Part 2: The Beginning

Have you ever heard the supposed-Italian proverb, “A bad beginning makes a bad ending”? Well. You’ve heard of it now, and it gives you a succinct understanding of where this is headed: a bad ending. (Or was it?)

Trigger Warning

Before we go any further, I wanna break my own “rule” of not saying “trigger warning.” I haven’t been around for a while, and there may be new people lurking that don’t know to expect to be triggered. Telling you now, expect it. I don’t know if it will be in this part or the next, but I will be talking about abuse (physical, psychological, emotional, sexual). I will be talking about substance abuse: i.e. alcoholism/a raging alcoholic and meth. I will be talking about severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I will be talking about theft. I will be talking about infidelity. I may be talking about rape. There. That should give you at least an idea of what to expect. So move forward with caution, or not at all. Totally cool.

Happy Birthday to Me

I met Dirk (that’s his name now) the day after my birthday last year. That’s July 2017. We were supposed to meet the day before, on my birthday. He changed plans at the last second. (Red Flag #1 – don’t worry; I won’t be counting those. There aren’t enough numbers to cover them all.) He was late, and I had to wait for him. (Red Flag #2) He’d already been drinking by the time he got there. (Red Flag #3. Okay. I’ll stop. You get the point, and so did I. I just chose to ignore it.)

I was wildly uncomfortable, because it was clear, straight away, that I was on a date with someone whom was exactly opposite my personality and not at all my type. He was wild, outspoken, obnoxious, mouthy, and such a fucking bro…but also jocular, incredibly charming, and dead fucking sexy.

So I stayed. Against my better judgment, which was screaming at me and pounding away at the door to my common sense. I locked that bitch and stayed.

And So It Begins

Thus commenced the maddening, ill-fated relationship that followed. What came next was a series of random, unscheduled, nights spent together. Yeah, I’m not gonna go into detail on that. For your sake and for mine. Let’s just say, I’ve dubbed him Dirk for a reason. And so I had fun. I worked hard to separate my heart from it all and remain emotionally divested. It worked, for a time. It worked until he decided he needed to draw me closer to use and manipulate me more thoroughly and efficiently.

It went like this: Random Tuesday night, I get a call. Wham, bam, thank you Dirk. Random Thursday night, perhaps a week later, I get a text. Wham, bam, thank you Dirk. Perhaps a week or so would pass. I think I’ll never hear from him again. I’m strangely happy about that. Though I was having fun, his personality was so fucking intense, I could only handle it in small doses and was always relieved when he was gone. Random Saturday afternoon, I get a text. Yeah. You get the idea.

This went on for a couple of months. Until one day, the text was something like, “I miss your face. I miss your gorgeous smile and your awesome fucking giggles and your dimples. I need to see you.” (I don’t have dimples.)

Uhm. What? Really? Since when do you say shit like that…my eyebrows are raised, and I’m skeptical. But flattered. And charmed.

“I’m fucking serious! Can I come see you?”

Duh. I mean. It’s been a while at this point, and I could use another marathon Dirking. “I’m warning you if you say yes, I’m gonna stay a while.”

How long is a while?

“I dunno couple weeks”

You sure about that? Just a couple weeks?

“Yup, I gotta be on the road soon, so it can’t be longer than that.”

~

And so began Part 3: Cohabitation. Not trying to be all cliff-hangery, y’all. I can only handle this shit in short bursts.

More to come.

 

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Part 1: The Reason

Over a year ago now, I wrote about gingers, specifically the abundance of gingers in my foray into the Portland(ish) dating scene. I directly referenced a few, in particular. I ended up taking a chance on one of those gingers; I believe I referred to him as something like the “simple, but wild one.”

Why on earth would I saddle myself up to a “simple, but wild one”? I’ve asked myself that same question, as have some of my most important friends in the world. (Looking at you, Tomas and stupidityhole and Cheeky.)

One of the easiest conclusions that I’ve come to is this: Despite moving across the country, escaping my own personal hell that was Louisiana, to pursue a lifelong dream of the Pacific Northwest…I found myself soon fallen into the same patterns, the same rut: that of work, cheap fast food or no food at all, bingewatching some bullshit show, not being able to focus on reading…on words, and spending most of my time alone and moping, in bed. I knew a physical move wouldn’t fix anything other than the immediate surrounding stimuli that fucked me up on the daily in Louisiana. I knew it would take real effort. But I was failing at it.

So I started dating. I never felt comfortable doing so in Louisiana, partly because my better-part-of-5-year-separation took that long to culminate in a divorce, and partly because I’d have never been comfortable dating there. Running into my ex while out on a date, or even trying to date someone and get serious with someone in a place I knew I couldn’t stay. Couldn’t live. Couldn’t breathe.

So I started dating. Dating sites, of course. How else was a recluse going to meet anyone? I met some terrible people, but I met some damn good people, too. I had some fun. I had some prospects for serious. (I learned quickly that in modern dating, one has to openly profess they are monogamous if they have any hopes of landing someone who isn’t into “ethical non-monogamy.” Y’all. You do you, but that’s just not my jam. I’ve tried to be open to it, but it’s just not me. It’s so far out of my comfort zone that it can only end in misery.)

I also quickly learned that, while I wanted someone whom would date me exclusively while we decided whether or not we were compatible, I also wasn’t ready to plummet straight into some til-death-do-us-part thing. Another thing I learned is that I get bored easily. Very easily. I don’t want to sit on the couch, night after night, bingewatching tv. I don’t want to waste my life away watching other people live theirs. I don’t want to talk about politics, every single day, day in and day out. And no, I don’t want to rush into marriage and move into your parent’s farmhouse, for fuck’s sake.

I wanted…needed…craved…excitement, stimulation, new.

Enter the “simple, but wild one.” I’ll come up with something to call him at some point, but for now, that will do.

He was wild. He was unpredictable. He was untamed. He wasn’t interested in anything serious. He wanted to go out. He wanted to do things. And oh dear god, was he fun. The most fun I’d ever had with a boy I was seeing regularly. There was an edge of danger to it all, and it was fucking thrilling.

And so, I allowed myself to get carried away with it. Sucked into his insane fucking charisma and magnetism. I willfully turned a blind eye to the enormous red flags that anyone who’s ever known him can see (like his extreme levels of narcissism and sociopathy and alcoholism). I willfully entered into a thing that caused everyone I knew – including the few of his friends I was allowed to meet – to seriously inquire, “What the hell are you doing with him?” (That question got more and more searing as time went on, more and more pressing, more and more concerning from the asker, and more and more telling to me of just how obvious it was to absolutely everyone what a brutal fucking mistake I was making.)

But, son of a bitch, I was having fun. I was living life with reckless abandon, something most people get out of their systems in their teens. Something I’d never done.

That. Is the reason. Well. That is the surface reason. More reasons will be expressed in future chapters. Like the whole, I lived so much of my life in fear of winding up with a replica of my father. And I did. Not only did I “wind up” with him, I dove headlong into it.

This isn’t a tale I can tell in one sitting, hence the parsing of it into chapters. I don’t have the energy for it, nor do I have the desire to give it that much time and attention in one sitting.

But that. That is my version of a beginning for this. That is my reason for what came to pass.

Holy epiphany, Batman.

I just figured it out. Hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. Why I’m craving to be social. Why I refuse to hide myself away anymore. Why it’s like a breath of fresh air, even in the otherwise oppressive city fumes.

It was him. That gingerfuck. I was cloistered, sequestered, denied, hidden for over a year.

And now that I’m free, motherfucker I’m free. And I’ll be damned if I hide anymore (corners, notwithstanding). And damnit, I’m loving every. fucking. minute. of it.

Don’t ya just love a good epiphany?

More to come.

If I Were Bipolar

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d be a rapid cycler.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d exit a two-month depression and launch right into an extended mixed episode.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d make some dangerous decisions that would, ya know, put me in danger.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d justify said dangerous decisions with shit like, “this is just what it looks like to live after stifling yourself for the better part of thirty-seven years.”

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d recover from heartbreak by meeting up with a never-ending string of dudes who give less than a shit about me.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d only find pleasure in the kind of job that makes me pull my hair out.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d leave that job on some random Tuesday night, meet up with some stranger, and stay up until 4 AM.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d return to work the next day and alternate between bouncing off the walls and wanting to shoot myself in the face.

It’s a good thing I’m not bipolar.

Warnings

Warn me
before you listen to hip hop,
Country one said.

Warn me
before you curse,
Christian one said.

Warn me
before you befriend me,
Aloof one said.

Warn me
before you laugh,
Stoic one said.

Warn me
before you believe,
Atheist one said.

Warn me
before you love me,
Jewish one said.

Warn me
before you trust me,
Brown one said.

Warn me
before you cry,
White one said.

Warn me
before you become,
They said.

Warn me
before you exist,
They said.

Warning you
that I’m done,
I said.

Noose

There it dangles, the tiny skeleton,
dancing on its tiny noose, haunting me.

It hangs from your rear view mirror,
reflecting the past into the present.

Skeletons are meant to remain hidden
under layers of skin and despair and false hopes.

But you drag them out,
grinning, heckling, getting off on reactions.

Getting off on pain,
you brag about your conquests of physical and psychological and sexual

abuse.

There it dangles, the tiny skeleton
dancing on its tiny noose, haunting me.

Bobbing in front of the mirror,
dragging the horrors of the past, screaming back into the forefront of my mind.

You are the noose,
wrapped around my neck.

Can you see the scars? They linger still,
finger-shaped bruises in a pretty purple painting on my ghost-white neck.

You are the noose,
wrapped around my heart, my mind, my soul,

my past.

You are the noose from which I dangle,
kicking, jerking, clawing at the frayed edges.

I’ll cut this fucker down, one of these days;
I’ll cut you down.

And then I’ll take those frayed bits and fashion the noose anew,
giving it a new home around your splotchy, bloated, corpse-like neck,

fathermine.

~

P.S. A big fat thank you to everyone who offered up ideas and made banners for me. I’m saving all of them and may rotate them out from time to time. Y’all rock my socks. All the damn time.

Désolée (an un-poem)

I’m sorry, but…
I’m giving up on you.

Waiting for your call, your text, your email.
No more.

When you finally come to your senses,
I won’t be there, waiting as I always do.

Ardently, perpetually, relentlessly waiting.
No.

Je ne renoncerai plus à moi.
Je m’abandonne à nous.
Je renonce à toi.

Désolée.
Je suis très désolée.

Goodbye Mother

Conversation History

April __, 2015

Stephanie: Happy Birthday
Mother: Who is this?

You vanished from the state. I didn’t know where you were.
But I never thought you’d delete me.

S: I thought this was Jane Doe’s number. I apologize.
M: It is but i dont recognize your number!

You fucking deleted me.

July __, 2015

M: Happy birthday
S: Thanks.

I wonder who identified my number for you.
It only took you two months to figure it out.

August 31, 2015

M: Would loue to see you sometime and hopefully restore our relationship i loue and miss you very much
S: We can get together sometime if you want. I don’t know where you are these days, so just let me know when you’re around. Maybe we can do lunch.

September 2, 1015

M: I Am free wed ? thur next week the 9th ? 10th pick where to meet ? time
S: How about Wednesday?
M: Wednesday is fine how about ____ right by me so i dont have to drive far
S: I’ll meet you there at 11:30.

September 9, 2015

M: R we still on for 11:30 tomorrow?
S: Yes. Still want to go to ___?
M: Unless u want to somewhere else doesnt matter
S: No, that sounds good to me.

I knew you had a motive. I knew it in my gut.
Sweet lady at work convinced me to do this lunch with you. You didn’t know that did you?
I didn’t want to come. I knew it was too good to be true.
I was right.
You thought I could get you a fucking job.
You wanted a favor. That’s why you reappeared.
I told you we were under a hiring freeze.

You cried crocodile tears, and spoke of a desire to reconnect.
I remained stoic, because I didn’t believe anything you were saying.
You said you wanted to renew our relationship.
I said I’d like that. I stuck my neck out and said I need you to call me.
You said you’d call me every week.

I wonder how long it will be this time, before I hear from you again.

October __, 2015

M: FWD: (baby picture) ____ (your brother’s) baby girl!
I never knew they were expecting.
S: Thank you.

June 15, 2016

M: I loue and miss you so very much please call me sometime

I can’t fucking do this again.

June 16, 2016

M: Did something change since we met for lunch a while back?
S: No, that was nearly a year ago. I’ve come to terms with the way things are.
M: What’s that supposed to mean? I have tried everything i can possibly think of to restore a relationship with you not laying blame at all just doesnt seem u are interested i truly dont have a clue what i have said or done that you cant or wont forgive me for
S: I’m not sure why you brought blame into it, when I responded in a calm and non-accusatory manner. That’s interesting. What I meant was that you said you were going to start calling me once a week, because you said you wanted a relationship with me. That was almost a year ago now.

M: The last time i texted u about going to see (your brother’s) baby n i never got a reply back i just dont understand is all
S: I don’t see any texts like that in our entire conversation history.
M: Well i sent one after she was born about her baby shower
S: Okay.

M: I wanted a relationship with you for a long time and i have tried repeatedly to make the effort but i cant do it alone
S: You never sent the texts you’re saying you did. I have the entire conversation history. You said you would stay in touch with me regularly, after I hadn’t even known what state you were living in for a very long time. But then I didn’t hear from you again until last October when you sent me a picture of a baby I knew nothing about. There was no invitation, and there has been zero communication after that. I don’t understand where this is coming from.
S: Why did you ignore me in the grocery store?

Fuck it. Let’s see you lie about this one.

M: Wow ok well i did send you the texts dont know why u didnt get them and i tried calling u all the time but u want to lie about it sorry i bothered you i give up goodbye
S: Okay.

Ah, complete evasion, I see.
I’m glad you couldn’t see me.
I’m glad you couldn’t see me sobbing during this entire exchange.
I’m glad you didn’t see the ass-kissing texts I originally wrote and then deleted before sending.
I spent most of my life letting you guilt me and make shit up and put it all on me.
I always let you do it.

Now I see why.

I stood up for myself this time. I asked you to answer for some things you’ve done.
And now you’ve told me you’re giving up.
Every fucking time I try to heal, you do this.
Every fucking time. Just when I think I can move on without crying about you anymore…
You show back up and guilt me.
But this time I didn’t let you.
I won’t let you do this to me anymore.
I may not have had the nerve to type it out in text.
But I’ll say it here.

Goodbye, Mother.

Accountability

I never held you accountable for anything. The closest I could ever come to addressing these things with you was to cry and beg or else just harden myself a bit more, distance myself a bit more.

Would you like to know what I’d hold you accountable for, if I thought I could have a conversation with you – without it turning into evasion, denial and volleying blame back and forth?

No. Your answer is no. So I’ll tell you here.

Do you remember when I told you my marriage was ending? It took me months to tell you. Do you remember what you said? “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me and your mamaw.” Thanks for the support, mom.

Do you remember when I asked for your help? I hate asking for help. I never ask for help. I’m starting to realize why I became that way. I was having surgery. I stuck my neck out, asked for your help. Could you please take me in for surgery? Could you please help me get home after? Would you stay? Do you remember your response? “I can’t afford the gas.” I cried. I didn’t let you hear it in my voice, but I cried. I told you I’d pay for your gas, even though I was out of work at the time. You said, “Why don’t you drive over here after your anesthesia wears off, and I’ll make a pallet for you on the floor.” You lived three hours away at the time. You got offended when I turned the most generous offer down.

Do you remember telling me that I need to get over being molested by my father and his friends? I needed to get over what happened with my brother? He was a kid, too. I know damn well where he learned that from. Do you remember telling me, as I cried and shook, that I was too old to let “something like that keep you from a relationship with your father”? The same man who beat the shit out of you, burst your eardrum and brazenly bragged about his many conquests? The same man who had stood trial for attempted murder when he raped and beat the shit out of his “girlfriend”? The same man who was with his best friend the night his best friend murdered his parents and his little boy? I know they were together, because I was there. They got wasted together before disappearing. The next day, there was a manhunt for the best friend.

Do you remember?

I do. I remember that and a lot more.

For many years, I longed to have the kind of mother I thought I had in childhood. I longed for her to come back. I realize now I will never have her, if I ever did.

I’m sorry I can’t grovel and take the blame and subject myself to your untreated issues anymore. I’m sorry I can’t shoulder responsibility for everything you want me to. I’m sorry I can’t hang with your rollercoaster mood swings anymore.

I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough for you to stick around.

I’m sorry I was worthy of your goodbye.

So it’s my turn now. It’s my turn to say,
Sorry I bothered you.
I give up.
Goodbye.

 

What are you so afraid of?

Have you ever considered what bears and grocery stores have in common? I have. It’s fear. Bears and grocery stores have fear in common.

Some people are afraid of bears. I’m not. I have a healthy respect for them, and I know proper procedures to prevent bear encounters and protocol should I ever encounter one anyway (though I’m sure all of that knowledge would elude me at such a time). But I do not fear them. Not exactly. I mean, I was wary enough to avoid cooking when I stayed in Shoshone National Forest, or in GNP or Yellowstone, places like that. I was afraid to cook, but that was mostly because I was afraid of myself – of not being cautious enough or missing spots during cleaning. I was afraid I’d fuck it up. I didn’t actually go to sleep in fear. I happily climbed into my tent and into my sleeping bag, falling asleep nearly instantly after long days of hiking.

I’m not afraid of bears.

Some people are afraid of grocery stores. I’m gonna go ahead and assume you’ve figured out how I know. I am afraid of grocery stores. But I believe it’s less about being in public (which is a whole separate issue for me) and more about whom I may encounter there. I don’t live in a huge metropolitan area, which makes the chances rather high for running into people whom I’d rather not run into. Even so, it’s happened a disproportionate amount of times. Sometimes I’ve been so shaken up that I’ve left the store without making my purchases. I believe there was only once that I had a buggy full of groceries, and I left in a panic. But I’ve seen people I’d rather not with high frequency. My anxiety and fear ratcheted up to the point where I’d drive to the grocery (after allowing myself to run out of pretty much everything), then sit in the car in the parking lot for several minutes to an hour before finally driving away without ever getting out of the car.

I’m afraid of grocery stores.

This fear has caused me to spend more money than I can really afford (considering other shit I desperately need to take care of) and damage my health with fast food. There’s no risk I’ll run into anyone when I just go through a drive-thru and go home. But it’s not a healthy way to live, not for mind or body.

I went to the grocery store today. It sounds so simple, it’s nothing more than an inconvenience. Rightfully so. It’s pretty irrational to be petrified of grocery shopping. But I am. I have been. I went today, and I didn’t make a quick run, either. I started in produce and made my way around the store, selecting my purchases. I’ll need to go again tomorrow, as I didn’t take a list today (it was more about pushing through my fear and getting started with the basics). I got nearly everything I need. But I need a few more things. Perhaps I’ll make crawfish étouffée tomorrow.

I had a big day for me, really. I got up early (on a Saturday – what the fuck is the world coming to (I like to sleep until 3 PM or Sunday)), got dressed (that’s important to do before going out in public, or so I’ve been told), grabbed a bottle of water and hit the park. My foot still hasn’t healed (what the fuck, man), but I walked a trail anyway. Along a lake. It was so fucking humid, but it was lovely. It was lovely. The birds and the flowers and the water and the occasional breeze. Left there and went to a café (sort of), got a fruity iced tea thingy and a croissant. Then I went straight to the grocery store. I only sat in the car for about fifteen minutes (trust me, that’s good for me). When I got home, I didn’t stop. There has been zero bed or moping or bed moping today. Mowed the yard, fixed the new gravel that’s on the driveway, babied some suffering plants, and now I’m doing laundry. I need a shower so badly, but I wanna make sure most of the sweating is behind me before I do!

I kept a promise today. Promises are sacred to me. You don’t fuck with a promise unless you didn’t have a choice (and you pretty much always have a choice, so you better have a fucking good reason). I promised to work on myself today, push past the fear and do it. And I did. And I felt (feel) fantastic and optimistic afterward. I know optimism is a feeling like any other – it comes and goes with the days and moods. But for now, I’m enjoying it. And when it begins to fade again, I’ll have to push past the fear again. Today was one day. This is one weekend. I need to make it two. And keep going.

Because if I don’t – I’ll get to Oregon or Washington and nothing will have changed. I will go to work as I do here. I will drive straight home as I do here. And I will cry and mope and wish for adventure. And I will hold myself back. If I can’t push through it here, what makes me think I will there? I don’t want to move to the PNW just to continue the lifestyle I have now. What’s the fucking point of that? If I’m to live, I need to start living.

shawshank-redemption-movie-quote-dying-living-death-busy-quote

What else am I afraid of?

I’m not afraid of spiders – not majorly so. I have a massive fear of venomous ones. But little jumping spiders? They’re fucking adorable. The wolf spider I found in my garden made me scream like a little girl and literally run away. That was pretty funny. But I didn’t kill it. I let it be…and used gloves when I got back to it.

I was afraid of pubs. I pushed through it, and I’m okay there now. Not exactly comfortable, but okay.

I’m afraid of my nosebleeds. What do they mean? Dunno. But that’s the kind of thing I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid of my neighbors. Not in any dangerous sense, but in the sense that they’re there. Watching me. Judging me. Talking about me. Hell, I should just say I’m afraid of people and have done.

I’m afraid of attachment. I crave it, and yet I fear it. Because allowing yourself to be completely vulnerable exposes your soft underbelly. And some people like to stab those, repeatedly.

I’m afraid of the government, and all of its agents, because of the power we’ve given over to it.

I’m afraid of the threat of tornadoes. Always was, irrationally so. But now that one has hit my house, the fear is greater.

I’m afraid of heights, but not to a crippling extent. Not enough to hinder me from walking cliff trails in the mountains.

I’m afraid I’ll die alone. Nothing I can really do about it aside from keeping myself open to possibilities and otherwise keep on keepin’ on.

I’m afraid of missing out. Of never discovering meaning or purpose. Perhaps there isn’t one. And if there isn’t, then I’m afraid I’ll never be content with that answer. Again. Just gotta keep on keepin’ on, and keep myself open to new ideas and possibilities.

I’m afraid of suffering. I’m afraid of cancer and heart disease. Too much of it in my family, and it scares me. I need to live more healthfully and mindfully.

I’m afraid of my bad memory and what it may mean for my old age, should I make it there. Yet another thing I need to work on improving.

I’m afraid of touching crickets. When I’d go fishing, I could never bait my own hook. I could never get a fish off of a hook, either. I couldn’t touch the cricket. I’d try and try and try, then squeal and back away. Yes. I’m such a girl in some ways. In more ways than I let on here sometimes, I think. And you know what I mean. Soft. Emotional. Sensitive. Gentle. Nervous. Bashful. Afraid to touch bugs, but don’t want to see them dead. Those aren’t purely feminine traits, but fucks sake why am I trying to explain this. Anyway. Yeah. I’m more of a “girl” than I let on.

Hm. I think that’s enough for now. I’m actually in a calm, gentle, smiley mood. So don’t let all this fear talk fool you. I’m looking inward and taking inventory as I am wont to do. Today I don’t find it depressing. Today it’s like cleaning out the cobwebs and taking stock.

Now to see what tomorrow holds.

A Glimmer of Hope

That’s all you need. Just a glimmer. A hint of a glimmer, even. That’s all. It doesn’t take much. All you’re looking for is one tiny hint of a glimmer…

To survive.

Life isn’t easy. Heh. What a fucking understatement. Life is a pain in the ass, that’s what. Especially when you’re an emotional brooder. I am one seriously angsty, existentially pained person. And I’m not the only one. You ponder the same things, don’t you?

Why am I here?
What’s the fucking point?
What is my purpose?
Why fucking bother?
Who am I?
What does it all mean?
What is my place?
Do I have one?
Am I even real?
What does it even mean to be real?

I don’t have answers to any of those questions. Sometimes I wish I could stop seeking them. But I also don’t wish to cease the quest. Because questing is part of the answer of “Who am I?” I’m a woman on a quest. A tiny speck in the Cosmos on my own personal quest for meaning and purpose. And when it isn’t breaking me down and crushing my lungs, it’s thrilling, exciting. The search, the quest…when I stop asking questions; when I stop searching for meaning and purpose and truth and beauty; then I cease to exist.

I just wish…that I could stop turning suicidal when I cannot find satisfactory answers to the questions that haunt me. Drive me. Push me. Tear at me. Claw at me.

I feel incomplete. And since I know not how to become complete, I devolve into a mass of emotional futility. I begin feeling that I wish I could simply cease to exist. For if there is no purpose for me, for my existence, then it should be extinguished.

But I know. I know that is the depression talking. The downswing of bipolar. What-the-fuck-ever it is. I know that’s what’s doing the talking in those dark hours of my soul.

And that’s what’s talking to you. When you feel like you can’t go another step. Take another breath. Eke out another heartbeat. That’s what’s talking: your depression.

Maybe the people in your life who were supposed to build you up and love you failed in their responsibilities to you. Maybe they taught you that you’re worthless. Useless. A no-account failure.

Maybe you made mistakes in your past, and you’ve never forgiven yourself for them. Even as everyone else around you has forgotten or moved on. Or perhaps their punishments far outweigh your crimes.

Maybe you’re all alone. Or you think you are. But guess what? If you’re here, reading this right now, you aren’t alone. Not entirely.

Listen, I’m no therapist. I certainly don’t have the answers. I’m a mess my damn self. Anyone who’s been around here a while knows that to be true. I’m a work in progress, and I always will be.

But there’s something I do know for sure: if you don’t grasp those tiny glimmers of hope, then you’re in big trouble. No one can grasp them for you. You have to reach out and grasp them on your own.

But we can show you. We can show each other. We can point each other toward the glimmers. Toward the “light.” Toward survival. Toward life.

I don’t have much. Disregarding all the first-world bullshit, I don’t have much in the way of what I think makes a complete life. But you know what? I have to recognize that part of that is my misconception of what makes a complete life. There is no one right way to live your life.

I feel alone. Completely and utterly alone. And you know what? That’s fucked up. Because I have you awesome people here. All I have to do is show the fuck up, and people come and say hi and talk to me and to each other. That’s it. No one can force me to be here. I have to do that part myself. But people point me toward this glimmer. One amazing friend in particular hassles me to show up and write. Hassle hassle hassle. And you know something? When I do, I feel better. Every. Fucking. Time. And I feel less alone.

I still go to bed alone. I still don’t get hugs and affection. I still don’t have someone to sit beside me and play video games with, or read and dissect the same literature with, or tickle each other until we nearly piss our pants.

But I’m not completely alone. And to say so would be a slap in the face to you wonderful people here. This is something I have to remind myself of daily.

I feel worthless. Pointless. Useless. I really do. It hurts, and I’m crying even typing this all out. But then I get reminded sometimes that I do have worth, even if I don’t think I do or I don’t think it’s enough. Because sometimes someone shows up here and says my words touched them. Or they understand how I feel and are glad to know they aren’t alone. And I know that feeling well. I’ve visited some of you and read your words, and I think to myself…I wish this person wasn’t going through that but fucking hell it makes me feel such a sense of relief to know I’m not alone in this. It’s not just me. I’m not some fucked up anomaly.

Maybe you feel trapped and hopeless, like you’re stuck in your current situation with no way out. Or you don’t even know what you want or how to get there. I’ve been there. I know that feeling, too.

I feel like this is all very rambly, but I’m pretty much freewriting right now. Because I had a conversation today, with one of the most important people in the world to me. And he said he was tired. Tired of life. Tired of it all. Just. Fucking. Tired. And didn’t feel there was any reason to go on anymore. And I said, you have to dig deep and discover what those things are that make you want to keep trudging forward. He said he doesn’t want to trudge. I wish I could do it for him. I wish I could do it for all of you. But all I can do is share my experiences and try to give you a glimmer of hope. And I hope with all my soul that you reach for it.

Each and every day, I tell myself: find one thing. Just one thing. And let that one thing be your one reason to get out of bed today. To keep on keeping on. Everyone can find one thing. Just. One. Thing. I got that from this beautiful post that I used to read every single day. Now I read it once or twice a month or as needed to remind myself. Please. Please read it. It’s important for those of you who struggle with me. Or if you know someone who does, maybe this will help them as it helped me. Hell it saved me. I found it because I was googling suicide. I think I googled something like, “give me one good fucking reason I shouldn’t kill myself right now.” And that showed up. And I’m still here.

Let me tell you the sorts of things I cling to, some “big” and some “small.” I put those in quotes, because anything that keeps you going is a Big Fucking Deal.

The things I “trudge on” for:

  • You. Yes, you. The one reading this right now. The community here on WordPress.
  • My friends. I actually have friends now, thanks to this space. And you mean the world to me.
  • The smell of freshly cut grass. Oh I love that smell.
  • All sorts of smells: rain, ocean, sweat, flowers, pot, clean skin, mountain air, pine…
  • The feel of rain on my face.
  • Mountain breezes and cold glacial air.
  • The crunch of autumn leaves underfoot.
  • Thick, dank forest air and the clean sweat from humidity.
  • Laughter, pure and uninhibited.
  • A purring feline nestled against me.
  • Books and words and thoughts and challenged perspectives.
  • Popsicles on 105 degree August days.
  • The new Deftones album I’ve yet to listen to.
  • I want to thru-hike the PCT.
  • I want to jump out of an airplane.
  • I want to sit on the steps of Montmatre.
  • I want to walk the cobblestone streets of Prague.
  • I want to kayak Class IV and V rapids.
  • I want to fix up an old sailboat myself, learn to sail and take that bitch for an epic excursion.

There are so many reasons, y’all. And all you need is one. One reason. One little reason for each day. Maybe it’s the same reason over and over. Maybe it’s something small. Maybe it’s something grand. But all you need is one. And I know good and damn well everyone has at least one.

Find it. Ask yourself what you live for. What your simple and grand joys and visions are. Find them. And then reach out. Reach out for those glimmers of hope. And once you’ve found them and reached for them, pursue them. I will never kayak Class V rapids, until I learn how to control my kayak in Class II and III rapids and overcome my fear of great depths in water. I will never accomplish that sitting on my ass or crying in bed all weekend.

Life is a bitch sometimes. It’s just a point of fact. It would be so easy to pull a trigger and end it all. So. Fucking. Easy. But you’re still here reading, because you’re looking for a reason not to.

Know this: the only thing that 100 percent CANNOT be changed or undone is death. Everything is in your power to change or improve upon. Except your death. You cannot change that. You cannot undo it. You cannot try again. You cannot start over. And you will never get that first kiss. You will never climb that mountain. You will never see that open air opera in Rome. You will never land your dream job. You will never learn how to bake that cake. You will never have that cottage near the forest. If you pull the trigger.

Depression is strong and deceptive. You have to fight it. Fight for your life. The glimmers of hope aren’t going to track you down and save you. You have to extend your hand. Reach for them. Then tomorrow, you can get up and take one step forward. And another step the day after.

And before you know it, you’re no longer surviving.

You’re living.