Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just Breathe

Breathe. Just Breathe. In. Out. You didn’t hear it. He didn’t say it. You have had these fights before. He didn’t mean it. You know you didn’t mean it. Just take a minute. Breathe. Just breathe. O.K. Maybe he means it tonight. Just get in the car and don’t let him see you cry. They say that’s the worst thing to do. But he knows I’m going to cry. Traitorous tears. Just breathe. Breathe. In. Out. Breathe. Someone else. Did he say there was someone else. Not really they’d just been talking. After work. Great. He’s in love with the girl that works at Orange Julius. I’ll never have a limeade again. Just breathe. In. Out. Oh fuck it. Let the tears come out. I’ve been wanting to cry for ages. Let ‘em flow like raging rivers. Let him drown in my anger and my sorrow. I know what this really is about. One tiny little word. "No." It has the power to scare the shit out of little boys and they think to make them men. Breathe in. Breathe in. Oh no, let it out, let it out. There. Almost home. Utter silence except my tears and my breathing. He pulls in and I’m out of the car before it even stops. I was barely gone a week and my life was turned upside down. I find out my mother was married before. And my boyfriend of two years, the one who I planned my life with, the one we planned our future together, or I kind of followed his plan, cheated on me. I waited three weeks for him and he couldn’t wait one week.
I enter my living room. Breathe in. Breath out. My sister and mother are there. I tell them what happened. My mother asks, "Did you do something nice girls don’t do?" Breathe in. Breathe out. Just keep breathing. She is such a comfort. "You’re too fat." My sister informs me. Breathe out. Or is it in. Just breathe. With those words of comfort, I go to bed to comfort myself. And through the night I breathe. Just breathe. In. Out. Sometimes, I have to consciously make the effort to breathe. My tears are so heavy, yet silent that I don’t feel like there’s enough room in my mouth to breathe and cry so I choose to cry instead. I’m alone. Because he was my best friend, too. So I have no one to talk to because my mother thinks I’m not a good girl and my sister thinks I’m too fat. And I never talk to my father. He makes my skin crawl. And I remind myself breathe in. I remind myself breathe out. The food that used to comfort me no longer helps. It is choking me and my tears don’t stop no matter where I am. And friends, friends that knew already and didn’t tell me, say I should stop crying. And his ego inflates. And other boys like me. But my tears won’t stop and I remind myself breathe in. Breathe out. And then I find a new friend to comfort me. Alcohol dulls the pain somewhat. It makes the tears go away. I can plaster a smile on my face. And I do. And I no longer have to remind myself to breathe in and to breathe out. I breathe in. I breathe out. I still cry. I don’t eat. I sleep long hours. I am suffering from depression but no one recognizes it. I know something is wrong. I know that when dying seems like a solution to my pain, that there is something wrong. But no one asks if I am okay. No one seems to care. And I find out how alone we truly are in this world. I continue to breathe in and breathe out. And my boyfriend. My former best friend has a new girlfriend. And she messes with his head and his heart and it doesn’t make me happy. I watch and I breathe in and breathe out. A fellow mourner of life, a dark soul who sees the blackness in the world and lays with it holds my hand but is too scared to speak. And I am too busy concentrating on breathing in and breathing out to help him understand me. I can barely breathe in and breathe out. I face rejection again from him, my boyfriend and it opens old wounds that had been closed. Breathe in. Breathe out.
I change my life plans. They remind me too much of him. Of what we had planned to do. It was all laid out before me a time line, structure. I now feel like a grocery store balloon let go from a child’s small hand as he was getting in the car, forgotten floating up and up loose in the atmosphere, where will I land? Or do I just burst into tiny pieces sprinkled over the earth shattered like my life. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Just breathe. The tears swim just below the surface. I still float in the wind and I know that none of it ever really had to do with him. It was me. I needed to escape me. And he would only ever be temporary. I said yes and it wasn’t any different than saying no in the end. I never found the escape because I couldn’t outrun myself. Just breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Just breathe. In. Out. You’ll find yourself and maybe it won’t be too late. To be yourself. Whoever you are. Without his time line. Without running from yourself. Without any tears. Without having to remember to breathe in. Breathe out. One day, you will just breathe. And that will be the day. You will begin to breathe. Just breathe.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Room

The walls are painted the color of butter, real butter that we all used to use.  The kind my father would open in sticks and place in a bowl then open the fake yellow margarine and dump those sticks in the bowl and it would sit out all day on the counter with a spoon in it.  Every once in a while, he or my mom would mash it with the spoon to see if it was soft enough to mix together, the fake with the real, to make a mixture of what?  Something partly good for you with half the taste?  I never questioned them on it.  I just remember my father sitting on the kitchen stool mixing the two together with a wooden spoon in a plastic bowl and when you could no longer tell butter from margarine, my mom would spoon it into saved margarine bowls.  Then into the fridge it went to harden and that's what we used.  Maybe they were saving calories, but why not just use the margarine?

Back to my room.  It is nothing like the room I grew up in.  The carpet only goes to about 6" from the wall.  Underneath are polished wood floors.  The hamper is overflowing, always.  Every flat surface has something on it that is out of place.  Clothes piled on top of a duvet filler piled on top of an over filled knitting basket.  A bookcase that holds clothes covered with a basket holding a doll filled with last year's school handbook and contact numbers.  An IKEA catalog that we'll never buy anything from a Christmas bag with a gift card from last Christmas that I just used.  The box the gift card came in.  The chest of drawers that holds my clothes, also holds the t.v. the cable box, a sign book a glass bottle the phone, a dvd, a blue ribbon and an alarm clock which I cannot see for everything else on the chest of drawers.  Another bookcase on the other side of the t.v. holds David's clothes.  On top of it is a white plastic basket that looks like a mini laundry basket.  My stuffed penguin, Popsicle is in it in bad need of repairs.  David's sweatpants hang over the side along with some dvds underneath them.  Beside that is a laundry basket, regular size with David's clothes in them.  It's always there and I don't know why he always wears clothes out of that stack.  But I haven't asked him.  Next to the window he has hung his baseball hats on the gold hook that would hold the curtain back.  It's not much of a curtain so this doesn't bother me.  On top of his dresser is a candle that long ago lost it's scent, a few of his belts, a plastic Virginia Tech cup with change in it and a fan.  Raider's bowl, our yellow lab that died quite a few years ago, is sitting with his ashes in a box and his collar and tags.  Our other dog that died, Baylee, his ashes are in a more ornate box and in an envelope is a clay paw print and a paint paw print of his.  His collars is there along with his bowl.  No we don't have bad luck with animals, they lived long happy lives with us, but like everything, they die and they ripped our hearts out when they did.  And when those paw prints came in the mail without any warning, not expected at all, I couldn't speak for hours remembering my dog, the only one I'd ever raised from a puppy, his pink and black tongue.  How no one but me could stand him licking.  How he once licked my husband's beard 123 times.  How my oldest son used to open his mouth when he was a toddler for him to lick inside his mouth.  How he kept Raider's ears clean, how he never had an ear infection while he was alive thanks to Baylee's meticulous licking.  How his tongue was just a little too long for his mouth and when he was at his most relaxed, it would hang out just a bit.  How he hated being left behind and he tore paper and he didn't like being blown in the face.  How soft his ears were, how silky his fur was, how he'd sit in the sun by the fence and face the driveway and let the wind blow against him, holding his head up majestically like he was a lion, proud and surveying his territory instead of a rescue dog, a chow lab mix trying to be the alpha of a dog fifty pounds larger than him.  My Baylee, my beautiful puppy will always be in my heart.  I would have died with him on that floor, too if I didn't have a husband and children and other dogs to take care of.  But there's always someone else to think of, so I had to lay there and watch the life go out of his eyes, his beautiful velvety brown eyes and his tongue stop and they wanted me to go.  And I thought, how can I leave him behind?  He was my first child.  I don't want him to be alone.  I don't want him stuck in a freezer.  But once my husband had me out of that room,  the assistant lovingly took his paw and put it in paint and pressed it on a piece of paper for me.  And then she took some soft clay and pressed his foot into it and made an impression so I wouldn't forget his pawprint.  It was so thoughtful and kind, yet that day, it opened the wound all over again.  Even now, I am sobbing remembering the day he died.  How long has it been?  Yesterday to me.  By the calendar?  A few years. Three maybe four.  It could be five.  I don't celebrate or remember deaths.  Not in years.  Somehow, it feels trite to describe my room now as I've described something so emotional, now.  I think I'll stop and write him back to life in a piece of fiction.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Not so Bad

Since no one knows about me except Ketch Tavern I'm not as scared to share things I've written.  Once, when I was manic, and quite obviously not on the right medication, I wrote a three hundred page novel in five days.  When you're manic, you don't need sleep, not until the end of the mania, you actually can't sleep.  I stayed awake for five days writing a contemporary love story.  I feel like all the imagination has been sucked out of me by all these pills I take.  I can't even see signs and symbols in novels anymore when they're staring me in the face.  I guess it's a small price to pay for sanity, but I always wonder who I really am?  Who is the girl without the pills?  What does she like to do?  Does she take better care of her family?  Can she hold down a real job?  You see I live with a lot of guilt because I never know from one day to the next, if I'm going to have an excruciating headache or just not be able to get out of bed.  I can't be counted on.  Being a writer would be ideal for me, but like my desire for sex, my desire to create has been totally tamped down so that it takes a monumental effort to find even that spark.  I feel it.  I've written it about ten times, that story I want to tell.  But there are fundamental problems with it and the magic isn't there.  It's just flat.  So I'll have to take it sentence by sentence and correct it, maybe taking great swaths of writing out.  Meanwhile, my contemporary romance novel sits, ready to go.  It's crap, but so are a lot of the cookie cutters romance novels I've read these days.  And its not what I want to write.  I want to talk to that girl underneath all the pills and tell her story.  God, she used to have such an imagination.  Nobody ever told her she couldn't write.  Nobody ever told her she had to get a real job.  She was still full of wonder about the world around her, looking for fairies under toadstools and Easter baskets in the bushes.  She believed in magic.  How do I swim through this foggy swamp of a mind to the clean water she swims in?  Where are you?  Who would you have been?  I miss that little girl that cried and felt aching loneliness at the age of nine.  It's better than not feeling.  I can almost remember feeling that.  It's much easier to call up pain and sadness.  Happiness,  I don't even know if I've ever felt it.  Like my ten year old says, "I know the other feeling is coming back so it doesn't last."  I just want to know me with out the meds.  But I know the consequences of that and they're grim.  So this is me.  This. is. me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I love to sit on the picnic table in my backyard and watch the wind blow through the pine trees. I close my eyes and wish I was part of that wind, just invisible and rushing past. Untouchable, silent in the empty spaces, unfeeling, emotionless. I dream I am the wind at night and I lie under my window, watching the pine tree right beside it sway in the window, wishing I could be the wind. I am in fourth grade and I love school, reading, my dog Pepper, my teacher Mrs. Johnson. I have discovered poetry and that I am good at writing it. Mrs. Johnson makes me feel special. Maybe she knows. But how can she see behind my smile? Even I don’t know what is wrong. I don’t have the words for it. So I smile and pretend that life is good.
My body is betraying me. I have to wear a training bra in fourth grade. I hide it from everyone. I’m ashamed because of it. I am illegitimate I hear my mother tell someone quietly. I am adopted, but I am not allowed to tell anyone. It is a dark secret. Another thing I am ashamed of, it puts me down two notches from everyone else. I am not as good as the rest of the kids in my class. They don’t know, but I do. I’m not worthy to learn with them. I am illegitimate. I am adopted. I am ashamed.
I spend a lot of time with my poetry journal and the picnic table and the wind and trees. I feel a deep sadness inside. I am loved by my family despite being illegitimate. I have friends despite being illegitimate. I go to church and ask for God’s forgiveness for being illegitimate. I do not feel forgiven. I feel a terrible burden that grows deeper each day and no matter how hard the wind blows, it doesn’t empty me of that word. I am defined by that word and I am less of a person than others, simply by that word. And my mother uses it to describe me.
The smile stays plastered to my face. No one suspects my shame. No one suspects my need for perfection is driven by a need to be on the same tier as my peers. But that A, only brings recognition that I do not want, it points to the illegitimate child. I only want to be equal, not noticed. I have a need to be invisible, unnoticed.
And again, my body betrays me. Boys notice my developing body and tease me. I am so ashamed. I wear loose baggy clothing, but it doesn’t hide the fact that I am no longer flat. The girls are jealous and the boys tease. I have nowhere to turn. I am not invisible
I go back to the wind. I feel it on my face. It does not judge. Illegitimate does not whisper on the breeze. Only a sway of trees makes noise. The grass ripples. The trees bend and I finally know the word. I am searching for peace. I have held the knife before while the wind whispered to me, stroked my face with it’s gentle fingers. I have tested it’s sharp blade against my tender young skin. I bleed red, illegitimate or not. I am like everyone in that way. I have my poetry journal in my lap as I slice across each wrist and lie back on the table.
The pine trees whisper with the wind blowing through them, peace echoes through me. The sadness has lifted and I am filled with weightlessness. I become part of the wind and I float away my body on the table, lifeless as it should have been. Never created. Given up. I have given it legitimacy in setting it free. And I caress the trees and the grass shapeless, invisible, emotionless, as I should always have been.


Black Hole

I open my eyes warily each day wondering whether I’ll be looking up from the bottom of a hole
Or if the hole will be looking up at me.
As the days grow shorter, it feels like a race against time, nothing can hold back the darkness,
The light is disappearing from my view.
When will I ever conquer this cycle? Will it continually rule and ruin my life so that one day, it will win,
And I will give in to the dark?
Will I wake up from the bottom and say, " I just can’t keep climbing back up only to find myself back at the bottom again."
And the pills, will be there whispering,
Open your hand, open your mouth. Swallow us all and you’ll end this never ending cycle of blackness and despair.
But what about my children?
What about the man who for sixteen years has seen me through all the attempts and the black dark holes and held my hand
Helping me climb back out?
If ever there was a reason to make me go on, it is the three of them, because surely, surely without them,
There is no reason to try.
The black hole opens its gaping mouth and I am falling in as sure as the leaves are changing, as sure as the words are on the page,
And I will cry and rant and be useless,
But I will fight and try to hide the darkest of my thoughts from them, and ask that my pills be hidden from me,
so I can’t hear them call,

I am finally out and the pills no longer call to me.
Damn that black hole. Damn the pills. Damn the voices. Damn the sadness. Damn the burden I will become.


This Is Where I Try To Be Brave

I created this blog to share some of my writing.  It's not really so much fiction as much as it is just some thoughts.  I don't care who reads it and if you don't comment that's fine, too.  I have never shared my writing, even with my husband.  It just feels so personal.  Maybe because it is.  But I decided it was easier to be anonymous on the Internet than anywhere else.  Believe it or not, despite numerous requests and Facebook pleas, none of my family has supported me by joining my book blog.  That's my family.  So, there's no risk of exposure there.  There won't be regular posts here.  And if you'd like to share your writing, you are more than welcome to, though it would have to be in a comment I think.  No, you could email it to me and I could post it.  So, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and putting one toe in the water.  Baby steps.