Brain Broken- Please Try Again Later...
Yet again- when I finally find the time to blog it will most assuredly be sad and tearful to an extent. Another reason, and probably the most important one at that is that I need to get what is spinning around in my head out of my head and onto some form of communication to the world around me. October- from beginning (dealing with a traumatic death of a childhood friend) and to the end (another death- far more emotionally traumatic then actually traumatic) has sucked. I loved fall. I loved the changing leaves, the smell of the air, the chill nip in the mornings, wearing my comfy sweaters and sweatshirts again, raking leaves, carving pumpkins- all of it. I would decorate on September first for Halloween and refuse to take them down until Thanksgiving when Hubby would start putting up the Christmas décor. I wanted to decorate this year, but September was crazy busy. And by the end of it- the stress of life had gotten too great, and the sadness of events made me not care.
This year, on my favorite holiday- I will not be out playing and partying. I might put on a little spooky make-up but probably not. Instead I will most likely be toasting the end of one of my most shitty months in recent history with my middle finger waving high in the air with a stiff glass of stiffer vodka- wishing October 2015 good f***ing riddance.
Since the 10th of this month- it has sucked. It has hurt. My friend, my photography mentor, the owner of my beloved studio went to the hospital near death with blood clots in his lungs. He was in a forced medical coma and on a ventilator in order to treat the clots by melting them with medications. All his scans were clear- brain function normal, heart function great- he just had to come off the vent. Every day was filled with checking the updates in a private group on Facebook. Waiting for test results and wondering when he would wake up so I could go see him. I spent three hours with him on the 8th chatting laughing and enjoying his company in the studio. He said he felt under the weather but thought it was just the bug going around. On Monday- the19th, around 5:15pm- I got the e-mail from a fellow photographer in our studio- Larry had died at 3pm. The day they were certain he’d be taken off the vent. Best guess- with the treatment to melt the blood clots in his lungs melted others elsewhere and one made the final journey to either his heart of his brain.
Everything fell apart. I cried. I sobbed. I went silent for a few hours, I made phone calls to make sure other friends knew, I checked the calendar eight times to make sure that if they had the funeral on this day or that day I would go- work be damned, I was going to be there. I cried some more. I went into this weird state of concern where I wouldn’t let Hubby sit for more than fifteen minutes at time before I’d make his get up and walk around. I made him promise me he would walk around for ten minutes every hour when he wasn’t with me. All my brain could tell me was- it’ll happen to him too, don’t let it! Tuesday- I went numb. I forced myself into not crying, not feeling while I went to work. I wasn’t an exposed nerve like I thought I would be, but I wasn’t me. Tuesday night- home alone while Hubby was gone to a meeting- I laid on the couch eating junk food, wrapped in three blankets, all the lights off but the TV on mute- chatting with people online trying to arrange a memorial at our studio for Larry.
Then his messenger icon popped up on my phone. In the span of two seconds all the air was forced from my lungs and my body went cold while uncontainable tears fell from my eyes. His widow messaged everyone through his profile to let them know of the funeral arrangements I lost it. Like throwing shit at the walls, screaming loudly enough for the dog to run and hide, sobbing until I started to cough that turned into puking before my friend called me who had gotten the same message, she too losing it completely. We talked on the phone until we both had calmed down. Thursday she came over and we went to the funeral visitation. Neither of us knew what to say to his widow, and since we didn’t know his boys we pretty much avoided them. We weren’t prepared for his beloved stuffed animal squirrel in his casket. Or his Spiderman tie. Or the silly toy Spiderman that hung from the rearview mirror in his car. I wasn’t willing to believe he wasn’t going to sit up in that box of his and start laughing his Pee Wee Herman laugh at all of us standing there mourning him.
Friday- she went to his funeral with Hubby and I. We sat within a group of models and fellow photographers, one of which being our awesome friend from Canada- whom, when we started to fall apart during the service- he would hand us candy or say something funny with his Canadian accent. That poor box of tissues didn’t know what hit it between seven of us diving in and grabbing a few. We went to the luncheon afterwards, chatting and pretending none of this was happening. Hubby drove us home and that’s when our bodies just gave out. We curled up on the couch together under blankets in comfy clothes- make-up (that we were foolish enough to wear) streaked down our faces, drinking large cups of tea and watching Nightmare before Christmas. Our heads stuffy, our bodies sore and rapidly becoming sick.
For me- that’s when my brain broke. The stress set in hard and I could almost feel the fissures forming and cracking my thought processes. What happens now? What happens to the studio? Dave is supposed to talk to the widow about it- cue checking my email three times and hour, every hour. My appetite died off completely. Maybe a handful of chips and I was full. Maybe I’d make a fruit smoothie but only ever drank half of it. No sleep. If I did I napped for an hour while Hubby snored away next to me. What now? I have this group shoot idea. I want to book it. The studio calendar is closed, no scheduling allowed until further notice… Dammit!!! Give us until the end of the year! Please!!!
Funny thing about stress- it does wild things to your body. This is officially the second month now in a row when my monthly wonder has lasted exactly three days. My hair is also falling out and/or breaking mid shaft. I deal with a wad of loose hair every shower the size of my fist. None of my rings stay on my fingers and my clothing that I just bought in the correct size fits and I am constantly cold. I have become manic almost. I go from quiet to complete rage out to helpless sobbing back to numb. During the day I am quiet and sleepy, but as soon as the sun goes down- it’s like someone put a coin in the machine and pulled the lever and I am out of control awake and loud and wild. It’s like when an Alzheimer’s patient sundowns, I think. I can’t control it. But I crash like a three year old without a nap and can manage to sleep for 11 hours and still want to sleep more if life doesn’t make me get out of bed and go to work and function.
All the while this personal trauma is happening- things at work are getting bad. Our head guy of the store is out of control and ripping employees apart given half a chance, customers present or not. We’re all on the absolute verge of quitting because of him and the nightmare our workplace has become. Me, on the other hand, I’m over it. I am absolutely done taking his shit. Do not engage until you take enemy fire- is my new motto. I don’t speak to him unless I absolutely have to. Yet I am fully prepared for the inevitable ripping apart I am no doubt sure could and probably will happen at any moment. That kind of stress, isn’t helping anything. The stress of mentally preparing myself on my fifteen minute drive into work of- well, if it happens today I will quit and be home by 10am. Is it going to happen today? Do I get to quit? Do I finally get to unleash on him everything pent up inside of me like a madwoman and get escorted from the premises? Fine! F*** IT! I will find another job somewhere that will actually pay me what I am supposed to be paid instead of being the lowest paid 3 year seniority employee where the college kids that have been there for six months make more an hour then me. F*** It!!
Monday we were all going to meet at the studio to remember Larry. To share stories. To cry together. Not to mourn but to remember him as the great guy he was. His widow- whom was to be there- decided not to be there. And that’s a good thing considering. First thing out of the gate, before I even walk in I know the feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’s dark. It’s unhappy. So I drank a quarter of the Monster I had and filled the can back up with vodka. Gotta get through this night somehow. Before anyone else gets there, I am told by a fellow studio photographer that the widow has order us to shut down. Close the doors, clear the calendars- we do not exist anymore. The studio will be lost and gone forever as of November 1st. That was the 26th. That gave us 5 damn days. 5 days to get our stuff out of the studio, arrange for other’s to get their equipment out- 5 short days and we are in the wind. People have already been stealing things. The widow had apparently gone and retrieved Larry’s personal belongings. Reflectors, tables, props have all been taken already and probably by thoughtless vultures.
The “memorial” had a puny attendance of less than 20 people. A few of them being models that stayed by me and my can of Monster vodka. One of our models, whom is a kick ass realtor was pretty much told, “why don’t you sit down and let the grown-ups talk”, by some asshole of a guy I’ve not met, don’t know, and wanted the punch until the blood pooled into the carpet under his limp body. Voices were raised, people were angry at how little time we have to save our home. Two models started having anxiety attacks. Hatred for how the widow is essentially kicking us out and not giving any hope to letting Larry’s dream live on built to a fevered pitch. We have to wait until the LLC he had created has the public auction to have any chance of buying the equipment. We don’t get to plead our case. If we could somehow manage the funds for rent and utilities that leaves us with a building but no equipment. I went dark inside. I managed to smile pretty for the camera in the group photo- politely agreed to try to save our studio and half ass stated I would be at our next meeting in some dental office as our studio will be a memory by then and went home.
The drive felt like it took an hour, when in reality it only took ten minutes. By the time I got home I was a seething pile of what used to be Michelle. I bundled up in two layers of clothing and went to bed, leaving a note for Hubby to take care of the animals. Tuesday- I went numb enough to go to work- praying I got to release some of my anger at my boss when he ripped into me for no reason- but he didn’t. By the time Hubby got home- I was silently drawing at the kitchen table. Trying to calm my mind long enough to be a good wife to him when he got home. Trying to bottle up all my rage and release it by drawing repeated patterns. Then he asked how the meeting went as I was asleep when he got home, and really didn’t speak to him before I left for work Tuesday morning. And I exploded in a stream of tears and anger and curse words not yet defined. I am either sad or furious or numb. I don’t want to feel this way. I understand why she (the widow) is doing this, but at the same time I am so putridly filled with hate and rage at her that if I never see her again it will be too soon. I am again- a photographer without a studio. I was before, way back in the beginning and I will hopefully find a new home, but it won’t happen soon enough and it damn sure won’t be the same as my old studio. I am back to square one all over again and it f***ing sucks. But- I will figure something out. I have to. I have to buck up, pretend nothing is wrong and carry on like a professional.
Speaking of… I have a gig in a couple hours so I guess I have to end this post for now…
I am sorry if it’s depressing. I am sorry if I sound angry. But I am. I feel like my brain is broken and the stress just will not leave me alone and honestly- I don’t have it in me to give a damn about anything right now. Except for my sick dog, my falling out hair, and my amazing husband who has listened to me rant and rage out and let me cry on his shoulder.