Beautiful Freedom

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Sitting in this waiting room trying to ignore the dull throbbing at my temples and the pain in my ear that has been a warning sign before of oncoming anxiety attacks. Unlike most times when I come to pick up my meds, today the waiting room isn’t filled with other patients having angry conversations with themselves after having come out of the bathroom with their pants around their knees. I’m not that far gone yet or maybe I’m worse off because I can’t openly show my insanity like everyone else in this room. It’s been a week, give or take a day or two, since the last time I’ve taken a pill and I’ve been terrified of having a panic attack, especially while driving. But life goes on. I’m thankful that today is Friday, this means at least one full day of rest, a chance to recuperate and quiet the chaos in my head. After I had picked up my medication, while in the parking lot, I saw the most beautiful squirrel. It let me get so close to snap a photo and I wished I had something to feed it. I envy the freedom of wild animals. I can’t imagine what it must feel like. When I was younger I used to hope that one day, if I was ever destined to be reincarnated that I would have the opportunity to be a beautiful animal- a tropical fish maybe, a dolphin, I’ve always loved the water. Or maybe an exotic bird like my favorite- the Toucan. I always figured it couldn’t hurt to be beautiful while being free. But beauty has it’s own share of problems, I’m sure, no matter what form it comes in.

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Accidentally Angelica

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I’ve huddled myself onto the bench in the kitchen to brood after having been snapped at. It wasn’t his fault though, he was only anxious about the weather alert in our area and how his parents will fare through it all. I envy the relationship he has with them, even though I cannot quite understand it. I’ve never been close to my family and I can’t say that it ever particularly bothered me, seeing how they never really belonged to me. Some ties are only as strong as the love that binds and them together and if there is no love, what’s left? I’m good at playing pretend though- pretend friend, pretend sister, pretend daughter, pretend wife. The only real things I have are my words and my love for my children seeing how I oftentimes find myself questioning love of any other type. I don’t think thirty-five years worth of experience in the subject is enough to call myself an expert. More likely, I’ve become a critic. Accidentally, of course. I’m stationed on this bench with the tears burning in my eyes, telling myself that it’s because while I may not be the best housewife, once I get started, I’m far from imperfect. You couldn’t tell this right now of course, what with the mess that’s been created between the girls and the puppy and I’m so exhausted. I feel the depression pulsating around me, just out of reach, threatening to bubble over and so I try to breathe and write. I’ve found myself here accidentally, of course, and so I’m trying to make the best of it until it’s time to move on.

Restless

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In the darkness I watch the smoke curl, only it isn’t really smoking because I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore. Is it really drinking if the beer isn’t alcoholic? If it’s not, then I could use a drink. It’s been three years since I’ve had a drink. Three years? Or was it four?  When my mind is like this I tend to forget.

I’ve been so excited staring at this new book I received on my doorstep today, I’ve taken it out of my handbag so many times already and stared at the cover, flipped through the pages and stared at the words without really seeing them. I don’t know where to begin, at the beginning is always best, I’m sure, but I’m afraid of tainting the pages.

I need to sleep, six a.m. comes so early and in Texas it’s nearly one a.m. yet here I am, listening to sleep music for puppies on YouTube while she paces in circles, whining because she wants to roam around the house. He says it’s because she’s at the age where she’s a teenager in puppy years and I think back to when I was a teenager and decide that I can relate. When I was her age, I always wanted to be anywhere but where I was.

I browsed through Amazon tonight and told myself that I am making it my mission to buy two more books of poetry by bloggers whose words I adore. I’ve never been too keen on ordering online but these words, I need them. I have yet to read anything in the book I received today, I have only held it and turned it this way and that, knowing that somewhere in between those covers will be words that make me cry. Not that I am afraid to cry and not that I will cry because I am sad. I cannot quite explain it. Opening up to that first page is a moment that I treasure and I am excited and anxious and perhaps not quite ready.

I am restless tonight and so is the puppy. She’s been whining off and on for the past hour and I’ve finally let her out of the bedroom so she can wander around. I wish sleep would come yet I am frustrated, angry, suspicious and I know that it will not. Tomorrow I’ll be most unpleasant and by Wednesday or Thursday, maybe not until Friday, I will feel terrible about my mood swings. But maybe it’s not all so bad because when I am feeling this way is usually when I’m the most productive with my writing.

Medicated

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I’ve been telling myself all night that tonight isn’t the best time to write. I’ve run out of my medication and I can feel the difference. When I’m feeling this way can I really trust the words to come out right? Is there really any way for them to come out wrong? I write because I have to. I write because I sat in bed and tried to read a chapter or two in a book I downloaded and I kept glancing back to my journal. I write because I tried to distract myself by playing a game on my phone and yet, the bright pink cover of my journal kept calling to me. I hate the way I feel when the medication starts to wear off- paranoid, nauseous, irritable, sad. It was a misunderstanding- having run out of my medication I mean. And now I’m feeling disconnected, yet suspicious. Restless, yet fatigued. These are the moments in which I feel as though my words come out exactly as they should. I don’t overthink them, they write themselves. It’s like watching a film, frames flipping by faster than I can comprehend them. They make no sense and it really doesn’t even matter because at the end they’ll make perfect sense. Writing used to be my drug, the only fix for aches and pains, and then something changed. Life changed. Maybe. I’m not sure. Writing is what will keep the illness from taking over. Writing is what will keep me free even if I say the same thing for days on end, I convince myself that writing is the only thing that helps.

Lost Letters: Losing My Words

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Did I write back then? During all of those broken hearts and bones? I did sometimes. I was given a journal by someone, I don’t remember whom. It was hardcover and white, dotted with tiny, black Mickey Mouse silhouttes, a black spine and the same tiny, faint Mickey Mouse silhouettes on the pages. It was perfect.

I wrote in it sometimes long after our relationship had fallen apart and we were bound to each other for our own reasons. I wrote in it sometimes while I was reading my Bible, searching for verses in the Book that would have me believe that the God represented in it was good, faithful and true, that He would show sympathy on those who were faithful to Him. I jotted down verses that meant something to me (Romans 9:20-21 carried me through several mental breakdowns when I couldn’t stand to look at my own face in the mirror). I scrawled out my dreams and hopes for the future. I wrote to get the madness out of my head and in the hopes of keeping the darkness at bay.

I kept the book hidden in my underwear drawer underneath layers and layers of cotton and lace, material things that brought me no pleasure. I would only ever write when he wasn’t in the room, although sometimes he would come and stand at the bedroom door, his arms leaned on the top of the doorframe, staring down at me.

Sometimes he would ask me what I was writing about and I would lamely answer that I was just jotting down whatever came to mind in the hopes that I could sharpen my writing skills. He knew how badly I wanted to become a published writer one day. I knew in the back of my mind that he would read my words once I went to sleep or to work and so I could never truly write anything too personal, too real. I just wrote things I thought he would like to hear, things that wouldn’t have me laid out unconscious later on in the night because of.

For ten years I did this and at the end of those ten years I blamed those ten years for my depressing case of writer’s block. Long after I was away from him I would sit in front of an open laptop or on the couch or my bed with a notebook open, pen poised, and the words in my mind would dissipate, like a cloud of smoke swirled away by unappreciative fingers. Where inspiration and an endless well of ideas had always multiplied, now there was nothing but a black void of nothingness and this broke my spirit more than any nasty words, any punch, kick or slap ever could, for what is an aspiring writer if they have no words? I told myself I could handle any type of bruise. I could silently endure the pain of broken bones and concussions. I could endure the heartwrenching insults of the type of woman I was in his eyes, the type of woman I would never be, but without my words, without my undying passion to continue writing away the pain through it all, without my love of words I was nothing. Nothing at all. And this hurt my heart and soul more than any type of physical pain he could have ever inflicted on me.

Lost Letters: When I Wasn’t Writing

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Going into that prison sentence, I told myself that I was strong enough to withstand this test of time. After all, I had my hands full with a newborn baby and a full-time job as a supervisor at a retail chain. He tried to pressure me into applying for public housing assistance, claiming he would need somewhere to set up a physical address with his probation officer once he was released. Yet at the same time, he would warn me that I needed to be ready to take our son back to Texas with him, his father and his brother who would be making the long drive to pick him up the day he was released.

I put his future release in the furthest corner of my mind because three years was a lifetime away. Instead, I worked hard, I partied harder. I made money, I blew money. I slept too much and cried too little. There was a new sense of freedom that I didn’t understand, yet welcomed with open arms. I took care of myself, indulged myself, I was healthy and happier than I had felt in a long time, despite my chain smoking and binge drinking.

I owned so many nice things, well things that were nice to me- brand name clothes and shoes, expensive watches, a wide variety of creative sterling silver jewelry. I still wasn’t writing and I hadn’t picked up a book in ages. I was too busy living.

I should have been sending him money, money so he could eat better, money to help ease his suffering. Instead, I was busy waiting in long lines every weekend outside of ocean-side nightclubs. I was busy buying long-neck Coronas and Kamikaze shots. I was busy losing myself in places that made me not feel so lost.

I kept trying to convince myself that I didn’t need him, that I could live a happy life without him. After all, how could we ever be happy and financially stable once he got out of prison? I was no expert but I was pretty sure that he would never make it to a corporate level with a felony criminal record. That would put the financial burden solely on me. Besides, I already had a job. A job that I loved. I had a life that I loved.

A while into our relationship I had decided that it had been our love for alcohol that had bound us together. He drank obsessively to forget the pain he claimed he felt at having lost a child, and by lost I don’t mean the child died. I drank to fill that constant longing I felt. Longing for something, anything, other than the life I had. A lot of the guys I dated in highschool couldn’t understand my need for drinking. They couldn’t understand why I preferred Budweiser over something fruity. They didn’t understand why I couldn’t drink in moderation and they didn’t appreciate that if I was ever made to choose between them and alcohol, they would lose every time.

But he wasn’t this way. Once he was out of prison there were so many weekend mornings, afternoons and nights we would drink side by side. It eventually escalated to drinking on the weekdays after work and after things got bad, I would drink before my night shifts at work just so I could numb the pain and survive for just one more night.

I drank to forget about the screaming pain of a fractured arm. I drank to forget the explosion of excruciating hurt that reverberated throughout my chest after having beem punched. I drank to dull the dizziness of a concussion, probably not the best idea, but at that point, I didn’t care. I drank to forget about about the feeling of his fingers around my throat, trying to squeeze the life out of me time and time again. I drank to keep myself from going completely mad over an incident that I’ve only ever spoken aloud about twice since it happened almost four years ago.

It all carried on for the seven or eight years that I lived with him, right up until the day I left him. That was four years ago and I haven’t had a single drink since. Some days it’s hard, most days it isn’t. I’ve found other ways to cope. I’ve found other ways to do everything. I think for a long while I blamed myself for it all. I told myself it might have been different if I would’ve never stopped writing to him when he had been in prison.