I had the strangest dream the night before I came back to the city. I dreamed there was a serial killer who was murdering his victims by stabbing them with the broken stem of a champagne glass. I wasn't afraid.

I'll be honest. Tonight is the first night back in my apartment. Everyone I see says "How are classes? How are your students?" "Oh," I have to tell them, "I'm not a teacher anymore."

Not anymore.

I'll be completely honest with you. You, my blog reading public, because I can't really say this to anyone else. No one wants to hear it. Whenever I begin to talk about these feelings, it's like I'm opening my mouth and vomiting blood. Everyone wants to cheer me up, and I understand that drive. To distract. To help. It's like headlining in Titus Adronicus, but due to some horrible mistake the entire audience has been bussed in from Minnesota expecting a revival of Cats. You don't want to disappoint, but on the other hand you don't really want to sing "Misery" to a barely disguised "tribute" to Puccini.

I'm absolutely terrified. And not in that "Oh my God, I'm scared and thrilled" terrified. But that "I just jumped off the high dive and realized there is no water in the pool" just enough awareness beforehand to hear the crunch of my own skull on the asphalt kind of terrified.

I haven't been this scared since Eric left. When Eric left two weeks after September 11th, and I had to go on campus everyday terrified of seeing him. I didn't care about dying then. The few friends I had left decided to leave for California for Germany for some place safer. I stayed because I didn't care about safer, I didn't care about staying alive.

No that isn't true.

I wanted to die. I mentioned this to Kiss Kiss the other night, and he believes that I don't take care of myself. I don't eat right, I don't work out, I don't take care of myself . I tried all of it, it doesn't work for this level of depression. I was trying to explain it, but of course he doesn't believe. Not because he doesn't trust me, but because he wants to believe that there is someway to help. Someway to make things better. So did I when I found myself here five years ago. I took medication. I went to the gym. I volunteered for charities. I worked. If I found myself feeling badly late at night, I went to a bar or a coffee shop just to be with other people. I began ballroom dancing. I started blogging. I wrote in my journal. I went on vacations. Christ I even bought a TV to have voices in the house and a cat to have something to come home to. I increased my visits to my therapist. I saw a psychiatrist. I did everything I was supposed to do to "get better." To heal. To cope. To improve.

And yet here I am back to wanting to die. It was all I could do keep myself alive then when I at least had the job. Not just the job, but the belief in teaching. In something. That I couldn't die because these students needed me. That what I was doing was important. That I was changing the world in some small way. A few classes filled with kids. And no matter how much I wanted to die I graded papers and I made class plans and I showed up to meetings where I was paid in fucking cookies and I stayed up until 2 AM on AIM trying to help students write papers. Because I believed it was important, that what I was doing mattered.

And now, now I have to keep myself alive again. And as much as my friends like having me around. Well, I don't flatter myself that anyone needs me now.

In fact, most of the time I'm much more trouble than I'm worth. Don't believe me? Ask the Amazon, she'll tell you how worthless I really am. Or Kiss Kiss for that matter, who after being so kind as to let me stay with him rather than face my apartment, I kept awake with my ridiculous insomnia. Because I can't just have a fun night with him and go to sleep, because that mind of mine keeps ticking away about all the things I've done wrong, that I've failed at until, of course I end up driving the few people who do care into grand mal seizures of frustration because for whatever reason I can't get better.

And notice the word choice there, can't. Because any of you who think I have tried almost everything out there including meditation, yoga, martial arts, swimming, psychotropic medication, art therapy, etc etc haven't been paying attention.

And the fact that I feel terrible makes me feel terrible precisely because I know it pains others. Do you think I want my mother to see how horrible I feel? Do you think I don't know how much it pains her to see me like this? I know, and I try and cover the best I can to spare her. And trust me no matter how much of a pain in the ass I seem to be, I'm trying my best to pull myself together. Not just because I want to feel better, but because I want to stop being such a drain.

On the other hand, I can only pretend for so long.

This isn't the post I wanted to write. The post I wanted to write was about my friend Flair, a gay bartender who has currently made callbacks for American Idol. He called me to tell me when his callback is "So you either have to call and give me the 'You're great no matter what they think speech' or cheer me on!" He went to the audition for American Idol because his sister is getting married, but he isn't allowed to attend bachelorette parties.

"Three years ago my grandmother finds out I'm gay because she walked in on me having sex with the stripper, and I'm still not allowed to go to bachelorette parties. "

You have to love him. The only guy who can trump my male stripper stories.


It Hurts Too Much These Days If You Try To Think
I've decided to go public with this blog since I'm no longer employed by NYU. My real name is Bruce, and this what I look like before I have my first cup of coffee and liberally apply makeup.

OK, it's not REALLY me, but it is, and this is absolutely true, a picture of my emotional state right now. Utterly terrified and upset. Mere Lapin AKA the Pastel Puma keeps trying to make me feel better by pitching ideas that are ridiculous. "You could be a tutor." "Mere, I WAS a tutor before I became a teacher. Don't you remember? I couldn't make much because I didn't have any fucking connections. And I have fewer now than I did then." "Well, you could help write college essays. You could make a lot of money. You used to work at NYU." "Mere, the type of people who pay that much I don't have the right experience for. What admissions looks for is different from what I used to teach. Now could I do it? Yes, but the first question these people are going to ask is 'Do you have any recommendations?' and I don't have clients of that type. And even if I did I'd have to go back five years." "Well, I'm just trying to help." "I know, but on a practical level it doesn't work. It's not a question of what you CAN do, it's about what you can prove you can do."

When I think about the situation, and I try not to, but you know having a mind like this it's hard to turn it off, it makes me so upset. I'm trying not to be defeatist, but really, it's hard not to be.

Tomorrow, I return to the city. I don't want to go. I want to load everything in a van and drive somewhere and just live off of what I inhereited from my father. I mean when I think about how long I stayed in NYC because of that job because I believed that I was supposed to help people. Because that's why I started teaching. I was raised by intellectual altruists. My father tore himself apart over his patients. He could have quite practicing "real" medicine and worked for a health insurance company or taught at a school, but he kept forcing himself to help people. To take calls in the middle of the night, to treat patients who couldn't pay. Because if you CAN help people, that's what you do. Even at the expense of your life. That's why both my parents are in medicine. I thought I could help people, but not worry about people dying by going into education. And the truth? In the beginning I LOVED it. It wasn't a job then. I would have done it for free. I would have volunteered. After Eric left, it was what kept me alive. This idea that 60 or so kids were relying on me to show up and explain to them why ad hominem is not a legitimate way to destroy an arguement. Grammar. Literature. History. Media. Marketing. Life Decisions. I had to show up.

Only I don't.

Not anymore. I'm expendable. And I've got no safety net.

None. And not all the bathmitts in the world are gonna save me this time. So now that my old life is over, what am I going to do in this next one?

Fiber Optics
Anyone who wants to send yarn, I need to crochet in the worst way so send me an email and I'll give you the details.

Fight for Your Right
When my mother first learned about what happened, her first response was, "We can fight this." Fight or flight is a survival response. And fighting is what is most natural to me. But on this one, my response was to fly.

As it was 12 years ago when Boston University told me to my face that they didn't accept disiabled students to their acting program because "we only accept students who we believe can succeed in this business. Disabled students we would encourage to pursue a less asthetically based career."

Now I had a lawsuit there for sure, but I didn't pursue it, nor did my parents encourage me to do so, although my mother was present because this comment was said during a GROUP INTERVIEW. I already knew I didn't want to go there and so my mother's response was, "Don't rock the boat for no reason." Not thinking that there might be reason enough to help other disabled actors rather than just myself. Not surprising considering these were the parents who acted like spending half of my childhood in wheelchairs and crutches was the same as having "fat thighs" in terms of social stigma.

But here my mother says we have an excellent case for discrimination, and the truth is we do. They've kept on junior members with less than stellar recommendations and laid me off because they decided to keep the "summer staff." I could sue in terms of discrimination as a disabled person, or as a white woman (the only white female teacher on staff in the english department), or hell as a Jew (yep the only jew gets the shaft, what a shock). I have beautiful recommendations, students who long to be my office elves, and more legitimacy in the field than a lapsed gym teacher or an alcoholic jesus freak drama teacher.

And there is a part of me that wants to fight it not because I want my job back but because I want them to acknowledge that they were lucky to have me rather than those assclowns who now get health insurance and they don't get to throw me away like a crack whore now that the profesion is legitimate. And there's also a part of me that wants to learn from past mistakes. In the past, I kept quiet because of the "There's nothing in it for me." Now I think about it and I think, "This department, regardless of pay off for me, needs its ass and its head kicked in legally so it can actually have something vaguely ressembling anything like decency."

You be the judge.

Oh and you might want to consider NYU's public rep. right now what with the suicides and so forth. A prime time to strike should I want PR.

On the other hand, I could save it for a tell all expose book on working at a wanna be ivy league school, which I could dedicate myself to writing full time for about three months. I already have the title.

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