Last of the Acid
Perched upon my mountaintop.
Looking down at all the people I once knew.
My influence is so weak, yet here I sit, watching it all. I know more than everyone but my voice isn't loud enough. I can tell everyone what I know but I'm too far away.
They see me here. They wave.
I wave back.
They love me.
But they're so far away.
So far away.
Lately things have been great. I wake up early and do little things to stay busy. I buy groceries, meal prep for the next few days, do dishes, put things away, do puzzles, yoga, drink countless cups of delicious tea, check the mirror to track my weight loss, enjoy the shows and hobbies that I put off while I was too sad to focus. As I leave for work in the evening, I look around my apartment and think "I'm nailing this."
I write down positive affirmations and short term goals. I'm rested and content. I'm ready for visitors at any given moment.
Today my insides are screaming. I'm exhausted and lonely. I can't even get in the shower so I just washed my bangs to look presentable for work. I probably smell bad. Nothing is wrong or different. I'm just not okay today. And that is okay.
I once slept with a married man in my old life, in a different town and state. He stopped by once again. I was his indulgence. An escape from his reality. He made plans to see me, now, in a different state, a different part of my life.
My past is so foreign. Even the oddities and novelties won't approach me.
I have no idea who I was or who I've become.
I have always been a secret.
A light sandwich and an orange for lunch
Twenty minute nap
A handful of peanuts for a snack
Example was his only means of authority.
Never a raised voice or fist
His absence was never a result of anger.
Numbers and logic
rather than emotion and gossip
I can only cite a few of his countless accomplishments
And acts of kindness
From the tear stained words of strangers.
Never mentioned within the house
Not for fear of boasting
But because restoring a historic hotel
while cradling the dumb, derelict, and dying
are as obligatory and trivial to him as paying bills and folding laundry.
We never knew
but were never surprised
when the neighbors told us how much his actions meant.
I want to beg him to stay.
He has to because I still need him.
But I won't let him know
he failed to prepare me for this.
These things don't happen to men like him.
I should not have to accept his Ninth Step.
I don't want to admit that I deserve it.
Lucas or Bill
But still no job.
Sometimes tinder dates lead to streaking with your hookup's girlfriend in a rainstorm.
I'm less unhappy than I was a few days ago.
Never Have I Ever
I've never felt so sad, tired and lost that when a cop aimed his gun at my face I thought to myself, meh this is fine.
I spent ten years of my life finishing my degree, working in housekeeping, and living in less than desirable apartments. Friends have come and gone. Mostly gone. Romantic relationships have ranged from complicated to abusive. I can't remember a time when I had confidence that things would be okay.
Three months ago I moved to South Dakota. My boyfriend graciously allowed me to move in to his small apartment for the time being, and to keep my boxes piled high in his living room. The boxes do not contain anything valuable. Useless antiques, dresses that don't fit, craft supplies, and a ridiculous amount of makeup that I bought during a manic episode over a year ago.
I was optimistic. I have a college degree and proof that I'm a hard working, loyal employee. I had no doubt that I would be able to get a decent job right away.
I applied to over thirty jobs since I got here. Mostly receptionist jobs. I don't want to be a receptionist. I want a career that I care about. I want to work for an organization or a non-profit. I want to help the mentally ill, disabled, addicted. I want to assist the marginalized, the ones society gave up on. I want to go to bed at the end of the day and feel like I made a difference. I want to matter.
No one will hire me. I've had four interviews out of the endless applications that I filled out. Only one hired me. I couldn't commit to that job. I couldn't justify putting that much of myself into something I didn't care about. I don't want to go back to housekeeping. That's not why I came here.
I kept looking and applying. It was the first time in my life that I didn't immediately give up.
Now I'm giving up. I feel worthless.
It's so cold here. Trump is the new president. His cabinet is full of garbage. Standing Rock won a small victory only to have their water destroyed by an existing pipeline. I have no hope. The country is dying. Racism and misogyny are fighting full force.
I'm losing my health insurance next month. I'm running out of money. Food doesn't taste good. I haven't slept in my boyfriend's bed in weeks. I don't sleep well anyway. I'm stuck inside my head day after day, and I can't stand the person in the mirror. Every second that I'm awake and sober feels like an hour. I don't know who I am or who I want to be. I'm running out of options. I'm so tired. I feel like letting go.
I never mean to hurt people. It just happens. I know my actions cause pain. Things aren't black and white. There is no longer a right and wrong like there was when I was a child.
Don't take things that don't belong to you.
Share with others.
Don't say mean things.
Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
Don't cut in line.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
It was simple. Don't hurt people. There is no longer a line separating the two. Now I try to go by the rule of "cause minimal suffering."
There are not enough words in the english language to describe different types of love or the way it can change over time. People can fall in and out of love. People can love people they never thought they could love. Love can fluctuate rapidly over periods of time. Love can surprise and frighten us. People can love multiple people equally. Some people only love themselves.
I loved someone but not as much as he loved me. Some days I felt like my love for him could grow into what he felt for me. I just needed more time, I thought. There was not a single thing I disliked about him. We didn't always see eye to eye and I didn't see a future with him. I knew my heart wasn't in it but I didn't want it to be true. I wanted to feel the same way. I felt defective. While I felt comfort, I wanted passion. When we were together, I wanted to be alone. When he initiated sex, I wanted sleep.
He told me it was the worst thing that anyone ever did to him. He called my friends "faggots" and accused me of wanting to have sex with an asexual. He told me I "shit on" him and repeatedly asked why I was doing this to him. He told me I was phony and that I am a different person around my friends. He said I try too hard to be cool. He said I used him. He told me to fuck off too many times to count.
In three months, he gave me too much power. He expected too much. I didn't mean to hurt him.
I believe everything he said. I feel like an uncaring monster.
Things really fell apart these past few weeks. I tried to cut ties with a toxic person who was sucking the life out of me when she announced that my best friend raped her.
I tried to comfort her. I offered to take her to the police station. Though her story changed several times, the details didn't add up, and it was drastically out of character for him to do such a thing, I believed her. Unfortunately, his side of the story made more sense. He didn't change the details or the sequence of events. He showed me text messages that contradicted things that she told me.
She threw a fit when I told her I needed space. I never told her that I doubted her story, rather that I was having trouble dealing with the fact that someone I knew and loved for six years is a rapist and that this was just too much drama for me to handle right now. She accused me of abandoning her and screamed about the fact that he and I referred to each other as best friends. I suddenly realized that she was completely obsessed with me and this was her way of getting him out of the picture so that I would have more time to take care of her.
I'm terrified of her now.
Meanwhile in my life, I finally decided to stop doubting the state of my relationships, to simply love my significant other and trust that he loves me. It was time to end the relentless distance and move in with him. I had never been so ready for anything. It was the first time in our relationship that I ever made a decision without first begging for reassurance. It felt like a major milestone for me.
He broke up with me while I was driving.
I cried for hours, knowing that our good times together had to come to an end, but also mourning the life I had envisioned for myself, escaping this town and becoming the person I honestly believed I could be, relaxing into stability and comfort of the only man I ever truly fell for.
Instead I reverted back to my old ways. I smoked dope, popped pills, and drank with Keli, like I always do when I can't handle the truth. I slept with old friends and bartenders. I'm the same person I was before I met him. He was a five-year pipe dream.
It seems as though my life has completely fallen apart. I'm stuck. I will never have enough money to leave this place on my own. The most important person in my life finally realized that he is better off without me. My best friend may or may not be a rapist. I unintentionally hurt an obsessive, unstable woman while trying to do what was best for my well-being.
When I told Bartender that I don't have any friends left, he said "Sure you do." I looked into his eyes, pleading for compassion. He pointed to my drink and said "You have a friend right there in front of you."
Last night I had a thickly veiled dream about Hays. I was sitting on my couch watching a movie when Frank tapped on my window. My heart raced and I jumped up to let him in. I'm always excited to see him. But as I made my way to the door I saw Chris's van parked out front. I looked out the window and saw Chris grinning and waving at me. I asked Frank what the hell he was doing there and he just kept insisting that I let them in. I stood at the window, conflicted. If I allow my old friend Frank to come inside, I would have to let the worst human being possible inside as well. I closed the blinds and paced around my apartment, unable to make a decision.
Frank represents the comfort of staying in Hays. He never changes. I'm never disappointed because I never expect anything. Our relationship never blossoms into romance, which means he can never let me down or hurt me. There are no risks with Frank.
Chris is my shitty job, shitty apartment, racist coworkers, all the people that I run into on a regular basis, but wish I could never see again. He is the bad experiences and the complete lack of growth.
If I stay in Hays, I cannot have one without the other. I can't allow one in while slamming the door on the other. If I take a risk and leave Hays, I'm leaving behind the comfort and familiarity of a place I've called home for nearly ten years.
But I would also leave behind this lazy, unambitious person I've become.
I couldn't even make it two weeks on the lithium. I knew that there would be tradeoffs. I knew I was sacrificing my character for my safety. I did not anticipate that I would lose my intelligence. That my thoughts would dissolve as quickly as I produced them. That I would spend hours looking for my keys, only to get distracted and go into a trance, glancing at the clock and wondering how the time slipped past me. That I would often lose control of my jaw and would not realize my mouth was gaping open until I walked past a mirror. That the lack of emotion would not follow me to bed and my dreams would be filled with terror and sorrow. That I would lose the ability to read and write. That mania would still occur, it just would not be as pretty. That the sadness would come in as crashing waves, rather than a steady stream to wade through.
But I felt alright. For the first time in my life, I felt just alright.
is about my parents.
I always knew. But I didn't expect it to come out so bluntly from a complete stranger.
"Does this run in the family?"
Every breakup song sounds so familiar. Not because I was dumped, or because someone just doesn't fit with me. But because I'm saying goodbye to her. To the beautiful times. To the long nights of writing my novel or screenplay, or painting my masterpiece. To putting my wallet, keys, and phone on the top cabinet out of reach. To sex with strangers. To superpowers. To the only person who said "You can do anything."
I get my meds on tuesday.
I'm not ready to say goodbye.
I can't stop crying.
I'm afraid of who I am without her.
But I have to kill my character before she kills me.
Babies Full of Babies
Fucking in the place I was raped didn't make me any less raped. But it helped the sad, scared, little girl with dread locks, smoking cigarettes in the band room. Fucking there held her lifeless hand. It gave her control over her life for a few seconds.
I saw her in there. Her dead eyes staring back at me. She whispered. I couldn't hear her. She touched the glass, I withdrew. She walked across the football field and laid down, secrets crawling beneath her frosted skin. I couldn't help her. Her tiny, frail body was still too heavy. I couldn't convince her mother to love her. I couldn't find her brother. I couldn't face her father. I couldn't drive her to the police station, begging them to take this seriously. I couldn't brush through the matted, curly hair that she would cut off the next day.
So I fucked for her. I showed her that it didn't have to mean anything. It didn't have to define her. She might not ever be the person she could have been, but she would gain the control she longed for. She would be her own person. She would make her own decisions. Even if she was wrong, the choice was hers.
I'm sorry, Sea Biscuit. I wish I could have been the adult you needed. I'm not going to tell you they care about you because they don't. I'm just going to tell you that all adults are imperfect, and I'm sorry they brought you into this world.
When people ask me "How do I learn to trust again?" the answer is simple.
The same way you learned to believe in Santa again.
Trust, as we once knew it, is a myth that we believed during a simpler time. Age and experience tells us that people lie, cheat, and steal. People are imperfect. They do not always meet our expectations. We know this through experience. We can still trust people, but not the way we used to. It frightens us that we cannot return to the naive comfort of believing in others.
Instead of asking "How do I learn to trust again" ask yourself "How do I learn to comfort myself when I am unable to trust?"
What's the point of being smart if no one will ever take me seriously?
I have to have my ideas translated by Cutey McBabyvoice to get my point across because nobody wants a fat, ugly woman with a deep voice to disagree with them. The 90 pound beauty with with suspiciously bouncy hair holds more weight with what she has to say because she phrases everything like a question and uses the language skills of a third grader. She isn't intimidating. She isn't threatening. She's a viable sexual candidate so she deserves respect.
Because of the way I look and speak, I am a man-hating feminazi who thinks all white men are racist. Someone half my size and a chirpy voice can convey the same ideas in a playful voice and they all calmly decide that she "might have a point but I still disagree."
I don't deserve respect because I don't know my place. I can have ideas as long as I don't take up too much space, depend on men, and pretend to be stupider than I am. My ideas will gain credibility as long as I dress to please men. I can earn respect by lacking confidence, and making suggestions, rather than just stating my opinion or saying "I disagree."
To say "I disagree" is to say "you are fucking stupid and everything I am about to say is going to piss you off so you might as well stop listening now."
Chirpy Mcbouncyhair can translate everything with a bunch of maybes, ums, and y'knows, and suddenly everyone turns to listen, nodding but not agreeing. No presumptions. She has earned their respect.
When the officer asked her where she lives, the woman motioned in front of her. She drew circles with her hands in midair. She waved frantically as far as her arms would reach.
The men tried specific terms like "residence" and "address" but the woman was not incorrect.
Perception is reality.
The police perceived the woman as part of their job. A menace to society that needed to be removed from the situation.
The beauticians saw their clients' discomfort. Disorder in their business. They saw problem that needed to be removed in order to maintain their revenue.
I saw a woman. I saw a situation that needed to be resolved before a woman fell to the floor, seizing, comatose. I saw a brain, desperately needing sugar to continue functioning as mine, as the polices', as the stylists' and their clients'.
The woman saw her life in front of her. She could not see herself and that did not matter.
We see what's in front of us but we imagine the rest to the best of our abilities. We imagine the world around us, functioning in the distance without our help. We imagine what we've done and what we are going to do. We imagine how we appear to those around us. We imagine their thoughts and feelings.
The woman, whose sugar-deprived brain prevented her from the presence most people perceive, saw only what was in front of her. For those brief moments, her eyes were her only means of vision.
Perhaps the rest of us see too much.
When I was young, I wanted to fly a kite but all the kites I bought were broken and torn up when I got them. None of them would stay in the air for very long but I'd keep trying.
Several years ago, I spent everything I had on a beautiful, new, well-constructed kite. The string broke and my beloved kite blew away. Occasionally, it would come back and I'd try to tie the strings back on but it would just blow away again.
So I bought more kites. They were cheap and broken like my early kites. They wouldn't fly high enough so I would get bored and throw them away. Sometimes I'd keep them in a closet because it was better than not having a kite at all. Sometimes I'd fly a kite once, and leave it at the park, pretending it was never my kite at all, hoping someone else would come along and give it a good home.
I always kept the strings from that kite that flew away. Now I have invested in a new kite, one just as perfect and sturdy. I just don't know what to do with the extra string.
Best Friends, Best Friends, Making a Cake
I've become incredibly lonely and depressed since Michael and I parted ways in New Mexico. I keep lamenting my lack of friends. More importantly, the lack of a best friend.
I haven't really had a long-term best friend. M was my best friend in grade school. That was easy. We were the smartest girls in class with a similar sense of humor. By seventh grade, I wasn't enough for her. She wanted to be cool. I was depressed and difficult to be around. She once referred to me as one of her "hard friends" because I had problems and she couldn't just relax and have fun with me.
At some point M got too wrapped up with her social life and extra curricular activities to be my friend and I started hanging out with her younger sister. She slowly earned the label of my best friend. We had similar personalities and interests, plus she had problems too so we spent most of our time talking about our feelings and the rest of our time goofing off and making fun of stuff.
After high school I met Chelsea. That was the weirdest relationship of all. I knew when I first saw her that I wanted to be her best friend. Somehow, despite my awkwardness, she accepted that role and we spent every waking moment together.
After our falling out, I never really found anyone to take her place. I latched on to Shannon for dear life, though I realize that she always meant more to me than I did her. Part of me always knew that but it didn't quite hit me as hard as it did the day I left her house.
At some point during Shannon's absence, I started spending time with Keli because she always had pills and weed. We also had a weird falling out when I started dating her ex. We're still on good terms but I don't really see her anymore.
When I met Michael, I started hanging out with Aracelli because we had similar life experiences. Though, like Shan and me, we too had an imbalance in our friendship. She ended up sucking the life out of me. After her, I decided I don't really need a best friend.
Then along came Zeta. Though I absolutely adore her, I couldn't relate to her the way I did with other girls. She has distinct interests that I don't always understand and I often felt like I was too shallow for her.
Then she moved.
So I have Cami. She lives a few trailers down. She's a 53 year old alcoholic that constantly bitches about her coworkers, boyfriend, and her boyfriend's son. By the end of the night, she's usually pretty plastered and I can never get a word in edgewise. A lot of times I have to hear stories three or four times because she doesn't remember telling me something the night before.
I long for a new girl. Someone like Chelsea, that I can tell from across the room that I want to be friends with her. Someone I can spend every moment of my life and share every detail of my past without judgement. Someone like Aracelli in the sense that I can escape from my roommates to just hang out and watch tv in peace while swapping stories about work, school, family, etc. Someone like Shannon who knows me so well that we can openly discuss and joke about personal hygiene and bodily (dis)functions. Someone like the entire Ford family, who always offers encouragement and compliments, even when I know I don't deserve it. Someone like Keli, who, despite her age, still has the anarchist fire in her and knows how to have a good time on a Friday night. And who I feel absolutely secure around when I'm high.
Or just Michael.
Goddamn, I fucking miss him.