I’ve been trying to write this piece for probably over a month now. For a while, I thought I just wasn’t sure exactly what I was trying to say. But I’ve realized recently that this has been so difficult to write because, fuck, this part of my life hurt. Bad. I’m not saying the other parts didn’t. Clearly, my life has been shitty for a while. But that just seemed to be becoming the new norm for me. But this piece isn’t about a specific story. I won’t lead you on, like the guy I went on a few dates with, who I later said I “wasn’t feeling it” to, said, as most dudes seem to, “you lead people on!” Followed respectively with the crying voicemail calling me a bitch. I hope he’s out there somewhere, seeing a therapist… Anyway, so that I don’t anger you guys the same, there’s no big story here. This is just about being alone. Being alone when all you wanted was nothing but to not be alone.
Within the months following my brother’s death, my assault, my abortion, my dog dying, and my mental health being in an actual dumpster fire, and all that other fun stuff, I lost a few significant friends. Again, there’s no real story here. It just seemed that one day I had my friends and the next I didn’t. There were no words, no conflict. I was just pushed away I guess you could say. I felt like I was begging for anyone to stay near me. Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple amazing friends who stuck by my side and rode it all out with me, but I was becoming so numb to people leaving. At that point, I was just waiting for the rest to leave as well. Losing friends is something else. Well for me, at least it was. I had always held my friendships for a long time, with rarely ever conflict between them. None that matter anyway. My friendships are my rocks. Through it all they’re there. All the relationships, all the drunken mistakes, all the good times, all the bad times. I’ve always leaned on my friends and they’ve always leaned on me. And, especially in this point of my life, they were some of the most important people to me. So, losing them, without any real explanation (to my understanding at least), fucking hurt. I really just started to feel so fucking alone. More alone than I ever have before. A feeling I didn’t even know existed.
I had been using anything I could as a distraction from my sadness for months after my brother died. Alcohol, drugs, sex. You know the whole cliché. I needed distraction all the time. I would do anything to be with my friends. Whether we would go out to eat or I’d just help them run their errands, I needed to be with people all the time. I feared the night because I knew I would have to be alone. I couldn’t sleep. Most nights, I would just lay there, unable to shut off my brain. I would stare out my windows, looking at the sky and stars, wondering if Kenny was up there with them. But that would usually lead me to a place in my brain that I never like to go. The part of my brain that begins to question the point of life, where we go when we die, does it hurt to die, is Kenny okay. All the concerns that literally cannot be answered. I would try to watch TV, but that usually didn’t help. I would have to get up and do something. I would turn on the lights at 2am and start organizing my already organized things. I remember once even alphabetizing my DVD’s. The local Goodwill boxes were constantly stuffed, with the amount of times I cleaned out my closets at 3 in the morning. I was afraid to stop. I was afraid to be in the quiet. I was even afraid to fall asleep. My realities even protruded my dreams. I would finally fall asleep somewhere in the early hours of the morning and wake up 20-40 mins later in a panic from night terrors. I would be so shaken up, I would sit up and not let myself fall back asleep. I would wait for it to get light enough out and catch the sunrise down at the beach.
I was so afraid to be alone, I clung to anyone. Including the worst man, I’ve ever met. I entertained my ex, as well as many others that I easily could have gone without, whenever he’d come back around. Not because I enjoyed his company, just because I hated being alone. He continued to treat me like shit and I continued to sleep with him. I know, I know, and yes, I am working towards becoming a life coach, since I clearly have this whole life thing in the bag. It was almost more appealing to me, him being an asshole. Like, ooo now I’ll have something else to stress over instead of all the other realities I was facing. I think you can officially classify your life as “SHIT-TAY”, not just regular “shitty” but “shit-tay” so there’s a little flare to it, when the better, less stressful aspect of your life is the toxic man you keep sleeping with as a trauma response. I’d see numerous psychotic texts and voicemails and think, “phew, it’s just him belittling me, thank god”.
Another huge aspect here is that I began to hate myself. I hated the situations in my life. I hated that my brother was gone. I hated that my friends were leaving. I hated how my brain was working. I hated that I was letting someone treat me like this. I hated that I wasn’t better. I hated that I wasn’t healed. Without any conversation or any real conflict from the friends who were pushing me away, I began to think they were pushing me away because I wasn’t enough or because I was still grieving. I began to get angry with myself, thinking, well maybe if I was healed by now, they would still be here. I would constantly wonder if I was grieving too long or too hard. I would beat myself up for not being “better” yet. My self-esteem was in a dumpster at this point. The dumpster then caught fire and after it was put out, a bunch of rats came and chewed up what was left of my self-esteem. Life knocked me down so many times, back-to-back, that my brain said, “Ya know what, girl? We’re just going to chill down here in the shitty parts, if you don’t mind. This is just too much. Peace and love xo. P.S. Also, we will not be providing you with any peace and definitely not any love. Talk soon.” I was so afraid to be hurt or left again, I just kind of expected it. I waited for the shitty things to keep happening. I continued to feel shitty. I just said, fuck it. I cried almost every morning, every night, and randomly throughout the day. I’d wipe my tears, throw up the peace sign and keep going.
But…it was tiring.
I thought about killing myself. A lot. I thought about how nice it would be not to feel like this anymore. I thought about how nice it would be to be with Kenny wherever he was. I thought about everything. The only thing that really stopped me was knowing how angry Kenny would be. I know, deep down, he’s somewhere wishing I would figure out how to enjoy life and savor every second of it. But, back then and even sometimes still now, it gets very fucking hard. But…I promised him. I promised him that I would continue to throw up the deuces as I cried and fake it until I make it. Faking it, I was good at. The making it…that took some time.
After what felt like years of my life, I was done. I wish I had a more suspenseful or climactic story for you, but I don’t. One day, it just stopped.
Again, there’s no big story here. Epiphanies and big “ah-ha” moments were made up by Hollywood. Sure, things happen that open our eyes. But really, there’s no background music to life. There’s no camera following us around making sure to only get our good angles. Like I said, real life is a shit show.
It’s just moments. That’s all we get. Moments of hurt. Moments of sadness. Moments of laughter. Moments of strength. And sometimes moments pile up and one day you just decide you’re done. You’re done feeling unwanted. You’re done questioning your worth. And you’re done feeling like shit. I finally stood up after what felt like a lifetime of sitting down.
I remembered that I am a good person. I try my best to help those around me. I deserve to be treated well. I deserve to be loved the way I love. And anyone who doesn’t think so can fuck off.
I forgot to stand up for myself for a long time. I walked quietly in hopes that people would stay, until I realized the only people worth sticking it out for, are the ones you can walk loudly with. People hurt us and we should be able to stand up to them. It makes us acknowledge our pain and recognize our growth from it. And I’m proud I finally did. I’m not saying go start a Facebook war or anything. But I think when people hurt us, we should voice that. Set your shoulders back, throw up the middle finger, however you choose to handle it, just don't walk quiet. Because at the end of it, we still kept our loyalty to the most important person in our lives. Ourselves.
This time I wanted to be alone. I wanted to be by myself. I wanted to learn what I wanted out of life and how to get it. I wanted to make myself happy. I wanted to remind myself of who I am and the good that I deserve. So, I was alone.
I worked on myself alone. I read new books. I began exploring new places. I started trying new things. I learned that I wanted to live a life that Kenny would be proud of. I learned that I wanted to help people. I learned that I wanted to be with people who made me laugh. And, if I couldn’t, well, I would be just fine. Because most importantly, I learned that I could provide myself with everything I needed and wanted. I was happily alone. And with all honesty, I loved the shit out of that time.
Of course, I have my few friends and loved ones and family. We all have someone somewhere that we lean on or that gives us hope. And sometimes it feels like our strength comes from them but, it doesn’t. It always comes from you. I wrote myself a letter a while back to read whenever I forgot my strength and I’ll share one part of it with you, because the rest is personal as hell…I say as I write a blog about all of my secrets…
“You can think that your friends and family are the reason you’re still here and yes, of course, they were a huge help, but don’t forget who got you out of bed. Don’t forget the person who rubbed your back while you cried yourself to sleep. Don’t forget who still made you do it when everything in you said you didn’t want to. Don’t forget who pulled the covers off of you when you never wanted to get out of bed. And don’t ever forget who reminded you that there’s hope when you felt you lost it all. It should be easy to remember because it was your-motherfucking-self.”
Me, Myself & I
Our relationship with ourselves is just like any other. We bicker, we fight, we forgive, and we evolve. Once in a while, I still feel lonely. I lose sight of that force that got me through it all. But much more quickly than the past, I find it again. I fall out of love with myself sometimes. I get mad at myself sometimes and that’s okay. Life isn’t linear. We go up and down and side to side all the time. We lose ourselves, but, it really only matters if you find yourself again.
To all my readers who have felt this way or maybe feel this way right now, I hope you can find the strength, and hopefully sooner than I did, to say this is bullshit, throw your middle finger high in the air and remember who the fuck you are.