Truth

truth

The truth is dawning on me like a giant fire-filled orb complete with miniature explosions. I see just the bright sliver of it peeking above the horizon. I can’t force it down any longer. My body is weak from concealing it. I don’t want this truth. And yet it is here, and rising.

It leaks out of me in small quiet spaces like here with you or with my closest friends. I can’t bear the weight of it alone any longer. I want to vomit it out but something prevents me. I don’t even want to tell you what it is.

The only thing I know to do with the truth is to acknowledge its presence and breathe in and out. Now that I have been sick for so long, and contemplating the possibility of my own death, I have little patience for even the smallest of untruths. There just isn’t time. Or at least, the amount of time is ever so clearly unclear.

For now all I can do is circle around this truth, neither approaching nor fleeing from it. Did I mention that this is neither the truth I expected, or wished for? My priority is staying alive for my son. In service of my priority, all things that separate me from that which is most important must be eliminated. At least, my mind is telling me this. Or perhaps my soul is telling me this.

doebayRecently I was in Washington State at one of the most spiritual of places, Doe Bay on Orcas Island. The resort has been there for years and has a great hippie commune vibe. I was a frequent visitor there in my early thirties when I first began to “find myself”. They have a natural hot springs and a hot rocks sauna. Clothing is optional. I peeled all of mine off unabashedly, in spite of the cold turning my breath to a cloud of mist. For the first time in my life, I didn’t mind who saw my body or what they thought of it. I was older than most of the people there by a significant amount. I imagined they looked at me as an old wrinkly and sagging elderly person. We chatted back and forth with the sweat pouring off our bodies.

Something happens when people take their clothes off in the presence of one another in a non-sexual way. Suddenly it is so much easier to see the humanity and divinity in each soul. Respect and kindness are given freely. I was so cleansed from the experience. No clothes, no defenses, no useless mind chatter, no LED screens glaring. Just humanity. I was surprised to feel as if I had never left. My thirty-ish self was still there, right where I had left her.

The path to the hot springs and sauna is through a small patch of old growth forest. There were statues of Buddha and Ganesh and a waterfall rushing in contrast with the serene quiet that seemed to say, be still and listen. A sign on the sauna door read The path lies between two opposites. It is this sign that comes to me now, as I contemplate the truth that at that moment had not yet revealed itself.

I’ve sat with the truth for seven days now. It hasn’t changed. If anything, my vision of it has become increasingly clear.

I know what I must do.

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Dear Robin

Things have been different around here since you left. As a person who knows the high and the low and has envisioned the step you took, I was greatly affected by your decision. Many seemed comforted to find out you were facing a serious chronic illness. As if suddenly it all made sense.

The People magazine with your face on the cover stared at me for too many days from its place on top of the bathroom trashcan. One day I picked it up with a huff, deciding People had retouched your eye color. They made your eyes look too blue, like a black and white movie with the colors painted in. It reminded me of that movie you were in that I can’t remember the name of.

There were a few retrospective shows, some repeat performances, yada, yada. Then with Joan and football as distractions, everybody settled back down into their relative existences.

Today I read a whole magazine about you while I waited in a really long line in Safeway.

Look, what I really want to say is this. I don’t know what was going on in your mind right before you did what you did. But, why hanging? Because you couldn’t take it back?

I don’t want to talk bad about the dead. And I’ve been feeling spiritual lately and thinking a lot about compassion and not doing harm. But I’m pissed.

Look, what I really want to say, and I hope you take it in the best way possible, is fuck you.

Fuck you for going through with it and fuck you for getting to go when I’m still here and fuck you for setting such a fucking bad example and how could you do this to your kids????

How could I do it to my kid? Have I not yet been where you were, in the space right after you cross every con off your list?

Fuck, I’m sorry, Robin. You don’t know me. You don’t owe me anything. You’re just on the receiving end of a lot of things I’m pissed about right now.

That’s about all I’ve got for now, Robin. Except, say Hi to my dad for me, will ya?

Love, T

 

California

English: San Joaquin Valley Tule Fog in an uni...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sorry I departed so abruptly without saying anything. As I breathed life into your physical form you started to become too real. It scared me. I even mentioned you to my therapist, startling myself by saying your name out loud as if I was confessing.

“What is her name,….K _ _ _ _?” she asked. “Is she safe?”

“No,” I answered without hesitation. Then I started to second guess myself internally, knowing I had provided the “correct” answer but not necessarily the one I believed.

My last therapist called you “a loaded gun”. That was after I told her how you had shown up drunk at your Ex’s house who happened to be a cop. You told me some story about why your car had been impounded. But you also told me you were sober. I had to research online and find you had been charged with domestic violence.

I know, I know, it was a long time ago. And there’s no need to rehash the past. You know how I love to explore sorrow in all of its depths.

Back to the present, or the story I wanted to tell you, about what happened after you left.

Two years passed. And miraculously for most of it, I remained single. Once R found out that I had contacted you after promising I wouldn’t, any possibility of a reconciliation between us evaporated. She decapitated my favorite cock with a hacksaw. I finished my graduate degree and moved to California without her, but with someone else I met online. She had a daughter the same age as my son. After a short time it became apparent that we wanted different things and I made the choice to end the relationship. Or I should say back out slowly, as I tend to do.

Finding work in California was not as easy as I hoped. The licensing process for therapists in California is more rigorous than other states. And a  psychotherapist without a license must either pay someone to supervise them or find a job that includes supervision in the deal. I was living off of credit cards and the benevolence of my soon to be ex-girlfriend. I sent out so many resumes and cover letters that when I finally got a few calls I had no idea who was calling. I  got a couple of offers for jobs I felt mediocre about. And then one day I was laying on the soon to be Ex’s bed when my phone rang. A friendly male voice asked for me by my full name when I answered.

“This is her,” I said hopefully.

“This is Dr. So and So calling from Big Box Healthcare. We received your resume and want to talk with you about a position…”. He went on to describe exactly the type of job I had been looking for. “I do want to mention that the position is located in the Central Valley of California, and I notice you are currently in the Bay Area,” he said.

I looked up the location after I’d agreed to the interview. It was about two hours away from where I was living at the time. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered at that point except that I was going to get that job, no matter what it took.

 

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Bits

Fuck, I’m scared. It’s like this most days now. There is little comfort, just increasing pressure and worry.

I’m amazed sometimes at the synchronicity of things. An old song just came up on my iPod that I put on there in the year following your absence. It’s a country song, of course. There were a lot of country songs attuned to my loss that year. This one was about the regret of not fully expressing love to someone who’d been lost. It was just one of the gut wrenchers that developed into your playlist that year. Music was all I had to cling to during that time. No drugs, no alcohol, no sex. Needing a distraction, I started a saltwater fish tank and imagined telling you about it. I still have the fish tank and one of the original fish, “Clownie”. Once a pleasant diversion, the tank is an annoyance now. It’s just one more thing on the list of things requiring my unfocused attention.

I feel as if I’ve been blown to pieces and bits of me have been scattered everywhere. Everyday begins with the idea and the thought that somehow I have to glue it all back together. I’ll put a few pieces together, but nothing ever fits the same way again. The edges of the pieces are jagged and ill-fitting. Most days I just try to find two or three that match. I fear I will never again be complete.

How do I even begin to tell you what’s happened to me?

I feel like crap today, and most other days too. It’s not just depression. I lost my health. It’s not black and white, like cancer, or something you could cut out. I haven’t been “well” for about four years now. I’ve had two surgeries. Tons of medications. There have been gains. But so many setbacks. Each day is spent chasing symptoms. Sometimes new ones. I’m never quite convinced that the mystery of my health problem has been solved. I’m not dying, but there have been so many times I have wanted to be. My son is the only thing that kept me from taking my life on so many occasions. I feel as if I signed a permanent suicide prevention contract when he was born. It’s not that I think he’s so much better off with me around.  It’s that I know he would feel responsible and perhaps consider suicide himself. I can’t bear to leave him with that burden.

He’s almost 11 now. You would be amazed. He has thick dark wavy hair and big brown eyes like a puppy. He plays baseball. You were always so good with kids. He thought you were awesome. I still have that picture of you holding him in your lap from that day we spent at the Pier in Seattle. What a beautiful day that was. I can still feel the sun on my face, the salty breeze blowing in off the Bay. We were in the place that always suited us best. Our own little world, together.

 

Safe

The clouds were low and dark today, threatening rain. They were not unlike the ones that hung in the sky nine years ago as I drove to the airport to meet you. We called it, and our reunion “Approaching Storm”. No, I called it that when I wrote about it shortly after. You called it the storm aftermath when you sent me the last email asking me what to do with the stuff I left at your house. For once, you really were done.

I’m not saying I didn’t deserve it. After all, I was the one who had initially left, again. I remember spontaneously showing up in your driveway shortly before it ended. I let my walls down completely. I was considering the possibility of a more permanent “Us”. You were so happy to see me. You always opened your door to me. Then after I left and you called me, I could tell something had shifted in you too. Perhaps you decided that I might be worthy of your trust. I heard what sounded like need in your voice, and I recoiled. And then, I ran.

I’m sorry.

I remember your little apartment you had soon after we first met. You worked days and I worked swing and I would lay sleeping in your bed when you left for work in the morning. Filtered light lit the room and rain was often falling softly outside. You were the first person to touch my face. You were the first person to make love to my whole being. It made me want to be with you forever. For years afterward, when I couldn’t sleep, I would sometimes comfort myself by closing my eyes and remembering what it felt like to be in your room, safe.

I wish I could call you up now and have a friendly conversation, and laugh uncontrollably like we used to. But it could never be just friendly with you and I.  Once in each others physical presence, we could never resist the temptation that our attraction inevitably produced.

But I don’t want to rehash the past. I have some things I want to tell you, if you are willing to listen.

Requiem

You came to me last night in a dream. We were at some kind of an event – you with your girlfriend and me with mine. Your’s was a small blonde thing with a pinched face. I could see you from where we were sitting. And then suddenly you were beside me, your face close to mine. You held my gaze for a long silent moment. Then you were gone.

I’ve wanted you to come to life lately. My thoughts have wandered all about you. I ask myself, “Why?” I haven’t had any dreams for a long time. But you were there, and so insistently. This is the second time in six months that I have felt your presence so intensely, as if your essence is there in the room. My mind again began wondering, “Why?” Are you hurt, injured, worst of all dead?

This afternoon I was thinking of blogging and the word “Requiem” came to me. I thought it sounded good, but I wasn’t sure of the definition. I looked it up. My body tensed when I saw the definition as “mass for the dead”. I’ve Googled your name twice now with the word “obituary” after it and held my breath waiting for the results. I was relieved to find none. I can’t ever imagine you dead. It blows a hole through the center of me. Please, not you.

It’s been seven years since that day I stood in the phone booth in Albuquerque, begging you to engage with me.  “I can’t be doing this,” you said, with a tone that said the opposite. “I have a girlfriend now.” Yep, that’s you. The non-cheater. You asked me not to call again. You threatened to change your number. I didn’t think you were serious. How many times have we sworn off of each other in our lives? And of course I did call again, twice, just to make sure I had the correct number when the recording said the line was no longer in service. You not only changed the number but you made sure I wouldn’t be able to get it. I looked you up on the internet from time to time and after that your phone number was always unpublished. I kept trying to get it for a while just so I could say I did. During that time I also considered having fresh poop delivered to your door step. But that was long ago. The last time I looked you up fearing you were dead your phone number was right there in front of me. Naked in black and white. Today when I saw it again I wrote it down. I didn’t seriously consider calling but I did entertain it in my mind.

But really, I wasn’t going to call you to start something or cause you any harm. I just hoped you were alive, and not hurting.

I know how you always told me that when you are with someone in a relationship you never think of me. So if that’s true, why do I feel you so much? Am I just conjuring you up? You have always ignited me, and now there is not even a spark inside me.

Could you light me up, Love, even now?

 

Scraps

In an effort to combat the battle in my mind between the urge to blog and resisting the urge to blog, I have decided to sit down at the computer. There is so much I want to tell the proverbial “you”. I’m not going to stop here although my mind is urging me too. Like I have something better to do right now. I could think of some things. I mean blogging, after all, is self-indulgent. Or so my mind says. “Plus,” it tells me, “You don’t even know what you’re going to say.” True.  And very soon I will have to kick my son off the computer and feed him. In the middle of that my partner will come home tired and pissy after last nights tiff.

We don’t fight often. There was a period about 7 months in or so that we went through a fighting stage.

She just called. I answered. I really don’t want to finish this now. It’s not like she’s being awful or anything. It’s the dinner time conversation. It goes around in circles. I won’t cook. When I became a parent I quit cooking. It started feeling like obligation instead of fun. It’s one of those things I have to do everyday whether I want to or not. Feed my kid dinner. Even if I don’t want to eat or could be just fine with eating his scraps. Now I suppose I sound like an evil bitter mother. You know, like my mother was.

Ever since she passed last June I feel her coming out of me sometimes. The sound of her voice, the things she says, her shriek of laughter. I do things she did and say things she said. I feel sometimes that she is inhabiting my body. She would do that. She loved living that much. Sometimes she feels helpful and other times she reminds me of who I don’t want to be, who I’ve spent my life trying not to be.

Three weeks or so ago I stopped taking narcotic pain killers. I had been on Hydrocodone for about three years on and off, mostly on. I never took more than prescribed. As if that matters. For that three-year period 3 -4 times a day I had something I could take that eased my physical pain. But it did so much more. It rubbed up against those receptors in my brain that made me feel mildly euphoric. A little mild euphoria goes a long way when you are in chronic pain, with various other stressors attached. For a very long time it was the only thing I really had to keep myself upright.

And now, I always feel like I’m missing something that could make me feel better. Better, and better, and better. I even think about how now that I have been off them for awhile the effect would be dramatic. Being on Opioids was like going through life with the power to create an instant cocoon if I needed one. Over time I spent much more time in the cocoon that out of it. It was like being in a trance, a welcome trance.

Shortly before I stopped taking narcotics. I stopped using Facebook too. Because it was also a trance. Facebook was fun once. But my page became littered with estranged family members whose posts annoyed me with their lack of authenticity. I learned things everyday looking at it that sometimes caused me suffering for no real reason. For instance, someone posted about a friend dying that I went to junior high with. There were pictures of him in his hospital bed. I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing that or seeing that. Because in the state of mind I’ve been in, every sadness or wrong I saw just confirmed to me that life is full of pain and suffering and nothing else. I couldn’t unfriend people I didn’t want on there because that creates drama. So I just excused myself. But it’s more than that. I don’t like Facebook following me around, recommending shit to buy because of stuff I’ve posted or looked at on the internet. I had to ask myself if the benefits (because there definitely were some) outweighed the harm I was allowing to occur in my life from participating in Facebook. And to those who think I’m an extremist, I say, “Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep my little darling”.