This last week was significant. I missed a Zoom call from my psychiatrist and was cut off from anxiety medication until her next available appointment, two weeks later. I didn’t realize since June 30th, my body had become addicted to the low dose Xanax she prescribed. I was not prepared for the withdrawal.

It included body and joint aches, persistent headache, total insomnia (for four days), cold sweats, heightened anxiety attacks, nausea, blurred vision.

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Photo by Halacious on Unsplash

Withdrawal was a negative experience but one that forced me to deeply research the consequences of a magic drug responsible for melting away all anxiety and negative thoughts about myself or this world. Short cuts always come with a price. …

“We took a lot of different types of pictures, and in the end, the picture of my ass looked better than the picture of my face, that’s what went on the cover. I didn’t have any secret message. I don’t do that very much” (Bruce Springsteen, 1984).

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Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash

I have selected “Born in the U.S.A.” and fried vegan chicken as a pairing because it is one of the most misunderstood in American music songbooks and fried chicken was considered a means of independent economic gain for African Americans as early as the 1700s. Happy Birthday, America!

“Fried chicken had been in the diet of Scottish people for a long time, but they did not use seasoning. After African slaves had been hired as cooks, they added seasoning to the fried chicken of the Scottish people. Because slaves were allowed to feed only chickens, fried chicken became the dish that they ate on special occasions. This tradition spread to all African-American communities after the abolition of slavery” (Advances in Deep-Fat Frying of Foods, 2008). …

A lot has happened since I last wrote. I don’t know if any of us are having an easy time right now. Oddly, I am probably, for the first time in my life, one of the luckiest people I know. I understand luck and how quickly it can change.

I understand that in one swoop, everything could sour. Right now, I am kind of riding along this lovely picket fence I made for myself. The kids are growing and learning in spite of the state of things. Friendships are resurfacing now that I feel my shadows are further behind me, thanks to an aggressive journey with my mental health after spring’s quarantine. I listen more. I listen more than I ever have in my entire life. …

“I wrote this song for someone I missed very much. Her eyes were hazel. It’s been recorded by a lot of people. My favorite version is by Maureen Tucker” -Lou Reed, Between Thought and Expression.

Sometimes I feel so happy

Sometimes I feel so sad

Sometimes I feel so happy

But mostly you just make me mad

Baby, you just make me mad.

A year ago, I moved from Joshua Tree to Coachella Valley over the course of July, one Prius load at a time, with two toddlers and three dogs. In triple digit heat, I could only do trips before 9am or after 6pm. It was one of the hardest things I did. And when someone — like my mother, or the father of my kids — wants to complain that I left behind something they gave me- I literally (and I know the difference between the words literally and figuratively — I LITERALLY) want to scream. …

“[Pamela] had a couple of real bad acid trips that left her kind of unbalanced early on and Jim was always aware of that tender line of Pamela’s mind. Somehow he just needed to take care of her. Actually it was quite touching.” -Eva Gardonyi, This Affair of Ours.

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Photo by Dima Pechurin on Unsplash

I purposefully avoid writing about The Doors for fear of obsession. This may seem abstract to the average music fan. I avoid listening to their albums because I can and will fall into a hole. It becomes compulsive. Every word. Every note. Every cryptic message.

I visited Paris, alone, with only an ipod and a sad pair of walking shoes. I walked from his grave to the flat where he was found dead. Shortly after I moved to Joshua Tree, I discovered footage of Jim driving up “the grade” (a steep hill separating the high desert from Coachella Valley) into my neighborhood. There are Facebook Groups who spend days trying to identify the exact Joshua Tree gas station in this footage, an approximate four minute walk from my (then) house. …

“Fame can take interesting men and thrust mediocrity upon them.” — David Bowie

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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Father’s Day is always a bigger day than Mother’s Day. I won’t comment on other fathers and other families. In this one, I am in charge of planning both days, and end up creating a better experience for Father’s Day because it is always easier, at least for me, to plan something spectacular for someone else— even if that person broke my heart while pregnant with his second child.

This year, we stayed on a farm called Morning Song Farm. It was a glamping tent, like a modern day Out of Africa. The fully equipped kitchen was partially covered by sturdy canvas, while the bedroom had a magnificent blue peacock door, heat and a/c, Smart TV, two pull out beds and one four poster Queen bed. …

While white guilt is rampant on my Instagram, and racism is alive and well on Facebook, I have opted to do my own, quiet acknowledgement of the change in tides and cook a Summer Succotash in honor of Juneteenth tomorrow (June combined with the 19th).

I am ashamed to say I had never heard of Juneteenth until this week. Of course, I was never formally taught about slavery or the civil war in my primary education, secondary education nor in college. After the Emancipation Proclamation, change was not immediate. It took years for the law to find root. …

My Spotify is depressing the hell out of me. Yesterday, Simon & Garfunkel, Johnny and June, then Leonard Cohen all wrapped around my neck and sunk me further down. While watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I started weeping…. for Khloe, for Kourtney, for Kris and for Caitlyn. (Not for Kim).

Over the course of eleven seasons (Good God, that is a lot of hours), the Kardashian girls have covered and lived all the worst drama of my last relationship but in the public eye. Scott would occasionally act insane after drinking a few times, and would behave erratically. He would belittle, provoke and attack people seemingly out of nowhere. …

“Apparently, I gave Elton some very good advice when he was in a pickle, and he wrote a song about it. But I still can’t figure out what the song is about.”

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Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

The darkness of quarantine is breaking up. Little pin holes are punched in my darkness. While school is over and I am officially on vacation, lifestyle remains unchanged. I had planned to take the kids and their father to Great Wolf Lodge. Now, instead, I have a pinched nerve in my right shoulder: the pain webbing from my right elbow to the back of my neck.

At one point, it felt like someone ripped off my head and was trying to jam it back down my neck, splintering just beneath my cervical spine. …

Well Good Afternoon!

I have given pause to my writing for a couple reasons: one is the number of viewer/readings are pathetic (but whatever, I should continue in case someone puts me in a time capsule and I reach the right person in the right time), two, it appears we are in the midst of race riots, quite possibly a second civil war, and three- I have a pulled muscle in my right shoulder which is causing incredible immobility all the way up my neck.

Over the last week, I have reached some powerful self-discoveries. I don’t think I have an appropriate support system for my panic attacks. I am no one’s responsibility. Not my parents’. Not my friends’. Not the father of my children. And in moments of panic, it hurts that no one is obligated to pick up my call. …


Vita Lusty

Vita Lusty is a nonfiction writer. She has work appearing in HuffPost and Chicken Soup for the Soul. She is a single mother of two and school teacher.

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