The Month of May

I used to think it was all behind me. I truly thought that, but something recently has been telling me that maybe it’s not.

I’m no longer skinny. I’m no longer underweight. I don’t weigh eighty-something pounds anymore. My heart isn’t in critical condition like it was. I no longer refuse to eat. I no longer have an eating disorder. The physical parts are gone, but some of the mental parts have stayed. No, I no longer cry before every meal,  have multiple panic attacks daily, or slit my wrists. I no longer do any of those things, but sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in the days that I did.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so much better than I was. So, so, so much better than I was. I guess what I’m trying to say is: yes I’m better, but no, I’m not perfect.

I’ve been stressed studying for finals lately, so I decided that skipping lunch would give me more time to study. There’s nothing wrong with this; its normal to skip meals time to time. What made me know something was up came later. I wasn’t skipping meals to lose weight or get skinner, it was for another reason. When I would skip lunch, my stomach would begin to gnaw and churn after a while. I like the feeling because it tells me that nothing is in my stomach, that my stomach is empty… I like it because the feeling of hunger distracts me from the emptiness I feel almost every single day.

Certain things give me flashbacks of what I went through, almost like PTSD in a way. For example, when my father buys a certain brand of sliced turkey. One day, my father had gone to the store. I asked him to buy a specific type of turkey, the turkey with 50 calories per two ounces. When he came back, he had bought a type which had 52 calories. I began to cry, my frail and bony body collapsed and my mother lunged to the floor where I lay, just as scared as I was, and tried to get me up. I wouldn’t move. I just stayed there. I just stayed on the floor sobbing and mumbling the words “I don’t want to live anymore” over and over again. My mom held her thirteen-year-old and dying daughter in her hands. She picked me up carefully and carried me to my bed, where she laid with me and we cried in unison… all of this over turkey. Now, whenever I see this brand of turkey in the fridge, its like that day fills my mind, takes over me, and haunts me. It’s different though, I’m not the girl on the floor anymore. I am a ghost watching in the corner, unable to do anything as I watch my mom and I suffer. As much as I try to reach out to myself and say “i’s okay, it’s going to be okay,” I can’t. As much as I try to get the memory to stop looping in my mind, it continues to replay and replay with more and more detail every loop.  Just like the turkey, there are many more symbols equated with awful memories from my eating disorder. Natural Cafe,the white tank top on the bottom of my dresser,Pressed Juicery, my birthday, King’s Hawaiian Rolls, string cheese, buzz-cuts, and safety pins are just some of the items tied with memories even worse than the one above. Memories that I try to keep locked away for a reason.

I like to pretend like it’s behind me, but deep down I know it’s not. I honestly don’t think it will ever be. I’m not saying that I am in danger in any way shape or form if going back to how I used to be. All I am saying is (in honor of mental health awareness month) it’s okay to not be 100% okay.

Photo Credit: RSS-insurance.com

 

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A While

It’s been a while since we’ve all been birds,

since we’ve embraced our cold grey skies,

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flapped our wings,

chirped a song,

scattered across the horizon,

with no care but its infinite existence.

It’s been a while since we’ve been wildflowers,

since we’ve sprouted with the spring,

mismatched our colors,

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and lived within that beauty of simply living.

It’s been a while since

we’ve shot our birds

and mowed down our flowers.

It’s been a while since we’ve figured that

there’s a different way to live,

with scary grey skies and plain flowers.

It’s been a while since we’ve forgotten our ways,

our happy freedom and

our beautiful purposelessness.

It’s only now that we realize that

there’s no going back.

A Place Behind the Hills

There is a place behind the hills,

behind the deep-dark forests and rocky roads,

Photo Credit: maureenness.com

where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

There, storms are a pleasant breeze,

and the lakes are so clear you can see all the happy fish.

There, the sun rises at 5:30 every morning

and goes to set when you’re ready.

There, there are no downsides,

except for the cows’ bellies that swing as they walk.

But, to get there, you’ll need to run.

You’ll need to hike and climb and swim,

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but most importantly, you’ll need to run.

There are tall monsters and mean witches

waiting for you to stop and catch your breath,

waiting to hold you by your legs and arms

and never let you go.

So don’t catch your breath, not now.

Now is not the time, but the time will come.

Now, you must run past the monsters and witches,

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through the forests and along the rocky roads,

past the dark shadows that are hunting beside you.

But then, believe me,

there is a place behind the hills,

where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

Where the only shadows will be of the lazy cows in the sunset.

The f-word

This one word scares me more than any other word in the English language, but also makes me more excited than any other word.  It makes me excited about what can happen, but also leaves me scared and like I am in a dark abyss.

The future is such a simple word, but it means so much more than anyone could ever explain.

Everything in my life right now is setting up my future.  I have applied to college and committed to the best school for me, yet I still feel like I have no clue what my future actually holds.  I know where I am going to be living and what I am going to be studying, but that’s all.

I do not know what friends I am going to have out there, where I am going to work, and the hardest one for me is that I do not know what I am going to do with my boyfriend.  I don’t want to hold him back,  but I also don’t want to let him go.  We both want to live in the same state once we graduate college so I don’t know if I say bye if it will actually be bye and not see you later.

I am so excited to meet everyone and make new friends.  I can’t wait to see how everyone will help me grow into the woman I am going to become.  I can’t wait to find myself and learn how to be an adult.  I am so excited to settle down, have my own family, live in my own house, and be in the only one in charge of my family.

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I have the big things planned for my future, but the little things are still unknown and those are the things I really want to know.  My future is such a blur and I am so scared to see what happens, but I am also so excited to watch it all unfold in front of my eyes.

A Story of Life, Death, Chickens, and Growing Up.

When I was around six years old, I remember my parents slowly walking up to me in the morning and giving me a hug. They kneeled down beside me and said in a soft, slow, sad, and apologetic voice: “I’m sorry, honey. The raccoons got Mrs. Frizzel last night.”

I sobbed for hours. I was sad for days. I made my parents have a funeral. My tears fell to the ground as we buried my dead chicken. My parents bought a chick that I raised and loved, but I still missed Mrs. Frizzel.

When I was eight, Fluffy and Ginger passed away. My parents broke the news to me in the same way. I cried the same way as I had before. I got two more chicks.

When I was twelve, my parents again approached me with the same sad tone and told me that that a couple of our chickens died in their sleep. I didn’t cry as much when they died, partially because I was old enough to understand that everything dies of old age at some point. It was much more bearable. I would be sad, but not sobbing like I had done in the past.

Today, I came home and asked if he bought food at the store. He said no. Something happened, so he had to come home. “What I happened?” I asked.

“The neighbors dog got into our yard and into the chicken coop,” he said with a flat tone.

“You stopped right, the chickens are okay?”

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“No,” he said. “They are dead, all but three are dead.” He said it with the same flat tone.

He just told me straight up, assuming I wouldn’t be sad. No soft, slow, sad, or apologetic voice. He patted my back and walked away.

I went outside. The corpses were gone. All that remained was feathers.

Eight year old me popped in to my mind. The funeral for Mrs. Frizzel. My parents stroking my back and telling me everything was going to be okay.

There would be no funeral, my dad had put their limp bodies in the trash before I came home. There would be no comfort from my parents. Fifteen year olds don’t cry when their chickens die.

I’m shouldn’t be sad. I’m too old to be sad. But, I’m sad.

I remembered holding the chickens when they were less than a week old. Moving them to the big coop when they were old enough. Hand-feeding them mealworms and celebrating the day that they laid their first egg.

I raised them. They are dead now.

If I was a child I would be sobbing in my parents arms. Now, I’m sobbing alone.

I know if I went to them they would comfort me, but there’s an age where you need to accept reality on your own.

Being treated like a child is now nonexistent. Just like my chickens.

When I was little, if I had a lot of homework, my parents would tell me I could do it and tell me I could have a cookie when I finished. Now, when I complain about my homework, they say lots of homework is part of growing up.

When I was little, my parents were by me at every moment to guide me through life. Now, I am old enough where I need to handle  things on my own.

When I was younger, my parents could fix everything. They could make everything feel better. In their arms, I was safe.

Yes, the death of my chickens is part of the reason I’m crying. But, there’s more to the tears running down my cheek.

No matter how much I want to believe it, my parents can’t fix everything. As much as I want it to, they can’t hug me and make me not be sad. As desperately as I want to deny it, my parents can’t protect me anymore.

I don’t know why all of this came from a dog breaking into my chicken coop, but it did…

Rest in peace Lucky, Trouble, Darwin, Lemon, Pepper, Oreo, and Henry.  I may not be a child anymore, but I still love you and miss you.

Gone

People come and go so fast. It’s almost like they’re here one day and gone the next. With a blink of an eye, a bullet is in their brain, a tumor is in their body, a rope is around their neck, lethal amounts of Codeine is in their system. You try to save them, but they’re already gone.

I beat myself up and ask over and over again: what could I have done to help you?

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Why didn’t I realize? Looking back now it seems so obvious. I could have done so much to save you.

A text? A call? A drive up to LA? Would that have kept your heart beating?

Well, here’s the answer. No, I couldn’t have saved you, even as much as I wanted too. You may have had a pulse and air going through your lungs, but you were already gone.

It comes to a point where a person is faded to a point of no recovery, no matter how much you do, the sadness inside of them can never be erased.

You can tell so much by looking in someones eyes. Looking at your most recent photos, your eyes said it all. The color, the joy, the happiness, it was gone. Now, you are gone.

I blame myself a lot.

But sometime I’m going to have to realize, no matter how much I deny it, there is nothing  I could have done.

The story of kale, tangerines, and the realizations I made.

I ate a piece of kale the other day.

It was growing in a garden box at school, so I pulled a leaf off of the plant and ate it.

It was a nice, sturdy piece of kale. It tasted pretty good. I continued munching on it as I walked over to the baseball field.

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Kale can be a nice snack, if you’re into dark leafy greens. But, as many experienced plant-eaters know, raw kale is quite tough to chew.

My jaws were getting a little bit tired, so I switched over to eating a different leaf that I had also picked from the garden box. I’m not sure what plant this was, but it was softer and sweeter than the kale.

As I was chewing, I twirled the piece between my thumb and my pointer finger.

I started to study the leaves. The kale was dark and rough. It was much more aggressively textured than the other leaf.

It was at that moment when I stopped chewing, for I noticed dozens of very tiny, white bugs all along the sides of the leaves.

I swallowed my bite, then tossed the remnants of my half-eaten leaves aside. I decided not to dwell on it too much, because I didn’t want the thought of the bugs to take away from the otherwise positive experience I had eating them.

(I would like to apologize to the innocent lives I took that day. I didn’t thoroughly inspect the leaves before eating them, and that was selfish of me. To the bugs that once inhabited the kale: I am sorry.)

On a completely unrelated note, this morning my parents and I went out to our tangerine trees. It was time to prune them. After about an hour of picking fruit and chopping branches, my dad said to me: “This is a chore that very few other people your age have to do, but you have to remember that it just makes you more cosmopolitan.”

Though I didn’t really enjoy being outside when it was 40 degrees, I did find comfort in the fact that our work would provide more fruit for us next season.

I never realized it before, but I am so thankful that I know how to take care of citrus trees.

I live in a place where I am fortunate enough to grow my own food. I take that for granted.

I hope that I will always have this luxury, bugs and all.