She Had The Heart of a Gypsy

Six months ago I was a Property Manager of a 294-unit apartment complex. I had eight employees, a free apartment, and was making $70,000 a year. But the brightest part of my life is a beautiful two year old with sparkling big blue eyes and curls that match my own. A mischievous spirit full of fun and wonder. He was and is the light of my life. But my soul was dark and my feelings muddy. I couldn’t let myself feel too much. 

I lost both of my parents at a young age. My dad died of a heart attack when I was two years old. I felt a vague void towards the fact I did not have a real father. The thought would cross my mind but I didn’t even know WHAT to miss. How did it feel to have a father? My step dad and I had a tenuous relationship, full of anger and resentment. My mother? Her demons haunted our family. They ensured our nights were full of screams and anguish, our days filled with anxiety. She drank to keep them at bay. It made it worse. I yearned for love. 

Broken

It tugs at my soul, this addiction of mine. Twists my mind so. Makes it okay to lie and hurt people. Except you feel you are lying not to hurt them, to spare them.

 Who would want this type of life? 

It’s so dark I’m scared. I feel utterly alone. My skin crawls and I’m cold. My mind races and I’m burning up. “Help me” I’m screaming in my head. Save me someone please. Just a little something so I can feel normal and alive.
I knew normal. I was a soldier (technically still in but not because I have truly been one). I went to school online and enjoyed interacting with my teachers and fellow classmates. Learning. The addiction took all of that.

It’s scary how my addiction correlates with the birth of my son. The thought of it freezes my soul. Makes me numb. I am my mother’s daughter. Things didn’t go my way. Reality and the way my life was “supposed to be” were far far apart. And I couldn’t deal just like her. I’m not her I swear. 

It feels like I’ve lost at life. A 25-year old woman who has seen her better days. Won awards- soldier of the year, distinguished honor grad. Miss straight As. That is who I was to the world. Happy, a tad silly. My persona. The person I made myself to be to present to the world.

But the person I truly am, I don’t know her. I don’t know how to be her. My soldier days are over, how could I go back? And my career tending to residents needs and balancing the owners wants and my demented bosses harassing emails. It’s so much. I need change because I am suffocating. 

Is it moving? Quitting my job and giving it a try elsewhere? Breaking up with James and being alone? Am I capable of being alone and tending to a two year old when I hardly have the energy to get off the couch? And this is just the beginning. It’s going to get so much worse.

I’m scared to get clean. Scared to see who I am now. No longer the Type- A girl or an active addict barely functioning but who? A mixture of the two? Someone new, someone who never measures up to her pre-addict days? Or maybe someone better?

I don’t know I feel sick talking about this. I feel unbelievably sad. So sad it squeezes my heart. Something is broken in me.

It’s Over.

How do you know when it’s over? Is it when your heart no longer jumps at their touch, at their kiss, at their name on your phone? Is it when you wonder what it would be like to be alone? And start to crave it? How can you be so sure when the memories make you question yourself? Well it once was so maybe it’s a phase. Maybe I don’t really feel the way I do. Maybe he’s right and it’s just life is stressful and there is so much going on.

It’s almost Christmas. How do you end a relationship right before the merriest time of the year? How do you pretend when your heart is no longer in it? When you feel guilt being around his family knowing your secret.

I know that it is over. Whether we take all the pictures down of us, unfriend each other on Facebook. Whether we talk about it and argue or we ignore it. I know that there is someone out there for me. And maybe I won’t find them for years. Maybe I never will. But is being with someone and being content better than being alone and maybe, just maybe, being happy?

My heart feels so heavy. I do not know why he thinks or assumes that this is easy for me. That it is easy to break someone’s heart. To hurt them and to take away a life that you built. Worse yet, to take away the son that isn’t his but is in all the ways that matter.

There is no guideline for this. No book to read or things to Google. I have to trust me and in the end the answer is only found within. No one can know your heart or tell you the right thing. No one can tell you how to live your life or how not to live it.

Why can’t it be right? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if it were? No tears or anguish. No worrying at one in the morning. No clench of your stomach when he leans into kiss you and you don’t want to. 

I brought it up tonight and of course he met me with disbelief and anger. “How could I do this right before the holidays. How could I do this to him again. How could I take our son from him.” 

But I think, how can I not? How can I live in the monotony of day to day, weeks blurring into months, not even remembering the last time I truly laughed? How can I live with someone that I am not in love with? I can’t. I tried. I really did. But I can’t make myself be in love with someone I’m not.

And if I’m misguided. If I’m wrong and this is love. If that is the case, I want none of it. I want true happiness. I want to wake up and turn over and feel joy that there is a person beside me that I’m in love with and meant to be with. I want the one. So if there’s no such thing, I would rather be alone. 

His Biggest Obstacle Will NOT Be Me

Would I want Gage to be with someone like me? Someone that’s seen a little too much of how cruel the world can be. Someone cautious, who sees the bad before forcing themselves to see the good.

Not really to be honest. I want better for him. Parenthood is the most challenging transformation. You worry, wonder if you’re getting it right, Google too many things, worry more, but man do you love. That love drives me and makes me want to be a less jaded soul. It makes me a better person but also brings a special self awareness.

It can hurt – seeing yourself in the eyes of an innocent, beautiful soul soaking up everything around him. Do I measure up? Most the times I feel like I do not. That the days blur together sometimes with me in a haze. Not fully feeling or living. Quick to annoyance.

I will work everyday to become the best person for my son. To be better. To not be who I am right now. I will be different. Happier. I have only shown him sadness. Even when he was forming inside me. I cried for hours everyday and couldn’t find the energy to do more than slug through work.  The doctors said I was harming him, that my sadness affected him. I fear it affects him even now and will leave a horrible mark. Something he will have to overcome one day.

I do not want to be his biggest life obstacle. Our parents shape who we are. No matter how we try to deny it- nurture plays a large part in who someone becomes. Coming from dysfunction I worry even more. Compare myself to my mom. Pray that I don’t see the same weariness in my own eyes. Wince when I do. How am I like her? How in the fuck when I tried so hard not to be.

Forgiveness

Certainly I have not acted in the best way this past week. I relapsed. It is not something I am proud of- nor is it something I have thought of that much. I feel it though. Pain. Anger. Why did I do it? Why spend so much money for a momentary high? Nothing noteworthy caused it… Except I had extra money burning in my pocket. I was bored. Restless. Or whatever other million minuscule reasons addicts find to justify their behavior. It took me a day to recover just from doing what I did. A day of sleeping. A day of missed work. A day lost. I want to say with certainty that I will not relapse again. And yet I can’t. Perhaps I know I will again. Or worse yet, I am looking forward to it? Maybe I find more comfort in being sick and depressed because I know myself here. I feel pity for myself here. But taking a leap of faith, knowing that you are getting better and will be better, that is unknown territory. The unknown is scary. People may ask why you would be scared of happiness? And it seems silly. No one should be afraid of being happy. And yet I think I am. To be happy means to have hope. And to feel that soaring hope, that catch of breath, is a feeling I have not felt for some time. It is scary because it leaves room for disappointment. For pain. To shed the walls I’ve painstakingly put in place to “protect” myself, this is terrifying. But I must. And the first step for that is to forgive myself for what I feel I have done. For failing. Again.

Can You Ever Go Back?

I have not written in awhile. I am not sure if it is because I have been so busy or simply because I am starting to feel better. The depression that I felt choking me has released its’ grip a bit. Smiling is a little easier. Though I still feel some anxiety, it is not binding me the way it was before.

Which brings me to my writing. Throughout my life, I have started numerous journals with the solemn vow to write in them often. But I never stick with it. I know writing is therapy for me. But it seems I write more often when I am in a dark place. Not only more often but better as well. 

This weekend was really nice. I left home to go to my dear friend’s house in Pennsylvania. Friday was a crazy day for me- I worked late until 7. Then I had to get my car from the dealership because it broke down earlier in the week. I had dinner with my ex and there was wonderful live music. We lingered and listened to her beautiful voice, my son danced around merrily, and I was stressed because I knew I had a ton to do, but I was happy. Not only happy but in the moment if only for that moment. Afterwards I rushed to the grocery store to get food for my best friend and her boyfriend (they were watching Gage for me) and finally got on the road around 11:30pm.

My friend Matthew has done a lot for me this past year. In many ways he has saved me. He helped me move from the cursed townhouse into my apartment, has loaned me money when things got tight, but most importantly, he has been here for me to talk to. He knows about my addiction, my relapse. I thought for some reason my dark secrets would repel him- in fact I counted on it. I flung out my dark secrets like weapons, thinking surely I would see judgement in his eyes. But he loves me despite all of that. Matt is a godly man. You just do not meet people like him anymore. He goes out of his way to help people and would help anyone because as he says, “It makes him feel good to help.”

I love him dearly, as a friend. A few months ago we crossed a line. I had went to his house to detox; the pills they gave me for my shoulder were no longer needed and I wanted to go to a place where drugs were not just a phone call away. In those two days, we became intimate. And I fear it has forever changed our relationship. He claims otherwise but I KNOW he wants more with me. I just do not see him that way. I am not meant for him nor he for me. I almost wish I was; he is a wonderful man who would take care of me forever. But it’s not there. That spark, the unspoken, intangible pull that one in love feels towards another, that is missing. 

I picture the girl for Matt. She is a Christian. Sweet, loving, and kind. Someone not quite as damaged and dark as I am. Someone a little more pure. 

He claims to know we are not going to be together in that way and says he accepts it. But still there were the lingering touches and light kisses on my forehead. It makes me uneasy. I do not know how to tell him not to attempt this closeness. That it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know how to go back to the way things were before. And perhaps we cannot. Maybe once you cross that line, there is no turning back. But I do not want to lose my friend. As I type this he is rubbing my knee. We are driving back to his house from the wedding I agreed to go to months ago. Have I given him the wrong idea even though I have been straight up and honest about how I feel (or do not feel)? Have I somehow acted in a way that he still has hope for more? How do I go back to the the way things were? His friendship is sacred to me, it has saved me. But I cannot force feelings that I do not have. 

But the sun is shining. I have a book on my lap and delicious Starbucks in the cup holder. I will worry about what to do about Matt later. For now, I’m going to enjoy the ride. Get lost in the stunning views of the mountains. And get home to my little boy. 

The Right Path

I went home after my reports were done today. I probably could have made it through the day but I did feel sick. I’m just not sure if it’s because I truly AM sick or if I think I am. Do other people go through this? My couch beckoned me and I snuggled in just to find my mind was wide awake. So I took something to knock me out and sure enough, I groggily open my eyes four hours later. 

Shit the baby needs picked up. Isn’t there a day where you can rent a mom? At this point I would like to rent a person. I just need a few days, a week even, to self discover. To forgive myself. To forgive others. Alas I will not get that week and tomorrow I’ll wake up a little too late and be running around the house like a madwoman. I’ll ignore my 2 year old crying and hit snooze until the last possible moment. I’ll show up at a job I have begun to despise, knowing I have no choice but to do what needs to be done because he is depending on me.

We just finished dinner and I snuck outside to smoke. It’s cooler out tonight. Fall will be here soon. A lot of people get seasonal depression. I fear that since I’m already depressed, this winter will be even worse. Maybe it would be better if Gage were a little older… Or a little younger. Maybe it would be a little fucking easier if I wasn’t alone in this. I’m not sure. I was managing fine when he was a baby. But now he has all this energy and curiousity and I’m not sure what to do with it. I’m sure Google would help. “Activities for two year olds.” “What to do with my two year old.” But I don’t even feel like searching for the answers because I fear I’ll just lock them away in my brain and continue this mundane existence. 

Tomorrow will be better is what I wrote yesterday. But today was not better. I still feel like I’ve been knocked in the gut. My chest is still heavy. I have this lump in my throat and I know if I stop too long to analyze why, I’ll end up crying.

I prayed to God earlier. Prayed with all my might. Please God fix me. Please take this pain and sadness off my chest and out of my life. Replace it with what I don’t know but anything but this. 

Things can always be worse. I know this is true because I lived through “the worst.” But when things aren’t the worst and you still feel like every move you make takes a tremendous effort, like even breathing requires conscious thought, well what then? 

When do things get better? Yes I’ve looked it up online. Find a hobby. Do something you enjoy. Go out with friends. But most of my friends don’t have a two year old tagging along- one that can go from smiling to a meltdown in 2.5 seconds. I find myself wondering what I would be doing if things were different. The thought process offends me. Am I wishing my son away? No. I’m just wondering what the other path may have held. When I turned left at that fork in the road was I right? Or should I have turned right?

These thoughts hurt my brain and my heart. If not for my son, surely I would not be here either. I don’t know why I gave his father another chance. I know him better than he knows himself. And despite his fancy words about a family, he does not want us. He calls trying a four day event in which nothing is normal or on schedule because his mere presence brings about chaos. I’m just mad. At him for being a liar and a fake. At myself for being foolish. For thinking that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t have to be alone anymore. Maybe he was the right person all along and it was the wrong time. But he’s not. He wasn’t when he abandoned me during my pregnancy, he wasn’t when he left me at the hospital with a broken shoulder, and he certainly is not now.

My best friend’s mom is probably the one adult who knows me better than anyone else. She’s known me half my life. She says I filled my pain with men and drugs. So now that I have neither, now that I’m feeling a little too raw for comfort, what now? Where do I go from here? Not sure I can find the answers on Google for this. But I can make an appointment with a therapist. I guess that’s a start.

Glimpses of Tomorrow 

I’m finding it hard to move past my most recent transgression. They say we are our own worst critic and I do believe it. I was so proud of those two weeks. Maybe I didn’t sing from the rooftops but I was happy with myself. I felt like I was climbing the mountain- happiness maybe not quite within reach but oh I could see it beaming at me. And boom, just like that, I feel as though I took 10 steps back. Slid right down the mountain. Now I’m staring back up wondering if I feel up to the climb again. If I’m up to it. If I can find the energy. 

It shouldn’t be so hard to be happy!! I think other people take it for granted… Because if I had happiness, that true joy, the one that lifts your soul and erases all of your demons,  I would hold onto it so tight and never ever let it go. Perhaps it is something that you only attain with faith. Faith and confidence that in the end everything will turn out okay. But how  can one be so sure when the past has shown me such a different story? How do I even know I can be happy when I do not know what happy is?

I know one thing. My little boy deserves more than this. As a child, I deserved more. So how do I break the chain that binds me? I know each day of sobriety should be celebrated. Today, not tomorrow or next week, but TODAY I did not give in. Today I beat the monster within. I may not be where I want to be but today I did not succumb to the devil. My eyes are clear, a bit too bright from crying, but clear nonetheless. I see the shame in them but what’s that? Fear? Certainly some more of that. But I also see a little bit of hope. It’s so elusive that if I hold onto it too tight, it slips right between my flingertips. But it’s there. And maybe tomorrow I’ll see a little bit more. 

Stolen Time

It hurts. This feeling inside. The one that leaves me breathless and quickens my heart. The one that screams at me. You are not good enough. Why aren’t you better? A better mother, woman, sister, friend. But I’m trying I tell myself. I’m getting better. Today was no indication of that, the voice snickers. I slept most of it. The other parts were watching my son destroy the house; finding weak smiles and laughter to give him. Why am I not better by now?

The drugs took so much from me. Especially my self confidence. My energy. My hope. I can’t find that girl from before. I want to be more than her, certainly more than this. The type of mom that would get up and clean the house, take her son to the park, teach him numbers, and not have to fake laughter. Someone who smiles easily and it’s the kind of smile that reaches their eyes. Whose energy doesn’t come from 5 cups of coffee. Who does not need anxiety medication to feel halfway normal, to be able to leave the house.

Depression is a huge part of me. A monster. It lingers around me like a dark aura, infiltrating my mind and soul. Stealing little parts of me. My joy. My time with my son. My life.

I want it all back. And the thought is exhausting. How do you be someone you are not? Even if you once were. How do you tell yourself you’re not just lazy, you’re sick? How do you get better without something to help? Even if it is some laboratory-made piece of happiness- it is just a little something to give you energy, to brighten the day. To keep that dark aura at bay. But it always comes back. 

I do not know how to be happy anymore. I forgot what it feels like. I glimpse pieces of it- in my son’s laughter. In the warmth of the sun on my face. The pride when I do get something accomplished. But I don’t feel it.

Faces of Change

It’s a beautiful day out. I’m trying to let some of this sunshine seep into my soul and lift me up. Wake up time today was 6. Little man calls the shots but boy could I have used a few more hours. It seems that being tired is all I am these days. Not just tired- exhausted. Like its seeped into my bones. 

It’s been a month since I moved. It was supposed to symbolize a fresh start (and yes less money spent for a roof over our heads), but the location doesn’t change the person. I am still this girl I’ve slipped into being. Not a person I like too much. One that cries over little things, who can’t seem to get a grip. I remember who I was before all this. Why do I feel like I am mourning her? Why can’t I just be her again? I would have never allowed a month to go by with boxes unpacked and a cluttered house. Or the old me wouldn’t have.This new me. The one that feels like she’s barely holding on, that each day is a struggle to get through; I hate this girl. She is weak. She has allowed life to get to her a little too much. Yes I could blame it on the drugs. They certainly have contributed to make me this way. But it was before that. I am not quite sure where- if it was a building up of events and a quiet change or a change as fast as the shutter of a camera.

I long to be the person I thought I was. Soldier of the year. Straight As. Miss I can work full time and go to school full time and still maintain everything. Someone fun with tons of energy. Someone who ran a half marathon. Someone ALIVE. Sometimes I feel her, buried deep beneath the scars. But I don’t know if after everything that has happened, I will ever be the same. Maybe (and Lord do I hope it is true), I can be someone better.

It seems that life has hardened me. I didn’t intend on myself becoming jaded, unfazed, not really here. We all have this wonderful idea of how our life is going to be. By 25, I would have thought I’d be HAPPILY married, with probably 2 kids, a dog, a framed degree. You know- the American Dream. Maybe I would have even gotten far into the book I’m doomed to never start or finish. 

Instead I’m here. 25. I have my own place yes, an unpacked apartment that could use some love. And a wonderful little boy. But along the way I also have a failed marriage and an unfinished degree. A string of men I’m not quite sure if I really have loved. And the father of my child who I DID believe I loved- well he might as well be on Pluto instead of the 5 minutes down the road that he is.

I can look back and pinpoint the events. But not when I changed. I know that when I left here to go with Steven to Georgia, I never intended on returning. I created this life there. One where one day easily blended into another. Content but not happy. Definitely not sexually satisfied. I waited for the next step to come, a baby. Come to find out that I have a problem and most likely would not be able to conceive naturally. 

Did I ever grieve that? No one around me seemed to think that it was a huge deal so I think I buried it. I bury a lot of hurt it seems and then it manifests in stupid life decisions and mistakes. In little insecurities that stop me. “You can’t do that. You’re too weak, too dumb. An addict like your mother.” Because in the end, doesn’t it all boil down to her? My “childhood” if one would be so bold to call it that.