Write What’s Wrong in Me
Consume my raw emotions
Carve the lesson in my flesh
Devour the addiction
To the pain I often quest
Magic: The Gathering
He told me more than once that he felt like he was settling. The laundry, the food, the sex, the free place to live, the care for the kitten that shredded my blinds and my furniture- it was never enough. A match made in hallucinogenic heaven turned into a bad trip in such a short time.
These things he would say, often unfair and cruel. I knew this all along, so why did I walk on eggshells? I was so afraid that something already broken would crack that I allowed the forced removal of my spine. As I flopped over his lap and begged for support, he told me I should be happy with how flexible I’d become. Oh, fair enough then, I thought. I guess I’ll just drink a bottle of wine and not think about those burger joint waitresses that text him late at night. I can only imagine what he told them. Probably the same thing he told the girl he knew from high school, the one I naively let into my home. Boundaries? Sorry, don’t know the meaning of the word.
And it was MY home, though it made him angry when I said so. Sorry buddy, but a name on a lease does not a partner make.
A couple hundred bucks on the first of the month, and the rest went to beer and trading card games. What’s that? You need money for a super rare card? For a deck you’re going to take apart and never use again? What happened to your check? Oh, it went to Sierra Nevada and magic mushrooms? Oh yeah sure, good thing I make enough to pay electric on my own...no, no, that’s okay, I’ll get the cat food, too. The fuck you mean, I can’t survive without you here? The iPad I got you “just because” says otherwise.
There was a time, for a couple months, I sent him back to his dad’s. I had parties, visitors, I came and went as I pleased. Had a friend stay with me, but she was more of a wreck than I could have ever fathomed. Familiarity can be blinding.
After Allie left my home in destruction, and the infestation took over, he was there. The night her pill-addicted boyfriend broke into my apartment window looking for her, my sorta-kinda-not-really-ex-boyfriend had convinced me to let him stay the night. But I was the one who sent the addict from my home as he slept, lulled into his dreams by weed and wine. For sake of ease, I told the cops he was my boyfriend, and our toxic cycle began once more.
My mom’s dad fell sick, and I was gone for weeks to help the family. He yelled, angry that I was not back yet, and mocked the hospice nurse’s predictions. Papa died the day after I returned home. My father’s mom passed less than two months later. In my grief, he considered only himself. How dare I inconvience him by wanting to stay at Grandma and Papa’s house on the night of the funeral? What was I thinking, making him turn off the Xbox to come pick me up from work after my Grandmommy left this earth? What a ridiculous notion, going to your partner in a time of need. After a much-needed vacation with some brutally honest friends, I sent him on his way. The hole he left in the closet door let me know he wasn’t going without a fight.
After he left, I drank merlot during the day and watched Star Trek marathons in my underwear. If I wanted company, I had some. If I wanted to be home alone and listen to music undisturbed, I was free to do so. I stayed out all night (sometimes) and spent time with the friends he never liked. Free? Definitely. Destructive? At times. I was willing to take anything that came with the promise of not being judged by someone who only loved me part-time.
My apartment became a sanctuary again. I was no longer afraid of what I would find when I walked through the door. Even still, there were too many memories in those walls and six months later, I left to get back to my roots.
He tried to stick around, under the guise of friendship. But shady characters never quit shady dealings and though I was no longer in love, he still found a way to get under my skin. A few lies and a twisted story later, I knew had to wash my hands clean. Our mutual friends could believe what they wanted. I knew they’d picked their sides long ago, despite their awareness of his patterns of behavior.
His relationships went the same way every time, they said. They were disappointed in him, they said. Yes, we heard the verbal abuse and yes, he said really awful things about you while you were together, and wow, I can’t believe he got physical with you, are you sure it wasn’t just playfighting? He’s still just such a good friend, ya know?
Familiarity is not only blinding, it is also comfortable.
Six years later, many of these events are still quite vivid. Thankfully, the situation no longer rules my waking thoughts. The person I became turns my stomach to think about. Toxic love can break even the strongest of wills and bring out the ugliest sides of the self. The old wounds that opened with every partner after just left more scars, some more visible than others. It never got as bad as it did with him, I’d never allow that to happen again. But old habits die hard, and the same things that I saw in him, I found in other partners time and time again. When you spend so much time trying to love someone else, sometimes you fail to realize that you’re not loving yourself. The hurt builds on itself and it can be a tough structure to knock down.
I would not wish toxic love on anyone. Even relationships that don’t last shouldn’t have to go down in flames. The concept of peaceful un-coupling seems so foreign to me given how many love affairs have blown up in my face.
I’m married now, with a baby on the way. But if it weren’t for all the muck I had to wade through, I don’t think I would be able to fully appreciate just how beautiful of a life I have now. My husband and I both came to the relationship with deep wounds, and even though unpacking our pain has been incredibly difficult, we have been able to heal immensely with the support and honesty given to us by the other person. Finding a partner who is willing to work with and not against you is not a hopeless endeavor. In many cases, it just takes time. Time to be with yourself, time to figure out what you need, want and deserve, and time to heal from the wounds. Self-love and appreciation is the goal, everything else will follow in its footsteps.
I’d like to pick up Magic: The Gathering again. I genuinely liked the game, and sometimes breakups have a way of ruining even the most trivial of things. The ex from six years, he took all the good cards with him. I didn’t fight him on it. I had no energy left. But I’m a big girl. I could build a new collection on my own if I so choose.
Although, I could just learn a new game altogether. I’ve spent enough time living in the past.
And besides- I did, after all, marry a huge Yu-Gi-Oh! fan. Wouldn't want to let that go to waste.
I'm skinny dipping into acid
Every time my lips touch yours.
Quivering as my skin strips off
Yet smiling at the thought of you.
Those soft blue eyes and that smile,
Fickle and reptilian yet so enticing,
So reassuring that it'll be different,
Though I know it won't be.
It never ever changes with you.
Yet, there's no Clyde with Bonnie,
No yo without yin and yang,
No us without work and sacrifice,
And I need to sacrifice like you.
Sacrifice those friends that judge us,
Those relatives with side eyes,
Those strangers that sneer and sigh,
All to make this work for you,
You and I and this new life we created.
you gave me a ring of amethyst and I won’t let it grow into clear quart
and some love is not meant for the open air; ours is not meant for sunlight
you color me deep purple with blushing bruises
your words resembling biting scarlet teeth
I’ll want you till the sun rises; you’ll be mean untill it sets
and I’ll be this creature but only if you want me too
staying beside you until the stars begin to fade and fall
only to burn me with your skin; a small casuality of the calamity that encompasses loving you
but don’t stop loving me even if I turn purple or blue and fade to yellow
love me till they beg me to not stay with you
Oh Dark Creature
There he was gracefully swaying with the rhythm of the wind. His clothes billowing draped over his pale pigmentation. A mystery. Silent, deadly, frighteningly familiar. His face a soft expression of accomplishment. Wonder. Wonder what he's thinking about?
He was moving now, one leg in front of the other. Slowly, teasingly moving towards our heroine from across a green escape. Long, thin stalks trembled under the constant pounding beneath rubber steps.
She waited for him. Counting the seconds that passed between their ligaments intertwining. A quick embrace and then the day would begin. She wouldn't have to think about him anymore. He was there. Bringing each thought to life, and yet a question still went unanswered. What was he thinking? Her mind would forever be with him, but where was his? Certainly not with her.
He never seemed to realize her warm gestures or that she even existed for that matter. The man only saw the woman as a possession. If there was disagreement, he grew angry. If there was talk of abandonment elsewhere, he would know and deal with it as he so fit. She was compelled to stay by his side, and unwittingly gave him the opportunity to destroy her life.
If only they had never met. Why? Why did she go for him? As mysterious she knew he portrayed himself to be, she fell.
The idea of not truly understanding his ways became appealing, attractive. Life-threatening. So, in order to appease him, she stayed. Not because she adored a challenge, but because she chose this path. The idea of it being her fault drilled constantly inside, became all too true. Too real to turn away from.
She would pull through, but the reality of being unable to change ones opinions was far from her grasp. Perhaps persuasion would work? No.
He was the master of manipulation. The only one who could break spirited women and crush the very life from feeling. Mental instability. Destiny, on the verge. Mixed thoughts and emotions. The dream of being human again, gone. Floated away on the wings of a sinister bird. Oh dark creature. It has come for her at last.
promises made and promises broken
You promise it will be different this time.
No more lies; no other girls.
Just you and me.
I know it's just a lie, yet I let you back into my life.
You promise that you'll stay this time.
No more lies; no more hiding from feelings.
You love me and that's the truth.
I don't believe you, but I desperately want to.
You promise that you've changed.
No more lies; no more fights.
You want me and only me.
I know I shouldn't, but I just can't help but hope it's true.
Believe it or not im alive cause of you
But you're killing me just the same
What was I thinking when I said "I do"
And let you take over my name.
Things started rough and got even worse
Im a fool for thinking you'd change
Now I am trapped and you've got the key
And im pretty sure you've thrown it away
I thought this was love and gave you my all
While you looked out for only yourself
But its crystal clear that you hate me being here
And you just want to find someone else
You've beat me down and you've given up
Leaving me with the overbearing weight
Since I've gotten sick its been such a trick
Trying to tip toe around all your hate
Im sorry im dying this was not the plan
And I know im a burden right now
But you've been this way since the day that we met
So I'm stuck with a wife with a. Frown
Maybe ill die then ill be the hero
Cant speak ill of the dead
Although knowing you that may not be true
Knowing all the hurtful things youve said
I don't want to need you I want you to leave
But then how would I make it through
So you put me down for me being sick
And I get to stay alive with you
All is fair when it comes to love but this love feels more like a war
Its hostile and violent and make me feel useless
When I can't do it alone anymore
Berrate me berrate me make sure that you sleep good at night
While im lose my life and im losing my mind
Im losing my own will to fight
So boy am I trapped with a wife full of hate
And 2 beautiful kids you ignore
I should have never given you all those chances
And died by myself on the floor.
Oh but ill win you see I havr this plan
You'll find me one day, my dear wife
And the sight of me hanging on our bedroom closet
Will haunt you for all of your life.
A Certain Rotten Sweetness
I don’t make a habit of lying to my friends.
Which is why I was surprised at how easily this one rolled off my tongue. It’s funny, too, because I started with the truth. I hesitated, the knife in one hand and the mango in another.
“Yeah it was weird timing, because he texted me last night asking if I wanted to go out to a bar with him and some of his friends. The first time in two months, and yesterday of all days,” I said, beginning to saw into the fruit, my eyes intent on the catch of the knife in skin.
“That’s such weird timing. The exact day you went out on your first date. Did you go?” Sara asked.
“No,” I didn’t falter at all. My response surprised me. I hadn’t really thought about whether I would tell her or not, because I always did. My eyes flicked up into my bedroom, open to the studio apartment. My clothes from the night before still lay discarded on the floorboards.
“That’s good,” She said, nodding her head sympathetically, squashing what should have been my next words. No, but he did come here. I peeled back a bit of the mango skin. Much of the flesh had rotted, even though I’d just bought it a day or two before.
“Yeah,” I stretched out the e and made it hard, making the word sound very insincere indeed. But Sara did not seem to catch on. And then we just. Didn’t talk about it? An entirely novel phenomenon. Normally, we would spend much of an hour discussing my choices, and in the process of saying the words out loud to a friend I would become ever more indecisive, perhaps even full of regret, until I couldn’t remember my half-formed resolutions.
In that moment, I felt the true beauty of keeping things to oneself. Afterall, I already knew what I was doing. And I already knew what she would say. And I had grown so tired of talking about it that I couldn’t even imagine how it must be for my friends. Now, I had broken the cycle. No longer did I find myself trapped in the patterns and circles that had plagued my racing thoughts.
Here, a certain relief accompanied not speaking about this old concept. It made it okay that it had happened. I felt none of the anxiety and pain that I had felt before. A good thing, right? An okay decision? Indeed, the decision was mine alone in the end. And I was at peace with my actions, just worried about how my perceptions could shift with a word from my loved ones. It’s all in the mentality, and I don’t want to ruin my own, I told myself. That’s how I justified it.
Still, as we sat and ate the good parts of the mango, I couldn’t help but wonder.
How secure should I be in a choice I couldn’t share with a friend?