I became an outline of a human being in my early twenties – a meat suit without neurology, the walking dead. I was programmed and coasting on auto-pilot; unaware. Lost. And ultimately, I wanted to kill myself; what was the purpose of a living shell anyways? I felt as if I was walking across other eggs shells, scared of monsters that did not exist; life had become delusional. Anxiety lurked around every corner. I did not want to open my eyes in the morning. If I could have pushed a dissolve button; there were times I would have chosen to sleep forever. I was just too scared of the darkness, I thought. Morning were hard. These are some of the feelings I internally compressed and arose to feel. I wanted to suppress, escape, avoid. At first it was easy to turn a blind eye to the lurking darkness; to my own internal rage. Distraction was key, image was important; I was Queen of delusion.
Hell was not being in the pilot seat of your own plane. And here I was headed towards a mountain range; I was flying low. I had to take control or I was going to crash and burn. The pills never worked, they only gave me a smirk. All my dreams incinerated; "Take control, Laura," I pleaded with myself. My child would have been scarred with the same generational wounds, "Laura, take control." I needed to wake up from the daydreams of my previous programing. I had to win the battle in my mind, first.
I was careful about everything I did and said; I self-silenced. Yet; I also existed in a realm of rumination and endless chatter. What did other's think of me; had I blown my cover? Could they see the depression leaking out from my eyes as I smiled and laughed. The louder I became, the less I thought about death. "Just think about Jesus, just think about heaven. Surround myself with happy and good; smiles and pancakes," I thought. Eventually the pancakes became soggy, gross. What made me happy yesterday, didn't work today. And when I got pregnant, I thought I'd lost my mind. Food that tasted good, make me puke. I felt physically sick, mentally weak -- and I was headed off towards my biggest battle thus far. I found out I was pregnant on August 27th; and I moved to my new apartment across the country on September 11th, 2018.
Sweet songs never last that long on broken radios; and thus I must heal in order to keep preaching the mercy of natural medicine. I wanted to help the mental health community. I wanted to study and research schizophrenia. It had been my deep secret love, and I never stopped reading. I couldn't bridge this gap between knowledge and experience by reading books alone. Perhaps that is why the universe called me to be T*'s mother at exactly the right moment. My higher self was ready, my lower self felt pregnant and unworthy. My lower self felt deceptively weak. And emotionally distraught. Wasn't this suppose to be the happiest moment in my life? I had made it, I am walking through the halls of the last chapter of my youth. And how am I still miserable? Hadn't I made it? Already? Hadn't I survive enough turmoil and onslaught. The secret was; pain does not end, we only get stronger. And I was feeling the growing pains of life. Before I laid hands on others, I had to fix this broken radio. I'd imagined such beautiful, sweet songs. I'd imagined healing others. Knowledge is for the mind experience is for the body; I had to begin feeling my reality. I had to begin healing. I had to begin writing.
First, I had to heal myself.
First, I had to experience the depths of my mind.
First, I had to accept my inner darkness.
First, I had to accept that I would someday die.
First, I had to feel.
The greatest story of all time is the comeback story. I learned this from a friend obsessed with baseball. I learned this when I was failing two classes on the week of finals, I had a month old child, I had not slept. He looked me in the eyes and told me stories of athletes that came through -- when the world was against them. He told me stories of the underdogs and how they rose. He told me stories of how even the last moments in the game changed the outcome. And I listened. I stayed up all night memorizing biochemistry while my child slept in my husband arms in the lounge of the library. I was still breastfeeding; I was woman. I saw the weakness in my bones dissolve, I looked into my child's eyes for strength. I took my exam early in the morning and fought my entire way through. Afterwards the self doubt, the lack of sleep, the years of hating my body leaked from my eyes. I could not control the tears. It was feel or die; now. Postpartum ripped the cloth that had fastened together with safety pins. Everyone could see what I had been hiding, now. How I felt wasn't so smooth; there were dark parts of me. And I couldn't hide it. My tears flowed out of me like a South Carolina freak storm. But I wanted to see the rainbow, so I allowed the rain to come.
I began to see the programming, I began to see what was real and what was not -- as I continued to feel. Sometimes, I'd skip class just to write. It was like everything was coming out; and it was happening so publicly. I just wanted to be alone to process. One of the biggest revelations was that I once took others views of me as absolute truths. How you saw me, was truth; how I saw me, was debatable. If I could be the image of what everyone else wanted me to be; I was worth my weight in gold. That was the goal, to be everything to everyone; for people not to see my flaws. It was like covering pimples with foundation. It never felt right. I wanted to show everyone my real colors, I wanted to be true. I wanted to express -- even if that meant, they didn't like me anymore. I had to begin to like me; even if my mother thought I was going to hell. When I stripped my bed, I realized that my wounds were not about the people in my life currently. When I really stepped back, I realized it was about my mother, it was about my childhood. I realized, the deep wounds I experienced a long time ago -- never healed, and they were wreaking havoc on my life. Reality is simply an illusion. I saw my past in everyone; I couldn't run away. I couldn't just make it go away. That's not how it works.
To let go, I had to process.
To process, I had to accept.
To accept, I had to look at death.
To look at death, I had to die.
I buried my childhood, I buried my past.
There was always this one story that my mother brought up that stabbed a knife into my soul. She brought it up in my impact letter; she brought it up to my psychiatrist right after it happened. It was how I lied to her, and it boggled my own mind that she could not understand. To her; I had to be hiding something? I was shocked at her own blindness. She did not understand how her own strict rules led me to deceive and manipulate on the regular. Not because I was bad, or because I was mentally ill? Rather, I wanted freedom. I wanted ice cream. I wanted my first kiss with a boy to be special, I wanted to fall in love. I wanted to be human.
When I was fourteen; a few friends that happened to be boys invited me (Jordan, Lance and Billy) to walk to Wawa; exactly one mile from the public pool. We had known each other for years. I’d been swimming on the same pool since I was a babe. My mom used to be on their swim team back in the day. And our whole tribe had a family connection it seemed. Lance was a skater kid. He wore the hat with that sticker left on it — just to prove how cool he was. They all went to the local public middle school; I went to the private ones. I was extremely sheltered, but I didn’t want to be. I wanted to experience everything that a normal, American teenager would; including falling in love and heartbreak. I didn’t want to be a virgin till my wedding night, like my mom wanted me too. I also didn’t want to lose my virginity to someone I didn’t love.
My parents were scared of hormones and when my boys began to develop; when I began showing interest in the opposite sex they begun hovering. I wasn’t allowed to leave the pool gates. My grandmother was sent there to babysit me; while my mother ran a few errands. When asked to go get ice cream; I decided to lie in order to get outside the confines of their odd rules. To me, it seems ridiculous that I could not grab ice cream with a few boys of my own age. Was I incapable of making the correct choices? I was a good girl; why were they so harsh on their rules? It made zero sense to me. And I had a difficult time following dictates from a ruling group of helicopter parents. So I left and didn’t tell my grandmother I was leaving — how long could it take to walk to WaWa and back?
Billy used to have a crush on me; and then once insulted me for not shaving my pubic region. The world was already sexualizing me as an object for men to look at — how did they best like me? Shaved? Cubed? In-quarters? Flesh. And yet; I loved the slobber the meat eaters had when they looked my direction. Jordan had blonde hair, and when his brown eyes — I imagined things only the bad girls did. I had not even had my first kiss, besides spin the bottle. But does that really count? Mikey didn’t even want to kiss me; he only did because the bottle pointed at him. And the other option was my sister and another neighborhood girl. It was rigged in his favor. Jordan, on the other hand; I thought that he wanted to kiss me. He even batted his eyes when he looked my direction. And I wanted to kiss him too.
I loved the feeling of puppy love. I loved the pull, the emotionality — the magnetism it produced. It felt electric, and I savored the moment. I knew the teenage years wouldn’t last forever. I would enter high school as a freshman the upcoming spring. At the end of August, I would turn fifteen. I was growing up. I was so excited to experience life and all of its orgasmic pleasure one day. I couldn’t wait to write down this journey. Weren’t these the golden years everyone talked about? I must remember every chill, every moment that would help me blossom into a woman.
And I wasn’t walking with Jordan and his friends, because I planned on kissing him on this ice cream trip extravaganza. I was just fourteen, walking to get ice cream — with a bunch of testosterone driven boys. I could handle them, I thought. It was fun to watch them swoon over me. I was just excited about life at the time; small moments like these gave me great joy. Summer was my favorite season and it was fading into fall fast. I watched these boys grow up from awkward, boring blobs to people I actual had interest talking too. They talked about sex a lot. And it was so interesting, I didn’t know very much about it. Lance was talking about how amazing head felt, I asked him if he’d ever received it. He said he did. He said he had to grab onto the grass to hold on because he was melting. My eyes widened — melted? Jordan also told me that he smoked weed a few times. My dad had always talked about this substance — I was curious? “What was it like?” I asked. He told me that once he smoked at a friends house and he walked home afterwards. And the ten minute walk turned into an hour. He said the walk seemed to never end, and the colors seemed brighter. It was such contrast to the doom and gloom my boomer father made it out to be? Didn’t it ruin lives? How could time slowing down be so bad. I didn’t do much talking on this walk, I mostly listened. I felt like I was learning so much about the human experience. I also realized how much I liked Jordan, he was blonde and beautiful. He also was just my type — bad. And I loved the adventure in his eyes. He was everything my parents didn’t want for me, and everything I wanted. I wanted to kiss him, all over. I could tell from the way he looked at me that he’d like that.
That WaWa trip ended in hell. My grandmother was scavenging for me — my mom was now there. I claimed to have just been walking around the golf course. I wasn’t going to tell her WaWa; as I had to cross a large road in order to get from point A to point B. So I lied. I didn’t understand why everyone was freaking out? There was a look in my mothers eyes, even when I was innocent; she suspected I was up to no good. She got satisfaction out of stopping all kinds of fun — and I was never sure why? Yet, when boys were involved; my parents came down on me extremely hard? I wasn’t ready to have sex; I just enjoyed dreaming about the day when it would come true. I just enjoyed fraternizing in the fragrance of pheromones. I wasn’t sure if my mom had sex before? I mean perhaps three times to have my siblings and I; I kept getting the implication that it was dirty and wrong. And that guys didn’t like girls who had sex? It seemed quite the opposite in the real world, I always wondered why she treated me like a child? I was fourteen, why couldn’t I get ice cream across the way?
I told this story to my husband as we were driving through the streets of my old neighborhood; the childhood home where I grew up. I showed him the roads my mother would not let me cross at thirteen. I showed him where I wanted to go and get ice cream. We talked about how we were going to parent one day. T* was sleeping in the back, his little head rested on his shoulder. My husband suggested that we teach him to cross roads; I imagined myself in my mother's shoes. I would walk them across the street -- however many times they wanted; until they got the hang of it. Until they did it themselves, or with friends. Death can hit at any time, old or young. I had to teach my child for watch for the perils. Avoiding teaching a child to cross the road, or not having conversations with them about sex; doesn't make it go away or get easier. I learned to drive at eighteen, after highschool I got my first car. Crossing roads became a bit more difficult, risks became a bit more steep. There will always bee risks in life. They do not just disappear as one ages. Learning to cross the street at thirteen is okay; even if cars do come really fast once in a while.
I am exiting my twenties soon. This August I will enter my last year claiming the young adult title; twenty-nine. It's not cute to be perpetually a child; there is a time and place. My childhood whizzed by; I now have a child. These past few months I've been eliminating my shadow in my writings. I've been spending more time being a mother, less time being a student. I am soaking in the summer. It is nearly July. I am going to take a nice walk this afternoon, I am training for a marathon. I am solving the depression puzzle. It feels nice to heal.
And I am learning to wake up happy.
I learned how to wake up happy; not because of my new colored wall or anything external. I bore a son from my womb and he woke up happy. He was inspirational. He made me love the mornings. He held my fingers and he danced. He helped heal apart of me that no one could reach any more; even myself. The deep wound came forward when I looked into his eyes. He was a better person than I; I desired to be more like him — truthful to who I was and what I wanted. He never smiled just because someone told him too, he smiled because he wanted to smile. And he told me when he was unhappy, every single time. He was the oldest child, as I. And I wondered about my own mother and my relationship during this time. Did she cuddle me on naps? Was her whole aim in life — just to please me? All I wanted; was to see my son smile, genuinely. I wanted to see all eight teeth, I needed his hugs — and the way he kissed me, melted my insides. When we snuggled at night he alone could fit inside the puzzle pieces of my body. Was I that for my mother? At any point did she look at me and think — she’s perfect. Because he is perfect, flawless — both the good and the bad. I wouldn’t change this experience for the world. I lost myself in motherhood; I found myself during the tiny silent moments in between.
I took control of that plane. I hopped in the driver's seat at the 11 o'clock hour. I swerved to fly above the mountain range. The generational curse ended here. Thank you son, for allowing me the privilege to gaze into your eyes. They saved me, you saved me. I am so thankful for you; I am so grateful to be alive.