pre_1422824598__ggdftftftftftf_copy

Alright, let me state, for the record, that I had to change my password and wait at least 20 minutes before logging in today to get this all written down. Irritated to the max! Anyway, I know this is a blog about mental health and illness and just generally cruddy things but I want to make a statement. I’m climbing up onto my soapbox to let y’all know what’s up. If you aren’t interested, please, do continue passing by me on the street. I’ll let you know when it’s safe to return to the blog-o-sphere.

I’m mixed race. My father is black and Native American, while my mother is a blend of European cultures (and my grandmother was from Canada, if you want to count that separately). My biggest peeve while growing up was that I was always considered black. There’s nothing wrong with being black, I just didn’t feel like it was a true statement. How can I deny a whole half of my heritage because on the outside, I appear to be black? It used to enrage my parents as well, with my mom even fighting the affirmative action check boxes on my report cards and enrollment forms. She usually won the argument too, and would have me and Thomas identified as “other.” A lot of times though, there wasn’t an “other” category and we were blocked off into being “African American.” Why am I bringing this up? Because the Black Lives Matter movement has finally moved into the forefront of my consciousness. Before, it was hard to concern myself with things that were far off and distant, but the other day I was faced cyber-head-on with the reality of it all.

A girl I attended high school with, infamous for being a devout, tightly  wound Catholic with extremely conservative views, posted a status about the stand-off between Black Lives Matter protesters and the usual highway traffic on the interstate. She wanted to know why people would do this, knowing that others had to be at work. I commented, something I usually dare not do because of my temper, and the stupidity of people on the Internet (not y’all, you guys rock!), saying that their protest got the point across. Apparently, some older gentleman didn’t agree and replied with a snarky, sarcastic comment that got my blood boiling. I managed not to reply, except to say that the sarcastic tone wasn’t necessary since we were all adults. It backfired, as per usual, so I blocked the girl and any notifications I may have gotten from the post.

The old dude was upset because 8 policemen had died at the hand of a crazed sniper, specifically targeting white police officers. I understand that their deaths are tragic and I empathize with their families. One of them had a 4-month old baby. It was horrible. But, and this is a tentative and large but, Black Lives Matter. Just because an outlier in the movement went rogue and started sniping people does not mean that the movement is a terrorist organization as some have claimed. It does not mean that everyone involved in the movement is intent on violence and massacres until the job is done. That’s not the issue. The issue is that black people are institutionally and systematically oppressed, and have been for generations.

For me, it starts with not being identified truthfully. Because I look one way, people box me into a corner and make assumptions about me. However, I don’t have kinky curls, I don’t listen to rap music, I don’t know all the black celebrities, except those that have been in the news as of late. I don’t watch BET, I don’t care about cars, so on and so forth. Stereotypes are usually based somewhat in truth but they aren’t meant to be held as a standard for everyone and all people that fit into a certain category. Cutting off my feet to make sure I fit in with the rest of them isn’t how it should be done. I’m not African, my family hasn’t been African for generations. We’re American. I am an American, and nothing else. That’s how we should be identified, not based on the color of our skin. Because when people get it wrong, it’s offensive.

Now, let me explain the point of my blogging this, besides getting it off my chest. Mental illness. (Ha, you didn’t think I could come full circle, did you, but surprise!) Gunmen that go out and shoot a bunch of people are not necessarily mentally ill. Mentally ill people are not all violent and dangerous. All through my therapy career (as a patient, not a therapist) and my psychology studies, people have been saying how much the field as changed as people become more tolerant of those with mental illness. With the recent turmoil that has become our current state, mental illness has taken hundreds of steps in the wrong direction. People with a history of mental illness cannot own a gun, people with a history of mental illness cannot protest peacefully. Everyone is the scapegoat for other people’s problems. Being “black” and mentally ill puts me at the lowest space on the totem pole. I’m left to wonder when I’ll be exterminated, when I’ll lose everything. Because I’m considered black, my votes are barricaded, my input is devalued. Add in the mentally ill mixture and I’m equivalent to nothing. And my mental illness has never exhibited violence! I’m not a crazed ax-murderer or anything, but that doesn’t matter.

Assumptions. That’s the problem. Assumptions and excuses are what makes our country spin on its axis at the center of the universe, pulling the rest of the world down the drain with us. But we can’t let this continue. No matter who you are, no matter what color or creed, state of health, it cannot continue. It’s true, all lives do matter, but that standard cannot be maintained until everyone is equal. And that won’t happen until people understand that black lives matter. The mentally ill matter.

Who loved Andy more, Woody or Buzz? Who’s parents were better, Nemo’s or Dory’s? Which sister had a harder time, Anna or Elsa? If you can argue one over the other, you are part of the All Lives Matter movement and don’t understand. But if it takes breaking it down to Pixar level, I am willing to do it. Because everyone matters, and choosing one over the other is not the answer.

Alright, I’m jumping off my soapbox. I’m finished discussing this issue. It made my blood boil last week to the point that I could get nothing done. I couldn’t focus on anything else and didn’t feel better until Brendan was sitting with me in the car and listening to my endless rant about the whole thing. The library isn’t currently holding the level of happiness I usually receive. I’m going home, I think.

“…Disappointment & Heartache Is All Part Of…Growing Up…”

29558ae36084eabe7e6346e4a3cec121

I’m freaking out. That seems to be all I do lately. Sitting in Starbucks while Brendan is in his interview for the latest notch on the corporate ladder that is the massage world. The coffee I’m drinking probably isn’t helping my nerves (I’ve had 2 cups today) but I wanted some so badly that the bags under my eyes basically disappeared at the mere thought of enjoying a cup. But, back to why I’m freaking out.

I designed an Excel sheet for my church when I was still in high school for my Girl Scout Gold Award. They’d been using this archaic cataloging system for the food pantry they run. Since the Gold Award project has to be something that benefits the community, I took the 1500+ index cards with dates on them dating back into the 90’s and input them one by one into a spreadsheet. It took me about 2 months with hours of dedication to the task. Well, now that it’s been in use for years, I can step back and examine the problems with the initial system. Firstly, the computer we bought at the time (through donations, I do believe, because you aren’t allowed to fund your project. That’s part of the process) is starting to quit on us, though it isn’t used for anything else. I took it home one night to connect to the Internet and update it, to give you an idea of how old this is, and it took nearly 3 hours for the whole thing to complete. Ridiculous, right? I went to the people with power and convinced them that it was time for an upgrade. We did nicely with an HP. I chose the one with the number pad built in since we spend a lot of time inputting dates and phone numbers. Anyway, I wanted to move on from the Excel spreadsheet because it was almost as archaic as the computer, and frankly, did not meet our design needs. People were deleting things and saving them in the wrong files. This group of individuals is on the older side, leaving me the sole person with enough computer knowledge to navigate any program safely, even if it is as simple as Excel. Well, now, my computer savvy is failing me and this group of people is completely dependent on my knowledge to get this mess done. Since Microsoft likes to charge you a gazillion times for each program, we had to pay extra for Access, a database program I was repeatedly reassured would serve our needs best. The problem is, Access is a new program (as far as I know. How about we just say it’s new to me?) and I have absolutely no clue how to use it. I’m stuck in this position of knowing what the hell I’m doing in front of them and completely losing it when I’m working on the forms. I took the measly form I did have in for a test run and it was a complete disaster, not only because we have new paperwork we have to fill out, but also because one of the volunteers was complaining in my ear the entire hour about problems with this form. I tried to explain that this was a beta-test run, that I was still working out the kinks and had even volunteered my time for every opening for the rest of the month, but she wasn’t listening. I feel like a creditor that is secretly broke. Or like someone that owes a loan shark a lot of money and has to repeatedly reassure the loan shark that “I have the money, I swear. I’ll get you your money!”

Let’s see, why else am I panicking? Oh yea, Brendan’s car. He spent a lot of time and effort getting it painted, modified and decal-ed the way he wanted it. It looks good, although a bit flashy for something I would drive. He had fun doing it and everything but now the engine has completely failed. Failed as in it has to be completely replaced. He needs a totally new engine before his car will rule the road again. I mean, I wouldn’t be waiting for him if his car hadn’t died in the driveway when he tried to leave this morning. Now, it may seem a bit first-world to complain about not having two cars. With patience, we can make it work. Waiting for each other, splitting gas costs, stuff like that, is perfectly manageable. That’s not what I’m worried about though. He decided to replace the engine. Now, someone explained how much a new engine would cost and that he could buy a “used” engine for less money but it would already have miles on it. Great! He doesn’t have to give up his car! Except that, paying his regular bills on top of paying to replace this sucker is going to put him in the red. Like, way more than either of us is comfortable. And I’m not good financially but paying my own bills and fixing my own car has temporarily put me in the red as well. The house has had several showings this week, more than I ever thought would happen, but at this rate, we’ll be moving back in with our parents. I mean, last week, I literally burst into snotty, sobbing tears at the mere thought of paying for independent living. It makes me shake. And I can’t completely get mad at Brendan. It’s not his fault the engine puckered out. And it’s not his fault I spend my money the way I do. I mean, it’s mine. But this is getting harder way before I ever thought it would. Being an adult sucks.

437632

Ok, so I had this really weird dream last night. I used to have a blog specifically for my dreams but when all that shit went down with Mara, I let it fall by the wayside and started this one. I may have actually deleted it, which is sad to think about, because it means all that writing is gone, even if they were just dreams. Anyway, what happened last night…

I was in this store with a strange woman and a girl I went to grade school with (literally, I went through K-12 with the same people, and she was one of them). The woman was jogging along this river (sort of like in Venice) and a voice inside my head told me that I could go swimming. Well Grade School Girl got the same idea and as she dove in, so did the strange woman. They started swimming side by side, but the strange woman was polluting the water with this black ink. As Grade School Girl swam and got covered in ink, she became more and more fish-like. She was like the mermaids in Harry Potter. Not the pretty kind that sit on a rock and sing to you, but the siren kind, that are basically fish people. I dove into the water after that and the same thing started to happen to me. The effects wore off as we got back out of the water. Then the woman led us to some store where we could do all the shopping we wanted. Everything fit and looked amazing on us but in the back of my mind, something wasn’t right. I asked the woman directly what was going on and she was like, “oh, you didn’t know? You’re in Hell.”

This particular version of Hell wasn’t the fire pit of doom from Supernatural or the layered fortress of Dante. It was a sunny, seaside town with pastel colors, great fashion and the bluest water you could dream of. It was basically the opposite of anyone’s version of Hell. While Grade School Girl was trying on a new outfit, I was talking with the woman. She proceeded to explain to me that I had to enter Heaven and recruit everyone there for some reason (I don’t remember if she even told me why). Grade School Girl and I dove back into that weird river and in a Pirates of the Caribbean move, were upside down for a moment before surfacing in Heaven. She was just as confused as I was but we were determined not to fail in our task.

This particular version of Heaven was pretty much what you’d expect. It was white marble buildings and columns, same town-ish vibe as Hell but the whole atmosphere was chipper and pleasant. In Hell, it sort of felt like you were getting away with something you shouldn’t be doing (like the shopping) but that didn’t stop anyone from doing it. Heaven felt like Chuck E. Cheese. You were allowed to do whatever you wanted because you deserved it! Grade School Girl and I walked into some building that was very reminiscent of 1930s architecture. We climbed up this triple-wide, spiraled, marbled staircase looking for the souls we were supposed to recruit. And we found them.

Everyone I knew was there. Mara, Thomas, everyone. And they were armed. Grade School Girl and I thought this would be the easiest way to get everyone to fall from grace. Violence. But alas, their weapons were bouncy balls and guns that fired a red flag labeled “bang!”. Why we thought it would be any different in the hallowed halls of Heaven, I’m not really sure. But after chasing the blessed souls of all these people into the basement of the marbled building, we came up with a different plan.

I was upset that Mara was there. Grade School Girl, while ditzy and a bit preoccupied with something only she knew about, had never done anything in the time that I’d known her to deserve to be in Hell. But Mara? We all know how those emotions run deep in me, and especially rear themselves in my subconscious mind. And so I unleashed on her. I yelled at her and told her all the horrible things she’d done, not only to me, but to everyone she knew. I watched the grace that had dyed her eyes a lighter shade of their natural hue, drain from her irises. Her eyes darkened with hatred and, as if waking up from a dream, she wanted to know where she was and what was going on. Aha! I’d found the key to recruiting these souls in Heaven. Help them remember the ugly hatred they’d once felt on Earth. Grade School Girl and I proceeded to shout at everyone in our paths. We told them all the evil they’d done on Earth and made them remember all the ugly feelings they’d felt as human beings. Eventually, we’d recruited enough souls that the river opened back up. Grade School Girl and I led this new army through the river, back into Hell.

Once there, everyone was slightly shaken but overall, seemed to know the point of our recruitment. I found the strange woman and asked her what our next task was. She explained that we were now to recruit the souls in Hell, by any means necessary. And that’s when I started to remember why I was there. In my human life, I’d committed murder. It was justified on Earth and I was exonerated, but my soul had remained tarnished. When Grade School Girl and I were in Hell, it was just us and the woman. But now, as we walked around with the new, Heavenly, recruits, I saw more people. Innocent people that didn’t deserve to be there. But I did. And the shame and ugliness I always seem to feel in my dreams seeped back into me. I walked around until I found the victim of my Earthly crime. She was enjoying herself, doing whatever it was that gave her the feeling of getting away with something she wasn’t supposed to be, and I knew how to recruit the souls in Hell. I had to make them feel love, the same way I’d made the Heavenly recruits feel hatred. But this task was much harder. Hating someone is easy. It takes a lot of energy, but it’s energy easily expelled. Loving someone, forgiving someone, that was going to be nearly impossible.

I remember how I murdered her in the dream, I remember how good it felt to be in Hell and I remember how pissed I was at the souls in Heaven. And I remember how good it felt to infect them with the same hatred I had. To watch the heavenly grace leave their eyes. How sick is that? I woke up, trembling and my heart is still fluttering in my chest. I can’t catch my breath. I’m trying not to let this affect me, as my dad would tell me, it was just a dream but whoa. This is harder than usual.

 

*The original quote for the title is “Heaven and hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad. But the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.”

p03s4hb2

Alright, let’s break this shit down really quick. I’ve been trying to pump out a blog entry for the past 2 weeks and have been unsuccessful (obviously) every single time. Therefore, I’m going to sit here and do this. Problems of the past 2 weeks that may be worth mentioning…hmm, might have to think of a way to narrow that one down. I guess we’ll start with…

Medications: I’m supposed to be on lithium (a low dose, for “maintenance”, my psychiatrist calls it) and Prozac for the depression. That’s all I take. It’s not a lot to remember. And yet somehow, I have managed not to take any of it for 2 weeks. Instead, I’ve happily been consuming Klonopin (I was prescribed that for something else and then started taking it for sleep), and liquor. Doesn’t matter what kind, doesn’t matter what it’s mixed with. I’m not a big drinker, I really only do it socially and when there is someone sober to drive. I know it’s a slippery slope with me and anything that could be cause for addiction. Alcohol is no different. I don’t have any clinically defined addicts in my family but I know my personality well enough to know that once I get hooked on something, it’s not going to stop. That’s why I binge eat certain foods for months at a time, or only watch particular TV shows until I run out of episodes. I go through withdrawal, even in those circumstances. This week was no different. I knew I was drinking too much. I would wake up and still be woozy from the drugs and the alcohol (because I was consuming them both at the same time, safe or not). I would think about going home from whatever I was out doing and drinking myself to sleep. It was my escape, it’s always been my escape, and this time was no different.

Them: I don’t know how else to refer to them, except as Them. It’s a collection of everyone imaginary that I wish was in my life but aren’t because they aren’t real. Leon, my imaginary friend from childhood. She’s my twin except that she’s the ideal of what I want to be: skinny, thick-flowing hair, confident, brave and magnetic. Then, I’ve got 2 empty slots that sort of fill up with anyone that I’m currently thinking about at the time. This week, because They made an appearance…sort of, was Sherlock. Brendan and I have been watching the BBC version with Benedict Cumberbatch and it’s wildly fantastic (I’ve seen it before but he hasn’t so we had to rewatch the whole thing, but totally worth it). Alright, let me break the scenario down for you. I was driving home from a visit with a girl I know from Girl Scouts (and social media) and haven’t seen in years and years. It was nice, fun, awkwardly polite. On the drive back to the farm though, my brain went all fuzzy. I don’t know if it’s from the previously mentioned issue, or if it’s the lack of medication, or a combination of both, but Leon was visible in my mind’s eye, lounging in the passenger seat, looking incredibly relaxed and at ease with herself and all the worries going on in my head. I could imagine her voice, telling me to relax, to ease up off the reins and have a little fun. She was ridiculously couth about the entire thing. Then, in the backseat, my mind’s eye saw Sherlock, sitting there, calmly cloaked in his winter coat and scarf, playing the devil’s advocate. He and Leon were having a cool, relaxed argument, the way two people that don’t have a personal interest in the matter do. The three of us went back and forth, silently, calmly and before I knew it I was pulling into the driveway of the house, trying to decide who was right in the situation. And for Leon to argue with Sherlock Holmes is mightily impressive, even if neither of them are real. While the conversation made me feel better, the actual thought of Them being there, and giving me comfort is sort of weird. Like, I can’t confide in anyone else right now so I have to make up my social circle. That’s a very strange concept. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, per se, because I’m not actually seeing physical beings but still…I’m 25 years old with imaginary friends. Which leads me into my next topic of conversation….why I need imaginary friends.

Relationship: Brendan and I are sort of in a rocky place. But literally, it’s all in my head. I’m holding things back, I’m not expressing myself to him the way I should be and it starts this snowball effect. I block him out and slam all the doors to myself emotionally. Then, he does the same thing in retaliation, or return, I don’t really know. And it continues like that until we’re pissed at each other for no particular reason. Everything he does upsets me, down to the way he breathes when he’s sleeping. And some part of my brain knows that most of this is the result of being off my medication. I know that the dips in my emotions, the inexplicable anger is the bipolar but it still bothers me. Like, what if that’s how I really feel underneath it all? I don’t think I do but that doesn’t stop the thought from popping up and buzzing in my ear like some annoying bee. And by his breaking point, Brendan will tell me that he doesn’t think he’s ready to handle all of my emotions, that he isn’t sure he knew what he was signed up for when he started dating me (though I told him straight out the gate). It stings when he says that because it makes me feel defective. It makes me feel like if he can’t love me, and I know he does, then who the hell could? If someone who was so willing to give me leeway when it comes to my emotions and crazy attitudes, can’t handle it, what the hell am I going to do if he leaves me? Conversely, I’m so pissed off and low when I stop taking the medications that I don’t care. I convince myself that things would be better off without him here, that I should take the advantage of us having to move to break out on my own. I want to blame all of my problems on him. My financial situation, my living situation, stuff like that all magically seems to be his fault, even when it really isn’t.

It’s easier to live in this world with Them. It’s easier to think that someone, anyone is on my side and completely and utterly understands me in every situation, in every standing and in every problem. Putting my own face over that is not possible though. Trying to explain to the emotional side of my brain that They are me, that Their voices are my own, just divided and situated into different faces and bodies, doesn’t work. If I say that sort of thing to myself, it means nothing. If They say it to me, it’s exactly what I need to hear. It’s the type of support I need to boost my mood enough to get me through the day, or the drive, or whatever I’m trying to get through. Coping skills should be involved somewhere but I feel like this is it. This is my only option and I’m left with nothing else. I’m left to invent friends since I have very few on my own and encourage myself through their words and mouth. It’s pathetic and completely ridiculous.

In other news, I graduated. I’m moving. I’m applying for jobs and organized to apply for the spring semester at University of Maryland. That’s all that’s happened recently. Besides the whole, hearing-voices-sort-of thing. But hey, what’s a girl to do?

o-the-matrix-and-hinduism-facebook

God, I remember when this was a thing. This was a multi-day/week occurrence with me. I couldn’t go without sitting in the library and pumping out at least one entry, while writing stories on top of it. But now? Now I don’t write at all. I watch everything. I never read. It’s a shame, really. And I don’t know what to attribute that to. Is it my current relationship with Brendan? Is it that I don’t want to write? Is it that any idea that I do scribble down gets scraped for the next thing until I’m left with a trail of unfinished scripts for the same story in my wake? I don’t know. I do know that once someone spirals down this rabbit hole it’s almost like getting better isn’t in the cards. I don’t care what anyone says about “recovery” and all that bullshit. Because it’s just that, it’s total bullshit. You’re going to have your good days and your bad days just like any other human being, sure. But most other human beings don’t need pills, drugs or the threat of death at their own hand to motivate them into the next tomorrow. I follow a lot of people on Instagram. Some have chronic health problems like me and others have mental health problems (again, like myself). That unspoken view on life we all share was once what was so appealing about following them. When I was depressed, I loved knowing there were other people on this Earth that had experienced the same things I had. But now? I’m not sure if it’s a hindrance, a trigger, I don’t know. I see someone post about the ever-revolving door that is healthcare and I’m inspired to call my doctor and complain about my treatment. I see someone else post about how close thy were to taking their own life a few hours ago and I wonder what exactly I have going for me that I can just sit here with aimless abandon and do nothing. I watch shows and want to know where these characters get their passion, their drive to spend countless hours working for the greater good of someone else. I sit in the library, sometimes watching those shows, and wonder what inspires someone to bring his tutor flowers, or another dude to watch Trump rally videos the entire time I’m here. I used to use this stuff. I used to sit there and attempt to understand the human experience, to write with wild abandon, even if I was only one reading it. Now? Now the only solace I get from my boyfriend, my pathetic attempt at being an adult and my ever empty bank account is sleep. And even that is forced now. To get any sleep of decent quality, I have to drug myself. And once those drugs kick in, it is the greatest thing ever. My mind runs with wild abandon. I’ve even begun to relish my nightmares and let me tell you, that part of my head is a place even Stephen King wouldn’t go. Part of the sleep problem is the fact that Brendan is taller than me, I only have a full bed and the dog and cat insist on sleeping in it too. So, I’m short-changed in the space department. If I stay up, I’m literally up all night because the three of them are taking up so much space that my hips and back end up paying for it. I don’t have an excuse for the rest of it. Laziness? School? I don’t know. But it hasn’t happened. Writing used to be the way I got things out, it used to be the way I processed things, the way I understood the world. I mean, it got to the point that I wouldn’t go anywhere without a piece of paper somewhere on me. I can’t explain how many napkins have idle musings or story excerpts on them. Once, I had no paper, no napkins and a dying light. Still, I wrote in the margins of my wordsearch book until all of those were completely full. The next morning I went back and couldn’t make sense of most of it because in the lack of light, I’d double-backed over my own writing. But it was out. The idea was no longer this virus inside my own head. Now, though, that’s all I seem to have. And the only way to escape them all is to sleep, which doesn’t much work since once I fall asleep, I’m trapped with them. I’m trapped with the gruesome thoughts, the murderous fears, all of it, until my alarm sounds the next morning. And then I wake up, and guess where I am? Back in the cramped bed, in the disgusting house, with way too much to do and no motivation to do it. When I first saw the Matrix, I remember riding to school on the bus (this was in high school, sometime before my license so maybe early 10th grade? 9th even? I’m not sure) and having the same freaky thoughts just about everyone has when they first watch that movie. Is all of this real? Am I in some sort of Matrix? Up until then I’d only experienced one tragedy in my life and created this world of fear and doubt on my own. I was relatively naive at the time and m parents had done a fine job of trying to prevent that from changing. Eventually, the thoughts led to a few story drafts, none of which went anywhere, but the fascination with the storyline changed from utter obsession to mere enjoyment. The possibilities the Matrix creates by questioning our very existence was revolutionary. That’s why that movie is so revered. And in my high school mind, there was some bleak amount of hope that this really wasn’t it. That there was more than waking up, going to school, learning shit I already knew, going home and generally being miserable. Now, though, I sort of feel like Thomas A. Anderson. No, not Neo, the hero of the free minds in Zion. I feel like his Matrix counterpart, the man before Morpheus, the one with his mind still plugged into the Matrix. I’m the one Mr. Smith hasn’t even started looking for because as far as that program is concerned, I’m just another mind plugged into the machine. Sleep is the only time my mind is free. And then, when it’s allowed to roam and fight off society and other radicals, it’s trapped with the Matrix that is my body. I have nothing to do. I’m literally frozen by my own body, stuck to drift through whatever mindset or thought my brain has until the next one appears and the door continues to revolve. Maybe the Matrix isn’t quite the analogy I’m looking for. Maybe it’s Avatar. No, not the Last Airbender with Aang and Katara (though that is one boss show). I’m talking about the blue aliens subjected to human terraforming for some rare mineral on their planet. Jake was a Marine with the loss of his legs. Once a Marine, always a Marine that much is true, but Jake’s body didn’t know that. The only return to the life of walking he was accustomed meant he had to close his eyes and upload his mind to his avatar. When his avatar slept, his mind returned to the shell that was his human body. That’s what I do every single night. I operate this avatar that looks like me, sounds like me and generally shares the same feelings but the only time I actually, truly feel is when I’m asleep. When I’m alone, when I’m sad, all of that is genuine too but if a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, did it fall? Does it count if I’m not sharing the experience with someone else? In both movies, they had someone to share all that with and were the better for it. Me, I have someone to share it with but don’t know how. I don’t know how to do what I want and do what he wants. I don’t know how to function on my own unless I’m on my own. Ask me to share that experience with someone else and it’s like giving the reigns to a blind horse and trusting it to lead me home. I can’t. I just can’t. I guess I’m going from one extreme to the other and back again. I was utterly devoted to Mara, with no thought about laying down my life for hers. There was no doubt in my min that it would have been a loss for anyone else but when it came to her happiness, devotion was the only thing I knew. Then, when we stopped talking, I became a loner. I was literally locked in my room with a subscription to Netflix and unwavering Internet access. I ate on and off, either starving or gorging to the point of topping my own previous weight by nearly half. I absorbed series like there was no abandon and found solace in the sad, the ugly and the beautiful. I found my way out of that hole for a brief moment in the sun. I righted wrongs, I did things I hadn’t thought I was capable of previously and so on and so on. Now, though, I think I’ve scrambled back into the nearest foxhole. I hate it in these things, as most soldiers do, but can’t seem to stop diving for cover the second things get tough. I’m in a relationship with Brendan and find myself compromising on the same things I did with her. I find myself enjoying the moments I have alone more than the moments when we’re together. I want to use my family as an excuse for just about anything. I never do the things I love and loathe the things we do. I always refer to whatever I’m doing as what we’re doing. At first, I took some liberty. I was happy to use we instead of me because it meant I had someone to “we” with but now, now I can’t stand it every time it comes out of my mouth. Now, I’m forced to correct myself for those times I’m not even referring to the two of us and just mean myself. My former empathy has turned to bitterness, my former companion has become my foe and I have no idea what to do.