Superheroes usually have one thing in common. The angst, the fighting urge to push forward no matter the odds or the obstacles, no matter their own personal pain. They have to continue for the cause of the Greater Good because if they don’t, well, the world is lost. And so are they. I watched Blade today (this is the part where I warn those of you who haven’t seen it that there are spoilers to follow). Blade wanted so desperately to find the vampire that killed his mother. And even when he was given the chance to give up being the “daywalker,” being like them, he didn’t. Why? The war wasn’t over. He continued to live as a “monster” and struggle with his own battle because he knew it was bigger than him. Don’t believe me? The second Dark Knight movie (again, spoiler notice) was the same way. Batman in the previous one, lost the one woman he desperately loved and sacrificed his own reputation, the one he had trained and worked so hard to establish, to make sure that Gotham had a hero. He realized, despite everything he’d sacrificed it couldn’t be him, so he gave it up. Just like that. I could go on and on and on. But I won’t. Because this blog isn’t about superheroes. It’s about little, old me. And how much I envy them. I know if you look at it from a psychological perspective (something I’ve grown accustomed to doing since this trip down the rabbit hole), superheroes are…well, insane. They’re adrenaline junkies with a death wish. They have unresolved issues in their own personal life and take it out in a tunnel-vision-sort-of-rage. But, if you think about it in a non-psychological perspective, think about it like a normal person (not that I am), superheroes are like the example people need when they have emotional pain. Note: I’m saying that at the beginning of this entry and will probably come to a less than similar conclusion towards the end. Sorry. Their personal vendettas, while they are what originally drive them, are set aside and they learn important life lessons through their overall goal. Their one achievement in life is to take down Dr. Doom, or destroy Magneto or end Lex Luthor. But in that struggle, they learn so much about themselves along the way. They love, they lose, they get hurt, they win. Things are taken from them, they taken them back. Strength is sapped right from their body, their weaknesses are exploited and it always seems absolutely hopeless. But…but, Lois Lane managed to dig the kryptonite out of your side in time, or Wolverine regained consciousness just in time to free your hands from the handcuffs they’ve been locked in. The only difference between superheroes and us (and I’m not talking about normal people now, I’m talking about the freaks and geeks who read this blog. You know who you are), is that superheroes have a tangible, touchable, visible, viewable enemy. In our lives, there is no Lex Luthor. He isn’t a living, breathing person. He can’t be shot and the war is over. In Blade, Deacon Frost exploded in a blood bomb induced by EDTA (an anticoagulant). I can’t do that with my problems. There is no final resolution. And I know in the comics, there isn’t either. The Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum, Magneto tricks his way out of a plastic prison, Loki uses magic, the cycle goes on and on. But there are moments where there is some finality. You have some moments where you can take a break, you can put your feet up and rest for a minute, thinking that for a just a little bit, you can get a massage or take a bath and not have any problems. With depression? With pain? With personality? Nope. That shit is stuck to you like flies on flypaper in a creepy farmhouse. I’m stranded in the ocean, like I started to say. And sometimes, my little dingy washes ashore and for a few brief nanoseconds, I can grip the sand, thinking that I’m on my way to freedom. Freedom from the roller coaster of tidal waves and random storms, of shark fins that appear out of nowhere and threaten my existence with their razor sharp blades…I mean, teeth. But before I can even climb out to stick my sunburned toes in the sand, to feel the warmth of semi-solid ground on my calloused feet, the undertow rips me back out into the surf. I’m gone again. There’s no oar, no paddle, and even if there was, it wouldn’t make a difference. Whenever this happens, the swell is stronger than it was when I came in so I have to fight just to stay above water. I take my meds every day as prescribed, even sometimes having to take the anxiety meds as needed, I “cope:” showers, singing, movies, sleeping, (friends), whatever I can think of to not stick my hand in and let the sharks feast. I do whatever I can to not simply drop my whole body in and just sink. There’s a song by Blue October called Into the Ocean. I love that song. I would love to float away. The only…and I mean the only peace I get (and don’t get it confused, it is fleeting, at best), is the fact that I’m alone. I don’t mind talking to Poco, and sometimes to Allison, or Jackie, but for the most part, I’m most content when I’m alone. And even then, there’s unhappiness lurking like No-Face in the corner (spoilers for the movie, Spirited Away. Haven’t seen it? See it!). He offers me gold, all that I could ever imagine to get me to wallow with him and usually, it works. I do. I give in and I want to sit with him. I go to Barnes and Noble and look at nude photography, wishing my body looked like those girls. When I watch movies, I wish my body looked like theirs. When I sit in the shower (we’ve already discussed this oddity, haven’t we?), I think about how no man is ever going to want me, touch me, hold me, hug me, love me. I think about how Rooney Mara (Girl with The Dragon Tattoo spoilers!) was a ward of the state because she was so F. Up. Well, I’m a ward of my parents. Yes, I know, I am their child but you know what, 23 is not a child. In anyone’s eyes. The state, the law, the Army, any of it. I can vote, I can drive, I can have legal sex, I can join the armed forces, I can drink alcohol, I can rent a car and/or a hotel room. No one can justify that. Those superheroes I wouldn’t shut up about had justification for their actions. Sometimes, yes, they went a little above and beyond the call of duty and performed their vengeance a little too well, but nonetheless, they did their cause due justice. How can I be expected to do anyone justice? How can I be expected to have a child, or even have a relationship? Have a job when I can’t do anything physically? Maintain a state of living when the polls are too close to tally whether I even want to live or not? I broke down in the shower earlier, crying about how much I thought I disappointed my grandmother before she died. I was crying because of how much I allowed my life to be ruined by Hamilton. I was crying because I have yet to do anything. I have so many things I want to do but for one reason or another, they will never happen. How does a bird accept that he will never fly? Maybe I should be worried about those sharks around me. They’ve managed to keep hope alive that I will be dinner. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but the word “hope” was in that sentence. Wasn’t it?
So, I’m useless. It’s been confirmed by an outside, third-party, not-in-my-head source. Alright, the source isn’t so third-party. It’s my mom. But she did say the word “useless” in a sentence that was used to describe me. She didn’t mean it like that but it sure as hell hurt like that. I’ve already been feeling pretty shitty: eating my weight in Fruit Gushers everyday (you know, those little gummy snacks that spurt juice when you bite into them?) and getting killer headaches no matter what I seem to do about the light situation in my room (turn it on, turn it off, dim it, no TV, with the TV, doesn’t matter- migraine ensues). Plus, I haven’t heard anything from Towson and what I did hear from those jobs, well, that was described post-post. As maternal figure put it, I need to find something to do and not be so “useless” around here. See why that stung? Now, in my defense (at least while I’m feeling up to defending myself), I don’t think I’m completely useless. Not in the house, anyway. The kitchen and family room are straightened everyday, the foyer is picked up and pampered, the dog doesn’t poop in the living room (dachshunds are notoriously hard to potty train, even in their older years) and sometimes I go OCD off the deep end and something that needed cleaning gets super cleaned. It might not look as good as if Merry Maids did it or Serv Pro or something like that but note: I’m not getting paid in extraneous cash. I get free rent and utilities, which may seem nice, is not quite the same thing. While Thomas is off getting quizzed about what he’s going to do while he’s at school in the fall, you know, what he’s going to major in, what teams he’s going to join, who he’s rooming with, all that jazz, I’m stuck here reliving the horror that was my first year out of high school. I’m not in any way saying that I’m not happy for him. Hell, I was posting pictures of the college decal his school sent in the mail that I immediately slapped on my rear windshield with pride. I mean, I can’t say I have one of those. I can’t say I ever gave my parents one of those. And now, it’s gotten to the point where people don’t even bother to ask anymore. We saw our pediatrician today (a visit for Thomas but I was there) and she didn’t even ask about me. I can’t even try to give her the benefit of the doubt of not knowing how old I am or not knowing whether or not I’ve graduated or anything like that because I’ve been in that office on more than one occasion with Thomas and she’s asked me then. I guess my answers have just gotten so boring that they aren’t even worth pretending to be interested in. I mean, even volunteering has limited me. With the pain from my RSD spreading into (what seems like) my hands, I have become physically incapable of a lot of things. Typing this has taken me much longer than it normally would. I got Starbucks today and after walking halfway around Target, Thomas had to take the cup because I couldn’t stand to hold it anymore. How am I supposed to be useful like that? Most of the time, people want volunteers that can move things, haul things, you know, are physically sound. They don’t want people that are in questionable health. They don’t want people that may not show up for work one day because they don’t feel well. How am I supposed to compete with…the rest of the universe? How am I supposed to compete with everyone that has a degree, feels fine or actually functions for that matter? I’m prouder than proud of Thomas, I really am, but there is no way I can substitute his success for my shortcomings. His amazingness and achievements in life will never be the same as me achieving things and becoming amazing on my own. Part of this comes from the ever so deeply-rooted, practically biological need to make my parents proud. But it also comes from being so tired of having failed. I’m not a failure. My name and “failure” are not synonymous. And yet, somehow, they are. I don’t even have that much to say on this subject right now. I’m so pissed off and flustered. I’m going to bed.
I’m about to turn 23. My birthday is in 38 minutes. Well, technically I was born at night so it’s not for another few hours but you get what I mean! I was sitting here, watching Psych (as usual) and I was thinking about my life. I just got into this argument about disease awareness with one of Sarah’s Facebook friends because he is a moron. It got me thinking though. Over the past two weeks, my left arm has become completely useless. The RSD is spreading into my entire arm. My hand, fingers, wrists and shoulder swell every day. I have to do desensitization exercises and struggle to sleep every day because the pain is excruciating. I see a new pain specialist in two weeks (the soonest they could manage) but who knows how much damage will be done between now and then? I’m left handed. Losing mobility in my feet was one thing. Feet are a little easier to replace than hands. Dexterity, occupational functionality…all of that is so difficult to make up. And as I sit here and think of what I’ve accomplished in the last decade and 3 years, I’m on the fence about what counts. Right before my arm flared, I snagged a job working for an assisted living company. It was going to be wonderful. I had to take some courses (all paid) and get certified in a few more things before I would definitely secure it but it was totally mine. Monday, I called the woman and told her I was chronically ill and unable to work. What 23-year-old wants to say that to an employer? What 23-year-old wants to say that at all? To anyone? And this isn’t going to go away. This is something that is going to be here for the rest of my life, that is probably going to get worse, at least until I find someone who knows what the hell they’re doing to treat it. And at the rate this is spreading, I’m going to be full body before I’m 30. What about my life? Part of me is seeing the glass as full, not just with water but with air. It’s completely full to the brim. It’s overflowing. People overcome so many impossible circumstances that there is no way in hell I can let this beat me. It’s pain and part of that is mental. Part of me sees the glass as half empty, just water in it. What am I supposed to do with a life of pain? And at that, it’s not just physical pain. It’s emotional, psychological and social pain, too. I know life isn’t easy and it’s not supposed to be a cakewalk (I wonder where that phrase came from) but I do enjoy cake on occasion, and in my defense, it is my birthday in 18 minutes. How can I enjoy anything when it’s pain all the time? I feel like the Dread Pirate Roberts that hasn’t become the Dread Pirate Roberts yet. “It’s work, work, work all the time.” I just feel like at this point I should have found my niche. I should know the things I like and know the things I don’t (well, I think I have that down). I think I should have hobbies and a solid list of friends and a rather firm set of values, even of values change and shift, depending on life’s circumstances. A lot of the time, I feel like my pain (physical or mental) is punishment. I don’t know if it’s for some cosmic reason, like a reincarnation-type thing that I committed in a past life and the only way to learn the path to Nirvana to is to suffer through this…or if it’s simply shitty luck. Regardless though, I have to deal with it. And I have to watch everyone around me deal with it. Other times though, I’m not so sure. There are some genuinely good people in this world who have the worst luck. They suffer through horrible circumstances and come out the other side with grins on their faces and jubilation. I want to be more like those people. If I go down in a fiery crash, I want to be remembered as having a go-get-’em attitude, at least when it comes to this RSD stuff. We all know it doesn’t really apply to the mental stuff. That’s a different story. Pain. It warps you. Like water. And I love water. I spend a lot of time in water. Which is weird, because I spend a lot of time in pain as well. Sort of weird how we put ourselves in situations like that, huh? Anyway, happy birthday to me.
If you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, why do publicists make book covers and dust jackets so appealing? Why do women wear pounds of makeup and heels that make their butt look firmer and tighter? Why do men wear snappy suits and get sleek haircuts? Why do we have to drive the shiniest, nicest car on the lot, or have the biggest, bestest (yes, I know, ’tis not a word) house on the block? Beauty is only skin deep, right? Right? My point isn’t even that our society is shallow and hypocritical (though it is). My point is that I’m a total asshole. Upon reflection today, I learned that after being bullied my entire life by various people (including adults), I became a bully myself. Even if it was in my own head. And I don’t mean the whole “you-are-your-own-worst-enemy” scenario. I think I’ve fulfilled my quota of allegories for the first 10 sentences of this post. I literally mean I was a bully. Whether it was by force or out of my own insecurity, I have yet to determine (but might by the end of this), but I am a mean person. I know some of it is a layer of protection. It’s my own dust jacket to make sure the wrong people don’t get too close (you knew it wouldn’t be the last analogy…come on, who are we talking about here?). I’ve let the wrong people get close to me my entire life…like, I would be friends with a bag of moldy lettuce and allow it to make me sick, as long as in return I got company. What’s it called? The scientific relationships…consulted my consultant (AKA, my brother). I always willingly join in on parasitic relationships, except I’m the host. The other person/people are the parasites and I willingly let them destroy me…slowly, painfully, and usually at great cost to more than just me. Now, I’m not limiting this to a certain person. I’m saying that the majority of my relationships (intimate or benign) are like this. Now, we could argue the whys for a million years. Ultimately, the only answer I think we’re going to settle and agree on is the fact that I wanted/needed affection and attention and what I was getting from my parents wasn’t naturally adequate for me. So, hoping to find a relationship that would be symbiotic (my consultant says this means it benefits both that participate…sue him if he’s wrong, not me), instead I would end up in relationships that ultimately hurt me. I gave up my values, my self-respect, my dignity, my family, money, time, resources, energy, all of that in order to make the other person happy. And it was done in the hopes that if the other person was happy, I would be happy. A lot of it came out of fear too because I was always afraid of them leaving me, deserting me and not being my friend anymore if I denied any of them the simplest request. That built onto the happy=happy theory because I equated their not being happy=abandonment. So, if I could please them, it was a double win for me: they would stay and they would enjoy staying, which would make my life that much easier. Whenever I see shows like Downton Abbey or Upstairs Downstairs, I’m always more interested in “Downstairs.” Why? Not because that was what was really running the house. Not because those were the people whose blood, sweat and tears went into making the “Upstairs” lives that much better…but I used to think it would be fun to have that type of relationship. It was an “approved” or “socially acceptable” servitude. It would’ve been an excuse for me to act the way I did. I like to believe that I naturally have a stronger capacity to nurture and care for other people anyway, which is not helped by my total lack of spine, but I always thought devoting my life to a bigger cause, to giving my life some meaning, even if it was dressing another woman for dinner every night with her family, I could be caring about something. Because the majority of the time, I’m spent caring only about the welfare of the people I love. That’s it. My time oscillates between sheer boredom and extreme anxiety nowadays. And extreme anxiety is what got me thinking to this twisted notion. When I was in elementary school, I distinctly remember a teacher, Mr. Etzel, calling my parents when I was struggling with math and telling them that I was going to be a great leader someday. Middle school happened, then high school, and somewhere in the middle of that, my mom brought it up because I had never heard this conversation. She mentioned it in an argument we were having. She didn’t say it in anger (typical Mom, never spiteful), but said it in disappointment, something that was new for her. I think that’s what solidified it in my brain, even after all this time. She said, “Your 5th grade math teacher told me you were going to be a great leader one day. Back then, I believed him. Now, i don’t.” Then, she walked away. I was crushed. That was the day I realized I had truly become a follower. I realized that everything I ever stood for (which, of course, being in high school was as vast and uncertain as the ocean) didn’t matter anymore because I wasn’t standing for it. I wasn’t even sitting in protest for it. I was lying on the ground and allowing the weight of the world to slowly crush me, like rocks crushing a vagrant’s chest in Puritan times. Rather than try and defend myself, I allowed my “friends” at the time, to holler “witch!” and haul me away, smear and besmudge my character and who I was in any way they wanted to, and then watched them walk away after finally telling them enough was enough. And even after all of that, I would still hope that they would come back, grab the tomatoes and keep throwing them, continue the name-calling, the teasing, whatever they were doing just so that I wasn’t alone. And when all of that was turned inside out because I had Hamilton to lean on. I was suddenly cool and popular. People wanted to talk to me because I was a dog that followed someone around. They felt sorry for me and by association, felt the need to include me in plans. This was reciprocated though. Hamilton’s behavior became my own. I couldn’t move independently of her. I couldn’t free myself. She was Peter Pan and I was her shadow, but Wendy had already sewn me to her foot. With a compromised character and replaced etiquette, I was doing things that weren’t okay with me. That included illegal things (that’s another story for another day!), and morally illegal things, like bullying. I was now the heir apparent to the monster that had made my life hell for my formative years. And, of course, that’s what stuck. The wish-washy, quiet, meek, little girl didn’t last. The girl who throws up a front and makes everyone believe she’s mean and tough is what has lasted the longest. She’s the one that has survived this long. And you know what? Maybe that’s why people are so mean. Because, ultimately, that’s what it takes to survive. Everyone’s meanness is just compounding on everyone else’s and in the end, it’s a cycle that never stops. I judge books by their covers all the time. No seriously, if the book isn’t visually appealing or colorful, I’m not picking it up. (Sorry, meant that literally! Got a little sidetracked!) I make (what I feel) are off-hand comments about strangers’ appearance all the time. And if I don’t say them out loud, I’m still thinking them. Part of the problem is the whole building-the-barricade-and-beating-the-enemy-to-the-warfront thing. It’s an arms race and to win, I have to think/say something about them first. I don’t do it to my friends or people I hang out with but I do it to random strangers. I want to now type “I can’t help it” but I think I can/should. I don’t want to inherit the demon that sat on my back for forever and bent my spine so bad it fell out of my ass. I know people with depression, eating disorders, anxiety, etc. talk about bullies and how it affected them, how they can never forgive the person who did it to them and stuff like that. I know exactly what they’re talking about. I’m in therapy, and have been/will be for a long ass time because of the people who bullied me. I don’t even think I realized it truly was “bullying” until very recently. But I also feel extremely guilty when those types of conversations come up. Why? Because I feel like I’ve batted for both teams…and scored a few runs for each.
*title quote is actually reversed- “I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” is the actual quote and was spoken by Benjamin Disraeli (Forbes.com)
Whoa. So I toats owe anyone out in the cosmos who reads these mindless musings an apology for basically falling out of existence for the past month. Albeit, February is the shortest month of the year so technically…alright, alright, it’s been a while. And what a long trip it has been. So, this whole business of working for Billy Goat has come to an abrupt and almost bitter end. Now, now, nothing serious has happened to her. But, last week, on my day off, I get a call from her saying that her ostomy bag is leaking. Okay, I tell her, I’ll be up in a second to change it. Well, when I get there, I find out that she had put her wound vacuum in the refrigerator the night before and severed the chemo cord that was not supposed to be removed under any circumstance until several hours later that day by a professional (I am trained and certified but not in chemo removal). Well, after a frantic search for the chemo container and a rather sloppy disposal, me and her roommate got her cleaned up and immediately took her to the hospital that is currently treating her. She was loopy. BG was making statements that would make anyone worry. We didn’t have a choice. And while we were there, I sort of knew that this was the beginning of the end. They admitted her and now, to sort of fast-forward the story, she is moving to assisted living, where she’ll have to stay until…well, I don’t even know how to finish that sentence. I told you the ending sucked. So, I basically lost my job. But, that’s not even the best part of this little story. Somewhere in the midst of all of this chaos, a friend text me and said that she had Facebooked this friend and pleaded for my number, saying that it was an emergency. I thought about it, and I must say, in my defense, that with this whole job situation, my self-confidence was really good. I felt powerful and sure. I knew what to say and how to say it and I wasn’t afraid of the consequences of my actions. So I told this friend to pass my number along. Maybe not my wisest move. While I waited for the initial contact, I thought I was going to throw up. So many emotions were reeling through my head. I didn’t know what to do. Was it a good move? Was it stupid? What the hell was I going to say to her? And what the hell was she calling me for? I mean, I have had literally no contact with her in 2 whole years! Why now, all of a sudden, you want to call me and shoot the breeze? But, as I’m spinning in circles, my phone rings. Did the whole cliche where I dramatically look down and pause for a moment before answering, but when I did, this inexplicable calmness came over me. We sort of slide into this tense distant conversation. She starts explaining this dramatic situation that I’m not even going to bother repeating here, crying and asking for my help. I maintained my distance and tried to be as stoic and third-party-with-no-personal-interest-in-the-matter about it. And, at the time, I think I did pretty well. Now…not so much. After we had that conversation (oh, and somewhere in there, she apologized to me. Yea! The words “I’m sorry” came out of her mouth! Of course, it was immediately negated by “I’m not sure I should even be apologizing” so it doesn’t really count but for that brief second, the sun did shine), I was fine. I went home, told my parents about it, actually managed to forget to tell Craig at that next session and then…well, then came the whammy. The next week, it was like she was a poison slowly leaking into my tissues. You know on TV when they show a snake bite infecting someone’s muscles and veins, or when a vampire bites a victim and they zoom into the victim’s internals and you can see their body physically changing from what has been injected into them? Well, that’s what happened to me. When I answered that phone call, she bit me. And from then on, the poison was invading my tissues. Every night I dreamed about her. Every time I was in the car, I was driving a little faster because I couldn’t stop thinking about how pissed I was at her. Every time I went to the gas station or a store, I thought she was around every corner. Every time my phone chimed, I would swear it was her. The quicksand was up to my chest and I seemed to keep struggling despite the knowledge that struggling made it worse. I sank deeper and deeper. Knowing that I wouldn’t work for BG anymore, knowing that my life had returned to the Nothingness: the friendless, workless, pointless void that my existence is, I was really depressed. I slept all day…well, you know the whole bit. Shit, why am I wasting my time explaining it to you? A few days ago, I was in the car and my hand was on the phone, I was so ready to call her and cuss her out. I wanted to yell and scream and tell her every hateful thing that has ever burned my tongue, wanting to spit it in her face (well, technically her ear). I had that burst of self-confidence where I didn’t care about the consequences, and it was foolish (obviously) and may not have even been self-confidence (simply anger) but I was full of it. I was speeding down the road, with no destination in mind and I truly felt like a matador bull on ‘roids. So, I did the only thing I thought would calm me down. I called my dad. We met and I explained everything. The call, the poison, the constant presence in my life and how I thought I was so over this. I thought that after 2 years it would be over and done. That I could wash my hands and have the red come off, but it still stains my skin. Last session, I told Craig the same thing. And we established this: I was in an abusive relationship. I was never physically abused but the constant belittling and mental strain was enough that it was traumatic for me. And trauma for everyone is different. This isn’t a 2-year fix. It took a long ass time to get this way so it’s going to take a long time to undo this mess but, and that’s a huge BUT, it can be done. I can…and will..get over this. The mountain peak was hiding behind the clouds. That’s all. I just didn’t see how tall it was.
Well, things have certainly flipped around within the last two weeks. It’s a little incredible actually. The plans for ECT were changed after my doctor decidedly retracted her previous statement and said it wasn’t a good idea. She declared that she no longer supported the decision and wouldn’t write the referral. Pissed off my parents and I were. But the same day she told us this, we had a family meeting with Craig and that diffused the tension a little bit. We ended up right back where we started. I was depressed, we hadn’t talked about any medication changes or options for a different approach for my depression so things were at a standstill. Moving out was mentioned more than once but we couldn’t wrap the financials around it so that idea was sort of abandoned. And admittedly, the crippling, suicidal, I-want-the-world-to-crush-me-into-oblivion depression started to lift just the slightest bit. I was making plans with a very good friend. I was going to therapy more than once a week. I was engaging with my family. But people were missing the point. When in crisis, everyone can acknowledge and see the depression. But after the crisis is over, people forget the depression ever existed in the first place. They just expect everything to snap back into place and everything to be fine. The thing is though, that’s not how it works. My problem is that, even though, with the crisis over, I still have an underlying depression. I dip lower when I’m in crisis but I never come completely back to the surface. But…things did slightly turn around. I was able to sort of snap back into perspective. I took some action and got information I needed about my Social Security. I edited my resume. I actively stayed in touch with friends. I stayed physically active. And then, I got a phone call. My old softball coach and sort of pseudo-Mom called and said she had a family friend living with her. We’ll call her Billy Goat. Ms. Sue (my extra Mom) informed me that they were having a rough time with Billy Goat’s home health aide because she was from an agency, they didn’t personally know her and she was really only in it for the money. Aunt Sue (again, my extra Mom. She’ll be either Ms. or Aunt) said she wanted someone she could trust caring for Billy Goat. I have certifications and she knows me, trusts me and knows that 99% of the time I’m not doing much of anything (not to be offensive). And you know what I did? I took the job. I’m being paid to act as a caretaker for a family friend of a family friend. It’s emotional and intense but I like it. It’s a distraction from my own life and a reflection into someone else’s. This week has been stressful because it’s a transition. We’re switching from the home health aide to me and things in her treatment plan are moving forward. I adjusted my schedule to make sure she was comfortable this week, to give her some stability and to make sure she knew I was supporting her. And I know it will be rough the sicker she gets, and the more time I spend with her, but I think I can handle it. When I was with Uncle Joe, there were times when I had to leave the room and take a walk. I had to breathe some fresh air and remind myself that I wasn’t the one dying, he was. I had to remember that this is the life cycle, that it’s not an omen or anything like that. It’s just life. And I think this will be good for both her and me. She’ll be getting the perspective of someone who’s sort of seen this first hand before and I’ll be getting some, well, exposure therapy to one of, if not my biggest, fears. Plus, having a relationship that this so inclusive will give me a chance to exercise some boundaries. I’ll be able to practice being my own person and knowing that I am not her, she is not me and we do not have to be the same person. I think this will work. I hope this will work. We watched the end of The Breakfast Club yesterday. We caught the part where they’re all leaving the building and the letter they wrote to the principal is being read. “Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is that we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of is…a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.” And it’s true. People don’t care what you think of yourself, they’ve already got what their own perceptions of you. But that’s not what matters. And that’s the point. The Breakfast Club knew what happened in that library. We know what happens in our own lives. We know what goes on in our own heads. Admitting things, coming to term with things, all of that, is up to you, not someone else. Convincing Billy Goat of that, I sometimes I feel like I’m convincing myself. But that’s okay. I think the crisis has been averted. Now, that doesn’t mean the war is over, but as of right now, the battle has been won.
The fog was thick as I came down here. My arms sting but I’ve sort of been enjoying the pain. It’s something to feel other than this dark, twisted hole that has replaced my innards. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay came on my iPod while I was driving. Actually, every song that could’ve fit the mood I’m in came on my iPod right when I needed it. It’s like it was tuned in to what I was feeling. But I’ve never listened to those lyrics with ears veiled in depression and despair. Those lyrics, even if I wasn’t looking through gloomy glasses, fit my life to a T. “For some reason I can’t explain; I know Saint Peter won’t call my name; Never an honest word; But that was when I ruled the world.” I know you aren’t supposed to take song lyrics literally but the way this works is perfect. I used to feel invincible and untouchable by everything and anything. I wasn’t me. It wasn’t honest. I wasn’t being true to myself or who I was. Plus, every word out of my mouth (to anyone, let it be my parents, my teachers, anybody) was literally a lie. It was a faucet I couldn’t turn off. “For reasons I can’t explain; I know Saint Peter won’t call my name.” I think that’s kind of the reason I’m not dead yet. I feel like that’s the reason I haven’t actually carried out any plans (well, except for that one time. But it didn’t work, so does it count?). I don’t think I’m going to heaven. I’m not receiving any sort of retribution for what I’ve done on Earth. It has to catch up to me eventually, right? People don’t get free passes. Everyone knows that. Cultures throughout history have, like, never given free passes to people. Hindus and Buddhists are reincarnated until they reach the ultimate understanding of the universe. Jews have been treated like dirt basically by everybody for, well, forever. Christians had to kill the son of God before they could get off without a punishment and even then, they still have to live by His law and do decent things. Extreme Muslims believe in jihads and stuff so they go and blow themselves up to reach the blessed afterlife! I don’t know where that leaves me. I want to be here for Thomas. I want to be here to help anyone that is going through the same shit I am because I know what it feels like. I want to get a psychology degree because that’s the only way I know how to do the aforementioned. I don’t want to disappoint my parents anymore. I don’t want to feel like a failure. I want to love myself: body, mind, and spirit. I want to be proud of my “accomplishments.” I want to feel like a relatively normal young adult instead of a freak. I want to take responsibility for anyone and everyone I hurt throughout my life. I told Craig on Thursday that children weren’t really people because they hadn’t experienced anything in life. They hadn’t had their hearts broken or been denied anything (except maybe Second Breakfast). They hadn’t known true pain. But I was wrong. I think children are the most real people out of anyone on this planet. That’s the point. When they know pain for the first time, even if it’s something that seems trivial to us (adults, that is), that is the most powerful force in the world. When they know joy, even if it’s something that seems trivial (you guessed it, to us, adults, that is), that is the happiest, brightest, most vibrant shade of joy that can ever exist in one space. Our life sort of goes down hill from that. (But don’t be upset, no! Just keep reading!) And I think people with depression are more in-tune to that than other people. Not to say that others don’t feel anything, but when you’ve known your entire life (like I have) that you felt things more strongly than other people, that you were different from your family because you could literally feel emotions coming off of people like vibrations from a cell phone, it sort of becomes a problem. Because you spend the rest of your life living to find that first-discovered joy again. You want to experience that first heartbreak, that first sadness, that first moment of pure rage…because at that moment, it meant you were feeling something. Now? My world is covered in bloody cuts, covered by long sleeves, covered by a sweatshirt, even though it’s uncomfortably warm in here. Part of me wants to linger in this space. This little 2×2 section of the galaxy because I know this place. I’ve paced this little cell, I’ve touched every pore and crevice of these walls. But I’ve grown too big for this cave. I need to come into the light. I need to see, once again, what children see, just through a different lens. Children know pure emotion but the part of growing up is being able to hold onto that experience, being able to learn and grow from that and become someone from it. Instead, I chose to linger on it and crush it like someone who was too excited about having a new flower. But you know what the nice thing about flowers is? Once the seed has been planted, they tend to regrow.