Monday, November 22, 2010

enduring the assault

I don't know how it happens. Or maybe I do. My childhood. My early training in dysfunctional stress management. The subsequent addictive behaviors and their inevitable withdrawal symptoms. The melt-downs upon which this blog is named after.

My whole life has been punctuated and punctured with spectacular displays of grueling self-hatred that sometimes I share with you, like now, since I've been blind-sided again, and feel desperate for the reassurance that I am not alone, desperate to make something productive of my pain.

Hope has given way to hopelessness. Happy delusion has disintegrated into what? Panic. A yearning to check out, to hide under the covers for the rest of winter until I feel safe to show my face again.

I wondered when I renamed my blog if I'd be doing myself a disservice, egging my mind on to fulfill its disorderly prophecy. But if there's anything that has come to define me it's being real about my state of mind, and I am working like crazy to claim ownership of the parts of me I make a habit of disdaining, hating, wishing to God would go away, hence the bold red title.

I don't see the point in blogging about how sweet and funny my kids are when I've spent the day screaming at them and then wishing I could die for the guilt. It shores me up to hear from some of you privately that children are an assault, a road block, a constant test and trigger that tears us inside out. Not that we don't love them. But.

Stella calls to me from the living room. My four and half year old daughter wants to know if I'm in a good mood now. The writing helps, I want to tell her, but she's ensconced in Pokemon and pistachios. Instead I tell her, no.

This morning found me waking in a panic that after forty-one years I've still got it all wrong. I know when I'm happy and productive it's a dream of sorts and I know when I'm suffering it's a dream, but the sobbing tells a different, visceral story. My swollen morning-after eyes advertise the wrongness.

I hope I have the endurance to finish the latest novel I've started, framed in the context of suburban angst and middle-aged, explosive desire. One hundred pages in, I'm terrified of letting myself down, of getting swept downstream and drowning in the depression that accompanies exposing myself on the page. It's a risk worth taking if I can just make it to the end. I'm feeling pretty sure of that.

In the meantime though, it's hell. At least I have the experience to know it would be a darker, bound and gagged hell if I didn't write it down.

I think what I'm saying is, I could use your encouragement. (I got a lump in my throat just asking you for it. Why does reaching out create a fresh wave of tears?)

And so, really. Just. Thank you.


Amelia Plum said...

you're a 100 pages into your book. you rock! you can do it elise i love you and totally feel your pain (and can i just thank god that i turned a corner and found light instead of turning into some dark alley- phew) i just don't write about it nearly as well. i hope you turn a corner soon. i have the utmost faith that you will, just give yourself a few more days of the farm food and rest when you can since you haven't been feeling well. things will get better, wish i could see you and give you a hug in person. xoxo

Justicia said...

baths are good, it seems this full moon is super charged. High drama. Be careful!

Hang in there, we'll be in the next part of the cycle soon. It's ok to not be in a good mood, and it's all right to tell Stella. There are things revealed in the dark we can't see in the light.

The Golden Papaya said...

I was just reading that a hundred pages in is almost always where writers abandon their novels. Apparently that's a dark place for most people. (Not that I've ever gotten that far in writing a novel.) But hang in there. You're not alone.

Elise Abrams Miller said...

I know I will sleep better tonight with your loving encouraging words. thank you thank you thank you!

kristi said...

i have been thinking of you often, and then saw this post. you are brilliant. you are kind. you are beautiful. you are thoughtful. you are wicked smart. you are fabulous with words.

yes, you lose it with your kids. you say things you don't mean. we all throw mommy tantrums. your kids know you love them, and i'm positive you always say you are sorry.

it is amazing to me how crazy good these little people are at pushing our buttons. i think mine are better at it than my husband.

i have been swirling around a blog post lately but don't have time to write it about how i exert so much energy just trying to feel normal that i feel like i'm on the outside looking in, and the slightest little bump sends me into a black hole.


i love you.

xbklyngirl said...

longtime lurker here.
if your blog is so good, so well-written and honest, then your new novel has no chance but to be amazing.

100 pages is incredible. anger propels.

Elise Abrams Miller said...

Kristi, I'm ferklemt. Bryan read your comment and said you should do it professionally.

xbklyngirl, thank you so much for making your presence known. your comment means the world to me.

I had a MUCH better day knowing I have so much support. who knew, all you have to do is ask.

peace out y'all.

jessica said...

you are not alone! at all. you don't know me, but we share a mutual friend. she sent me the link to your blog. hang in there. do your yoga, your writing, and remember each moment is a new one. breathe.

jessica said...

you are not alone! at all. you don't know me, but we share a mutual friend. she sent me the link to your blog. hang in there. do your yoga, your writing, and remember each moment is a new one. breathe.

Father said...

Keep up the good work baby. Know that we all support you and always will.

Elise Abrams Miller said...

thank you Jessica! I see you're writing too! Fantastic.

Dad! I'm so glad you went through the crazy crap to publish your comment. you know it means the world to me, coming from you. I love you.

Anne Sherman (TCC Group) said...

Hi Elise: Shout out from Brooklyn. I love reading your blog (which I've mentioned) because it makes me feel less alone (which I don't think I've mentioned). Also it makes me laugh.

I'm trying to write a book myself (non-fiction, related to the work I do) and I must say that it feels to me like the emotional equivalent of passing a kidney stone (the old fashioned way, before they started going in and blowing the suckers up). It's hard!! I'm in awe of you people who write because it's what you do so well. Or because you have stories inside you that you need to get out. Some days, just opening up that damned word doc and adding to it--it takes more courage than I have.

Finally--strange as it may sound, even though we met only once, I miss the idea of having you in Sunset Park.

Take care--Anne

Elise Abrams Miller said...

Anne! It was so good to wake up this morning and receive your comment. Thank you! And well said! Or should I say, well written?

The trouble with writing hurting so much is that stopping only means we keep that kidney stone—more pain. I guess we have to ride the vomitous wave till the catharsis comes. I had a teacher once who was so stuck but so committed that she'd work every day even if it meant adding only one word. Keep going!

And finally, no, it's not strange at all. I'd grab a cappuccino with you today if I could!

Marie said...

Yeah, writing slurps. Trade ya? Last night I looked at my pile of papers that I haven't touched in a week and in the deepest part of my being thought, "I really, really hate you". But wouldn't it be nice if we could just swap burdens like kids at school lunch? ... speaking of which, Sally Fallon says don't even try to bother about school lunches ... I'll tell you more when I see you next.

Elise Abrams Miller said...

Before I crawl into bed with my Netflicked Glee (I'm still on season one for crying out loud, two seasons away from the big Gwynnie guest appearance) I just have to tell you how much you've helped me. I still snapped at everyone today but still. It's a process. Right?

Writing that last post, you know, the one that may have made you cringe or worry or thank the heavens you're not me was cathartic, but it wouldn't have healed nearly as much without knowing you read it and supported me. So this T-giving, I'm thankful for YOU.