When in Rome…
However we are NOT in Rome,
There are no Romans,
and I have no desire to assimulate the ‘un-evolved.’
How thoroughly I despise this particular winter asylum, the mentality that killing is ok, and that brutal Canadian weather. For years since my mid-twenties and up into my early 30′s (and just as I arrived in Italy) I suffered immensely and often with random bouts of depression and mood-swings that required daily medication and visits to a shrink to spew my trivial gilded bullshit. Although technically (after submitting myself to a lengthy assessment or ‘study’ which included 2 brain scans – for which I was paid) I was diagnosed with a stress related ’mood disorder’ shortly before I arrived abroad. However in my own mind I had no doubt it was more to do with the dismal grey-blanketed skies together with a poor diet of genetically engineered/over-processed garbage-food in my home country.
Upon my full ’acclimatization’ and new mediterranean diet my condition all but disappeared 18 months later in my new European home. Even though during my first 5 years in Italy was probably the most stressful time in my life ie. dealing with my status as an illegal immigrant and being stalked by my sociopathic, douchey ex-boyfriend.
These days are frightfully starting to measure up.
Alas I present you all with a visual summary of random images that convey my many moods during this past month of December till present…
It’s a good thing I am a decent actress, as most days I can blanket certain ones on the more extreme side of the spectrum. But this is what happens when you reamin in isolation, rarely leave the house, are in a social coma, and every mundane second bleeds into the next, and you wait until you get tired enough to sleep just so you can kill 8 hours and be unaware of your own existence.
Needless to say I did not get my ‘mini break.’ Fun and fabulous New Years Eve plans for the big city were shot down in flames… or more accurately drowned in vomit. Yes, I never actually got to Toronto, or Montreal as planned. New Year’s Eve was sponsored by the letter V, as in vomit, virus, and Valium.
My flight departed December 31st at 7am. I had no sleep the night before and very little 2 nights prior to that as my lovely dog Ramona was very ill, had been vomiting and coughing for days. (I worried obsessively if I should actually go, but temporarily quasi-convinced myself she’d probably be ok while I was gone.) After about 5 minutes had passed following take off, I looked to my left to see the 28 year-oldish passenger next to me keeled over and a female passenger across the aisle handing him a bag. However the deed had been done. Minutes later I was asked by the flight attendant to find another seat and long-jump over the pool of vomit that had settled in the aisle. 5 minutes later followed by another passenger complaining of dizziness, who then got up and smacked his head on the overhead bin – K.O.’d. Thus the plane was turned around, returned to the Thunder Bay airport, and flight cancelled due to a potential virus contamination . I was booked on a flight 4 hours later but my sleep deprivation was such to an extreme, I felt myself unable to function on any sane level. My head reeled, ‘I wasn’t meant to get to Toronto, this feels really wrong, should I just get out of here?’ As I was sitting in the departure lounge pondering, I killed time during my dance with lunacy while writing random blurbs in my notebook:
‘Dec 31, Playing all the songs from last summer on my MP3 that I used to listen to walking down the road from the village, sitting in this departure lounge wondering if anyone here has a life that sucks worse than mine right now.’
‘I want to love someone, why is that so difficult?’ (THAT I already knew the answer to: Because you are terrified as soon as someone tells you they really like you, and you are tragically - VERY jaded.)
Then I made an overseas call via payphone to Tani (my Italian oracle of sanity) and began sobbing: “I made a big mistake! I hate it here! This place is killing me!”
“You know why you are there, you made a big sacrifice. Just breathe… You see things now you appreciate about Italy?”
“Yes. You, the sun, and the food. That’s ALL!!!”
I called my lovely ’friend’ in England to wish him a Happy New Year. I desperately needed to hear his voice. I made myself sound as normal as possible despite I should have been shot with a tranquilizer gun and put in a straight jacket and carried out in a padded van by that time. (Again!? The Oscar for best actress goes to?)
Even my emergency dosage of my friend ‘Pam (Lorazepam – Valium’s cousin) was no sense of comfort. Along with the extreme angst I felt, I knew there was no way I could get on that next flight. So, I didn’t. I got the airline to credit me the ticket, I called my father, and he came and took me back to the house. I spent a quiet evening alone curled up in bed watching a film, the dogs beside me (not so bad considering.)
5 days later on January 5, in retrospect I realized why I may have felt so strongly about not leaving at the time - as I feared, my sickly dog came down with a dangerous case of Aspirated pneumonia and was hospitalized. Perhaps my tango with sanity had some validity. Regardless there are more difficult days ahead, I am fighting to keep it together in this bleak bell-jar existence, for my mojo’s sake.
I really just want to be fabulous, and chase rainbows again… and soon.