Complicated

I don’t ever write poetry but this danced around in my head while I tried to fall asleep:

Don’t tell me it’s not complicated.
Don’t.
Can we please just let it be complicated.
And it’s not just one.
It’s not just that we’re coworkers,
that’s complicated.
It’s not just that we’re 20 years apart,
that’s messy.
It’s not just that only one of us is single,
that’s ugly.
It’s all three, very complicated.
So please just let it be.
Don’t tell me that no one at work has to know.
Don’t laugh off 2 decades between us,
saying you’re mentally 10 years younger
and I’m mentally 10 years older
so we’re theoretically met in the middle.
Don’t lie to me and say your wife is okay,
or that she doesn’t need to know,
or that life has played out in a disappointing series. 
Just let it all be too complicated.
Let it permeate the space between us,
and keep us from being.
Other wise it’s just too easy to touch.

When sleeping with inappropriate partners

I don’t feel bad for what I did. I feel bad about not feeling bad for what I did. This is quite the paradox and has been knotting my stomach and giving away my good sleep. My moral compass has never exactly pointed due north, in fact the damn thing’s been spinning around on its axis for a quarter of a century now. And while I’d like to ramble on in the profound fashion that I normally do, there really is no point. Not to mention, I’ve been struggling with writer’s block since the incident and I believe it’s partly to do with the fact it’s hard to talk about—this thing that I’ve done. Society will chastise me for my actions, best do it quickly.

I slept with a man 20 years older than me.

I slept with my co-worker who is 20 years older than me.

I slept with my co-worker who is 20 years older than me and married.

Ah, now we’re getting to the root of the issue.

And I don’t think that I feel bad or regret doing so. The actual sex was just the tip of the iceberg, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, I had a full on Hollywood-can’t-breathe-get-me-out-of-here-out-of-my-skin level panic attack afterwards, once he was gone but that’s beside the point. My point is that the sex produced more problems than ‘Oh shit, I slept with a married man.’ And honestly, the panic inducing factors were less about him and more about me.

I knew eventually something would happen between us. Our attraction (both physical and mental) was obvious and palpable from the beginning. In the back of our minds it was merely a matter of time; when and where. ‘Let’s get a drink sometime” turned to “You make a wonderful drinking buddy” which turned to blurred intentions like I’m going to grab your thigh to make it look like I’m driving home my opinion on something but really I just want my hand as high up on your leg as I can get it in a social and public setting. Once we were drunk enough, it was on.

I had more than enough opportunities to change the conversation, claim it was out of my depth, inappropriate or dull but I didn’t because it wasn’t. Talking about sex, first in innuendos, and then in actual context was exhilarating. Not cheating, not unfaithful but tight-rope walking across all the fine lines in the world. He was testing me—easing me in to see if I reacted. I knew that I was being manipulated. And in fact I was manipulating him into thinking that he was manipulating me. He is married, he knows better than to behave like that but I’m young and he thinks I’m sexy and who knows what his other justifications were.  But he’s married and I know better. Society will preach he’s a man he can’t help himself but you, you young single heathen, you know better than to tempt him.

But as I sat there, for hours and listened to a man tell me in so many words that his marriage lacked passion and his life had played out in a series of disappointing and unexpected realities. But nonetheless he had bound his life to this woman whom he still loved but saw lustlessly as a roommate. I listened to him tell me that he could easily separate sex from love and all other emotions, “sex is just sex.” Over and over he drove this point home, in my own head I could deduce that if I had sex with him I essentially would mean nothing to him. Not that he wouldn’t be gentle or respect me as a woman, I just mean that in the sense that us being together would only ever be sex. I would be a tool with one purpose.

And ultimately I didn’t have a problem with band around his finger. I don’t love this man or harbor any outstanding feelings for him. All I knew at that point was that I’d had enough beers to quiet the noise in my head that would normally over-analyze the situation. When you get down to the nitty and gritty, I wanted to have sex with him. So I did.

And now I’m stuck with the usual consequences. I have to see him everyday, we have to remain discreet and quiet about it at work (obviously). What does this mean about his marriage? Would it happen again and under what circumstances? Are we still friends? Do we pretend that it never happened?

But I also have to digest what this means on my own level. What exactly were the factors that contributed to my exhausting panic attack 86 seconds after he was out of my sight? What exactly was it about the situation that made me sick? For days the thought and feeling of his hands on me made my skin crawl. The images of the night would creep in and my body would shutter revolted by pictures of us in the dark, involuntarily blinking and shaking my head trying to erase them from memory like an etch-a-sketch. Is that shame and guilt from the event or previous events? Is the shame I feel actually from the event or is in indirectly presenting itself because I don’t feel guilty. I showered and showered and showered when I got home but I don’t think it’s because of what we did. I think it’s what I did. I manipulated him, a married man who couldn’t help himself, to sleep with me because I couldn’t stand being inside my skin for one more second.

I knew better. I knew what would happen if he and I were alone together. I knew we’d collide. I think that subconsciously I used him to set me free. Free to punish myself for another week or month or year. Another opportunity to self-destruct and liquify. I knew all too well that the force of our bodies hitting could knock me out of my realm—out of the sky.

 

‘scuse me while I kiss the sky

I recently read a line on a blog summarizing Sod and Murphy’s Laws. The summation was “everything happens to me, for me.” And while at first I scoffed at it’s almost biblical connotation I started to repeat it to myself over and over as I processed it. I let my mind’s tongue work over every word like it was a giant cage my brain was trying to pry into. Everything happens to me. For me. After I’d scavenged the carcass of this phrase and spit out the bones I liked it more and more. Everything happens to me, for me. What a wonderful thing to remember when I’m trying to blame the world for my problems. I like this phrase because it puts me back into control. The responsibility to put my life right after so much is in my own hands. My experiences have given me the tools to rebuild. Even the experiences that brought me to the very edge of my destruction have provided for me.

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Everything happens to me used to be my mantra. I’ve been beaten, bruised, and almost killed. I’ve trekked across the world trying to put myself back together and still have barely made a stitch. Maybe I’ve been leaving out the most important part of it all. It’s all been for me. I truly believe that despite the hardships I’ve faced the universe has had my best interest at heart. Even though I may seem to have a tendency for the melancholy and melodramatic, I mean what I say on both ends. I just need to rework my brain and add a new end to my previous mantra of ‘everything happens to me.’ For me.

 

Grimace, motherfucker.

I want to walk up to you.
And scream in your face.
I want my warm, sharp voice to brush the hair back from your face. 
I want to spit fire.
Grimace, motherfucker.

I want to scream at people with normal brain chemistry.
It’s not fair. It’s not fair that their minds don’t work the way mine does… or should I say that their minds do work and mine doesn’t? That can’t possibly be true, my head is hot with a constant never ending friction of endless thoughts.
How is it that they don’t think the things that I think. How is it that every moment of every day they’re not trying to figure out the quickest way out of the room, out of their head, or out of their own damn skin. Why am I the only one trying to calculate how quickly I can unravel before someone notices and puts me back together?

A Naive Notion?

Life is weird. The little details that add up over the course of your life can take the wind out of you when you realize what the summation is. And it can be strange to think how easily you could have missed the spot where you’re standing if one of those miniscule details didn’t happen. To think if a microscopic fraction of your life had gone differently; where would you be standing now? It’s got me wondering how the decisions I’ve made, how the decision others have made, and how the universe have shaped the path that has risen up to meet me. How is it exactly that I’ve arrived in 2016 standing in front of someone who I loved 10 years ago and haven’t stopped thinking of since.
It’s been put into perspective just how long 10 years is; and how fast and how slow the time goes. How the person who I was 10 years ago is a stark and naïve comparison to who I am now. How strange it is that two people who believed they were destined to be apart could in fact grow towards each other, following each other’s footsteps blindly in the night. Is it fate? Is the universe giving me a sign that I’ve longed for my whole life? Or is that a silly notion belonging in the same box as fairy tales and myth? Who is to say? Can I trust it to be a fairytale; something a kin to the stories I tell myself at night to get to sleep? Can fate be trusted? Fate is written but you don’t get to see the end. So if I, someone of sound mind and education, someone reasonable, someone scientific believe that the universe is standing in front of me with giant foam fingers screaming “You idiot! This is your f*cking sign!” then it’s probably fairly valid, right?
So my big question is: is the universe fighting for me? Is it trying, with all its might, to move two bodies it deems soul mates closer together. Because I can’t tell anymore and I am two scared to climb up to the mountains and ask the universe point blank. The universe has a tendency to not answer and occasionally be a dick. Okay, more than occasionally. Perhaps our souls had been intertwined long before our bodies had and since we divided the universe has slowly and without our knowing led us back to each other. Is that a legitimate hope? Or a naïve musing of a girl carrying around a ten-year old heart break?

Pillowcase

Incomplete

When I was a teenager, I believed I was losing my mind. It seemed then, as if I was losing my grasp on everything I’d clung so tightly to. Whether it was my friends or partners or dreams, they all suddenly seemed unattainable and I slipped slowly, and then rather quickly, into madness. My whole perspective, as did the world it seemed, shifted and I found myself at the first of what would be many rock bottoms. I have never wanted anything more than how badly I wished to stop being. How easy it would have been to leave my story incomplete. Remarkably, although I am still unsure as to how, I managed to come away from that bottom and today it is an entirely new form of madness. The life is no longer going to be unfinished. There will be an end, but perhaps the quality of the life is what will remain incomplete. And the insanity that seeks me now is from not being able to escape the constant mental flogging. It is the relentless booming voice that breaks me down into an uncountable number of pieces. So I surround myself with beautiful people who all love and care for me. I occupy my time with forms of expression that are free, legal, and liberating. And all of this quiets the cacophony rattling in my skull but even still I cannot avoid the assault onto my person by my own person. I am at once filled with so much hate and so much love. I am both proud and ashamed of all the things that I’ve done. However after this division of my very being I have now found myself on the outside of everything. Now, I do not belong here. Here in my bedroom, in my job, in my city, or in my country. I don’t belong anywhere, it seems. And I don’t belong to anyone and none belong to me. It is daily that I feel like I’m even outside of my body. Like one shakes a pillow down into a pillow case I need something to shake me back down into my skin and put me back together.

We are sinking so fast

Sleep can often be a gift; perhaps it is the greatest escape. When the mind can shut itself off for a few hours and just be. Most nights my resting mind is a blank slate making quiet whirring noises dreaming of nothing but a black blackness. Occasionally, my dreams betray me letting shapes and colors slip past that sleepy membrane thus disturbing what would have been a peaceful nights sleep. In the night he managed to sneak through the cracks of my subconscious and bathe in my mind’s eye. He has stained my sleep and left me with this feeling that he is following me, standing just outside of my periphery. Despite it’s blank state of sleep, I think that my mind always misses him but often chooses not to acknowledge it. My mind is protecting my heart allowing my body to get up everyday and not plunge back into bed unable to stand up. But when you suddenly miss someone who’s been gone for a while it’s like they bump into you. As if you were two passing strangers walking the same path unaware of it until you collide and slam right into each other. You hit head on and all at once you realize how your life had formed around them and you wonder how you hadn’t noticed the gaping hole they’d left when they went.

Sunrise Projection–not a yoga move

Ask and you shall receive I guess. I went to another doctor for a second opinion on my recent knee saga. I’ve been to this doctor before and didn’t particularly care for him. He had a way of looking through me and avoided answering my questions. But I was referred to him again and went anyway. He had me lie on the table as he probed around my knee. He said he felt something that wasn’t right so he looked at my MRI scans from about 5 years ago and noticed something odd. He had me do a new x-ray image that I’d never had before. It’s called a sunrise projection and it’s aimed at the patella looking for fractures. And there you have it. A nickel sized bone fragment that had been fractured and severed from my knee cap. He says that there is no way to tell how or when I broke the patella but it’s a start to answering the questions as to why am I always in pain. You’d be in pain too if you had a pointy piece of bone grinding between your joints. So the answer is now what?knee

What it’s like to suffer from Chronic Pain

When I was a teenager I tore my Posterior-Cruciate Ligament (PCL) while running. I twisted an ankle, heard a loud pop, and suddenly I was in the most pain I’d ever been in in. My body knew my leg was broken. Students ran to the nurses office to have the school call an ambulance but the nurse refused. Instead she said I had to come to her. So three of my closest friends carried me from the track field to the nurses office where she suddenly realized how serious my condition was. She called my dad and he took me to the doctor. No ambulance was called that day and almost nothing was done for me.

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I was told my leg wasn’t broken. In fact I’d torn my PCL, the ligament that crosses behind the more well know Anterior-Cruciate Ligament (ACL). I’d also dislocated my knee which tore my Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and had done irreversible damage to my joint. The doctor said there wasn’t anything to be done and referred me to a physical therapy office which was shut down about 6 months after I finally stopped going. Not only were they not professional and not accredited they continued to cause damage to my knee. I didn’t walk for 3 three weeks and was on crutches for a month after that. From then on my knee dislocated easily and it happened constantly through the rest of my adolescence being that I was an active kid on the volleyball, tennis, swim, and sailing teams. I also developed arthritis in my knee before I was 20. Twelve years have passed and my life looks a lot different now that I realized the wrong doing that was done to me when I was younger.

Now, my friends want to go out to a bunch of bars on a Friday night. We get ready back at my apartment and they’re all in agreement that they’re not going to bring a purse. All of them tuck their cash and cards into pockets or bras and they’re ready to go.

I can’t. I have to take a bag. I have to be able to fit my 200 count bottle of pain relievers somewhere. I have to be able to bring my giant tin of Tiger Balm. I have to.

No, I can’t just leave it. Yes, I will need it; all of it. I will without a doubt, 100 percent be in pain. And if I’m in pain, I can’t dance, I won’t drink, I won’t move, and if it gets bad enough I won’t be able to speak. All I’ll be able to do is rub my joints and beg my friends, who are having a blast, to take me home.

I’ve been in pain since 2004. In the most recent years after seeing every doctor made available to me, I’ve been told over and over I have no options. There isn’t a surgery that exists that can help me, too much time has passed, and the bio-mechanics of my knee are uniquely…fucked, if you will.

I won’t leave my house without pain relievers or Tiger Balm. I won’t leave my city without my heating pad or an ice pack. I’ve canceled hundreds of plans, lost thousands of hours of sleep, and have had dozens of x-rays and MRIs. Doctors can’t operate, physical therapy doesn’t work, there isn’t anything I can do. So I deal with it.

Unfortunately, I am used to it. I’m in pain, always. You can’t imagine what it’s like to be woken up in the middle of the night because you’re in so much pain your brain can’t rest. But then, at that point, you’re in so much pain and you’re so tired you can’t move. You can’t get up to get some water to take your medicine or search through your belongings looking for Tiger Balm. Your brain is so chaotic with bright lights and your whole body is burning and there is nothing you can do but writhe miserably in pain. And no one else understands.

They can’t relate and they don’t know how to help you. Even I don’t know what to do but bite down on a leather strap and hope it’s over soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Post: Quote me

Quote Me
How could I pick just one quote to always go back to? I have many quotes that support me like a old wooden crutch bent at occasional awkward angles. I have quotes that have pushed me across countries fueling my desire to keep moving. I have quotes that have effortlessly expressed what I’ve struggled for years to arrange into words. I have strings of words that have made me step away from so many edges. There are quotes that have made me laugh or smile; those that have inspired me to paint, write, or sing. Quotes that pulled tears from my eyes and stirred emotions I wasn’t prepared to deal with. I have a page of quotes I’d more than happily carve into my skin and fill the empty places with a course black ink so that I could carry them with me always. But based on where I am today and as of late I think I will go with this:

“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.”

-Tyler Knott Gregson