self-loathing is born from a lack of validation and outcastish-like feelings during the mind's most important growth time. usually adolescents. I lost my childhood at a very young age. constantly moving between hotels and abuse. I never lived with my mother, I lived with people I was told I was related to but my documents said otherwise. I lost my brother at a young age. (he's not dead, he was just taken by child protective services). I never got to be the big sister to him I always wanted to be. I kept in touch at random times for a couple of years but the flame died out and he's nothing but a distant memory. I was adopted at age 11 (that's an old age to be adopted at) and I always and will always feel outcasted because of that
I could tell you everything in between and it could all be 100% true. but I will never expect you to believe me. because of how society has treated people with trauma and mental illness. I challenge you to go on tik tok right now and look up #mentalhealthawarness or #DiD or #tourettesawarness. the amount of absolute FAKERS on there is UNREAL. everyone has had trauma. some better than others. but stealing others' trauma as your own has become a social normality.
about 16% of women are victims of sexual assault but the amount of Medusa tattoos is more than 16% most of the girls at the high school in my town freely talk about their experiences as if they're normal and not traumatizing. which makes me doubt who is telling the truth. these poor men who are getting blamed. it makes me angry. but does that make everyone's experience invalid? of course not. i wouldn't want my experience invalidated because of others' actions. so that's why you get the full story and study the accused as much as the accuser.
I can't breathe. I mean, I could, but it would likely end with me not breathing. Permanently.
So I hold my breath as the Survivor slithers past my hiding place. If I make even a miniscule sound, I'll never make it out of here alive. If I do nothing, I will meet the same fate.
My vision begins to swim. Black spots push their way to the surface of my eyes and I imagine how it would feel to die here.
The Survivor huffs and I hear the sound of blades retracting. It's leaving.
I can take it no longer. I let my lungs empty and fill, over and over, quietly and greedily. Never before has air tasted so sweet.
And then there comes the clicking.
The Survivor is back.
And it knows exactly where I am.
I run, breathing as much as I need but all the worse for it.
I know I won't be breathing much longer.
I run anyway.
They call them Survivors because they can survive anything. They literally survived the end of the world.
And now, it seems like I won't.
Sluggish, I pump my legs. I focus on the space ahead of me.
I cannot hear it. Smell it. See it.
But I know it's there.
I'm still running,
I will not survive this. I know that. Running is futile, yet every fraction of my body tells me to escape.
That maybe there's a chance.
The Survivor will outrun me. Will outlive me.
Still, I run.
Fault. She refused to take it, yet knew, wholeheartedly, she was at fault.
Flames licked up the broken bricks of the academy, clinging to wood like a child to its mother on its first day of school. They climbed, and they climbed, bursting from windows and causing screams that sent her to the ground over, and over again.
And as blood poured from the wound in her torso, she knew.
This was what she deserved.
"What was that?"
The night sounds normal to lakeside had stopped. Summertime cicadas and bullfrogs sat still beneath an oppressed quiet.
"It sounded like the back door," he whispered, sliding from the bed and into his jeans.
"Do you think it's Andy and Debbie fooling around?"
"Why would they come to our cabin for that? They have their own."
There were definitely booted footsteps in the hallway.
"Shhh," she said, suddenly glad the lamp was off.
Breath held, they froze in place, eyes glued to the bedroom door.
Silently, she put her umbros back on and slipped into her Reeboks. Kneeling, eyes never leaving the doorway, she felt near her suitcase until she found her purse. The reassuring hardness of her keys silently pressed against her hip when she put her neck through the strap.
There was the unmistakable sound of the other bedroom door being flung open. Quiet was a brittle thing, shattering with the gunshot of splintering wood.
Knowing that hiding was wasted energy, Trish stage-whispered to Rick. "Oh my god, do something!" Not waiting on his reply, or watching to see what he did, she turned to the half-opened bedroom window. Without needing to lift the glass, heedless of the screen, she scrambled out and through.
Concentrating on moving quickly and quietly, she pretended not to hear Rick jump into the hallway and shout a challenge to the intruder. She had no way of knowing that the sounds of the little Ford Pinto starting to life (on the first crank of the key) didn't carry into that cabin by the crystal clear lake.
Trish wouldn't find out until much later that Rick had died valiantly, if oddly. No one ever mentioned just how or why it was a closed casket funeral.
What Trish did know was that the moonlight was bright enough to drive without headlights. She never once looked back or hit the brakes. When her tires met asphalt, she flicked on the hi-beams and punched it to 80 until she reached the sheriff's office.
While she often mourned the loss of her friends, she never lost a minute of sleep over her actions on that Friday.
For the rest of her long, happy life, what she could never quite explain was why the sight of hockey players in goalie masks sent shivers down her spine.
I remember watching as he told his story. The same way, but a different audience. The same gentle blue eyes, the same gray beard bobbed up and down. His eyebrows furrowed and raised, emphasizing every move. His survival story. Told once and again. Afghanistan, the war, living in the bush, fending off animals and Afghans. I would sigh and listen again. I always looked at how he shared his story. The one he lived to tell. The one he survived to share.
Years later, after surviving and sharing his story hundreds of times, he died. The story lived on. He was well known. My dear grandfather lived and shared his story. Museums shared his story. Newspapers read of what he did. Interviewers hunted him down, thirsty for details.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
People say not to trust a survivor, until you know how they survived. Makes me wonder if I am trustworthy. I, myself, have survived a living nightmare. I'm still surviving. Yet I don't share my story. Why would I? It brings up too many memories. Too many things I'd rather forget. Pain I want to leave behind. Hurt I want to never feel again.
Even as I write this, I wonder if I should write about my story. About my survival. I have nothing better to do with my time. I already finished everything I could thing of. I'm lonely, depressed, and lost. Lost in the middle of the ocean. One that is hundreds, thousands of miles wide. No one will find me. I'm out here, writing out of boredom. I'm writing to survive. Some days I wish I never had the opportunity to find freedom. It's almost harder than dealing with the pain I felt for more than half my life.
Will anyone care about how I survived? How I, a lowly orphan, finally managed to get a boat and set sail? To feel freedom for the first time? Would they even believe my story? No one ever believed me. Nobody loved the poor little girl. The skinny, sickly, quiet girl.
I finally get to be free from years of being tossed around. Tossed around in a sea of orphanages and fake love. Years of pain and hurt that emanated from being moved around. Scars that run across my heart so deep, they may never heal. Yet here I am, surviving the ocean that batters my little boat with each passing day. I sail, hoping to find a new life.
Even if I survive this journey, will anyone find me alive? Will anyone care about how I survived? I'll probably be shut away. In a cell where they keep crazy people. Where they keep the ones with mental issues.
It's finally evening. After a small snack of leftover crackers, I have decided to write again. Maybe someone will find these journals I brought along, if they don't find me.
What's that saying? "Red sky at night, sailor's delight... red sky in morning sailors take warning." Well, it's a red sky tonight. A beautiful one.
One I'm alive to see. Being in the ocean, the middle of the ocean, I haven't seen life. I haven't seen people. I hardly have enough food to last me the next few days. The heat and cold drive me below the deck and I pray that I can survive another day. Pray that I'll make it through the ocean and make it to life again.
Whatever possessed me to travel alone, across the ocean, I've no idea. Perhaps I was just yearning for freedom. Maybe I wanted to escape the pain that I've endured for so long. Or perhaps I just wanted to prove I can survive.
Will I survive? Or will my want for freedom and adventure end in my death? Perhaps if I am not found, my survival story will be found in my journals. But then, I must be delirious. I was delirious enough to go out an adventure alone.
I'm going crazy. I must be. After all, how can I survive such an adventure as this? It was an insane idea, that I made possible. I did make it possible by surviving.
Survival is a part of freedom. Freedom includes survival. Yet my choice of freedom might be my death.
Survivor’s deserve to be trusted.
You may think to not trust a Survivor but you should. If survivor's aren't trusted. Then whoever hurt them will not have consequences. I'm a survivor, I've been judged and nobody knew what was happening to me at home. I was bullied, And abused by more than 1 person. Nobody knew what was going on, and they made me hate myself. Now being in high school i'm not bullied as much. But I've been through hell. It didn't make me stronger my pain broke me. And if you don't trust me because i'm not detailing it then you should grow up. My trauma f**ked up my life. And your talking about trust, I trust too easy, while still having trust issues. I don't trust men, I can't trust people because they always hurt me. I can't trust my Dad because he will talk to me then ghost me, he ghosted me for 2 years. I can't trust that i'm not gonna be cheated on, or someone is gonna abuse me again. I've been called a monster, a sociopath, I've been told i'm ugly, i'm stupid, I can't do anything right, people acted like a disease. I've been called brave because i'm still breathing, I have days where I believe I was wrong for everything that happened to me. People aren't gonna tell you how, because it hurts to talk about it. My childhood ended when I was in 3rd grade. I'm still hurting from everything what has happened to me. I had to pick myself up I didn't have help everyone just wanted to fix me, nobody would listen and let me talk. People think theirs a reason in 1 day why I'm depressed I've been depressed since I was in 6th grade. Now i'm in 11th. I'm far from perfect. Just because we went through things you don't know about doesn't mean we deserve to not be trusted.
God Saved Gale Myers
God Saved Gale Myers, the Lone Pine Gazette front page read. Ernie Roy, the last remaining reporter of the small-town weekly, caught up with Gale less than an hour after he’d returned home from a business trip in New York City. The date was September 13th, 2001.
Gale flew from New York to Mill Haven, then hailed a cab for a three-hour ride back home. The congregation of nosey bored Lone Pine residents awaited his return like the second coming. For the first time, the quiet cul-de-sac gravel road of Reese Settlement was ripe with anticipation.
He looked anxiously out the window as the taxi slowed to a crawl amidst the wave of trespassers and on-lookers. His right hand continued brushing back his thinning, sweat infused hair. A nervous tick Gale had since the balding began back in the 80s, when he was only nineteen.
The voice of Meredith, his ex-wife who had flown the coop two years back, echoed in his mind like a migraine. “You can dress him up, but you can’t take him out. You can dress him up, but you can’t take him out.” Those words invaded his thoughts more often than he’d care to admit. He hated her guts, but what he hated more was that she was right.
His tie hung loosely around his neck like a noose, and his shirt was wrinkled and damp. After all these years in insurance, wearing the same outfit each day like a cartoon character, he never wore it well. Circumstances be damned, he always looked like he’d woken up in Tijuana after a week long bender.
“I ain’t never seen no more than a couple of folks down this way in my whole life.” Jimmy Mann, the cabbie said. “Gale Myers, a goddamn rockstar. Well, I’ll be damned.”
“Can you turn around, please? Jimmy, can you do me a solid and turn around? I-I-I can’t deal with this. No way. No way.” His head was shaking back and forth, and his hands were waving in front of him like he was a hockey referee calling back a goal. “No way, no way!”
“I’m turning around alright, but you sure as hell ain’t going to be in this cab. Now get out of here. If you play your cards right, you could be a housewife’s early morning regret.” Jimmy ended the conversation with a wink and a smile.
Gale sighed and opened the door. Meredith’s voice returning. “You never stand up for yerself. You let everyone push you around. Are you even a man, eh? Is there anything down there?” She used to say this before grabbing him by the testicles and laughing.
He got out of the car and looked around at all the folks that had never paid him a second’s worth of attention in his 36 years on this planet.
“Gale, Gale. Glad to see ya, buddy. Welcome home. Welcome home.” His old math teacher, Bruce Jensen, and his wife Polly called out.
“That must have been so terrifying, Gale. We’re here if you ever need anything,” said the Allen sisters, Helen and Gertrude, who had humiliated Gale throughout his time at Lone Pine primary, middle, and high. But were now thinking of ways that smart ole Gale could monetize this tragedy. And when he did, they’d be there offering a shoulder to cry on. Or whatever else it was that Gale needed to help him get past the trauma.
Tony Mancini, the owner of Mancini’s Pizzeria on Albert Road, yelled out, “free pizza for a year, for this guy right here.” Then he started clapping, urging the rest to follow suit. “Come on, everyone, clap for Gale. The survivor.”
“Gale! Gale! Gale! Gale!”
Gale walked through the crowd, nodding his head and forcing what he hoped was a convincing fake smile. Hands were outstretched. He shook them, thanked them and finally walked up the three steps to his front door, tripping on the last one. Meredith again reminding him that a real man would have fixed those steps by now, but who was she kidding? Gale wasn’t no real man.
“Thank you everyone. I really appreciate this. But I need some rest. It’s been an exhausting trip, to say the least. Thank you.”
“Who saved you Gale, because we know you didn’t save yourself?” Meredith’s sister, Connie, yelled out in a vain attempt at humiliating him. She nudged Meredith in the ribs, making sure she didn’t miss her genius quip. Meredith was too busy looking at her ex-husband with intense hatred to notice her sister.
Connie rolled her eyes, and returned her gaze to Gale, feeling proud of her shallow dig. Always a loyal follower of the mantra, “for every peg another is knocked down, is one more that I climb.”
Gale answered. “God saved me. God saved me,” trying to make it seem like he didn’t notice them at all. For this small Catholic community, that was the right answer. The crowd cheered for Gale Myers like they had in his dreams so many times before. He waved the peace sign with both hands and went inside.
Ernie sat in his red Chevrolet that was parked across the street. He wrote the quote God saved me in his handy little notebook. Headlines were often the hardest part of the job, but sometimes they just jumped right out at you. He chewed on his toothpick, waiting for the crowd to thin before eventually evaporating. Then he would get his story.
On the other side of the door, Gale sat on his carpeted floor, trying to rip the tie off of his shirt. He was declining into one of his famous panic attacks. “Calm down, buddy. Calm down. It’s okay. It’s ooookay.” He kept repeating through sharp breaths.
He reached in his pocket for his little orange bottle of pills. There were only five tablets of Xanax left, and he dry swallowed them all, before laying on the carpet and staring at the ceiling fan.
Gale found that trying to focus on an individual blade occupied his mind enough to relieve some of the panic, when he was facing code red anxiety.
The fan and the sound of cars, and chattering men and women leaving his property brought some temporary calm. “Get out here. Go Home. Please. Go Home.” Gale said, as he rubbed the carpet back and forth with both hands.
As soon as the dust settled from the cars heading out of Reese Settlement, Ernie got out of his Tacoma and made his way to the door. He was out of shape, and his big belly jiggled over his work pants as he strutted down the gravel driveway.
“Wait till Henderson gets a hold of this.” He said, thinking about his new boss, Jordan Henderson. The bastard that was trying to push out the old small town reporters, in favour of young city ones, who could simultaneously cover both areas.
Henderson had been on Ernie’s case for a few months now, since the story-well had dried up in Lone Pine. “We need some stories, Ernie, and we need them now, my friend.”
“My friend, I’ll show ya my goddamn friend”, Ernie said to himself while grabbing his crotch. He laughed and jotted it down in his notebook, in case he ever got the chance to use it for real on his good old pal, Henderson.
Ernie knocked on the door. “Hey, Gale. Ernie here with the Gazette, I’d love to talk to ya for a few minutes.”
“You fucked my wife. I had to do it. I had to do it.” Gale said, “I am a man, Meredith. I can do what has to be done! I can!”
“Uh, Gale? I can hear your voice, but I don’t have a clue what you’re saying. Could you come to the door, please?”
Gale looked over in the direction of the voice. “Who is it?” He yelled.
“Ernie, pal. Ernie.”
“Oh, Ernie. My friend. My good friend, Ernie. Come on in. It’s unlocked.”
Ernie came in and saw Gale lying on his back, laughing at a joke no one told.
“Jesus, buddy. Let me help you up.”
Gale was a 120 lbs soaking wet, and Ernie was pushing the 300 mark, so he hauled him to his feet with little to no effort, and brought him over to LAZ-y boy in his living room.
He went to the kitchen and poured a glass of water from the sink. “Here, buddy. Take this. Take this.”
“Thanks, Ernie. You were always good to me. The rest of em are vultures.”
He drank the whole glass in one shot, and sat it down on the coffee table, next to Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. The book was open, and he had a quote circled.
“Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be?”
“You can ask your questions, Ernie.” Gale said, lighting a cigarette from his breast pocket, and tapping the ashes into the cup that Ernie brought him. The cup read Insurance Assurance Award 1997.
“You sure, Gale? I can wait.”
“No, no. Go ahead. I always wanted to be interviewed for the paper. Funny thing is, I used to shower all the time and pretend I was getting interviewed by Leno, or Johnny Carson, or something. Always trying to perfect my answers, so that I sounded smart and articulate, ya know?”
“Yeah. Yeah. Well, first man, tell me a little about what happened. What were you doing there?”
“Well, ya know James Eberle? Grew up around here. Well, he was working for an insurance company there, and I flew over to see him. Talk a little business. I’m thinking of expanding and you know, he’s a big shot. I’m one of the little guys. I, uh, thought he could provide me a little advice. Maybe even a loan”
“That couldn’t have been a phone call?” Ernie asked, followed by his signature snort and chuckle.
“Yeah, yeah. It could have been. But I wanted to see the city. He paid for my flight, so I thought, why not?”
Ernie wrote in his notepad, but thought that Gale sounded a little suspicious. Sure, he could chalk that up to Gale’s traumatic experience, but he’d done a lot of interviews, especially in his hey-day and he thought the man sounded off. But maybe that was the young investigative reporter from the 70s creeping up inside of him. The reporter who was an important man in those days. Not the one that was sitting on Gale’s couch.
Gale stared at him, as Meredith’s voice repeated, “You killed him, Gale. You killed him, Gale”
“Shut up, Shut up.” He whispered.
“What was that?” Ernie asked.
“Sorry. Just talking to myself.” Gale answered, pulling down at the bags around his eyes with his left thumb and forefinger, while brushing his thinning hair with his right.
His head was pounding, and he was sure he was going to throw up. Five pills, Gale? Are you serious, man? He told himself.
“You sure you’re alright, buddy?”
“Yeah. Yeah. I’m okay. Just a stressful couple of days, as I’m sure you can understand.”
“I understand, buddy. It must have been awful.”
Gale answered the rest of Ernie’s questions, which took around fifteen minutes, then smiled for his front page headshot. Ernie told him it wasn’t pretty, but it would have to do. They both laughed at this. Then they got up, walked over to the door and shook hands before bidding adieu.
“Hey, if you ever want to grab a beer or something, let me know, eh?” Ernie said, still feeling a little suspicious, but feeling guilty too. The town never treated Gale right. He had always been nice to him, but he never stopped anyone from treating him badly either. And maybe, in some ways, he was just as guilty as the rest.
“Sounds like a plan. Bye Bye.” He closed the door, then hung his head on it. He cried deep, panicked sobs. The kind you only let out of Pandora’s Box, when the only company there is, is the guilt and pain inside your head. Meredith’s voice yelled accusations. “You killed him didn’t you, Gale? You killed him for sleeping with me, didn’t you?”
“What kind of man would just let someone sleep with their wife?” He answered. “You never thought I was worth a damn, Meredith. You never thought I was anything. Well, I’m a survivor. I made it down those stairs and out of the North Tower. I survived. I SURVIVED.” He yelled.
“You’re a murderer. How did you make it out? Who saved you Gale Myers?”
“God did. God saved me.” Then in his head, he could hear the cheers of the Lone Pine vultures.
“Gale! Gale! Gale! Gale!"
"God saved me!"