Monday, May 13, 2013

Toilet Paper Slayer

June 30 (Fri) 1995
Now I’m eating solid food and went back to work on Tuesday of this week. Even though I only work for 4 hrs. a day, I get exhausted—I come home & sleep 2-3 hours each afternoon.  I still feel like my mind is off—not right. I can feel it. I feel depressed tonight. I didn’t go to Cowboys, even though I’d like to see Bass. It didn’t feel like that would be a good place for me. I wonder if my anti-depressant is working? I don’t dream (that I can remember) or cry.
As a child, I do not recall my mother sleeping all the time. After The Attempt, a 12 hr/night sleep was absolutely required. When she worked 12-hour shifts, and couldn’t get 12 hours a night, she’d have to sleep in on her days off. And she’d have to take naps.
I just read an article on this, not too long ago. Patrick McNamara, in Psychology Today “Dream Catcher: the Neuroscience of our Night Life”.  The basic premise is that depression is a lot like REM sleep, and antidepressants also end up suppressing REM sleep. I wonder if this is also why she slept 10-18 hours a day.
Depression, or the antidepressants, made her sleep, but robbed her of her dreams (and I mean that fully loaded).
I grew up on stories of my mother’s crazy dreams. The Toilet Paper Slayer was my favorite dream of hers. In it, she was being pursued in a church by some crazed lunatic with a very large butcher knife (the same one she chased her brother with, perhaps?).  The church had long flights of stairs that went up and down and sideways like the MC Escher drawing, and Mom would scurry through the maze of steps, but the lunatic with the huge butcher knife would always be just a few steps behind.  Eventually, Mom would find the ladies’ room, and she’d run in. She’d pick a stall and lock the door, somehow not minding that the crazed killer could come under or over the door at his/her leisure.
Sure enough, after sitting on the commode for a moment, she hears the bathroom door open. She watches black stocking feet (a ninja?) slowly walk past the stall she’s hiding in.  She covers her head as she watches the feet enter the stall next to hers. The feet disappear! The prospective murderer must be standing on the toilet! Even though she does not want to, my mother looks up at the top of the bathroom stall, and as certainly as pigs shit, here comes the silvery knife down toward her.
She’s gearing up to scream, when she notices the knife has stopped in its decent. The arm hangs over the bathroom stall wall, swinging with the knife still clutched in its hand.
Swinging like a pendulum, the black-clothed arm and the gleaming steel knife.
Perhaps if the killer thinks he’s cutting me, he’ll go away, she thinks.  When the arm swings past, she reaches the toilet paper roll and pulls it.
The knife cuts through the toilet paper, clean.
Mom waits for the arm to pass again, the pulls the toilet paper.
And again.
As long as she pulled the toilet paper, she knew she was safe. This could go on for hours (in her mind), her pulling of the toilet paper and the swinging arm slicing it as neatly as could be.
All fear would vanish, and the absurdity of the dream would leave her laughing as she woke.
She loved her dreams; the crazier, the better. Her whole zaniness came out through her dreams. Her unique perspectives on life, the depth of her imagination. I could lose myself in my mother’s head.

 (Continued from June 30, 1995)
Last night the girls and me went to see Bridges of Madison County. Clint Eastwood looked so old—it made me feel sad.  The movie was good and Meryl Streep was superb. Today is Dina Saunders’ last day of work and Karen called tonight to say she is leaving for Pueblo & closing down her shop—she split with Art. She’s going to take care of her mother who’s dying. I have 4 days off (three the 4th). If I don’t start feeling better I will call the Hotline number. It’s hard to ask for help.
…Let me amend my previous statement. I could get lost in my mother’s head. I think I am lost on this one.  I see you are focused on negative events, and I see you struggling in the beginning for the positive. People dying, divorcing, getting old—is this what fuels your depression? Do you think of you dying, of your divorce, of what Dad did to you? Do you think it is work that’s making you tired, or do you realize now that this feeling may never, ever go away?

(Continued from June 30, 1995)
I guess I had hoped for an epiphany after I didn’t die. I thought I would get some clarity about why I was supposed to live.
But nothing comes to me.
Do I have to say it aloud? OUCH. I wish maybe my 14-year-old self had been even a half of a bit of a reason. Or the 19-year old daughter who was struggling to feed herself, let alone take care of her little sister.

Fuck, mother!

No comments:

Post a Comment