The Friday Confessional : Romancing Suicide

 

 

Though I confess the things that are most intimate to me, I don’t know if I am accurately painting the picture of the real me.  To everyone here, I am Lulu Stark, the writer, the mother, the wife, and most importantly, the woman who bares herself in the name of mental health and disorder awareness and advocacy.  But, I wanted to put some truths out there.  The uglier side.  The real side.

I only Lulu Stark in the persona.  The one that you read about.  The antihero, the antagonist, protagonist, the victim, the perpetrator, the survivor and occasionally, the hero.

What I don’t talk typically talk about is one of my darkest, sickest secrets of all.

 

Suicide.  I regularly have suicidal thoughts and occasionally ideation.  The little voice goes through the back of my mind, sometimes as an unintelligible whisper and other times as clear as a bell, I want to die.  I want to kill myself.  It would be so easy.  No one would miss me.

I imagine ways it would play out.  I idealize all of the scenarios of suicide.  In a way, it seems I’m under it’s spell.  It seems like the only way out of this torturous world of disorder and dysfunction.  I am more crippled by my illness than I let on.  I feel pathetic in my bones, and I desperately search for my solace in this place of distress and despair.  An endless string of hopeless days and bottomless pits.

I fall deeper, clinging to my last shreds of hope.  I am flirting with suicide, with his silver tongue, soft, familiar caresses, and honey sweet kisses on my neck.

I see a sturdy rope swung around a rafter in my basement, tied with a tidy slipknot instead of an impossible noose.  I stand on a rickety chair, dressed in my Sunday best, leaving a pretty, cold, lifeless corpse behind.  The shell of a woman who never really existed.

I stand with a glass of juice and a bottle’s worth of blue pills in my hand.  I am ready, stripped to nothing but a bathrobe.  Down the hatch, the medication leaves a bitter aftertaste.  I draw myself a hot bath and arm myself with a razor.  And then, I wait.  I wait until I am almost seeing double, and world starts to blue around the edges.  I dig the razor into my wrist and drag it with all of the force I can up to my the bend of my elbow.

Or, I just await death.  I lie in the tub, feeling myself slip away under the surface of the water.  In my mind, I imagine all of the people that would be thankful that I am finally gone.  How in a year or two, I will become a distant memory that only leaves the tiniest pang.  How my sullen face starts to fade from everyone’s mind and any trace of me begins to disappear.  I think of how easy the clean up would be.

Or maybe, I would clean myself up to begin with.  I would be powder fresh in a pretty pastel little girl dress I bought for the occasion.  I would empty all of the contents of my medicine into my stomach, washed down with an entire bottle of vodka.  I would tuck myself into a warm bed, and swaddle myself in blankets.  It would look like sleep at first.  My final sleep.  My resting place.  The only place in my life where I ever felt warm and safe.

 

For the record, I’d never do it.  There is an uglier side to suicide that I’m painfully aware of.  It could possibly be the most selfish act I could ever commit.  The finality of it all is too much for me to even wrap my head around.

My son asks where I went when I am gone for an hour for class.  I imagine his confusion and sadness when he comes to see that his mother will never return. I imagine the possibilities of who would raise him if I were to be gone for good.  He would likely fall into the hands of my own parents, and I would be sentencing him to a similar fate that I experienced.

There would never be enough of an apology for my Xan.  A piece of him would die inside, and he might go mad himself.  There wouldn’t be another out there for him.  He couldn’t possibly recover.  Leaving him to his own devices at work, cutting off communication, it’s too much for him to bear for a few hours.  What if I were to be gone for the rest of his lifetime?

And then there’s the matter of the afterlife.  What comes after death?  Through my Christian upbringing, I fear the day of judgement and the sentencing to an eternity of hell, separated from my friends and family, endlessly tortured in unimaginable ways.  Ways that are beyond my comprehension.

But, what if there is nothing?  What if I sacrificed my life for a world of nothingness?  What if a person just dies and there is nothing behind?  What if I am condemned to walk this Earth as a true ethereal being, and not just the kind I feel as a flesh and blood person?  I stand there and watch as people file in for my funeral.  I see my family overlooking my lifeless body, consumed with grief.  Then, I get to watch my family and friends mourn the loss, as someone irreplaceable that met a tragic and unfair end at my own hand.

Sometimes, I feel as if I am condemned to life.  Sometimes, I feel like I’ve chosen life over the alternatives.  Sometimes, it’s for the sake of my family and friends.  And there are those brief shining moments where I live life as the gift it was meant to be with the promise of tomorrow.

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The Friday Confessional : Mo Anam Cara

Last week, I wrote Seeds of Affection, confessing the almost sordid, but sweet details of Xan and my secret burgeoning relationship.

We left off with Xan’s admission of when he recognize his love for me.  Our moment was described in this:

Chronos smiled, freezing time for us, and only us.  The night stood still, permitting us to slip between the cracks of space and time.  We defied the continuum without breaking our bonds.  And for those moments, we were more than just two solitary entities inhabiting the same space.  We were the space; we were each others’ thoughts, voices, and breaths.

Something sparked that evening while we were painting.  I doubt me being in my underwear had much to do with it.  Art is an intimate thing, especially painting.  There is a lot of physical contact and what remains is a representation of the emotion in the area.  What was left was permanent.  We were oblivious to this, but it certainly wasn’t lost on his girlfriend.

Neither of us could understand why she was so upset.

Familiar places, familiar faces, we once again found ourselves on our eternal carousel, orbiting one another but never to meet in the middle.  Gravitation pull kept us circling, leaving others to be our asteroids consistently knocking us off course.  Nearly two years elapsed before our irregular orbits had crossed paths once more.  But other planets were aligning, creating a universal, cataclysmic event, speeding up motion and time.

Years passed, and we remained friends.  There was a barrier of friends and lovers that stood between us, wiser and more perceptive.  We had something, a certain something that can only be found between two people who were mean to be together.  But, neither of us knew it.  Individually, we had feelings for each other, but nothing that existed in the forefront of our minds.  And both of us believed that the other would be unlikely to give the other a sideways glance in any life.

Regardless, we still gravitated toward each other.  Through falling outs, jealous lovers severing our ties, and simply life leaving us in vague passing, we still managed to come back together.

The Eve of Omega and Alpha culminated at the end of a mighty crescendo.  All in one space and time resided unrealized past, present, and future respectively as if the freshly laundered fabric of time had been folded, once over, twice over, then again.  I was frozen, pondering the possibilities, and still too nearsighted to distinguish.  My crossroads were much fuzzier and perilous than I had realized and my choices too weighted and narrow.  Yet, he stood further down the path, silently beckoning me once again, always too far ahead like a time traveler.  And for once brief moment, I caught his greyish outline in the distance, down the overgrown path.  However, it wasn’t enough to detract from the bright signs, falsely guiding me down yet another treacherous path.

Confession #4:  At one point, I had recognized that I had affections for Xan.  This was months after we had started our pseudo dating.  I had written in my journal, “What is the difference between a best friend and a lover?”  Xan was my best friend.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again.  Xan had seen me at my very best, attending my concerts, screaming and smiling while riding shopping carts down busy city streets.  He had also witnessed my very darkest moments, all of the late night sobbing, the rages, vicious attacks and desperate, pathetic living conditions with alcoholism.  Xan knew me better than anyone in this world.  We shared more than two friends should probably have shared.

The spring air was crisp, and the beauty exuded more so than ever before.  We spoke, old moths to the flame, drawn in, never missing a beat to the rhythm of the familiar drum.  Perhaps we marked time to it, never straying far enough for life in all of it’s obstructive noise obscure it’s particular pulse.  Our time was infinite.  We walked the earth eternally, as long as the sky was blanketed in the celestial beings that kissed the sky.  Even with every step I took, I felt my chains to the other becoming more cumbersome, the burden unbearable.  I trudged on.

Xan and I spent a great deal of time on my balcony.  We were forced out there, because my ex was occupying the singular room we were living out of, while playing World of Warcraft.  It is not as if we were typically speaking words that shouldn’t have been overheard.  It was just incredibly difficult to have a deep conversation with blaring metal music and Avi’s incessant, nonsensical babble.

Drunk words are sober thoughts.  Confessions poured from my soul through my mouth faster than a river through the universe, traveling at the speed of light.  I was the sinner and he was my savior, hearing every gruesome detail, redeeming me with stroking words, caressing my frail soul.  The picture was black, the sound garbled like in a damaged film reel.  The scene continued regardless; the show must go on !

Confession #5:  I kissed Xan before we were officially together.  In fact, I didn’t remember it until after we were officially together.  Xan told me about how I had confessed my love for him while he dragged my limp, floppy body home from the bar one warm Saturday night.  That was the same Saturday night that I took him to the trestle.

Come with me.

Such a simple phrase struck a nerve and coursed my stagnant lifesblood through my icy veins.

The “come with me” phrase was in reference to his college choice.  He was finally ready to finish his degree, and was accepted into Tulane.  I was distraught at the idea of him leaving.  He put his hand on my knee and looked deep into my eyes.  He said, “Come with me.”  The way he said it was like, “Come with me, away from this place, away from this hell you’re in.”  It was like he wanted to rescue me.  It was the first time that anyone had said anything like that.  He cared for me so much that he couldn’t stand to leave me behind.

That boy loves you more than you’ll ever know.

First synapses firing, connecting, the stirrings of conscious realization.  The Alpha and Omega, overlapping in folds of time.  The mirage eroded before me, and the poisonous cloud released.

For the first time in centuries, we were standing face to face within the labyrinth.  Side by side, we made our way through its dark, narrow walkways.  Our flames licked each other eagerly, separate for the very last instant of eternity.  No walls remained, only the flesh and air between us.

“That boy loves you more than you’ll ever know,” was spoken by my own father, one hot summer night while we all drank together on the porch.  Xan had left to grab us all some more drinks, and my father told me that.  My father, the man who approved of absolutely nothing I had ever done or ever planned to do.  I could do no right in his eyes.  But, he seemed to see something I didn’t.

Confession #6:  That is among the dozens of reasons I married Xan.  Parental approval was more than through the roof.  I asked my mother how she would feel about our marriage, and she was thrilled.  She put out the engagement announcement in the paper the very next week.

In the dead of night, so silent the rain did not dare make a patter in this moment, he grasped my arm firmly and wrapped himself around me.  Underneath the long reach of the trees branches above, time slowed to accent the moment, and brand it in heart and memory for lifetimes to come.

I have always loved you.

He breathed into me, a life and fire to awaken mine.  Our lips touched, melting into one another.  Reunited, intertwined, conjoined at the purest moment of our final reunion. My being shot out so quickly reality could not keep pace.  Time and space bent for us, allowing this moment to live in all of our eternities.

I, as well.  I have always loved you.  

It echoed louder than a chorus of angels, spreading throughout all the worlds to be recognized for the cosmic event it was.  Twin souls, united, now indiscernible from one another.  Two halves of the whole conjoined, intertwining with each passage, every last exchange.  Our flames united into the blazing inferno, lighting up the whole world around us.  He gazed into me as I gazed into him.  And in that very second, we fell into one another, freed from the labyrinth.  Only the world, our beautiful, majestic world, with the vast fields yielding those just emerging seedlings, existed among us.

Mo Anam Cara. It was in that moment that I knew in my heart and soul that I had found My Soul Friend, the English literal translation.

Final Confession:  There is a concept beyond all descriptions of any kind of intense love that exists.  It’s a love that transcends our physical existence in any time or dimensions.  It exists everywhere, in all space, and in all time, defying the laws of nature.  That is how I feel about Xan.  And secretly, I think it’s the way I’ve always felt.

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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The Friday Confessional : I Loved You More

When Xan and I were getting together, I once wrote in a journal, “What’s the difference between a best friend and a lover?”  The only answer I could muster was, “The fact that they aren’t physically intimate.  That’s about it.”  Not that two people aren’t attracted to each other, but that two people were not being sexual.  It was the only hard and fast line I could define.

Even that line begins to blur at some point.

I had my first kiss at thirteen.  It was New Years Eve and we were sitting up on a snow covered roof with a friend.  We were close together, wrapped in a blanket for warmth.  We all were talking about life and love, and it was so silent outside besides our own voices.  Suddenly, the world burst to life with people shouting and pots and pans banging.  Our friend started to hoot and holler.  I looked at my friend, and had so many fond, but conflicted feelings.

That’s when my best friend put her hands on my face and kissed me deeply.

We were the best of friends for over a year at that point.  In that year, I began to become symptomatic.  She was my confidant, and I poured my heart and soul out to her in the early hours of many a Saturday morning.  Her hugs were the warmest and tightest, the kind that brought a person back from the brink and back down to Earth.  She rooted me, and often became the sole reason I didn’t slash my wrists right there and then.

Her parents were divorcing at the time.  She was forced from her family home into a tiny apartment with her mom.  Her mom started working, so we had a lot of time alone.  Somehow, we both managed to date guys, but we never really had boyfriends.  I always had strange feelings for her.  I kept them to myself, because bi-curiousity was not encouraged in my area.  I didn’t want to be that weirdo that had a lesbian crush on her.

It turned out that she had the same feelings.  She was never one for expressing herself through words, so she just went for the kiss.  I was shocked, and didn’t know what to make of it.  Was it for the shock value in front of our friend?  We were so known for that.  Anything to shake it up, or make people laugh.  We were an entertaining pair.

The next day, in the confines of my bedroom, over a cigarette, we talked.  She was serious.  She had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to kiss me and make it count.  There was no other way she could get it across to me.

And truthfully, I fell in love with Kat.  I wrote in a journal once, “She was the first person I really fell in love with.  No confusion between a best friend and a lover.”   At that age, I can see the confusion.  But, it’s more than fifteen years later, and I still feel the same way.  I loved her.  I didn’t care that she was a female.  I loved everything about her.  I loved her fire.  Her art was intoxicating.  There’s still one piece that I’ve been attempting to replicate for years.  But, I’m not her.  I don’t have that kind of talent.

We complimented each other.  I was a writer and a musician at the time.  She was an artist.  I would write things and she would illustrate them as if she was in my head.  She always knew what was in my heart and on my mind.  We stole kisses in the night and behind buildings.  We shared my twin bed to sleep in on the weekends.  I never thought it was strange, even before we were together.

Together, in italics, meaning we were secret.  Therefore, we were never really defined.  I never understood the rules of our relationship, and I still can’t make sense of them today.  We were part-time lovers, apparently.  Eventually, friends and family started to get suspicious, because we stopped dating boys and dedicated all of our free time to one another.  So, she hatched a plan.

“I’ll date this boy and you date his friend.”

It would have been a perfect cover if things had gone according to plan.  These boys lived towns away, and without cars, it was difficult to maintain anything beyond a phone relationship.  Her and her boyfriend had a passionate, but turbulent relationship.  I was starting to get confused about who she had affections for anymore.  I’d ask, and she’d reassure me.  But, there were times where she’d push me away.  She was constantly breaking up with the both of us and getting back together with the other, when she wasn’t trying to manage the both of us.

Eventually, the boy and I grew closer.  And one night, he admitted his love for me.  I had longed for him and his kindness, being so jealous of her and him and not having that affection.  I confessed my own love and longing, and that was the day we called our anniversary for the next four years.  We had only a month before I finally gave in and told her.

Something strange happened.  I went away on a long summer vacation after that.  When I returned, she contacted me telling me she missed me.  And we were back on until the late autumn.  On a icy November morning, she was silent with me.  We used a singular computer to type back and forth to one another.  She asked me to choose between the two of them.

“It’s not fair,” the print on the screen read back to her.

“I’m not changing my mind.  You can’t have us both.”

“I have to choose him.  I love you.  I’m sorry.”

Things weren’t the same after that.  We tried to go back to being just friends, but I could see the agony in her eyes.  As far as I was concerned, she made her choice when she stepped out on me the first dozen times.  I was just finalizing it for her.  Several months later, she set me up to get in trouble, and it was the perfect cover for her to duck out on me.

I remember that Friday in March, two days after everything had thrown down.  She always rode my bus home with me, because we were going to babysit down the street.  I knew I wasn’t included anymore.  She gave me what was coming to me for all of the horrible things I had done to her.  I had hoped that there would be some redemption. She sat behind me, and I turned around to talk to her.  She ignored me, like I wasn’t even there, and went prattling on to a mutual friend sitting beside her.

I had become a ghost to her – to everyone who had anything to do with the both of us.  It had been like this at the lunch table, in our classes.  My life was stolen from me, and I deserved it.  I told her so, and begged her to talk to me.  She finally faced me and refused.  “I’ve had enough.  I’ve taken so much from you in the last two years.  You are dead to me.  Don’t talk to me again.”

I was confined to my room after the incident, so I just isolated myself to my bed.  I went to bed early and woke at dawn.  I looked up and out my window into the never ending grey sky.  And I said aloud, “If I hadn’t done any of this, she would be beside me right now.”

Later, I wrote a letter to her in my journal to say goodbye.  And I wrote, “In the end, after everything, I just wanted you to know that I always loved you more than anyone.”

20 Day Challenge – Day 11

10 Persons I Can’t Live Without

The following ten people are people who exist in my real life. No offense to my blogging lovelies, this list could go on for miles. I had to put a limit on it, so I’ve limited it to those people in my real life that I have close to daily contact with.

  1. Xan:   Truly the light of my life.  He is all that I am and all that I am not.  I wrote Possibility and Ascension, and more recently, Clarity of Chaos for him.  He’s my best friend.  He’s my family.  He’s my husband, partner, and my soul twin.  Simply, I love him more than all of the words in the universe could proclaim.
  2. Beast:   Some mornings, Beast is the sole reason I get out of bed.  He encourages me to strive to be a better person, each and every single day of my life.  He is my darling, my baby boy.  He is my pride and one day, he will be my legacy.  It is up to me to be his mother.  And that means, I will wake up every single day, pull myself together, and if I do nothing else, I will be his mother the best that I can.
  3. MIL:   She is a friend, a mentor, and though maybe not maternal, a mother for sure.  She is always concerned, and is quick to respond in an emergency.  She’ll do anything to see that everything turns out alright.  She is generous and kind.  MIL is one of those women that will take a call from me at 3AM, and she has no obligation to do so.  She has given me so much advice and perspective into womanhood.  She’s positive, even if she’s racked with anxiety.  She can spread her positivity to others, and make them feel better about things.  She’s a nurse too, so she is good at taking care of other people.  She genuinely cares.  And I genuinely care for her.
  4. FIL:  He is a man that gets things done. He is full of wisdom and experience that he is eager to lend.  He wants to see everyone be the best person that they can be.  FIL is never hesitant to lend a hand, or even to go as far as to bail me out of a jam.  He never expects anything in return.  FIL is a true man, a man who has worked hard to become a self made person, but is still sensitive to the needs of others.  He always makes sure that we’re taken care of.  And, I feel he’s the best father-in-law that a woman could ever have to be a huge part of her family and life.
  5. Starr:  Starr is a relatively new friend to me, but still just as important, if not more important than others I’ve had in my life for many years.  Starr has shown me nothing but the strength and pride of being a woman.  She is absolutely, strikingly beautiful, and it’s hard for people not to notice her.  For most women, this would flare the green eyed monster.  For me, I am inspired.  I don’t even think she knows how strong and beautiful she is, like wild horses.  She is willful and wonderful, deep and insightful.  She’ll read this, and maybe not know who I’m referring to.  So I’ll leave her with this: “I get my disability check and POW!  It’s down to pant n’at!”  She’s a loyal and fierce friend, and I hope to have her in my life for many years to come.
  6. Dill:   Another newer friend, but Dill is one of those people that you can’t help but feel an instant connection to.  Dill doesn’t judge, and he shows me that life doesn’t have to be as serious as a heart attack.  Life is meant to be lived.  He has reinforced the lesson that age is seriously just a number, and the right frame of mind with enough willpower is all you need to live a good life.  And that’s exactly what he’s all about.  Happiness, beauty, and living a wonderful, peaceful life.
  7. Ruby:   Oh, my lovely.  I really cannot say what a lovely this woman has been to me.  Ruby feels like a part of my family, like an older sister I never had.  She has listened to me in my best triumphs and my worst bits of insanity.  She smiles with me and cries with me.  Everything about her is this chaotic perfection.  Everything fits together in this dialectic beauty.  And that’s her in a nutshell.  She has a beautiful everything.  A lovely soul, a gorgeous face, and the most genuine smile there is.  I want to thank her for being there for me, and being a part of my life.  And taking a chance on a little blonde weirdo from the internets.  LOL.
  8. LaLa:  LaLa, a maternal figure in my life.  I’ve come to feel like LaLa is like a wise, spiritual aunt I never had.  LaLa brings the best of my spiritual side out, giving me faith in the higher power, and reminders of the greater design.  She’s always been supportive, and has never left my side, even when I’ve been less than a good friend to her.  I want to thank her for her investment in me.
  9. Monday:  I’ve come to see Monday as an aunt as well.  She’s the aunt that is your best friend.  She wants all of the best for you, but will never hesitate to say what’s on her mind.  And that’s the beauty of it.  Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to hear, because that’s exactly what’s been ringing in the back of your own mind.  She’s brilliant and one tough cookie.  She has proven this time again through her perseverance and stamina.  No matter what gets thrown at her, she’s a survivor of it all.  And she wants nothing more than to lend her experience and will to others.  I’d like to thank her for all of the attention she’s given me in the last year.
  10. Finn:   Last, but not least, Finn.  Finn and I have been friends for longer than my husband and I have even known each other.  Finn is so accepting.  He is another person who has seen me hit that bottom of the barrel.  He has seen me in various states of growth and maturity.  We’ve shared so much together.  And all of that time has bonded us in ways that only time can do.  He’s taken my calls at 4AM, given me advice, and been an intermediary between Xan and I (yes, I know about that).  Thank you for everything you’ve done that I do, and even don’t, know about.

More Than Ten Years : 30 Days of Truth

Part II

Day 10 (Part Three) : Someone you need to let go of, or wish you didn’t know.

Lea and Liz, the first entry, started to describe the nature of relationships I had with my three high school friends. It is the preface for this. In summation, we were a group of best friends, entangled in each others’ lives. Mistakes, grudges, and other forces created huge divides between us, leaving lingering hatreds spanning years.

Liz and the In Between, focused on my relationship with Liz.  It detailed all of the significant events within our friendship, and how it had turned ugly at times.  These were the years in between the first entry and this one.


Kat and I eventually buried the hatchet about five years later. We were both adults who had done a great deal of growing since. We did attempt reconciliation, but mutually decided that we were too different to have a friendship. We grew out of each other. That’s life.

It took Lea and I much longer.

I recall a Fourth of July party I was invited to many years after the incident. A mutual friend of many years invited me, and his sister, best friend to Lea, naturally invited her.

Before I knew it, only a large patio table separated us. We inspected each other, sizing one another up. She still had the same snow white skin, but now she donned raven hair in place of her usual highlight job. Also, she had become much larger than me, at least fifty pounds or more. It was a little more intimidating, but I didn’t care. I’d tussled with men twice my size.

I don’t know what she saw, but she looked fairly intimidated.  I was that same, fiery haired, piercing eyes girl she had known then.  I hadn’t aged yet, though many of the girls at that table already had.  The only differences were these.  I wasn’t staring her down behind a pair of Buddy Holly glasses.  I was 1/3 less than girl I was.  And, we were no longer surrounded by brick and mortar that was the all-seeing, all-knowing, completely crooked system that was our public school.

Yes, we were in the real world. Where there were real consequences to actions. If one of us did one thing out of turn, we’d face something that didn’t include losing two perfectly good school days to absolute intense boredom of a desk with blinders, essentially.

So, we were deadlocked, powerless to make each others’ lives hell. We were adults, not children thrust together in the same place at the same time. We had the freedom of escape, to be free from the tangled web of the high school social society. As much trash as we could talk, it didn’t matter. Too much space and too few connections let those words fall on indifferent, rather deaf ears.

So, it dissipated throughout years of silence. I was already married with a child. We were truly adults, lives so far separated from those emotions and the petty grudges generated from them. What did it matter anymore? Through the power of Facebook, we put it to rest through humor over the incident.


Liz and I had settled old scores. That was, until I started getting serious with C.S. I remember driving around our neighborhood, the one we grew up in, yelling at each other. I wasn’t making time for her at her demand.

“I’m engaged to a man who is really good for me, who really loves me. Can’t you even be happy for me?”

She retorted coldly, “You’ve been engaged so many times, I can’t even take you seriously anymore.”

There was no birthday reconciliation that year. Months droned on. It seemed to be over, and I was distraught, but infuriated. How dare she judge my relationship?!

I invited her to the wedding as an obligatory gesture. I knew she’d never attend. She should have been a bridesmaid, and yet, she would have rather carry on a grudge over my priorities changing.

Mid-summer, mid-pregnancy, I received a card in a letter in the mail. It contained a wedding gift and a phone number. I hesitated, but mustered up the courage to accept the olive branch. I announced my pregnancy. A boy. He even had a name.

She came to visit, and it was the first time I saw her in about a year. She seemed overjoyed, but deeply troubled. Liz, Liz, always something brewing under the surface.

She came the day after I had my son. Later in the week, she brought us dinner, on the house. And that was the last time I saw her face to face. It was almost three and a half years ago.

In that time, her relationship with Fox deteriorated.  There was always some contingency on him leaving his wife.  When you graduate college.  When you get a good job.  When…

They were fiercely fighting, and rarely seeing each other anymore.  They had opposing schedules, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for Fox to steal time away from his wife.  One day, he left his email open on his laptop, sitting on her kitchen table.  She flipped through it, and discovered a few very old, very intimate exchanges between Fox an I on the MUD.

We talked.  “I know it was years ago, but why would he even save this?” she ranted.

Time passed, things changed.  That was pretty much the end of their relationship.  Well, that, and when she got a confirmation that he and his wife just got a new lease on their house. It wasn’t my fault.  She jumped into bed with their mutual married boss and ditched Fox.

I’ve actually searched and searched for the goodbye letter I wrote her in one of my journals.  I’m thinking our biggest falling out was in 2010.  Liz was always one of those people who insisted that she came first.  She randomly called and announced that she was back in town.  She wanted for me and her to go out.  I explained to her that a person couldn’t just drop by on me.  I have obligations to my family, plans that I’ve made, and things that just need done.  She was furious, insisting that I never made time for her.  All of these years, she made time for me, and the least I could do was see her during the few days in the year that she was in town.

Finally, I fought back.

“In all of this time, I listened to you prattle for hours about a miserable relationship with a married man, the same one that I urged you not to turn your life upside down for.  You defiled his marriage, and he still didn’t leave his wife for you.  Then, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, you jumped into bed with his married boss, your boss too. 

Meanwhile, I am being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, my marriage – to a man who fathered my son, is falling apart, and my son is showing signs of developmental delay.  The moment I tried to open up my mouth to share my troubles, was always the moment you had to go.  I’m tired of being on standby and being expected to be here at your beckon.  I’m tired of you leading me around by the nose.  So, if you’re going to get pissed off and walk out of my life, it better be for good this time.  Because I’m not taking you back.”

We didn’t speak for about a year or so.  That was, until a random birthday card for my son appeared in the mail, containing a gift card.  I let it sit in my nightstand for a month, pondering what I should do with it.  And finally, I broke down and emailed her.

Back to the status that rubbed me the wrong way. Lea is pregnant, after several years of marriage. And Liz, who I haven’t heard a word from in at least six months, made a comment. “I’ll definitely be there! I’m so excited to see you!” I know she’ll be in town; she lives far away. And I also know that she won’t make any attempt to stop by, or even contact me.

I invited her, holiday after holiday, to stop by the house.  She always said she’d try, but there was so much going on.  I never did see her, not once.

I stumbled upon what may be one of the most heartbreaking revelations I’ve ever had. Liz and I were never friends. We were frienemies. Not from my end, but from hers.

I was a pace car. I was not a concept to admire, but envy. When I actually married the man she truly desired, and had the family she secretly longed for, I had unknowingly won. She couldn’t come around, because she couldn’t bear the sight of it.  I had become her superior in every way, and that is a fact she can never reconcile, nor bring to the surface. It’s too juvenile. But wasn’t all of it?

Clearly, she’s not an active part of my life. Her absence has not made a bit of difference. In a way, I wish I could have ignored that birthday card. She would simply no longer exist, and I could retain all of our funny, powerful, intimate, and warm moments. Instead, I am in some friend limbo.

So, instead, I think I’m going to start hiding both Lea and Liz’s feeds. I don’t need it. Sometimes a friendship is beyond salvageable. The remnants are too few. I don’t want to remain friends for nostalgia’s sake. I am not a keepsake. I am a human. If we really remained friends, wouldn’t she at least message me from time to time.

I place this in the sea and wave goodbye. For the last time.

Liz and the In Between : 30 Days of Truth

Part II

Day 10 (Part Two) : Someone you need to let go of, or wish you didn’t know.

Lea and Liz, the first entry, started to describe the nature of relationships I had with my three high school friends. It is the preface for this. In summation, we were a group of best friends, entangled in each others’ lives. Mistakes, grudges, and other forces created huge divides between us, leaving lingering hatreds spanning years.


Liz. My oldest, most cherished, oldest friend. I was ecstatic that we could remain friends, while irked that a thread still connected the camps. But, I couldn’t let something that petty destroy such a long time, deep friendship. I let it fly.

Because, we were the best of friends. I spent most of my summers on her roof or in her tree. Her mother was more of a mother to me than my own. We were on a first name basis, and bummed cigarettes from one another.

Liz knew all of my dirty secrets, and I knew hers. And above the whispers were video games, art projects, and online chatting.

Liz always had this penchant for making me feel inferior. We couldn’t be different people. There she was, sleek and poised, not a hair out of place. Sure, she was curvier than I was, but infinitely better dressed. Her room was immaculate, just as she was. Liz had organizers for her organizers.

She took all of the advanced classes for college credits, and had a perfect average. Her friends were numerous, from all walks, and her enemies zero. Nobody could possibly hate sweet, whispering Liz.

Then, there was me. Frizzy, long, untamed red hair that could rival Medusa. My clothes always had some kind of imperfection, a rip, a snag. A part of me always looked badly patched, as if one loose thread would make it all come apart. My room was a mess, covered in layers of clothes, papers, and books. Nothing seemed to have a proper place.

I took remedial classes, though I was gifted. The pressure of higher courses was too much for me. I was already hardly functioning at the level I was on. (Early symptoms of bipolar disorder). I was tortured and dark; this was no secret amongst the student body. I had no true friends, unless you count the cult entourage. And, I had made a number of enemies.

That was (is?) me, Em. Outspoken, rude, ridiculous, dramatic, vulgar, crass, obscene, crazy Em. I was a one woman show who earned her red A by having sex as a freshman.

I would feel certain tinges of envy from time to time. How come I can’t be so pristine and graceful? Why can’t I get my shit together and live up to my potential? Eventually, I came to find a cozy home in the music wing, while Liz wrestled her way through academia.

Liz was neutral and remained so. She had even gone as far as to remove herself from it entirely when she joined drama club. Naturally, I was dragged into it. I was the only person who could play the sax part, and Liz just wouldn’t leave it alone.

And that’s when we met The Actor. He was a senior when we were sophomores. His personality was larger than life, and he was literally a character. He could be anyone, day to day, effortlessly sliding into natural roles of his everyday life. It was a sight to behold. And Liz was head over heels.

Personally, I felt he was a great guy and all. I was already committed, and The Actor wasn’t my type. But, I seemed to have caught his eye. The Actor wasn’t a man to chase, only one to drop hints and innuendo. I wasn’t totally oblivious, admittedly. I was flattered.

In the time period while working on the fall production, Liz got the nerve to ask The Actor out. She was thrilled when he accepted. But, he never actually took her anywhere. He’d come to her house, they would chat as friends do, and then they’d mess around for awhile. No sex, just messing around.

A few months passed and these became less frequent. Liz finally confronted him and discovered that their encounters were a complete secret. He broke it off “because it didn’t feel right.” Days later, he announced his relationship with a very respected girl in the thespian community.

She was his secret buddy, because he was too ashamed of her.

Her first “boyfriend” was not really that at all. It stung for me to watch that happen. And I detested that boy. Except, she didn’t. She still held out hope and lent her heart to him.

 

The following summer, after that turbulent year, she made an admission to me while sitting on her picnic table during that cool, clear summer night. “I envy you. I’ve envied you for years. You say what you mean, and you mean what you say. You don’t wrap it up in a pretty, little package. And people adore you for it. You are admired by others and fawned over by men.”

“Funny. I envy you. How you are able to have a handle on everything. Everything looks so effortless and natural. You have an air about you that screams refinement, maturity, intelligence. You don’t even have to speak to have people respect you.”

And we laughed. The grass is always greener, right?

Throughout the next year, we made a mutual friend via a MUD. He was a God (administrator), and he took a fancy to us. He was nice. Inside the inn was a secret door that led to private player rooms. And, it was there that much went on behind closed doors. Many things we didn’t immediately exchange between one another.

Eventually, they grew a real life, long distance relationship outside of the MUD. And once that happened, all interpersonal communication between Fox and I stopped.

It was all strange. He was more than twice her age, married, and living several states away. But, I indulged her. Liz had many things, obsessions perhaps, that never came to fruition. It was best to have her hope.

Another year passed. We made a mutual decision to drop out of school and attend a cyber-program. For different reasons. She signed up for three AP classes, and was failing two of them. I warned her it was too much of a course load. Personally, I was bored in remedial classes and felt I was not being challenged.

That spring, that’s when we met him. The man with the alluring accent, and the purring voice. He owned any room he graced his presence with, and one couldn’t help but take notice. His words were wise, insightful, and intelligent. It was prose in every breath and absolutely intoxicating.

It was C.S. Liz was smitten. I was on the fence. (Longer story that will connect later). But who wasn’t immediately striken? Gorgeous beyond words, sophisticated in a way we only saw in college brochures. He had a wise look about him, covered in a beard and a mustache that aged him five years. Most of the boys we knew hardly had chest hair.

We were quick friends. Liz had already committed herself to The Fox, but she admitted, “In the instance that things fall through, there is always the opportunity of a possible normal relationship with C.S.”

Another year, come and gone. Uneventful and irrelevant. We are now to the spring of our senior year. I was newly single. I spent the vast majority of my teen dating years in a committed relationships. I was completely lost at dating.

The Actor had freshly arrived back into town, prepared for his summer away from college. Naturally, he contacted his best girls, Liz and me. Upon finding out my new relationship status (prior to Facebook, we had to rely on word of mouth), he asked me out. I was ambivalent, but I agreed. Maybe I was wrong about him.

No, I was right about him. We went back to his mother’s place and talked. We kissed a little, but there wasn’t anything there. We didn’t click, as nice as he was to me.

I guess this was still a sore spot for Liz. Oops. I had figured that after two years and several short lived boyfriends later, she wouldn’t care. That was the first time we fell out. I profusely apologized and insisted that nothing happened. Voicemail after voicemail. And eventually, I had to stop. It was killing me.

We were speaking again in the fall. Everyone had scurried off to college but us. We were still in transition, attempting to figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up.

An old high school friend of ours reappeared. Raz was always a cool, quirky, kind of awkward guy, but in a cute way. He was fairly popular in certain circles.

In the dead of a September night, he phoned us and insisted we were leaving the state to head to the casino. It was thrilling. I had the most wonderful company, great tunes, and we were embarking on a new journey, sans map.

Miles of highway, and a half a dozen penny slots later, Liz and I stood in a women’s room. She candidly asked me, “Do you think Raz is cute?”

I responded, “Sure, I’ve though so since school. But, you know, I’m involved.”

She ecstatically concurred, “So did I! The Fox and I have been on and off for awhile now.”

You know where this is going.

A couple months later, I was single again, unemployed and crashing on C.S.’s sofa. One day, Raz and Adrienne stopped by rather unexpectedly. There I was, greasy hair in a floppy bun, clad only in an oversized band T-shirt, and a pair of gym shorts, elbow deep in dishwater.

We all gathered and had a lovely visit. The very same night, Raz called. “Would you like to go out on a date? I mean, if you’ve available.” My little teen girl was squealing inside.

“Yeah, that sounds great!” I answered. It was the first time I had been asked on a proper date. I finally felt less like a peace of meat and more like a woman. Proper, respectable.

It was another blunder of mine, apparently. By date three, Liz was not speaking to me again. She used some lame excuse, but it was pretty transparent. Even after Raz and I concluded our brief relationship, Liz was still silent. And by now, I was pretty pissed at her petty reactions every single time I dated a guy she was interested in.

My birthday broke the silence. And in another month, I received a call asking for her blessing on taking Raz up on an offer for a date. Whatever. I was laying on a futon in an expensive apartment on the rich side of the city, stoned out of my mind. I was doing way better than lame Italian restaurants in the suburbs, long drives in the country, and listening to the inane dribble.

Later, when The Fox and Liz were back on, she made an admission. After I went on the singular date with The Actor, she had an encounter. She got her teenage desire in the back of a car, in a vacant parking lot. And it was the most unsatisfying experience ever.

All debts were settled, all scores even, and all forgiven. That was that.

Or was it?

To be continued . . .