Unpacking

There aren’t many men in my life that I can state have been there for me when I needed them, at least not without some ulterior motive to be met. I can probably count on one hand in all sincerity. This began with the first man to ever have a significant impact upon my life, my dad. He was very good at instilling fear and anxiety but very poor at instilling faith, confidence, and security.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve stopped blaming others for my anxiety, grief, fear, faults, etcetera, and realized he or she only has the power to cause negativity within my life if I allow him or her to. In some cases, this means I’ve had to cease exerting my energy toward a relationship I may have had because maintaining one sided relationships are counter productive to my self improvement. In order to break a cycle of seeking the familiar I must confidently step outside of my comfort zone and seek what I’ve always deserved.

Finding myself utter names I haven’t spoken in years with disdain and anger in my heart is a wake up call. I had no idea I had been suppressing so much out of pure human instinct. We suppress to protect ourselves from painful realities but I’m ready to unpack. I’m ready to face those realities with every ounce of muster I can conjure up.

From being forgotten after elementary school days and waiting what felt like hours for my mother to fetch me and being inexplicably dropped by so-called best friends after ten years of friendship with not so much as a word of clarification, I’m ready. From witnessing my drunken, passed out father from the age of five to his erratic, unpredictable drug-addicted behavior at sixteen, I’m ready. From being the ex-girlfriend of so many once beloveds who have since found their life partner, created a family and overcome personal obstacles to losing both of my parents within a span of four months to losing whom I once considered the love of my life two years later, I am ready.

I have been disregarded, forsaken, and taken for granted by so many, especially the men who have come and gone in my life, but at the end of the day, I love myself and I know my worth. I am now ready to unpack the heavy load I have carried with me for thirty-one plus years.

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Undelivered Letters

The saying that the pain is temporary feels like the opposite ever since all the tragedy.  For me, it feels more like happiness is temporary. Honest to God.”

The above were words I recently came across that I had written down about three and a half years ago. Unable to sleep, I was alone waiting for my then husband to come home like almost every other night he worked. He frequently did not come home rather staying out all night and getting drunk with his coworkers.

As I read on, it became apparent that the words I was writing were a sort of letter to David, however, he never read it unless he happened to snoop as I came to find out he had done in the past. When confronted regarding this issue shortly after my mother’s death, he claimed that he was doing so out of the familiar fear that I may be suicidal and wanted to stay one step ahead – a preventative measure if you will.

At the time, I accepted his defense despite feeling utterly violated and disrespected. And I accepted his defense because there was a part of me – that part that didn’t wish to exist in a world where happiness seemed a temporary state. His justification created an intense and provisional sense that he deeply cared for me – just not enough to forego staying out until four ‘o’ clock in the morning with twenty-something service industry personnel, becoming collectively inebriated beyond recollection.

I’ve also been dwelling on the details of my mother’s death.  On one hand, this is good for my writing but the problem is I’m not writing it down.  I’m just reliving the experience in my head.”

I went on to therapeutically write words to David with little intention of delivering them. To this day, I attempt to search blindly for compassion for a boy who couldn’t possibly have grasped the sheer anguish or recognize the incessant darkness that enveloped my soul and violently clawed at what was left of my wounded heart. To this day, I am unable to really grasp any compassion, unable to see through the warranted anger of a woman deliberately left alone, to walk through that dark all by herself day in and day out – no hand to hold, no ounce of respite.

Do I believe that David wanted to be a better man? A better boyfriend? A better husband? Yes. Do I believe that he tried unequivocally hard to do so? Absolutely not.

I often feel desperate and expectant.” I continued. Never in my life have I ever felt more desperate than the three years I spent with David. Coupling that with expectancies was a recipe for complete disaster and often leaves me pondering how different my life would be today had I made subtle but timely, opposite decisions. For example, what if the night of our first major fight I had ended things and moved back to Los Angeles? Or, not so subtle, what if I had never married him? I know that these types of thoughts are unproductive but it doesn’t hurt anyone, I cannot help myself and it makes for interesting writing.

I went on to type, “Sometimes, I’m able to think rationally and logically and most of the time, it just pushes me deeper into a dark place.” Today, I recognize that my “rational” and “logical” thinking had nothing to do with my feelings, my emotions – the inner turmoil taking place within the outer turmoil that I was subjecting myself to. Rational and logical thinking does nothing for matters of the heart.

I concluded this undelivered letter with, “I am hoping that this gets better once we move and once I find the strength to remain motivated, consistently.” I was clearly hopefully anticipating our move to Los Angeles from New York. “This” got better once I removed the toxicity from my life and “this” is continually in improvement mode. Los Angeles is thankfully just the setting for this righteous revival.

My Tiny Rodent Heart

“…what the hell am I thinking putting this out there, for any and everyone to read and know about me?…”

Okay folks, so this is just gonna be one of those brutally honest, fly by the seat of my pants, non-edited blogs – one where I ooze uncomfortable honesty and vomit vulnerability but at the end of the day, this is my therapy. And I need it right now – I mean I really need it.

I realized as of late that I spend less than two hours a week expressing myself wholly and as thoroughly as possible. And those precious minutes are ones I spend with my therapist behind closed doors, in a very small room that could be pronounced as a walk-in closet for some and in a professional setting – not with a close friend or a loved one. I mean I’ve been seeing my therapist for nearly three years so I suppose friend is a word one could use to describe her though I don’t observe our relationship as such. Don’t get me wrong – I like her but I like the boundary, too.

The truth is I don’t feel comfortable reaching out to most people anymore. I feel as if everyone has more important things to be concerning their selves with than my redundant depression. In therapy, we call this the voice in my head that “keeps me safe,” while constantly putting me down.

Just writing all of this out is creating this sense of grave anxiety – like what the hell am I thinking putting this out there, for any and everyone to read and know about me? I think the only faith I still maintain is the faith that I’m not alone. If that ever goes, I am unsure of what will become of me.

With that being said, I am lost and ironically enough, feeling utterly alone – longing to be somewhere where I can speak freely, openly without feeling insecure – longing to be with my mother. That is not to say that I wish myself dead – I just want my best friend and her unconditional love back.

Yes, yes, it’s the holidays. * roll my fucking eyes * It’s that time of year and yes, that fucking intensifies whatever feelings I may have been feeling prior and believe me, I was feeling this shit prior. The so-called “holidays” have never been easy since 2010 and have increasingly, seemingly gotten worse for my psyche each year.

I find myself hating everyone and every thing, lacking hope. Every day, world war three is congregating in my brain. There is this constant struggle between rationality and emotion, hate and love, wrong and right, just and unjust. They overlap, they intertwine, they contradict and they drive me fucking mad. Then begins the quest to dissociate, to block it out followed by the newly learned, oftentimes confusing notion that attempting to block it out inevitably worsens it.

I always liken myself to a hamster, in its little cage, on that stupid wheel, spinning ‘round and ‘round but not making any gains – a fucking rodent! – My tiny rodent heart pounding with every miniscule leap and bound on the plastic wheel, beating toward its imminent death.

 

And then There is David

He’s a jerk, Linds,” my aunt said to me tonight in regards to David and the finalization of this divorce, to which I correctly replied, “No, Nance, there are jerks and then there is David.”

There was a time where no matter what I did – be it cry uncontrollably, involuntarily drool, drip snot down my freshly cleaned blouse from a cold, spill copious amounts of food upon my lap, non discreetly snort when I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants, my ex-husband found me irresistible – he found me appealing, lovable. He still loved every inch of my mind, body and soul. There was a time when I felt it, too – A time when there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that David would love me for forever and a day.

Only a month shy of our one-year wedding anniversary, David and I were “on the rocks.” He was away, “clearing his head” in New York while I remained in Los Angeles, “holding down the fort.” I was damn near believing we were “over,” our marriage was nearing its end what with his dramatic phone call in which he resentfully stated, “I loved you,” (take note of the past tense) followed by hanging up the telephone on me in the middle of the night. I don’t have proof but I am about 99.9% certain that alcohol had influence upon these histrionics.

The following night, I went to bed as usual, anticipating David’s return later the following evening. Around four in the morning, like clockwork, I awoke from my meager slumber, walked the length of our North Hollywood apartment to the kitchen to feed the cats and walked back to my bed. As I lay there half awake, I began hearing a foreign noise, a noise one should not be hearing at such wee hours of the morning. After about twenty seconds of this noise, I fully awoke to the alarming realization that someone was trying to break into my apartment.

As I held my breath, I recognized the sound of someone throwing his/her entire weight against my front door, attempting to bust the lock. I immediately jumped out of bed, grabbed my cell phone and crawled on all fours into the hallway, my heart pounding in my ears and sweat forming upon my forehead. If my cats were at the door, I told myself, then my keen senses and instincts were correct. My head cautiously rounded the doorway in the dark and much to my fear, both of my furry companions were standing alert, at the door – my oldest, the protective one, begun to meow loudly.

I called my best girlfriend, Sandy, who offered to hurry over, gun in tow. I declined as the sound of the front door banging ceased and my oldest cat jumped up in the window, appearing to watch someone from our second floor apartment.

Hang up the phone and call the cops now. And then call me back,” Sandy instructed. I followed her orders.

Long story short, no one and nothing was discovered. I told myself that someone was drunk and forgot where he/she lived though the significant timing of my husband being absent for days reluctantly forced me to think negatively. I felt as if someone had been watching me, knowing that I was presently alone at my home and attempted to take advantage.

That day, I had posted on Facebook about the early mornings’ frightening events and, of course, David saw this. He immediately phoned me as I was getting myself ready for work, assuring me that, “You know no matter what is going on between us, you can always call me if something like that happens.”

I guess he still loves me after all, I warmly thought to myself. Not that I ever doubted this amongst his dramatics but nonetheless, it still hurts, to say the bare minimum, to hear your husband tell you that he loved you, past tense.

In all honesty, I couldn’t wait to greet David upon his arrival home from New York that evening. I was so eager to throw my arms around his body and feel the warm security of his skin against mine. The early mornings’ events had rattled my sense of safety and it was true – no matter what we were going through, we wouldn’t wish harm upon the other.

The incident brought a sad sense of false intensity to our relationship, however. It created this illusion that we needed each other so how could we end things right then, especially with our one year anniversary approaching in a couple of weeks?

I often ask why, as humans, we don’t behave in this way naturally? Why must it take a potentially life threatening event to create a sense of urgency, to express how much we care, how much we love another person? It’s this ideal sense of loving hard and deeply, no matter what the circumstances, that have pitted me into a small and lonely space, one where I feel as if I’m the only person in the world who loves in this intense and committed manner.

As the sound of David’s footsteps became audible that evening, I anxiously anticipated his key in the lock, silently questioning whether or not he couldn’t wait to throw his arms around me either. Thankfully, he felt the urgency as much as I. The loving look upon his face, when he walked through our front door, made me walk toward him as he met me halfway. Now that I think about it, it was probably the last amazingly heartfelt hug we exchanged before our marriage came to its end, the kind of hug where the emotions are so heightened and you can tell that neither one of you desire to let go.

We agreed that we just needed to “start over” if there could ever be such a feat achieved. This fantasy lasted for about two weeks until things sped downhill once again – more like freefell. Some of the worst fights I can recall within David and I’s three year relationship occurred in the two and a half weeks between our July 9th anniversary and the early morning of the 29th when all was finally lost.

It may sound as if I’m reminiscing when in fact I actually began the retelling of this story above back in April of 2014. As I read through it, I felt the urge to edit quite a bit of it but I thought maybe it more appropriate to just exhibit the immense change that has taken place in what I have to say now.

I honestly cannot remember the feeling any longer, the love that I had for this person that I speak of every now and then, this person that I cannot wait to never have to speak of or to again. This is one of the things that I wonder if I may be dissociating from but dissociation implies that the feeling is still there somewhere and I can call on it at will. I’ve tried.

The memory of the feeling is there somewhere but the actual feeling is not. I feel like cueing the “aww” but while this may initially appear sad, it’s probably for the better. His vindictive, immature, hateful and cruel disposition made it easier for me to make the decision to end my marriage and not remembering how or why I once loved this person so much that I vowed my life to him is an ounce of relief. I won’t lie and tell you that I’m not often reminded of what a huge mistake I made and I am certain this self-ridicule will wither once he decides to figure out what is stalling our divorce.

One of my dear friends once stated accurately, and I paraphrase, “If David spent as much time on his relationship as he does on his dramatics then maybe they could actually work things out.”

It wasn’t the first time he had told me he didn’t love me anymore. The first time was in New York right before our big move to LA – only that time the sentiment was, “I’m not sure if I love you anymore.” As you can imagine a newlywed wife may feel, it was hysteria inducing.

Today, at 8:04 p.m. on October 6th, 2015, I am laughing out loud. Perhaps because the memory is just too painful and I’ve detached myself, or perhaps because I know I would never allow anyone to infiltrate and fuck with my life in that manner ever again. The extremity of the situation is comical after so much time. Or perhaps it’s a little bit of both.

I am still an idealist who loves hard and deeply but I now know whom not to love hard and deeply.

Dear Readers

Dear readers, I simply wanted to drop a line, this evening, as I am diligently writing to complete a story that is near and dear to me. I have a couple of weeks to meet a deadline, for a prominent literary magazine and to have my story repeatedly edited and polished for submission. I do not wish to neglect my blog nor especially my readers so please accept this as my humble apology for the fewer and far between posts as of late.

When I decided to embark on this new chapter (no pun intended) of submitting my writing to professional literary magazines and other media outlets, I wasn’t certain if I wanted to share it or keep it under wraps for fear that “nothing will come of it.”   I realized that nothing coming of it was impossible because I can submit my writing over and over to a hundred different places and they can all end up rejections but at least I’ll know I have tried. And most importantly, at the end of the day, I am doing what I love, what ignites my soul. That is certainly not nothing!

I also had to remind myself that I have an amazing support system of people, near and far, dead and alive – people who wish me well and want to see me happy – people who read what I have to say. I will never take you for granted.

So, this is a blog post of my sheer gratitude for your patience, your kind words throughout the last couple of years and your curiosity. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out. I will always do my best to respond in a timely manner to each and every one of you. If there were something you want to hear more about, something you have a question about, anything, I would love to hear from you!

In the meantime, I am going to leave you with this letter I stumbled upon during my recent collection of my mother’s belongings in Kansas City, a trip I tried vividly describing in Pi Miles to My Destination. I thought it befitting considering my mama was and still is my biggest cheerleader.

LETTER 2 MAMA

Dear Mama,

By the time you are reading this, I will be on my way to Los Angeles, California, where I will be living on my own for quite some time. This is not meant to be some sort of cheesy letter telling you how much I love you, but more like a “I’m growing up and doing my own things” kinda letter, an appreciation expression letter…though if it makes u cry or feel any other sort of “sappy” emotion, I apologize. Haha…Anywayz, I know it’s not like I’m not going to talk to you often or anything, but there are just some things I want you to know before I leave for such a long time and we are unable to see each other. I know that I have done some things that neither of us are very proud of, but I’ve also done some things that we can both be very proud of. Well, I hope that my moving to Los Angeles to attend Fashion school and do whatever else I choose to do will not only make myself proud, but I hope that you will be proud of me, as well. It is amazing how you learn something new everyday and since the day I was born, I have been learning new things everyday in Kansas City…Now, I will be learning new things everyday that I can’t just “come home” and share with you. I just pray that the outcome of whatever I learn and do will make you proud. I know that what I do from now on is my own decisions, but you really have been an inspiration, and I think everyone wants to make that one person happy and proud. It seems that no matter what I am doing, even if it is making me happy…I have to have the approval of my mother. And as annoying as that can be, it is inevitable. All the times I said that you weren’t supportive or encouraging, I realize that you always were and always have been…in more ways than one. I hope that someday you will realize how appreciative I truly am that you are allowing me this opportunity to go to California and attend this Fashion Institute. It is hard to describe the gratitude I feel. I dream that someday I will be able to repay you monetarily, but through your own little country home and all the other material things you’ve aspired of.

I know that I am not the nicest, sweetest daughter that I always could have been and I am truly sorry for all the times that I seriously hurt you and your feelings. I always say that I have no regrets because everything happens for a reason and u learn from your mistakes, and I still believe that with all my heart, but I learned in an unsatisfactory way. I am sorry.

No matter what I do and where I go, I will always remember where I come from and I know you are thinking that that is easier said than done, but you have taught me the simplicity of life. You have taught me that you truly can be happy with the “bare minimum.” You have taught me so much. I’ve watched you, for 18 years, now, go through so much shit and still come out strong and I just hope that that is a characteristic that I possess of yours. I am going to try so hard, every day, to not take anything for granted! I know that I still have to learn from my own mistakes, but at least, I have someone to look up to.

If I had myself as a daughter, I probably would have killed me before, but you didn’t and you would never. Do you know that I feel like I don’t deserve you and some of the things you’ve done for me? In fact, I know I don’t and of course, I’m not finished. There is more to be said. It is amazing to me when I think about the past years and how fast they came. I mean just six years ago, I was throwing a “Sevvy” party with Jen at her house. Now I’m throwing a “going away, we’re gettin’ out on our own, movin’ to California” gathering. Haha J I know that it is going to be hard not seeing you for a long time but if I have your motivation, ambition and strength, then I should be just fine. J

Call me whenever you want to, remember to set the alarm EVERY NITE please! Also, remember to do the things that make u happy…gardening, painting, being creative…where else do u think I got it? I will miss you and I love you so much. I thank you for the first 18 years of my life, and being the greatest mama you could. Once again, I’m at a loss of words, but I think you get the point. I love you.

Much Love Forever & Ever,

Your one & only daughter,

<3 Linds