Monthly Archives: March 2013

but facebook

Scan 52

No friends, but a sweet Mickey Mouse watch.

I know, given my charming personality, that it is difficult to believe that I had very few friends in elementary, middle, and the beginning of high school. I was very large, my hair was very permed, and I had severe acne. I had several pairs of pleated pants, which I often wore with polo shirts and high top tennis shoes. I also had crippling social anxiety and terrible social skills. I rarely spoke, and when I did speak, it was always to say something fairly strange. I also had a fierce temper. When provoked, I would retaliate, and I got into many fist fights as a result. It was all really very pleasant.

Given all of this, I wasn’t invited to many parties. But one day, Jennifer, a girl at my bus stop, invited me to her birthday party. She was fairly popular, at least in my opinion. By fairly popular, I mean that she had friends.

I thought very hard about what to buy her for her birthday. It had to be cool. Very cool. I thought Spencer’s was a very cool place to shop, and so I wandered the aisles of whoopie cushions and sexual innuendo and finally decided on a necklace that said, “Bitch.” It was edgy. It was gold-plated. It was definitely cool. I purchased this necklace with my babysitting money and confidently strode out of the mall.

When I got to the party, I was happy to discover that Doritos were present, but I also realized that at parties you have to talk to people. I started panicking, which, for me, is always accompanied by profuse sweating. I told her I had to get going, and I started for home. I remember the enormous relief of stepping outside alone, the pressure of coming up with something to say dissolving instantly. It may have briefly crossed my mind that she might take the gift the wrong way, but mostly, I still believed she would think the necklace, like me, was incredibly cool.

Things did not go well at the bus stop the next day, and, because I am dumb, it took me almost a year to figure out why. Jennifer believed that I was calling her a bitch. Because of course she would. I gave her a necklace that said “Bitch.” What else was she supposed to think? She did not think I was very cool.

I still think back on this event and cringe.

There are several other horrifying and embarrassing things I said and did in high school, but eventually I started making friends, stopped perming my hair, and ditched the pleated pants. I tried to learn from the people around me. The social skills started coming along, but there were still huge mistakes.

In college, I was a little drunk at a party, and someone made the mistake of asking me about my thesis. And I told him about it. Oh, did I tell him about it. For something like an hour, maybe two hours. Maybe more. Because he was too nice, he kept asking follow-up questions, and I kept right on talking. I was so silent in high school that the pendulum swung much too far in the other direction. Once I started talking, I couldn’t stop. (See also: this blog.) And I still think about that poor, kind guy and how I ruined this party for him. I had hoped I would never see him again, just like I have never seen Jennifer again.

But Facebook.

I thought about sending him a message the other day, just to say, “Hey, I’m sorry I seemed so crazy all of those years ago. Really, I’m not crazy. See? Look, I’m super normal. And nice. And not weird at all. Well, a little weird, but not weird, weird.” But I thought the message might have the opposite effect, and I am guessing he has no interest in wasting more minutes on me talking at him.

Social media means that we can’t say and do horrifying, embarrassing things when we are young and never see those people again. I take comfort in the fact that social networks didn’t exist back then, not to the extent they do now. (Friendster doesn’t count.) And to those of you who see me embarrass myself now, and there are many of you, it used to be so much worse. Be glad you know me now. Yes, I still overshare and say strange, inappropriate things, but at least I’ve stopped perming my hair. That’s a start.

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Uncle Rocky Rewrite

1987

I am not ready for any more acne. My sister admits it’s much more than malignant. She sits on Jillian’s twin bed, makes herself bewail to the Bangles, “Eternal Flame.”

1988

The Bartlett calendar has off-days you’d hope. We hear Sabbath from my neighbor’s tool-shed. His name is Neil and this is all he remembers for us.

1989

My granddad says a man is so much something when he has his own room.

Early 1990

Ryan, Uncle Rocky has AIDS. It is all over the kitchen, our bathroom, our living room. Hide your toothbrush.

Late 1990

Rocky’s long asleep somewhere upstairs, in the hallway, resting his legs for Man of La Mancha. Resting his limbs for someone else, he dances disclosed beneath a long hum in a playhouse room on another island.

2013

I still hear his summer samba as if it were a sonata, the crimson chords moving to angry blue. I still see him if I look away.

little ray

Big-Idea

We used to call him Little Ray. My father named him after himself–he’s the first child from my father’s first marriage. I’m the third child from my father’s third marriage, and we’re about 14 years apart. We have never been close, but a little over three years ago, he began telling several of my siblings that he was going to bring one of his many guns over to my house and teach me “a lesson.” He thought I thought I was too good. He thought I was turning my teenage niece, his only daughter, into an atheist, a feminist, a liberal. (And maybe I was, though that has never been my intention.)

Ray has been using hard drugs, mostly speed, since he was 13 years old. He dropped out of high school at 15. He’s 46 now, though he looks at least 10 years older. His body has been through a lot. Ray knows a lot about history, particularly Civil War history, and when he is high, he can deliver a lecture that rivals that of any historian. When he is not high, however, he is barely functional. I have seen him spit in my father’s face. I have seen him in withdrawals on my father’s couch, stinking, sweating, raging. I have seen his eyes shine with pride watching his daughter perform a solo at her school assembly. I have seen him rip cabinets away from the walls with just his hands. Ray’s been to rehab before, and he always emerges with hope and plans. He has enrolled in GED programs before, community college classes. Once, when we were on speaking terms, he told me he was taking an astronomy class. “That’s so great,” I told him. And I meant it. There were weeks, months, when things were good again. But that hasn’t happened in a long time.

My father wants us all to get along. I tried to explain to him that it is difficult to get along with someone you barely know, especially when that person threatens to kill you. “He isn’t serious,” my father said, waving it away with his hands. He really wants us to get along, even if it means ignoring reality. I thought it over. Ray had guns. He was angry, irrational, and using methamphetamines. I wasn’t going to take any chances. I refused to attend any family function to which Ray was invited. I started looking over my shoulder when I left the house, and at work. After several weeks of this, with escalating threats communicated to various siblings, I finally just got angry. I decided to write Ray a letter, demanding to know why he was threatening me.

A couple of days later, I received a reply. The handwriting seemed erratic, oversized, pressed hard into the paper. If there were a font called Pain, my brother was writing with it. The note offered no explanation, but pleaded for forgiveness. It was difficult to read, and I instantly felt all of the built up anger dissolve. I just felt sad.

Ray moved back to Ohio last year, and he lives with his mother and his aunt now. His mother was one of the first people who introduced him to drugs, but she says she’s found Jesus and things are different now. He doesn’t have anywhere else to go at this point, and it isn’t going well. Ray’s guns are in storage in a public unit somewhere in Southern California, and my father foots the monthly bill. I am grateful for the distance.

When we moved into a different house, several months ago, I found the letter Ray had sent me. The sadness rose up again, and I crushed the paper in my hands and threw it away. He doesn’t know where I live now, and I don’t know where he lives. I used to call him Little Ray. Now, I rarely call him anything at all.

 

Photo credit: http://www.kenandpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Big-Idea.jpg

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Bow Down, Bitches

I am renouncing my love of Beyonce. I know she will be heartbroken upon hearing that I won’t be one of the many bitches bowing down to her. I loved her last week and today I’m breaking up with her (my workout playlist won’t follow though.) That’s how it goes in pop culture.

There’s no denying that Beyonce is an amazing performer and singer. She’s strong. She’s independent. Jay-Z took her last name. If that’s not fucking fierce then I don’t know what is. I mean, symbolically, right? Regardless, the world doesn’t need to be reassured of her talent. We would all much rather watch a Beyonce performance than be alone with our thoughts.

The thing is when a public figure gains that much power and ego, their hubris is bound to manifest itself in some form. According to Aristotle, hubris is to ill treat others for the sake of one’s own superiority. Beyonce tells us, hey I’m where you dreamed of being but I got here first and I own it. Don’t forget it, bow down bitches.

That’s when I said, “Um, no. I don’t think so Beyonce.”  That’s a Kanye move and nobody likes Kanye. Bey doesn’t get a pass on this one just because she’s fierce or independent. On the contrary, it’s because of those qualities that I expect better. I expect people like Kim K. to stoop that low and call other women bitches, not Beyonce. I always thought she was classy. I’m not saying she isn’t allowed to say bad words or say the word Bitch. I’m saying it’s irresponsible to give the impression that words like that are ok simply because you’ve earned your place in a society that is constantly trying to bring women and people of color down. And I guess one can argue that she isn’t an ambassador of women. She doesn’t speak for all women when she sings out the word Bitch. That I should leave her alone because I’m just a hater. Truth is, she is a public figure, she’s a role model, she sang (uh, “sang”) the National Anthem. She was picked out to do so because of her influence on society. When one gets to that level, there is a certain responsibility. In this world of 248 characters or less, words have an immense impact, especially if you’re Beyonce.

Bey has never admitted to being a feminist. She believes in equality and women empowerment but she’s not a feminist. Duh. I used to feel this way. I don’t know if I was just afraid of the word or I just wanted to be the really chill girl among the boys. Probably both. As I matured, I realized “Oh fuck, I am a feminist.” I stopped caring what other people thought. I stopped caring about the cool boys club. Especially since that cool boys club would overuse the word Bitch all the time. Ho and slut came in a real close second and third. But it wasn’t just the boys overusing it. The girls too. It sounds so much worse when it comes from girls. I used to think it was just a word but so is n-i-g-g-e-r.

I don’t know who came up with the bullshit saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” They must have been a bitch ass nigger. Oh, they’re just words right?

No they’re not. Bones heal, unless you break your spine and you can never walk again in which case, I’m sorry. But most bones heal; words stick to your memory forever. When I need an excuse to cry I think about the kids that called me ugly, fat, werewolf, negra fea and Quasimodo. These words still bring up a lot of painful memories. They’re the reason why I can’t look in the mirror and feel good about myself, even after 18-20 years. I don’t think about those kids as grownups with problems, families, jobs, no they’re saved in the time capsule of my insecurities. I once saw one of my tormentors at a party after graduating high school. I was drunk and I told him, “Hey you used to torture me in junior high!” He told me he didn’t even realize we went to the same junior high.

It’s alarmingly too casual to say words like bitch. Just like the word nigger, it has been recycled and processed into a false state of mind. Women will use it to describe themselves, “I’m a bad bitch.” Women will use it to defame each other “She’s just a stupid bitch.” I think it’s a word that brings all of us down. In the popular satirical Adult Swim show, The Boondocks, there is a perfect scenario. Two black men bump into each other and start shooting at each other for the sake of their pride. Huey, the militant socially conscious 10 year old, describes this as a “nigga” moment. Later on in the episode, his grandfather is beat up by a blind hate filled black man. His pride is hurt so he sets up a public fight to prove his manhood. A crowd shows up and starts placing bets. Huey meditates on the meaning of all this and concludes that when there are two types of “nigga” moments. A private “nigga” moment shames each individual. A public “nigga” moment shames a whole race. His grandfather ends up killing the old blind man. At the end of the episode, Huey, his brother and his grandfather bring flowers to the old man’s parking space and start praying. Riley, the brother, asks why they have to do that if the grandfather killed him in the first place. Huey narrates that even though the world was better off without the old mean blind man, as black people they have to stick together. What Huey comes to realize is that the number one threat to black people isn’t cops or white people; it’s themselves because they can’t stick together.

My mom owns her own business; she refuses to help any like minded women. In her struggle, women were always bitches to her. My girlfriends will constantly refer to other women they know and don’t know as dumb bitches. My sister wrote to her boyfriend that my mom is a big bitch. Beyonce demands we plebian bitches bow down to her.

In this society where we blame rape victims, where politicians need a definition of rape, where they need clarification on how the female reproductive system works, where pop hits have choruses like “you’re a stupid ho” and “I like bad bitches that my fucking problem,” not just as women but as human beings we need to stick together and promote positivity. Leave all egos behind.

God, if that’s not some hippie bullshit ideal…I’m a hopeless idealist. I’m a dreamer. But, I can believe right?

Words are history. Words are art. Words are memories. Words are war. Words are…my life and you don’t get a pass Beyonce.

ICU

You took my brain

filled it up with rain

gave me a knife

so I’d leave a stain

on a piece

of your afterlife

one more night

I see no stars

in your aftermath

only death

without ambulance

only sores

in the sky tonight

for awhile

I still wait out here

in a plastic chair

I will wait for you

to get up and fall again

I just scream

when I cannot speak

break a laugh

when I cannot breathe

make a drink when

I need to sleep

for the night

When I dream

trees begin to shake

where the earth feels

its past its weight

you are my room

yet you overbooked

for tonight

I would wait out here

in a plastic chair

I still wait while you

get up and fall again

You tell me

Colton has never been

a place for happy accidents

then your sum took up

no more space

on that night

I have sons

and they learned to speak

in the air

that you could not reap

now the dry blinds

their eyes tonight

Go awhile

Stockholm

I don’t need you to show me you’re the one

I won’t need you to show me you’re the one

The moon is soft and low tonight

My mouth is soft and low tonight

I’m baking on a table just for you

You mend a monster with your arms again

You burn your army in my heart again

Your eyes are strained and cyclical

The fire is dangerous and small

The smoke is lovely when it’s hugging you

The man from Colton with the broken wing

Pumped all his gas then lit up everything

I lost my lungs again tonight

I lost my life again tonight

I was a massive parasite just for you

I was surrounded by the morning sun

I was an atom of the morning sun

My history is clear to me

My sons’ are way too close to see

I can’t believe we made them just like you.

kaspar hauser

some say I’m an angel

who ate his ugly wings

head as big as heaven

brains the shape of splattered meat

 

some say I had horseshoes

deep inside the womb

made with iron and mankind

I was not made for that shrew

 

you don’t know me now

probably never will

you can bet your henry

you won’t know me still

 

we look awfully similar

that means we’re the same

my face made all rivers

with a sweat confused as rain

 

my words are like digits

poking at your back

sharp as tiny mangers

I will be the death of fact

 

you don’t know me now

probably never will

you can bet your henry

you won’t know me still

 

I can be as curious

as a blade of grass

I can be communal when

my knife is spinning fast

 

some say I’m a liar

with my stocking low

some say I can tatter

all the dirt and feed the earth

 

you don’t know me now

probably never will

you can bet your henry

you won’t know me still

 

our one-year anniversary

1stbirthdayOne year ago today, I thought to myself, “There are not enough websites out there on which people share their personal experiences. I will fill this gap with my personal blog.” But I didn’t want the responsibility of posting regularly, and I didn’t want to just hear myself speak–I wanted to hear from a bunch of my talented friends. And so, this blog was born. I am grateful to all of the contributors for their beautiful writing, and I’m grateful to my friends and family (and some strangers) who read this, and I’m grateful for having an outlet for writing. In the last year, I’ve written more than I have in a long, long time. And so, to celebrate, I have created a found poem comprised only of search terms people have used to get to this blog.  Please note that I have no idea how to write a poem and my line breaks are probably god-awful. What I have learned in this process is that our readers are disturbed. Very, very disturbed. Which makes me feel a bit better about myself. And, so, without further delay, I give you:

We Will Begin Again: A Found Poem of Search Terms Used to Get to This Blog

(with apologies to Lena Dunham)

 

I hate Lena Dunham.

 

I hate being agnostic but

praying with hands raised

everywhere is embarrassing.

 

Italian parents are abusive.

Kids have long, dirty fingernails.

Grandmother face it I slept with

my stepmom. Pimple face woman

My grandmother is deceased,

now ugly.

 

Why does my face look mad?

Why am I taller than my stepmom?

Why do I have a yellow tooth?

I am clipping my fingernails

but my teeth are dying.

 

Naked Happy Meal Barbies.

Nude porn. Gays, bis, and orgiers.

XXX. Nudes. Porn.

 

When will I have a boy toy again?

It is embarrassing asking for one.

What are the criteria of a good man?

 

I hit him with my car.

 

Why do people hate Lena Dunham?

What is Lena Dunham’s BMI?

Do more people hate Lena Dunham

or like her?

 

Hate or love?

 

Photo credit: silvercube.wordpress.com

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There Should Be a Greeting Card for That

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am too young for a hearing aid.  I am also too blonde and too tall for a hearing aid.  Maybe I am too pretty for one too but not likely.  Mostly, I am too stubborn.

Being hearing impaired is not something I share with a lot of people.  In fact, many of my friends and co-workers probably do not know this about me.  It’s hard to say.  I am not totally deaf; I just struggle to hear out of one of my perfectly normal-looking ears.  The right one.  And my hearing is not totally gone—it’s like I have a thumb jammed in there or maybe a big toe.  I can hear sound, mumbles, tones.  If you stood on my right side and spoke to me, and we were in a quiet place, I would have no trouble at all.  But if we were in a restaurant and you sat to my right and asked me how my day was, I could hear your voice, but I would struggle to make sense of the words.

Sometimes, I can fake this moment.  Guess at what I should say.  Take context clues and answer appropriately.  This is how I navigate many of my non-hearing moments.  But if I cannot do this, I might smile at you and hope the moment passes—that maybe our waiter will ask if we’re ready to order.  Mostly though I just listen to the noise—and see what sense I can make of it all.  The clatter of plates, the murmur of fuzzy conversations nearby, a song overhead that I can almost hear the pitch of a note here and there.

Believe it or not, it is a hard thing to tell people, especially people who I have known for quite some time.  First, there is the occasion.  I feel like the right time never comes up.  Hey, Vicki.  How are the kids?  Hey you, I might reply, maybe even give a hug depending on the nature of our relationship.  By the way, I can’t hear you.  Oh, I’m. . uh. . . well, I’m hearing impaired.  How long?  Um, jeez, since birth, I guess. . . I didn’t tell you because uh. . . uh. . .

Second, there are the questions.  Why can’t I hear?  I don’t know.  Have I been tested?  Yes, a couple dozen times.  Is there anything the doctors can do?  Yes, if I want a hearing aid.  Why don’t I get one?  Oh, because it’s $5,000, and then there’s the thing about being too young and pretty or prideful or whatever.

Sometimes I wish there were greeting cards for this kind of announcement.

Dear Friend,

Ever wonder why I look at off into space when you are talking?  No, really—it’s me.  Surprise!  I’m hearing impaired!

Love,

Me

Sometimes I wish there was a T-shirt that announced such things to the general, unsuspecting public.  A disclaimer so that I didn’t have to explain what I thought I heard.  Something so that I didn’t have to feel like I needed to justify my actions and/or lack thereof.

Take, for example, the grocery store last week when a hollowed out, dusty man approached me while I was pitching my goods into my car.  I could sense him approaching.  (Sadly, there are far too many older, dried-up desert men floating around the Stater Bros’ parking lot.  Most of them want money.  Some of them want rides or food for their animals or food for their families.)  And then, he started to talk.  At first, I continued with the task of chucking the heavy bags into the trunk.  Because I can’t hear well, I often approach the world in this manner—ignore.  But then he spoke again, this time, closer.  I could hear his voice, but the words were gravelly.  I could hear the tone—a question, so  I turned and said, Sorry.  I don’t have any cash.

Of course, this was not what he had asked, as evidenced by his souring grin.  I had guessed wrong and this angered him.  Then I noticed the squeegee.

“I didn’t ask you for a handout,” he shouted; the squeegee pumped up and down with the spit in his words.  “I asked you if you wanted your windows cleaned!  I ain’t no charity case!”

What was I to say?  Sorry, I didn’t hear you and I just assumed. . . It didn’t matter.  I was a jerk either way.  The man stormed off, shouting to the resting of the parking lot how he wasn’t asking for no charity—he was asking for work, goddamnit.

My mother-in-law recently got a hearing aid.  She hears everything now—right down to the cat drinking water from the toilet two rooms away.  But in exchange, whenever she talks, she hears her own voice blast across the room.  As a corrective measure, she has taken to mumbling.  But sadly, where she now hears, I can’t hear her.  I sat across her at dinner a few weeks ago and never once realized she was talking to me until my husband drove an elbow into my ribs.  I had been staring into space, taking in the architecture, the patrons, the closeness of one red-haired waitress and the bar tender with too much gel in his hair.

And that’s the other thing not hearing has done for me.  Oh sure, it gets me out of conversations I don’t want to hear, but it has allowed for a lifetime of retreat.  Growing up, when friends were hard to come by, I could always sit behind a tree and watch lips move, mouths burst open with laughter.  I filled the vacuum of their words and noises with my own.  I made up their lies and their jokes, their playground alliances and betrayals.

So when I think about hearing—really hearing the world—for all its nuance and crackle, I can’t help but to stick to my understanding of it.  So I can’t sing a song off the radio without mis-hearing most of the lyrics, but who cares if “sunset” isn’t actually “bun lift”?  (You’d be surprised how many songs containing “sunset” that “bun lift” is a surprising contextual equivalent.)  So what if I can’t hear my kids shouting across the house that so-and-so ruined their Lego House of Awesomeness?  So what if I can’t hear my husband calling me from the next room to hurry up they’re felling another tree on Ax Men?  There are some things not worth hearing.  The rest—well, the rest I’ll just have to make-do.  Or make-up.

I Read My Sister’s Journal

Before I get the collective groans directed at me, I wasn’t trying to find it. It was in a Trader Joe’s bag along with all kinds of notebooks and papers. It didn’t seem like the place to hide something so private. Of course, I could have put it down as soon as I realized what it was.

But I didn’t.

My sister and I are incredibly close. At least I like to think we are. I am nine years older than her. I am 26, she’s 17. I know, that’s even worse. I read a teenagers journal. Not just any journal either. It was a journal between her boyfriend and her. They kept it during the time my mom took her phone away. I know, I’m even more terrible now. Invading the privacy of not just one but TWO teenagers.

Despite our age gap, my sister and I can communicate intellectually. She’s come to me for help on all things literary. One time we even discussed some philosophy at an Ihop. In her journal she stated that she was going through an existential crisis. That’s a phrase I overuse. Maybe she got it from somewhere else but I like to think that I’m the reason why she can understand a phrase like that.

My sister is incredibly private. She doesn’t like to talk about her crushes or her boyfriends. She rarely talks to me about her feelings. I don’t have a problem discussing mine. I mean, I am on this blog. She rarely comes to me with problems besides my mom being “annoying.” She’s a hardass. I assume she has every thing in control, that she’s laid back. She’s ok. She’s a good kid.

And then I read my sister’s journal.

It’s hard to separate the baby that I first saw at the hospital and the individual that she is becoming. It’s hard to accept that the baby with jet black hair and white mittens over her tiny hands, wiggling her little helpless body is now a grown woman with experiences, feelings, memories and frustrations completely separate from my own. I never took that into account when she begged me to stop the car so she can use the bathroom and I didn’t. I didn’t take into account the shame she would hold onto. I thought that a sorry would fix it. When my anger takes over me and I call her an idiot or stupid, I don’t stop to think that this is a memory that will hit like a wave carrying all the other memories of other people calling her names. I’m on that wave. It was never my intention. I suppose that’s how parents feel. It’s not their intention to hurt their kids but they do because we’re all guilty of being selfish in one way or another.

I read my sister’s journal. She wrote a five page entry on her school life. From preschool to now, she detailed the instances when life was unbearable. I remember life was unbearable at seventeen too. My lingering insecurity has always been that I’m too ugly for boys to like me. All my life I’ve had tons of friends. Amazing friends. I still do. I have lots of amazing friends that I can count on. But I’ve never had anyone that I can call, love. No one has ever shown me what it is to be loved. At 26, I’m still incredibly insecure about that. Just last week I went through some petty argument about it that had me crying all day. My sister knows love. She’s madly in love with her boyfriend. Something I didn’t know she was capable of. She’s stupidly in teenager love and that’s ok. However, she longs for friendships. She doesn’t have friends. Something I’ve poked fun at not knowing it was a real painful thought for her.

She wrote about smoking weed at 13. Being and doing stupid things with boys. Thinking that life isn’t real. Giving up and being depressed. She wrote about how much she wanted to die. How suicide has been on her mind since she was a kid.

Initially, my authoritative side was slowly taking over. I stopped and I had to force myself to realize that I don’t have any authority. All I can offer, and what I have been offering, is just retrospective advice on how not to fuck up your life.
I smoked pot as a teenager as well. In my early 20’s too. I’ve bought cocaine at 2am. The last time I snorted cocaine was last year in Vegas. I’m like those Studio 54 disco queens who think of coke in a nostalgic way, “aaah those were the days.” How could I possibly act self righteous on my sister?

I still act stupid with boys. I get drunk and makeout with boys. Well, not so much lately. I’ve passed out while getting intimate on park slides. I can’t tell boys I have crushes on them. I tell boys I like about the boys I’ve fucked, because I’m stupid. I thought sex was the only way to feel human. I thought boys were the only source of confidence. I’m 26 and I still say “boys” like I’m 17. How could I be mad at my sister for thinking the same?

How could I possibly be mad at her for things that I sometimes still feel. For things that I am still trying to figure out myself. I give up constantly and then I get back up again because I’m older and all the stupid things that I’ve done still manifest themselves in my lack of income, education, career and love. I want to get mad at her because I constantly tell her about my regrets. But I can’t. These are the things that we all figure out on or own. She’s 17 and all I can do is just reinforce how much I love her.

In the course of writing this, my sister came home and fell asleep early. I walked into her room, laid down on her bed and woke her up with a tight hug. I started to cry while telling her how much I love her and how sorry I am if I had ever hurt her. She responded sleepy voiced, “I.L.Y too bro. You need to apologize for the times I used the bathroom after you.” Laughter and tears meshed together.

While I held her journal in my hands, I thought about this one day when I was probably 13. I wanted to die. I really wanted to die. I was made fun of constantly. My friends would talk behind my back. I hated gym class because it was just fuel for cruel kids. I went into my closet and I just wanted to disappear. I closed my eyes so tightly, refusing to open them. My stubborn tears sliding down my cheek. I closed my eyes so tight, like in movies, thinking that when I opened them it would be a completely new world. A world of nothingness because that’s what I was wishing for. Nothing. I didn’t want to think. I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t want to exist. I wanted to be nothing because that’s what death is,nothing. And nothing is peaceful. My sister opened the closet door and she was probably 4 years old. She just stood there looking at me, I could feel her and she asks me,

“Whats wrong mochi?”

“I want to die. I hate myself” sounding like a typical teenager.

“No, I don’t want you to die” and she wraps her little arms around my head, “I love you. You shouldn’t die.” and kisses my forehead.

I don’t regret reading her journal. It’s not something that I will ever throw in her face. It showed me how much my sister has grown. She’s an entirely different entity than me, as much as that hurts and scares me. It showed me how much I’ve failed her, how much my parents have failed her. I can only hope that in retrospect one day she’ll learn that or accept that the mistakes we’ve done or the neglect she’s been through wasn’t intended. I hope that she can learn that, just like I’m realizing the same thing about the mistakes of my parents.

But all I want to do is just go back to the week of November 28, 1995. The only time in my life that I had ever asked God for something and he gave it to me. That was when I knew I would never be lonely again. This little tiny being with the cutest feet, an oversized band aid on one of them, mittens on her hands, wiggling her little body, jet black hair, looking up at me, in the corner of a dark and dense hospital room. One day we’ll both want to die so badly. That day though, that day was perfect. No other day has or will ever be as perfect.

We Will Begin Again

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