THINGS BEGIN TO UNRAVEL

As the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” In hindsight, I’m not so sure all of that roguish activity was a good thing and perhaps that is why, in a very short time, things began to unravel.

Lisa’s bodyguard was an ex-cop. He was a nice guy and the two of us often chatted backstage. There were always (and I do mean always) beautiful women in the audience. The women came in couples and groups and throngs, one prettier than the next. During breaks on the stage, I would often look out into the audience and survey “the talent.” One night, Lisa and I were parked far off to the side of the stage and I was taken by a very attractive woman sitting in the second or third row of the house. I looked at her, looked away and then looked again. The third time I looked, Lisa’s bodyguard whispered to me, “Do you want me to go get her for you?”

“What?” I asked.

“If you want to meet her, let me know and I will go get her,” he replied.

He must have seen the expression on my face.

“I used to do it for Eddie [Murphy] all the time.”

“Just like that?” I asked.

He kind of smiled. “Just like that.”

I considered it for a moment. I’ll admit that the idea appealed to me. But I just didn’t have the, I don’t know, confidence (?) to pull off that move. What does one say when the woman you have sent for arrives?  I couldn’t think of anything. I passed. Besides, I was juggling more than I could handle as it was.

I’d come home at night and spend a good two hours on the phone calling girlfriends to say goodnight. And dating women costs money! I damn’ near had to declare bankruptcy on Valentine’s Day. I had so many dozens of roses delivered that I lost count.

It was too much! There was no way that I could sustain the pace. No doubt, there are men for whom such a routine is second nature, but not me. I will confess that my game was just not strong enough. Moreover, in my heart, I was not a player. No doubt, I was having fun, but all the running around, telling half truths, and trying to remember what lie I told to which woman was taxing and it was not in my nature. And because it was unnatural, it wasn’t long before it all began to fall apart.

In April of my first season, right before we went on hiatus for the season, Susan told me in not so polite language not to call her anymore. “You are rude and date other women,” she said. “And I don’t want to see you anymore.” It wasn’t clear to me which upset her more, my being rude or the fact that I was dating other women. She was right, of course. I was rude — extremely rude –to her and I was dating other women. I pleaded my case. I told her that I could change, that I was crazy about her, but she wasn’t hearing it. Letters were returned, flowers were, I imagine dumped in the trash. “Let’s be friends,” I begged. “I don’t want to be your friend,” she responded. It took me a moment to comprehend that someone would simply not want to have anything to do with me, but here it was. Yep! She was done.

After she left, one by one the other women left as well. I’ve never had so many women so angry with me. Ivory cursed me, the redhead told me I was a jerk, the beauty queen drifted off to greener pastures, the ad exec told me I was weak, and on and on it went. By the end of the month, the player was sitting alone in his apartment. I don’t think I’d ever felt so rotten. Sure, I felt bad because I had been rejected by literally every woman I knew, but I felt worse for another reason. I had always thought of myself as a good guy. You know, when I was younger and girls I liked didn’t like me, but instead liked guys who shit all over them, I would complain that girls just didn’t like good guys like yours truly. Well, lo and behold, I discovered that I was, as a costume designer I was also dating sneered at me, “just like all the rest!” The realization that I wasn’t a very nice person tossed me into a deep, introspective melancholy.

I sat on the floor in the hallway of my apartment and fell into the arms of the gray lady — the ugly gray lady that would embrace me and blot out the sun. She was a quiet stalker that snuck up on me. It didn’t matter what was happening in my life, or even where I was. I could be in the company of family, or friends, or even in the middle of making love, and she would come up softly behind me, wrap me in her arms and lead me away. She was a jealous mistress and refused to share me with other people; a thief, robbing me of life. She was, in fact, a greedy bitch that consumed everything.

The depression that hit me that spring was worse than anything I had ever experienced. It was persistent, endless; it worked its way into my bones. In spite of all the new excitement and new experiences, all the sex and attention, there remained something a bit desperate and hollow about the entire ordeal. What an odd way to put it – ordeal – but that’s what it felt like. Life was a burden that seemed to get heavier each day, much heavier  than a bunch of angry women not taking my calls.

Making it worse, I was “looping.” Others might call it ruminating. Readers of a certain age will recall what used to happen with a scratched record. The needle would hit the damaged groove and skip back, playing the same bit of music over and over again. Until you unplugged the player or bumped the needle, it would continue to play over and over again forever. That’s what looping is, only it happens in the mind. A thought or a series of thoughts just plays over and over again without stopping. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t get the thoughts out of your head – not for long anyway.  The scenes play over and over again in your head. The emotions attached to the thought also repeat, so that if the thought is painful, you are constantly re-feeling the emotional pain associated with the thought.  So, while I was feeling down, I was also looping negative thoughts over and over again. I had descended from a heavenly emotional high into a real and tangible hell.

Next…Serotonin and Chemical Imbalances


About Author

Joseph C. Phillips

Joseph C. Phillips was born on January 17, 1962 in Denver, Colorado, USA as Joseph Connor Phillips. He is an actor, known for General Hospital (1963), The Cosby Show (1984) and Strictly Business (1991). He has been married to Nicole since 1994. They have three children.

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