“if you met yourself tomorrow would you be someone you like… trust… want to be friends with… admire? That’s where it begins.”
— Marcel Nunis’ Dad.
If I had the pleasure of making my own acquaintance, I would like myself right away. I have red hair, after all! And some freckles. And pimples. In a lot of ways I look like a forty-year-old-eighth-grade-early-bloomer. I kinda like that look on a woman. I think I’m interesting. I have a small family but I talk about my child (mostly) only when asked, or when the story is really funny. I have an interesting job, read interesting things, and have traveled all over the interesting world. I’m also will spend three hours on the veranda talking about nothing with a friend. I love that in a person. I do not understand why it is so rare. People have time to spend hours on the internet, watching television or getting high. They are not always more important than spending precious hours with a friend. (I obviously use the internet, I watch some tv and I can’t drink anymore for a thousand different reasons – I’m not better than you, because I spent two hours drinking coffee at the house across the street. If I thought I was better than you, it would be because of different reasons.)
I am not sure I could trust myself. I am loyal to a fault, but sometimes it’s difficult for me to understand things. I look at my calendar every single day. Some days I read, “Psychiatrist – 1:00”. Unfortunately I read, “Psychiatrist – 3” and there at 2:45, announcing to the receptionist that I know I’m a little early. My daughter’s play rehearsal starts at 5:15. I should remember this. Two out of four meetings we have been fifteen minutes late because I am sure the rehearsals start at 5:30. I’m trying to get this straightened out. I ask B to read the days appointments back at me, and I carefully read the numbers on the page. I still make about two calendar mistakes a week. I do not purposely hurt people anymore. I don’t get mind-cloggingly drunk, anymore either and that makes me much more reliable – but please – that is not saying a lot. I am pretty good at gently confronting people if I have issues with them. Except when I’m not.
I do admire the person I hope that I am. (Let’s slip this into the third person so I don’t get embarrassed.) Malakoa manages bipolar disorder. She has a regime and she mostly sticks to it. For example, she would rather sleep late as much as she could and stay up as late as much as she wants. Instead, she keeps to a pretty consistent sleep schedule. She sorts out twelve pills a day in to a big ole pill box and takes those damn pills twice a day, even if they make her choke or don’t seem like they are doing anyone any good. She has lost most of the weight she gained on those damn pills, and that is not a common thing for mentally ill folks to do. You are more likely to see a patient walking around with a dazed look on their face and a milkshake in one hand. I know because I’ve done that before, too. It’s easy to give up on ever being well – so many folks with mental illness get fatter and fatter and feel so sorry for themselves, thus making no effort to pull themselves together. It’s a hard thing to do, and sometimes it’s nearly impossible to do, but she does it a lot of the time. She has held mostly difficult jobs – right now she works with a little autistic guy – it’s something that, even if she’s not great at it, is one most people would not want to attempt. She quit drinking on her own. No meetings, no backslides, nothing. She’s been sober for six years, and as much as she wants to drink again, she won’t. I believe her.
So, meeting myself would give me a true, albeit untrustworthy friend. What can I do to be a better friend? Anyone?