Sunday Bloody Wrist
Small towns are boring and getting wasted was pretty much the norm for troubled teenagers. My mother soon had a boyfriend who lived 2 hours away and she spent many weekends there while I had parties and trashed the house. My sisters went off to college. We had cable installed and I discovered the beginnings of MTV. It wasn’t long until my hair was strawberry blonde and shaved on one side. U2, Prince, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.
During my thirteenthh year I was in a play called “French Toast.” I wore a blue velvet dress. Opening night my boyfriend didn’t show up and I was upset. Upon arriving home I raced up to my room and blasted U2 “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” My mother kept screaming for me to “Turn that Damn Music down”. My brother was working for a Mirror and Glass shop at the time and had given me a large piece of cut mirror. I had placed the mirror on the top of my bureau and then set my stereo on it. When I went to shut the power off on the stereo I slammed my wrist against the edge of the mirror and cut two tendons and 2 arteries. There was also a mirror behind the stereo. My wrist was pulsating blood onto that mirror. What an image. I was paralyzed with fear and shock. I went downstairs holding my wrist and told my mother, “I need to go to the hospital”. “Let me see it” she screamed. I told my sister that if I died she could have all my stuff. Twenty two stiches and a miracle saved my right hand. I performed with my wrist in an ace bandage the next night.
During my fifteenth year my house burnt down a week before Christmas. It was an electrical fire. Everything was pretty much destroyed. In January I had a party in my abandoned, burnt–to-the-ground house. Everyone smelled like soot the next day. We rebuilt the house and at least it didn’t smell like old books and mothballs anymore. That summer I lost my virginity to my boyfriend, Bryan. We were drunk. I was a semi-athlete in high school. I played field hockey in autumn, skied in the winter and played softball in the spring. My grades were below average until senior year, first semester, when I realized I wasn’t going to get into college. I did as little as I could to get by and then was struck dumb to realize that I wasn’t going anywhere. So in turn, I put great effort into whatever was going to get me somewhere. Last minute cramming was a specialty. I was the senior editor of my yearbook and “class partier” in the superlatives. By the end of my senior year I was a bed wetting black-out drunk. I decided I wanted to be a journalist.
I was accepted to college based solely on my senior year first semester grades. It was a private college and I had to take out a loan. I was in a coed dorm freshman year and I couldn’t stand my roommate. She stole my stuff and put it on her side of the room. Deadhead 90’s hippy chicks lived next door. They didn’t shave their legs, wore Indian skirts and played guitars all day. I found refuge many nights drinking tea, smoking pot and listening to Phish. Then there were plenty of rich, preppy girls. They received the J. Crew catalog, brandished Mommy and Daddy’s gold card, wore real pearls around campus and bragged about vacationing at Hilton head. I intended on majoring in communications, studied psychology, English, art History, film, and classical music.
My drinking was still out of control. I was dubbed “Pee Pee” by a sophomore guy from New Canaan. I passed out in his room and wet his couch. I had been talking to my sister in L.A. about how Pierce was so expensive. I discussed this with my communications professor and he said if I wanted to work in the film industry to just go to L.A. and work. He said that I really didn’t need a degree. It was about experience. My father had his 1st stroke that summer after college. I remember sitting with him on the granite steps of my house telling him that I was going to California. He looked sad and worried. He gave me $200. I sold all my stuff, including my car and packed some clothes in a trunk. In August of ‘91 I took my very first flight.
During the plane’s descent into Los Angeles, nineteen years old, tiny turquoise kidney-shaped pools in my eyes. My sister lived here with her girlfriend. I intended to finish college, but within a year I was working in the film industry. I never received that little piece of paper that proves you can sit still and study for four years. Um…I think it’s called a Bachelors Degree. My other sister moved in with us and the three sisters ended up getting our own place. Let’s just say that it was a bad idea. This living situation lasted a year. My sister was on a plane back East. My other sister got a roommate and I moved in with Dickie.
I got into a relationship with a Latino alcoholic/addict. I didn’t know the city. I had no wheels, no friends and no idea how to live on my own. The Los Angeles riots put me into such a state of fear that I clung to the first strong native I could find. We were together for 3 years, during which he introduced me to crystal meth, cocaine, speed and hard core porn. The relationship was a high speed motorcycle ride on the 405. We were in North Hollywood. There was an earthquake sometime in the middle of it all. I weighed 110 lbs., a waif holding on for her life and he loved me. We lived together for a year and drank and did drugs every weekend. I saw that I was going down hill fast. On New Years day, I was making dinner for my sister that stayed and her boyfriend. When they showed up, Dickie was passed out on the floor from drinking screwdrivers at 9am. He bought a 1971 black Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce convertible. He let me drive it and he took his bike. After living together for a year I bought a new Ford Escort. I gave him the stereo and speakers we had bought with my good credit and I left him. I moved into a room in a house with two guys from UCLA. I remember doing rails on a picture of my dad. Dickie stalked me. He stole compact discs from my roommates. I let him keep the hook in. He kept me in drugs.
I have worked in post production in thankless positions for 8 years. I ran film late night from LAX to Hollywood. I learned my way around the city by trial and error with my Thomas Guide. I met “Television” at work. I was a receptionist in a high end post house and he worked in the vault. Everyone and everything around me revolved around Art. We would rotate the art in the facility every few months have have openings for our clients. My boyfriend and I were young, clean scrubbed, Gap clad and idealistic. Some of the fanciest parties and most glamourous years of my life. My father died of his second stroke and I flew home on Christmas for his funeral. Television and I were living together in Los Feliz and I thought we were going to marry. We dated for 2 years, lived together for a year. We met each others parents. He did not appreciate it when I drank. I read the book “Drinking—a Love Affair” by Caroline Knapp, which had a profound affect on me. I went to my first AA meeting and I put together 6 months of sobriety.
"The sleep of reason
brings forth monsters."