The Woman Who Played With Matches

Tuesday was a big day. The Blackberry – now dubbed BB4, because I’ve determined I’ve doomed any inanimate (and potentially animate) object I name, arrived. And I struggled at every step getting the damn information transferred.

A compulsion dragged me into two different pharmacies in town, in search of a replacement Sharpie pen. I obsessed about it. I couldn’t continue writing in my journal without it. The writing wouldn’t look right. I saw the hideous tag of $9 and change for two. And I decided that day that my sanity had a price.

I continued with my regression therapy experiment by listening to The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. The album as a whole. Still nothing but lyrics. I can’t ever remember where I put my phone and my cigarettes. But, I’ll never forget a single lyric from any of those 14 songs.

All day, obsessions. These obsessive, intrusive thoughts snagged and snapped at me.

You lose everything remotely important. Check your bag for your pens. Your cigarettes. Your phone. Check again and make sure you see it. Did you put it back in there? Check again.

The world whizzed by me. And the music blared:

“Need you.

Dream you.

Find you.

Taste you.

Fuck you.

Use you.

Scar you.

Break you.”

Eraser

C L I C K .

– – – – –
“Fine-ally!” I seriously thought my bladder was going to literally burst inside of me. I pulled myself to sitting on the beige bench seat, all the way in the back. My heavy sandal fell off of my foot and landed directly on my copy of The Downward Spiral. I plummeted at freefall speeds. And upon impact, BANG! I was fiercely sobbing, van door open to a busy, boiling hot highway.

I rustled myself out of that van, and into that rest stop. I lit up a cigarette in a stall (back when you could smoke almost everywhere), and continued to sob.

“What the hell are you causing so much fuss about?” I heard from the stall next to me, “Me and your dad will buy you a new one when we get there.”
– – – – –

My father wouldn’t let me have anything that held any value. I didn’t even carry a wallet until I was 18. I didn’t carry a purse until I was 21. Why have these things without valuables. He insisted that I’d lose it.

When I did lose something, I’d never hear the end of it. Things I’ve come to realize can be easily replaced. A pen. A hat. The trouble is that these things never were replaced. If I lost something, and I loved it, it was gone forever.

Gone forever.

“Everyone I know, goes away, in the end.” Trent purred.

I was eager to get the key into the lock. I couldn’t remember the last time I had to go so urgently. I threw my bags on the sofa as I rushed through. I shedded my coat onto a kitchen chair and turned the corner to the bathroom. I walked up to the toilet and –

The seat was up.

Why was the seat up? I was the last one in the house.

A cloud descended upon me. A dark, nasty, vile cloud filled my head with heavy, smokey noise. It seemed a man had been in my house. And seeing as how only two men have a key to this house, and know the odd work hours I keep, that narrowed it down.

I take my father at his word. The man doesn’t lie. He would just avoid the subject.

That knocks it down to one.

“Confront him.”

“Wait! Don’t! Confronting a potential liar gets you nothing but more lies. Provoke him into exposing himself.”

I fired off a text, “Someone is busted.”

Normally, there is a lag time between fifteen minutes to three hours between texts. “I’m just so busy with everything going on! I’ll go to text you back and something will come up.”

More excuses. I don’t expect to take precedence every day. Just one day would be enough.

Immediately, a call shot to my cell. I nonchalantly answered the phone. At first, he carefully poked around. “Who? What do you mean? What happened?”

We didn’t speak while he was coming home. Unusual. He was only quiet when he was either alienating someone or plotting. I had him cornered.

When he arrived home, he put on a great show. He anxiously scoured the house looking for clues. In paranoia, he wedged himself between the fridge and the wall to boost himself above the drop ceiling. It was quite the farce.

He made a mistake. My husband, a man who is not guilty of anything and deeply crippled by anxiety, would not have given up so easily.

He was chipper when asking, “Would you like to take a walk over to the store for freezer pizza?”

I was bitter and suspicious. He hadn’t regarded me in that way in nearly a month. Each revision of behaviors became more noticeable. He eagerly set up the stroller. He made a pass of the exterior of the house for good measure. Only a pass. It was anything but thorough.

“So who do you think it could have been?” he uneasily questioned me.

Fishing.

“Anyone.”

“Like who.”

“Everyone and anyone who could gain access to our house. Whether it be by force or key.”

Some more silence.

He rattled off a few very unlikely people. Forced. Any shift away from focusing on him. The insinuation was nowhere near vague. If there was something to hide, I’d find out. I made that unmistakably clear.

He trotted through the store. Suddenly, necessary items considered to be superfluous became important. I begged him for toothpaste when I had thrush. I knew it would clear faster. But, though we had just gotten paid, there was no money available.

He was overly enthusiastic about everything. At one point, he went to the Digiorno pizzas, and exclaimed what a great price they were. I had done so three months ago, and was shot down, claims they were still “too expensive'”, and returned to the same nasty, three, overcooked Tombstones.

Fake. Appeasing me. Buying my distractions.

I glared as he rushed through our taxes without complaint. We have never done our taxes so late. Never down to the wire like this.

Irresponsible. Careless. Uncharacteristic.

I fished through his cell phone for clues. He’s clever. He would have erased any tracks. He’s too paranoid to let anything revealing slip.

I have my reasons.

Quiet Desperation

Warning: This post covers sensitive subjects and strong themes that may contain triggers. Reader discretion is advised.

This is the cage I built for myself.

Feral beasts are dangerous business. Clever, tricky, and adapted to escape at all costs.

Be still. It may not see you.

Still, silent in the brush. It obscured any vision. Each breath more shallow, as I dared not inhale, lest the beast’s minions catch the sound. One fatal mistake. One stirring.

Run like hell!

A jump and a sprint, I was dashing off into the great beyond. Dozens of faces, so many places, a blur, while I disguised myself among them. I’m okay. I’m fine. Each tortured response beckoned the minions closer. How can they possibly hear me when I can hardly hear myself?

And I fell silent. I no longer possessed meaningful words, delicate prose, or any of the everything and anything I’ve been revered as.  They were carried away, the winds encircling my disheveled being robbing me of them, and corroding the sharp edges.  Running.  Focus on running.

Crowded towns grew thinner, and passing remarks couldn’t have been louder than a faint whisper.  Sparse landscape, withering, yellow, knee high grass.  Plain sight.

Blistered feet and lungs ablaze, each passing breath more laborious than the last.  I pressed on.  The grass gave way to shifting sands, a sea of desert.  I slipped and skidded, dune to dune, determined.

If I can remain on my feet long enough, I will outpace this.

Every ounce of focus dripped into the concentration it took to remain on my feet, to drag the air into my lungs, to keep myself steady.  The sea of sand was merely a mirage as I kept my sight ahead.  Rock.  Steady, solid, crags awaiting my arrival.  This is where my feet took me.  My safety, solitude amongst these rocks.  I scaled them with delight, my anxiety eased, all of the heavy burdens lifting.  The top was in sight.  I pulled myself to standing.

To precariously perch on a cliffside.  Frozen, despairing, I peered over the edge, just long enough to peek at the crashing, foaming water beneath me.  Was it took late to retrace my path?  One backward glance.  All I saw were shadows rushing me.  With one incredible thrust, I was thrown from that ledge into free fall.

The wind screamed in my ears, filling my head with all of the sound in the world.  One voice stood out in high contrast, seemingly pressed against my eardrum.

The Voice murmured, “Helpless.  On your way down.  You destroy everything you touch.”

Tumbling mid-air, disoriented without a sense of up or down.  I dropped in free fall.  Slam!  – The water became a wall against my back and knocked wind clear from my very soul.  My body had become leaden and weak from the desperate flight.  The sea was the color of ink, waves licking and thrashing my now ragdoll body.

And the sinking.  No flailing and gasping.  No fight.  Just sinking.

——

I waited, ear poised in wait of the closing door. Patient, still anticipation. Another few minutes past, I went to the window. The car was gone. In a moment, I’d be free.

I would be released from the constant, throbbing ache. The very same sore that punctures like soul like cigarette burns through paper. Liberation would come from the nervous pacing, anticipatory anxiety of living within the ever-looming, glaring shadow of bipolar depression. Released from the twisting tendrils born from a withering mind. From my silent desperation.

Solace in a blade.

Necessary evils.

Necessary evils.

Is your love strong enough?

It rang out clear as a bell and filled my otherwise unoccupied room. Everything I loved and hated, all together, all at once, surrounded me. Everything I adored and despised, one in the same within me.

Like a rock in the sea.

The blade edge pierced the flesh of my ankle. The flash of pain merely dimmed the torrent inside of me. A momentary distraction. I’d retrace that line, pressing harder, digging deeper.

And I will answer to no one.

Am I asking too much?

Yes. Always.

First blood. It rushed to the surface, red as fire, trickling from my veins. It was a delightfully horrific sight. A witness to all of the agony released. Blood letting.

Is your love strong enough?

Once. Twice. Again. More. More. Another! I want to drive it all out!

Five distinct slices in all. I heaved an enormous sigh, and lit a cigarette. I sank like a stone. The chase was over; the thrashing and flailing finished. I surrendered myself to the undertow, and watched almost indifferently as the surface faded to black.

Maybe I’d just disappear
If I can’t keep my head above the tide

Please, anyone?
I don’t think I can
Save myself . . .

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?!

Debt of Explanation

What do I say now?

I’ve written and rewritten and edited this draft for the last three days.

It originally started out with a rationalization:

Lamictal and hormonal birth control don’t play nice. When I first started Lamictal, I would take the bc placebos for that week and start exhibiting symptoms of PMDD. My Pdoc recommended that my OB/Gyn consider putting me on a continuous cycle for three packs and then have the off week. And I’ve been doing that for almost 2 years.

I have that liberty to schedule when Aunt Dot comes to visit. Risking a complete mental break down every 63 days was better than having to do it every 21. In the last year, the last couple had been pretty mild. I thought I was in the clear.

I lost track and went 5 months this time.

What person with bipolar disorder wouldn’t want to be able to blame conditions that are within their control?  I was telling myself that Monday would come, I would be back on the BC and all would be right with the world.  In the meantime, I adjusted my dosages – with no effect.  I did that a couple of days ago thinking I could put a bandaid on the situation until there was a real fix, meaning I straightened my meds out and all of this moody woman bullshit was over with.

PMS was a word invented by men to explain women’s emotional behavior.  (No offense intended to my male readers).  My husband discovered my self-inflicted injuries today.  Actually, more like he discovered the band-aid that I’ve been hiding under layers of bracelets all week.  He said, “What’s that?”  I answered in a low voice, with T.D. on my lap, “Nothing.”  I won’t lie.  I’m sick and tired of cowering in fear for someone else’s approval.  I didn’t lie to him.  It means nothing to him, but it will stay with me for a long time.

He asked again, “What is it?” And once again I replied in a murmur, “It’s nothing.”

“Every time you get your f***ing period, you have to go and cut yourself!!!”

I don’t recall being afflicted with such in my very first post, “To See If I Still Feel”. And I can honestly say that was the very last time I engaged in self-injurous behavior.

I’m starting to suspect it isn’t completely me.

Originally, I wrote:

My marriage has been on the rocks lately. My kid is raising hell. I have the crushing weight of being solely responsible for T.D., anything domestic, and work. I am expected to have time for everything. I am also expected to take all kinds of crap from everyone when something goes wrong. That is, surprisingly, with the exception of my boss and co-workers.

I have dealt with be mistreated and disrespected in my home. I have endured vicious criticism and blame. I am overwhelmed and over burdened. And anytime I speak up, not only am I wrong, I am intentionally starting trouble. Suddenly, my condition becomes a reality because it’s convenient to blame me “being a bitch” on having bipolar disorder.

I am falling apart and it’s not even at the seams. It’s from consistent strain and wear on my fabric. And when someone I let close enough to me starts taking swipes… it’s enough. It’s more than enough to come undone.

I wrote to a dear friend that I used to be able to depend on C.S.  I described all of the wonderful things he had been to me.  But now, I feel like I’m being pushed off the ledge and then kicked in the face when I finally hit the bottom.

Each morning, when I awake, I have been telling my dearest friends here that I’m doing better.  And each afternoon, I’m doing worse than the day before.  After that comment, “Every time you get your f***ing period, you have to go and cut yourself!!!”, I’m about to give it up.  I was mistaken when I said to my dear friend that I wasn’t sure that he was even aware of what he was doing to me.

We don’t get to choose our family.  Sometimes, we can’t choose who we fall in love with.  But we always have the choice to make the decision to devote ourself to each other through marriage.  How could someone who chose me, who is supposed to love me, be causing me so much hurt?

Confessions of the Pain of Payment

Warning: This post has disturbing and profane content.  Be advised that this is not for the faint of heart or anyone who might consider themselves to be unstable.  This is in no way an advocation of the content within.  Read this at your own discretion.

Small, simple, safe price.
Rise the wake and carry me with all of my regrets.
This is not a small cut that scabs, and dries, and flakes, and heals.
And I am not afraid to die.
I’m not afraid to bleed, and fuck, and fight.
I want the pain of payment.
What’s left, but a section of pigmy size cuts.
Much like a slew of a thousand unwanted fucks.
Would you be my little cut?
Would you be my thousand fucks?
And make mark leaving space for the guilt to be liquid.
To fill, and spill over, and under my thoughts.
My sad, sorry, selfish cry out to the cutter.
I’m cutting trying to picture your black broken heart.
Love is not like anything.
Especially a fucking knife.

Just look at me, look at me now.

I’M A FAKE, I’M A FAKE, I’M A FAKE.
“I’m a Fake” – The Used

I’m not a role model.  I never wanted to be one.  I only wanted to be me.  I wanted to be honest with myself at the very least. The honesty starts here and now.

Monday, I caught myself sitting at the kitchen table, alone. My sitter had called off – again. I have problems making other arrangements, as you’ve read in One Day I’m Going to Grow Wings and Spitting Fire. Stress overwhelmed me, sucking the air from my lungs. I thought again, in my still silence, about the idea of having to resign my position. My mind drifted to Zen. He’d be at my side, through it all. Tears streamed down my face. And I crumbled.

A flashback struck me. I had remembered Stacy. She noticed my bandages. So, she showed me hers. I had never encountered another cutter. We sat on the ramps one grey day, in the pale fall light pouring in from the large windows. I confessed to her in whispers; I cut again. She inspected my gashes made by a steak knife. Dismantle a shaving razor. The cuts are cleaner, easier, sharper and can be mistaken for something else.

My little box of lies was born again. When I was a teenager, I had a jewelry box I called “My Little Box of Lies. It always contained a razor, a pregnancy test, and pills I was saving. Today, it is a 1970’s Altoids tin. It only contains four tiny razors and band-aids.

I looked for areas of my skin bracelets would cover. I drew the blade against my flesh and felt numbing pain of the blade. My mind quieted as I watched the blood rush out. I made another slice. And another. I ran the razor diagonally over the gashes. It was enough. I bandaged my still bleeding wounds and carefully hid my tools of self-destruction where they would never be noticed.

Tonight, I am loaded on Xanax. It’s still not enough to purge my mind of the week. My failures at parenting mocked me. My husband’s biting words hurt my heart and soul.

I’m a lazy bitch. I’m a liar. And I’m ungrateful. Totally ungrateful for everything I have been given.

I want the pain to go away. I found myself alone in my bedroom this time. No amount of pills or lies or acts will erase this. I pulled out the blade and retraced my healing wounds. I dug deeper, gushing more and more blood. Tears rolled down my face, blurring my vision slightly.

It still wasn’t enough. I needed more pain. I needed more testaments to my suffering with fresh flesh. I pressed the blade firmly against a new patch of skin and put as much pressure as I could with such a flimsy blade. It seared through me. Again. I desired more. I needed the painful lines to pour out and release the pain inside.

I am so ashamed. I am not the Lulu with a sordid past and insights. I am Lulu, with the band-aids over her life. Lulu, the liar, the fake with a closet full of skeletons and empty words now.

One Day, I’m Going To Grow Wings

Let down and hanging around
Crushed like a bug in the ground
Let down and hanging around

Let down again
Let down again
Let down again

You know, you know where you are with
You know where you are with
Floor collapsing
Floating, bouncing back
And one day….
I am going to grow wings

A chemical reaction
Hysterical and useless
Hysterical and…
Let Down – Radiohead

Normally, I am not a fan of disclaimers. When looking at them from a psychological perspective, they are an affirmation of what is actually being said, instead of the deceit a person is trying to convey. For instance, phrases like, “I don’t want to be rude, but”, and “I’m not a (insert adjective), but”. The truth is in the disclaimer.

However, I must use one for these purposes, because these words and ideas may be misinterpreted. I do not blame my parents for all of my problems. I am well aware that I have the ability to be cognizant of and control my thoughts and subsequent behaviors. I pride myself on the self-control that I exhibit. These people are supposed to exist as part of my support system, and they parade around as such. It’s the martyr’s game. When push comes to shove, they always pull the net when I’m falling.

Here are the three most recent examples. November 2010, my husband and I were both offered employment at the same time. This had never occurred before. I went to my mother, overjoyed that I was offered this dream job. (My mother is a homemaker). I asked her if she would be willing to watch T.D. for the five hours that I’d be out of the house. She came up with a million flimsy excuses until I offered to pay her. And then, over the course of the school year, she paraded my son around the neighborhood under the guise that she was this amazing, selfless grandmother.

The possibility of being employed in the summer program came up. I was ecstatic. I mentioned this to my mother expecting the usual stoic response. Basically, she was rooting against me because she didn’t me to ruin her summer plans.

When it was first determined that I was not going to be employed for the summer program, she was overjoyed. Then, three days before camp started, I got a message inviting me to teach. And she once again, begrudgingly, took on the selfless task of caring for her grandchild. With the monetary bonus, of course.

Now, we are coming upon the school year once again. I had worked it out that T.D. would have services in the morning, get dropped off at preschool in the afternoon, and be picked up and taken into the care of my parents for the remaining time. Apparently, that was not on the agenda, although it was discussed at the beginning of the summer.

They never fail to let me down.

Our lives are so intertwined in terms of T.D. having strong affections for them, and us living on family property. I want to distance myself from these people as much as I possibly can. They are absolutely toxic.

My mother is a ridiculous and belligerent alcoholic. My father and I do not have a father / daughter relationship; I might as well be the mother of his grandson and nothing else. My parents offer no love or support without a price tag. And I can’t stand to be surrounded with such dysfunction.

I can’t believe I thought I could trust them. I can’t believe I thought I could trust anyone. (There’s some things going on in my social group involving disloyalty).

I’m ready to wall it up again. It’s easier this way.

I’m open to stories and suggestions.

The Little Box of Lies

Let me tell you the tale that led to this post.

My husband and I pulled up to the gas station. He said, “If I pump, will you run on and grab the cigarettes?” That is usually the plan, and I hopped to it. When I got inside, I opened my wallet and remembered. This morning, T.D. snatched my debit card out of my purse. I grabbed it off of him, and thought I threw it in the blackhole that is my purse.

I took my bag back to the car and tore through it. C.S. Then informs me that the pump isn’t accepting his card because it’s too worn. My anxiety flaired up, “It’s not here. It has to be at home.”

C.S. huffed, “I guess we have to go back home and get it. Where is it?”

I answered in a panicked voice, “I don’t know. I have to look.”
I ripped through the house in a panic. Not on the table, not on the bookshelf, not in the basket, not anywhere. I dumped my purse on the sofa and still there was no sign of it. C.S. was sitting in the car staring at me. Time and patience was wearing out. I made the last ditch effort and rechecked my wallet. It was there I discovered that my debit card was in another compartment of my wallet. It had been with me the whole time.

I got back in the car and C.S. asked, “Where was it?”

“Bookcase,”I lied.

Everybody lies.

Sometimes, we don’t intentionally lie. It just happens. But then, there are other other times.

I am about the bluntest person you would ever meet. I don’t play games and I don’t manipulate. I don’t out and out lie. In fact, I am pretty much incapable of lying. It actually causes physical and emotional distress.

However, I have been known to drop little white lies. I have lied to avoid a useless argument. I have deceived people to protect myself. And I have lied to save myself from a serious consequence.

How many lies do we tell in a day? To others? To ourselves?

I find myself lying in small ways everyday. For awhile, I lied to myself about my weight gain. I lied to myself when I said that I’d start my diet tomorrow, with every single cookie.

I lie to my husband. Usually about stupid stuff because I didn’t want to start an argument. His is the only opinion in the world that I care about. So I don’t want to tell him that I need that nap in the afternoon. Or tell him anything else that would change his opinion of me. That’s sad, really sad. But it’s the truth.

I have a lot of confessing to do. In private.

Do we all really lie? And what about?