Monday, August 10, 2009

Day Two - Cleaning Up

I've worked for my family for the last 8+ years of my life. Last year, when I went on maternity leave I had every intention of returning to my job, but it just became easier for me to work from home.

My work desk has sat, mostly, exactly as I left it way back in last September - until today that is.

I went in earlier and cleaned files off the PC and emptied my desk of all the what naughts I had collected over the last 8+ years. Photos, particle manuscripts, movie scripts, music, etc - I never realized how much I goofed off at work.

I will never deny that I did goof off, but I didn't realize how much.

I haven't wanted to work there for a long time, but it was my family so I stuck it out. If the job had just been a job, working for someone I wasn't dependent on a kidney for I would have left 6 years ago. 

I've never been good a sitting still for too long. 
8+ years is waaay too long.

Oddly I was still sad. There were a few moments when I became choked up. I worked there when I was married, through my pregnancy and countless other major events in my life. To be honest, every major event in my life too place around that structure. My office was in my parents attic, in the house I grew up in - if I leaned to the right of my desk I could see my very own kid hand prints on the wall, dated '84 - I turned 9 that fall.  I never once thought when I was creating that beautiful master piece, many years later I would sit many a day next to that art in my dungeon of an attic office.

Isn't it funny how things that you swear you hate still have the power to sway you into a moment of sadness or how you never really know where you'll end up?

Just like Rodney Yee and learning the basics of yoga in my living room all those years ago - another one of those things I never would have expected in my life. One of those great gifts that come without a warning or even a sound.

Honestly I should have tried yoga years earlier, merely for the meditation principle of the practice. People had been telling me that yoga/meditation would help calm me down, but I figured if I needed that type of help it would only prove to a world that, in my eyes already saw me as weak and feeble, I was so pathetic I needed to burn innocence and hum. 

Thinking about it made me wanted to kick my own ass for principle sake.

I've been angry as long as I can remember. About what? It changes on any given day.

The rational side of me always says "seriously, build a bridge and get over it, there is so much more to life" but then there's the hysterical side of me just lets the anger build and build and build as I internalize it. 
Letting it fester. 
Letting it rot. 
Until one day...  BOOM!

That said you probably wouldn't be surprised if I told you I was a cutter earlier in life. 
I once carved a boys name into my left ankle. 
A gesture of my undying love for him, we broke up a few months later and I was left with removing the name the same way I put it on. 

It hurts a lot more to remove items like that then apply them. The euphoric feeling of happiness that was there during application had dwindled down to resentment and anger. 
The break up wasn't a good one. 
He thought I was cheating on him. Every guy I've ever dumped thought I was cheating on them - why is that? Is it that hard to believe that I just didn't want to be with them?

Guess so...

No one in my family ever knew about the self mutilation. I know they aren't daft people and that they had a certain understanding of my continually fluctuating depression, but they never saw how it had manifested into something physically injurious towards myself. Seeing that I wore a uniform to school I always had my legs covered, plus I knew if my mother ever found out she would kill me.

"If you ever come home with a tattoo I'll scrap it off with a butter knife."   ~ my mom

Just imagine if she would have found his name carved into my left ankle? I'm sure I would have been shipped off to some place that took "care" of girls like me with little white pills and strappy white jackets. 
Granted, it was harder to hide the cover up than the initial imprint, but when I was asked, I just told them I caught my leg on the top of a fence when I was jumping it. 

That had happened to me before, so they never questioned it.

The general depression was much harder to hide. I would lock myself in my bedroom for days at a time, only coming out late at night when I knew I would be alone. If it transformed into something really terrible I'd stop eating. 

(When I was in my early 20s, I broke up with my first "adult" boyfriend I dropped down to 98lbs. It was gross.)

My family confronted me about it, but my social awkwardness is derived mostly from our genetic make up, handed down from generation to generation, so it was like trying to explain the theory of flight to... a cave man. 
An example? I tried to tell my mother once that I felt ugly, I was 15 or so normal girl growing up stuff, I was on this kick that I needed cosmetic surgery, she told me that if I had the procedure done, "...then you would be beautiful and everyone would love you and you wouldn't need me any more."

I know she didn't intend to sound like that - but you get the picture.

My way of dealing with being awkward and shy was to swear, drink and steal - and I mostly got away with it. My older brother was getting into trouble all the time, so short of killing someone I could hide what I was doing. If I was caught, which I never was, I could pass the blame.
What else was there to do? By this point:
  • My 6 grade teacher had told my parents I was too stupid to go to high school so if they felt the "need" to further my education, they shouldn't waste their money on private school - public would be fine for me. (I idolized my 6th grade teacher, used to go to her place for sundaes... as they say, the first cut is the deepest.)
  • In 7th grade all of the girls in my class stopped talking to me. All of them. 
I was now "stupid" and a social pariah. 
  • In 8th grade I had nearly been suspended for starting a fight with another girl in my class. She didn't get in trouble, just me... no one was surprised at all.
  • My "best friend" and I had a massive falling out in the 9th grade - a falling out that was apparently so bad she, to this very day, will not talk to me more than a "good to see you" overly polite, forced, fashion. 
The only friend I had at all was a guy, and when we graduated 8th grade I went to an all girl high school and he went to an all boy school - we didn't really talk that year. 

I was alone - awkward - depressed and so angry that I told one of my fellow students mothers that she could go "F" herself. She, surprised, told me that she was going to call my mom.

         I offered to dial.

There really wasn't much out there to keep me going. A wall flower at best, I started to think of ways to just get it over with - I knew everyone would be better, be happier if I wasn't here.

At this moment I wish I could say something like, " my head I knew it was just a phase and I would grow out of it" but that would be a lie. What happened is that I was about to go for it, but I pussed out.

Sometimes its okay to be a coward... because I wouldn't be here now if I hadn't been one then and that is an upside. Nearly 20 years later, but at least I found it! 

(but I don't think you're a coward if you decided you want to live. Living is a much harder thing to do than calling up St. Peter way before your time. Johnny Mandel was wrong when he said suicide is painless... even if I do love that song. Suicide is a copout.)

At that point of my life I wasn't ready for the idea of yoga, meditation, etc. I had just left the Catholic church - which was a wonderful feeling, and slowly but surly I was making new friends - maybe not the best people to hang out with, but at the time they were golden, even if they did only encourage me to be the angry little 5'4" chick that I was.

I pretty much partied for most of high school. I shouldn't have graduated, that's a certain fact. My GPA was 1.9 - why? Because I never showed up to class, never did my homework, hell! I was sent to summer school for P.E. <- no joke and that story I'll save for another night.

Now, all these years later, I sit on my yoga mat and I meditate before and at the end of every routine I do. I think about the bad things and the good things that have happened to me over the years and how they molded me into the person I am today - the person I'm spending this next 363 days attempting to turn into someone worth knowing. We all have that in us, even when we say we don't care - we do.

If we didn't care, we wouldn't have brought it up in the first place.

When I write, every teacher or mentor I've had told me one thing, "Read your story out loud, when you hear how it sounds you'll finally be able to make it flow correctly."

Maybe the same applies to living? When you keep it all bottled up, fester, fester, rot, rot - what are you left with?

I'm pretty sure they call that an ulcer...


  1. Wow! I can't believe anyone said you were stupid...I've always thought of you being so much smarter then others....

    I'd just like to say at this point...I broke up with you...(A rare occurance) I think I may have cheated...or wanted to...Oh the good old days!

  2. I think you wanted to be with someone else. I wish I still had that letter - it was amazing! LOL! Actually my favorite memory of you dumping me (oddly I have one) is that you gave the note to Sparky to give to me and he was being overly attentive. Seeing that we had only dated for about 2 weeks I wasn't deleterious from the break up, so it took me a second to realize that he was trying to be "there" if I needed him.

    I don't recall ever being angry with you. Yes, you broke my heart in a note, but at least you didn't screw with my emotions.

    And for the record, you are the only man who has ever dumped me. I'm still trying to figure out if that is a good or bad thing... ;)