The Friday Confessional : Baby Weight


TRIGGER WARNING : This post contains material that may be a potential trigger for some.  It’s contents include talk of eating disorders and self-injury.  If you are sensitive to this material, please use your discretion before reading.

I am by no means a thin woman.  As a matter of fact, according to my BMI, I am actually slightly in the overweight range.  It’s not really unusual for a person who lives in the good ol’ US-of-A.  Obesity is considered an epidemic in this region of the world.

I have bad body image.  This started as a very young child when the other kids would pick on me for being overweight.  At that point, it wasn’t my fault.  I wasn’t responsible for my diet, and my family had terrible eating habits.  In fact, as I started to notice while my parents were watching my child, they encouraged recreational eating for lack of other engaging activities.  As a result, I ended up a fat, miserable kid.

I remember I stopped eating my lunch at one point.  A lunch aid came over and asked what was wrong.  I recall telling her, “I’m on a diet.”  She looked shocked and appalled.  Now that I’m an adult, it’s completely understandable.  I was eight, and I was confessing that I was unhappy because of my weight.  To her credit, she attempted to explain to me that I had a lot of years to grow into the weight, and it was unhealthy to deprive myself of food.

Essentially, she was trying to talk me out of developing an eating disorder.  Unfortunately, talk is too cheap when you’re eight.

Eventually, people close to me stopped mentioning my weight.  And I continued to grow.  By the time I was in the fifth grade, I was obese.  I was eleven, 4’8”, and weighed approximately what a fourteen year-old 5’1” teenager should have weight in a healthy weight range.  My clothes continued to shrink rapidly, and the only excuse my mother could come up with was that I was just “having a growth spurt”.

It wasn’t lost on my peers or teachers, though.  While I had the brains, I didn’t have the body.  And the outside was all that mattered.  Summer break came, and I was about to enter middle school.  It was at that time that I decided that I would shed my “baby weight”, as people were so eager to call it, and become a slender woman.

That was the summer where it all began.

The real secret is something I’ve hinted at throughout the last year, but could never bring myself to actually come out and say.  Even now, I find myself typing and retyping the sentence that will start to change everything.  It will change how people think of me, and how people treat me.  It will have people worry and watch me like a hawk.  And those are all things that I’ve tried to avoid over the years.

I have undiagnosed disordered eating.

As a child, it developed from recreational eating into comfort eating.  I would gorge myself far beyond bursting, to the point of where it felt like the contents of my stomach were backing up into my throat.  The act of eating was comforting and satisfying.  The sensation of fullness seemed to fill this hole inside of me.  It took away the emptiness that I had tried so hard to fill with accomplishment.  Even for a moment, I was full.  I was whole.

That led to another problem.  Childhood obesity.  And the lack of friends I had resulting from my obesity and the intimidation of my perfectionism and accomplishment created an even bigger hole.  What started out as a small snag in the woven fabric of my life started to unravel into a gaping hole, threatening to tear seam to seam.  Comfort eating turned into binge eating and created a cycle that continually fed into itself.

The summer before middle school, I decided to start dieting.  How absurd – an eleven year old on a diet.  I restricted my food intake to half of what I was eating.  I refused to eat between meals.  I started both biking and running once a day for at least an hour.  When my clothes started to become loose, it only served to encourage all of these behaviors.

I was a child on a mission.  I started only eating half of what I was eating, leaving me eating meals off of saucers.  I added running stairs onto my exercise regimen.  I would spend a half an hour each day running the basement stairs, as to not bother my parents.  My clothes became so loose that I became reduced to wearing my 90lb mother’s clothes.

I had done it.  In fact, I had done so well that most of my peers didn’t recognize me anymore.  Many people started referring to me as “the new girl”, as I didn’t have any friends to correct them.  And much to my surprise, those shallow little girls I had come to despise welcomed me to their clicks with open arms.  I was no longer intimidating or disgusting.

Throughout the years, my weight bounced up and down.  I would binge and then go on an exercise craze.  In my mid-teens, I discovered those ephedra pills that could be found at any gas station.  Friends and I would take handfuls of them and stay up, bouncing off of the walls, for 72 hours at a time.  I remember lying in bed just vibrating, desperately mentally exhausted, but completely wired.

My relationship with my first love, my high school sweetheart, started going south around the time that I was seventeen.  And the binging started once again.  I hated myself for it, and I watched myself grow out of my clothes once again.  I knew he had to have found me repulsive, and I knew he was eyeing other women.  But, it only served to make it worse.

I will never forget this.  I had my eighteenth birthday at my boyfriend’s place.  I was surrounded by many of my friends, and we ordered several pizzas that I paid for.  I watched all of the girls daintily eat one or two slices of pizza, when I realized that I had gorged myself on four.  I looked at their slender bodies with envy.  What a disgusting pig I am!  I thought.  No wonder I’m so fat!

I went to the bathroom and locked the door.  I leaned over and stared into the bowl.  I was about to do something that we all had accused and ridiculed thin cheerleaders for.  It was this, or being doomed to a life of obesity and loneliness.  I extended my index finger and pressed down on the back of my tongue.

The vomit came pouring out like a fountain into the bowl.  The taste was awful, like orange juice mixed with something foul.  But, the sensation was incredible.  I could feel the load lightening, and my stomach shrinking.  I did it again, this time making myself gag harder, almost to the point where I made an audible noise.  It felt like all of the awful feelings were just pouring out from inside of me.  It was almost like cutting, but without any noticeable tell-tale scars.

I purged until there was nothing left but stomach acid.  I sat against the door, breathing heavily and relishing in the hollow feeling in my belly.  There was something so beautiful about feeling that emptiness.  It ached, along with my raw throat, and the bitter aftertaste of vomit in my mouth.

This doesn’t happen regularly.  It only happens when I have a severely awful body image.  My clothes start to get tight, and automatically, my stomach starts to churn, as if it knows what’s about to come.  If I’ve eaten just before a fight with someone, I find myself getting queasy and running for a bathroom.  If I am rejected, I automatically assume it’s because I’m not attractive.  I find myself hell bent on getting back a body I once had.

But even worse is when I do it as a form of self-injury and control.  I binge, feeling the sensation of my belly swelling with all of the emotion I can’t experience.  The contents rise into my throat, without a place left to go.  I excuse myself and wrap myself in an awful embrace with that cold, unforgiving porcelain.  For a moment, just a brief shining moment, I stare into the bowl, trying to talk myself out of it.  There’s no other way.  I lean in, and the deed is done.

And each time, the whooshing of the flush brings shame to my already teary eyes.  I stare at the bloodshot eyes, ringed with raccoon eyes.  My face is red and looks exhausted.  All I can do is take to cleaning up the mess I created.

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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.

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.

The Friday Confessional – Carry on My Wayward Son

My son, Beast.  He’s . . . spirited.  I’d love to leave it at that, but this is The Friday Confessional.

I love my boy to pieces.  But, I knew he was going to be a handful long before he was even born into this world.  I had a rather difficult pregnancy.  And he hilariously went silent and still whenever anyone tried to “feel the baby kicking”.  While he was on the inside place, he managed to kick himself to a position where he was constantly ramming his head into my cervix.  He accidentally got his foot stuck in between one of my ribs and struggled wildly to get free.  Once he was free, he did it again for what I can only consider as fun.  People don’t seem to think that fetuses can have emotions or fun.  I know differently from my son.

My son was born with this particular temperament.  He was a lazy and impatient nurser, who refused to nurse and preferred the bottle.  That’s my son.  Obstinate beyond all logic.  When that boy puts his foot down on something, that is the word.  And we clash at every point.

It’s not entirely his fault.  In June 2011, he was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified.  In short, that puts him on the higher functioning end of the Autism Spectrum.  I wrote:

I’ve always said that nothing in life prepares you to be a parent like being a parent.  Truly.  In my youth, I’ve helped to raise so many people’s babies and toddlers, but it was nothing like becoming a mother myself.  Sure, I had the care basics down, but that’s not even scratching the surface.

So therefore, nothing can prepare you for a professional telling you there is something wrong with your child.  Not even if you suspect it yourself.

That was over a year ago.

In truth, I’m in denial.

The battle wounds are still fresh from my youth.In those days, I found I was the most comfortable in the tiniest of places, completely unlike today, where confined spaces are cause for the air being vacuumed from my lungs, and my brain to catch fire.  Those were only places I recall being safe; wedged between the sink and the wall, tucked in the back of a closet, curled up in a cabinet under the sink.  Those places were quiet and dark.  The only places I could find serenity and safety.

I remember instances where my hulking brother would hunt me down. Those were my go-to places.  As long as I took refuge when the violent fits started, I had a chance of being safe.  He may have tried hard to swipe at me, but I had the advantage.  I was a small girl who could ball up and disappear from this world.  In those places, I could be safe from brutal, unprovoked attacks.

Out of sight is out of mind.

And out of mind it out of sight.

The injustice perpetrated on me went far beyond that.  That was considered excusable behavior due to my brother’s condition.  I was told things like, “He can’t help himself, but you can.”  I never did anything to purposefully antagonize him.  I feared him.  And when my parents would practically reward his behavior by conceding to his every desire, I hated him.  Even to this day, I still hate him for all of the gifts and attention he siphoned off from me.  I was a model child with straight A’s and glowing reviews from teachers.  He was a terrorizing monster.

When my son was diagnosed in the same spectrum, I was crushed.  Some parents can say they were blindsided by the diagnosis, but I certainly was not.  I saw the signs long before a doctor had to confirm them.  I was just hoping that there was some alternative explanation.  I don’t love him any less.  But, in truth, I see him differently.  Maybe differently than a parent should.

I remember being pregnant.  And I remember having serious talks with the sky boss.  I pleaded, “Please, God.  Please don’t let my son have autism.  I can’t handle that.  I wanted to deny it.  I would tell people how high functioning he is, and how his developmental deficits were not that of a child with autism or aspergers.  When he was denied entry into a regular preschool because they aren’t equipped to handle him, I was crushed again.  My hopes that he was developmentally appropriated were dashed.

The truth is, my son is disabled.  And he needs my help, now.

And here’s the worst part of my confession.  I have a certain amount of resentment for his condition.  I find it difficult to interact with him appropriately.  When he acts out aggressively, I meet him with a certain amount of aggression of my own.  I refuse to be terrorized by my own son, a huge, strong little four year old.  It makes me feel small and scared every day of my life.

There is rare gratification.  Most parents have children that will play with them.  My son tries, but he can’t seem to make it happen.  I watch him struggle with basic things.  I feel like a failure of a parent, because he’s not potty trained and mostly refuses to wear clothing.  I resent him when I am cleaning up bodily fluids he carelessly threw everywhere, like a little animal.  And I hate myself when I liken him to a puppy in my mind.

But, there a moments where he looks me dead in the eye and says things like, “Look Mommy, out the window.  Look, the trees!”  Or, the day that we were outside and he scraped his leg.  He straddled me and we held each other, rocking for awhile.  Then, he grabbed me by my shoulders, held me away to look at me and sang, “I yuv you.  You yuv me!”

There are those rare moments of hope that I hold to.  Even in my darkest hours.

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.”

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,