Tuesday, September 20, 2005

For Paula

I went to a pretty momentous occasion while in Vermont a couple of weekends ago and I didn't blog about it, mainly because it's pretty intensely personal stuff and even though it's been nearly ten years, in some ways it feels like just yesterday.

The occasion was the 10th anniversary of Seven Days, a Burlington, VT-based alternative arts and news weekly. I was the first person editors and co-publishers Pamela and Paula, or the P's, as I liked to call them, hired for their new and special project, and it was my first "real" job out of college. It was thrilling, really thrilling, to be at a start-up, and I did almost everything, from hiring and managing newspaper deliver drivers, to going out on dates and then writing about it to promote the personals section, to watching in horror as Bob Denver sat in front of me and smoked a cigarette, ashing it all over the floor. (Pamela, the office muscle, told him to put it out). And even though I was only there for one year, it's the job nearest and dearest to my heart. It was a family experience, fucked-up though it may have been, in more ways than any job I've had since.

But it was also the worst year in my life. I had problems -- a lot of problems -- with me, problems that had been brewing since my twelfth birthday. Ten years ago was the beginning of that year -- the slow yet ohsofast descent into pretty serious depression, alchoholism, and bulimia. I went pretty far into the woods in my teens and early twenties, and in some ways I am still working my way out.

But time does heal things -- one thing I've learned, as an addict, is that if you just hold on and do your best, a day at a time, choose not to do the thing that is destructive, well, pretty soon you have a lot of days behind you.

I've got almost ten years of days behind me now.

It was wonderful to go back and see everyone -- Pamela, Paula, Rick, Matt -- they all loved me in spite of myself. The difference now is that I love me in spite of myself, too.

Happy birthday, 7D.



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