Category Archives: Stress
Protected: The Woman Who Knew Too Little
Pulling on the Reins
Firstly, I’d like to apologize to my readers. I have not be a good blogger, and I have not been able to keep up with other blogs at the moment. My emotional life has been chaotic, at best.
I’ve had a couple of 60’s and 70’s. But, I’ve had many days that were in the blue. I noticed what the defining factor of my highest days was. Exercise.
Training is exhausting, but I absolutely love the run. It does take a lot of my time and energy. I’ve realized that I need to work on me for awhile. Without this work, I will crumble beneath myself. It is imperative that I start cementing my own foundation. I find it crucial that I start defining myself in different ways, through expansion and reassigning attributes. I find the need to grow beyond what I am at this moment.
I want to make this clear. No, I am in no way leaving Pendulum, Canvas, or abandoning Blog for Mental Health 2012.
In fact, I am reprioritizing my blogging and my life in general. Where these things make the top ten, in importance. I’ve realized that mental health blogging, and mental health advocacy through blogging are extraordinarily important in my life. I have not been giving them a great deal of priority as of late, and I find it incredibly unfair to others, including myself.
Shorting myself is something that I seem to be painfully talented at. It is too easy for me to become complacent and put the needs of others before my own. In my personal life, I need more freedoms. I need more alone time.
I need to stop begging, borrowing, and stealing time.
I have to stop feeling like I owe things to people, and get trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of obligation and manipulation. As far as I’m concerned, I have paid my debts. The rest is for me.
Selfish or not, that’s the way it is.
Again, I am too passive. I am too complacent and find myself working too hard to keep the status-quot when I am completely dissatisfied with it. My foot is down, planted on sturdy, firm ground. I am taking a stand.
We took a brisk, early morning walk to our local pharmacy. It’s not too far, about a mile or so.
I had warned C.S. that it may take more than a few moments for them to fill my prescription. Sometimes, I have to wonder who is the woman in this relationship. He huffed and puffed, and we moved around the store. I picked up some essentials, and have been craving new writing pens.
(I will have them.) They just didn’t have the ones I liked. But, a frivilous purchase, although I am a school teacher, was out of the question.
The pharmacist asked me what I’d like to do with my b/c script. It’s not due to be filled until the 9th. Except, for some reason, I’m early. It would have had a co-pay that day, as opposed to not having a copay if I could wait it out two days. I turned to ask C.S.’s opinion. I do need the medication, but not that badly. I can make up for missed pills.
He sat there, with our son and hassled me. Get the pills. Let’s go. Beast is starting to get fussy.. I turned to him and said firmly, “I am making decisions about my health and our finances. If you or T.D. is having a problem, then kindly take him outside and wait.”
The walk home was difficult. Not in the sense that it physically bothered me. I’m in fantastic shape, putting a many miles under my feet. I went on this tirade. “It is not your mind, and it is not your body. It’s none of your business.”
To which he replied, “I’m paying for it. It is my business.”
“It’s not. You don’t live inside of me. You don’t know what goes on in there. You have no interest in it either. Butt out.”
I despised that phrase, “I’m paying for it. It is my business.” On two fronts. I pay my contribution toward the severe detriment we suffer due to my extensive medical needs. I commute and hour each way to do so. It is not as if I am laying around a sofa all day, spending all of our bank account. Don’t portray me as so.
I had pointed out at one point that he was not my legal guardian, and no living will exists to proclaim him my proxy when and if I become incapacitated. Damn fine move on my part.
He plays no role in my treatment. I have signed releases that he has full access to my records. He has never spoke to my doctor about any troublesome symptoms. In fact, as much I hate to admit this, I would be likely to declare my indecisive mother a medical proxy. She’s done so well with the rest of the family.
I am pulling in the reins. This carriage will not continue until I say so. It is my life too, and I feel like I’m being completely left out of it. This is my stand.
But, verbally sparing and expressing emotion is a tricky engagement in my household. So, pulling in the reins is more than taking full control over own life and those dealings. It is pulling in the reigns of my marriage. I am pulling back. Plans change to suit him. I am disappointed. Therefore, I am pulling back. I don’t depend on him for my happiness.
I want to, I want to be someone else or I’ll explode.
- Blog for Mental Health 2012 (acanvasoftheminds.wordpress.com)
- Mental Health, taboo or not? (bex2222.wordpress.com)
- Govt unveils mental health support (premierlinedirect.co.uk)
- Building Your Mental Health Support Network (everydayhealth.com)
Through the Wood
I feel liberated!
Something happened today. There was no click, or anything that proceeded it. It came as a light trickle from an empty well.
I felt inspired. I started generating original thoughts again. The dense fog dispersed, and I could see once more. I awaken from an inky, dreamless slumber that lasted millenniums. The breaths I took were like the first out of a dim room with recycled air. The clouds parted, and the sun warmed my face, rekindling the fading fire inside.
I am still within the forest. But, the sun has penetrated. The path seems more defined. I may be on my way back to civilization.
I feel the synapses in my mind sparking. My body is energized. I am not yet with brilliance. It still filters in, trickling slowly through my veins, pumping eagerly through now beating heart. My shackles anchoring my soul loosen. The chain lengthens, and there is hope.
The bright, white, shining hope embraces me, and I nestle into it. It has
been nearly two months since I was enveloped by shadows cast around my world. I was sinking, anchors tethered tightly, nearly choking the very life around me. I wasn’t living. I was merely surviving from day to day. Moment to moment. Nothing else could possibly exist in this world, for it was too overwhelming to even consider that the next second could contain such misery.
I crawled, belly on the ground. I could not stand; the weight was too incredible to bear. It prevented me from resuming life as myself. It began to nibble away every morsel of my existence. I took refuge in the shadows, receding into myself, folding once, twice, thrice over. Until I was nearly a speck.
It, the shadows, the creeping, seeping darkness, took possession over me. This horrible, unseen monster made the attempt to claim me. Whispers. Sever from this. Sever from the world. Retreat into me, and you shall not have to bear these incredible burdens.
I stood, breathless. Tortured and tormented. The air was in my lungs, but would not vibrate through my throat to create words. I dared not refuse, but I hesitated to accept. I refused to leave all of this, the wonderful people, community, and life I had built for myself.
Finally, I stood defiantly. You are the burden that tears at my existence! You are the shadow that blinds me! And I refuse you, as I cast you away!
No longer do I feel oppressed, hopeless, and helpless.
It’s not as if my life has mended. The circumstances are much the same. My grandmother is coming home, despite the fact that she is practically an invalid. My mother has been on a long bender.
I have $5 dollars to my name, and have been subsisting off of cup o noodles, doctored with some spices, accompanied by the last vegetable in my refrigerator. One more day. Just one more.
But, no matter. I am better than surviving, actually thriving in the puckered, sour face of stress and anxiety. I am conquering, planting flags in remembrance of my victories, reclaiming my mind, life, and body. It is truly an incredible rush.
Invigorating, in certain moments. It provides the momentum to traverse these woods, and climb that mountain to take my place at the top. Though the mountain is large, it is solid. I walk once again upon solid ground, even if I am slipping on rocks that give. I cling to the earth, determined to pull myself back to a vertical position.
I feel nearly free. The shadow has diminished, and I stand without it’s ominous presence. I am far from where I started, from in the beginning, still further even in these two lost months. I have not backdrifted as much as I have deviated course.
Yet, a new path lies ahead. It is forward, north and true. Perhaps one day, it will cross my original path. But, which will I choose to remain on?
A Better Version of Me
My eyes weren’t even open yet. The pain was exquisite. My belly ached with hunger.
Good. That means it’s getting smaller.
My muscles were raw and sore.
Good. They’re getting stronger.
I opened my eyes and peeked at the clock on my Blackberry. 8:45AM. Seven hours. Plenty. It’s doing better than the nine or more. Sleeping, the perfect escape from consciousness. Nobody can get to me in my sleep.
But, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of that life. I’m tired of being stuck in my head with all of this mess. And I’m disgusted with myself and my body.
I am disgusting.
I always have been. At one point, I thought I had excepted and celebrated what I look like. Until, I hit 140lbs.
Most of my jeans were almost too small. A few pairs wouldn’t actually close. I looked in the mirrors at the pounds of flesh I attempted to cram into clothes that were just plain too small.
Sausages have neater packaging than me.
I jiggle and wiggle like jello from every flap and fold. I can feel every inch of my flesh move when I move, and continue moving when I stop. It’s revolting. The idea that I will become obese to the point of immobility, if I don’t get a handle on this, was too much for me.
I choke on the bile that rises in my throat every time I envision my rolls growing into flaps.
I have never wanted to be “skinny”. All that I have ever wanted was to be within the healthy BMI range. I’ve never made it under 25. I have tried, and tried.
Every single diet you can imagine. Crash diets, healthy diets, calorie diets, and portioning diets. No meat, no carbs, not fat, etc. And none of those alone or in any combination was enough.
There is one thing I haven’t tried. Food diary plus exercise diary. Mood charting. A chart for everything in my life imaginable. Because unless I cut it open and dissect it, I may never be able to understand it. I may never understand me.
And I will never have control.
Running. There’s nothing that feels better than that searing fire in my lungs. I am jogging for the first mile, and walking the second. By the last half a mile, I am crawling. Sweat pours down my face, and I am gasping for that one breath that will stop this feeling of dying.
Dying. For one moment, I have a reason to suspect that there’s an external cause for that gnawing sensation I feel at the edges of my soul.
Endorphins. If I can’t cut, and I’m too sad to laugh, then what is a person to do? Run. Period. The ache of the muscles the next day, it’s exquisite. The satisfaction that I am doing well for my body and it hurts is enough for me.
The satisfaction that I completed 5.5 miles in one day. Anticipation of pushing that further. Lulled by the extraordinary exhaustion. Peace and clarity of the mind. And the excitement that I shed 2lbs in a week.
The best part? I am doing this by adopting healthier habits. Smaller portions. Less soda. A person cannot run and smoke at the same time. I have two different trackers for my mood. Sleep. Medication. I can’t control everything. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t monitor it.
I am determined to be a better version of me.
The Heath Ledger Paradox
Warning: This post has contents that may be hazardous to mental health. It contains strong themes of suicide, suicidal behavior, and substance abuse. Reader discretion is advised.
Have you ever had a moment where you heard the distinct and deafening sound of your own clock ticking down?
I have only heard this sound a handful of times. The first few times, it was difficult to distinguish from the other garble in my mind. But, the last time this occurred, the sound was unmistakable.
It happens when my physical state is badly threatened, but I’m not mentally aware. That is my defense mechanism that seems to be biologically programmed to protect me. It is what creates the Heath Ledger paradox.
And that’s what I experienced.
The Heath Ledger Paradox
Personally, not proudly, I have attempted suicide between a half of a dozen and a dozen times in my life. I don’t really keep score; there is no tally anywhere. In fact, in total, I have only left a handful of notes behind. They don’t always correspond to the actual attempt, though.
I am not a violent woman. My method of choice was almost always centered around substances. My very first attempt landed me in a bathtub with a belly full of pills. It was an unintentional coincidence between Sylvia Plath’s and Virgina Woolf’s suicides. I know this to be truth, because I was only in my early teens at the time. I had yet to read about these authors. And despite these attempts, even some carefully orchestrated with blatant drug interactions, I never succeeded.
What was different about me that made me a survivor of my own wretched malice? Many a person has done these things accidentally! Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Lee, Brittany Murphy, and many others are examples in our modern culture of how accidental overdose happens.
I met a guy in college that I stayed friends with. Eventually, we ended up working together. He was dismissed for failure to attend, and we all suspected he had a drug problem. A few days later, he was found dead in his apartment from a multiple-drug interaction. The guy ended his own existence with his own carelessness. How could he do it by accident and I couldn’t possibly do it on purpose?
That’s the Health Ledger Paradox. It is easier to succeed when the mind is unaware.
Last night, I accidentally set my foot onto the other side of the fence for a moment.
I still have impacted wisdom teeth on both the bottom left and right sides. These wisdom teeth have risen up partially in the back, causing skin pockets to form. Occasionally, I will get something trapped back there and a small infection will form. If I treat it immediately with a rinse and keep the pain manageable, I can usually escape a trip to the doctor and an antibiotic.
I detest going to the doctor to hear the same thing repeatedly. Yes, I know I need to have those teeth out. Though, I now have dental insurance, I do not have the money for a serious co-pay there. I just had a major surgery a month and a half ago. I don’t have the time or energy to spend in recovery. And I always feel worse on the “cillan” antibiotics than I did with the infection. Other women will feel me here. I usually end up with a worse infection in the end.
I had some Vicodin remaining from my surgery. Admittedly, I hadn’t taken many. I had a problem where the Vicodin would cancel the Temazepam out. I would be up for hours, sleepless and still aching. I decided that my body needed rest more than I needed pain relief. I had to heal. Last evening seemed like a good time to take it. I don’t know how I let the situation with my teeth go from uncomfortable to agonizing. But, it happened more quickly than my mind could have processed. So, I took the Vicodin.
I spent the rest of the night staring at the white porcelain bottom of a toilet bowl. At first, it was akin to other bad reactions I had to other narcotics. I do not respond well to Oxycontin or Percocet. And this was a similar episode. But, by the sixth hour, I knew there was something terribly wrong. My stomach had already emptied itself twice and was going for a third. This time, only water remained.
By the seventh hour, it became clear to me. I leaned forward and wretched. It felt like my stomach was turning itself inside out, in hopes to vacate an invader. I literally felt empty, as if I had evacuated every ounce of anything I’d eaten in the last 36 hours. And it dawned on me. My body was having a reaction – but why? I had taken Vicodin before with great success. I took it after my surgery and this didn’t happen.
I couldn’t muster the strength until the morning. I had only slept five hours out of fear that I’d never awaken again. I decided to refer to the almighty Medscape Mutli-Drug Interaction Checker. I thought I remembered doing this. Typically, I screen all new medications coming in. As I was trying to rattle my brain for all of my prescriptions, it occurred to me. I did do this, but I had forgotten a very important medication, Wellbutrin.
Significant – Monitor Closely
bupropion + hydrocodone
bupropion will increase the level or effect of hydrocodone by affecting hepatic enzyme CYP2D6 metabolism. Significant – Monitor Closely.
lamotrigine + acetaminophen
lamotrigine decreases levels of acetaminophen by increasing metabolism. Minor or non-significant interaction. Enhanced metabolism incr levels of hepatotoxic metabolites.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg there. That’s among four additional interactions. Those are the most important though. That’s the reason I was hugging the toilet, wondering why my sedation was outrageous and my pain relief was minimal.
And I realized, I just set foot on the other side of The Heath Ledger Paradox. If it wasn’t for that mechanism, that beautiful inborn, DNA encoded device inside me, I would have been dead. Something in me told me not to take more medication when my pain relief was marginal. And that same thing kept me safe by alerting my body that there was a dangerous toxin that needed to be rejected from my stomach. There was still a tiny bit of knowledge encoded from some source that this was life-threatening.
Not everyone has that, and most people with it can bypass the safeties with enough of a loading dose. That’s the aim in a suicide – to get past the safety, just like a gun. Except, when most people knowingly stand on that ledge and look into the void, they turn back. The point with accidental overdose is that all of that is gone. It’s like playing with a gun without knowing if it’s loaded or if the safety is on.
That gun was loaded last night. Thank the powers that be in the universe that I have a safety.
Fast-Forward to Showtime!
It is a stressful and moderately sleepless period of time for me. It always is before a show.
My official job title is Music Director. Any and all things musically related go through me. This includes the winter and spring musicals. In fact, the explicit purpose of hiring me was 1.) To serve as a musical director for all productions and 2.) To fulfill a Keystone Stars Requirement.
Since, my duties have expanded exponentially. I am a substitute for general education. I have taken all things surrounding fine arts. I am partially a drama teacher. I do some office jockeying. And now, I’ve taken on graphic media and design.
I wish I could post my latest masterpiece, but I’d out myself so fast. It would be one thing if someone else stumbled upon this, as it is. There is still a considerable shadow of a doubt. There are dozens of programs like mine in the city. I could be anyone. Even as I watch Lulu and Em bounce off of each other, there is still no overlap. Not yet, and hopefully I won’t ever have to worry about it.
And this flash in my mind is among the scattered puzzle pieces that leaves a hint: At this point, so what if anyone made the connection? Puh. Yeah, I’m so sure that will be my thought while I’m watching my life go up in flames.
I spent my entire Monday night slaving over that program. I spent all of Tuesday fiddling with the format, stapling the prints, and making handwritten corrections on all 100 copies. Meanwhile, I was lugging a stapler the size of a tripod with me, and two hundred pages of paper.
My mind and my body should be spent.
My hands and my arms hurt like hell. I’m sucking down Ibuprofin and benzos. And yet, I find myself taking on more, and more projects!
In fact, in the last week, I’ve taken on more than I have in the last six months.
I interviewed for a second job on Friday. That went amazingly well. A new grocery store chain is opening up, and I wanted to try to get in on the ground floor. I have a cumulative three years in retail, two and a half in two competing grocery stores. I know my way up, down, and sideways – from registers to stock to pricing. I never thought it would amount to anything, because I’ve always been at the bottom of the food chain. But, this manager wanted me bad. “I could use a person with your experience and education.” Who knew?
I am now officially a Sunday School teacher again. My aunt is having surgery and passed the torch.
I’ve been marketing for a second-hand shop.
And today, I’ve taken on advising and web administration of a fledgling music site of a friend.
Atypical at best. Overly ambitious. Check. Social. Check. Sexual. Check. Sleepless? No. I was so done last night that I apologized to C.S. for checking out so early.
I can’t make heads or tails of it. And I’m anxious at the thought of exploiting this.
Also, I want to offer my profound apologies to anyone or anything I’ve neglected. And an explanation to go along with it.
In Bricked, I detailed how Tallulah, my Blackberry Curve 9300, took a dive. It required me to completely wipe the device and reinstall.
What a pain in my thumbs! I’ve had to reinstall all of my apps. Everything was going fine until I went to install the Gmail app. Apparently, they stopped offering it in October!
What’s the problem? – you may ask. Well, I lead a double-life of sorts. More like a triple-life really. I have two personal emails and a work email that have always been hooked up to Tallulah. Lulu was through the Gmail App. It made everything very accessible and clean. Now, I’ve had to hook Lulu up to Tallulah, and divert it to a different folder with different alerts. (I get a lot of emails in a day).
In hooking it up to my device, I have only received new emails since Sunday evening. I have a lot of loose ends. Apologies if you are currently under the rug. I’ll get it taken care of throughout the rest of the week.
I decided on Friday that I was going to take a mini vacation from myself over the weekend.
And it was fantastic! I took my full doses of medicine and smiled. I grinned ear to ear at all of the things stretched to near transparency and the rest that’s hanging by a thread. I went grocery shopping at a local market, on a Saturday morning when it’s always packed with people, and loved every minute of it. I eagerly sampled all they had to offer and just enjoyed the flavor of something new.
Saturday was the white ponies, double rainbows, and gold dust dreams are made of. It was an easy day like Sundays are supposed to be. I was well-rested and in great company. We ended up spending about $150 on groceries that will take us through about 3 weeks. Conversations took place where not a single whisper of the lawsuit existed.
All of T.D.’s Christmas presents were purchased by C.S. and a good friend while T.D. and I napped. And later, we drove around aimlessly and found a 24 hour doughnut shop not too far from home. Any hour of the day, there are doughnuts to be purchased! How incredible is that?
Oh my, do I have a penchant for rambling!
Sunday. Well, I don’t actually believe that was the day God rested. If so, then wouldn’t that be the last day of the week in the Christian calendar?
Sidebar – A Little About Lulu v. Religion
I was brought up a good little, white, blonde, pink cheeked Episcopalian. Just like all of my Scottish ancestors before me. I was baptized, confirmed, and married in a small church in my hometown.
The church itself was built by the parishioners in 1930, with their bare hands. The diocese only lent them enough to build the church itself. Sometime in the 1940’s, the parishioners took it upon themselves to dig out an undercroft, so they may have a common area to meet. My grandfather and his brothers were among those men.
As you can see, my family is deeply rooted in the church. My aunts and mother ran the Sunday School. My grandfather was the financial officer and my grandmother headed every charity event. I was a dedicated member for my entire youth.
There are events surrounding my separation from the church that were beyond my control. I was invited back five years later. But after living in a Jewish community for awhile, my ideas of faith and religion had deviated from Episcopal practice.
Throughout the years, I have been actively involved charity events, but rarely spotted at mass. The church has been facing some serious problems, and I’ve wanted to help so much. But, C.S. isn’t much for wanting to get up early on Sunday morning.
C.S. has been the one dragging me out of bed on Sunday morning! Somewhere along the way, he’s had a change of heart. I can really only speculate – but in any case, it’s been nice.
This is where the frenzy begins. T.D. went number 2 and we didn’t bring wipes. I was ripped away from a project I didn’t know when I’d get back to.
Then, in the afternoon. It happened.
I was toying with the new Blackberry App World. I should know better. I’ve bricked dozens of computers from downloading things. PC’s aren’t anything I can’t fix. I graduated with honors from a Microsoft Certified School. But, I don’t know much more about the workings of a Blackberry than what can be pulled from Crackberry.com’s forums.
No, no, no, no, no, no, noooo!!!
Stupid 3rd party apps. I waited until we were finished with dinner and told C.S. that I had to get my phone fixed ASAP. And that required me to sit upstairs, hooked to a USB cable, silently loathing myself for the entire debacle.
I wasn’t up there ten minutes before C.S. yelled up. “What are you doing?” Even more irritating, I had to get up and go into the hallway to talk to him because he’s deaf in his left ear. “I’m trying to fix my phone.”. “Still?”..
Eye roll. Yes, still!
Another ten minutes goes by and I hear C.S. yelling at T.D. There were some crashes and T.D. crying. I flew down the stairs and demanded to know what was going on. My kid was acting up. Big surprise.
Everything was busy loading, so I stayed awhile to get them settled again. Then, I excused myself back to the Blackberry battle.
“Lulu, could you come help me?” Back down. Up and down, a dozen times in two hours for every little thing.
I helped C.S. get T.D. into the bathtub, and once again, I took my leave. Fifteen minutes elapsed and I heard a crash, bang, boom! T.D. was hysterically crying and C.S. was hollering. All while I’m jumping two and three stairs at a time screaming, “What happened?!”
I scooped my son, wet and naked, into my lap and hugged him. C.S. began explaining that he ran off and must have slipped. My boy was fine in a minute, jumped out of my lap, and ran off to do his thing.
Suddenly, I was filled with rage at the whole ridiculous, irritating, infuriating situation. I clenched my fists and ground my teeth. I grabbed the item closest to me (thankfully, a little plastic tube), and hurled it at the fireplace. C.S. stood behind me and asked, “What the hell is wrong with you?” Every muscle in my body tightened and locked. And I pounded my fist onto the floor. Repeatedly.
I snarled and screamed, “I can’t even do anything without getting interrupted by every little thing!”
He responded, “I can’t handle T.D. by myself. I just can’t do it.”
I yelled at the top of my voice, “I do it, by myself, everyday! I was doing it all by myself the day after my surgery!!!”
He went silent. I guess walking a mile in my shoes caused a few blisters. And I was left in peace to finish the repairs.
I know. My fit was absolutely outrageous. Honestly, I couldn’t stop it. It all came on so fast! I rarely have tantrums like that, but I was so overwhelmed! It was such a strong I was obligated to act.
Am I alone in the indulgence of inappropriate expression?
High School Never Ends: Unfair Game
Sing it again!
Four years you think for sure
That’s all you’ve got to endure
All the total dicks
All the stuck up chicks
So superficial, so immature
Then when you graduate
You take a look around and you say HEY WAIT!
This is the same as where I just came from!
I thought it was over!
Aww that’s just great!
I had theorized for years that high school was boot camp for life. Some people are assigned to the hot zone, and others end up behind a desk. And most of the time, just like in the military, you don’t end up in the place you signed up for. Usually, the place you end up wasn’t quite as bad as training.
I was mistaken.
High school is actually the kiddie pool for life.
When I was in high school, all I wanted was to graduate and get the eff out of there. In fact, I wanted out so badly that I dropped out at 17, entered the pilot cyber-charter school, and finished out 11th grade that way. The only reason I was coaxed back to my high school was the fact that I could enroll in five music classes and only needed one gym. It was way better than the option of a purely academic senior year.
I missed a record amount of days that year. A whopping sixty-two, when the fail limit was twenty-one. I missed almost three times the maximum amount. I actually missed one day over half of the school year.
(It was a miracle I graduated at all).
Yes, I had a severe case of senioritis. It was more than that. The whole ordeal of high school made me ill. It was a jungle of mini-adults, preying on one another in the attempt to establish social superiority. All for what? To be openly adored and envied by many and secretly despised by everyone that was trampled?
I was easy prey, far down the food chain of the high school food chain. Don’t be mistaken. I was not at the very bottom. I created a new breed of outcast and made it fashionable. It was a fabulous alternative to being hated for being a poser. I flaunted my flaws in hilarious self-loathing. It was quite a show to behold. Best of all, I helped push it so far from popular culture that it was enticing. A geeky, intelligent rebel? Who knew?!
It caught on. This was before emos existed, during the time of goths. I was neither. Sure, I was adorned with black clothes covered in pins. But, I was determined to give a permanent home on the social ladder to every kid that didn’t quite fit the mould. I wanted to challenge every social norm, and show everyone that different was actually better.
Just that alone put me in the line of fire. But what could they possibly gossip about that I hadn’t already broadcasted myself? I was poor as hell! My family was an absolute wreck! It was clear to see that I was a fat band geek. My wild eyes glared at the cliques behind thick lenses. Plainly said, I was a crazy freakshow!
I lied. I smiled when people gossiped about me. I’m too poor to afford new clothes every school year. I’m a whore, because I have sex. I see a crazy doctor and take crazy meds. My mother is a drunk, my brother is a tard, and my father is crazier than me. I don’t actually have friends, I have followers and worshippers. I acted like I fed on it, and turned to preach to my flock to do the same.
Truthfully, I felt like less than garbage. There was a drop of truth in every story. I felt ugly and ostracized. I didn’t like people’s perceptions of me, but I knew I never would. I should at least put on a show! Turn your own self-loathing and insecurities into something inspirational to some and controversial for most. It worked for Howard Stern, right?
Every jock, priss, prom queen, cheerleader, dancer and intellectual took their own shots at me. We were so far removed toward the end that it didn’t really affect me anymore. The shots from the artists, thespians, and fellow musicians hurt the most. You would think there would be at least a little bit of camaraderie. I suppose it is every (wo)man for themselves in the urban jungle.
I didn’t even plan on walking at graduation. My plan was to finish finals and disappear into the ether. But, parents get what parents want. I walked across that stage decorated with honors, and extreme gratitude that all of that was behind me.
Today, I learned that it is still exists, maybe even more so, right ahead of me.
Unfair Game – Part One
The time stamps don’t lie. I watched the time race by in the bottom right-hand corner of the grey bar on my monitor. 10:39PM: “C.S., are you awake?” No answer.
My intention? To reconcile my email and produce an update. My email has been hovering at around 45 unread. My posts have become sporadic on Pendulum. I do have an audience, whether I want to acknowledge it while writing my posts or not.
Note: I do not acknowledge my audience, because I am continuing with the original premise of a monologue. This is purely in the sense that I am not writing to an audience, but more performing for an audience.
One thing led to another. The devil is in the details. I glanced at the little clock: 1:06AM. At that rate, I would’ve only gotten seven hours of sleep. I bargained with myself. I could probably extend that out another half an hour.
1:42AM: I’ll be done in a couple of minutes and I could muster six and a half hours. I can be okay on that little sleep. I’ll make it up.
2:17AM: I’m right in the middle of something (different)! I’ll cut this short and go straight to bed.
2:50AM: Finally done. Wait! No! I still have to post on Pendulum!
3:16AM: Done. For real this time.
3:23AM, as I lay my head on the pillow: I’ll sleep in for however long my body tells me I need.
Less than five hours later, the alarm on my Blackberry went off. The universe is funny in the way that if I needed to get up, it would have been a struggle. The touchpad on my Blackberry was frozen. It only allowed me to snooze it for 5 minutes. After a drowsy battle, I managed to turn it off.
8:31AM: I am gently awoken with Breathe Me by Sia. C.S. was blasting it, anxiously asking himself, and likely me, where his belt had gone off to this time. The eternal struggle.
Losing sleep is dangerous business. I rarely wake up in a haze and spend my day in that condition. This is where external factors are counted the most. An uneventful day could mean I’d likely lose steam in the early evening with a geriatric bedtime. An action-packed, stressful day that ends with me conquering something, could pave the way for euphoric hypomania. An emotionally charged day could beckon dysphoric hypomania.
A dangerous game, indeed. Any which way, the stack of cards is eventually going to clobber me.
It was business as usual at the Sunshine Estate. C.S. left in the van-buggy, the house was a frosty 65, and T.D. and I were enjoying our Cinnamon Toast Crunch, with the company of Spongebob. Today was the first day in awhile that I actually witnessed the mailman deliver. So, I was prompted to retrieve it. Besides, we were still waiting on yet another continuance for the lawsuit.
That’s exactly what was amongst Tuesday Trash Mail Day. Our lawyer already informed us that the plaintiff retained council. Hence, the continuance. What I saw was un-effing-believable.
“This is an official notification from the district magisterial court. This document notifies the party of an official continuance of the hearing from said date to the new date.”
Okay, okay, I knew that. And at the very bottom of the tri-folded paper it read, “This was granted at the request of (insert name here) Esq.”
The passenger of the other party’s vehicle and the lawyer have the same last name!!!
This is where it gets hairy. We are uncertain of the nature of the relationship between the owner of the vehicle (the plaintiff), the driver, and her passenger. Mind you, the occupants of the vehicle are nowhere on these court documents. The only place that they exist is in the police report, and a vague threat of personal injury suit.
The passenger and I attended the same high school, and I recognized him at the scene. We weren’t well acquainted – he was a sports player and I was a musician. Those social circles don’t provide a wealth of opportunity to cross paths. Nor would I have wanted to. He wasn’t a terrible guy. I had a reputation to keep.
I immediately discarded my breakfast and ran to my computer. It was time to do some investigative work. It was too unlikely to be coincidence – it’s not like the surname was Smith or Johnson.
I’m handy with a computer. I’m one of those people I fear. With a first name, surname, and a city, I can find out a lot about a person. I made the connection pretty easily. I found both a positive address match from census information and a genealogy match. They are father and son.
It gets worse. The plaintiff’s lawyer is also a commissioner in my municipality. FML!
Isn’t there some kind of law against this?!