2.46. The Wounded Soul – My Proudest Failure

This post is not about the many known names who have died over the course of this year from apparent suicide. Their deaths are sad and a loss to the world but there is nothing that can be done for them.  Their chances have ended. It’s sad but what can you do about it now? This is not about the unknowns who are gone from this world. Their story is no different. This is about the ones we can save. 

When I was 26, after my son was born, I suffered from postpartum depression while simultaneously suffering from an infection, which caused me to lose part of my right breast. The fake glue that was holding my doomed marriage together melted away. My world crumbled very quickly. I recall sitting in a bathroom and penning a letter to my child in which I apologized for failing him, for not being strong enough to have the desire to continue. I remember calling a crisis hotline while sitting on the curb of a dark street and telling some stranger I was a horrible piece of shit because I had a child but I wanted to die. I remember going to a hospital and asking for an evaluation. I sat in a cold, bare room, and waited for someone to tell me I was insane. After talking with Tom, he informed me I was suffering from PTSD, from events earlier in my life,  and Postpartum. When I said I wanted to die, he explained, I was simply asking to sleep…for rest…escape from pain I could not seem to get away from. I was released and attempted to pull myself out of that darkness. 

When I was eighteen, after being caught in the act, I admitted to battling Bulimia. It was a slow way out but I often hoped I would just become extremely frail and collapse and that same sleep would come. My mother told me to get over it. 

When I was 13, my father found me in our trailer in Clintondale, New York. I’d swallowed a ton of his painkillers and anything else I could find in the medicine cabinet. I was ashamed of my life. I was scared of being a nothing. I wanted to quit. 

When I was 11, I was admitted to a mental health ward, against my will (and my parents) for a mere 16 hours (a lifetime to an 11 year old btw). I’d gone in after a referral from a childhood therapist. Because I wouldn’t discuss things that were happening but implicated myself in several acts of self-harm, I was held for evaluation. I can still remember the screams and belligerent rants of those held in rooms next to me. After those 16 hours, I conned my way out of that hospital, claiming it was all an act and absolutely nothing was wrong with my home life. I learned how to lie on that day. 

When I was 5, a sibling found me on the ledge of our apartment window. When asked why I was up there, I said I wanted to die. My mother beat the ever-living piss out of me and sent me to bed. 

I have tried to die, thought of dying, hoped for dying…TOO MANY times in my life. I’ve purposefully put myself in dangerous situations, in the hopes that I would find release. Through those years and failed attempts…I never found it. 

I’m not telling you this because I want pity. Because I want you to think I’m epic and strong for “surviving.” I don’t know why I wanted to die from such a young age. I don’t know why I wasn’t “built” to better deal with the hardships of life. I don’t know why the unknown seemed so much better. 

What I do know are two things. 

  1. I was already dead. My body didn’t have to perish. TRULY, I believe I was a walking tomb. My son gave me my soul. I still struggle. I still panic. I’m still a hot mess. But I have never hoped for another breath the way I do now…as I have my son in my life. 
  2. Someday, I will die. I will not try. It will be against my will. And I will not want it to happen. I will feel pain as it all slips away because I will not see the tomorrows of my child, his children, the life I will miss. Someday, I will not have a choice. 

All of that being said…

I AM NOT AN EXPERT but I know the helplessness. I know the desperation. I know that feelings of sad hope that the damn phone will ring and someone…ANYONE will pull me back from the ledge and say, “I care about you. Please don’t go.” We all want to know that someone wants us to stay. That someone NEEDS us to stay. That our fire lights another persons world. We all need a reason to have no desire to step on that ledge. It’s ALL about love. 

The trauma that happened in my life, very early on, stunted my growth in MANY ways (so the doctors say). There are many times that I am stuck back in that mind frame of a child and I am terrified. I am frail. I am lost. It’s a fight to not go back there. To train my brain that I’m not reliving those traumas. That things are not repeating themselves. That I am capable of dealing with it IF they are. 

I am telling you all of this because we all know someone who struggles. Who is fighting. Who may be too quiet. May say the wrong things. May lash out at the smallest occurrence. May come off so angry. May push people away. May be an emotional punching bag. May live a lifestyle that is reckless. May be unaware that they are begging for help. May be pleading for rescue in their eyes but not their words. 

If you are that person…tell someone. ANYONE. Talk until your blue in the face. But keep talking. If you’re talking…you aren’t dead. AND THAT IS BEAUTIFUL. If you know someone like that…listen. Listen and really hear. You don’t need to fix it all. Just listen. Sometimes, that is all a wounded soul needs. 

Dear Suicide – I am proud to have failed you. 

Sincerely not yours…this girl. 

2.38. I Am That Mother…

I will laugh with my son for hours.

I will encourage my child to make a mess just because we don’t always have to live inside the lines.

I will blast the music mid-afternoon and dance with my boy until we can’t stand anymore.

I will sing with my boy, at the top of our lungs, until our throats are hoarse…while driving down the highway.

I will spend lazy days, on the couch, in our pajamas, eating cake and ice cream for lunch because we can.

I will have an all night movie fest with my boy while eating popcorn and telling stories under our make-shift tent.

I will not have a heart attack when my son draws on the walls…his art isn’t doing any damage paint can’t eventually fix.

I will let my boy pick out his clothes, even if they don’t match and they include my pink cupcake bandanna.

I will enjoy listening to my son tell me stories, sing me songs, read to me in his own silly language.

Nevertheless,

I am that mother that will pay the bill at a restaurant and leave without eating a bite if my son gets out of hand.

I am that mother that will put back an entire cart of groceries if my son decides to have a full blown tantrum over not getting the ice cream he demands.

I am that mother that will take my son to the restroom for a moment of discipline if he decides the aisles are a good place to throw himself on the floor, hit, kick, or throw things.

I am that mother that does not believe in hitting when angry BUT I will give my son one swat to his behind if he remotely thinks it’s okay to say a potty mouth word he’s heard from who knows where. (I know my curse words of choice and those are not it).

I am that mother that will send my son to his room and leave the tv off all day as punishment.

I am that mother that will raise her voice when my boy does the exact opposite of everything I have asked him to do.

I am that mother that will ALWAYS talk to my son about why he has been disciplined/punished. I will ALWAYS explain to my son that I love him and I want his behavior to always reflect the wonder of his amazing spirit.

I am that mother that will correct my son when he is misbehaving AND reward him when he is doing wonderfully…or at least trying to.

I am that mother that doesn’t have all of the right answers.

I am that mother that struggles to find the line of nature and nurture.

I am that mother that tries every day to strengthen my sons ability to communicate his feelings instead of acting them out.

I am that mother that talks to her son like he is a human being. Not a puppet. Not a dog. Not a baby. A human being. With a heart. A soul. Feelings. Thoughts. Emotions. Opinions.

I am that mother that will never stop working at being better and encouraging my son to do just the same.

2.37. In All Honesty

Spring is near…hell it’s Kansas so Spring may show up in August for all we know, but the overall symbolism of the season has set into full blast…kinda. Actually, it should be the opposite…the beginning of Winter. When life is ending, things die, everything is cold, quiet, and gloomy.

People say divorce is comparable to a death. And it is. The death of something you thought would last forever. Now, don’t have me mistaken with someone else; I chose to go through with my divorce…I asked for it. But I imagined it would be a rebirth. An opportunity for two miserable people to find their happiness again. What has manifested is a full blown war…a spiteful display of tyranny and a chaotic concert with nothing but hate blasting through the speakers.

 

I recently attended a class called FOCIS. Focus On Children In Separation. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case in the demise of my union. It has been an icy exchange. Something embedded with vengeance. Something VERY hard to deal with.

Before I go any further, let me make it very clear that I have no clue what I’m doing. That I’m making tons of mistakes. I am emotionally screwed right now. I have no idea how to have friendships, family ties, interactions with the adult species. The epitome of my understanding is with that of a three year old (my son) and even then…I get lost sometimes and just wish he would understand that I want to cry, to hide, to fade and not deal with the agony of breathing. But he will not understand my pain. He shouldn’t have to. He didn’t choose this. He sure as shit didn’t choose me.

During that FOCIS class, the instructor went over the 5 stages of grief, first really introduced by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”

  1. Denial and Isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression/Guilt
  5. Acceptance

According to the instructor, the journey through these stages…on average…can be between 18 months and 4 years. 4 YEARS!!!! I slip into each one of these stages, depending on the day.

I have isolated myself despite playing the open book. I have walked away from friendships without so much as a tear. Because these people will leave sooner or later. It always happens. It always will happen. So fuck it. There is no use in holding on to people who will throw me away like garbage.

I become so angry, it’s sickening. I hate people who are happy. I hate people who complain about petty shit. I hate people who have it all figured out. I hate people who have no emotional understanding. I hate people who assume I should just deal. I hate people who pass judgement on my every fucking move. I hate people who think, for one second, they could deal with this pain. I hate people who have never been single a day in their adult life telling me to not feel completely lost. I hate people who have no courage to be alone telling me to stay strong…ALONE. I hate people who use that bullshit line, “you think you’re the only one in the world who…” No shit I’m not the only one going through shit. But I’m living my life. Is a rape victim supposed to think, “well, someone else went through this and worse so I should just get over it.” UM, NO! I hate the bullshit optimism and then the continuous “whatever” mentality when everything doesn’t go as fucking wonderfully as you’ve tried to convince me it would. You were wrong. Accept it. Admit that being a part of my life was a mistake and walk away. I’m giving you the option. Because I hate, more than anything, anyone who will stay in my life and is miserable because of that connection. Just walk.

I have bargained. I will do anything. I will die if it means peace for my son. For people around me. I will shut up and take it. I will forget. I will forgive. I will pretend to be happy when I’m not. I will do whatever…if only…

I have fallen into depression. I feel guilt every fucking day for existing. For just being alive. Wouldn’t people be so much better off if I were gone? Wouldn’t they all just be happier if I never existed? I have cried myself to sleep and screamed to a God I don’t believe in. I have begged for mercy. I have prayed on the phone. I have called hotlines. I have puked out the remnants of an empty bottle. I have lost myself in the pure feeling of being a mistake. I have been ashamed of my feelings because I have a child and I should never think of my own end. What kind of mother am I if I don’t want to jump out of bed every day to look at my beautiful boy? I feel guilt that he got such a pathetic ass excuse of a mother as me. I feel guilt that I am not better. That I don’t even know how to be better.

Acceptance is supposed to be that one when things make sense and there is a sense of peace and clarity. But in my acceptance, I have come to an understanding that none of this pain will EVER go away. My life is meant to be shit. And it will never change. It will always be this hard. It will always be this dark. It will always hurt this much.

Feel free to have a rolling of the eyes session, a “this bitch swears” moment…I seriously don’t fucking care. These are my emotions. These are my thoughts. This is my life. It is not and does not have to be a part of yours.

In all honesty, there is only ONE thing I am certain about…just one…but it is the most important thing for me to know – I love my son. I love my baby boy with every ounce of my being. I do not care if not one single person on this planet cares about me as long as my son knows I love him and I live ONLY for him.

In all honesty, my son is the ONLY thing I’ve done right in my life. The ONLY thing I am proud to be a part of. The ONLY reason I have the tiniest glimmer of hope in my heart that this life can be beautiful. As hard as the days get, I know this life has possibility…for happiness, for love, for laughter, for growth, for beauty…ONLY because he is in it.

I am a flawed human being. I am struggling to find peace in this battle. I am lost, scared, uncertain, feeling broken…

BUT I am willing to continue my journey, no matter what, because my son will always know I kept going…despite it all…FOR HIM. Here’s to healing, to growing, to figuring me out. To fixing me. One stage at a time.

2.36. Rain

She will skim the surface

With blades of grass

To deliver the aqueous formula

Slow like honey

Heavy in hue

Trickling,

Drizzling,

Glistening,

Steady,

Pouring,

Clotting into hail

Her wrists are open

As cumulus clouds deliver surrender

A torrent of life

Laid to rest on the tiles of a bathroom floor.

2.29. The Stars Shine

This post gives me great joy to write. But it also has a deep rooted past. And so, we travel back to the first year I moved to Kansas.

Working for an in-home mental health care facility, I spent hours upon hours with a new set of people while our clients slept soundlessly in their beds. Between bed rotations, medicine distribution, and breathing checks…the staff would hang out in the living room and chit chat or play hours of card games. 

J and I sat in the living room for our first overnight shift together. We had eight hours to burn before our clients had to be woken for their daily activities…all we had was time to burn. He told me he’d had one girlfriend but that was it. And without skipping a beat, he divulged everything about his deepest secrets. He was gay. But his family had raised him Baptist and his father was a preacher; a man respected in the community for his devotion to God. J had tried being with a girl to “fix” himself. But it hadn’t worked. 

“So, have you come out to your family?”

J looked puzzled. “Why would I do that?”

He explained that he knew his feelings were wrong. There was no reason in coming out because he would never live that sinful life. He would never betray his God or his family. He would not burn in hell for the lust of the body. 

“So, you’re just going to be alone forever?”

He laughed at my “ignorance,” and explained that he wasn’t alone because he had Gods love. 

“But wouldn’t your God want you to be happy?”

He said he was but his eyes said otherwise. 

Fast forward more than a decade.

An attractive, Jesus loving hipster enters my world. I immediately lean on him for all of my Godly questions. But the world that we live in can’t understand why someone like him and someone like me would ever really talk. So the rumors started. I was trying to tempt him. I wanted to bring him over to the dark side. We were probably having secret kissing sessions when no one was looking.

And it pissed me off. Because no one knew the conversations we’d had. No one knew that we stood in a parking lot at 4am talking about his love for God. No one knew that he’d revealed, he too, had felt things for the same sex but couldn’t act upon them because of his love for his Lord. No one knew that I cried for this boy and told him the story of J. That my heart broke to see someone so amazing trapped by their own love…only to be left deprived of love.

A distance built between us and I will admit that I grew to dislike him immensely. I felt betrayed. How could he open his world to me in such a way and yet distance himself from me as if I were a fucking leper? I hadn’t judged him or told him what he felt was wrong. I had embraced him and he’d turned the other cheek.

I had a moment when I thought he wanted me to shun him for his revelations. When he wanted me to be like everyone else. That would have been easier. But I hadn’t and instead…I’d been thrown away like garbage. What a friendship, I thought.

The boy moved away. And I shouldn’t care.

But I am beyond happy for this boy. I have learned that in his move…the star found his puzzle piece, has grown even closer to his God in his new love, and has learned to be honest with himself and the world he aspired to change. I watch from a distance and I am elated to see pictures and posts of pure, genuine love. My tears were not in vain. Everything turned out the way it should have and someone who is truly a gift to this world now knows it’s possible. To love with your whole heart AND to be loved wholeheartedly.

When he became a star

2.27. Chambers

The simplicity of knowing skin is tiring…boring…undesirable. 

The complexity of knowing a mind is foreign and quickly weighing on a stone heart. 

A mix between hopelessness and hopeful prayers.

For something that will prove everything she ever believed to be wrong. 

For a glimmer.

A spark.

An ember. 

But fire cannot live and thrive from stone. 

From the cold caverns of a heart forgotten. 

2.26. Damn You, John Hughes

In light of my current read, Damned by Chuck Palahniuk, and the continuous reference to the John Hughes film, The Breakfast Club, I’ve decided to answer the detention assigned question in 1000 words. Here goes.

Who Do You Think You Are?

I ask myself this question time and again and the answers are numerous and yet nothing substantial for personal growth. It is always a reflection of where I came from, experiences that have influenced my life. So, I’ve come to believe I am my history. To answer in this way is to imply that I am what I was and therefore have no idea how to unearth the me I was supposed to be despite circumstance. But I suppose everyone needs a place to start and my history is all I know. So, maybe, in recollections, I will find the answer of who I am in the ashes of who I’ve been. 

I am the daughter of a con artist and a retired police officer. I am the step-child of a deceased Jewban who could probably answer this question for me better than I can. I am an incest and rape survivor. I am a diagnosed Bi-Polar/PTSD patient. I am an aspiring writer and an avid reader. I am a Puerto Rican female who does not feel connected to anything culturally, socially, mentally, spiritually, or physically. 

I am a divorcee. I am a problematic human being who delves into the deepest trenches of pessimism because optimism means I have hope and hope scares the crap out of me. I am a college drop out. I am a closet romantic. I am a scared little girl. 

I am a mother. I am a soldier for my son and his number one cheerleader. I am an example of all the things he should probably not want in a companion. 

Yo, this shit is depressing.

I am all of the labels I have ever been given over the years. And I am a trapped entity; unable to escape the baggage and drowning under the weight. 

I am a spirit lost in what I wanted and what is. 

I am a bitch when I think I have to be, which seems to be a lot. I am a woman willing to forgive but searching for my own forgiveness. Yearning to be cleaned of my sins that leave me in the spiral of hopelessness I continuously fall into. 

I am far more vulnerable than I am comfortable with admitting. I am weaker than I want to say. I am struggling to know why I am here. 

Perhaps I am still damaged from the ongoings of recent years. I am still buried under the pain of loss, death, failure. Perhaps I cannot answer who I think I am because I’m not ready. Because I’m scared to leave a page blank and admit that I think that’s all I am. A blank page. A nothing. A mistake. 

Nowhere near 1000 words and still no answer. But an honest, horribly honest start. Something to revisit. Something I will attempt again at a later date.

2.25. Like A Stone

“They always leave. Everyone always leaves.”

Not one of my finest moments. Not one of my happiest. But definitely a moment that has replayed in my mind over the last couple of days.

I’ll be turning 29 in just a few weeks. No, I’m not one of those people that feels gross because I’m getting “old.” I’m okay with my age. I accept that nine times out of ten, people can’t even guess my age appropriately. When I’m 40, I’m sure I’ll appreciate that even more so. But I do feel…something.

As a kid, I was awkward. Physically, mentally, emotionally awkward. I was the girl that had crushes on the neighborhood boys and wrote poems so they could give to their girlfriends. I was the girl, in high school, who stayed up all night pep talking the guy I had the biggest crush on ever so he could go to school the next day and say just the right things to his crush.

“Hey, how you doin? No, not you, your friend.”

I couldn’t dance. I couldn’t dress. I couldn’t talk to the opposite sex in a way that compelled them to want to know me. I was the secret friend who gave advice (why anyone took advice from me…I still don’t get it). The only thing they begged me for was to know what I wrote about them in my journals. The pages filled with wishes and hopes and dreams. Pages filled with what-ifs. Wondering what it all would have been like if my life was…not mine.

And that was who I was. That girl that read books on the fire escape. That girl who tried so hard to impress and failed time and again. I tried different identities to appease new faces. Still failed.

And now, I’m going to be 29 and still have no clue who I am. Who I want to be. It’s sad, I know.

After being married, I was informed that the only reason it happened was because “it was the next step.” (And I was told this during the good times). Not out of desire but out of obligation to fulfill the timeline of life. You meet someone, you can deal with them, you marry them. I now know, that situation was not love. And I’m okay with that.

Looking back, I know the greatest love I ever had. In such a pure, untouchable sort of way. And that person died. It wasn’t by choice and I understand that. But the part of me that has always wanted that unconditional is still broken from it.

I tell myself to not be vulnerable. To not show anyone my soft side. To remain a “I don’t give a fuck,” type of entity. But, at that, I have failed, which only makes me feel worse. Weak.

I don’t really know where I was going with this one. Who cares. No one reads these things anyway.

My life has always been the fear of people leaving me. But I have to accept that. Everyone IS going to leave. No one is meant to stay forever. No matter how much my heart wants it. Wants to believe that it’s possible for me. Because maybe it just isn’t.

Do I allow these realizations to harden me? To turn my heart colder than it already is? I want to say no but I already feel like a stone.

2.21. I’ll Take That

“If you can’t accept me at my worst,

you sure as shit don’t deserve me at my best. 

Call me crazy

For every outlandish, brash, bold, blunt verbal vomit I will lay on the land. For every lapse in judgement and weakened moment. For the insecurity that beats in my chest. For the endless array of questions as to what and why and how and when and what-if?

Call me crazy

For wanting love despite the madness. For believing in a pure, true, and deep connection based on something other than violent thrusts and faked endings. For dreaming about love stories even greater than the sun and moon leaving letters of adoration in the stars. For anticipating something so profound, the world just won’t know what to do with us.

Call me crazy

For expressing the happiness, sadness, joy, horror, thrill, worry of what this life has to offer. For being a cryptic read. For wanting effort, loyalty, honesty, integrity, passion, romance, intensity, forgiveness, growth, inspiration, laughter, conversation, sincerity, hope…and more laughter.

Call me crazy 

For feeling frail after the world I called forever crashed down upon me. For not being as strong, as tough, as bold, as brave, as resilient, as optimistic as the next one. For feeling just a tad broken after the glass castle broke. For not healing to your liking.

Call me crazy

Call me what you will. A failure. A disappointment. A mistake. A burden. I’ve heard it all before.

I am a beautiful chaos. Not meant for just anyone. Not meant for those weak of mind and heart. For some, a blessing to never know. To each his own. Souls like mine aren’t meant for the world to love. Being me comes with the risk of loneliness and labels.

Call me crazy. 

From a cowardly lion, that’s a fucking compliment. 

2.20. The Crusades

Whatever.

The majestic strummed a line on the violin…blood soaked fingertips…forcing melancholy melodies into the universe…bounced back from a red planet…echoing in the midst of gunfire and a decrepit womans screams.

Whatever.

Story telling empty pages of empty books…eating from empty baskets of rotted bread…swimming in salt baths minus the water…frozen in gasoline icicles…waiting for ignition…for…release…from still rivers and looming typoons.

Whatever.

Shedding her skin…she slips under and sighs with the sinking feeling of weightlessness. As nothing has felt so freeing as the intoxication of maddening drum beats and electric currents. A senseless sense of sensibility.

Whatever.

A lifelong concussion…forbidding sleep and sanction…love that died…resurrection sucked from the realm of possibility and replaced with a fucking song that means…nothing.

Whatever.

But the sun shines…

Whatever.

No, not whatever. The sun shines, despite memories. Despite mistakes. Despite the scars of a lifetime. Despite seeing the skeleton in the mirror instead of pushing it back into the closet. Despite the nightmares that lurk in the shadows of daylight. Despite the recorder that relays a constant replay of regret and rejection and “you’ll never do any better.”

No, not whatever. The sun shines, despite me. Despite a fear to live and a fear to die. Despite each breath one takes and the ones we hold in during those questionable hours right before the moon has bidden farewell to muskrats in meadows that never really existed.

No, not whatever. The sun shines and the world moves and the people continue despite the false pretenses recognized but ignored by carnage infused children living in the catacombs of our alternate selves.

Oh shit, none of this makes a lick of sense.

But it does.

To the lost spirits who will spend a lifetime hoping and wanting and praying and needing and wishing and dreaming but refusing…to accept…to claim…to feel. To the lost spirits who will self sabotage rather than bask in the heat of magic and the draft of cooing heat. Yes, cooing.

Because we choose this life. We choose to forge on in this crusade. Alone. Altered. Unarmed. Seeking mercy but expecting malevolence.

Sinking to her knees, that girl, she begged the wrong one to accept her. To embrace her. To forgive her existence. She relinquished control to someone who knew not the damage that could be done.

A lost spirit that believed she was safe behind brick walls. Refusing to allow a soul to know a soul. Safe…no. Wrong…more than likely. A ghost lay behind those stones, all the while, that girl lay submerged under the rubble of defeat.

Whatever.

Yes, whatever. As today is, like no other day, a reason to emerge from the shell. The sun shines. The crusade is not to hide from, but to feel, the heat.