I love her handbag. Inside are papers and her wallet and cigarettes and at the bottom, where she never looks, there is loose change, loose mints, specs of tobacco from her cigarettes. Sometimes I bring the bag to my face, open it and inhale as deeply as I can.
Not crazy in a 'let's paint the kitchen bright red!' sort of way. But crazy in a 'gas oven, toothpaste sandwich, I am God' sort of way. Gone were the days when she would stand on the deck lighting lemon-scented candles without then having to eat the wax.
It's okay to like me, because I'm just like you. Everybody feels a bit like a dented can inside. Even the slickest, most polished person you can think of is more aware of their shortcomings and flaws than their talents and gifts.
What I really want is to sit next to someone on an L.L. bean blanket on the beach in the fall and drink coffee from the same mug. I don't want some rusty '73 Ford Pinto with a factory-defective gas tank that causes it to explode when its rear-ended in the parking lot of the supermarket. So why do I keep looking for Pintos?
The truth behind the truth is this: even if you are a victim, you must never be a victim. Even if you deserve to be one. Because while you wait for somebody to come along and set things right, life has moved forward without you.
I knew that if I wrote a new book every six months or every year, if I continued to read great books, eventually I would write something worthy of publication. I understood I might be in my forties or my fifties or even my sixties, but I felt confident that it would happen.
Self-pity is the bestiality of emotions: it absolutely disgusts people. When you're feeling pity for yourself, and somebody says to you 'You think maybe it's time for the pity party to be over? You should stop feeling sorry for yourself and try to think positive,' it makes you wish you could saw their head off.
Normal people who weren't raised by mentally ill goats probably took the feeling of safety for granted. They only noticed when they suddenly felt unsafe. When the hands reach up for under the bed and grab their ankles, they scream, whereas I'm like Wait, can you scratch my knee before you kill me?
I had never before considered the possibility that I might never even want a drink yet still be left with this horrible, throbbing vacancy in the center of my being, right where my mental health and contentment were supposed to be.
So that's what I'm here to become. And suddenly, this word fills me with a brand of sadness I haven't felt since childhood. The kind of sadness you feel at the end of summer. When the fireflies are gone, the ponds have dried up and the plants are wilted, weary from being so green.
Adam had smiled at him and Max had smiled back. And then they both just stood there in that awkward silence that happens when two people are attracted to each other but don't know what to do about it because they are strangers.
Avoid self-pity by taking responsibility for everything that happens to you, even if somebody else is at fault. By taking responsibility, I don't mean play doormat. I mean, repair yourself. Move forward. Move on. Then, only then, see if you can wrangle some empathy.
Tracy, the leader of the CDH group, looks at me with eyes that seem to belong to someone three times her age. It's something beyond wisdom, all the way to insanity and back. It's like her eyes are scarred from all the things she's seen.