play blues guitar, and dabble in all sorts of other shit, and know that the only one I have to please is myself (okay, wifey too).

And money? Well, someone else's always gonna have more, so no sense in counting.

Posted by: wavemaker at October 18, 2005 05:11 PM

Ya know, i feel this more than anything of yours I've read to date. A year ago, I woke up in a hotel room in Cleveland with a lying cheating husband and a life which seemed to consist primarily of wearing a mask of respectability of someone else's creation.

It was my 39th birthday and I was miserable as hell and knew that if I didn't change my life, I'd become a person I hated.

I divorced that cheating ass this year and started my life over from scratch. I doubt such dire measures are necessary in your case, but I would say that there things, like your job and your respectability that are areas where you fuck all don't have to toe the line. Listen to some loud ass rock & roll and wear a thong under that got damn business suit like the sexy woman you are.

Posted by: catzmeow at October 18, 2005 07:18 PM

singing to the choir over here. i feel ya, gurl. no matter what is there will always be what if. the full moon is wearing me out too, beautiful or not, it woofs me out.

Posted by: shoe at October 18, 2005 07:24 PM

I'm a relative newcomer, I have no words of wisdom, just a question. If I may ask how old are you?

Posted by: livey at October 21, 2005 12:19 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?