Vaudeville and Ramen Noodles (July 31, 2012)

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I have legitimate stressors. For the past two months, my hair has been falling out and I’ve been suffering intermittent migraines with attacks of vomiting that seem impervious to mitigation. My symptoms defy logic, appearing at random times of day, regardless of whether I have eaten, slept, exercised, consumed alcohol or feel anxious. I have an appointment with a fancy downtown neurologist next month and in the interim, I ingest three daily medications that lower my heart rate and blood pressure, making exercise and other strenuous activities a challenge, especially in record-setting Chicago heat.

For the third time in 15 months, the ceiling in my third floor walk-up, studio apartment is literally crashing in. The irony is that after months of drought, two days of heavy rains were more than the roof of a century-old building could bear and so once again, I brought out the thirsty towels and called the superintendent. Only this time he uttered the words “structurally unsound” and I may be looking for a new abode less than halfway into my current lease.

I miss parts of my family. The 1-2 punch of divorce and cancer in 2011 and confrontation with historical coping mechanisms that no longer proved effective, led us to a late-year estrangement that was initially necessary but now feels like a pointless, lonely standoff from which I no longer recognize how to disengage. It takes two to tango but only one to hold out an olive branch.

Most likely due to some combination of all of the above, I’m lately plagued with garish, confusing nightmares that represent different stages and elements of my past that converge, overpowering a variety of sleep aids, to rouse me from slumber in cold sweats.

However stubbornly and defiantly, in the midst of so much uncertainty and turmoil, and where in the past, I would have succumbed to inertia and depression, I am energized and upbeat. Why? In a word: love. It’s all vaudeville and ramen noodles in my world, all dancing, comedy and ease.

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