Do I begin with the foot slapping? Or the fear of green pants wearing ambulance men? Perhaps hiding under a duvet and believing yourself invisible would provide more appropriate context for the establishment of my character. I use “character” in place of personality because I’m hoping this isn’t my personality. If it is then I’m fucked. Properly screwed. If it is then most likely I’ll never have a normal relationship with my life, with my family, with my friends. With Rob Kearney who I’m sure would be only dying about me. I’m pretty sure at some point I imagined the whole Leinster squad traipsing into A&E on Thursday night to beg me not to do away with myself. I was the next Amy Huberman after all. I was needed to design shoes and tweet entertainingly to my adoring minions while all the time grooming and nurturing the next Irish legend. Ian Madigan? Sure I could take care of him – he’d be worth hanging around for.
Or would he? Would anyone? This is it, the crux of the matter. For twenty years, maybe longer (and I’ll get to the wonder years later) I’ve struggled to live inside my own head. I don’t like it in here. I wish I could upgrade to a roomier, brighter brain with a lovely lush, well-appointed garden to retreat to with my Booker Prize collection. A nice Marlborough Road Victorian Terrace: snuggled on both sides by well-meaning , well-to-do neighbours but with enough space to think up to the skies and high walls to keep out the burglars of my sanity. Or maybe a spacious industrial style New York loft apartment complete with quirky vintage touches would suit me better: not overlooked by anyone but anonymous workers in glazed highrise money making vessels but interesting enough to attract the sort of people who will save me from myself. Probably because they’re more fucked up than me and by comparison, I seem fairly sane.
I think of my mind as a home, one that I have to come back to following a day at school. I hate opening that door in the evening. I’m a teacher and my 22 hours (don’t start judging our hours or there’ll be slaps) are my only escape. I suppose it’s like being on stage – just as an actor has to block everything out during a performance, so does a teacher. Kids pick up on everything, especially the mood of their teacher. My kids are never nasty or opportunistic if they sense I’m stressed: they never try to bunk off homework (not that I give much but educational philosophies are for another day) or provoke me to a full blown reaction. I do my best to hide my weakening resolve to get up every day and come in to teach them but I’m sure my defences are more than penetrable for the savvy adolescent of today. Sometimes the kindness of our kids (I can’t help but use possessive adjectives for them) overwhelms me. There have been days when I thought I wouldn’t see breaktime without a hot cup of Xanax tea (which is all the rage in Hipsterville) and a “How’re ya Miss? Are ya alright? Will I carry that for ya?” has warmed my heart to the point of no longer resembling a gigantic ice hole looming menacingly in the background of Frozen. Then I think I can change the world, one Leaving Cert English paper at a time. That tiny gesture of youthful kindness can send me soaring into the realms of SuperTeacherdom. I become Robin Williams buoyed by shouts of “O Captain, My Captain!”. I am Emmeline Pankhurst reborn or even better, Emma Watson in that gorgeous coat at the UN. (Think Penney’s will do a knock off of that?) I will survive. Better than that Aretha, I will SURMOUNT! There is nothing that I cannot do… until it gets to lunch time and I want to crawl under my desk and hide. Hide from the batshit crazy teacher who, just hours earlier, so poetically thought she could lead these poor kids down the path to literary enlightenment and a full appreciation of their metaphysical selves. Bullshit. I want to go to bed. And I don’t want to wake up.
“Get Out Clause” is, in the Depression Industry, known as one’s suicidal tendency. I could go all corporate and give it an acronym – ST but then if I told someone I had an ST they might just think I was over sharing about my period and wonder why I wouldn’t just girl up, plug up and move beyond the early 90s with a Tampax anyway. But I hate the word “suicide”. It makes me think of bad things. Dead people obviously but also of suet. I’m not exactly sure what suet is: some sort of animal fat used by grannies in their “hearty” cooking. (I also hate fat and have been known to try to discharge – “discharge” is another gross word, like “moist” – it from my body by any means, but more of the food issues later. Yeah there’s a lot more to come). My Nana used to put suet in something I’d rather not remember sneakily forcefeeding to the dog twenty five years ago. And the “ide” makes me think of the “Ides of March” and we all know how that turned out. “I am no Caesar” (a depression blog without Sylvia Plath references would be a big fat sham). So let’s call my wish to vacate my cramped, spiderwebbed, dingy, musty, crumbling, post-flood, condemned tenement brain my Get Out Clause.