I don’t want this. I don’t want any of this. I didn’t ask for this. I don’t want to eat, but I don’t want to not eat. I don’t want to exercise, but I don’t want to sit on my ass all day. I don’t want to go outside, but I don’t want to stay inside. I don’t want to play any games, but I don’t want to be bored. I don’t want to be miserable, but I don’t want to be happy either.
This is all the illness talking, of course. At least, that’s what they tell me. I’m afraid I might get to a point where I’m no longer mentally ill, but still take no pleasure in the world. I mean, what if I just don’t like being alive? Some people don’t like carrots, and some people don’t like life. Is that a thing? Does that happen? In addition to my aversion to sweet potatoes, do I also have a general loathing for life?
I stood in the doorway, a surge of adrenaline rushed through me. My mom was a light sleeper, and her not answering when I said her name was bad. I rushed to the lamp and turned on the light. I looked at her. She was gone. Her blue eyes were staring at nothing, and green vomit spilled out of her mouth, down her pillow, and pooled next to her. I screamed.
Police. Phone calls. Shock. I called my grandparents at four thirty in the morning and told them their youngest daughter was dead. The sound my grandma made still breaks into my head and goes straight into my heart.
Four days later, I sat in the place my mom died. I held her cat, hugging her tight and crying into her fur. She steadily purred into my chest as her fur soaked up my grief. I tried explaining that we would never see her mommy again, but I don’t think either of us understood.
I’m at the bottom, and I’m afraid I always will be. It doesn’t matter how hard I work to climb up, I’m always forced back down. I fall, I get up, I climb. I fall, I get up, I climb. A rising and falling tide, a perfect cycle of failure. It’s happened a hundred times too many, I’m afraid. Cynicism and suicidal ideation are my reaction to everything now. I will lay in this filth until I break, and when that happens I will kill myself.
I’m making excuses for my personal failure in life, yes? I have a defeatist attitude, yes? I deserve everything I get, or don’t get, yes? I’m weak, yes? I’m stupid, yes? I’m worthless. Yes. I believe I am.
Thinking that someone won’t want to work because they are provided financial assistance is like thinking that people won’t make homemade meals because they can have TV dinners. Sure, a few people will be happy to eat nothing but microwaved mystery meat with a side of goop, but most people will still want home cooked meals. Most people will joyfully pick up those pots and pans, turn on that stove, peel those potatoes, kneed that dough, and savor every moment of the glorious meal they prepared themselves.
Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, there wasn’t as much awareness about domestic violence as there is now. Back then, people thought what they did was discipline, not abuse. They repeated behaviors they witnessed when they were children. If a woman talks back, hit her. If your kids don’t behave, hit them. Throw in some anger issues and you get someone like my dad. He’s a good person, but his behavior wasn’t so good.
I don’t blame him for the past. I know what it’s like to make terrible mistakes, and I certainly know what it’s like to lose control of your emotions. Some may call me a fool for forgiving him, but there is nothing to even forgive. He became the person that his genetics and environment made him, and he did what he thought he was supposed to do.
If he thought what he did was wrong, he wouldn’t have done it. There was no glee in our fear and pain. He didn’t take pleasure in what he did. He did what he thought was best for all of us. Unfortunately for everyone, his thoughts were warped by his own traumas.
My mom took epic amounts of pills. A few here, a few there, and sometimes great handfuls at once. Empty pill bottles rolled across the floor like tumbleweeds. Little orange bottles with little white lids and little white labels hid in every space of the house.
When she took her heaping handfuls of pills, she left reality behind. She spoke gibberish while stumbling around the house like a drunk three year old. She put food on the stove and forgot about it. She swallowed a quarter. She spoke to things only she could see. She got lost in her own house. When she came to the next day, she would laugh and laugh as my brother and I recounted the tales of her drugged up antics. She was a barrel of laughs, my mom.
The screaming and boxing matches between my parents were too much for me. I was scared and sad all the time, and I had no means of escape. When I stumbled on a chance to end it, I took it.
“This stuff is poisonous, so go wash your hands,” my mother said, twisting the cap onto the bottle of nail polish remover.
I walked down the hallway and slowly entered the bathroom. I turned on the water, and pretended to wash my hands as I stared into the mirror. I said goodbye to my tiny reflection, and walked to my bedroom. I said long, tearful goodbyes my stuffed animals, and somberly knelt down in front of the window. I put my fingers in my mouth, and waited to die.
I was very upset when the poison failed to kill me. Taking more of it, or finding some other poison never crossed my tiny, little mind. Kindergartners just aren’t that smart.