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.

Mold

I was molested by a school bus driver when I was in 2nd grade. It didn’t just happen once. I was in a new school and a new neighborhood we had recently moved to. It was the first year I was riding a bus. All the girls were given a turn at having the “privilege” of standing next to the driver and pushing the handle that opened and shut the door. It was a chance to be special and initially I jumped at it. Soon I was a favorite, perhaps because of my burgeoning eager-to-please-ness.

At that time, although it sounds archaic now, girls were required to wear dresses to school. I loved dresses. But that gave the Bus Driver Perpetrator an easy access point to get under our clothes. And that’s what he did as we stood dutifully next to him opening and closing the door, his arm hidden by our ruffled skirts. This asshole didn’t just use his bus driving to find victims. He also volunteered at the school and came to school festivals where he was one of those guys that makes balloon animals. I fucking hate balloon animals.

I didn’t tell anyone. But when the school announced that girls were going to be allowed to wear pants the next year, I silently cheered.

I’ve never really told this story, except to mention to therapists or partners, “I was molested by a school bus driver once”. I’ve seen the stats on the molestation of children in our country and I just figured that was just one of my turns. I thought of it today because I was thinking about touch. Wanted touch versus unwanted touch. When I was an adolescent and boys first started to touch me in an affectionate (nonsexual) way. I would freeze and hold my breath. For some reason I felt like I had to hold perfectly still or he would take his hand off my thigh or from behind my shoulders.

My parents weren’t touchers. When my mold me that she and my dad were separating I cried and laid my head in her lap. It was unfamiliar and awkward. She allowed me to lay there for a few moments, and she may have patted me. That’s the most affection I remember receiving from her.

I just noticed that in the second sentence of the last paragraph, I accidentally used the word “mold” when I meant to say “mom”. That’s frighteningly Freudian.

 

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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?

 

Blogging Mind

I can’t believe I’m here.  I’ve seen this moment many times in my mind, but this is the first time that it has actually happened. I’m sitting in front of my computer, my (Christmas) “new” Rock star iMac. This is the vision I have held in my head. That of me sitting in front of the computer, writing. What I pictured when I thought that I would know that I was better was exactly this thing I am doing right NOW.

The keyboard feels awkward beneath my fingers, and the search for a comfortable spot to hold my body is there, yes. But I’m doing this thing. This blogging thing.

See, I really blog ALL THE FUCKING TIME! IN MY FUCKING MIND!!! But nothing has made it this far, to actual materialization in front of me. Not since sometime around last Christmas. I wrote two posts. The Healing, and the Healing, part 2. (My mind just pointed out that this sitting at the computer thing is still not comfortable. I told it to shut the fuck up).

Well what would you follow-up a couple of posts about healing with? My Blogging Mind had a lot to say about that. But not a nary post was made. ‘Til right now. (Of course, my mind just reminded me, that this isn’t even posted yet).

So, why am I here? I shouldn’t be. Not unless I have some idea that I’m going to inhabit this pathetic life I’m existing in. Not unless my behavior indicates to me that I am acting like someone who plans on living instead of waiting to die. My mind has a lot to say about that. And truthfully, recently, I’ve been ambivalent. Once you have a child, it seems your “golden ticket” to suicide isn’t really much fun to imagine anymore. (I despised what I just wrote so much just now that I had to erase it).

I remember in my earlier years, I used to wonder about who would care if I killed myself, mostly at that time I wondered if any of my siblings would notice. Then there were many years when I didn’t have that particular thought at all. I still would think of suicide, since it has been one of my seemingly favorite pastimes, but it didn’t involve the wondering about reactions. Now both of my parents are dead and none of my siblings and I are on good terms. Two of them I don’t even speak to and that has been my choice. And yet, the suicidal thoughts are once again tinged with these wonderings. On worse days, I imagine either they would have a party, or worse yet, just remain indifferent.

I’ve been wounded and I can’t seem to recover.

I have two endings to my “healing” menage a trois. On the rarest of good days healing has begun and continues and the curve will have a steady uphill path to me becoming that mythical person I used to be. If I had it my way at some point the path would level out and I would be able to look behind me at it. On the many other of the less hopeful days, the deranged days, there is something much bigger than what we have already found and the nasty truth is about to reveal itself with a vengeance, most decidedly to punish me for the many days I have layed and wished that I had something terminal so it would end.

Today I started a list: How to get out of depression (my mind finds this terribly lame)

Step One

Impress yourself. (Right now that sounds like bullshit to my mind, but it is factual).

Step Two

Do something a little outside your comfort zone. Acknowledge to yourself that you just blew your own mind, and ignore the other asshole (in your own mind) in there that starts yelling about how it wasn’t enough, didn’t count, blah the fuckin’ blah.

When I wrote it, I thought, “This is not the day to impress myself” and went about my business. Which is usually laying in bed thinking about how miserable I feel.

But then I wrote this post.