Anytime

Charlie and I watched “The Green Mile” this morning, which always messes me up. We laid down before he had to go to work, and then after he left I got ready and was headed out to go hang out with some friends and then decided against it at the last minute. I ended up at a coffee shop that I’ve frequented ever since the first Andy and I dated. I was 15 and he was 20. He turned 21 before I turned 16. We lied to my mom and told her he was a Senior at my high school. We got away with that for a while until we started tripping up on our lies and got busted. But, as wonderful parenting goes, my mom didn’t really care unless she was pissed at me and wanted to hang over my head how she could have him thrown in jail.

But I sat there with my coffee and enjoyed the silence. I marveled at how everything around me was still exactly the same as it was 14 years ago, and yet everything was different. It was like some weird paradoxical realization.  I looked over my left shoulder and saw one of Andy’s friends getting pissed off and punching the mirror out of a work van at the dry cleaners next door. In reality the dry cleaners is still there, the building is still some gaudy yellow color, but the van has relocated, the mirror has long since been fixed, but everything in my mind was still just as it was. Well, I don’t smoke anymore and even if I did you aren’t allowed to smoke at the coffee house anymore – even outside on their stoop. But I lit up many a cigarette at that table. Man I had fun. It was the most free I had ever felt in my life. Being 15 and running the roads with quiet abandon. I’d lock my kid in a closet if she ever thought about doing this senseless shit. Or dating a boy six years older than her before she’s out of high school.

One of the better things about all of this is that (first) Andy is still my friend. All of these years later. He’s married with children, a full-time job, he doesn’t live too far away from me, but life is what it is and we don’t see each other. We just text every so often and catch up. I always tell him that he stole my virginity like a thief in the night, when in reality I think we were riding down the road to his house one evening and I said “Well, let’s do this if we’re going to do it, stop at the store and grab some condoms” and I think the car hooked a right on two wheels and you’ve really never seen a 6’6″(ish) man run so fast inside of a grocery store as you did that night.

I wish I had some romantic gesture of losing my virginity, but no such luck. Though, you never forget your first time or the person that it was with. I’m just glad that we have remained friends through the years. We used to joke and say that even if we never got back together, we’d manage to still grow old together, and I think there’s something very endearing and sweet in the sentiment; he’s already old and I’m well on my way.

I used to fancy myself a romantic, but I’ve never really had the relationships or experiences to back it up. I guess everything just plays out better in my head. The only thing I can remember is when I was 12 and Tim slow danced with me on the beach while he sang “Truly Madly Deeply” in my ear with the ocean waves crashing in the background. Even at such a young age I knew that there wasn’t much in the world that would ever compare to that innocent feeling of new experiences. Even at the age of 29, I still think of that gesture as terribly romantic.

I had this boy named Anthony that had a huge thing for me around the time I was chasing Tim to the ends of the earth. I remember going to bed listening to my cassette tape of Mariah Carey’s Album “Jukebox” and thinking to myself that I would finally give Anthony a chance. He wasn’t so bad looking and he was only slightly more annoying than the average 14 year old. We went to the fair together the next day and when we got back to his house we sat on his floor and he pulled his dick out and it was the first time I had ever seen a real penis and I didn’t know what to do. He put that thing away, apologized profusely, and I left the house having experienced slight disappointment in the fact that things didn’t really go the way I had envisioned them the previous night. A few weeks later me and Tim and a few other neighborhood kids were at Anthony’s house while he lost his virginity in his bedroom to some girl named Michelle. I remember hearing the headboard bang against the wall in rhythmic motion, and then his step-dad came home unexpectedly, and we were all running out of the back door -including a scantly dressed Anthony and even less-dressed Michelle with her shoes in her hand. We all ran into the woods and I remember being completely grossed out at the notion of whatever the hell it was that those two were doing. And Michelle was ugly as shit. Bless her heart.

Despite all of that – taking this trip down memory lane has made me smile. Anthony and I did reconnect for a moment after Chesley and I split up, and we had our fun, and we got to experience what we had missed all of those years ago, and then we went our separate ways. Some people are meant to remain in one anothers lives, and others just aren’t, for whatever reason.

Despite the pain that I feel on a regular basis and despite how much I dwell on the things that have hurt me, I really do have some amazing memories. And I do hope that when I’m old and wrinkly and sitting in my rocker watching the world go by, that I do remember everything that has ever happened in my life. I hope I can reflect back on my teenage years then just as easily as I am able to now. I’ve said it many times before; there is beauty in pain. It may take a while for you to be able to see it, because the pain has to clear out of the way – but it’s there. Tim never wanted me, (first) Andy and I broke up because we were young and dumb, Julie’s dad and I were too young to be married, Ricky wasn’t ready for the family life, Chesley cheated and abused me, Rick cheated on me more than he was faithful, (second) Andy couldn’t sit still and be settled no matter how much he wanted to, and I’m battling some trust things with Charlie – but damn there have been some beautiful moments out of every one of these situations. So much so that I can look back fondly on all of these men in one way or another and remember the good with the bad.

That’s what makes things bittersweet in life. But it’s also how you learn to live without regrets. I could never say that I regret any of these men or any of these relationships. Without them, reflecting on my life would be incredibly boring. At least I’ll never be bored with my memories.

By Night

Spotify’s “Unrequited Love” station is on point with all of the best love songs that make your heart hurt just a little. Right now I’m listening to a cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, which is actually a song I played on repeat when I found out Chesley was seeing Mandy behind my back. He disappeared for entire weekends at a time and after I decided against drowning myself in the backyard pond with those asshole swans, I lay on our bed and listened to that song on repeat and cried and sobbed and clutched pillows and dry heaved until my eyes were swollen shut and I didn’t feel like moving anymore. I remember hearing his truck pull up in the driveway and I was just so damn happy that he was finally home, I didn’t care that he had been at her house.

I was at Target tonight, and I always love looking at their shoes. I wear a size 12, so it’s incredibly difficult for me to even find anything that will fit – but they carry 11’s and that’s close enough. I love the tall, skinny heels. Sometimes I will try them on and take pictures of how long my legs look in them. It makes me sad though; I can’t buy these shoes with their awesome heels because he fucked my right foot up in such a way that I can’t ever wear something with that much of an incline where the weight shifts to the front of my feet. Standing in shoes like that for longer than a few minutes and my right foot is in excruciating pain. I see these shoes and I get excited and then I remember the reality of the situation, and it sucks every time.

I have put up with a lot of shit from a lot of people. I’m so tired of doing it. Tonight, while I was walking through Target, the thought ran through my head again; “Why are you here? Why are you wasting everyone’s time?” and I told the thought to go away, but it still made me sad to know that somewhere in the recesses of my mind, that thought is swirling around just waiting for its opportunity to show its ugly face in the front of my mind.

This was a long week. Work was busy, I stay busy. I don’t have my daughter this weekend. My boyfriend is at work on third shift tonight, and here I sit. I am so much of a loner and introvert that I sit here and blog when I could be out doing something with somebody that is still awake at midnight. Instead, I isolate myself and sit here and think about the past assholes that really did a number on me.

Tonight my boyfriend was having a rough evening. And since I’m so tuned into what people are feeling, it makes me have a rough night. His stress turns into mine. When he’s aggravated, I get the same way. It’s not that I’m aggravated personally, it’s that I’m taking on his aggravation and projecting it. It blows.

Maybe tomorrow will be better for both of us.

Wings Without Color

I’ve been in a weird mind-set since yesterday and figured it was time to swing by the therapists office for an appointment. There was an incident that happened a couple of weeks ago that has really set me back on my self-esteem and how I view myself. It doesn’t take much to mess me up. If there is ever a moment that I am put in the position where I feel like I am less than average or not good enough, I feel like a waste of space. Dr. Lee is pushing for me to see a psychiatrist so that I may explore the option of medication. I told him from the beginning that I would never be on medication. I have taken that route before, in my mid-teens. It’s not a fun place to be. My depression stems from situations that make me sad. My depression doesn’t come from my just waking up and hating myself. I’m not going to take medication to numb the feelings I have. I just want people to stop ….. just stop.

So, I dropped the kid off at school a little early (she has chorus on Thursday’s anyway) and went to see my therapist. On the way, I was crossing over the bridge and the sun hit me in the face and the first thought that ran through my mind was “Why are you even here?” and it made me sad. Because I don’t know why I’m here. Obviously I have Julie, and she’s the sole purpose of my existence. But I feel like I don’t matter to anyone else. I feel so easily replaceable in every other aspect of my life. Just when I really started believing that I meant something to someone, it all came crumbling down around me and my trust issues arose anew. And I keep asking myself “why does this always happen to me?”

So, I told Dr. Lee what was going on. I told him how inadequate I was feeling. I spent thirty-five minutes of word vomit on everything that happened a couple of weeks ago and what happened last night that made me upset. At my boyfriends suggestion, he said I needed to just “let it go”, that it was done and over with. That upset me even more. Because this incident didn’t happen to him. Of course it’s easy to tell someone to just let it go. When you aren’t the one sitting there feeling like the biggest loser piece of shit on the planet because you can’t hang on to something without it trying to fly away and venture off into greener pastures, it’s quite easy to say “let it go.”

What I took away from my therapy session is that I have a right to how I feel just like my boyfriend has a right to how he feels. It doesn’t make either one of us wrong. Feelings are similar to opinions in that everyone has them, and they are unique to an individuals own situation. I’m the one that has to decide when enough is enough. I’m the one that has to decide when I’m willing to trust someone again. I’m the one that has to decide if what has happened is going to define me or if I’m going to work through it.

But it’s hard when you feel like your support system doesn’t exist. My boyfriend and I can’t really talk about things that bother us because everything get’s heated and then we’re yelling at each other.

I just know that I’m sad. I know that I hate wondering what my purpose is here when it keeps getting proven to me over and over and over again that people just prefer, or at least entertain the thought, of being with another person. I will never be good enough for someone. I keep trying to do the right things, to be attentive, to be giving and unselfish in the things that I do. I wonder if I were a bitch and didn’t care about anyone’s feelings but my own, would I fare better?

If someone wants me to care with everything that I have, I can’t just let things go. If I let them go, I turn cold, I lose my passion, I lose my drive, and then I become a person that I don’t like. I become someone that doesn’t care what she does or who she hurts. I’ve been that person before. It’s not pretty. I don’t want to be that person anymore.

They say you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. I understand that. But it’s difficult to love yourself when people keep showing you just how unworthy you are. I can feel myself shutting down. I can feel the passion leaving me. I’ve just about had enough. Just in general. With everything. I’ve had it. Life isn’t supposed to hurt this much, is it?

All in the Family

It has been a good weekend. Yesterday me and the kid went to my friends house for a little Halloween get-together. It’s the one time of year that the kid lets me put makeup on her and do something to her hair. So, that’s always super exciting.

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The time is flying by so quickly. Seven and a half years and she will be off to college. Five and a half years and she will be driving. I have already spent more time raising her than she has left under my wing. And it has flown by.

So we went and did that and then we came home and changed, wiped our makeup off and cooked dinner together.

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And then today went my boyfriend took us to the state fair. He spent the majority of his money on making sure the kid had a good time. He and I are going to go back later this week – just us – so that we can walk around and look at stuff and eat a bunch of shit food and look at things and people.

Every time I do things with the kid it makes me sad to continuously realize and wonder why my mom didn’t do these things with me and my brother. It is seriously such a joy to be able to spend the time with her, to watch how happy she is to have the opportunities to go and do fun things. Why did my mom choose to stay in bed doped up instead of taking me and my brother to a friends house so that we could play?

I’m supposed to meet my coworker on Thursday for dinner. I had forgotten that my schedule with the kid was a little different this week and that her dad and step-mom don’t get her until Friday. I mentioned it to my grams while fixing dinner tonight and she said “We’ll be here when she get’s home. Go have dinner.” and it’s just like ….. no. If Julie is going to be here, I’m not going to be out and about doing things without her. I was like that when she was first born and I was 19 and running the roads while her dad or my mom or my step-dad kept her overnight. I haven’t been that kind of mother in nine years. If she’s here, she’s with me. Unless I run to the store or something and she doesn’t want to go then she hangs out with my grams for thirty minutes.

When I went downstairs tonight to borrow the kids laptop (imagine that, she has her own laptop and I don’t. just like she has a flat screen TV in her room with cable and I don’t have that in my bedroom) … and I asked her if she wanted to go with me Thursday night to eat dinner with my old coworker. She said yeah, and that was that.

I’m not a perfect mother, and God knows I’ve done my share of messed up things in regard to how she was raised in the beginning – but for what it’s worth and what her memory can recollect, I’ve done a pretty damn good job with her. I often feel bad that I hate playing board games, and I never played barbie’s with her, and we gave up years ago trying to learn how to ride a bike with no training wheels because she got pissed and I got pissed and then we sold the bike. But, for what it’s worth, I’m there for her. I’m always here when she needs me. As long as I have a breath in my body, I always will be.

Because I remember so long ago watching my mother dump me off with whomever while she went out and partied all night long. I remember laying in some strange persons bed with the creepy sounds of the neighborhood, missing her and wishing that I were at home in my own bed with my mom in the house. And I remember that she would come pick me up – almost reluctantly – the next day only to go home and throw herself in the bed while I fixed my own food and went outside until dark to play with my friends. Or if that wasn’t bad enough, I’d have to get up in the mornings at eight years old and feed and change and play with my one year old brother while she slept off whatever drug-induced coma she had herself in.

Do you know how difficult it is to raise a baby when you’re a child? Do you know the agony of your mom going to “take a nap” and yelling at you because you don’t want to watch your infant brother all day? You just want to go outside and be with your friends. She is the reason I never wanted to have children. I have spent my entire life petrified that I would be just like her. I have spent the same amount of time resenting most children because it makes me have some PTSD relapse of feeling trapped with no way out or no way to live my life without the constant screaming and wailing of a small child. The first year of Julie’s life, I sat there and looked at her and felt like an eight year old raising a baby all over again. I knew exactly what to do, the motions I had to go through to make sure she was healthy and taken care of – and all the while I was looking out of the front door, wishing I could go outside and play.

My mother fucked me up. She really did a number on me.

And I look at my kid and I wonder how in the hell my mom could ever feel the way she did about me and my brother. I wonder how she could neglect us and do drugs in front of us and live with horrible men who did horrible things to her and me and my brother. I wonder what level of selfishness one must achieve to be able to blindly neglect their children and still be able to sleep at night. I can’t imagine ever doing that to my kid.

I just really wish I had her sometimes to be there for me. One day she’s going to be dead and I will either find out or I won’t, but either way I won’t go to her funeral because she died to me a long time ago. And even after she’s gone, I will miss her then, too. I will always miss her; I have memories of her that are good, even though those memories are followed up with a reason that they were good, which usually turns them into bad memories. She could be your best friend as long as you were divulging your darkest secrets. But six months later she used them against you and told everyone, and added on some embellishments that put you in the absolute worst light.

I think that she is a big reason I turn to men and am so dependent on them. Since the age of 15 I have never been single longer than a couple of months. Ever. For 14 years I have been with someone. My first boyfriend was named Andy (a different one) and we were together for almost eight months. My second boyfriend was named Randy and we were together for eight months. Then came my baby daddy, we were together a little over two years, married for eight months or so and then we went our separate ways. I dated a pretty kick ass guy named Ricky for a few months but he wasn’t ready for all of the things that came with being a parent and having a ton of responsibility. Immediately after him I ended up with Chesley for three years. Once he got done smacking me around and cheating on me I briefly dated a guy named Tim (not Andy’s brother), then he flew back to California to go home and I was with Rick for four years. After he cheated on me multiple times, I kicked his ass to the curb and Andy (not first boyfriend Andy) and I were together for a year. Now, Charlie and I are headed in the year long direction. My recurring theme here is the cheating thing because I don’t think anybody can really be happy with me long-term. I represent stability, which most people find appealing, though no much else. I find it ironic because all I’ve ever looked for is for someone to love me unconditionally so that I may finally have that stability I’ve been looking for my entire life. But the only way that can happen is if someone is devoted to me and not out fucking around or thinking about fucking around.

The more time that passes, it seems like the harder that is to accomplish. If I knew then what I know now …..

Comes and Goes in Waves

I finished out the work week with 43 hours, which isn’t a lot, but I felt like I was there a hell of a lot more than that. Of course, we write our time down by hand and I always forget to do it, so I’m sure some days I write that I am there a lot less than I actually am. There’s a few days that I can’t remember if I left at 5:15 or 5:45, so I just write the former just to make sure it doesn’t look like I’m trying to cheat on my time. 

I’m glad I’ve had work to keep me busy and keep my mind off of things. There is nothing more depressing than being sad all of the time. I keep trying to tell myself that I’m worth so much more than those horrible thoughts that swarm inside of my head. But, it’s just easier to accept that I’m not good enough for anyone to be permanently happy with me. At least when it actually does happen, I won’t be surprised. 

People think that because I don’t typically leave a relationship, that I won’t ever leave a relationship. It’s not even close to being true. Usually I adhere to a strict no-cheating policy. Emotional, physical, mental … whatever. If not that, then I switch to the “I’m going to do to you what you did to me so we’re even” frame of mind. I don’t like being that person. 

You know what sucks even more? When it happens and you’re with someone and you are constantly wondering if they are still doing it but being more clever about it. And if they aren’t doing it, are they at least thinking about it? If you’re thinking about kissing someone else, then in that moment you aren’t thinking about kissing me. And if someone really loves you aren’t they supposed to think about you only? Am I getting this wrong or expecting too much? Are relationships really not about these things? 

Maybe I just need to be happy that someone comes home to me every night, even if they aren’t in the frame of mind of wanting to be with me, but instead with someone else. 

I really really wish I had my mom to discuss these things with. There are days that I miss her so much it hurts. But I’m missing a fictional mom. My mom isn’t worth a shit to anybody, not even herself. I should really start seeing my friends more often. I just never really care to go out and socialize and complain about my problems to anyone. But when you’re alone, your mind does all kinds of crazy shit and you think the impossible. 

But it’s just when you think that something won’t happen to you …. that’s when it usually does happen. It’s like Fate’s way of saying “You wish, bitch.” 

Turn Our Eyes Away

My boss called me into his office yesterday morning. I’m getting the raise that I feel I greatly deserve. I’m getting semi-annual productivity bonuses, and we are expanding our practice where I will travel almost two hours away once a month to be a technician with my doctor-boss for a morning clinic in another location, which is really exciting.

In all aspects of my career, I’m on the right track. It’s a great feeling to know that while I’m being loaded down with even more responsibility, it’s happening because I am able to handle whatever is thrown my way, I am able to learn all of these new things and prove myself and come out on top doing it. To me, there is no greater accomplishment than constantly proving that you can do more and more and more without buckling under the pressure.

I had a patient tell me yesterday that I look like I’m in my early twenties – not almost thirty. That made me happy.

I had a patient today give me a beautiful Korean necklace for my daughter (since she’s a quarter Korean), and I love when my patients remember small details like that and do nice things like that. Another patient brought us a loaf of homemade pound cake yesterday and I almost fat-girl-died.

So yes, I’m super happy with my career and how it’s going. It’s just everything else that I have to get going in the right direction. I’m never sure how I know it’s right for me. I ask God for guidance all of the time. I ask Him to give me signs if something is right or wrong and then I stress that I’m missing the signs he’s giving me. After what happened this weekend, one would think it was a clear sign of a decision I need to make, but then I second-guess that and wonder if everyone deserves at least a second chance.

I never know anymore if what I’m doing is right or wrong. No matter what I try to be happy, something always happens and I’m sitting here crying. It’s so frustrating. My therapist says that I need to learn what is healthy for me and what isn’t. He said my codependency can skew a lot of perception on what I need and don’t need in my life. It’s so much more than that. It’s me not wanting to give up on people, because it’s just not in my nature. I just wish people didn’t do stupid things to upset me and make me question everything.

Enough

You spend days, months, years pushing forward and trying to put behind you all of the things that make you question what you’re doing wrong. You spend hours in front of a mirror learning how to not cry because the person staring back at you isn’t what society deems pretty or acceptable. You tell yourself that who you are is okay; that you’re good enough, that one day someone is going to love you and only you and only have eyes for you. You convince yourself that not everyone is the same, that karma is done with you. 

And then one single thing happens and your stomach drops, you feel sick, you are right back where you were seven years ago, two years ago, right now. It’s all melting together and those demons are circling your head and telling you that you aren’t good enough. You’re nobody. They are laughing at you and mocking you and then you understand why this guy left and that guy took off and they all cheated on you. You understand this because you also understand that no matter what you do, someone always has something that you don’t that is better. Everyone is always looking for better. It won’t be long before you’re old news, able to be so easily discarded just like all of the times before. 

My name is Crystal and I’m a stepping-stone friend/girlfriend/acquaintance. I always have been. People try to tell me that it isn’t true, but it is.

But I’m tired and I’m sad. I’m worn down. I convince myself that things won’t happen to me because I’m doing everything correctly, and I’m making choices more carefully now.  But there are no guarantee’s and I should know this by now. I just want to be enough. And just when I think that I am, I realize that I’m not. 

I guess a trip to my therapist is in order. 

I got a war inside, with a flag in hand.
I’ll wait to cry surrender.
While the pride in me, is fighting who I am.
Why is it that I linger?
I guess every man decides to take or save a life.

- Trent Dabbs