Monday, September 23, 2013

The Call of the Void

"Don't move," he said, pushing me up against the wall.
His lips grazed mine ever so softy and I held stone still.
Again his lips passed across mine, my top across his bottom, and he backed up, looking into my eyes.
"You didn't move."
"You told me not to," I exhaled.

I saw him that day as I was picking up my dumbbells.
He was well muscled, but it was proportionate.
Longer hair, not too tall, some facial hair.
Not the usual male I see at the gym.
Just a look.
I crossed over to the cables searching for the pulldown bar.
Looking up, I saw it next to him.
Smiling, he handed it to me.
And I went on my way.
Days later, at the desk, he came to get his package.
Introductions, a few polite questions.
He was a law student and lived in the next building over.
He turned to leave, "I like your dress. The colors look good on you."
Flush of the cheeks.
There the compliment lay.


We lay there in the dark on our backs, blanket wrapped around me to keep the heat in.
My head lay on L's shoulder, his cheek resting against my head, curls tickling my forehead.
"When I cheated on my ex it was purely physical for me. It's like I can't connect my physical and emotional parts of me, so it wasn't because I wanted to be with the other person. That's why if he did cheat on me physically, I would't be as upset as if he did emotionally. It's more hurtful, to me, if he were to share who he was with her. Does that make sense?"
"Kind of."
"Do you ever just get lost in the moment when we do things?"
"I don't get that. It's not because I don't love you, it's just that I can't connect them. I'm trying though. That's why it was never anything more than that. I can't feel."
Quiet for a moment. He puts his arm across me, pulling me closer.
"I'm glad you're trying and I'll do my best to help you to be healthy."


We met each other formally as I sat and talked with friend outside their building.
He was intelligent, that much was evident from the words he chose to his wit.
Challenges intrigue me, so we talked back and forth, making small and harmless digs, talked about music and whatever else.
It was a dance, baiting, and interesting.
At one point our friends stopped talking with each other and watched us.
There was an air of electricity, neither breaking eye contact, neither wanting to back down.
That night we sat, his friend, he and I, and drank a little, talking long into the night about things I don't normally share.
A collection of people sharing secrets and struggles.
Eating disorder, abuse, a father that died, a sister with bipolar.
At five am his friend went to bed, and at six-thirty, I made my way to bed too.
His confidence was intriguing.
His mind interesting.
Meeting with unstoppable forces always makes me hungry for destruction.

We went out to the bars with his friends that weekend.
We studied together last week.
There was always something he was good at or something he knew.
He had stories and laughed easily.
He coaxed out confidence from me and helped me with my writing when doing my literature review.
I have many guy friends, it wasn't out of the ordinary.
And then it has been a long week and we bought beer to drink while we did homework.
Suddenly it was there, the chemical fire.
Lips to lips.
And that was all that happened, but I scrambled to get my things and leave, knowing that wasn't all that would have the potential to burn.
I didn't understand why I had done it, and as I laid on my friend's lap, she tried to make sense of my mind.

"I think you're self sabotaging. You were unhappy for so long that you don't know how to let someone treat you good."
"I didn't mean to! I mean, yes, I wanted to kiss him but I just think he's attractive and I like him as a person. I love L."
"I know you do. You're really happy now."
"He's still the person that I want marry. Does that even make sense? It wasn't emotional for me. Only physical."
Everything is a desperate attempt at making someone understand when you're drunk.
"No, I totally understand what you mean. Maybe you should tell him?"
"I can't. It will break his heart. It's a compulsion. Cheating like that isn't even something personal for me. It's just this problem I have."
"Don't make any decisions until you're sober, okay? I know it wasn't for you but you can't do that anymore."
"I'm a terrible person. I'm a whore."
"No you're not. Stop. You're scared."


I doubted myself. Not him. 
I doubted that I was enough. 
I began to slowly feel the way I used to. 
Silly me, thinking you just magically recover from an eating disorder and sexual abuse.
As though it was never there and it never seeped into the things you hold dear, trying to pollute them. 
Everything I ate became too much. 
Seeing muscle became a bigger obsession. 
Depression has been creeping up, reminding me that with the onset of fall, it won't be long until it moves back in. 
Cold. Dark. Anxious. 
Confidence always shaken because of the abuse and because of my last relationship. 
Doubting everything. 
Fear over applying to graduate school and failing my current research class. 
The realization that I very much have the capability to be unstoppable but hold myself back. 
He reminded me of those things I forgot, showed me there is a light inside as fact, not as a way to interest me in him.
As though they were things I should naturally see in myself.  
In my previous relationship I would have had feelings for him beyond attraction.
I like his mind and the sexual chemistry.
That's all. 

As laid curled up in bed, as we held hands, as I watched him play his guitar at church, his smile, the forehead kisses out of nowhere, I knew that I had no other feelings for someone like I do for him. 
He isn't perfect.
He's awful at talking about how he feels. 
The kitchen is messy. 
He has yet to learn how to properly kiss and everything else will have to follow in learning over time. 
Yet he still takes care of me, listens, and lets me do what I need to do to grow. 
I curled into him, crying, tears being pushed by stress over the precipice of my eyes.
I was tired of everyone making me eat pasta, my fear food. 
I was tired of school and all the pressure. 
I hated that my dad and I weren't close and that my step mom had brought up my eating disorder again at the table that night, that my dad makes jokes to help him, like I should be okay with that. 
Like I should be ashamed that it hurts him so much. 
My student loans were too high. 
My body too big. 
Paying interest on the emotional damages done to me. 
He held me, letting me implode then pulling me out. 
And I knew, again. 
He's it. 
He's the one. 
And I'm an idiot. 
And scared. 
And insecure. 
Painfully vulnerable in the healing process. 

It's a habit for me to self-destruct. 
I like meeting immovable forces. 
And the chase is a challenge I love. 
Let me win. I'll show you that I'm powerful.  
Make you want me. 
Interesting. Seductive in my genuine and honest nature. 
It's all a game, one I win at. 
Stone passion, electric intrigue, but the wire is frayed between head and heart.
And in the end, the immovable force is the softest, kindest person I know. 
Connecting the wires, one at a time. 
My insides revolt, in turmoil, writhing from feeling real electricity. 

Will I tell him? 
Maybe never. 
I almost didn't write about it because of the disappointed reactions I'll receive. 
I'm disappointed enough in myself. 
In the end I felt enough guilt to deter me from it happening again, both of us agreeing to be friends.
He, liking me much more than he anticipated. 
Giving reasons why I should try things with him but also respecting my relationship, saying that if I'm happy, he's happy for me. 
That it's sad, that we are nearly the same people and click so well, that we wouldn't give it a try. 
The experience was a mirror though, cold and pale. 
Skin feeling suffocating once again. 
Emotions feeling heavy and leaving me dangerously open.
Slipping up makes you feel something close to being a failure. 
Recovery is difficult. 
I'm a recovering anorexic. I'm a recovering sexual abuse victim. I'm a compulsive cheater that makes it seem better by not sleeping with any of them. I like to manipulate the emotions of people I perceive to be stronger than me because for a minute, I'm in control. I'm intelligent but duty makes me lazy. 
There's a huge heart in there, kind, open, always willing to help, violently rebelling against the above bad. 
There's someone wild inside, someone wildy hopeful. 
I have more work to do. 

"It's like that French phrase. L'appel due vide." 
"What does it mean?"
"It's like when you want someone to fill the void." 
I nodded looking it up. 
'The urge some people get to jump from high places when they encounter them.'
I smiled, "Something like that." 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Merry Go Round

I had never shied away from the experiences of others.
Never minded what they had gone through.
Trust me to be level headed and cool in the face of emotional situations.
We looked at each other through the glass, each holding a phone to talk to one another.
The rims of his eyes filled again with tears and he placed his hand against the glass.
I'll never forget that feeling, the one where someone is so close to you but so far away.
Fingertips touch in spirit as they compress against cold glass.
He sniffles.
I look down, tears migrating to mine now.
Looking over, you can see the many faces of the women all speaking animatedly or sadly into their phones.
Everything is severe in a way, the cold metal and florescent lights too bright.
Absently I wondered if the reason all the chairs were such an off, outdated color was because the lights had sucked life from even them.
It did a little more every time I visited.
What do you expect to see when you go to a jail or a prison?
Definitely not humanity.
Not the mother of a high school sport superstar.
Not the nice, white families.
We expect ugliness, minorities, monsters.
We all think it at some point.
But I've seen them.
Sorrow comes in all colors and demographics.
And I never saw monsters.
When he was moved to the prison I would look up at the guard towers, somehow not understanding that they would shoot a person for crossing a red line for too long.
Barbed wire conveniently keeps us out, not them.
We don't want to have to make anymore excuses for why we can't love others.

My phone rang as I lay in bed, contemplating waking up.
It was a number I didn't recognize.
"I got caught in my UA. They saw the bottle. I'm going back. I'm sorry."
"What? Like you're going back to prison?"
"Probably. I'm sorry. I really am."
"I thought you were doing better..."
Sadness laced my voice, his had remorse mixed in.
"I feel like this is my fault. I kept you here all those years."
"It wasn't. It was my choice.
I called his uncle for him and then laid there.
Some part of me with undertones of selfishness thanked God because I didn't want to do the roller coaster that is incarceration.
"You'll need to get your dog when you come to town next."
You'd think that his uncle's words would ring sweet to me.
I got everything I wanted...
A perfect guy, my dog, graduating college..
And yet....
There it was. It was that knot in my chest. It had never left.
Instinct to swoop in and take care of him, ex boyfriend or not.

His parole officer called me.
He wanted to know if he could write me.
I said of course.
I have a stack of letter from prison hidden away in drawers.
Voices of loneliness, promises, and pain.
Those dagger words you keep locked away that you can't say face to face.
A voice of longing, a voice of hope, a voice lost.
I asked her if he really was getting treatment and she said that he was.
They were just waiting for a spot to open...
And there I was, tears coming to my eyes once again.
There I was, back in time,
Opening the drawer to get a spoon and finding less each time I came home until one day there was only one left.
There I was eating dinner alone and finding him nearly overdosing a time or two in the shower, crying over the bowl I kept emptying that I had brought for him to throw up in.
"You have to drink this water, please" I begged.
Asking for milk because it was supposed to help a cocaine overdose.
Sneaking anti-naseua medicine into his soup so that maybe he wouldn't throw it up.
Shame haunting his eyes.
Wrapping him in a blanket and holding him.
"I don't know what to do!" I cried as I curled around him.

In the end, I never saw his addiction like I did when I was 18 and 19.
And I never saw it the way he did.
He hid killing himself better and better.
I hid my selfishness and disdain for the situation less and less.
They do it to themselves, of course.
No different than when I restrict, then work out, then put my hand to my chest as my heart beats strangely, aching.
There is only so much sympathy we can garner for our self inflicted hells.
But I can't help breaking that people hurt as much as they do, I, helpless to do anything but love.

He asked if I would put money on his books to write and I said I would.
He asked if I would put money on for him to call me.
I hesitated.
"It's like that, huh? Never mind."
"No... I just, I just don't get paid until next Thursday."
There is was.
There was the chasm we had pretended wasn't there.
And I didn't know what to do with it.

Life seems like a merry go round sometimes.
We think we're going somewhere and headed in the right direction and there we are again.
I guess I feel some guilt, even if it's not mine.
I broke up with him, led him on even if it wasn't fully intentionally, just dumped him out of no where and didn't do anything to fix it.
That didn't help his recovery.
He didn't do all he could to help his recovery
I know that I'm not responsible for his actions and his emotions and yet I still feel that need to take care of him.
There I am, coming back around the other side of the merry go round again.
Part of me feels guilt that I'm happy it's no longer my responsibility, that I can love from a distance but it's not my life I have to make choices for anymore.
Now I'm with someone that doesn't use and doesn't put me at risk that way.
Someone that doesn't bring out that selfish and angry side that hurts him more.

Every time we go to the park and eat the soft serve everyone raves about all summer, we sit on the bench closest to the merry go round.
We laugh as we poke fun at the music that grates on your nerves after the third time and giggle at the reactions of the children.
I love the black horse; I pick him out every time.
Rich black paint with a mane that has pink strands painted throughout.
Strong flanks, tall.
Gold paint on his saddle and pinks on his hooves.
He is strong, wild looking, despite his medieval style head piece.
Ready for battle. Domineering.
"Why do you think they're so angry looking?" I muse to L.
"Maybe they just froze them as they were and then put them on there. I wouldn't be very happy either if someone captured me and made me do this all day." 
That's how it really is though, in life, I mean.
We are captured by our lusts and hopes, tamed by the places we go and the things we see, hearts we break, times we break our own.

We giggled to ourselves, sometimes making outlandish explanations for things.
I steal a few licks of his cone as he pretends to be mad.
We were wild once.
Until we created those outlandish excuses that keep us on our merry go rounds.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Friday is the day we're all waiting for from the moment we open our eyes Monday mornings.
This one was no different.
After the gym and my classes I loaded up my car and made the few hour journey back home.
I guided my poor old car through the exit, to the stop light, took a right, went for five miles, took a left, then surged down the street to park by his house.
Keys, phone, windows up, locked my car, barreling out.
It didn't matter that I don't have AC and it's still hot,
Or that my hair was a mess from the windows down, deodorant tapping out.
As soon as I knocked on his door his face exploded into a smile, wrapping me into a eager hug.

We stripped down to underwear, skin sticky from the dying summer.
Getting ready to shower, he stopped and cupped my face in his hands.
His blue eyes looked into my green ones, smiling softly and kissing me gently.
It had been an endless battle for years to not want to unzip my skin and walk out as the person I wanted to be.
As he tipped my head down and kissed my forehead, telling me how beautiful I was, I actually believed him.
I think it was in that moment, the beginning moment of many moments this past weekend, that I realized I was ready to move on with my life.
At a young age I was raised on the victim mentality diet.
Sexual abuse and then watching your mother cave to your controlling father made for a merry go round of emotions, thoughts, and feelings that were constantly being enforced.
I think you just eventually learn that how you feel and how reality is doesn't always line up, so hold on.
Put the happiness of other before yours.
Don't cry.
Look beautiful on the outside, even if you wither away inside.
Hide the dirty of your decay under the aspiration of others.
You are not valid. Crazy. Unjustified.
It's not the expectations of others that truly gets us in the end, it's the cages we constructed, thinking it would keep them out, but locking us in.
In that moment, with the water rushing over us, wrapped in another hug he's always so generous with, I just wanted to be naked, in every way I had never let myself.

He let me play a few crappy pop songs mixed in with our favorite metal bands and talked endlessly about this or that.
Always an ease of laughter between us. 
We pulled into his brother's driveway and unloaded our things, his family greeting me like I belonged. 
When it was finally time for bed, he lay with his arm around me, shifting throughout the night to be close to me once again if we had rolled apart. 
Saturday morning was a rush of packing food and beer and then his brother, sister-in-law, her sister and her sister's husband, he, and I loaded into cars to head to the river. 
We took a few wrong turns and his brother and sister-in-law bickered over the map. 
You couldn't help but smile because you know they're one of those couples that don't mean it. 
Stopping to get her friend, she introduced me as the "future sister-in-law." 
I had a smile that could split my face in half. 
We finally reached the river after multiple bathroom breaks for her newly pregnant sister and already the temperature had reached 90's. 
By 1 pm we were in a tank floating down the river. 

What is tanking? 
Well, if you happen to be from a rural area and you happen to be close to a river, or you go to either of these places, you may participate in this summer past time. 
Just put a stock tank (usually for horses and cows) into the river and float down it. 
As we floated along, stopping for breaks at sand banks and the occasional climb to conquer a very steep side of sand, I slipped into the ease that is familiarity, new as it was. 
He opened another beer for me and I leaned back, letting the perfect day soak into my chest while his brother teased me about something. 
His sister-in-laws and friend talked and nagged as married women seemed to do.
Since beginning my lifting journey, I can now eat as much as his brother in one sitting, adopting a little joke now and then.
My eating disorder remains silent through the whole thing, no guilt. 
I have yet to find out why.
When someone would be sarcastic or tease L would lean over and tell me he loved me, laughing softly. 
There was something so perfect about that afternoon, something like comfort and belonging. 

One of my very good friends for over seven years, now the person I would be spending my life with.
"She told me you guys talked when you were swimming, said that she thinks the only thing stopping you from proposing early is what everyone would think." I teased. 
"Yah, I just told her that you know when you know. She said she knew you were the one the day at the lake before we were together. I guess when we went to the car she went to the window to see if we would kiss. Did we?" 
"Of course," kissing his cheek. 
"I remember I went upstairs when you got up to go to the bathroom so that I could kiss you in the hallway." 
I can't explain what happened this weekend, but something was different.
I know that we've only started dating, but going on our seventh year of being friends, it's like it's been forever.
It didn't matter who was around, he would hold my hand, stroke my arm, hug me, kiss my forehead or cheek.
It was so simple and nothing like angsty PDA.
Except when we got back, only us in the house while they went to pick up their son from the neighbors, lips finding each other, fingers twisting around his curls.
Like life had aligned correctly for once, situated where it should be.
Our families know that we want to date for marriage and they're okay with it, happy even.
I guess I never thought I would be there.
I probably sound like one of those girls even, the ones the string hopes likes beads on the string of denial.
It's different.
I promise.
There's never been someone that wanted the same things I did or wanted to put in the amount of work I did.
Until now. Why not hold on?

I've never been adored.
I've never been showered in such love.
We talked as soon as we got home, laying there on his futon.
Something about the future, our plans to find an apartment when I got accepted into grad school, about emotions we felt, memories that I didn't want to fade, then jokes.
I told him I wanted to learn to connect my emotions with our physical relationship, a big step in any victim's recovery.
I don't think of things like I did before, tainted with self-hatred and that starving depression.
Now, I just cry when there's too much to do.
Guilt still lingers for Tony as our talking becomes less and less, me unable to answer his questions or the pain ridden messages.
I can't make sense of myself or what I did. I don't know how or why or anything I should.
Every day will be a little easier.
I got on the scale Friday after food and water and clothes to find it at 145.
I don't think I've felt ugly or fat much since we've been together, something I'm grateful for.
Somehow I'm able to acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses both and be okay with them, for the most part.
Unless it comes to Tony... Deep roots to pull up there.

That's where life has come to.
And I wish you could see our smiles when we take pictures, and I wish you could know how much better I feel about things.
Not like I need him, but maybe he was what I needed.
I am growing up. Finally.
I hope and pray I'll get into my master's program.
I'm not so cynical about marriage.
I could consider having kids.
There is a side of me that's for me, the one I closed off, taking down a bar at a time.

Maybe it's not so wrong to be happy.
Maybe, maybe it's okay to grow into me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Old Things Whisper

I sat there after an hour and a half wasted arguing with the ex on the phone.
Pulled up the leg of my shorts to reveal the line of small scars running horizontal.
Six, I counted.
Running my finger up and down so that it stretched them.
Only two are most visible.
Sometimes I wonder if L's family notices them when we're at the lake.
Squish my skin together so that they make four indentions and two raises.
A time, not but months ago, when I thought I wasn't going to see the sunrise.

I thought about the conversation and I wanted to tear my skin off.
See that ugly inside.
We aren't going to talk anymore I guess.
Maybe I really am spiteful and maybe I hold a grudge, like he said.
Maybe I really am selfish, like he said.
I don't know.
I don't want to cut out that part of my life and I have to.
Why are we asked to give up such "valuable" things for the sake of better?

Knot in my throat.
Why does it hurt so much?
It's as though there's a tennis ball lodged in there.
Two tears slide down my cheeks.
Everything is too much.

Right now I'm taking 21 credit hours until the 19th.
Then it's down to 15.
The things we do to graduate on time.
I feel like I'm trapped inside my body pushing and straining to get out.
Looking around, there's so many people around me and where do I fit?
The stress is unbelievable, like a white hot light all day.
A sense of dread grows more and more every day.
Don't get behind. Don't get behind. Don't get behind.
My mind flirts with the idea of restricting again so that I can make all the pieces fit like last semester.
I hate this.
I hate college.
Why should people that have never met me and don't care about my hopes and dreams get to dictate who I am based upon a grade?
Hoop jumper, tell me the secret.

It's not fair.
It's not fair the way academia makes you want to harm yourself.
Never good enough.
Let me out.
Never enough time.
Let me out.
Let me out.
Wake up early, go to bed late.
Let me out.
More, more, more.
I can't give more!

You could if you came back.
Just one semester.
Or until you're done with grad school.
You're only a few months into real recovery anyway.
You could have the world again.

I just want to be happy.
Go away.

You broke his heart.
You lied.
You cheated.
You walked away without giving him a chance.
You could have done that assignment instead of watching Netflix.
You worked out for too long and now you have to wake up earlier tomorrow.
You never come through when you make your list; there's always something left.
You keep talking to him, stringing him along.
If only you were a better student and maybe a better person...
There's a way, you know.

I don't know how to stay afloat but I try.
I know I don't have some worthwhile thing to say but I want to write.
That itch is back.
It started today, when I felt my spine out of reflex.
It grew to feeling my stomach, thinking about what I ate and compared it to how much homework I had gotten done.
It starts when old things whisper.