He almost killed me

abuse helpThe dope was gone.  The money was gone.  I could finally rest.  I constantly watched my back and kept an eye on the hiding places where I stashed money, credit cards, car keys, and cigarettes, in hopes he wouldn’t find them.   I had some clever spots like the bottom of a cereal box between the plastic and the cardboard.  Inside an Eggo package in the back of the freezer.  In between the pages of books.  The tricky part was remembering which book.  I often slept with money in between the pillow and it’s case and a tight grip around that pillow under my head.  Once, I put 3 hundred dollar bills in the bottom of a tissue box by the bed.  He knocked over the box, the out of place green bills caught his eye. After that, I never kept a big amount in one place.  I Always spread it out.  Occasionally I would forget where I put money, but when your’e trying so hard to stay one step ahead of a someone such as him, you’re bound to slip up.  Too much to remember.  So much chaos to control in my head.  Often, when he failed to find what he was looking for, he would roust and bully me until he was screaming an inch from my face, ordering me to hand over what he wanted.  I held my ground many times.  Standing eye to eye with him as his voiced rattled my ear drums. “Where is it?” “Give me the money.”  He threatened.  “No. No. No.”  I repeated calm and stern.  On a few occasions, he backed down.  My heart pounded as I realized how close I was to being pushed to the ground or strong-armed out of what I had that he wanted.  Even worse, if I would have given in.  Another night in hell surrounded by crack smoke and porn.  But usually he won.  I was too tired to fight with him.  Defeated, I gave him the money in exchange of the hope he would leave me alone.

He left that night angry and on a mission to find more dope.  I got ready for bed relieved I would be getting some rest.  I worked in the morning and I hadn’t slept in days.   Our drug dealer had taken our car.  Life eventually worsened, but up until then, the last resort when the money disappeared was to let his dealer roll around in our car in exchange for a handful of crack.  To some, that amount could last all night, for him it lasted but a few hours at best.  He consistently arranged these transactions behind my back knowing I would be furious.  He would walk in the door, dope in his pocket, and no keys.  Disheartened and at my wit’s end, I stopped asking about the car when it was missing from it’s spot.

He left on foot that night.  After I locked the door behind him and before I went to bed, I called the dealer.  To my surprise, he answered.  Most of our encounters involved me yelling. He would yell right back, “He’s your man. It ain’t my fault.”  He spoke the truth,  I just wanted my car back.  I  told him what happened and asked if he could be on the look out.  He knew I wanted my car, but I wasn’t about to make an issue of it because that deal already stood.  I had to sit this one out.  He said he’d bring it back the next day.  Whatever.  It wasn’t pressing, just principal.  My workplace was only a half block away.  Relieved to be alone, I slept.

I worked from 10:30 to 7:30, happy to be rid of him for a while.  However, at the same time nervous and stressed about the unknown.  I never knew what was around the corner.   I always closed the dry cleaners alone.  Occasionally, he would walk in just before closing.  If I still had a customer, I wanted to yell for help or give some kind of signal.  The customer would look at me as if to ask “Are you Okay?”  Here was this skinny, unshaven man lurking by the door.   I wanted to run. As I locked up, my heart pounding, he demanded I give him money. I had hiding places at work too, and he knew it.  “I know that wasn’t all of your check. Where is it?” He would bark.  He was scary when high. His personality completely flipped.  Crack created a  Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome in him.  I often gave him money just to get him out of there and avoid a fight.  I had a job to finish.

To say I was scared all the time is an understatement. Living a life in constant fear kept me trapped in this relationship for 13 years. On the nights he didn’t harass me at the dry cleaners, I blindly walked up the stairs after work not knowing if he had relapsed.  He couldn’t keep a job anymore.  This anxiety and hopelessness spilled out of my once contained and sound mind.  I was losing my sanity.  When I found him high, I screamed and cried  “Why are you doing this?”  In his great attribute of manipulation, he waved a crack pipe in front of my face.  Sometimes I gave in, tears flowing, begging him to stop.  I stared at the pipe. I knew if I partook it would be a long night.  But so defeated, I needed not to feel.  I hesitantly released it from his hands and took that first hit.  I was still mad, but I couldn’t feel it.  Sadness took it’s place.   He knew if he could get me to use with him, I couldn’t be mad anymore.  Misery does in fact love company.   How could I yell at him when I was doing the same thing?  It was all part of his plan.

I hadn’t heard from him at all that day.  Needless to say, I was petrified to close the shop alone, but I did.  I walked home, shaking, alert, and watching over my back and around every bush where he could be.  His phone had lost its charge.  I had no idea of his whereabouts.  Alive or dead.  Honestly, I don’t recall caring. Tired of this life, I just wanted him to stay gone.  When I approached the door, the key turned the bottom lock, but the door didn’t open when I pushed. The dead bolt was locked.  I didn’t have that key.  He had been there.  Sneaky asshole, I thought.  Wondering what he found and took, I ran around the complex looking for a light still on in someone’s unit.  We lived in a 4-plex.  Strangely, we all shared the same key.  Never sure why the landlord did that, times like this it came in handy. I sat on the stairs for over an hour until I saw someone.  My neighbor, irritated at the chaos ensuing in our apartment on a daily basis, without saying a word, let me use his key.

I walked up the stairs into my dark, empty apartment relieved there would be no screaming or crack pipes that night.  I worked again in the morning.  Saturday was my long shift.  It happens to be the busiest day at the dry cleaners, when everyone in the whole damn city runs their errands. I didn’t pay attention to what he may have taken from the apartment, I only noticed he had rummaged through his drawer, most likely looking for credit cards or checks.  I didn’t care anymore, I just wanted to go to bed in peace.  I felt relieved.  Odd, considering the circumstances, that I would feel content with so much of my life in shambles. However, when he disappeared, I could breathe.  This certainly wasn’t the first time.  And it wasn’t the last.

I heard a loud pounding on the door at 1:00 AM.  Startled, I sat up in bed.  It was him.  He relentlessly banged on the door.  I had latched the chain so he couldn’t get in.  He began to yell my name over and over.  He pushed on the door in an effort to break the chain.  I got up.  Frozen, I stood at the top of the stairs watching the door move and shuddering with each yell.  I screamed at him to go away. Inconvenienced and irritated, I just wanted my sleep.  I wanted to kill him.  He begged me to let him in.  I wouldn’t.  As I watched the chain break from the door jam, ripping it off the wall, I ran back to my room. I closed the door. Jumping onto the bed, I pulled the covers up around me.  I could hear him running up the stairs.  He didn’t come in at first.  There were sounds coming from the kitchen.  Cupboards slamming.  Drawers opening and closing.  I hoped he would leave without coming in the room.  But I knew that was wishful thinking.

He opened the door and stood at the end of the bed.  He began to explain where he had been for the last 2 days.  I begged him to leave me alone.  I didn’t care where he had been, what he was doing, or who he was with.  I wanted to sleep. He told me, as he always did, that this was my fault.  That I was just as much a part of this as him.  He never failed to drench me with guilt.  That was his manipulation.  “Hey, you smoked that shit with me too.”  “Oh, all of a sudden you’re miss perfect?”  And the list goes on.  Infuriated, I adamantly told him to get out of my room and just leave.  “I don’t care where you go, just get the hell out.”  He insisted he was done using, just like all the times before.  I knew better.  All too familiar with the story of what he said when the dope runs out and every plot to get it is exhausted.  The more enraged he became, the more tired I grew.  He ripped the covers off of me.  He tried to flip the mattress over on top of me.  That used to work with our twin bed a long time ago, but not with this queen.  He was so skinny from the drugs, he couldn’t lift it with me on it if he tried.  He was still strong though.  Stronger than me.

Something inside snapped and I knew I needed to out of there.  I needed to get to my phone.  The Seattle Police were familiar with our place and with us.  I avoided calling unless it was dire.  As I panicked, I tried to make a plan.  He was standing right in front of me blocking the door.  He could tell by my determination and struggle that I going for the door.  He grabbed me, pulled me back, and pushed me down on the bed.  “You’re not calling the cops.”   He had me face down and pushed into the blankets so I couldn’t breathe.  He wanted me to stop screaming.  He never cared before if I screamed.  He was shushing me and I didn’t know why.  I heard pounding on the door.  I thought the neighbors had heard and came to tell us to shut up.  I am not sure how I escaped his grip.  He had me pinned for minutes. I ran out of the room, across the hallway, into the other bedroom, and flipped on the light.  I opened the blinds and looked down to see who was at the door.  It was the police.  There were at least 4 of them standing down there.  From the outside of our apartment, one couldn’t tell if we lived upstairs or downstairs because our door and the neighbor’s door were side by side.  One of the officers saw the light come on and looked up.  I mouthed the words ‘help me.’  He knew I wasn’t alone up there.  He could see I feared for my life.  I ran into the living room to grab the phone.  It was gone.  He had taken it and hid it from me.  This time he was one step ahead.  He figured out the cops were the cause of the loud knocking. He pulled me back into the room, threw me back on the bed began the smother my mouth.  He had one hand on my throat and the other on my mouth.  I struggled to get away and made as much noise as I could.  I knew, though, that the officers were on their way up.  It must have taken minutes for them to get through the door and up the stairs.  They needed to use the most precaution when entering our place because it’s not possible to see over the balcony when walking up the stairs.  Anyone could be around the corner with a weapon.  They had on other occasions entered with tasers and pepper spray ready.

As the minutes passed, I could barely breathe.  I couldn’t get air and wasn’t able to move.  I caught a glimpse of a police officer approaching through the crack in the door.  He saw me on the bed being choked and smothered.  He kicked the door open and ordered him to get off me.  Another officer grabbed him.  I slid off the bed, my knees hitting the floor, I sobbed and tried to catch my breath at the same time.  They pushed him into the living room and hand cuffed him.  I heard one of the officers say “Sit down, you piece of shit.”  The other officer asked me if I was alright.  I nodded.  When they took him down the stairs, one of the officers stayed behind to take my statement. The paramedics had come to make sure I wasn’t hurt.  I wasn’t.  Just shaken up.  The officer and I sat down at the kitchen table.  He needed to know if I feared for my life.  And I needed to consider how I answered.  My words determined how he would be charged in court.

The officer looked at me.  I realized it was the same officer who looked up and saw me through the window.  He said he would never forget the look he saw on my face.  A look of pure terror.  He told me to never forget how that felt when and if I ever considered taking him back.  He hoped I wouldn’t.  Women are killed everyday in situations such as these.  I was lucky.  I don’t know how I got away from him for those few seconds.  But I did.  I wrote down that, yes, I was in fear for my life.  He asked me if I had tried to call the police.  I told him that I looked for the phone, but he must have hidden it from me.  He used his cell phone to call my phone.  I heard it ring and followed the sound.  The phone was inside the remote compartment of the couch.  The officer shook his head in disgust.  I couldn’t hold back the tears.  I told him about my car as I made a pot of coffee.  There would be no more sleep.  It was nearing 4:00 AM and I had to work at 7:30.  Might as well stay up.  Apparently, we were just getting started.  I gave the officer our dealer’s number.  He knew him.  That made it easy to get my car back because he just needed to threaten him with some random bullshit.  He said my car would be returned by morning.  On my way to work, the dealer called my cell phone and told me where he left my car.  It was there.  It was dirty and thrashed, but it was in my possession.  One less thing I needed to worry about.

With what happened that night, he was ultimately charged with Unlawful Imprisonment.  This was serious.  Surely, he would get at least 24 months for this, maybe more considering his extensive record.  Over the next few weeks and many conversations with the courts, I held firm in my efforts to keep him incarcerated.  To my disappointment, a number of charges had fallen off of his record in the last 10 years.  Which translated into making it more difficult to keep him in jail this time.  Despite my concerns as the victim, he would end up serving less time than what the crime was worth.  In the years prior, I took him back when he came home from treatment or jail (something only victims of abuse understand, and others judge. So don’t).  Not this time.  I wanted him far away for as long as possible.  I consider it a fascinating irony that I attained a Criminal Justice degree, yet my life ended up so different than I had planned.

He was released from jail having served less than 2 months.  The criminal Justice system proved itself a failure.  I fumed that I had once wanted to be a part of it.

What unraveled on this night 5 years ago is still raw in my bones.  I can feel his hands over my mouth, my throat.  I remember the panic of my face against the bed not able to breathe.  That officer was right.  I will never forget how I felt when I looked out that window.  I may never remember how I got there to get his attention.  What matters is that I did.

On an ending note, the police were there because he had taken a cab home and couldn’t pay. The cab driver called the police and told them which door he had gone inside.  The officer told me they were about to leave when I turned on the light and got their attention.  He made a split decision when he saw my plea for help to break the door down, knowing it took only seconds to save or lose a life.

Sick of Being Sick

Why does freedom cost so much?

I thought it was free.

When I think I’m finally leaving,

There you are staring down at me.

Accusing that I owe you something,

My life, my time, my peace of mind.

Who the hell are you,

To decide what is mine?

Leave me alone,

I am fine right here.

Just switch gears,

and leave me here.

Same story,

Never fails.

You rise from the ashes,

And leave me in hell.

I don’t have a voice,

I’m screaming in my head.

You give me no choice,

I can’t move forward,

I can’t go back,

I’d feel better dead.

So easily confused,

Not so easily amused.

Sick of being sick,

What’s a girl to do?

Paralyzed

I cannot move.

Self destruction is so intriguing.

Staring at a blank page,

Head, heart and soul full of rage.

This cage, oh this cage.

Don’t take it personal,

This cage is self imposed.

Of course, I can get out,

Whenever I want, I suppose.

Sometimes I want to blame you all for putting me here,

Idling in pain, year after year.

Fear of the unknown,

Which direction I’ll be blown.

Not knowing where I am from,

places a veil over the sum,

the sum of all my parts.

Who, what, when, where and why?

All confuse the heart.

What inner chambers do I need to take apart?

To understand where I came from,

Is to know where I stand.

To have the strength to move forward,

Is to take a stand.

I want to soar to the moon,

What’s holding me back?

My battle scars.

Those are not self inflicted,

But the imprisonment remains.

Vindictive she is,

These four walls I live.

To break out of this prison,

What I wouldn’t give.

Words Hurt

“Do you want her? You can have her for 10 bucks.”

On another occasion… “Next?” He said as he walked out of the room into another filled with strange men.  Laughter erupted.  I wouldn’t come out.

How does a 16 year old girl maintain her composure through such piercing remarks?  I don’t know how I sustained in those moments.  The degradation of my innocence.  Still a child, those words punctured me.  My emotional growth was arrested I am sure.  However, at the same time, I had to grow up immediately.  I wrapped myself in a blanket of self soothe.  I created tunnels in my mind so as not to see what was happening to me.  I acclimated to trauma.  I developed the craft of filtering what I saw and what I felt.  It was my survival.

Even with this defense mechanism in place, my self worth and body image were pretty much destroyed.  My first boyfriend (the one whose voice you heard in the beginning) laughed at me because my breasts were small.  My second boyfriend implied on a regular basis that I was big, meaning fat.  My third boyfriend, by the time I was 19, cared about neither of those things, but administered my first taste of domestic violence. Ironically, this guy was actually clean and usually sober.

By this point in my life, I felt nearly crushed on the inside.  All that remained intact was my outside.  My shell.  Those defense mechanisms I used years before were locked away in some corner of my mind.  I couldn’t find them to muster up the strength to crawl out of this depression. I couldn’t control my inside, but I could control my outside.

From early on in my childhood, I knew there was something different about how people treated me.  In elementary school I was already a flirt.  I was ‘boy crazy.” Fatherless, I craved male attention.  In the 5th grade, all thirteen students which consisted of 7 girls and 6 boys, assembled a book.  A project containing fun facts and details of our school year.  It was filled with our accomplishments and attributes.   One section, reminiscent of the high school senior commonplace, was titled “Voted Best.”   While my peers were elected “Most likely to go to college” and “Best Speller,”  next to my name and picture in this light blue bound book read the description “Prettiest Eyes.”  That was it.  Disappointment and anger filled me.  Is that all they could come up with?  The parents did all the voting.  The mothers specifically.  My mom was working.  I don’t think the other mothers cared for the fact that I didn’t come from a traditional Christian household where the fathers worked and the moms stayed home and volunteered at the school during the day.  They didn’t like me because I didn’t fall for the brainwashing about Jesus like their kids did.   My face heated with embarrassment as I realized I was worth nothing more than my outward appearance.  That moment impacted and molded countless struggles in my life.  My expectations of myself have never been the same.

The next year in the 6th grade, my best friend and I were playing on the play ground at recess.  One of the boys snapped my bra as he ran by me. I was the first girl in my class to wear a bra.  However, as time passed, the other girls out grew me and my breasts grew at a snail’s pace.  As expected, I screamed and ran.  He and another boy chased me around.  We all laughed.  My best friend was sitting on the stairs to the building now.  She looked at me and said, “You’re going to end up pregnant by 16.”  That small sentence implied so much.  I know my feelings were hurt, but I didn’t let it show.  She was my best friend.  How could she say that?  That moment resonated so deep I don’t believe I was ever the same.

I sank into my apparent predestined role quite easily.  My crush on my classmate was far more mature than our actual age.  At 11, we were meeting behind the school building, kissing and looking at his father’s Playboy magazines he had taken from his house.  I remember the tingly feeling that would shiver through me when I thought of him.  I had that feeling the entire walk home after school until we reached my house.  Those feelings were just as vivid as a child as they can be now.  The other girls in my class were nothing like me. I was so different, almost beyond my years.

Still being a below average sized breasted woman, I can testify that if you know how to use the rest of your body, that doesn’t matter to most men. “More than a handful is too much,” I have heard on many occasions.  I have often been insecure about my body, but that just makes more solid the fact that some force inside me takes over in the presence of any man that shows interest.  A man is in fact powerless over a woman and her body.

After being controlled both emotionally and physically, nothing proved itself more freeing for me than to step into the role of my alter ego. I didn’t even know I had one.  Myself, once a victim, turned the tables by being the one in control. It felt good.  Being someone’s sex slave, being raped, being sold for drugs all translated into rage for me after a while.
The act of sex was all up to me. It was my turn to be selfish, and I had enough willing participants. When I was satisfied, we were done.  I didn’t have to care about him finishing.  It was a high. I was no longer a victim.  He was. Whoever he was. Acting out in this way was my revenge.  I said who, what, where, when and why. I made the rules and I could change my mind.  I obtained a sick satisfaction, which ironically, I believe to be very healthy, in taking control of my own sexuality. I had to prove this to myself. I needed this to lift me up after being torn down.

A sex slave no more.   Never again.

Pacific Highway

I had a using dream last night.  They come and they go.  But not as frequently as they used to.  It’s been a few years, at least, since I have used.

I imagine the dream was triggered by the reading of my own writing.  Going through pages of journals, poems, one-liners scribbled here and there in different notebooks.  Trying to make sense of it all.

The feeling of waking up in the morning and remembering vividly the inhaling and exhaling of the thing you used to live for and should have died over is not the best way to wake up.  It’s so real.  Breathing in.  Breathing out.

I left the house this morning with a broader agenda than usual.

On my way into the Seattle, where 99% of the bullshit in my life occurred, every turn of my head along with every turn of the steering wheel brought a bad memory.

An old, wrinkled snapshot in time.

A picture forever implanted in my afflicted mind.

I drove down Pacific Highway searching for a route to I-5 North.  I couldn’t go all the way to Tukwila on this dilapidated stretch of road.  Too many thoughts.

Shady motels, pawn shops, dealers and prostitutes.  I can’t help but stereotype the people I see standing at bus stops, corners and walking the street.

I feel I have the right to judge because I know the type all too well.  I know I really don’t have the right.  But it is what it is.  At least I can admit it.  I walked with them.  I stood with them.  I drove with them. I talked with them.  I sold to them.  I bought from them.  I slept with them.  I deceived them.  As they did me.

I found a sign to I-5 North.   Curving around the on-ramp , I looked at the overgrown brush.    In my head was the distinct picture of myself aggressively throwing my paraphernalia out of the window in a place similar to this.  Jesus, I thought,  I can’t fucking escape it.  When the thoughts come, they come with a vengeance.

Ducking down in the car to take a hit hoping a cop doesn’t see the illumination from the lighter. While at the same time not caring because I needed it that bad.

Pupils black.  Irises no longer visible.

Rear view mirror.

Paranoia.

There isn’t an alley, a street, a street corner, a neighborhood I can pass or go through without having a stabbing memory of the past.

I am glad I moved 30 miles away for this reason:  I don’t have to live where I was tortured.  I don’t have to walk into all the businesses I took advantage of to support my habit anymore.  I don’t have to drive by every alley and remember parking there getting high.  I don’t have to drive by the houses I used in.  I don’t have to drive down the streets I parked on and slept with my dealer in exchange for a one hour high.

After throwing out as many terrorizing images as I could, just like I threw out that paraphernalia, I finally reached my destination this morning.   As I walked across the parking lot, on the pavement I see the insides of a discarded pen.  To the normal person, this is nothing.  I wouldn’t know what it looked like to them, or if they would even notice.  What I see is a drug addict, scoring their dope, preparing to get their fix. The ritual I would go through getting my hit ready.  There are few feelings that compare to that moment of sweet anticipation.  And then you taste it.  Feel it.  You know, they compare that feeling to an orgasm, I can’t say I object.

My head seemed to clear after that.  I distracted myself.  It’s what I do to get by.

However, after this, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had another using dream tonight.

To Do Something That Scares Me Everyday

20131025_103834I’m not feeling so great today.

I am not always moved to write, but when I heard about the suicide of Mindy McCready, I felt crushed.  She was my age. She struggled with addiction. She survived a nearly fatal abusive relationship. She was wrecked, and I know what all of those things feel like.

When I heard this news tonight, my whole day came together like a puzzle, like the last piece brought me full circle.

Every day I try to do something that scares me, because that’s what I know will continually help me regain my confidence.  But today I failed.

I started the day anticipating a great workout.  An instructive class on kettlebells… something I hated in the beginning of my work outs, but have actually grown to enjoy.  I am used to going to my small class, we call “boot camp” at the break of dawn 4 mornings a week.  There are usually no more than 5 of us there.  There are 2 instructors, they rotate days and I adore them both.  I enjoy my mornings.

I have attended a large class there before, but being that this is a Martial Arts School, I felt uncomfortable because I was completely lost when it came to technique. Since then, I have wanted to take some level 1 classes, but haven’t due to these unbelievable battles with myself in my head. ..  After all, I only go there to work out, not to learn Martial Arts (although I want that as well).

It is ironic to me, more disappointing though, because my absolute favorite aspect of my morning class is the time we spend on the bags… kicking, punching.  It is the greatest workout; I feel empowered, strong.  I love the feeling of being able to kick the shit out of something as hard as I can.

Speaking of power, I believe there are two sides to this revelation. I feel absolutely powerless.  I feel physically weak, emotionally stripped, and my self- confidence has altogether disappeared.

I will not be a victim. I am not appealing to anyone’s sympathy.  All of these consequential states of mind I find myself in, I have allowed.

I realized this morning as I left my house, water bottle in one hand, weight lifting gloves in the other, that I have not come as far as I thought.  In fact, I had to lie to my kids as I returned not 2 minutes after I left,  (with them knowing how excited I was for this class) for the reasons I did not go. That felt bad because if anything, I want them to know their mom is strong.

As I was walking down the street, (I can practically see the gym from my door) I saw two guys who were obviously headed to this class, gym bags on their shoulders, and I froze. I turned around and walked back to my door. I stood there for a couple of minutes telling myself it was okay.  I know for sure this time it is a 101 class. Not like the last time. But then why are they here?

Living so close, I see guys like this all the time going to the gym to practice martial arts. I am just used to my routine. I think that’s what scared me, so I turned around.   As I headed back up the street, I saw a man I recognized who sometimes attends the class I go to in the morning; he was just leaving the Sunday morning Muay Thai Class.  He asked if I was headed to  Kettlebell 101. I replied yes and asked him if there were a lot of people in there.  He said yes.  I panicked. I stopped. I waited until he passed. I turned around and walked back home.  Again.  The longest 30 seconds ever; yelling at myself in my head that this was the thing I had to today do that scared me!

What the hell am I so afraid of? I have sat in class rooms with hundreds of people in college.  I graduated from college. I’ve belonged to huge gyms,  I have been to jail… now, that’s intimidating.  I have walked on this earth for 37 years, had two children, been married to an abusive drug addict, I never knew my father, I have a dysfunctional often nonexistent relationship with my mother, I serve hundreds of people coffee on a daily basis, I honestly believe I have been to hell and back, and yet I am too scared to walk into the same building I walk into 4 morning a week?

I feel paralyzed.  And yes, at this moment, I blame him. (my ex husband) He changed me. He left me afraid. I am petrified of going into a situation I cannot control.  This morning, If I only could have looked in the window first, I might have gone in. If I would have known that my fellow boot campers were in there, I would have walked in.

I came home, went to my room, and I cried. I knew how defeated I was. I actually felt the heaviness of the last 15 years weighing me down.  I really thought I was beyond feeling this small.

Where is my self- worth? I know it’s in me. I know I am capable of great things.  I want to be strong again, in every possible way.

The biggest irony is that I want to be a personal trainer. I usually don’t tell people my goals, yet I have talked to a couple of people about this rekindled passion.  I disclosed it full knowing it will help me be accountable in
pursuing it. I guess I am intentionally scaring myself into following through with this.  It’s because I know I can do it.  I know I will be good at it. I want it that bad.

And now whoever is reading this can hold me accountable too.

I want to do something every day that scares me… sometimes I will fail.

I will try again tomorrow.

And the next day.

Top Ramen

Smoking top ramen. Yes, the noodles. I don’t believe I ever did, but it’s a possibility.
I will never forget the counselor’s voice, in her Spanish accent, “Smoking top ramen?”  listing off the possible ‘rock bottoms’ us drug addicts may have hit. In her effort to lighten the heaviness on our first day in a one month treatment facility, those 3 words pierced me.
I was surprised to hear something so shocking being spoken out loud. How did she know what I had been through, where I had come from?
The humiliation in admitting you picked something up off the floor and tried to smoke it? Immeasurable.  Perhaps she remembered the feeling of panic when the drugs are gone.  The desperation.
Sadly, I’ve tasted many things through a crack pipe, many of which were not crack, cocaine.When you expect something euphoric and sweet and you get a burnt taste and an empty feeling, the disappointment is also immeasurable . It literally feels as

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though your world is about to end.  In fact, you wish it would.
I can’t look at top ramen anymore without hearing that counselor’s voice.
It’s not top ramen, or even medium ramen… It’s bottom ramen.