My mother used to Facebook drunk at night, which is the contemporary equivalent of the drunk dial. In her footsteps, my sister drunk texts while sitting by herself outside her house on the patio, smoking cigs, polishing off a bottle of wine, listening to music from the 1970s that reminds her of our youth, and in the silence deciding it’s time to cry for help to whoever is currently at the top of her contact list in messenger on her phone. That typically means her best friend, her mother in law, and me. This morning I woke up to a note on my phone saying she felt like a complete failure for melting down again. She went off her pills for two weeks and now realizes she needs to go back on again.
This is all too common in our generation. We are a population of self-medication. My form is bourbon afternoons, Bukowski in bed, and the timidity that comes from someone (unlike my sister) who makes sure to lock down her typing fingers when said fog takes over. Everyone I know drinks too much wine at night. Everyone I know laughs about it through mutual cartoon memes on Facebook. Moms who drink, men who toke, Snoop Dogg is the validator of my peers who reach for escape from realities as easily as they reach for the toothbrush in the morning.
Okay, to be fair, it isn’t new. The forties dames had their gin. The fifties housewives had their speedy momma’s little helpers. The seventies and eighties had their cocaine and rice cake diets. The nineties was an amalgamation of all prior. Today, we are sanctioning more medicines (the legalization of pot, for one) into our illusions that fleeing from the present tense is the only way to cope. And to some it is. The only thing that frightens me is that no one seems to understand that perhaps we are all attempting to communally flee from our worlds as we know it, because our worlds as we know it have become a hotbed of consumerism (I need to have what they have), elitism (if I am not a celebrity, I am nothing), brandism (if I don’t have a carefully curated social medium systemry I don’t exist at all), fetishism (we have a slave to his dick as President of the United States), and disconnection (even though we have ten times more mediums to connect with each other than we ever did.) Where is the soul in all of this?
Throw in some copious amounts of childhood trauma (as in my case, sexual abuse), bad parents (in my case drug and alcoholism), and the very real evidence that is rising to the surface today that resilience is harder than ever if you’ve lived your whole life as damaged goods prone toward repetition compulsion because you are constantly seeking that nurturing love that America, your parents, and/or society never gave your dopamine pre-frontal cortex reward systems, and you are relatively screwed.
No wonder we all drink to forget. No wonder we all take pills and then get freaked out that we have to. I long to be an organic structure, as simple as a plant, armed with the DNA to just go forward and live, and flow. I also wish there was a reset button but there isn’t.
So I will continue to field midnight texts from my sister, hide my afternoon drinking from everyone in the world except those I talk to anonymously here, laugh when my mom friends tell me they are now micro-dosing on LSD or marijuana brownies before dropping their children off at school, and pine for the days when we might be comfortable again living in our skin. But in order to do that, we need a petrie dish (aka world) that is amenable.