The Most Magical Place on Earth
The day before our trip to Disneyland, I woke up with blood in my underwear. I should have been surprised, but I wasn’t. I’d known this was coming, sooner or later, the same way it was always looming for prepubescent girls, but I’ll admit, the timing wasn’t stellar. Still, I wasn’t surprised. Life had always had a way of taking good things away from me. Why should I have hoped to be a child at the most magical place on earth, if even only for a day? I shook my mother awake in the darkness of Grandma’s guest bedroom. “I started my period,” I stated bluntly.
“Oh honey,” Mom moved to cup my face, to give sympathy, but I pulled out of her touch and tucked twitching hands behind my back.
“It’s not a big deal. I just need…stuff.”
Mom sighed, resigned, and threw off her blankets. She shouldn’t be surprised this was how I’d chosen to handle the situation. First blood or not, I’d been an adult for years. It didn’t matter that I was only twelve. I’d stopped being a child the first time I’d offered myself up for a beating to spare my little brother. Dad didn’t particularly care who he hit, so long as he hit someone. I’d been six then and already well on my way to understanding some things about the world I really shouldn’t have. With the first smack of Dad’s beating stick on my back, the last dregs of innocence had left my small body. I should probably feel something about that, too, but I didn’t. It’s just the way things were.
My mother shuffled past, beckoning me to follow her into the bathroom across the hall. She held up a bulky panty liner, “Here. This is all Grams has. We’ll stop and get you something better on the way. Let me show you how to use it.”
I nodded, and let her show me, though I already knew. My best friend had gotten her period six months ago. Sara wasn’t one to leave out any detail and had shared the ins and outs of bleeding and tampons and pads with brutal efficiency to anyone who would listen in our little friend group. Yes, I already knew, but I let Mom show me. It was more important for her to feel needed than it was for me to be comfortable. And so, I shuffled out of the bathroom and packed up my bag, adding a fistful of the low-quality incontinence liners to my purse.
We drove for twelve hours that day. I shifted uncomfortably in the back seat of my grandparent’s minivan, but I wouldn’t dare complain. They were footing the bill for this trip to Disney. God knew my mom, who was in the throes of raising six kids solo, couldn’t afford it. Mom bought me tampons at a truck stop. Every hotel we’d be staying at during our week-long trip would have a pool, and I loved to swim. Mom tried to convince me that I wouldn’t even bleed much, but I knew she was wrong. My body had been hovering on the precipice of this thing for too long. I was more developed than any of the other girls I knew, with heavy breasts and curving hips and standing at 5’8” already. Men had been screaming vulgar things out the windows of their trucks at me for two years as I made my trek to school in the mornings. I couldn’t really blame them for mistaking me for a woman or something close to one. I looked like it. I relished the vile words the men spewed out their windows at me. I knew I shouldn’t, but my father had told me I was an ugly thing for so long, it was nice to know that someone, anyone, thought differently. I pondered all of these things during the twelve-hour drive, and arrived at the conclusion that while the whole period thing was miserable, it wasn’t a bad thing. It was just another step toward becoming the adult I so desperately wanted to be. When I was an adult, I could be free. I wanted so badly to be free. I wanted so badly to be wanted.
By the time we arrived at the theme park the next night, I was an old hat at the whole tampons and pads thing. I had fully leaned into the idea that no matter what anyone tried to tell me, I was a woman now. I’d demand the respect of one. And I did. Grams and Mom were the first to notice the shift. They just met my gaze with a knowing glint and subtle nods. I’d not be treated like a child anymore. Mercifully, they didn’t try to. They stopped giving me orders and started deferring to me for opinions and on the fourth evening of the trip, Grandma handed me a tattered copy of her favorite romance novel and informed me, “You’re old enough to read this now.”
During our breaks from the sticky, sweaty excitement of the park, I devoured the book. It confirmed some things that’d been pondered over pillows at many a slumber party. The book gave vital information on how to fully wield the power that’d been bequeathed upon me in the form of generous hips and cat eyes. On the last night of the trip, my bleeding had stopped and I clutched a towel around my breasts and left the hotel room with a mumbled, “I’m going to the pool.”
Surprisingly, no one challenged me. They let me slip from the room, twelve years old, clad in nothing but an orange bikini and a towel.
I smiled with wicked delight as I made my way to the pool yard. I’d been watching, these days past, hoping for an opportunity to test my hypothesis, but in order to do that, I needed to get away from my family… and they’d just… let me leave. My heart pounded as I exited the building. The thick, warm night air of a Los Angeles summer blasted me, and I gulped down lungfuls and told myself to be brave. I stepped into the poolyard and let my towel drop. It pooled around my feet, and when I looked up, six pairs of eyes were running up and down the length of me. I met a pair of glittering blue and grinned. I let a little bit of that heat I’d been kindling flare in my eyes, too, “Can I join you?” I purred in a voice foreign to my ears. The minor league baseball player across from me smiled lazily and trailed his fingers through the steaming water next to him.
“Sure,” he said, taking another sweeping look down to my toes and then slowly back up before he met my eyes again. Something stirred in his gaze and I bit my lip before climbing into the hot tub beside him.
I’d been watching the baseball team for a few days. They had rooms down the hall from ours. I’d overheard them talking about their spur-of-the-moment decision to stay a few nights and explore the theme park before continuing on their way. All of them were young, in their early twenties, and all of them were outrageously good-looking in the way only aspiring male athletes can be. They were all also, mercifully, on good behavior. I took for granted the danger I was putting myself in, not having learned the other truths about the way men might behave when confronted with an almost-naked young woman. And that’s what they thought I was: a young woman. My body, my face, the way I held myself told them. They didn’t ask, and I didn’t bother to correct them. I spent hours in the pool that night, riding on their shoulders, swimming beside them, running my hands all over them, their hands all over me. I reveled in it. I laughed and they echoed, and when the one with striking blue eyes invited me up to his room, I thought for a long minute about going, but this man was a gentleman and he saw the hesitation in my eyes and tipped his head.
“I get it,” he said, “you’ve got other attachments.”
I smirked and nodded, allowing him to believe whatever conclusion he’d come to.
“Either way, this was,” he smiled, “...fun. Thanks.”
I twined my fingers in his and looked up under my lashes, “Sorry.”
He ran a tentative hand down my cheek. “There’s nothing to apologize for. Let me know if you change your mind. You can find me in room 402.”
I nodded again and gave him the sultry smile I’d spent an hour cultivating in the mirror earlier. He grinned and turned away, exiting the pool yard with his friends elbowing and gently ribbing along the way.
When they were gone, I sank back into the hot tub and laughed. Though they didn’t know it, those men had just given me the keys to the kingdom. My hypothesis was confirmed. There was power in this woman’s body. I’d just had no less than ten men dancing for me like puppets on strings. I palmed my round breast and grinned at the sky. Yes, there was power in this body, power in the truth I now beheld. And I would use it from that moment forward to get everything I ever wanted.
When we left the most magical place on Earth the next day, my metamorphosis was complete. I was a woman, and the world wasn’t ready for the terrors I was poised to unleash upon it.
Etched in Stone
I'm a boomer. I vote. I mind the thermostat, keeping the temp just shy of Goldilocksian just rightness.
I'm a boomer. While growing up, the holocaust was still a societal fresh memory. And a couple of atom bombs. And imminent nuclear war, whose threat, ironically, has reared its ugly head again.
I'm a boomer, and just when I'm tempted to think about "greatest generations" and such, I realize I like all of the new people.
I'm a boomer, but I'm not proud. Boomers are old. They act like they were born old. They acted like that and dressed like that when they were growing up. And they grew up. Right into these old people.
So I'm a boomer-denier, recalcitrant. I eschew the boomer persona.
Yet, even reborn, rewoke boomers remember things as they were. Things that persist--inert, immutable, and finished--fixed in place--even when life moved on. Perfect casts of those we leave behind, marbled in stone--truth be told.
Like those frozen in place in the ruins of Pompeii. Or Han Solo in his Carbonite.
I had a crush on this adorable, amazing girl in high school. She was my puerile unrequited love. But as I moved on in life, in my mind's eye she remained the same all these years: adorable and amazing. Beautiful. Fun. Shapely and sexy and--did I say--adorable.
But we never happened. Oh, the pain!
I used to pray that I'd be OK with whatever God planned if, at just some point in my life, she would be with me. Even if it took all my life. Even until my last day on Earth: if I could have her then (and she, me), it'd be just fine with me and thank you, God.
At reunions, conferences, or pledge drives, I'd ask about her, but no one had any intel on her. I was dying to know how she turned out. Married to whomever (and not me), was she happy?
After countless alumni pages, chasing surnames, and very deep search engineering, I found a possibility, a link. Finally! I did a [Ctrl+F] of all of her names--first, last, maiden, and married. A name set some letters on fire to highlight, way down the column inches. Somewhere down an obscure scrollable site of a garden club blog that promised...pictures!
But before I took my final stroll, savoring in my mind's eye my running through the fields toward a slow-motion embrace of the girl I knew and loved, I stopped.
What if she's dead? This site was from two years ago.
I searched the name that lined up the correct search engine tumblers and added..."Obituary."
Nothing! As if God was telling me, "There's a chance."
I used the left arrow to advantage and went back to my highlight. I tiptoed down the web page. There she was, her name in the legend below the picture that identified her second from the right.
My God, she looked just like an old boomer! But happy.
BOOM! God had had different plans for these boomers who each traded up. And to the x's, millennials, z's, alphas, betwixters, and nexters, I realize God was on point all along, because my life was way better the way things had turned out. In fact, enjoying life's perfect Goldilocksian just rightness.
In Honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
Marya Hornbacher, in her memoir "Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia," states: “It is, at the most basic level, a bundle of contradictions: a desire for power that strips you of all power. A gesture of strength that divests you of all strength.”
The contradiction is that I was very much, at the age of sixteen, catering to the male gaze, the patriarchy, or whatever other evil psycho-social forces dictate a woman's fate in the United States. I wanted power, but I was not, ultimately, the one who had any power.
I remember walking down the street one day, at sixteen, weighing in at just over ninety pounds, and I will never, as long as I live, forget the way people looked at me.
"... a desire for power that strips you of all power. A gesture of strength that divests you of all strength."
I remember one little boy, who might have been five or six. He held his father's hand. He looked at me like I was something other-worldly, something to be feared. I say that because his eyes were wide open, and he could not look away from me, my body, my choices.
Choices. Such a loaded word. At some point in the process of developing an eating disorder, you lose the choice to restrict, and I imagine, to purge. You just lose that choice. It becomes clear, after a certain point, that you no longer have control over it. You must follow what it tells you to do. You must hide your food, skip meals, and pretend you ate. You must cut your food up into little pieces until it looks like you made a dent in your plate. You must suffer, because by virtue of being you, you must suffer in this very specific way.
I remember eating dinner in front of the TV with my family and hiding steak and potatoes in my napkin, shoving it down into the couch cushions, and waiting until it was safe to throw it away. I remember passing out. I remember that I only allowed myself to eat twice a day, at 11AM and at 5PM, one apple each time. That was my only sustenance for months.
Sometimes I wonder at the lasting damages of this deadly disorder. I was only sixteen: did my brain develop properly after years of restricting my food intake? I will perhaps never know. I read that on average it takes six years to recover from an eating disorder, and for me, that's exactly how long it took - six years of not just denying myself food, but hurting others in the process, of treatment centers, doctors' offices, medication, and therapy.
I hurt a lot of people. I lied to a lot of people. I had to lie because I had to be thin. And being thin was the only thing that mattered, for six years.
I remember the treatment center, the girl who cried while cutting her food. I remember the girl who broke her ankle after running for miles to burn no consumed calories at all. I remember the gym teacher, one of the only bulimics (the rest of us were restrictors), who ate her food like it was poisoned. I remember the woman whose sons had begged her to get help, to go into treatment.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Someone dies as a direct result of their eating disorder every 52 minutes. I would get comments that I didn't look pretty, or just didn't look good, period, when I weighed less than a hundred pounds. As if it was about being thin.
“It is, at the most basic level, a bundle of contradictions: a desire for power that strips you of all power. A gesture of strength that divests you of all strength.”
I come back to this quote because it summarizes it best: the power being thin gives you, that "thin privilege" so many women seek. It brings you special attention, special treatment. But at the same time: I didn't want that attention, not in that way. I wanted attention for being thin, but when it would come up that I looked "too" thin, I would shrink away. No, I'd think. It's supposed to be unspoken, this is supposed to be me quietly suffering. Don't make it "a thing" that needs to be discussed. It was embarrassing, after a while. It was just plain embarrassing to have an eating disorder.
You want people to notice your thinness, but you don't want to be labeled that way. It's a walking contradiction, like when I walked down the street and that little boy stared at me, horrified by what he saw in front of him. I felt bad, but also powerful.
I felt powerful until I didn't. Until I felt really, really sick.
This week, it's National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I want to shed light on this disease, because that's what it is: not just a bundle of contradictions, but also a deadly lapse under the guise of being "pretty" - and above all, "thin."
Looking at love through a window
I sat alone in my room, my phone the only light present. As I scrolled through old messages errie shadows danced across my face. Ashley the girl I had loved before all of this , the start of my own hell. Our first date. My nerves got the better of me that day. All my attemps at akward conversation fell flat. All my insecurites screamed at me that day. After that date I crashed like drowning waves of an ocean. As I attempted to make up for the aweful first date I hung out with her at school still and as I tried to understand her and myself I was ripped away from her. As I tried to understand it she just got more and more angry at me. I was confused and depressed and even trying to ask for outside help blew up in my face since she had apparently spread rumors about me. After Ashley I was in a bottemless pit of despair. I was only accompanied by self doubt and regret. As I tried to put on a brave face Id always let something slip and it would make my days worse when people asked about the pain. Because this was real pain. Emotions of sorrow that had no names yet. A year later I met cheyenne a nice girl I met in theater. This time I said will be diffrent just gaurd your heart, distance yourself I said. I Was Wrong. At first I kept my feelings in check but slowly but surley as she laughed with me and played videogames against me I fell for her. I had all odds against me, rumors and some people cyberstalked my instagram notes feeding into a lie of who I really was they made connections that were not there. Even with all of this I presisted. But fate had other ideas. Once again I was looking at love from the outside in. Cheyenne had been dating another the whole time. Which made me a spector of my own love life. Rejection cutting like a knife more real than ever. I was lost and alone. In my senior year I met a girl and as prom was on the horizon I felt changed like I was anew. I knew I could brake the chains of love that binded me so. Her name was sydney. She was amazing. An artist who had many talents and she was so intreaging. As I tried to persue this exhilarating feeling I felt the chains of heartbreak tugging at me wanting to drag me back down. Despite that I fought back. The anguish feelings the couragious feelings. They have meaning because we the peopele who love refuse to forget them. So I held on to hope. I still do. Hold onto a hope where love in not a distant dream but a reality I could prosper in. A hope that was so tangible it would be like the girl I love.
I told my friends that I wasn’t depressed. I had spent the day before laying in my bed, alternating between scrolling on my phone and staring at the wall. I’d had a jar of canned peaches for breakfast, pulled straight from the cupboard. One of the ones with a pull tab lid where the fruit inside sat in a sugar-sweet syrup like concoction. I’d eaten nothing but ice cream for dinner, scraping at the sides of the paper container while sitting in my bed. My computer laid next to me, unopened. But I felt better about myself because then I could at least pretend that I was going to start doing something productive. I’d met them at a movie theatre. We were seeing the sequel of some science fiction fantasy that I’d never seen the original for. I made jokes about reading the Wikipedia page and pretending that I knew the plot line. I’ve always been good at pretending that I’m fine. They already knew the truth, of course, but we were our own little bubble of existential crises, sitting there in the parking lot. They were just nice enough not to call me out on it.
But I lived a fine line of grief and spite, and with a determination not to lose any more people. That was the part that I wasn’t very good at. I feel like the girl in a cliche movie, complaining that everyone around her dies. But I was only two years into my twenties, and I’d already lost more people than I’d had fingers, and less than half that had been older than 30. Three suicides, one overdose, one surgery gone wrong, a little girl only eight years old. Two grandparents, too many friends. I’d gotten used to planning carpools to funerals. I carried life on my shoulders like Atlas, afraid to drop the world- knowing that all their stories now were mine.
Back in the days...
of my emerging adulthood, when I lived with my parents my mother (deceased nineteen years come May 5, 2024) served as a go between for my father, who demonstrated bellicosity toward me (the second of three offspring, and only son) linkedin to chronic unemployment state of mine and plus additionally being emotionally detached from family, particularly my remaining mum regarding inquiring about everyday welfare on behalf of those individuals, whose instance of physical intercourse begat me approximately early/late March of nineteen fifty eight, and could in their wildest (whet) dreams imagine how their singular male offspring would exhibit non social behavior when unnamed said progeny attained the age of legally defined adulthood, he would mutely bear the wrath of his Dad’s infamous midnight lectures, which I dreaded every malevolent utterance when father requested he speak not about some choice topic de jure that brought a twinkle to my eye, but that all to familiar monologue finding me standing like stone wall hearing, tuning out with equally predictable trademark demurely meek pose with hands crossed against chest of the then easily intimidated guy despite feeling effects of utter ennui and fatigue attempted to stand tall against the tsunami verbal typhoon itching to drown out said battle creek when asked capisce? comprende? farshtayst? looked blankly at floor well nigh, or pretended to stare at something extremely fascinating on the kitchen wall for he may as well asked if I understand in an unfamiliar language such as greek most likely getting successful results yammering away at common house fly possibly seething inside (p’raps equally swatted) ready to lash out into a brawl, held back by fear plus in comparison to me pop – just a itty bitty pipsqueak, who felt onrushing of overpowering desire to collapse and cry compounded by growing urge to urinate from that natural urethral call spoke nada word, nor gave hint of hearing from loathsome blather that did reek like decomposition of fetid dead living entity that began to putrefy, which offal to mine ears, tugged impetus under warm blankets to crawl!
I sought refuge on the roof of our sprawling ramshackle domicile (once a stately mansion during the heyday of the early nineteen hundreds - before the first World War - known as "Glen Elm" incorporating at that time about one hundred wooded acres including a pond, where Canadian Geese flocked, but the onset of urbanization witnessed vinyl city to usurp once pristine preserve, whereby memory houses soul asylum vestige, where complex edifice once anchoring venerated Glen Elm demesne once stood, now nothing except ticky tack cookie cutter little houses on the hillside that look all the same, nevertheless I recall breathtaking, expansive, incredible numerous, tremblingly awe inspiring views billion miles (slight exaggeration) heavenly sights comfortably ensconced, while perched high atop sadly long since demolished complex edifice anchoring Glen Elm demesne – summer mansion property captain Leiper (circa early nineteen hundreds) more'n century ago once encompassing hundred plus acres whittled to approximately 2.42811 hectares upon purchase February twenty eighth ninety sixty eight by papa Boyce Brandon Harris, insync with help courtesy paternal grandpa Aaron Harris, the former who invested blood, sweat and tears, when not yoked, tethered, obligated... to incumbent duties consonant with assignments linkedin, when gainfully employed as top notch mechanical engineer at General Electric, he slaved away gentrifying neglected fixer upper (matter of fact single handedly reshingled roof) that same exterior hideaway offering solace against imprecation, ostracization, ultimatum... damnation, humiliation, laceration, (albeit verbal lashing against yours truly), when exhibiting no motivation to work (courtesy thank debilitating, immobilizing, paralyzing anxiety/panic attacks), now though still plagued with same understood as congenital (possibly in utero) malady, yes an abominable, execrable, implacable..., nemesis which unpleasant memories haunt me even to this day, whereby nothing but utter failure cast dark shadows analogous to edge of night oft times accompanied with suicidal ideations, whereat damned, continually bereft, abysmal bereft legacy testimony marginally functioning as the token "scapegoat" throughout twelve torturous years yielding absolute zero aptitude unable to comprehend, (I strongly suspect die hug noses along high functioning autistic spectrum - case in point youngest of two sweet progeny (both daughters) afflicted with yepper aforementioned cognitive learning disability, she benefited social services since birth, and can attest to much more positive academic, and socialization endeavors well on her way living clear and free empowered at twenty plus five orbitz round the earth.
You can’t Buy Your Way To Heaven!
A month ago I fell in my home and broke my ankle in three places.
I had to crawl to the living room to get my phone to call 911, then I had to crawl to the front door to let the Paramedics in because my dog wouldn’t allow them to come in the back to the unlocked back door.
Luckily I live in a tiny little house!
The following day I had surgery to put my bones back together, this has been an ordeal! Then after a week in the hospital, they sent me to a “Rehab facility“ or what most of us know as a nursing home.
At fifty six I can tell you I was the youngest one there and I surprised a few of the nurses and patients when they saw how much younger I was.
This state I live in has some of the lowest regards for our elderly people that I have ever seen. It’s plum shameful and disappointing. Our childcare system is handled the same way! Elderly and infants are treated terribly at some facilities.
Here’s an idea why can’t they have a retirement home, that’s a big farmhouse? The farmhouse is on let’s say five acres and two acres are dedicated to a big vegetable garden and those elderly people who can, can come out and tend the ggarden and
there could be raised beds for those in wheelchairs.
Also a spot for chickens and goats maybe a cow or two and a pony.
Then in another area have a nice big flower bed with all kinds of flowers that bloom all year long.
And in the very back of the property a bee colony to make our own honey and sustain our garden.
I noticed how many elderly just waste away in beds or chairs staring off at nothing. A lot of these people have useful information about life and they remember, but they are thrown away and forgotten. They are thrilled to get to pet a therapy dog, or cat, or see a therapy horse! Fresh flowers make their day! Also, talking to them as adults instead of like babies would be an improvement.
I know it’s hard taking care of people who are hateful talking. Most of the time it’s not their fault.
If I had the money I would set up a place like I described above for the lower class because they need it the most.
You Can’t Buy Your Way to Heaven.
Surfeit Sans Sic-Squalid Spoiled Smorgasbord synopsis
Which following rambling account actually scratched out quite many moons ago courtesy one jovial, saturnalian wannabe martian seeking platonic relationship, but revised today early afternoon of February fifteenth tooth house sand twenty four.
Let me preface scattershot summary of meself no matter discombobulated biography of sorts might leave thee bored to death and/or totally confused. With combination prosaic/poetic features constituting following epistle hopefully mine feeble attempt to challenge crafting categorical imperative about Matthew Scott Harris usurping liberty to expound at length succeeds to enlighten and maybe even entertain thee.
Asper regarding most familiar person to yours truly (me) ludicrous literary license to elaborate hodgepodge fashion may fast become stale, tedious, essentially unacceptable to you, viz a veritable attractive female stranger.
Nevertheless this non-fiction category about one mortal generic garden variety corny fellow (meaning writer of these words, his corporeal essence of living flesh and bone) dallies before delving into heart and soul of said bipedal hominid.
The apotheosis of experiencing existential consciousness severely undermined courtesy earth, wind and fire depleting air supply, and whip lashing the apathy annihilating will to live, thus forever suspending me as still prepubescent, and thirsting to taste and touch youth untouched by fiery passion – so:
Despite four score minus the square root
of two hundred and fifty six birthdays elapsed
since fertilization, conception, gestation...
begat aspiring author out birth canal of Harriet Harris
(she left webbed wide world of the living
eighteen orbitz ago May 5th, 2023
uber cataclysmic eruptions rent and did lyft asunder
psyche, a seemingly endless viz internal maelstroms
wrenched worthiness-pitting mein kampf
as absolte zero worthlessness blunder.
Destruction analogous bulldozing
with razor blades severed former childhood's end
wondrous glee sneered grim reaper
raising suicidal ante while donning foghat
quiet riotous ambition, a painfully
(self starvation) mine inexorable slow ride,
which chronological frieze kept hog-tied
and hide bound this one grown male
dredging haunting spectre – where
to be gratefully dead – within Elysian dale
soul asylum sought.
Insidious roiling jagged stone shredding/
thwarting desire to lyft motive to be alive
shockwaves extant to this day -
no matter long since recovered from nose-dive
dog gone emotional, psychological & social repercussions
hound me present mental state
indelible permanent scars (per anxiety, panicky,
quirky tics) seem never to abate
try as I might to shake free
from the riptide affects that drowned this boy to grow,
he experiences an especially perilous remembrance
of that abysmal infernal woe
Impossible mission to forgive permanent harm inflicted not only on self but searing pain my late mother & octogenarian father underwent, (he passed away early October twenty twenty) whose angst this dada insight re: did gain from bringing forth his own progeny, which years eclipsed at break neck speed whereby each special daughter evincing greater sturdiness akin to hardy (horny) weed bound to surpass their dear ole mister mom permanently branded with ghost of Christmases past for never knowing thee potential that burned black toast and hunger pains even to this day frequently blithely ignored as if still callous tempted, lured and baited by hand of death this grown man wished inxs to kiss.
Mine social anxiety... reverberated with repercussions...tattooing, piercing, and en
snaring drubbing drum beat indelibly 'pon psyche NON MEMORABLE years gone by felled me psyche with incorporation viz alphabet facebook, poetrysoup of physiological symptoms i.e. clammy palms, heart palpitation, irritable bowel
syndrome, nausea, vertigo, et cetera (aside from thee above, I felt great) erupted to rent my psyche (no takers for mine gray matter to sublet) asunder, and forcefully endearing themselves to my being (like Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dinner for repast and Blitzen).
Back in the daze of yor hopscotching (hither and yon, to and fro) from one College/University to another well nigh (an unpleasant effect explaining, justifying, ousting mine termination from umpteen post high school institutions I matriculated), particularly when paying a visit to college cafeterias, especially when hungry hordes (like madding crowds of students rushing to lunch line, swelling sea of Muslims, or Christian crusades of yore) practically stampeding their way en route to the Hajj) clamored to be fed sustenance or spiritual succor respectively.
No sooner did this then rather bony gluteus maximus became situated at the table (often whereby quick exit could be made in predictable panic stricken outcome that pierced and hammered me with gut wrenching agony), the medley of organic constriction of throat re: named near asphyxiation, furious pounding of ma poor heart churning out hormonal secretion, sans flight or fight, strong sensation qua
regurgitation (despite likelihood my bowels recently purged per diarrhea courtesy of irritable gastrointestinal stress), disallowed even one morsel to appease submucous cleft palate.
Never did this liberal minded married sexagenarian wordsmith get trampled underfoot, but he experienced physical manifestations entailing great discomfort probably on par with devout figurative pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Mecca, cuz truth be told I tout atheism.
Within the labyrinth of this mortal being i.e. christened Matthew Scott Harris, hid unseen live, googly-eyed, earth-linked, mailer daemons that resounded with a
flickr, GoDaddy, hulu, instagramming, joyous, kick starter, pinteresting, shutterfly ying, snapchatting, tinder quiet riot chorus of their unheard whatsapp penning yahoo kindling the trip wire of damned perspiration, laceration (stinging tips of metallica pelting whipping, and zinging reflexively upon me body electric weighed down with ball and chain) induced hallucination prodding sphincter muscle to go into overdrive vis a vis via defecation, (irritable bowel ran dire re:yah rampant) creating one wreck of a human abomination kept in check sum i.e. sigma notation from any unsuspecting observer.
This general figurative broad-brush stroke pertaining to collective soul asylum wrenching episodes does injustice to panic attacks that considerably abated while downing requisite nine prescription medications listed below in alphabetical order.
1.BusPIRone 15 MG tablet
TAKEN TWICE DAILY
Commonly known as BUSPAR
2. clomipramine 50 MG capsule
TAKE ONE NIGHTLY
Commonly known as ANAFRANIL
3. CLONAZepam 0.5 MG tablet
TAKE ONE NIGHTLY
Commonly known as KlonoPIN
4.FLUoxetine 20 mg capsule
Commonly known as ProZAC
5. glycopyrrolate 2 MG tablet
TAKE 1 TABLET 3 TIMES A DAY
Commonly known as ROBINUL
6. prazosin 5 MG capsule
TAKE ONE NIGHTLY
Commonly known as MINIPRESS
7. prazosin 1 MG capsule
TAKE ONE NIGHTLY
8. risperiDONE 1 MG tablet
TAKE 1 NIGHTLY
Commonly known as RISPERDAL
9. ropinirole HCL 2 MG
Commonly known as REQUIP
TAKE 1 NIGHTLY
Best for me to winnow thru quagmire of countless instances to evoke emotional explosion in an effort to engender comprehension, fixation, interrogation (pardon the hyperbolic exaggeration fueling this assay superb wantonly craving super) layman preservation, than zeroing in on a singular instance.
Little effort required for me to dial back mental chronology and pluck one generic panic attack festooned with the usual attendant coterie of kindling internal micro
scopic killing machinations swaggering like hotmail fresh off the field of a winning team.
Meal times at college (particularly with the madding crowd of voraciously famished coed undergraduates), the most frequent settings outbursts generated feverishly essentially annihilating any ambition to enjoy a normal peaceful repast (to satiate hunger), the most common environment envision a generic college cafeteria.
About thirty years ago (three decades spanning mine some total of xyz number of birthdays plodding through the pernicious plots per me world wide web) represents the most recent nonvoluntary foray into field of dreaded descent domain
of all out internal combustion, whereby attrition into no man's land of wretched undulating spasms quaking ole Matthew knocked immunization generally enjoyed clinging assiduously to hibernation, meditation, self actualization as self sedation.
Eyelids now temporarily closed to re-envision the nada so salient salad days whence feeding time instantaneously transformed into frantic frenzy at Kutztown University.
While most all other student feasted on ordinary industrial chow, I felt the grippe ketchup and override excruciating hunger. Adrenaline coursed thru this measly dry mouthed body (starving to savor the institutional haute cuisine.
Much as waste not want not the coda, ethos, general integrity keeping afloat my dogma, that credo went out the window (with or without the baby and bathwater – plugged pulled so no infant drowned, nor any other animal harmed in the making of this mindful scribbled video), the tray of uneaten food left for employee to discard.
Complete discombobulating disorientation (in tandem with the tried and true trademark tell tale signs of tumultuous ferocious fracas re: Tony the tiger witnessed personal pandemonium, which violent trigger, nonetheless did offer a scant few minutes to gather peanut butter and jelly sandwiched haphazardly slap dashed together, whereby to escape this pearl jam.
Cumulative episodes whence tumultuous shell shocked warring faction repeatedly played itself and affecting escape from this perilous perdition.
The shoals of home (which appeared sweeter than ever) specifically sighted when sitting with pangs of stomach churning aches to eat instead delivered a sentence whereby this anguished author felt himself severely lashed and slavishly held within thine fragile self witnessed withdrawal from campus life (for the umpteenth time) and hence avoidance became the coping mechanism.
Fast forward to the present. Now a cornucopia of pharmaceutical medications keep in check (akin to a mate) and put a lid on susceptibility toward chaotic sensation run amok.
This collective soul (whose esprit de corps rose from thine Heiress house of the rising sun) evinced plagued learning curve in fits, and starts finally seems closer to psychological nirvana.
Now, no longer does a led zeppelin manacle this Renaissance man from the culture club. He scales the Ashbury heights of ecstasy via pharmacological panacea. He feels indomitable emotional strength to haul in the oats of a misspent youth.
Before exiting stage door left when death doth me part, I regale as the proud father of prized progeny both living social and meeting their own independence.
Eldest daughter a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania, where she will be completing her master after spring 2024 semester.
Youngest o me two female progeny segued untrammeled twenty four years
on February fourth two thousand twenty three triggered flashback to wretched tears. When thee second punim o thine two lovely offspring passed one after another milestone age with nary a hint how her papa felt life locked up within his abysmal agonizing stage.
“There’s a black cloud hovering over us kid, and like me,
it’ll follow you wherever you go…get used to it…”
An archfiend smog
is preying upon my soul,
and like Mother warned
my days will be plagued
by a curse, she burdened onto me
I tried severing it,
but the more I rip and pull,
the deeper it burrows
like a desperate tick.
I’m a zombie vagabond
waking only to my requiem nightmare,
and I’m fucking sick of
the maggots clawing at my face
while buried neck-deep in shit
just waiting around to die.
well before I abandoned the womb;
Born from a castaway,
A child cradling a child
who wasn’t a miss-carriage
this time around.
I carried the bitterness of a mother,
once a twice-raped girl,
and wore her burdens just above my sleeve.
I earned that scout badge in a hospital bed
on a forgettable November morning.
A Scorpio with a stinger who has an affinity for being a prick,
and pre-loaded with a poison-coated tip for good measure.
I was born to fight or die trying
before I ever lived to see my first day.
I too felt raped.
My cards were dealt
upon the tables of inmates,
and I was taught how to play the game
before I knew how to hold‘em.
Forced to visit a prisoned father,
A robber with a gun.
I was behind bars before I was behind bars—
A court-ordered indoctrination
became a baptism by fire.
TV screens and basketball games,
reclining chairs, and free food
didn’t look all that bad at 38 inches.
I was shown where men go to die,
and it looked a hell of a lot nicer than where I was living.
The world owed me everything
yet, its dues remained unpaid.
I binged cabinet doors and refrigerator drawers on the government’s dime
and drank my mother’s milk
she’d laced with Southern Comfort and cigarettes
to save money.
Many nights, she avoided a bathroom grave,
while I held her head above the drowning line.
I flushed the disgrace and wiped chunks from her face
while she slept on a linoleum bed,
then I scarfed down mental health issues for supper—
Never wasting the generous leftovers for breakfast.
Was this nature, or nurture,
or is this fucking “black cloud”actually real?
I was taught the comforts of living near death
so, I never needed to get a life.
I knelt before the gateway,
but it was vaster than curiosity itself
and I hadn’t a grip, so it sucked me in.
No sky to part, no lucid light—only a jade Cumulonimbus.
Sunny days became head-rolls on moonlit sidewalks.
Cocktails of uppers and downers, chasers and shooters, X and sex—
I was a night jackal inviting a sunrise I never longed to see
because chasing dealers with baseball bats
and paying whores with fake hash seemed more exciting
then a god-damned repeating dot on the horizon—
until all I saw were dots on the horizon.
Darkness envelops those who invite it to dinner, and it’s hungry—
A jackal only bites a turned back, sometimes just for the taste,
until one day you’re startled back to life choking on vomit,
while someone else holds your head above that toilet swirl,
and only then do you rub elbows with your mother.
Sometimes it takes having to tango with death,
to appreciate the waltz of life.
For years I was just waiting around to die
and I suppose I did…
…but even death didn’t want me.
So here I am.
It’s just me and this Jade cloud suspended above.
and it’s my only certainty.
©2023 Chris Sadhill
I WAS BOOOORN
Premature, a whole month prior to my expected due date.
This is the story, as I know it by the scant details, of my Mother. Because I'd dare say, she deserves all the credit from hereon in. Of this passage and for some after considering, I was completely to the mercy of two adults. Who spoke an altogether foreign tongue, who in some ways, were still ill-adapted. To this country and this language, this form that I use to communicate.
I was an active child, utterly empassioned and utterly blind to a world that was not myself. Which is why it didn't matter how or which way I kicked. I simply wanted more room.
It was late, dusk would barely crest over the horizon and in a tiny little house with two bedrooms, a kitchen, all on a flat singular floor my Mother was in likely the worst manner of pain.
There was probably fear too, she knew enough I'm sure to realize, had been told, her precious girl, the princess of the family should not be born, not so early not so small.
My parents absconded, without my brother and the brother who was confused and concussed in her own identity. But that is a whole other novel and a much more outlandish title.
They had a babysitter don't worry.
And they were not jealous.
They were not surly.
They welcomed a little sister. They would adore her.
My Mom spent hours in labor as is normal.
Here is, a measure of speculation, my Mother beautiful and warm as she is was in the range of risk. Where the strain of a child may yield complication and risk. And she was four weeks early.
I can imagine there was some scant hour or so of fear. I hope less, it's painful to think, so unbelievably selfish to wonder if she cried. When the doctors had to take her tiny little baby, only just out of her belly and likely screaming already spoiled for her mother's company. Because she was too small.
She was so small that even after pushing ten days worth of formula this tiny little prayer answered and given life, fit in the palm of the calloused, burnt hand. From her Father.
She lived and she grew. Grew quiet. For a baby.
Dare it be said she would grow to be contemplative, a little too aware and forthwith for her age.
That said she made wondrous little noises as if casting a spell over those around her.
Her young brothers her knights and vassals often at her beck and call never far from her side.
Coddling with her, entertaining her why she must be special! Just must be!
And her parents well if anything, were weaker to her charms.
What those were I couldn't completely fathom a clue. Especially as her Mother, among eight total siblings herself, soon held another baby in her arms. A boy and the youngest then of one of her sisters.
This boy and this girl, learned in walking and in the enumerated fact that they could, played together quite mischievously and chaotically.
The girl, whose name meant moon, who as a daughter was held in high esteem as if royal, laughed and burbled. She spoke and tended to baby dolls, watched friendly little monsters with a smile on her face.
\\Seven years old//
Some teachers begin noticing.
The small things and the not so small. That though she talked it was... tilted. Somewhat turned in a wholly different direction. Not exactly. okay or right.
Her talk few and far between and never a word for those her own age.
She simply drew and read. Desks placed into four, massive truly for such little children.
And providing quite an excellent amount of room for the girl all her lonesome. Who hardly seemed bothered by that in fact. In fact, as these teachers didn't seem to understand she in some ways liked it this way.
Because she was drawing and she liked drawing.
Could she then-- get back to what she was doing?
These questions, these sudden addresses and attention paid to her, were not normal and so she'd like to not deal with the thought if so acceptable. She'd rather not be treated like she was perhaps in trouble or had done something wrong.
She was about certain she knew the rules.
And she knew it was appreciated to be quiet. She herself didn't mind being quiet all that much either.
So, this entire speech pathologist and three hour test time for easy, already burned to paper material had no basis.
Learning disability? Autism?
Well yes, I am quite special.
Yet in this way, well, it doesn't make sense. It really, really doesn't make sense.