Homesickness at 106

I’ve been so homesick lately.  It’s been almost four months since I moved into this new home, and I’m finally getting homesick.

Over the last few days, I’ve been looking around this home, and I realized that nothing about it feels like mine.  Nothing about it feels like the comfort of home.  I don’t see any of the useless trinkets that adorned my last home.  Instead, I see items that belonged to another person in another time.  The sugar bowls above my cabinets.  The ceramic that clutters my counter by the stove.  Inherited, ugly dishwear that we eat off of.  Foreign pots and pans that I prepare food on.

At first, it was like an exciting vacation home.  It was an escape from my ramshackle house that had strings like Pinocchio.  I was a puppet in my own home, and eventually, I was forcibly removed from that home with the final passive-aggressive jabs in a long, relentless series of them.  I had broken free of my failure to launch syndrome and was on the road to becoming a self-sufficient adult.

Now, I feel more helpless than ever before.  In my hometown, I could free myself of the bondage of my house whenever I felt like it.  There was a wealth of places I could go and see.  Here, I am trapped at the end of a beautiful, scenic private driveway in an idyllic little town.  To get off of this mountainous terrain, it’s a mile’s walk straight down a series of steep hills.  And even if I were to make it into town, there is nothing to do and nowhere to go.

I don’t miss the cramped nature of 511, with junk brimming from every tiny storage area there was.  But, now, I feel that there is no place of solace for me.  My bedroom was my bedroom.  All of my stuff was comforting, and my space was adorned with knicknacks of years past.  It was a representation of me.  I feel like this place is completely devoid of that.  This place feels devoid of me, and I’m beginning to feel lost.  I’m beginning to feel like I’m losing myself, instead of finding a place where I could discover myself once again.

There’s too many negative memories attached to that house.  So many, that they actually outweigh the positive ones.  In that house, I lived with Avi, without heat, in the most brutal winter I can recall.  I lived out of boxes, surrounded by piles of garbage and junk.  I was estranged from that house in warmer months as a means of escape.  I hit the bottom of the barrel with a miserable labor job, a serious drinking problem, and a completely hopeless future.

It was in that house that I was coerced into having immoral sex with Simon in a sick, twisted threesome.  I hardly remember it.  Most of what I can recall from the situation has a haze over it.

There were good things.  It was the place where Xan was partially unconscious in my lap on New Years’ Eve, and I fed him a special New Years’ Eve pretzel I made in the bakery at work.  It was the place where I first realized that I loved him.  That was the house where Xan and I first lived together as a couple.  It was the first place we made love.

That was the place where we started our life together.  It was the place we went back to after our wedding.  It was the house that our child was conceived in.  We brought our little bundle of joy home there, and slept on the living room floor next to his bassinet for the first month.  There, our son took his first steps, said his first words, and grew from a baby to a child.

Again, there was the bad and even the ugly.  Too much violence happened there, both physical, verbal, and self-inflicted.  It was a breeding ground for negativity.  Xan and I used to have these knock-down, no-hold-barred fights there.  I recall too many moments where I stormed up the stairs to escape him.  The whole last four months of our residence in that home was a complete disaster in our marriage.

In essence, I escaped that place.  But, is the devil you don’t know worse than the devil you do?

Positives.  Think of the positives.

This house has the potential to become my lifetime home.  Maybe I am just homesick because I spent six years in the last house, and only four months here.

This house is located in a safe area for my son, and provides a calm, free environment for him.  In addition, it has a better school district and provides better learning opportunities and support for him.

This house has additional space.  I don’t feel as cramped and caged, even if I do feel lonely and secluded.

Even though this house contains a lot of foreign items, it won’t forever.  I will acquire more items to replace the old ones that feel more like me.  It will become more familiar as time passes.

This house is not a money pit.  It is in good condition and was well built.  I do not spend a large amount of money on utilities, and there is hardly a threat that I will ever be without.

I will never be threatened to be evicted from this home.  There are no strings attached and the owner is very hands-off.  I will never find myself threatened or harassed over this house.

Xan and Beast are happy here.

It is easy to clean and requires little maintenance.  It might be a little more overwhelming, since it’s a bit bigger than the other house.  But, I don’t have to look at torn out walls and feel a sense of hopelessness and fear toward the condition.

I can be happy here.  I have been happy here.  Summers are far more temperate and beautiful here.  Autumn is gorgeous with all of the foliage.  Winter might even be nice with fresh white snow covering the yard and the woods.

It’s quiet.  I can think.

And one day, I’ll be able to get around on my own.  Even if there is really nowhere to go.  I’ll be less lost and I’ll understand the area a little better.

I’ll find my place here.  I know I will.  It’s just going to take some time.

Exercises to Build Self Esteem: #1. Pleasure and Happiness

Writing your Pleasure List

1. Take a clean sheet of paper and head somewhere you feel safe and relaxed.

2. Divide the paper into four sections:

– Section 01: People and Pets (who bring me pleasure when I think of them)
– Section 02: Places (that bring me pleasure when I think of them)
– Section 03: Things (that bring me pleasure when I think of them)
– Section 04: Things I like to do (that bring me pleasure)

3. Then write as many examples as you can under each section.
4. Remember to allow yourself to feel happy!

Section 01: People and Pets

  • Xan, my husband.
  • Beast, my son
  • Dill, my friend
  • Zen, my cat that passed on last year
  • Rees, my friend.
  • Ruby, my friend
  • Carla, my friend
  • Monday, my friend
  • My MIL
  • My FIL

Section 02: Places

  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina:   It is absolutely, hands down, my favorite vacation spot.  The beaches are huge and sandy.  The local, southern food is amazing, and the local people are very friendly.  I have some of my most fond memories there.  When I was sixteen, it was my first taste of freedom.  It was the only town I was ever allowed to wander around in unsupervised.  I was free to go wherever I wanted within a certain 15 block radius in either direction.  For Myrtle Beach, that’s a lot of territory.  I spent my honeymoon there with Xan.  It was the first time I had ever gone on vacation as an adult.  We just had the most lovely time, I recall.  Good food, peaceful setting, and a lovely beach.  I got to wake up every single morning to go out on the patio and watch the sunrise.  It was magical.
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia:  I recall Virginia Beach having one of the most impressive boardwalks I had ever been on.  Anything you could ever want was on that board walk.  I was thirteen years old, and I’d sneak out to my very own balcony in the middle of the night just to watch the moon rise on the ocean.  It was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen.  It was fairly close by car, so I wasn’t stuck in the car forever with my parents.  And, since I had my own room in our suite, I had a huge amount of privacy.  It was the best vacation I can remember from my childhood.
  • The Fountains in Pittsburgh:   There’s something about those fountains.  Pittsburgh has plenty of them, because we are so close to the river.  There was one in particular that I loved, and I took a photo of it right before my surgical consultation the August before last.  Something about it was calming, and settled me down to think about the beautiful things in life.  I even wrote a post called, “All the Pretty Things”.
  • The Trestle:   By my old house, in the same neighborhood I grew up in, there was this old, abandoned railroad trestle.  My best friend showed it to me when we were in our early teens.  We used to hang out there to drink and smoke pot.  Then, we’d have these deep conversations about our thoughts and feelings.  Those were very intimate moments.When Beck, my ex, and I became secret lovers behind her back, we used to frequent the trestle.  It was the place that I had my first kiss with a boy.  And he and I would sit there for hours, holding each other, talking about our dreams, and making plans for our future together.  And after Beck and I broke up, I didn’t go back again.

    Until there was Xan, three years later.  At the time, we were living with my ex, Avi.  I felt a bond with Xan that I couldn’t quite explain.  So, I took him there, so that we could be alone.  We hung out and we drank.  It was a beautiful alone place, even if it was a rusted trestle.  You could see the creek below, and it was surrounded by trees, a rarity in that neighborhood.

    It was the place where Xan and I spent our first night together as a couple.  We sat up all night and talked.  I don’t recall what about.  The past.  The present.  Maybe even the future.  I know we went through the story of our developing relationship, and how we got to this point.  And I remember we held each other in the rain until the morning light.

Section 03: Things:

  • My computer
  • My Samsung Captivate Glide
  • Pandora
  • My stuffed animal from when I was a kid
  • Coffee
  • Pizza
  • New clothes
  • Cigarettes
  • Overhead Lighting
  • WordPress
  • Facebook
  • Bejeweled Blitz
  • Bed
  • My blue coffee cup
  • My brown skirt
  • The Internet
  • Wikipedia
  • WebMD
  • Medscape
  • Google
  • Craigslist
  • My blue blanket
  • My journals
  • Inkjoy pens
  • G2 Gel Pens
  • All no bleed Sharpies
  • Office supplies
  • Caffeine
  • My medication
  • My contacts

Section 04: Things I like to do:

  • Go for long car rides
  • Eat at this little mom and pop diner a few towns over
  • Shop
  • Get dressed up (sometimes)
  • Take hot showers
  • Visit my in-laws
  • Craft
  • Take on a new project
  • Crochet
  • Write
  • Read
  • Write on WordPress
  • Read on WordPress
  • Do selfless acts
  • Practice Tang Soo Do
  • Play computer games
  • Watch my favorite TV shows
  • Create things
  • Play with my son
  • Spend time with my husband

All that I am, all that I ever was...

“Pleasure is the only thing one should live for, nothing ages like happiness.”
~ Oscar Wilde ~

Accentuate the positives

The first exercise toward building better self-esteem is to focus on the positives. Now, I’m not a convert into the positive thinking movement, in fact I find books that proclaim all we need to do is think positively and everything we want will magically appear out of thin air complete crap. I don’t believe someone can ‘pretend away depression’ nor do I believe thinking positively will cure you of cancer or the myriad of other illnesses that people suffer from.

However, thinking positive thoughts about ourselves can bring about an attitude change toward better self-perception.

Once upon a time I was in a counselling session. I had seen this counsellor for several sessions and in each one he noted how stressed and tense I was; how I sat in a…

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Leep-Into-Cin II – Part I

Finding out about HPV and cervical cancer

As the Pendulum Swings

Warning: The following content can be considered graphical in nature.  It may contain material that may not be appropriate for certain audiences.  Children under the age of 18, those of the male gender, and others faint of heart may want to take extra care while viewing this.  Use your own discretion.

One Bad Apple . . .
Twelve years ago, almost to the day, the relationship with my first love started.  We had gone circles for over six months.  He eyed me, and I fancied him.  We spoke almost daily and we had become great friends.  There were many late night conversations, spilling out our hopes, dreams, fears…  But, he was forbidden fruit, the tastiest of them all.  He was my best friend’s boyfriend.  After over a month of clandestine meetings, secret phone conversations, secrets, and lies, I came clean.  And within six months after that, we were no longer…

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The C Word : 30 Days of Truth

Warning: The following content can be considered graphical in nature.  It may contain material that may not be appropriate for certain audiences.  Children under the age of 13, those of the male gender, and others faint of heart may want to take extra care while viewing this.  Use your own discretion.

Day 16 : Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl.  She fancied herself wise and experienced in the world at the ripe young age of fifteen.  Since she was the age where she considered herself an adult, because she had an adult body, she started to do adult things.  Being in a monogamous, committed relationship, she decided herself old enough, and educated enough by the health classes in the public school system, to start having sex.

That naïve little girl grew up and discovered that her monogamous relationship existed only with one party.  Seeing as how she was much older now, at the ripe older age of 18, she considered herself naïve in the past, but much wiser now.  She knew of sexually transmitted diseases and let out a sigh of relief at the knowledge that she had used condoms at every frequent instance of sexual intercourse.

That girl, she is me.

Throughout the years, I had gained a new definition of relationships and explored my sexuality.  I wasn’t much for one night stands, I preferred a committed relationship, but as it turns out, I was not particularly good at staying monogamous.  Sometimes, I would have a momentary indiscretion and have repeat ex-sex.  Other times, I just fooled around with others for a self-esteem boost.  None without protection.

Protection is a term that should be used loosely with condoms.  When used correctly, condoms can prevent pregnancy in 99% of cases.

HPV doesn’t care about condoms.

I could live without HPV and the cancer it caused me.

For those of you that find yourself at a loss for the topic of HPV, I’ll give you a rundown.  Human Papilloma Virus is a sexually transmitted disease that transmits itself from contact to contact with partners.  It is a virus and can stay dormant in a person’s system for years, kind of like herpes.  Except, with HPV, there are often no immediate outward symptoms.  There is no way to tell if a person has contracted the virus with either partner.  It is a silent illness with a potential for being deadly, if left untreated.

HPV is actually so common that upwards of 50% of the population will contract the disease within their lifetime.  Being a virus, in many cases, especially with younger patients, the illness will resolve itself without any intervention.

Otherwise, it is an unimaginable hell.

In 2007, I underwent a colposcopy with a biopsy to determine the cause of my abnormal pap smear.  A colposcopy is a diagnostic procedure where the doctor sprays a solution on the cervix to make it clear.  Abnormal cells can be detected when they don’t turn clear.  If they are discovered, the area is biopsied to determine the progression of abnormality, essentially meaning cancerous in nature.

A pap smear is uncomfortable enough.  They take an instrument and scrape a layer of skin off of the cervix for testing.  It is one of the most painful gynecological procedures I had gone through at that point in time.

I was diagnosed with cervical dysplasia termed CIN-I, the least threatening development.  I was in my early 20’s, and the doctors had decided that I would get regular screenings to monitor it.  I was assured that it would resolve on its own, being that I was a younger woman with no history of chronic illness.

A year later, I was 34 weeks pregnant with my son.  The doctor had determined it was necessary to check on the dysplasia.  The growth had become bad enough that they risked preterm labor to get a sample.  CIN-II.  It was not resolving on its own.  I had defied statistics.

Six months later, the doctor performed another colposcopy with a biopsy.  CIN-III.  It had progressed again, one step before invasive cancer.  That was when I had my first surgery.

The surgery is actually a pretty outdated, but not quite as invasive, procedure with a very low success rate.  It was cryosurgery, where they take a cold probe and freeze the bad cells off.

For this surgery, they lied.  The doctors told me that it would be uncomfortable and not too unlike a colposcopy.  Seeing as how I endured one during late term pregnancy, I felt confident.  Instead, I ended up being left in a silent room with my legs in the air.  “Wait five minutes and then get up.  And you’ll be all done.’

I was alone in that room.  I attempted to sit and found that I couldn’t.  It was extraordinarily painful, and I rolled to one side on the table, nearly falling off.  I pulled myself up, and limped out of the office holding my stomach.

Everything from the waist down was in as much pain as it was postpartum.  I limped out to the parking lot, and had to stand to wait for my father.  I went home with no medicine, unmedicated bipolar disorder, a seven month old infant, and a gushing crotch.  They fail to mention that the cryosurgery makes you gush fluid for another month after the procedure.  And there is really no way of telling the success of the procedure until the next six month pap screening.

I had one good pap smear.  The next two showed abnormal cells.  I was back in the office for another colposcopy with a biopsy.  It revealed that I had developed CIN-II again and I required another more invasive surgery this time.

That surgery is called a LEEP procedure.  For this surgery, the doctors put the patient into a twilight state and take an electrified loop to the cervix.  In this instance, the doctors are able to tell post-op if they were successful.  My margins came back clear.  That was November 2011.  My first follow up in May 2011 came back clear.  It was the first time in four years that I had been cancer free.

In the latter progressions of this cancer, symptoms start to become evident.  Doctors say they are not, but in retrospect, they are.  First, I was getting sick constantly.  Every virus that came past, I contracted.  I had the flu twice a year every year since my diagnosis.  I had numerous cases of bronchitis and constant ear infections.

In addition, there were changes in my lower regions I didn’t immediately notice.  I spotted between periods.  I almost always bled after sex or any insertion of pretty much anything.  Bumping the cervix eventually became painful, and sex was not quite as enjoyable.

I was always tired.  I had always felt like I was worn down.

I find that I am worried today.  I panic over every instance of spotting.  I started getting colds again.  And I won’t be able to know if the cancer has returned until November, after my regularly scheduled screening.

What if I have to go through yet another biopsy?  Another surgery?  Each surgery reduced the chances of being able to carry a child to term.  I am not finished having children.  What if this never goes away?  What if I have to have organs removed?

This cancer has been the Sword of Damocles over my head, a constant threat, for five years now.  I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

For more on my personal battle with HPV and cancer:

LEEP into Cin – Part 1 – The Story of how contracting HPV is possible.

LEEP into Cin Part 2 – The Story of the progression of the HPV

Leep into Cin Part 3 – The Story leading up to the most recent colposcopy and surgery

Fear and Loathing in Pittsburgh – Fear of the surgery consultation

Taking the Bullet – All of the what if’s about the surgery

Me and Magee – The LEEP procedure

Little Shades of Grey – Domestic Sexual Assault

Trigger Warning:  This post may contain triggers that would be hazardous for readers who have a history with sexual assault and crimes of that nature.  It is strongly advised that children under the age of 13 and those that may suffer adverse affects from this post take care and use caution while reading,.  Reader discretion is advised.

In the previous post, Little Shades of Grey – Sexual Assault by a Lover, there was a representation of statistics and a personal account concerning sexual assault and rape.  Unfortunately, that incident was not a sole occurrence.  In fact, it was just the first.

Some women are still stuck in the old mentality that there are just some things you have to do to please and keep your man.  I grew up with the idea that sometimes, I would have to perform sexual acts I did not want to participate in, or I’d have to engage in intercourse when the mood and / or time was not right for me.  It was the nature of being a woman.

Dozens of grey rapes, my mind came to put a term to it, so I wouldn’t actually have to relive it. It was the attempt to free myself from the haunting memories. But, it wasn’t enough. Dozens of times I said no. Many times he reminded me that if he wasn’t “gettin’ it from you, then I’ll get it somewhere else”. Bullied into it, by a man who preyed on my deepest vulnerabilities.

How many times had I thought we had a fantastic night only to wake up to a surly, dismissive, apathetic day?

I started to realize that there were no fantastic nights. There was cheap booze, little white lies, and completely carnal fucking.

The first instance with Avi was not even a full year after the incident with Beck.  It didn’t register, because it was just so subtle.  He lovingly and eagerly asked.  I was too ashamed to tell him the truth about what happened.  I was anxious at the idea of disappointing him, and I went along with it.  It was just that one time, right?  I could satisfy him and then say no.

Then, there is the mentality that no doesn’t really mean no.  For many women, myself included, there is a disconnect between mind and body.  While my mind may be shouting, “NO!”, my body may not be complying.  It’s confusing for a woman, and encouraging for a man.  Men, but societal rules, are accustomed to the chase.  Often times, men get the wrong signals.  And for a predator, that is a perfect excuse for inexcusable, despicable behavior.

To some men, no doesn’t mean no.  No means, coerce me.  No means, harass me.  And that’s exactly what I experienced.  There was no changing my mind, or else I was a tease of a girlfriend who deprived my boyfriend of sexual gratification for my own kicks.  There was no saying no, or my will would be broken down in one way or another.  Finally, not complying with his wishes was grounds for threats and dismissal.

“If you don’t do it by choice, then I’ll just have to take it by force.  But you’d like that, wouldn’t you?”  I shiver and tremble at that phrase.  In my mind, there was nothing worse than losing control of my situation.  What I didn’t realize was that sex and sexual acts were no longer my own choice.  I was, for all intensive purposes, a victim of continual sexual assault and grey rape.

Sex is often a mechanism for control.  And seeing as how I was also both a victim and abuser in other ways, it was the perfect arena for him to gain back control.  Though I would disagree, and I would put up a fight, he would always eventually win.  Nothing scared me more than another full on assault.  Maybe I thought I had the control by consenting.  It’s tricky to know.  I described a bit of it in Decent into Hell.

Just say yes, you little masochist.  

Addictions leave you little choice.

Help me tighten these chains.  Is that my voice?  My mind screamed to be released, for me to take the free ticket to ride and go.  But my heart without it’s limbs could not be freed from it’s vice.

The pleasant memories melted into the form of nightmares.  There was a double edged sword, turning the pleasurable jabs into horrific stabs.  My monologue’s narrator was raspy and exhausted.  Playful smiles turned to sinister grins just as loving chuckles morphed into maniacal laughter.  The blaze pushed forward, engulfing everything in sight.  It seared my flesh, leaving nothing but brittle bone.

In a domestic relationship, it becomes harder to define rape. It becomes even harder to convince others that the sexual contact was not consensual. Worse, is the probability that one will have to face their assailant in the wreckage of the aftermath of reporting.  And that’s possibly why so many sexual assaults and rapes go unreported in those situations.

There are deviant sexual acts I was forced to participate in that I am still ashamed of.  I recall my first threesome.  I consented to it under the pretense of defensive sex.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with defensive sex, it is a sexual response to an emotional manipulation playing on the insecurities of sexual performance and satisfaction.  It is an attempt to avoid abandonment and ease fears for some.  I recognize the manipulation in my own mind now.  And I realize that I had engaged in this behavior and played into his own hand.

The focus of the threesome shifted to a twosome, only involving me as a third party observer.  And I recall watching, thinking I had been tricked into watching my ex sexually gratify himself as a show of force.  As if he was proving to me that other women wanted him, and I was apt to lose him at any time.  I was ashamed at the manipulation.  Later, when my friend and I lost touch over it, I realized it was also an isolation mechanism, enabling all forms of abuse by removing me from third outsiders.

I could have never seen it coming.  Like other forms of abuse, it creeps up and becomes the new “norm”.  Also, it has devastating effects on emotional, sexual, and romantic dynamics in future relationships, again, like other forms of abuse.  This is just as real and horrifying as any other form of abuse, though it is far less recognized.  However, it should be recognized for what it is, and women should be educated and informed about the possibility of this type of hidden abuse.

With or Without You : 30 Days of Truth

Day 15 : Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

Most people would prefer to choose a certain special someone or an object to contain all of their affections.  Though my relationship with this is troubled, I have found it to be impossible to live without it.  Even if it’s so hard to live with it.

Medication.

I have made the attempt several times in my life to live without psychiatric medication.  My first was a psychiatric evaluation when I was thirteen, and I refused treatment.  What thirteen year old has the intense desire for repeated therapy visits and pesky medicine?  As a direct result, my symptoms progressed, and I wound up my own cutting board.  When it became concerning, no one was willing to take me back for actual treatment.  Instead, I unnecessarily suffered until I humiliatingly revealed myself and my wounds to an outsider.

The next time was in my late teens.  After being medicated for nearly five years with no result, I was ready to give up on $60 co-pays for a medication that just gave me heroin-like withdrawal symptoms when I forgot to take it.  (That was also the first time I became strongly inclined to start carrying medication on me in clever, cute containers).  I spent a gratuitous amount of time on weekends in a different county, an hour away from my home.  The bus services were shoddy at best, and if I forgot to take my medicine on Friday, then by Sunday morning, I was violently shaking and vomiting in front of my relatively new boyfriend.

This new boyfriend, Avi, convinced me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me.  The medication was doing more damage to me than good.  It was a waste of time and money.  Psychiatry was a joke and a con for cash.  It would be in my best interest to get off of the medication.

The funniest thing about that was the fact that I became irreconcilably depressed when I weaned myself from the Lexapro, an SSRI.  I required way more than my typical six hours of sleep.  I could no longer party until dawn.  And mostly, my only desire was to scream and cry my eyes out.  After you’ve been hypomanic for so many years, having a crash like that was epic.  Coincidentally, it coincided with the very first cliff fall in our torturous relationship.

And resulting in that choice, I developed functional alcoholism prior to the legal drinking age in the United States.  It took several abusers, victimization, abject poverty, and becoming an abuser to take me down into the depths of a bottle.

I found that I had even given up on self-medication.  When Xan and I got together, it became obvious that he suspected I suffered from addiction.  Though our relationship was certainly not new, our courtship was brand new.  In order to not put him off, and make a show of my own self-control, I slowly ditched the bottle.  I was so addicted that I found I had to be intoxicated to make love to him.  At least a little.

A few years later, I started treatment.  I had managed to remain sober, however, I had completely lost control of myself.  Several months into treatment, I ran into every medicated person’s greatest fear.  My medical coverage was eliminated.  Every pharmacy reported the same thing; Lamictal costs a fortune, and if I can’t afford COBRA, then I sure as hell cannot pay for it from pocket.  I found myself soliciting every pharmacy within a 10 mile radius for assistance.  Finally, one came through for me.  But, not before I suffered cruel withdrawal symptoms.

A similar withdrawal happened over a holiday.  I was unable to see my Pdoc before Christmas, and he had taken vacation through the New Year.  The office had a policy not to call in medications, so I had to make an appointment to go in.  Catch 22.  For four days, I laid there writhing in bed.  Xan took charge, and I had a refill that same day.

The very last time was one of my own poor choices.  That is exactly what mania does – it gets your hooks into you and tells you dirty little lies.  I had decided to attempt to wean myself from medication slowly so that I could prepare to attempt pregnancy.  I did so alone.  Instead of consulting a doctor, I went ahead.  And instead of getting off of medications, I had psychotic breaks the likes of which I have never been remotely acquainted with.  The result was more medication and a lesser likelihood of having a second child.

I have been without by force, by accident, by coercion, and of my own volition.  Like it or not, I cannot live without medication.

The Friday Confessional : Promiscuously Yours

This would be installment number two in The Friday Confessional Series.  For those of you that are new to The Friday Confessional, thanks to LaLa, writer at Seasons Change and So Have I, I have taken on the idea of the Friday Confessional.  There’s something so cleansing about it.  I am not Catholic, nor have I ever been.  But, I can see why confessional is an important part of their Christian denomination.  I believe that it’s important to mental health and spiritual health to come forward with any deep dark secrets that may be bothering me, consciously and unconsciously.

This is where I start working toward my clean slate.

Dear Avi,

I have written several articles about our tortured relationship, some of which are entitled, “Love the Way You Lie”, and “Decent into Hell”.  Facts are facts.  You abused me in every imaginable way.  You degraded me and manipulated me into sexual acts I am still ashamed that I performed.  Those are my own burdens now.  Karma has come full circle and dealt with you in the best possible way, although I am still unsure as to whether losing your entire military career taught you the lesson, “What goes around comes around.”  Maybe being divorced after six months of marriage in your twenties was bad enough.  Somehow, I doubt those things.

Karma has dealt with me.

For what?  Am I referring to the mutual abuse I helped to perpetuate?  Not exactly.

Sadly, the real breaking point in our relationship didn’t occur until you had made the open admission that you cheated on me.  It’s not that you cheated on me, it’s more about the lie.  I caught you doing it a year and a half prior, and you convinced me that I was paranoid and delusional.  It was damaging to my mental health, and truthfully, I never truly believed it.  Especially after her boyfriend clearly called you and threatened you right in front of me.

I was willing to let it go, because I thought I loved you.

The truth is, I never did.

I had no right to be upset with you about cheating.  Because honestly, I cheated on you probably more times and in more hurtful ways than you ever cheated on me.

I started my indiscretions at the very beginning of our relationship.  Remember when I told you I was going to be in Ohio visiting relatives?  Did it ever click later on that the only relative I have in that state is in Columbus?  Instead of visiting family, I was visiting a truly gorgeous young man who had a serious attraction to me.  We had been fooling around even before you and I were together.  I won’t attempt a justification, because if I had determined it was appropriate, I would have made the admission up front.

And we had crazy kinky sex all weekend.  It never occurred to you that those bruises were no accident.  That same lame accident I blurted out when I brushed the subject off the very next weekend.

Honestly, I had no love for Jamie, either.  But, he was a complete manwhore, mostly sexually indiscriminate between man, woman, young, or old.  Jamie was an incredibly attractive boy with incredible sexual skill and anatomy.    However, if had Jamie lived closer or attended the same school as we did, it would have been more likely for me to have chosen Jamie over you.  I may have come to have feelings for him, however unlikely. It was just a huge self-esteem booster to be the object of such a man’s desire.

Then, there was Jeff.  Jeff was actually an ongoing infidelity from the relationship prior to ours.  All of those whispered late-night calls were made from his bathroom after a booty call.  Sure, that’s all I was to him.  I was his secret sex, because basically, I just was not attractive enough for him to parade me around his shallow friends.  But, I never wanted to be his girlfriend or even his arm candy.  Why?  I failed to fall in love with him as well.  Instead, I fell in love with the thrill of his pathetic, shallow, sex-driven psyche.  I adored his compliments, sweet talk, and the ambition – all completely directed toward screwing me.  It was fantastic.

All of the unfaithfulness occurred within the first two months of our relationship.  That is the reason why I never reciprocated any loving gestures or words.  I collected them, just as I collected all of the affections from other men, however superficial.  I eventually settled for you because being promiscuous was getting exhausting.  Besides, you seemed like a guy I could probably stay with.

I was wrong.  I thought I loved you.  I fell into a hole I couldn’t dig myself out of.  And you trapped me, leaving me pacing the cage.

I cheated again with Jeff.  It was once, six months into our relationship, when he failed to sleep with Adrianne at a party that you weren’t invited to.

I cheated with Beck.  I went as far as to give Beck a third shot at dating and mating, even after everything that happened, because I loathed you so much.

I found myself seeking repeated emotional affairs.  In college, Q and I were fantastic friends.  One day, when you refused to at least walk me to a doctor’s appointment down the street, I stormed off.  Q came after me, and finally walked beside me on the street.  He grabbed my hand, and we talked.  I choked back tears as I recounted the argument.  Finally, Q stopped me in the middle of the busy city sidewalk, and embraced me.  I did attempt to pull back, but not for your sake.  For my own.  And he said, “I’m not letting you go until you’re okay.”

That was only the beginning of Q and me.  We went on “adventures” around the city together.  He’d grab my hand, and we’d skip class.  We went everywhere.  He bought me some odd Asian ice cream in the Strip District.  He taught me how to play DDR in Station Square.  He took me with a group of friends to a sushi restaurant in Oakland.  We walked through Schenley Park in Squirrel Hill.

Then, I went and ruined it by coming out with it.  “Do you ever think we could be together?”

“Not like that.  Probably not ever.”

And Simon.  Simon, a great friend for three whole years.  Simon, who I spent most of the summer with, drinking and talking on his back porch.  I had been more emotionally intimate with Simon than anyone in a long time.  But, you knew that.  That’s why we had a threesome with Simon on the anniversary of Simon’s and my first kiss.  And, Simon became weird about it, and I lost a friend.  You did it to try to prove to me that no man could ever love me, except for you who barely tolerated me.

Finally, there is you.  In reality, you were an affair from the relationship prior to ours as well.

For the record, I did not cheat with Xan.  I had an accidental romance with him over five years.  Over Beck, over all of those men, over Simon, and over you.  And in the end, Xan and I ended up where we belonged, proving you wrong.  A man can love me.

Most sincerely,

Decent into Hell : 30 Days of Truth

Day 08 : Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

Avi.

Staring out the bus window into the grey oblivion, the words slid right down the slate of my mind, and were carried away by the light breeze. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. Many other times I will myself to think of him, it is as if he’s become a ghost, who haunts at the most unfortunate moments.

That’s why there are journal entries for these moments.  This was the first in the trinity, the one prior to Possibility and Ascension.  It was started and completed in the same week, nearly a year after the relationship ended.


The last days of that relationship are blurry; my memories are obscured by the drugs and alcohol intoxicating my mind.  The days blended together in a ritualistic, self-medicated loop, work.drink.sleep.work.drink.sleep.sleep.drink.sleep… suspended in agonizing slow motion.  The silence was deafening in the deep, dark hours of night, still, cold, indifferent.  We were two strangers, caged together with a thick glass section between us.  I glanced across the DMZ, through ripples space and time itself, eager and desperate to eradicate the great divide.  But even if I could manage to successfully navigate the minefield, a feat I had attempted in vain when feeling particularly masochistic despite the optimistic spin I put on it, I would be greeted by a stranger.  Or rather an animal, for he had regressed into a rather primitive state.  This animal was vicious and feral, seemingly ripped from the wild and unsuccessfully domesticated.

My realizations were like awaking from a coma.  How much time had passed?  Who are you?  Where am I?  Is this real? – each more dizzying than the coma itself.  Awakening is clarity, but the clearer things became, the more confusing the reality.    The chambers of my mind grew to accommodate my expanding thoughts but created a warehouse echo.  I spoke, my voice reverberated off the crumbling walls and returned with a different sound altogether.  Perhaps, instead it was an accurate reflection but one can never recognize oneself in a room of distortion.

So perhaps my lover had been a stranger all along, reflected through hopes and dreams to create a lovely distortion.  They certainly aren’t all hideous, like mirrors that make one look tall and slender.  Had that been entirely truth, how long had he been a projection of my mind’s eye onto the screen that set the stage for our drama?  I looked into the rabbit hole and tumbled down, spiraling out of control.  How can one count time based on a relative measure?

I searched farther, grasping for answers as if they were my life raft in the black waters of time.  Our relationship started with sparks and flares… – Were they real like fourth of July fireworks?  Or instead were they the result of strong hallucinogenics resulting from intense desire to feel something?  More dialogue and script flowed through the undertow, sucking me into the dark abyss.

You know how when someone says ‘I love you’, you feel obligated to reciprocate?

… Yes

I’ve always meant it with you.

My heart swelled with infection while it festered away every inch that loved him with each tides push and pull.  It was abundantly clear that his performance was increasingly scripted, as I deviated with my improvisation.  Obsessively, I went farther, feverishly searching, scanning, hoping that there would be salvage, or better even, treasure.

Heaven knows that I love you, I love you today.

Today, that day, the only day that might as well had even existed in three years.  I felt it in my soul, the answers becoming closer sending off the flares and sparks I had been trying to rekindle, leading me in my personal night.  Yet on closer inspection, they certainly differentiated from the ones in my memory.  Instead, they appeared to be a blazing inferno on the shoreline.  I clawed the beach, pulling myself in for survival, for myself, for my sanity and found the treasure I’d been seeking.

Fool’s gold.  The beautiful scenery warped into something more sinister.  Twisted, charred, black… a glorious fire to commemorate something that never was.

It reminded me of the last string I pulled in the tapestry of our relationship.  My hair was ruby colored in the dull late autumn sun, surrounded by the grey scenery of the city.  We were bound for better.  He was up but I was coming down.  A lovely romance played out in my head, on panes of fragile glass.  We were vines twisting together up a lattice in vivid green, in a dream.  He deviated, but my vision was obstructed.  I felt the support let loose, my vine withered and my fruit shriveled.  He vaguely explained and my vision returned to expose his transgression occurring.  Struck with immobilizing poison, I watched like an invalid.  And when I came to, I was convinced it was a dream.

Smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors, I fell in love with the demon trickster himself.  A year and a half passed since the incident and all was voluntarily revealed.  The force pushed me outside myself, forced once again to watch this great tragedy unfold repeatedly.  Play.stop.rewind.play.

Just say yes, you little masochist.  

Addictions leave you little choice.

Help me tighten these chains.  Is that my voice?  My mind screamed to be released, for me to take the free ticket to ride and go.  But my heart without it’s limbs could not be freed from it’s vice.

The pleasant memories melted into the form of nightmares.  There was a double edged sword, turning the pleasurable jabs into horrific stabs.  My monologue’s narrator was raspy and exhausted.  Playful smiles turned to sinister grins just as loving chuckles morphed into maniacal laughter.  The blaze pushed forward, engulfing everything in sight.  It seared my flesh, leaving nothing but brittle bone.

Release me, for the love of god!!

It was morning following the apocalypse.  The war had been lost and I stood amongst it’s remains.  To my surprise, I was intact despite everything.  A wave of sorrow welled up inside me but nothing came.  I had finally been released but not by my captor.  He stood beside me, my caretaker, strong and silent like an angel.

I have always been beside you.  That wasn’t quite the truth, I was sure.  He had misspoke and instead meant, I have always been inside you… I felt those words resonating inside my soul which echoed it in perfect clarity.  This could only be made possible if they had the same dimensions… making them identical.  Twin souls!  It made perfect sense as the pieces seamlessly clicked together.  Only could twins never truly lose one another.  They were the only two that see each other through the deepest pits of hell and come out seemingly unscathed.

We were whole.  From the moment we met one another, five long years ago, we were whole.  And now we had the opportunity to experience it in our own realities..

Love the Way You Lie : 30 Days of Truth

Day 3 : Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Mutually Abusive Relationships
There is practically no literature on the subject of mutually abusive relationships, as this is only a recently recognized phenomenon.  While professionals, such as Dawn Bradley Berry, J. D. acknowledge that it occurs, few can agree on whether it was mutual in nature.

The dynamics of abusive relationships are significantly more complex than professionals seem to think.  In decades prior, society bred women to be docile, obedient, and complacent.  Most research reflects that in abusive relationships.  The man “attacks”, and the woman is “victimized”.

Unquestionably, that is precisely the manner abuse presented itself in my relationship prior to this one.  It began innocuously with casual criticisms and negative remarks.  A person is inclined to believe that a loved one only means the best, even if the words sting.  There was hardly a second thought toward the words.  Eventually, they grew into berating remarks, lambasting lectures, and generalized nitpicking over every action, behavior, expression, inaction, word, thought, emotion . . .

By then, I was already convinced that these heinous contortions were the embodiment of what I truly was.  I was already manipulated into believing I had been delusional about my own nature to begin with.  It was like being in a house of mirrors.  Every reflection revealed a new flaw.

But, a miniscule portion of my consciousness spotted the cracks all along.  It seemed I was not entirely convinced that this was the absolute truth.  Contradictions existed at everywhere in this fun house.  How was it possible that I was so stupid when my grade point average was far above his?  If I was such a flawed, inadequate, and vile person, why did I have so many faithful, loving friends?

At that point, the seeds of alcoholism were taking root.  I violated my own rules of drinking.  It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!  I’m not drinking alone if I’m drinking with my boyfriend.  Hair of the dog, best way to cure a hangover.  If I’m still managing to get to school and hold an honor’s average, I’m not drinking too much.

Liquid courage and comfortingly numb.

Naturally, I engaged the fire breathing dragon with my own fire.  Raw throat from screaming for hours, until one of us locked the other out, or I started packing a bag.  I was attempting to turn his own game right around on him.  The problem is that he was the gamemaster, and I was just a pawn.  I was always the pawn.  He could play me against me, and change the rules at will.

It was common knowledge. I would never leave.  I was already too terrified of the potential consequences.  Besides, all of my money was tied up in that apartment.  We had acquired a sizable amount of mutual property.  I was unwilling to sacrifice all of my gains, my gains, because I paid for them, to someone else.

Next, we moved into the isolation stage.  Suddenly, all of my girl friends were whores and my male friends wanted to get into my pants.  Your friends are a reflection of who you are.  No wonder you’re a completely stupid whore.  A drop of truth existed.  One of my closest friends was a teen mom, a stripper, and into drugs.  I didn’t see a whole lot wrong there.  She had a good heart, despite her mistakes.  But. . . maybe I was wrong.

We graduated college, lost our apartment, and moved onto some family property.  This was the turning point.  Here, we were completely alone.

I was a victim as much as I was an abuser.

It is one of the most difficult realities I have to face.

Prior to that point, I had never laid my hands on anyone with malicious intent.  And truthfully, I can’t pinpoint where it began.  Being in a perpetual state of inebriation has likely damaged that portion of my memory to beyond retrievable.  I can only recall certain events.  But, my mind will never be able to purge itself of the horror, guilt, rage, terror, hurt, and animosity I felt.

He started abusing me first.  Again, it started innocently enough with playful roughhousing that usually got out of hand.  Eventually, it turned into vulgar, degrading, often coerced, dangerously rough sex.  Then, it finally graduated to domestic life.  The transitions were so smooth that it was too hard to distinguish in the house of mirrors.  Sometimes you need to be put in your place.  You don’t know what’s good for you.

I became the monster that I loathed.  I was an animal, trapped in a cage, and emotionally, verbally, and now physically beaten for mistakes.  Sometimes, it was events that were beyond my control.  And, I gave in to my natural instincts.  I started fighting back.

I wanted him to feel the pain he inflicted upon me.

I recall a specific incident, the worst of them all.  We were drinking and playing World of Warcraft.  He was highly competitive, and I was entirely defensive.  As usual, he had remarks on my lack of skill and inadequacy in the team.  I started back in on him.  There was a back and forth that eventually provoked me to get up in his face.  He saw me coming and hit me in the face with a CAT5 cord.  The cord slashed my face and the connector rendered my right eye useless.

I pounced, but he knocked me flat on my back, with his foot on my chest.  He commanded, “You stay down there!”  I wrested myself free and attempted to get on my feet, only to be knocked flat and pinned again.  “Stay on the f***ing floor!“  Once more.  “I thought I f***ing told you to lay on the f***ing floor!”

I couldn’t free myself this time, and I angrily searched the floor for something, anything.  I grabbed a discarded vodka bottle and hurled with all of my strength at his head.  He jerked to dodge the impact, and I got to my feet.  I stared at him defiantly with my mouth twisted into a snarl.

“What the f*** do you think you’re doing?!  You could have f***ing killed me, you stupid b****!”

“I’m sorry I didn’t!”

He came at me, but I lunged for him, tackling him to the floor. I began mercilessly wailing on him as he antagonized me, “Is that all you got?! A fly could do more damage!” I slapped him across the face so hard that my red handprint swelled on his cheek.

He threw me off of him, but I was still in pursuit. My cheek burned, my eye puffed shut, and my rage incinerated every last shred of humanity that remained. I grabbed him by his shirt before he made it to the front door. He shoved me, but I remained latched to him.

“I’m leaving you, you crazy b****!”

“Take this with you!”, I spit at him and sunk my teeth into the flesh over his heart. He picked me up by my throat, viciously thrust me to the floor, and slammed the door. I laid there, coughing and gasping to regain my breath.

That wasn’t the end. The end didn’t come for nearly another year. And in that year, incidents such as these were commonplace. I could not legitimately claim victimization. I shared equal fault for the escalation of the abuse that occurred. Despite any trauma I have suffered, I am responsible for another person’s trauma.

That alone hinders healing.  Most of the world will never see themselves in that light.  I have more than glanced at the monster in the mirror.  I became it.  I abhor all parties involved in each and every single last act.  Including myself.  How could I possible forgive myself for such atrocities that I committed when I have personally felt the pain they inflict?