You’ve Lost Weight Since I’ve Seen You Last

Regained a good friend today.

Technically if we’re going by my account of things, we never stopped being friends. If you go by his version it may be different I’m not sure. In the course of our, what? Four-five year friendship we have fallen apart from each other a few times. Once because he loved me too much, once because I loved him too much and a few times because we didn’t like the people the other surrounded himself or herself with.

But. We always came back to our friendship. It was very deep and in my opinion it couldn’t be broken. The problem now is that I’m very on edge about it, fearing we may drift in opposite directions again. I’m nervous to invest even with my previous investment still sitting in no man’s land.

This led me to thinking though. If you experience the same thing from a relationship (friendship or otherwise) over and over again…. do you guard yourself without realizing it? Do you hold back in fear of the same bad patterns repeating themselves once again? Can you trust?

I figure most of the time you try, but to some extent subconsciously, you can’t help but to guard yourself.

 Caring for and loving people is a tricky business. Especially with friends. There are just so many other people influencing every moment you relate. Different opinions. Different experiences. It’s a wonder you can find anyone in this world you can single out and call them your true friend.

Myself, I’ve been hurt by friends and others more times than I could count. Frankly, if I had guarded myself more I would have saved myself a lot of heartache. But it also wouldn’t have been authentic. You can accuse me of many things, heck go ahead call me crazy if you’d like but you can’t say I’m not real. And if you’re my friend and I love you, no matter what you and I have been through or how many tears and sleepless nights you may have caused me….. I don’t change how I feel. That subconscious guarded wall may or may not be there but that isn’t something I can control, hopefully it doesn’t change things too severely.

So leap of faith again. I’m going to sleep now, hopefully in the morning I haven’t lost any friends or gained any enemies. I put love out there in the hope that it’s mostly what I’ll get back.

 

Ten

I place in his hands with the gentle ease I’ve summoned,

Remnants of flowers.

Dead and dry. Brittle yet fragrant.

Unable to allow words to tumble from my lips,

my eyes explode with a desperate desire for understanding.

I break out in sweat. Air leaves my lungs in a galloping rhythm.

“This. Is important.”

My shadow grows so dark it inks the wall. Frozen, it depicts my outstretched hands in a cradle.

I push all of my weight into him until my heart is beside his heart. Raw. Constantly dripping life.

“This. Is important.”

Pieces of flowers drift from his grasp- becoming lost in the air like so many souls of the past.

He doesn’t understand it is important.

 

The Landscape Breakdown

So what happens when something you’re fiercely loyal to and vow to honor for all time…. completely changes from what it once was? Are you still going to be loyal? Should you pretend nothing has changed?

I’ve lived in the same city since I was born. I’ve moved here and there but I’ve always ended up back home. I love my home.

Side note that I’m a very one track person with a loyalty complex. Meaning…. I shop at one grocery store because that’s where my dad shopped, I keep the same cable company even though it’s more expensive because they have always treated me well, I eat the same brands of foods as I remember from my childhood… I don’t usually change these things…..

So my home. I love what I remember and what I’ve experienced. Beautiful nature pairing with a exuberant city life. Easy to drive highways. Gorgeous get-aways. A great respect for history all over the city. Activities all your friends and families have done at some point in their lives. Friendly people everywhere. People move away as they inevitably do, and I scoff at them as disloyal fools. Why move from your home? The greatest place on earth!

There have been changes, sure. The 711 changed into a rug store, the Save-On Foods got renovated and all the video stores closed. I don’t like it but I expect it.

But in the last five years, the city that I love has had an extreme makeover and I don’t know what I’m looking at anymore. We hosted the Olympics a few years back so there was a major increase in construction. But now construction is ten times worse then that even. Every bridge, every highway, every major road. It’s not like we are a small town experiencing a population boom, we’re the third largest city in the country and still we expand like this with no more room and too many people.

Tolls added to everything. Traffic is hideous in every direction, even going ten minutes away in my “quiet” area. Neighborhood institutions are disappearing at an alarming rate. You can hardly say. “I remember when…” anymore. And the people! They are becoming jaded and rude and… hardened. Everyone is a snob about something. The rich, the artsy, the working man, the media….

I don’t see my home anymore. The streets I used to walk are no longer lined with little store brimming with personality but these impersonal condos. We have too many people and nowhere to put them. We’ve closed all of our mental health institutions and the downtown core is teeming with ill people causing more crime, sexual disease, drug use….

I’m racked with guilt that after 27 years of swearing my allegiance to this city, I want to leave. And I’m completely sad that my kids will never know the beautiful home I wanted to give them. Not that I could afford it here, did I mention we have the most expensive real estate in the entire country?

Does it make me disloyal? Or is perhaps this city the one that broke the bond between a girl and her home?

Te Sakam

Completed with hurt and pain, a boy set out to find love.

Half-blind with misunderstandings he could only recognize a glimpse.

A glimpse of connectivity or the subtle brushing back of  girl’s hair.

The boy’s head began to throb, time was ticking exponentially.

Mist filled his senses and he started to choke.

Until he saw the silhouette of a young girl skating around him in loose figure eights.

He leaped before her and ripped his heart from his chest and put it at her feet. He told her his secrets, entwined his fingers with hers and told her of his impending doom.

She sat, cross-legged beside him and invited him to lay his head pounding with fear on her lap. She looked down the bridge of his nose to see a single tear of relief falling.

He had transformed the branches of her pathway to a single road. Dusty and well worn with footsteps. He asked would she travel with him, he could not walk alone.

She slid her tongue along the edge of her teeth and nodded her head, yes.

The pain in his head subsided and he wrapped her in translucent pink gauze for the journey.

Walking on her right side, never looking at her, only ahead, he sensed soldiers of an unknown army running in the woods beside them.

Shaking with panic, he threw her to the ground. Accusations shot from his fingertips and encircled her wrists. She ran through every word she knew to say love. She told him in every language that had ever been spoken. She loved him, she loved him.

He pulled her up slowly. But it was not the same anymore. The love was gone now. Alarms screeched from somewhere, he had set them to go off now.

He gave her one last glance and ran back from whence he came. He needed to find love once again.

A hand against the side of his head. He ran until he found it.

 

A Day’s Journey (Syria and Sex)

It occurs to me as I search for change, that I am myself a great creature of change within one single day. My life may not make a drastic change, my habits and opinions and personality may stay the same. My life may not exhibit the changes I wish to see but in a moment of reflection, I realize change within myself is constant.

Pure contentment with a slow drifting off to sleep if only for an hour before the children awoke.

Resigned to the fact that they would not go back to sleep.

Pride in myself for being supermom, breakfast, multiple diaper changes, hot wheels races and the bathtub cleaned all before 8am.

Quiet insanity with my son going through a phase where he can call my name 18 thousand times in one minute. “Mama, mama, mama….”

Feeling completely overwhelmed at the first day free of depression in quite awhile.

Anger at my husband for taking his anger out on me. Anger at myself for allowing this to deconstruct my entire planned day.

Sadness and desperation when this momentarily drove me back to the dark room.

Frustration when my husband could not control his anger and our fight ballooned to packing his bags, name calling and angry cleaning.

Recovery with a cooling down period.

Shame when I accepted an unwanted loan for rent I can’t pay from my best friend. And then relief.

Determination when my mother showed up and we started cleaning my house.

Happiness playing more hot wheels and watching Disney Junior with my one son and seeing my other son laugh for maybe the fifth time so far.

Hilarity ensues when my mother speaks, as a dog ate her dentures and she has her alternate pair on. Complete with buck teeth and crooked teeth that are brilliant white.

Fear and anger when I read that the U.S wants to go to Syria. Fear for my children and anger that this could happen in 2013.

Absolute joy when my two year old and I go for our daily walk way past his bedtime and he becomes obsessed with the mangiest cat I have ever seen.

Reflection and deep thought reading a book about the parallels between neuroscience and Buddhism.

Hope when I talk to my husband about maybe attending a Buddhist temple in September to help us both focus and improve our minds.

Relaxation watching T.V. eating more chocolate than I probably should.

Lust and intense sexuality in bed when postpartum doesn’t affect my naturally high sex drive and my husband and I have amazing sex that leaves me feeling thoughtful, content and warm and fuzzy.

Love when my son can’t sleep and he walks with his doggy and blanket to sleep in the big bed.

And now…. it’s now.

 

All in a day. So my conclusion is, if I am capable of changing my mood and mind so much in the span of less than 24 hours, I must be capable of changing my life the way I desire.

 

 

 

 

 

The Death Silencer (Portrait of A Guild Member)

He came to us having fought many battles.

Not illustrious as most of our warriors, but strong hearted.

He stayed to himself mostly at first, fighting beside us but sleeping and dining alone.

As our numbers grew, we needed to explore farther in the world.

And we needed volunteers that would represent us well to the other tribes and guilds.

Fierce warriors and competent healers. Battle leaders without fear.

This newest member to our guild stood before our Empress and bowed in a symbol that he too would join us in our travels.

She had doubts as did we all. He was not strong enough, we thought.

Our Empress had him stand and questioned him,

She asked, “This journey is not for the faint of heart. There will be death and evil following at your heels.”

She continued, “Perilous terrain and ancient magic… why do you stand before me? You wish to die?”

He spoke, ” If I die, I die for you, in your name.”

She laughed, shortly, “You die in MY name? What am I to you? You have not been here long, what loyalty could you have for us?”

He bowed again, ” I do not possess many titles or have as glorious achievements as your other warriors. But I have a sword that I have blessed with the blood of my ancestors and my loyalty, when given, is to THE DEATH. I came here from across the land and sea because I heard your call. I have seen many leaders and many that command more bloodthirsty guilds, but your kindness and heart has gathered the most noble and honorable fighters in all of this world. They have laid down their lives for you and so must I. It is my destiny and you cannot convince me otherwise.”

Kneeling down so she was eye to eye with the warrior, she spoke very slowly and deliberately, “What is your name, warrior?”

“I am the Silencer of Death, and I am now yours.”

“Death Silencer, go with our men and women to the lands of the Queen of the South, the Jungle lands. Defeat her and end her reign. Prove to me there that you love me as you say. Bring all of my people home safely and you will get your titles and my love in return.”

We travelled south with the Silencer of Death across mountains dry as deserts for weeks upon weeks.

We came upon the gates of the Queen of the South.

Our Battle Leader cried out for us to harness our bravery for the honor of the Empress.

“Magic is here my friends, be wary.”

Our group trekked through the gates and the air became unbearably humid.

We drew our weapons and our healers gathered their potions.

Through the jungle, killing unnatural and aggressive creatures that followed us and hid among the trees.

Traps set by the Queen’s spies were detected by the mystics that travelled with us.

We reached the Queen’s throne upon which she sat, arrogant and tempting, with seemingly no defense.

Our Battle Leader spoke to her,

“We have come to defeat you and end your reign of night and death, in the name of—“

“I KNOW for whom you fight,” she snarled.

She stood. We trembled in her glory and beauty.

“She has tried to take my best warriors! For a ‘better’ purpose they told me…… but If they cannot be loyal to me, they will be loyal to no one!”

She waved her arm to her side and the trees parted slightly to reveal a gruesome sight. Men and women garbed in full battle gear, their bodies twisted and deformed. Dead.

“Try your very best, peasants. For I will kill you all in MY NAME.” She let forth a bloodthirsty scream.

Our Battle Leader, hardened by war, had no fear of this lady of dark magic.

He let loose the warrior’s battle cry which strengthened us all.

And we advanced.

As we did we saw dark creatures with no faces crawl out from behind the Queen’s throne and double in size before our very eyes. Sharp teeth and hands with a mystical glow.

Our best warriors ran towards the creatures and dodged attacks of magic and of their sharp ripping claws. They used their sheer will and determination to cut these creatures down. We used our shields to protect our healers who were chanting to keep us alive.

As our strongest group bettered the last of the dark creatures and approached the Queen once again, they were lifted up in a gust of mighty wind, turning them and twisting them in pain. They screamed out.

Our healers stood and used their magic to no avail.

The Queen laughed.

The rest of the Warriors ran past our brothers and sisters writhing in agony in the air, to stop the evil Queen’s spell. Only to be thrown backwards.

We faced certain defeat.

The Death Silencer stood back and had not tried to attack once.

The Battle Leader yelled down towards him, in a tortured voice, “You owe the Empress your life. FIGHT, at least try to fight. We need every…..last…soul….”

“I know.” He spoke softly.

He drew open his cloak and we could see his hands and arms trembling and from his fingertips there was a magic light. Slowly he held his arms out pointing this light at the Queen.

“What is THIS?” she shrieked.

He let out almost a disappointed sigh and turned his hands towards the warriors, near-death still twisting and turning in air.

Our remaining warriors screamed at him to stop. Our Battle Leader closed his eyes to accept the death from this traitor.

“What? Oh this is grand! You are going to kill your own? Oh this is grand indeed.” She spun around laughing in glee.

She spoke to the Death Silencer, “Let me help you.”

With an evil smile she cancelled her spell and our warriors dropped to the ground harshly. Most too weak to even lift their heads.

“At your will, kind sir.” The Queen of the South presented our fallen men and women as an easy target for this man with magic he had kept hidden from us all.

He took a deep breath and let loose his magic on our people.  And as his light surrounded them and they let out moans and the Queen continued to laugh, a most peculiar thing happened.

The leaves from the trees surrounding us began to fall. They turned a brilliant green and fell. When they reached a fallen warrior, that warrior was overcome with a warm feeling of well-being and health.

Our strongest warriors began to rise.

“Deception! You, you are a HEALER??” The Queen raised her arms and the sky darkened.

She threw a gust of blisteringly hot air to rip through us all. We would be boiled alive.

But when her spell reached the front of our peoples it simply ran over and around us.

We were unharmed.

A great scream rose up from behind us.

The Death Silencer was on his knees, hands outstretched, holding onto some sort of protection spell that was shielding us all. But it was causing him agony.

Seeing this, our Battle Leader, now at full strength let loose his battle cry once more.

We rushed forth in an onslaught and as easy as any mortal, we slay the Queen.

In a great celebratory spirit we turned to see the Death Silencer lying on the cold ground, unconscious.

“We must get him back to the Empress. He saved us all.”

And so we travelled in half the time it had taken to arrive, back home.

We were greeted with a great Victory Celebration.

The Death Silencer, who had not regained consciousness still, was laid before the Empress.

“Leave us please.” The Empress walked to his side.

The Empress, herself possessing great magic, lay her hand on the chest of The Death Silencer. And his eyes opened.

“I am not a great healer like you are, so I cannot return you to full health. Only time and the help of our healers will do this.”  She placed her other hand upon his brow.

“I am so very sorry Empress,” he whispered.

“Sorry? For saving all of our people and returning them home? Yes I could see why you would be sorry, ” she teased.

He let out a weak laugh. “No. I wanted to be a warrior for you. To fight your battles. I’m not a healer….”

“But you are.” Her voice softened.  “You know the only people that come when I call? People with greatness inside them. With good. You are a competent warrior but not a great one. There is no shame in that. You have a great power that saved us all. I am proud of you. And I thank you.”

She walked away from him, “I must leave you now. I have arranged for our best healers to help you and for a celebration in your honor. You have your title which we will talk about when you are stronger and, Silencer of Death, you have my love.”

When the Death Silencer was once again strong he was instated to the High Council of the Empress. The only people who held posts here were the most trusted and beloved members of the guild.

He gradually gained more control over his powers of healing and became the personal healer of the Empress. He fought in every major battle for the rest of the guild’s history.

When the guild was disbanded, he was made to move on and could not stay with the Empress. But even to this day, he loves her still.

 

 

Seven

He inhaled with a sharp wheeze,

Flames licked upon the back of his neck – he shakes his head.

He eyes began to film over and he no longer saw her.

She phased, contorted, became less than she was, had a hold of more than she did.

He used her tears as ammunition, her pauses as admissions of guilt she was unaware hung on her shoulders.

He danced her off her spinning platform and she found herself continually spinning.

Shotgun, oxygen depleted he saw her and couldn’t for all the length of his arms steady the frenzy which was pooling around her

Everything bigger than them knew what would crumble and what would not.

Yet could only watch each synapse come alive and die out, and not utter a word.

He was left with confusion brushing past him. Racing in a direction not knowing if he was running to or from.

She was left clinging to the hard concrete road – hoping that when she opened her eyes, the world would be still,

once again.

 

Belief In Pizza

This postpartum thing is kicking my ass.

With my first son two years ago I spent the first two weeks of his life really hating him. Wondering why I wanted a child, what is the point?? I don’t know him, he has no personality he’s just this entity that cries non-stop, eats and pees and poos. I was getting zero sleep. Why would I like him?

So I was frustrated that I felt like I had completely ruined my life. It’s all that misconception that as soon as your child is born you have this immediate and all consuming motherly love for them. Uhh lies. Thank you for that, you uber maternal freaks. Your people are making my people feel like terrible human beings for not being like you. “How can you not love your child??” you ask. Because I’m honest, and I didn’t.

Now I’ve come to terms that that’s completely normal. Because at about two weeks old, he started to grow on me. I saw a person, a personality and the way you would any other time in your life, I fell in love. And when you’re in love, you don’t mind sacrificing  everything. You even enjoy it. And now at two years old, he’s the love of my life.

Holy hell but THIS time? I’m three months into my postpartum period and I’m crippled by depression. A dark room is my new hang out spot but unlike the times you surrender to a bad mood or feeling of melancholy, this feeling I cannot control AT all. I love my second baby, no problem with that. This time, I just don’t really like myself.

I have no clue what to do other than try my best to take care of my kids and order a pizza.

Douglas Coupland Was Right

Douglas Coupland was right. All families are Psychotic.

I’m going to tell you a little bit about my family. Normally you wouldn’t care about a stranger’s family however, this family is quite unique…. look and see.

My father. Seventy year old car salesman. Born in Scotland to an affluent family. Military father. Younger brother, older sister. He’s partied hard since the 60s.  He keeps a bottle of vodka in his car to take the odd swig of. Always wears a button up shirt where he unbuttons half of them. He has in the past had a temper issue. He once kicked the bumper off a truck because it drove too close to him. Womanizer. Women love him even now. Always had multiple girlfriends at a time. First wife they separated, shortly thereafter she committed suicide. Second wife (my mother) they divorced in the 90’s. He’s with an evil shrew of a woman now that he refuses to marry. He’s done a lot of drugs, drank a lot, had a lot of sex and indiscretions but when he was saddled with a two year old toddler that he had no clue what to do with, he stepped up, became Mr. Mom. Laundry, dishes, cooking…. he did it all for me. He always supported his family no matter what. I wish we were still close. Thanks Shrew. 

My Mother – a history of mental problems (I really resent having gotten some of them) in her family with a very intelligent yet psychotic suffragette mother and a very wealthy east Indian lawyer father that worked closely with Gandhi. Her first husband was a younger American from the south, they divorced and had a custody battle over my older sister. Second husband (My father, see above). A selfish human being with good intentions, she spent the majority of her adulthood being a bad alcoholic. I am haunted by being left in a car at 6 months while she passed out drunk in a bar, being told I killed her by hiding her alcohol at 5 years old and being left on a street corner with my suitcase while she forgot me and went to Disneyland by herself. She’s 65 now, sober for over 10 years but still insane. They don’t let her in the U.S. for a 70, 000 dollar government fraud charge yet I have to show her why her Samsung isn’t ringing. She’s a good grandmother though.

Two sisters. Both well off. Both married with children. Twelve and thirteen years older than me. One is a enigmatic business woman with my same sense of humor and a social anxiety disorder. I miss her and wish she lived closer. The other is an aloof housewife that we all struggle to be close to. We have children the same age so I wish we were close.

Aunt- totally loveable and normal.

Uncle- died young from ALS. From what a remember he was a very sweet and hilarious man.

My husband- a 25 year old southern American (sound familiar?) with a problem with drugs, lying and anger. He used to rap. I kind of believe he has Explosive Interruptive Disorder. TBD. Nevertheless a sweet kind hearted man that showed me more love than I thought possible. We are struggling right now but I have faith in him.

I’ve adopted through the years a mother and father from Ohio, a brother from New York, sister from here in town and many cousins from around the world. Honorary titles.

I have two sons. Both of them I was not a fan of when they were born. One is two and one is only a few months old. Now though…. now I’m in love. My oldest is the light of my life, my heart and soul and he is what I live for. My youngest is still new but man he’s cute and a little darling. What I hope for them is everything I didn’t get, some things I did and above all I want them to follow their hearts even at their own peril.

Zack

Zack’s full name is Zachary Paul Williams. I met him in 2007 for the first time and he saved my life. Ever since then he’s been my personal hero. Zack lives on the street. If indeed he is still alive.

In 2007 I seemed to be at a fulfilling beautiful point in my life. Great career, great friends, was with a man I loved with a intense passion. But unbeknownst to me, I was in reality, still a fragile dark creature that was simply living in the sun for a moment. The man I loved left and I allowed everything to come crashing down. Looking back I can’t believe I had no fortitude to keep something…anything afloat but at the time I wasn’t strong enough alone to stop the threads of my life from fraying and unraveling.

So on an actual dark and stormy night I took off from my life and drove my car haphazardly down an empty highway, tears burning my eyes and streaming down my face. My mind racing I had no choices. My life was over and in my heart of hearts I felt abandoned for the last time. Drive off a cliff was the only thing that came to mind. I wasn’t thinking in words anymore, only in storyboards.

Drive off cliff. Pain ends. Heart won’t hurt so much.

But like anyone that can’t cope with an intense onslaught of emotions, I had fear first. Overwhelmed and hurting on a physical level, I pulled over at a closed gas station and fell on the ground sobbing. No solution, only pain.

Then Zack. A dirty homeless man on a bike looking for cans if I recall correctly. Much too emotional to be scared of this stranger in a terrible area of town, when he approached me I continued to sob uncontrollably.

“Are you ok?”

“No! My life is over.”

“What happened?”

“The man I love left me…he LEFT me… I can’t… I can’t….”

“I’m sorry to hear that. It’s not the end you know.”

“It is! He is the only one I had and now I have nothing and nobody. What am I going to do…”

“Get up every day.”

“I can’t! It hurts…you don’t understand!!!”

“I don’t? I beat an addiction, got a great job and had a wife and baby girl…. and I woke up one morning and they were gone. My wife took everything, and she took my daughter….. they had to lock me up I went insane it hurt so bad. I lost my job, I lost everything…. I’m using drugs again, my life is shit. Don’t tell me I don’t understand.”

Caught completely off guard.

“Sorry…”

“But you know what? I’m still here.”

“How are you… I mean didn’t you just wanna die?”

“Every single day”

“But then…”

“You just have to fake it until you make it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Wake up every day. Breathe in and out. Pretend you’re not in excruciating pain. Live a lie. And one day the pain will actually be less. It’s never going to go away. But it will get better. I promise.”

I can’t remember the rest of the conversation. Either that or it hurts too much to remember. This man who didn’t know me, who had NOTHING, gave me a chance at staying alive. I am fairly certain I was emotionally unstable enough to end my life that night. And his words, his completely sincere and compassionate nature….let me believe I had a chance. It was months, perhaps years until I healed from it, still hurts today, but he was right. It got better. And THAT night, he let me stay alive. Love him until the end of time. He’s a part of my soul and a part of my life for always. I wear his name in ink on my wrist along with the names of the most important people to touch my life. I defend his honor with the ferocity of a mother who has a threatened child.

I left that night with a spark of hope. Enough to sustain me until morning. Fake it til you make it.

I only saw Zack one more time after that…. but that dear friends is a story for another day.