BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR

I begrudgingly wake up in the morning, slowly roll out of bed and do anything to avoid being productive. I pet my cats, sip coffee, lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling. I never read the paper, exercise or clean the house. I'm in a trance for at least two hours every morning. I'm not proud of this fact, but I am not a productive person. I seem to be stuck in my own inertia. I am slow moving and emotionally passive. Today I sat across from my therapist who opened the session by saying, "You're at a crucial point. You need to start taking yourself seriously." I scanned the room and focused on the therapist's face. She was not kidding. The anorexic part of me looked down at my stomach to see if it was flat. It was not. Note to self---no carbs. My hands were folded on my lap. I felt serene or maybe it was just my usual ho-hum passive self. The light from the sun peered through the sliding glass door to create a rainbow pattern on the green upholstered couch. I'm not a rainbow I thought, I'm colorless. I paint with water. My life has no hues. No texture. No richness. Of course I don't take myself seriously, that would require effort and work---characteristics I have never fully embraced. I had to agree with my therapist. I don't take myself seriously. I don't focus on things, take them in, make them my own.

During adolescence, I slipped into a depression and never seemed to be able to take hold of life. I was a perpetual 13 year-old. I was stuck. I was a lost child. I was a drug addict. I was an isolator. I could not comprehend or grasp life. And life would pass me by. Where did it all go? Have I nothing to show for my 58 years on the planet. Not much, I'm afraid. I have never been married or had children. Something I regret deeply. I was not taught how to have healthy relationships or nourish children. I had no belief system.

As I isolated in my apartment, lying on the green carpet, smoking mentholated cigarettes, stoned on narcotics, my life just slipped away---20 years gone. I put nothing into my system but drugs and alcohol. I remember sitting in my one bedroom apartment, alone, terrified to get a job. I was terrified of everything. Fear was my middle name. Fear ruled my life. Fear robbed me of my yesterdays. I was paralyzed. I was in an emotional wheelchair. I was boxed in and had no tools for release. I was terrified to take a step in any direction. I sat and stared at the green and yellow stripped wallpaper with the drippings of Harvey's Bristol Creme I had thrown on the wall during a black out. I went into the kitchen and poured myself some Chivas. It was 10:00 a.m. in the morning. Before leaving the kitchen I reached into my pocket and downed several yellow valium. I returned to the den, sat on the floral couch and began to down my scotch. In my terror and despair, I turned to God and said, "I rather get cancer than get a job." One year later my prayer was answered. I never prayed again.