I am better than this.
I’ve never been one to define myself by the amount of money in my bank account – hence the sorry state of my bank account – but lately, it’s hard not to. In the classifieds of my old hometown newspaper, the Post-Standard, I saw a three-bedroom, two-bath home leasing-to-own at the $650 I pay for my studio apartment. Teachers making twice what I make are leaving in droves because they can’t afford to live here.
KRS-ONE says: “Make sure you got what you need. Put at a safe distance all those things that you want.”
Chuck Palahniuk, via the character Tyler Durden in Fight Club, says: “The things you own end up owning you.”
Buddha says to let go of ego and desire.
KRS-ONE spent some time homeless.
Chuck Palahniuk is a homosexual.
Buddha sat under a bodhi tree for a good long time.
All of them offer sage advice.
Why can’t I take it? I am not in debt, I’m paid decently for someone without a degree, I enjoy my job more hours than I hate it, I travel often enough, and I dine out as much as I like, and I don’t need to trade name-brand cat food for generic. So why, when I look around the Treehouse, do I feel sour?
This is the best I can do for myself? I think. That’s all? I was supposed to do something. . . important. Something national. No one told me this, I always knew I’d be a famous artist.
Then why aren’t I?
It’s bad when drinking alcohol becomes an activity, an end instead of a means to celebrate or a social lubricant. It feels like you’re doing something with your night, though, which is what makes it so dangerous. Like, I think I’ll get drunk when I get home. There’s your evening. I know I should be blogging, or polishing my inquery letters, or writing the column I promised The Heat Lightning. Instead, I feel the sting of tears that accompanies my unoccupied moments. One drink will make those tears flow like a wronged girl in a teen TV show, two will make me maudlin, but three, three will push those pesky feelings aside in favor of the buzz.
I remember being told again and again how my separation gave me the right to alcoholism. A lot of the people making that observation didn’t know my family history.
Walking home in the rain, plucking cockroaches from my drains, surrounded by the pretty people of Coral Gables, it all makes reaching for a bottle when I get home so, so easy.
And getting up the next morning to write that much harder.