All I have is showers and coffee and writing. And sometimes I’m sure I can’t even write anymore. And sometimes the water doesn’t get hot enough. And I can’t make the coffee taste right lately. So what is there left for me?
failing and flailing thru this life grasping for your hand but i can’t find it in the dark even though it is clearly right in front of me and you’re waiting and waiting for me to interlace my fingers with yours so that you can keep my head above water for me because it seems that you don’t want me to drown afterall perhaps because you still want to put me back together but how can you even do that when you don’t know where i’ve hidden all the glass and bloody words that used to be my heart you’re collecting them all in a pretty vase but i can never be whole again because somethings will forever be lost some girls will forever be broken and shredded
i am twenty years old. the year is two thousand and nine. i am wearing a white dress that i designed and sewed myself. i am not happy with the dress. i don’t like how it fits and i don’t like the way i look in it. i am frustrated and angry that one person is not at my wedding. instead of being glad about all the people who are here to celebrate my special day, i fixate on just one person. i should have had my eyes fixed on my groom. i do not notice the way he looks at me. for him i am the only person that exists today. later i will see it in photographs- the way he looked at me on that day. by the time i see it we are both beginning to believe it is too late.
i am twenty four years old. the year is two thousand and fourteen. i can’t breathe. i didn’t see this coming. i did not believe this would happen. R is breaking up with me. he has fallen in love with someone else. this can’t be real. this isn’t happening. i can’t breathe. please don’t leave me.
i am twenty four years old. the year is two thousand and fourteen. i am single for the first time in my adult life. i am trying to put the pieces of my life back together and move forward. i want to be someone who my sons can be proud of. i have decided that i want to be a teacher. i have enrolled in college classes for the first time in over three years. i believe i can do this. i will not fail this time, this is what i tell myself.
i am twenty seven years old. the year is two thousand and sixteen. R is single and has an extra bedroom. he has asked me if i would like to move in, as his roommate. we’ve started having sex again; we are friends with benefits. it sounds like a good plan.
i am twenty eight years old. the year is two thousand and seventeen. i have just gotten my first paying job of my adult life. it is at a yarn store. i am excited about the possibilities of this. it is a step in the right direction. a stepping stone.
i am fourteen years old. the year is two thousand and four. my mom is away visiting my grandpa. he has cancer. he will not live much longer. i am feeling so alone. i miss my mom. i have already decided not to return to public school this year. it is August. i am sitting alone on the porch. there are no walls; it has not become my bedroom yet. i see a small piece of broken plastic in the dirt. it is sharp. i am sharp; if anyone gets close to me my anger and sadness will cut them. i pick the plastic up. i press it into my flesh, near my knee. i drag it against my skin again and again. i am bleeding. i lie when asked what happened. scraped myself on something. it was an accident.
i am seventeen years old. the year is two thousand and seven. my parents drove me to Burbank. we carried my things up to my third floor dormitory. at some point my dad cries. he does not want me to leave home. he has held on too tightly and i’ve been afraid to leave because i don’t want to break his heart. but at the same time i am angry at him because i want to be allowed to spread my wings and fly. i want to stop being his emotional crutch.
i am eighteen years old. the year is two thousand and eight. i meet a boy. he is really sweet. i tell myself i do not want a boyfriend. i want to be just friends with this boy. in a week’s time he will be my boyfriend.
i forgive you for being angry at her
i forgive you for gossiping about her
i forgive you for assuming things about her
i know you forget that you don’t really know her
i forgive you for not always loving R
i forgive you for sometimes hating R
i forgive you for not trying harder
i forgive you for giving up on me
i forgive you for not always loving me
i forgive you for not being a good mom
i forgive you for resenting your children
i forgive you for wishing you weren’t a mom
i forgive you for hitting J
i forgive you for neglecting T
i forgive you for blaming R
i forgive you for thinking it was his fault
i forgive you for being angry at him
i forgive you for struggling to forgive him
i forgive you for hating your hometown
i forgive you for talking badly about your father
i forgive you for not feeling attached to him
i forgive you for thinking badly about your mother
i forgive you for your suicidal thoughts
i forgive you for your dreams of running away
i forgive you for your need for attention
i forgive you for your flirting
i forgive you for your asocial behavior
i forgive you
i could go on all night
could spend the rest of my life
i turned my computer on just now, thinking i had a lot to say and now it all seems to have left me. there are so many thoughts in my head, it is often difficult to isolate them or group them into a cohesive post. i’ve been thinking about R a lot, but i guess that’s not really a new thing, i always think about him. one thing that drives me nuts about him (not in a good way) is that he seems to be two different people- reserved and businesslike when his girlfriend (fiance/wife/idk what she is these days) is around, then open and personal when she’s not around. when she’s around he usually has sunglasses on, when she isn’t he’s more likely to be bare-eyed. when he’s alone he lingers, with her he rushes. alone he tells me about his life, with her it’s like i’m a stranger. i often realize that i am a horrible person, one reason being that i actually sit and think of people i could introduce R’s girlfriend to in hopes that she would fall for them and break up with R. and then i think about ways R and i’s interactions would change and how life really would be so much simpler for me if R did not have a girlfriend. i honestly do not want the girl to experience any heartache, but it would be really great if she could just drift away from R and into the arms of someone else and totally forget about R. i know R would be pretty torn up about it, but i also know that his sons mean the world to him so he would push thru the struggle and create the best life that he can for his boys. as much as i want to be with R, i don’t think i would swoop in and try to get with him as soon as he became single. i desperately wish he would spend some time being single. he has never been single in his adult life, he met me when he was 16 and we got serious right away, we were married just over month after his 18th birthday, when we split up he was 22 and got with her right away, he’ll be 25 this November and has never been single. i’ve been single for almost 2 years straight, the one brief relationship that i have had since R and i split up was ridiculous and i honestly forget sometimes that it even happened. but i truly believe that being single for a length of time as an adult is important to a person’s identity, it’s vital to be sure that you know who you are. in these two or so years i have learned who i am, i have gained confidence that i don’t think i ever had, i have discovered beauty in places i was too afraid to look before. i have seen that my faith was misplaced, found where i left it, misplaced it again, repeated that cycle a few times, and am currently working on putting it in a secure location, it’s a process. but i have not learned everything there is to know about myself, so do i really know me? i still do not know what sort of food i like, where i would travel if i could go anywhere, what my favorite color is, what career i will pursue, what my favorite alcohol is, and i still cannot use fire (literally, that’s not a metaphor). maybe i like Chinese fast food, but i find myself eating it less and less, so maybe i don’t. i’m attracted to Oregon, but i doubt there’s anything real there for me. pink used to be my color, but now i find myself drawn to purple, but i feel most confident when i wear red, but i know what red means, and i don’t wanna be that girl. i know i will be a teacher, but i cannot settle on who i will teach, and i cannot settle on how i will teach or what the subject will be. i do not understand the point of drinking alcohol, so i don’t find myself doing it often, i like hard root beer and i’ll sip a PBR if someone brings them to a BBQ, but i do not seek alcohol out and i do not purchase it, i do not need it, it does nothing for me. i tried to light the pilot on my mom’s stove a few weeks back, i let two matches burn down to my fingers because i am terrified i will die in a natural gas explosion, in my entire life i’m sure i’ve only lit about five matches, i’ve ignited a lighter maybe twice, i cannot use fire and i cannot play with it. i want to learn to run, i want to read classic literature, i want to play guitar, i want to be a member of a church, i want to have someone to call at two in the morning when i can’t breathe, i want to purchase stacks of composition books and fill them up with words that feel like life, with my words and other people’s words, with the songs i sing quiet on the bus because i don’t want the cute driver to hear me, but my heart says sing so i gotta sing, and loud at the bus stops because they’re only strangers. i want to matter. if we don’t matter, then why should we want to carry on? i want to carry on. damn, i want to carry on. a little boy whispered something to me not two hours ago, “Mommy, I love you”, real quiet because he didn’t want to wake up his brother. i’m not one to say you should stick around if you really don’t want to, but i have realized that i want to stick around and i don’t need to count any reason past one because one is enough for me. one means the world. so here is my one reason to carry on- i do not want to break my children’s hearts, i do not want to be only a story they hear from their daddy and relatives, i want to be their hero, i want to be there for their skinned knees and first days of school and little league games and disappointments and math homework and first loves and proms and so much more, i can’t imagine missing it and i can’t imagine my boys not having a mom thru it all. i know i’ve lived a damn good life so far and i will continue on, and i know i’ve got a damn good life ahead of me too. and i’m rambling, but sometimes you just gotta ramble.
I am ninety eight percent happy
ninety five percent of the time
I have rough weeks,
sad days, bad moments
sometimes I can’t breathe
occasionally the sinking feeling in my stomach
is so heavy
eating or drinking anything
But mostly I am happy
I am alive
I am high (on life, of course)
I am in love
I am loved
and I love
I know God
I know, God
For a second I wanted to start this letter with “I effing hate you!” But that wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is that I would not be who I am today without you and I am very happy in my skin. Wishing you away would be like disowning myself. I think I’ve said that I wish I didn’t struggle with you, but my opinion on you today is this: you have shaped me into a beautiful, creative, strong, young mother. And for that I thank you. Getting to this point has been a mixture of agony and bliss, with everything in between too. I first met you when I was fourteen, that’s when I first admitted you had a name, we may have been acquainted before then, but I don’t remember. That jerk brother of yours, Anxiety, he started stalking me when I was only 7 years old, who does that? But anyways, this is about you, not him. Depression, I did some crazy things in your name. Shortly after we got on this first name basis, I carved a mark into the flesh of my right knee with a broken piece of plastic I found in the dirt while sitting on the edge of my back porch. I said it was your fault. All your fault. I spent nearly 10 whole years carving up my skin and pointing a finger at you, claiming innocence. It’s not my fault, that’s what I used to tell myself. And suddenly, I’m at a loss for words. I thought I had a million things to say to you, but none of them will materialize at the moment. I guess just like any first letter to someone when you want to put distance between you and them, it’s normal to stumble for words. In ways I still blame you, but I’m trying not to. If I blame you, then I have to blame whoever introduced us and that just goes on down back towards the beginning of time. If you’re to blame, then the list would only grow and I’m sure I could find a way to blame everyone. So the simplest answer is that no one is to blame. Blame should not exist, let’s do away with it. This isn’t goodbye, this is to be continued. I’ll write again.
last night i found a row of scars
that i didn’t remember having.
last night it just struck me as strange,
tonight it screams beautiful
and points to something like grace.
because how could i forget even just one,
never mind a dozen thin little
lines that i once carved
into my fleshy paper white thighs?
when we allow our wounds to heal,
they do and that’s beautiful.
God showed me how to forget,
but he also taught me to remember.
and i remember the time i traced
every self-inflicted scar
with a red pen,
the expensive kind art-school kids use.
and R was glad to know where
every unbearable moment landed
on this body, the first naked girl
he’d ever seen in person,
but it broke his heart.
I saw a copy
of Catch 22 in a thrift store.
I picked it up to see
if anyone wrote a story in it.
I thought about writing something
and maybe you’d pick the book up
because you thought of me
and the night we first met.
Everything changed that night.
I heard the Last Night
in my headphones
and it hit me,
harder than ever.
You were my reason why.
A promise that I’d be better
You believed when I didn’t.
But that day
on a dirt road
when I told you
I’d always struggle,
your heart seemed to break, again.
I’m better than I was,
but I’ll never be all better.
At least not in this lifetime.
God’s working on me
and I’m working on me.
You kept me alive
long enough for me to learn to breathe.
That line feels familiar,
like deja vu.
I stayed for you.
A while back
you said J requested a song,
I wondered if it was Ocean Wide,
I couldn’t tell you though
because I was worried
that it would hurt your heart
you’d feel nothing at all.
“We’ll swim in the tears we’ve cried.”