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2005-04-30 @ 1:00 a.m.
two things that cloud your brain - chocolate and electricity


On Thursday morning in my group with "A", he was trying to get some feedback for a woman who had to decide whether she wanted to continue to be depressed or have electroshock ther@py. This has been offered to me in the past. It's kind of a last stop before wackyville that "A" likes to use. You can either stay like you are, or have someone hook you up to some diabolical electrodes and go "ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz(...slight wisp of smoke)zzzzzip" and wipe out whatever is making you depressed. Unfortunately you don't have much choice about what is wiped out.

And of course, good ol' "A" had a chance to quote Captain James T. Kirk from an old episode of "Star Trek" when he was trying to explain how it worked. (And why wouldn't you quote "Star Trek" when you’re talking about Electroshock Ther@py). Anyways, I guess in this particular episode some character had threatened to wipe out Kirk's memories...good and bad and Kirk just wouldn't have any of it. He wanted all of his memories intact, because that was what made him Captain James T. Kirk. His memories. And its true.

I mean, I would love to zap certain memories out of my memory banks from my childhood, many of which make me insecure and nervous today, but you know what? I just wouldn't be me. And despite everything, I kinda like being me. Sure it would be great to zap all the crap from 1962-1970, and just be left with all the praises from relatives and teachers and neighbors, but then I probably wouldn't 1) Be as funny 2) Be as creative 3) Be as spontaneous 4) Be as flexible 5) Be able to think in abstract terms 6) Be able to see things other people don't see (and I'm talking about irony, folks, not ghosts) 7) Be able to do art 8) Be as accepting of people as I am (I'm more accepting than I appear in my diary. I treat everyone basically the same. From homeless people to CEOs of big corporations. People are people). 9) Be more empathetic 10) Be more generous. (Anytime I get any extra money I have an incredible urge to give it to less fortunate people even if its only $1.)

I think if I had grown up in a Stepford house, being told how great I was and how perfectly I did everything, I probably would have grown up pretty insufferable. And I probably would have gotten married right out of high school, had kids and then lived a dull, non-creative life of quiet desperation in the suburbs.

And I also would have been very unhappy. Not being able to write. Or do art. Or hang out with my weird artsy friends. Or photograph my feet in the park. Or paint nudes. Or do nude snow angels. Or eat salsa dip out of a skull like I did at my drawing class Wednesday night. Or laugh about Nude Twister. Or play music really loud in my car at stop lights. Or masturbate midafternoon while everyone else is at work (neener, neener).

A lot of how I am is in direct correlation of how I grew up. And hell, why I’m in therapy too. Sure there are times I wish I were “normal” and didn’t need to go to a therapist and could be a more successful human, with success supposedly defined as owning a home, having a family, having money in the bank, having a nice car, going on vacations, having credit cards. Did you notice anything about that last sentence? It was all about “HAVING”. There is a lot of responsibility with “HAVING” though. Sometimes having all that responsibility is stressful. Sometimes people have jobs that they hate. Sometimes people are living beyond their means. Sometimes people are using one credit card to pay off another credit card. Sometimes families look happy from the outside, but are horrible from the inside (that was my case as a kid. We had money, nice cars, nice homes, nice vacations, but it was World War III everynight. Whoopie!).

So maybe a tiny piece of me would like to be able to attach electrodes to my temples and just zap out all the bad shit, but then what good would eating vanilla ice cream every day be? I actually think I’m so used to living in chaos, that if someone ever came along to alleviate it, I would really have to stop and think about it. Why? Because I wouldn’t know what to do with it, first of all. You know...the serenity thing. Not having to worry about my car breaking down. Not having to worry about running out of food stamps a week early. Having money to spend freely on things like clothes and CDs. I’d either be incredibly intimidated or I’d go out and spend $10,000 in 35 minutes thus catching up on a life time of going without.

After “A”s group, I went to yet another training. This place I work is like the King of Training places. They have trainings on like every conceivable subject relating to mental health. I’ve even been going to meetings on how to promote the image of mental health as a positive thing to the community. But yesterday it was a little more personal. It was about mindfulness, which is not exactly my forte. I have the concentration skills of a gnat, except when I’m writing or doing a piece of art, so being mindful is difficult for me.

So for this exercise we were given a piece of chocolate (hey! My kind of exercise!!) and had to concentrate on it for two minutes. We could either look at it, feel it and shove it into our warm, moist, waiting mouths of desire. The only problem was, that I chose this really special piece of chocolate. Most of the pieces were just basic Hershey Squares. Yawn. I can steal those in “A”s reception area. But this one was a piece of Lindt Hazelnut Chocolate shaped like an umbrella. It looked really cute. It even had a little plastic handle coming out of the bottom of it and it looked like a carrot. I couldn’t wait to scarf that up. Yum! Unfortunately the facilitator, right before she hit the gong for us to “get mindful” (yeah what-evahhh!), made us trade our pieces of chocolate with the person next to us. I was sitting next to this 40 something guy who’s been with the company for about 4 months. He’s always been pretty pleasant to me. Well, I guess I threw just the tiniest of hissy fits when I passed my beloved Lindt Hazelnut Chocolate Umbrella to the poor guy. I kind of hockey-pucked it over to him on the table and grabbed my boring piece of Hershey’s and just sat there and stared at it like it was a dog turd. I guess I was longing for my beloved Hazelnut Umbrella thingie. So time slowly ticked by. I couldn’t believe I was being such a baby about the whole thing. I also couldn’t believe I had a piece of chocolate in my hand and wasn’t eating it. I mean, call Ripley’s Believe or Not.

Finally the facilitator hit the gong again, ending the exercise and asked how we were feeling. A couple of people said they really enjoyed eating their chocolate and feeling the chocolate squish around in their mouths. And yada, yada, yada. And finally the guy next to me said he hadn’t eaten his chocolate because he felt guilty because he knew I wanted it.

Heh...Me sitting there looking straight ahead feeling slightly embarrassed.

He then slid it over to me and smiled. Everyone smiled.

So was that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, I did feel bad that I made him feel guilty and that I felt like I was channeling my mom. But then he was such a nice thoughtful guy, saving it for me and then even smiling about it.

Crimany, I always get so nervous when people are nice.

And I don’t even think he was wearing a wedding band....

Hmmmm. :-)

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