Yesterday on the way to kung fu I started crying while I was driving. This is nothing new because I cry a lot over everything, or at least I want to but I stop myself. The satisfaction of knowing that I had the willpower to stop is more satisfying that if had let it all out, because it means I still have control. If I don't have control, what do I have? But back to the topic at hand; if you have watched TV with me, commercials included, you may have seen me get teary-eyed over commercials. I'm highly emotional that way.
The problem though, was not that I was crying, but more why. The answer is that there was nothing else I could do. I either had to cry and scream, or laugh hysterically, and I find myself laughing at too many things that I should be screaming at lately. During class I started crying again, but no one noticed because it was during stretches and was mistaken for either sweat or pain. Then I had an asthma attack, or at least that's what they thought. The reality was I chose to stop breathing, because I wanted that hollowness and emptiness in my chest to go away, even if it meant I had to die.
I wound up sitting out most of the rest of class. Sifu Yung asked me later if I was okay because he said I had looked angry. I myself had noticed I was being watched earlier, but I was happy, someone was finally asking questions that even my family wouldn't ask. I told him I was angry but that I would be fine. Then I went home and crawled into bed, feeling impossibly empty inside again.
During work today I cried 5 times, all brought on by the book I'm reading "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." I bought it before I went to kung fu, and now I'm almost halfway finished, and it's not exactly a short book. But I didn't know that the main character, a nine year old boy, had lost his Father during 9/11. It made me cry so much because it is so sad, and it reminds how I felt that day and how I had been hysterical until I finally got the phone call that I so desperately needed. "Dad's okay," the post-it note read. I still have it in a box.
I got home, and fought with my Mom over something silly. (I turned the radio off because I needed sleep so badly I was scared I'd crash the car on the way home.) So I left again, and cried all the way into town, and collected myself before I went into the library. There I sat and read for two hours and wrote for half of one, then I got a call from Mom saying she wanted me to come home and that she had made curry for dinner just for me. I ignored it and drove the cemetary and walked around the stones that I had nearly lived amongst for three years, and then hadn't seen again for two. I cried there too because there were names I knew on the stones, and death was just so sad. Dad called while I charted new graves, I came home because he asked me to. I bypassed the kitchen and went to my room, and slept for two hours. The only reason I woke up was because my Dad was concerned because I locked my door. He made me eat dinner. Maybe it was because my mouth hurt from too little eating, but the curry tasted like my Mother hadn't wanted too cook it, it was bitter.
At least now I think I know why I'm feeling so empty after so many years of feeling full; but only the next month will tell. I'm think because it's Kate, who I haven't talked too in over a month which is how long there has been a vacuum in my chest. There is no longer anyone or anything to obsess over. The years before Kate appeared I filled with books and nature and a little anime, but mostly books. They kept my heart full and my mind distracted, but the instant I had to stop doing these things, like those many minutes before sleeping I'd feel so bad that I'd cry. This dates back to elementry school, when I'd cry myself to sleep. That was when I started cutting.
Cutting was coping, we all find our ways, and we all feel differently about such methods. This is what worked for me, because splitting skin let the vacuum fill with everything that was on the outside. I used to imagine that the pressure was all my tears building up under my skin, and that they'd turned red from all the iron in my blood. Cutting was an obsession and a compulsion. If you’ve ever felt like you needed to do one thing so badly or else the world was going to cave in on you or the Earth would suddenly be pulled towards the sun, even if was something as simple is screaming, then you can begin to understand how I feel when I need to cut. Cutting does not mean I’m going to commit suicide, it does not mean I’m sad, or angry. Except for the time I slashed my ankles and carved “HELP” deep into the side of one leg and “EMPTY” into the other ( I still have the scars). All it means is that talking isn’t going to help with what I’m feeling and this is the only way that makes sense to deal with it.
It’s not as simple decision to do it, I weigh the consequences but I almost always lose. It’s the same thing for smoking, if you filter rather far back through the entries you can see that I was addicted to cigarettes long before I ever even held one in my hands. My body is strange in it’s compulsions. Personally it does not bother me; it is my body and if this works for me then so be it. I am not doing lasting damage to it. The only thing that bothers me is the reaction of others. Then again, what controls us more that how others will perceive things? I try not to cut because it makes others cry.
No one noticed the patchwork on my arms all the way through Middle School, or at least no one ever said anything. In fact I remember when my Civics teacher caught me with my arm below my desk, he was the only one that could see, and our eyes met. Then he just looked away and went back to grading. I was bleeding, there was no way he could have missed that. I went to five different therapists, all of which I hated, and all of which didn’t take what I was feeling seriously. Sometimes talking made it worse. I was a stubborn and independent child, and everything people told me to do went against what I was taught.
I was always told that just because you’re sorry doesn’t mean that fixes the problem, my Dad told me that one. He also told me that it was his damn house, and that if I wanted to cry I would have to find somewhere that was mine. That was when I found the loft in the barn. That was my place and that was where I screamed and cried for all the neighborhood to hear. After that my family didn’t mind so much if I did it in my room.
I also learned that Mother was always right, even if my therapists and counselors told me that they didn’t agree with the way I was being handled. I learned my lessons one night and didn’t talk back for years. I still won’t forget as I was sent to my room, and she turned off the lights and I started to cry because I was scared of the dark. She told me to shut up, so I cried even louder because I saw things coming out of the closet. Then one by one she shut off all the lights in the hall, and I was petrified and I screamed louder and sobbed. Then it was pitch black and all I could do was scream myself to sleep.
My parents did the best they could with the problem they were given while fighting their own personal demons. My Mother came from a family where children were seen and not heard and a past riddled with undiagnosed mental illness. My Father had to deal with my Mother’s depression and the terrifying memory of how his brother’s wife killed herself, the same year his previously bright and bubbly daughter started to disappear from the world. He didn’t know what to do, so he got angry because he hates getting sad. He never once struck me, all he did was yell because that was his alternative to crying he later explained to me.
After awhile therapists started telling them that I didn’t respond well to yelling. Every time someone raises their voice at me I curl up inside my mind, and my eyes go hollow. I cannot take being yelled at for any reason. Dad still yells of course, but he yells much less often. I’m older now, so I’m dealing with it better. I talk back now too, but when my Mom starts to get childish about it because she knows I’m right most of the time. My Dad stands up for me, and one time he told me that she gets that way because she can’t stand that I’m so much smarter than her.
Things stayed bad through Middle School, so bad I’ve quite literally repressed many of the memories. Except for the few years I had friends, and the year I met Kate. Many of you reading this may know of the existence of someone named Gaby. Gaby was born during Middle School, and has yet to go away. He is another coping device, or at least that was where he found his beginnings. Since then he’s become a friend and a bit like an alternate personality. There are many of them in my head, close to ten I believe, but he is the most defined, and the one you are mostly to meet if you manage to find me on a dissociative day.
The hollow part went away when Kate was around, and things were sort of feeling okay during that year. Then, for reasons that still haven’t been satisfactorally explained, she walked up to me in the gym threw a stuffed animal I had given her at me and walked away. We didn’t talk for a year. She gave me a note the next day, I keep it in the box along with the post-it. After that I was empty again and even when Kate talked to me again I was empty Freshman year of High School. I was still angry from Middle School, but after that things were sorta okay again. Sophomore Year I don’t remember much up but that’s because it was simply that uneventful.
In Junior Year I had Mr. Gillespie and Mrs. Austin-Kelly. These two people along with Mrs. Burnett and Bill have had the most positive impacts possible on my life. This was also the year of nightmares and get five hours of sleep a week. Awake, awake, I was also awake and plagued with hallucinations. Both of them were there too help. That was the year I considered seriously committing myself. I never did, I pulled through. If I can survive that year I can survive anything. I still believe that even as I write it. I don’t doubt I can make it through this rough patch, it’s just something that needs to be said. I know that year was hard on Kate as well as us. I’m still surprised she didn’t bail on me. Though she was tempted.
Senior Year I felt like my act was finally together, things were okay between Kate and I, but the passion was gone. I never wanted to tell her I hated kissing, I hated the way it was soft and slimy and so wet, but I still loved her in a way that was more than a friend. I figured it didn’t bother her because she was the same way, always talking about how hot other people were. That was the year I became incredibly uncomfortable with my body especially since I have quit all my medications, and as a result I gained weight.
All I ever wanted to do was cling, because when I was close to someone that way it felt like I pulled part of them into my empty places and I’d never be alone. That year I had a job, I’d found a therapist I liked the year before and now we were making headway. I got accepted to my top choice college even though I couldn’t afford to go. It was knowing that I could have gone there if I wanted to that mattered. I still talked to Mr. Gillespie (something I’ve yet to really do this summer,) and had Mrs. Austin-Kelley for English that year. Outside of class hours she helped me with my poetry and writng and generally acted like the Mother I wish I’d had.
At the end of the year I broke up with Kate because I knew she was going to break up with me before she graduated. I did it myself because the difference between doing it and having it done to me makes a world of difference. I’m not sure why she got all quiet and seemed sad. Maybe she knew I knew, or maybe she was counting on being the one to do it. That or she was surprised, just two days before that I had written her a poem called “Never Touch The Waters.” That was probably it.
I look within the classrooms
And it’s you I find on every face
Of every figure
You hair hanging about your eyes
Pencil dangling between your lips
You are always thinking
Time like these I want to take you
Pull you up and restrain you
From your constant devouring of words
I hate to see such talent and beauty
Choking on such constant flows of nonsense
I want to press my lips to your ear
And whisper for you to leave with me
And pry your books from you hands
I have such better uses
For such slender fingers
Than just turning pages
I want to run my hands across denim
And run my feet over grasses and earth and
Toss you to the water because I know you can swim
You are strong and I can see it
It’s just a matter of you knowing it
With an affection such as ours
We can never notice the dripping of grains
Into a glass of sand
And glide over oceans together lovely
And never touch the waters
Then a summer passed, along with a year of college, which is something best saved for a later writing spree. I’m feeling better now, my shoulders are sore but only because they feel relieved. Maybe now I’ll read some more, because while that book is sad, it is also very full of hope and some parts of it make me laugh.
Thank you for reading.