Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ways in which the voices in my head torture me, or Diary of a Mental Hostage

The voices in my head are off the charts lately, possibly because I've been trying to pay attention to them. The little darlings are chirping away like crickets, beckoning like sirens, muscling me around like bouncers, using every trick in the book to... I don't know what they're doing, really, or why, but they're louder than a doo-wop band and more persistent than a hungry mime.
Here are some of their tricks that I am deeply, deeply, bone-tired of:

1. Having the acoustic version of Thunder Road stuck in my head.

I know that when I get a song stuck in my head it is the angels of my unconscious trying to tell me something, but PLEASE enough with the

"we've got one last chance to make it real/ to trade in these wings for some wheels/ so climb in back, it's waiting there on the track/leave what you've lost/ leave what's grown old/on Thunder Road

Ok, Subconscious, I get the idea. You're trying to tell me something.

Yes, I try so hard Mary to understand, I'm heading out tomorrow to case the promised land/ baby we're born with nothing in our hands/ hey its our only chance
so just roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
the night's busted open and these two lanes will take us any where
there's magic in the night
you're not a beauty but hey, you're all right, don't turn me home again/ I just can't face myself alone again.

yes, I know, subconscous, that you think I've been
hiding neath the covers and studying my pain,
making crosses from my lovers, throwing roses in the rain/
wasting my summers waiting in vain for a hero to rise from these streets--

but what am I supposed to do about it? Huh?
Just get in my car and drive away? I don't have la Springsteen's talent, heart, or nerve. So what are you doing nagging me to death with what is possibly the saddest song ever written? Shut up, already!

This song has been played in the top 40 of my unconscious for nearly TWO MONTHS NOW. I don't think it will stop unless I actually FIND Thunder Road and drive away to someplace better. But guess what, subconscious, Thunder Road is fictional, and there's NOWHERE TO GO.

2) Enacting long, pointless, heartfelt, well written and distracting conversations with lost-and-gone-forever exes.
Seriously, these could be made into a mini-series. One voice plays "me". She is eloquent, she'll bring them all to their knees with her wit and her fire and her pathos. The other voice plays "him"--mostly, of course, "he" doesn't talk because the whole point of this exercise is for "me" to get everything off my chest--everything I've realized, everything I regret. It's stellar material. I think maybe Frank Capra is in there, directing it. Sometimes we pull in for a close up and a single dewy tear trickles down my luminous face.

Won't somebody yell "Cut!"

3) The compulsion to eat cheeseburgers. I have been reading a lot of buddhist literature lately, and have made the considered decision that, in spite of the fact that red meat helps control my depression, there are better ways to get B vitamins, and I don't want to eat meat any more. So now, of course, I am dreaming, constantly, of cheeseburgers. Whoppers. Big Macs. Inn and Out, you name it. I want to eat at least 5 in one sitting. I think of the cows. I see cheeseburgers. I think of the cows with their throats slit, their big brown eyes, the thousands of acres deforested on behalf of the cheeseburger. I take some vitamin powder. And find myself pulling in to the nearest drive-thru. I'll just get a "shake", I think, and I emerge--dazed--with--yes, indeedy, a cheeseburger.

4) Not writing. Any time I sit down to write something "real", I fall under a paralysis so powerful that I wind up staying up until 11 pm reading chick lit, possibly after having consumed a cheeseburger. Another day wasted.

Then, as if to punish me, as I get into bed, Thunder Road will start playing in my head again.
Sing me to sleep, you bastard angels.

And if I'm really lucky, if I can get away from the unconscious radio station of guilt playing that song, then I won't have that dream, the dream where the long-lost comes back to me, and everything is great, and the dog is running figure eights in the backgroud, and my heart doesn't feel like a pathetic gob of cheese that's melted to a fast-food wrapper, and it's so good that I wake up in the morning wondering what the hell the point of being me is.

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