and the madness in my head

So, I’m at home. And I’m not allowed to talk. Whenever I do talk, you can only hear a little whisper coming out of me. I feel like the Godfather. Everyone has to lean in to hear me. I’m tired of it, though. I miss my voice. I miss talking to the cats. I miss singing. I miss laughing.It’s interesting, because for you guys, there’s nothing different. My voice hasn’t changed at all. Here, in my head, though, these words are sounding all raspy and funny, because that’s how I’ve sounded for days. Apparently this is all caused by allergies. I’m on some medicine now that is supposed to stop all this sinus drainage that has made my vocal cords swell. Apparently they are so swollen that they aren’t able to vibrate against each other, thus making it impossible for me to talk. I tell you, it’s maddening. I can’t get into any conversation because they don’t hear me try to talk. The smell of cigarettes is making my throat constrict. Whenever I do try to speak I keep having to repeat myself so someone can understand me. And the worst part of it all?

I can’t tell a joke with proper timing.

It keeps coming out too late, or by the time someone hears me it’s too late, or no one heard me at all and the moment for the joke has passed. I’m feeling so not funny. It’s like a comedy prison. Here, in my head, I’m hysterical. So I’m getting rather mopey.

But, you know, I have a lot of work to do, and I don’t feel ill, so I plan on getting some things done around here for the next two days. I have things to do for my three upcoming shows, and I have things to scan and write, and I have to organize this office because it’s driving me nuts, and I have to make a costume for the show, and I really want to take a long hot bath. Now, I have 48 non-talking hours to kill, so I think I’ll get it all done and probably see a few movies in there to boot. I still have a rehearsal tonight, and I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with them since I can’t talk, but I’ll think of something. Something improv, I assume. And the musical number we’re working on…

A big part of my personality is my voice. I just don’t feel like me right now. And it doesn’t matter how much sign language I know, because no one else knows any of it, so I can sign “water” all I want, people just think I’m asking about a goatee.

So, also I can’t answer any of your e-mails until Friday, since they all get sent to my work computer, and I can’t seem to get a hold of anyone at work via e-mail today to forward my mail home. Sorry. You know I’ll get to you when I can.

What really doesn’t help is how antsy this medicine makes me. Last night I couldn’t fall asleep, and whenever I did I would wake up every thirty minutes or so, thus waking up Eric, thus waking up the cats. It was terrible. So, you’d think I’d be all tired and wanting to take a nap, but instead I got up at nine in the morning and have been up since. This doesn’t even happen when I have to go to work! I usually sleep until nine-fifteen, nine-thirty and then crawl into the shower and show up for work just on time or slightly late. This morning I had already said goodbye to Eric, made breakfast and ate it before my shift even started. I guess that’s a good thing about this medicine– I’m not sleepy. I wonder if that’s because I’m not suffering from allergies… I’m not really sniffy today, and my eyes haven’t been watering, like they do every other morning I’ve gone to work since.. I don’t know… September. This morning I’m alert, and I’m active, and hyper, and typing like, a million words a minute. Is this what it is like for me to feel healthy? Is this how my body is supposed to be every morning? I’m not supposed to be sluggish?

What miracle is this allergy medication? I can live on only three hours of sleep a night! Woo-hoo! I will continue to accomplish all I set out for!

Or maybe I’ll crash in about five hours. We’ll see. If only I could talk, I’d be in pretty good shape.

Still no smoking for me. Eric has decided that he’s not quitting, he’s just cutting down. That’s fine with me. For now, I need to quit. This whole losing my voice thing really hit home to me. The problem with smoking is the effects of it are not immediate. Well, the good effects are: the calm, the buzz, the instant coolness… but the harmful side effects really don’t show up for a while. It took years for me to develop a cough. I’ve never had yellow fingers or nails or even teeth… I can still exercise as much as I usually could… it never caused me to have an asthma attack…

But cancer runs in my family, and seeing what it can do is a constant reminder in the back of my head… but it’s a quiet one, you know? Like it’s pretty far away, and I still have some of that immortal feeling in me. So, even if I did get sick, it feels like a really long time from now. What really made me not want to smoke anymore was losing my voice this week. I couldn’t sing along to my favorite musical. And if I permanently damage my voice, I’m not singing anywhere anymore. No singing in improv, no singing in sketch, no filling in for Madonna on the film “Chicago” when she decides she’s just not cut out for the role.

And it just doesn’t seem worth it to me anymore. I’m sure I’ll find another vice. Chuy thinks I may start drinking, but I don’t think so. I really don’t like to drink, and I really only like drinking with cigarettes. Same with coffee. I’m worried I won’t like coffee as much. I love my Latte Mochas. What am I going to do?

I’m going to stick with it, as long as I can. But as Eric pointed out, everything is reminding me of smoking. My computer table is the lovely shade of Marlboro filters. The picture of Eric and I in San Francisco next to me reminds me of how difficult it was to find a place to smoke in California, and how we felt like teenage rebels whenever we lit up. The little jar of incense next to me reminds me of cigarette ashes… which mean it’s time for another cigarette. Molly Ringwald yelling at Andrew McCarthey in the next room that he’s afraid and ashamed to go out with her reminds me of having a cigarette to calm down, step back, and avoid a fight. My snowflake pj’s that I’m wearing remind me of the bonding time that smokers have when you’re smoking outside in the cold.

And everyone just keeps talking about it. “Oh, you’re quitting smoking? Oh, that’s good. I couldn’t do it, you know? I love cigarettes. I love the way they taste, the way they feel, the way they– you know? I’m gonna go have one now, I hope you don’t mind.”

So, it’s a little trying on me. I can’t talk, I can’t smoke, I can’t sing, I can’t laugh. I am not me. I’m miserable.

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