Lifeboats, Wings, and More Family Things
My meds ran out on Friday (maybe Saturday?) and already I can feel the little control I had over my life slipping out of my fingers. I wish I was 18 again, back in group therapy so I could feel some sort of validation. You never realize how comforting “I know how you feel” is until no one says it to you anymore.
There was a comfort in group that I don’t find in regular life. It was an unspoken knowledge that “I was sent here by someone who cares about me, because I worry them” and we all could see that underneath everyone’s layers of silence that they wanted to be there too, because they felt lost and scared/numb. It was really nice to feel like you aren’t weird or unstable anymore; everyone in the room had their own emotional baggage that made yours seem less burdensome. It was only after group, when we all went back to the real world, that society’s “what’s wrong with you?” weighed on our shoulders.
I bring all of this up because my mom texted me over the weekend. I asked about spending Thanksgiving with my girlfriend’s (I’ll get to that part later) family earlier in the day, to which she said that was fine with her. But then I got this text:
I have been feeling sad all day; I confess that the idea of you preferring to spend Thanksgiving somewhere else instead of with us is bothering me. Especially because you don’t come home very much anymore. And I know what will happen when I tell your dad where you are instead–that it will be miserable for all of us here at home. I know you haven’t been feeling great lately and I do not want to place any additional “stresses” on you, but I have to admit that I am sad about the whole situation. I just feel that my family is being torn apart.
So I called her, and she was crying. It kills me that she was crying. My mom hardly ever cries…not when I told her I was depressed, not when I told her I was bi, not when I told her I swallowed a bunch of pills, not when she dropped me off at college. But her tears poured over me, and I did my best to be strong, though I wanted to cry too. “…It’s okay Mom, you can tell me anything…you don’t have to pretend that this makes you comfortable if it doesn’t, I understand that you’re having a hard time with it…I know I’m not the daughter that you and Dad expected…I’ll spend Thanksgiving at home if it’s important to you, it’s not big deal…” But what she was saying was a big deal. “…I don’t want you to never come home…I don’t want you to have one parent that doesn’t want to be around you…It’s hard to have one kid that doesn’t want to talk to the other…”
Readers, if I could have changed my sexuality right then, I would have. But I had ventured too deep into the rabbit hole, I had come too far to go back to feeling ashamed and disgusted by my feelings. So I was stuck, tearing my family apart.
Since high school, I’ve considered my group of friends to be my family. They were the ones I went to when I was crying, when I couldn’t stand to be in my house any longer, when I needed to rant, or when I wanted to share my hopes and dreams for the future. They were my best friends, my hooligans, my siblings. I loved them with all of my heart; they were the ones I was scared to move away from when I went to college. But my pseudo family is also being torn apart. Ashley and Brendan live together back home, and thrive off of the company of their families rather than the company of their old friends. Polly and Michelle are both off at their respective schools, and beloved Daniel moved with his family to Texas. Everyone is apart, and only four of us seem to care.
With no families to fall back on, I’ve gone back to my loner ways. Netflix, sweatpants, and junk food are my family now. And friends? As much as I love and treasure my college friends, I feel like a burden to them. Fred is a friendly reminder of the life I could have had, which brings up painful memories and anger, so I also try to avoid him. As of now, my strategy in life is to hide under my covers and block out the world.
But there is one bright spot. My girlfriend, formerly my ex-girlfriend. We got back together, and it was actually a simple decision. She loves me, I love her, she is good to me (despite everything), and I want to spend as much time with her before she moves to Costa Rica as I can. Sure, it’s a short-lived commitment, but there’s no one else I’d rather spend my time with. She takes care of me, and makes me feel strong enough to take care of her back. She’s the only thing in my life that makes me feel normal and lovable, and she makes me excited about things again. So I’ve quitting dating around, and am just dating her. In a way, it feels like we’re in our own little world, just holding onto each other until it’s time to let go. It might sound like she’s my lifeboat, but really she’s my wings. She helps me fly toward hope and perspective.
So that’s where I’m at. I’m sad and happy and struggling, but as much as I might feel to blame for the wrongdoings of the world, I’m still trying. After all, there’s only one more week until Thanksgiving Break. I can hold out for that long….right?