just a check-in

I’ve been trying to decide what my happiness could be lately.

these days have been a lot colder– cloudy weather and rain in May– and in my SoCal? stranger than strange.

I’ve been running into a lot of things that I’m not familiar with, not comfortable with but at the same not uncomfortable. people I wouldn’t have been with just a year ago, never would have even spoken to. things I would never have done, clothes I would never wear, laughs I never knew I could have.

it’s really strange.

my words these days, I stumble a lot. can’t find the right ones, can’t write the same, still running into that same writer’s block when I try. but hey, I think I’m going somewhere.

and I wonder a lot if I deserve the people I’m surrounded by. because they’re so, so good to me. so kind, so vibrant, so gentle, so loving.

but

it’s not a matter of deserving or deserved. it’s a simple matter of just existing.

and that makes the whole world’s difference.

today it rained and the sun came out for the first time this week

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the tide comes in with searching hands again

i feel like i’m always teetering.

always off balance, always trying to find flat land. and the moment i think i’ve found my footing, the tide comes back to grab my heels, pulls me in and under. i’m uncertain and unsteady. just a breeze is enough to send me tumbling. sinking on land.

i saw her again today. but it’s not all about that. i’m just using her presence as an excuse at this point. it’s just, i’m not doing well. i can’t let this keep eating me away, can’t keep rereading the same chapters, can’t let myself be. i heard somewhere that trauma freezes you at the age it hits you. if that’s the case i’m reliving the instability that came with that age, the auto-play. frozen in the same immaturity of running away from home and distrusting all the good things and in the same breath throw my lifeline into the waters to see if anything will tug– to validate me, call me back.

but i don’t want that, can’t afford that, can’t have that.

so i won’t.

i can’t erase what happened, i can’t stop how i feel whenever i remember. whenever she comes back. can’t stop how i feel when the sadness chokes me out. but the most i can do is learn how to cope better. stop making the excuse to let the sad back in just because.

sometimes i wade through the waters without needing the tide to push me in. sometimes i let myself sit and let it pull the air from me in a way that nothing will be left. let it push my head under water, stifle my breath, erase all of me. make me feel like i have to throw my whole being and life away just to feel okay. and every time i try and i come out in one piece, i’m ashamed to have failed. flail in the water. draw a crowd the way it does. feel sorry for the sub-par show. sorry, i’ll try to sit more still next time, try not to come back up. i’ll let it hold me under next time.

but maybe it’s okay to let it pull.

but not all of me, no. just bits. i’ve always let it take all of me.

because maybe i’ve been far too stubborn with my trauma and sadness. hold onto it because it’s all i know of myself. don’t know what to do if i don’t have it. don’t know what to blame.

but i’m not the trauma. i’m not the assault or the product of abuse. i’m not the blue that colors me sad. i’m not the anger, the resentment, the emptiness.

i’m 60% water. heart, lungs, and bones. me. just need to be dusted off a bit is all. for a while maybe. need to let myself heal is all.

so i’ll let it all be pulled away bit by bit. put more effort in holding onto the sides of the tide pools. in a way so that i’m still left.

uh to be blunt: last week, Thursday night, I found myself at the brink again. each time I feel like I come closer and closer to doing it– just from the shame of it all. there’s a shame when there are no scars, no hospitalization, nothing, to prove that there’s any hurt. there’s a shame from kicking up a fuss. too sensitive.

and I’m in no denial that I act out as a means of proving the sadness. but when it’s all said and done, what will I gain if I’m not here anymore? what is it I want from the end of all of this?

if my best friend hadn’t called the police (they were very nice) to have them send me to the ER, what then? I don’t know if I would have done something I wouldn’t be alive to regret.

I’m unsteady and unstable. and each time I make it past the episodes, I felt stronger and stronger that I had to succeed the next time. but I can’t do that anymore. living life in a constant state of defiance, ready to snap with slightest movement.

aaaahhhhhhhhh,, healing.

reminder

“The first drawback of anger is that it destroys our inner peace; the second is that it distorts our view of reality. If we think about this and come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, that it is only destructive, we can begin to distance ourselves from anger.”

-Dalai Lama

but also

“Premature forgiveness equals no growth. Hurt first, acceptance later. The order cannot be mixed.”

@gorkiegork

oh hell yeah i’m depressed and traumatized as hell

and that’s okay.

because i’m acknowledging it finally.

it’s been about one year since then– a year and a half if we were to mark the beginning of everything. about three months since we really ended everything.

hell yeah, i’m angry as hell that she could twist her words like that, make everything feel like it’s always been in my head. how she could hold my face in both hands the way she did, tell me everyone she knows hates me but don’t worry, she’ll stay. how she made me feel so unwanted and dirty, so hopelessly tied to her. i’m angry that it wasn’t her searching hands that had traced their way underneath my underwear, that it wasn’t the face she buried into my neck, pushing and pushing like a knife to nape the way it did, that stayed with me. it wasn’t the time she tried to force kisses on me, it wasn’t the time i had to push her off my body and off my bed. when i say it was the sexual assault that stuck, i feel guilty because it’s not that. i’m sad that it’s so, so minor in all of this. i’m angry because of everything else. so much that i can’t even put it into the right words. i feel so much shame in everything that happened. and i can’t help but swim in my self-blame she filled that tiny, tiny room with for me. i’m angry because she’s happy and okay and loved and successful and surrounded by people all the time, still moving forward.

while i’m stuck here.

like thin wisps of sad, just a breath would be enough to send all of my being away.

and i’m frustrated at this ugly resentment.

oh, but i’m just now realizing all of this was wrong. how it wasn’t all in my head, how it wasn’t all my fault in the way she always made things out to be. how i wasn’t overreacting when she tilted her head, back and forth, told me to tell her how bad of a person i was. i remember still how wide her eyes got, how close her face got to mine, how her face still remains suspended in my memory. like a cigarette burn to the skin that somehow still burns like midnight oil– a tragic recipe for insomnia. it was wrong for her to always throw things at me, kick the cabinets, compromise my being.

oh, but she’d always turn around and tell me how much she loved me. bring me back cakes and hold my head to drink warm water when i was sick, write me little notes of encouragement. but always after the huge arguments. like putting rose-colored lens over my eyes so i would continue to ignore all the red flags. i was decomposing in that room.

she always claimed liberty over my time and space. made me dependent. made me sick. she is still something i can’t scrub out.

because when you put the label of “love” onto everything, you expect it to be a bandaid for all the bad, bad actions and words.

when you gaslight others the way you did and for as long as you did, it’s gonna make it damn hard for them to see straight for all the years after. make it hard for the eyes to refocus, make it hard to trust their own actions, doubt their own voice, lose claim over their space so much that they start to fade out. because if that’s what you’re going to call love, i really don’t want any part in it.

i’m angry that you’re as okay as you are. i’m angry that you’ve again and again twisted and turned my words against me the way you did. i’m angry at myself for thinking that dangling myself off the stairway is the solution, that testing gravity is easier than carrying the weight of all of this. i’m angry that i’m always, always so quick to jump on my lifeline like a tightrope, teetering, teetering.

but fuck that. i’m going to stay here as long as i can. ’til even those cigarette ashes that flaked off from the heat you pressed against me sprout root. prove to myself that there is still something left to grow in this garden, that life can still be new and good. this mending, all of this, is a process. yeah.

–a sad chapter but not a sad story.

it’s been one year. i still feel like i’m beating a dead horse, milking this for too long. damn repetitive with parallel structure and this entire situation. but it’s time i stopped feeling guilty about trying to flesh out what this all meant and means. that sometimes there’s never a deeper meaning or fate bound to it. bad things happen and there’s no immediate need to turn it into a teaching moment or inspirational quote. sometimes you just have to throw your hands up and admit defeat so that you have some perspective, figure out what’s really worth fighting for. reevaluate.

hi,

i’m fucking sad, fuck you, and i’m healing.

(excuse my french)

today my mom cut my hair for me and it reminded me of back then

when we would sit in a little yellow plastic chair in the backyard. I remember how the flowers were always in bloom because Mom still had time to garden those days. we’d try not to fidget too much while Mom would snip, snip away at our hair.

back when we had our bowl cuts

back before my hair became as curly and untamed as it is now

back when we still fit in that little yellow plastic chair.

those familiar scissors were thrown away last summer when we went to Vietnam, Mom forgot to take them out of her purse. thrown in with all the other confiscated items. I remember looking at it sit among other mis-matched scissors and nail clippers. like precious metal at a scrap metal yard, out of place, not rightfully in my mother’s hands. I felt like I lost something important then– Mom probably more so.

the scissors that had worked through each of her four kids’ mussy hair. patiently. never dulled, always precious.

gone, gone away.

today Mom cut my hair. worked through the split ends, worked through the knots and uneven curls. water doesn’t weigh it down the same way it did back in the day. she navigates through it, like curling, unfamiliar vines in a jungle. the scissors sort their way around in the same way the young us and them do today. off-balance, changing, but learning.

we stand in front of the bathroom sink. I still have trouble not swinging my head around, uncomfortable with stillness.

today’s been a snappish day. an impatient day. fresh out of an argument, there was a residue of tension it had left in the air. so I asked Mom to cut my hair.

just like the old times.

Mom is more tired now, more worn. this Friday will be her 51st birthday. this summer I will be 20. I’m more acutely aware of the time than I was back then, fidget because I’m not used to the still in the (stressful) rush of life; time feels frozen in this moment, reminds me of youth. all the same as those days back, I feel safe.

I wish then and now I could pause time. rewind time to fit in more apologies, more time helping out in the kitchen, more haircuts with Mom.

I don’t know how to say it without making it a little awkward. but Mom, thank you for everything. Mom, I love you a lot. Mom, I’ll be better, be more patient, be kinder.

Mom, happy early 51st birthday.

for now, I’ll keep the rhythm of the snips to heart.

the plastic chair sits in the garage, behind piles and piles of memory.

midterm for class that will determine if i get into my major is on thursday and i am about 2% done with one of these articles after about 2 hours so why is this called an article just go ahead and call it the 800 page draconian trilogy plus spin-off series that it is

today’s one of those very rare days where I put my arms up and admit defeat

and sometimes or a lot of times

admitting defeat, taking a step back, taking a break, is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.

so yeah, things aren’t going well. I can’t go back to undo a lot of things that have happened or drop any commitments, make any of the responsibilities less heavy, buy any more time. I can’t inhale and make tears go back in (because that’s kind of creepy) or make my eyes any less puffy.

not every day has to be a day where I convince myself that it was good.

I had a bad day, yeah.

but I’ll have better days and it’s days like this that make the good ones better, the losses that make the gains so much more rewarding.

guess it’s like the crappy toil of sitting for hours training level 5 Pokemon in the patch of grass next to your hometown, the repetition and the time. i can’t save before i take on any battles this time around, can’t cut my losses. but yeah, that’s the process of it all yeah. doesn’t have to feel great, doesn’t have to be shiny all the time, don’t have to be positive all the time. but as Grandma says

c’est la vie

my depression’s been hitting me really damn hard and even shitty metaphors aren’t going to help me out this wave around

-everything i write and make comes out ugly and i don’t know how to fix it

how are you doing these days followed by i am okay when i am in fact not very okay and that in itself, is okay

I’ve cornered myself into dispassion all over again. Overworked and over-involved in so many things that I don’t care much for, tired. Nothing I do makes me satisfied. Never enough. Easily irritated, easily sad, easily defeated.

I don’t have the heart to continue. Need to take a break for a while, need to focus on something else for a while, need to get away and get my mind off. Living by the calendar. When I stop to breathe I let the sad catch up, takes my breath and focus away.

Took on too much out of obligation and the fear of space. We’ve long since conditioned ourselves that having free time, having time for ourselves, is wasted time– that we’re not working hard enough. It’s a tiring life to have if you’re never satisfied unless you’re overworked. Not working hard enough if you’re not overworked, stressed, depressed. Body shutting down, all-nighters, sad and tired. Didn’t realize this was the golden standard.

‘Cause when I say that everything is okay, I’m settling for the fact that this unease is okay. That all this, all of this aimlessness and blue, is okay.

Yeah, no, I’m not okay.

But yeah, realizing that is progress. And yeah, letting myself feel that is progress. Let’s work on cutting out those 4 am thoughts by going to sleep now.

Rest now, fight tomorrow.

it’s difficult not feeling stagnant all the time, feeling tired all the time. my writing doesn’t flow the way it used to, comes out choppy and unfamiliar. uncomfortable. but we’ll work at it again, this time, with a little more rest and proper nutrition. yeah, yeah.