In honor of Dream Day, and the upcoming Black History Month this February, here’s a beautiful lady who sings the blues, Lady Day:
Last Monday, January 19, marked “Dream Day”, which is a new term I’ve developed for the remembrance day of that iconic and historical speech during the March on Washington, speaking and standing up in protest for equal rights for all ethnicities and gender.
And right now, I can’t get that children’s song out of my head, one I had to learn for music class when I was in first grade, “All Over This Land” a.k.a. “Martin Luther King was a great, great man…” I even had to learn it in sign language that year. Don’t remember the gestures, though.
Still, I thank history and whatever supernatural ability out there for giving us a beautiful kindhearted soul like Martin Luther King. Without him, there wouldn’t be so many organizations and laws making every segregation and discrimination all varieties of illegal. Same sex marriage wouldn’t even be legal in my home state of Maryland right now without this, I don’t think. All of these things are some very beautiful reasons why I love my country.
But you know the ironic thing? Much like Dan Ackroyd in Spielberg’s WWII satire 1941, the one thing I can’t stand is Americans fighting Americans. From my standpoint, this is true for every person who stiffs me, screws me over, makes me annoyed from street or store/café traffic, or puts their foot down with a flat-out angrier than Grumpy Cat intended “NO.” It happens every day, making millions furious with living standards and fight for compromise, either by refunds or in dire situations- law suits and legal settlements.
Those kinds of Americans make the stomach fluid in my belly turn to hydrochloric acid, begin to erode my stomach lining, and burn holes through my skin worse than the Winter Soldier’s bullet Black Widow Natasha took defending her engineer’s life.
You know the scene I’m talking about. “Soviet slug, no rifling. Bye-bye, bikinis.” Chris Evans must feel pretty remorseful for Scarlet Johansson.
But my point is this. A week ago, I hit the lowest of the low points I’ve ever hit in my life, enough to make me hate one of the most peaceful American holidays on the calendar with the largest case of despise and loathing I’ve ever felt.
It started with the dentist. I had felt enormously on edge all morning and the rest of the afternoon from my second round of fillings in my life; my first filling for the tiniest cavity I had was in 2012 and this time I had no cavities except for some deep grooves in my back molars. It was quite possibly because of my TMJ disease associated with nocturnal bruxism—a jaw condition where I tend to grind my teeth while I sleep and cause pain when I eat or open my mouth—but I felt very nervous and twinge-y lying in the seat as my Medicaid covered DDS numbed and filled my teeth.
The fillings are not over. I have to come back next week for two more fillings.
So I was really on edge that morning. For a majority of my travel to Baltimore City from Franklin Square Hospital, I kept asking around for directions, for I found myself getting lost or missing the bus because I was standing at the “discontinued” bus stop that some moron told me was still functional. Reason for going to Baltimore City on Martin Luther King Day? I lost my Reduced Fare ID card for Maryland Transit, which I thought would work since I would be close to the neighborhood anyway.
The bus system ran perfectly fine. The William Donald Schaffer Tower on Saint Paul Street where I could replace my MTA card for five bucks, however… CLOSED for the holiday. Much later after relaying this to my parents, my dad reminded me that I had the day off from MLK when I was in school. To this day, I still don’t remember being home for that anytime, except before the spring semester started in February when I studied for my Bachelor’s Degree at Towson U.
Lost and distraught again, I kept walking in one direction until I found sanctuary in a familiar place: the Baltimore Convention Center Light Rail stop with a Hilton hotel and Jimmy John’s Sandwiches across the way. I talked to the guy behind the counter at my new favorite sandwich chain so I could get the hell out of there, in which he became the only person giving me just a little piece of mind. I was starving anyway, so I sat down with a Number Ten Hunter’s Club with a lettuce bun and extra tomato, no mayo or cheese just the way I liked, and indulged in roast beef goodness. Especially red meat and certain fish, it’s the best source of protein and iron, so sorry, I will never trade any meat for becoming a vegetarian or otherwise. (Food is fuel, people!)
Leaving the warm comfort of the sandwich salvation, I found myself waiting for another MTA bus once again, hopefully that would take me to the transfer route for the Towson bus. I waited in the ice cold stale air for about fifteen minutes or so until another White Marsh bus came and got me to the transfer stop. But the bus to Towson/ Lutherville didn’t stop at that exact location; I had to run around the corner to the other stop, which the bus I needed had already arrived and was ready to leave. I really had no idea where I was at this point, scared enough to panic, and I caught that same bus… only to be rejected by the bus driver.
“Hey, I have a pass!” I called from only a couple feet away from the ride. “I just got off the White Marsh bus! Please let me on!”
Evil Bus Lady: (sneers and slowly shakes her head as if to say, “Nah-uh, dain’t no way you gettin’ on my bus, b—–!”)
Aaaaand… that’s when I completely lost my cool, rage, extreme anger, self hate, full resentment for the transit system (and that woman had plenty of empty seats on her bus and she was still right next to the bus stop), and triple that hatred for society and the whole world accompanied with my wishes for ending my life.
Speaking as someone with an untreated mental illness, more likely anxiety disorder but I’m not a hundred percent sure, and I DO see no more than a therapist every week, the last thing you want to say to me in order to make me feel better is either, “I wish I could help you, but I can’t,” or worst of all, “Please calm down, everything will be all right.” And also, never mention God or religion to me, because honestly you just don’t get it when I say I am sick of my antagonizing grandmother who wants me to join a Pentecostal cult and shove Jesus and the Bible down my gullet.
A very nice lady next to me tried to help me stop my self-destruct sequence, pulling me aside and telling me “God does listen and He will answer you! God has a plan for you.” I do respect her in trying to cool me off, but I was far more concerned for my bag a foot away from me, and I really wanted to guard it with my life in that run-down part of Charm City. Baltimore is a lot more of an uglier city than a “Charmed” one, if you’ve ever been down there. The crime rate is as scary as that of New York City, if not more.
At least I caught the next bus out of there, both bag and purse in my hands and face wet and smeared from uncontrolled tears and sinuses. More tearful depression ensued when I finally arrived at my old college and found their library was dark, locked and CLOSED too. Couldn’t even go to the public library up the street, because I knew already they were closed for the day as well, so I now felt that terrified crawling fear on my back that both plans A and B had completely failed and I had nowhere to go except the busy Starbucks café across the street or the Barnes and Noble with the crappy WiFi next to the mall.
Plus, I only had less than twenty minutes before my ride home left work to pick me up, which for someone owning no cell phone of any kind is difficult to send an email from a café with the slowest WiFi on the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard. My ASUS notebook Alice worked fine with Internet, but she can be a stubborn glacial moving feminine donkey, to put it lightly.
But right around 6 p.m., thank God, I did get home in one piece. So that goes to show: even if I’m so pissed off at life that I feel the want to be six feet under, do not apprehend me, for in a few minutes to an hour I will be too chicken to actually do it and I’ll be calmer or more guilty than anything.
But when I did get home at last, I saw another episode of my favorite cupcake girls Max and Caroline, who have as much income as I do (2 Broke Girls), in which I squealed and jumped laughing when Oleg proposed to Sophie in the girls’ filthy diner. I talked to either my boyfriend Eddie or my best friend Kerensa, I’m not sure since it’s been a week later, but I did call someone. And for a majority of the past seven days, I’ve resorted to keep thinking about my deepest dreams, considering Dr. King’s “Dream” speech. –hence “Dream Day”
Martin King would wear the biggest Louis Armstrong smile if he could see our country right now with equal rights for all ethnicities, no more segregation. But if only he could see past some of the veils in the employment world, as well as those who handle money and every kind of insurance coverage, then he’d probably organize and stage another peaceful protest. Another Nobel Peace Prize for Mr. King, please.
It’s not just about black and white anymore; we’ve seen past that now and no one wants another battle with the NAACP again, though it happens occasionally. A greater amount of people discriminate against those with “hidden” or “invisible” attributes. This includes sexual orientation and mental disabilities, things you can never tell just by looking at the person’s face.
Two of my guy friends from each college, CCBC and my transfer years at Towson (I will not use their names), have Asperger’s, a form of autism that even I couldn’t tell they had it when I first met them. I still don’t care, for they’re all very awesome friends of mine and there’s no problem for either of us to carry conversations at all. Also, if you ever meet me when I am in a pretty neutral or pleasant state, kind of like now since I’ve been re-listening to an old band from my 90s childhood (the good old days of John Rzeznik- The Goo Goo Dolls), I look like any regular twenty-something only with a face and five foot height to make you think I’m still excited for the prom.
-My favorite Goo Goo Dolls song
In fact, my best friend and my boyfriend agree with each other that I look more my age and mature when I grow my hair out. I can see why, but long hair is so tedious to maintain when I leave the shower with a huge bird’s nest or the worst case of frizz from using my towel. With long hair, it would take a grand total of at least ten minutes to straighten it out with a comb, if I’m very lucky depending on the length and how much extra water it needs. Therefore, I try to cut off as marginal as possible, not too much to make me look like I just learned to ride without training wheels and not too little to aggravate me over the grooming torture.
Blame my condition on my red hair, my Irish and German ancestry, my anger and despise for today’s music on pop radio stations (songs about being “up in da club” most of all), or anything else that gives me just a spark of disappointment leading to my own unadulterated rage. I believe I’ve just vented and ranted for a good two or three hours on this post now that it’s four in the morning and I’m still not in bed.
Forgive me for this, but I guess I had it coming. Like Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow of Marvel’s Avengers movie universe, this mental disability of mine is my invisible scar preventing my brain from wearing that “itsy bitsy teeny weeny” black bikini for the beach. Once again, this is me pulling back that curtain to show everyone who needs to know that yes, part of my dream is to get published, or just get a full time permanent job.
The other bigger, much more important dream that I really need… is I want my sanity and peace of mind back, permanently.
I should quote one of the panelists at last year’s Baltimore Writers’ Conference when I say that sometimes I need to get away from all electronic devices bringing in articles and news, even social media status updates, just for long enough to get me to write again. It took me a week since I’ve been wanting to post again, or really three weeks if I really think about it. Again, I procrastinate. Like Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, I tinker.
Yes, I know, I’m quoting and using too many superhero movie references. Sometimes we all need heroes, and yet they’re everywhere and nowhere at the exact same time.
So the next time someone tells me, “Everything’s ok, you’ll be fine,” I will know right away that they’re not doing a good job of calming me down, because I know everything is not ok. To phrase the song by My Chemical Romance, I’m not ok at least 80 percent of the time. If you see me distressed, this is what I accept:
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Do you need a glass of water? Tea?”
“You are not you right now. Is there something YOU can do to fix this?”
Say those words as if it was a calm alarm system, as if to say, “Wake up! Disengage self destruct sequence immediately! Initiate positive thinking override! Hit the Day-in-Life Restart button now! Disengage!”
Actually, if I say this to myself it would make me laugh a little too hard and just forget the whole thing. That is, in the moment I can’t remember to say things like that when it does happen, particularly this past Sunday’s sporadic onset panic attack that I really can’t explain why I had it that day.
Safe to say I’m not ok now. Though in order to get or keep said full time job and get help from the State of Maryland and a therapist, I would need to find some different schedule to work with all three—and I do need them. And if I can’t, I have to give up one or the other: sacrifice possible income and experience, or sacrifice the professional help to get rid of my psychological condition and just take the job while concealing my darker demon side with great difficulty.
And what the world is missing is I need both for a better life. Money, moving out of my parents’ house, ability to drive, better insurance, possible husband and family, and everything with them will not come easily if my emotions are not in check. –This is what has been constantly fogging my mind for weeks.
January 2015 had a pretty rough start. I’m still never been married, unemployed, I have no money to buy a cell phone plan or even a Doctor Who “Fantastic/Allons-y/Geronimo” T shirt, and I need to get out of here Right Now. Please tell me I’m not the only mid-twenties American female nerd in Baltimore County who has this same issue.
Enough. I need hot chocolate and a sandwich or whatever’s still in the fridge. This time, I am going to bed to activate my dream sequence.
I really can’t wait for Farpoint 2015. February 13th feels so far away.
Songs in my head: Gavin DeGraw- “More Than Anyone”, Otis Redding- “Pain in My Heart”, Goo Goo Dolls- “Sympathy”, Rob Thomas- “Her Diamonds”
Playlist selection: (for calming my nerves with music therapy)
-Rock music describing how much I need a new haven
-And by far the best song ever written for a Disney film, before Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6
Coming soon: the fifth anniversary post! Happy five years, fictioners!