It All Started with the Soup

I'm doing an experiment with my dog today, and even more the sweeter, I'm doing it in someone else's house.

The Capables are on vacation!
Their dogs are not!
My dog has a doggy baby-sitter and a doggy friend for the morning!
I gave the Capables my website address in a note that I started to keep them day-by-day aware of the goings on upon their return!
I did not include in the day-to-day update that my dog is hanging out, barking and running through the house with their dogs!
I need to change that note, eh? Some things are better left unsaid and what they don't know about the dog party won't hurt them.

>Could I possibly dog-sit more than I have been this summer? I should have started a business but if I started a business, I would not have the little out that is the word, "No."

I'm saying no next time.
I need a break.
I know the dog who's coming up next and I'm going to have to turn it down. I need a month off from extra hair and pee and slobber. When asked to dog-sit, I'm going to say that I need a break but I'll totally let her out here and there - I just can't do all of the feeding and exercising that she needs. The last time, I was supposedly sharing the work. Guess who did all of the work? I think the other party walked the dog like, around the block and then returned her to her empty place.
That's not cool.
Plus, I'm sick of writing about dogs every damn day.
I need at least one month with no extra animal responsibilities. I'll gladly take the animal outside and stuff at my own leisure but I really don't want to HAVE to do it.

Fuck, I need to get a life.

I am taking my dog to another soccer game this Friday. She's my Cute Boy Bait. And my cover. My friend plays with the Tucson Police Department team. Repeat: Her team is made up of cops and cop wives. IN my head, I am testing them to see if they can smell a criminal in the area. Rosie throws them off.

I know I've said it before, but I might be coming out of the coma of depression that I've been in. I should have kept my mouth shut because every time I say that, something happens that makes me flee to my pajama bottoms, my couch, and the fetal position but honestly this time?
I might be coming around a little. I am looking forward to going to that game with no apprehension.
I hope this lasts. I hope this gets stronger. I hope I turn down the dog-sitting gig in September because I am too busy to be at home to deal with an extra animal. I want to not be at home.
Maybe. Sigh.
God, it's been a long time in the throes... I've been checked out for a year and a half and that might just be too long to just rejoin normal society by picking up the phone and calling someone to go, "Yeah dude? Hey. Wanna go to Bookman's? Ummmm... why don't I meet you there? I need to fill up my car anyway... Cool."
When going down this far and for this long has happened before, it's been followed by a long period of fun and honor and the discovery of life-long friendships.
Almost 10 years ago, right after I graduated from undergrad, I suffered from a very serious round of not being able to go out and not being able to interact with people. It went on for a almost a year. At first, I was quiet and then I became uncomfortable finally, I let go and sank deeper and deeper until I felt sufficiently hidden in an emotional cave.

I watched a lot of TV and I didn't have cable back then. I've never been able to watch network TV on a Firday night since then. TGIF on ABC ruined me.
I went out a few times but I mostly stayed at home, pretending to callers that I wasn't at home, and to visitors that I was out of town or baby-sitting. Privately, I was SO HAPPY to be left alone, curled into the couch with a blanket and the remote.
When I did go out, it was with a friend from high school who had stayed in our high school town and who later became a train-wreck way beyond anything I was capable of. But when I was newly back from college, she was all the connection that I had or even wanted.
One of the nights that I was supposed to go out, I ended up getting really sick with the flu. I had spent so much time trying to not go out and I could sense that if I kept it up for much longer, I would no longer even have the option because the phone would no longer ring. In other words, I knew it was time to surface. I genuinely wanted to be out and about that night but I had a raging fever. My high school friend checked to see if my story was true and then went on with her plans. A little later, the doorbell rang and it was this friend of my friend. Chelsea. I answered the door fro her, rather than pretending to have not heard the knocking, or to have been in the shower or something.
I didn't know her very well but we'd hung out more than a couple of times. I just wasn't really capable of interaction with people at any kind of real or honest level. I couldn't talk without stuttering and I felt like a fake for trying to be around people.
When things are at their very, very worst, nobody would ever know it. I have finely tuned myself so that I don't have to share my falling apart. I can do it all by myself, for as long as I want to, and to the absolute depth that I choose without somone leaning over a goddamned rowboat, looking stupid with a live-saving device that I would never grab for, even though I am sinking like a great big rock. "Rowboats cannot accomodate the crap that is strapped to my ankles," I think. And then the high horse the I love so much lands right on top of me and that bitch can't swim, either.
So anyway, I opened the door and there was Chelsea. I didn't know she even thought I was cool or fun or anything more than "Annmarie's friend from high school". She was all decked to go to The Alamo until bar time, and then On Broadway until 3, as was de rigueur for our time in that town. I think I even remember the dress - I think it was black satin, mid-thigh, and had delicate chains over the shoulder but I could be wrong about that. Whatever it was, it was totally awesome for the style regs of 1996, small town Illinois - it was from Express, duh.

More important than her outfit was that she had a huge, square Tupperware in her hands and in it was a can of chicken soup. The container was way too big for the amount of soup but when she came through the door with that soup, it was like the heavens opened and the clouds parted.
It's not the food or the way I was feeling, or the fever that was sweating through me. I was in awe that ANYONE would come all the way over to my house, with food, for me. I could not believe that anybody cared that much about me.

That's what depression does. It didn't matter if 20 people said, "I love you." and meant it. I could not feel good things until my brain began to regulate itself and allow the pressure of the disease to ease. When Chelsea came to my house, I was exactly where I am now: I genuinely wanted to begin venturing out but I was not totally confident that doing so would be successful. Life down at the bottem is easy, predictable, and disturbingly peaceful.
But her bringing so much life into my dead room and her reaching out to me was like I imagine electro-shock therapy to be. Or maybe it was like when you think you think you've got a task figured out, like a Yoga pose, and then one day you do it and it fucking clicks, audibly, and there you are. Suddenly at this new level of control and ability. That's what it felt like when Chelsea walked in with that soup. And that was the beginning, for me, of the most influential and important friendship that I have ever had, and probably that I will ever have unless I get stupid and get married. That better be an important and influential friendship as well.
That soup, which I don't think I even ate - it sat on the kitchen counter like a shrine for the next three months. That soup was the beginning of 10 years of unequivocated fun and laughing and taking great care of my body and feeding my mind and getting organized and moving across the country... it was the beginning of a very long period of personal success in every area imaginable.

Before that soup, I went on a very long, narrow, and steeply sloped slide down into the underwater cave where I spend a lot of time naturally. It's the going so much deeper under that is depression. Somewhere along the way out here, I returned to that descent and I've been cruising downward for longer than I really know. I can't hold my breath for much longer but I have not quite figured out how to come back to the surface.

Yes: I do dare to believe that I'll be blessed with another golden era of friends who bring me soup, boyfriends who make my stomach flutter, healthy food, good wine, and a return to the tan, muscular body that I have lost over the last year and a half.

Finally, the suffocation is the scream that wants to surface, not the slow exhale to dive down further. I am beginning to feel like I can talk to people without stuttering. I am looking forward to outings without anxiety - no twinge of wanting to stay home. I am reading again and bored with TV. These are unmistakable signs of my restoration.
I can't get too caught up in them because like I said... things are different now that I am an adult with worry wrinkles as opposed to being a hot 22 year old.
On the flip side, being an adult allows me to confidently state that I know the way I work. I know my signs and cycles and I am totally on the look-out for amazing people bearing over-sized plastic containers of soup. I might actually answer the door for soup.

arizonasarah at 10:48 a.m.

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