I’m on Day Three of the “Facebook Cleanse” and I definitely think the problem now is not so much what I think I’m missing, but that people aren’t missing ME.
It’s kind of interesting. I’m having kind of an existential crisis because I’m not on Facebook. If a cat picture falls in an empty forest, does it meow?
Forget it. I’m delirious. The panic attacks have abated, I seem to be figuring out what’s working for me, pharmaceutically and otherwise, but I’m still tired. It’s like I’ve suppressed this “fight or flight” instinct that has been raging under the surface for so long that it just started boiling over. I’m not entirely sure if the contents completely boiled off, or if I’m just sedated to the point where I’m physically unable to panic. If ravenous lions tore through the office just now, I’d probably just sit here and be like, “Whoa. Lions.” before being torn to bits.
The “vacation” from Facebook is forcing me to do other things in the evening, like read. Write. Remember what I used to do before my mind got wiped out by caregiver stress. I used to do Mortified shows. I’d read from my high school diaries in front of total strangers. One of my favorite “threads” that came about from working with Karen Corday and Sara Faith Alterman (the producers of the Boston show) was a series of passages in which I go full-blown Norma Desmond over my high school drama club happenings.
The entries I read from span from around 1985 to 1988, and include my very mature and measured musings on not only the high school endeavors, but those of the musicals I did every summer with a teen theatre troupe.
When I initially showed Karen and Sara this stuff, one name jumped out at them. “Sue Tedeschi? You mean Susan Tedeschi?”
Indeed. Susan was the bright star of my Summer of ’86. That was the summer we did Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Even then, that girl could BELT. I was at turns awed by and insanely jealous of her.
We got older, aged out of that particular group; I went on to get some rather silly degrees and spent my twenties running around in my underwear in booze-soaked experimental theatre productions in the basements of bars. And, well, Susan won a Grammy award. But listen – if there was an awards show for being insanely drunk and wrapped in chains while doing a cover of a David J. song, I would have won ALL OF THE THINGS BY GOD.
Listen – this all ties together, I swear.
My mother-in-law died in February, after fighting that goddamned fucking Alzheimer’s for so long. My husband and I left the hospital to begin the process of making calls and arrangements. And as we drove down Route 1 in Saugus, this song came on:
I don’t know if there could have been anything more oddly comforting to me in that moment. I haven’t talked to Susan in decades. But I know that voice in my bones. And I sat in the car and just let it wash over me. It didn’t stop the grief, of course not. But it let me be in the moment for a few minutes. I remember the grey clouds hanging over Route 1, I remember thinking that I was eventually going to need to eat something, and I remember Susan Tedeschi singing.
I’d like to thank her for that.