Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When your best hopes and desires are scattered to the winds

I want to write. I've had a post on alcohol rattling around in my head for two weeks and another about leaving my hometown for a week. But all I can think about is you.

You as Lisbeth, girl with the Dragon Tattoo
You were found dead on Saturday, of an apparent suicide. The "life celebration" is Thursday. Your Facebook page is full of people talking about how much they loved you and how much they'll miss you.

I didn't actually know you very well. About this time last year, I attempted suicide. Like most people in that situation, I absolutely did not want to be hospitalized afterwards. And there you were. This cute little baby-dyke ball of love and energy and acceptance and welcome. And all at once you look across a crowded room to see the way that light attaches to a girl. You made me smile, just to look at you, so young and fresh and pretty. You got me to play that stupid Settlers of Catan game. You and the big guy were spots of promise at a really desperate time, when I felt like I'd fucked up the couple months of therapy that I'd been working on, felt like I'd always just end up back in the same place. Afterwards, you created a secret FB page for those of us who were in the hospital at the same time. The group even met for a few dinners, though I was only there for one. I have ended up becoming real friends with another member of the group. Though ze's moved several hours away, I still see zir whenever ze comes back to visit other friends.

Our dinners stopped when you went into an intensive in-patient program in the Large Midwestern City. You stayed there after the program was over. Through the summer, I'd see pics of you at famous locations all around the city, particularly the baseball stadium. You seemed happy. Then again, you always seemed happy, which must not have been the case, considering how we met.

But I hoped that all of us were doing better. Through FB I knew that another person had dealt with medication abuse issues and was back on zir feet. The person that I'd become friends with has found a job ze loves and likes the new city ze is living in. Though it took me until August, and two failed jobs, I finally found a job that I think I can stick with, that I really find rewarding. I finally feel like the skills from therapy are becoming second nature, not "ok, what skill should I use here?" I'm really feeling good.

I'd seen that you'd been back in the hospital a few weeks ago but you said that you were fine, no worries. But sometimes the toughest part is when we get out of the hospital. And holidays. And fall/winter.

I don't presume to tell people that they should stick it out, no matter how much they are suffering, because life is sacred, because it might get better, because of their family and loved ones. I don't know their pain and only they can say if it is bearable. I've read that 10% of major depressive disorder is treatment resistant. I have no idea what the stats are on bipolar, mood disorders, or schizophrenia. Even when medication works to treat the mental disorder, the side effects can make it difficult to continue. These are diseases. Like diabetes. Sometimes you just take some meds and are more mindful of things in your life. Sometimes they take whole parts of you.

Last June, you turned 20 days after I turned 30. Time doesn't always bring wisdom though it does bring experience. It might not have changed your mind, but I wish I could have told you a few things before you were gone. I would have told you that you might not be able to change who you are, but you can find ways to manage bad behavior. I wish I could have told you that life is both longer and shorter than you could ever imagine. It is long enough not to spend it miserable. It is long enough that you'll get more chances than you'd think. It is long enough to find and lose love over and over and over. That it feels neverending when you're watching someone go, but like the time with them went in the blink of an eye once they're gone. That hard times come and hard times go, hard times come and hard times go...just to come again. That they do go. That so much of this will pass, yes the good, but also the bad.

But I'm sure people had told you all those things before. You decided to do this. It's not my place to say you didn't do the best thing for you. Even if I did, it wouldn't change anything. So I'll put these thoughts out there, with hopes that you'll hear them and hopes that they might help someone else. Maybe me on a day when I really need them. And I'll mourn, for my loss, for your family's loss, for your friends' and lovers' loss, that half the world don't even know what they could have had. Whatever comes after this, I hope you find peace or at least reprieve.

Friday, November 09, 2012


When I turned 15, as we walked around our local mall, my friend handed me an object wrapped in a plastic bag. My birthday present was a vhs tape, Goldfinger. "It's the best one and I wanted to start you out right," he said. I rolled my eyes. What a waste of a present, I thought. There was no way I was going to watch a movie centered on an egotistical male chauvinist. But I had a huge crush on my friend, Mike, so I didn't act too serious when I teased him about his obsession with James Bond. By the next time my birthday rolled around, not only would I have seen all the James Bond films, but I had copies I'd made of his movies and could recite the names of all the movies, in order, along with the actor who starred as Bond in each other them. Most of us, to some extent or another, will attempt to get interested in things that the people we are close to like, especially when we are crushing hard on them. I already liked movies and, what can I say, his enthusiasm helped me to see more in the movies than just some egotistical male chauvinist.

We aren't friends anymore. After high school, we drifted a bit, but it wasn't until the last time I moved back home that he stopped returning my calls and emails. I didn't realize it until just recently, but I think that all my crazy got too much for him. I understand. At least now I do. When I try to put myself in his shoes, I wouldn't want to be friends with me either, especially the me I was back then. Also, I think that our bond was probably one of proximity and lack of connection to other people as much as anything else. We didn't really fit into other groups at school. We were in honors classes together and shared some interests, like movies. I'm sure that we both wanted friends and to feel like we fit somewhere. It might have fizzled out more quickly if I hadn't been so persistent, which I only was because I thought we might get together romantically. Of course, we never did. He is gay, came out our freshman year of college. It is probably better that he ended our friendship. We had less and less in common as time went along after high school. I truly do hope he's happy and has the life that he wants. Every time I see a Bond film, I think about him. Every time a new Bond film comes out, I wonder what he thinks of it.

TyRoy is the first person I've met since him that was so into James Bond. When we were 15, Mike presented James Bond movies as the ultimate in male wish fulfillment, the toys, the cars, and most especially the women. Of course, I've since wondered how much Mike's talk functioned as a beard and how much he watched Goldfinger to see Sean Connery with his shirt off. TyRoy, however, really does love James Bond for those things, just like he pines to live Don Draper's life.

I saw the last James Bond movie with him. Because of our shared love for Bond, I was sad that we wouldn't get to see it in the theater together, as he's now on the West Coast and wouldn't be back for a trip long enough to see me until Christmastime. But as his girlfriend still lives here, he does come out here to steal some time with her whenever he has long weekends, like Thanksgiving.

And this weekend. It didn't occur to me until, on the way to the movie theater, I saw the field of flags for Veteran's Day that he'd have a long weekend this weekend, which is why he warned me that it would be hit or miss to contact him this weekend. Just before the movie started, I got an email confirming what I had suspected. He's here in this city, probably seeing it right now in fact, with his current girlfriend.

I can't say that I am not a little bit sad. In earlier emails, we'd both said that we wished we could go see it together. I thought that ours was a problem of geography, but I see now that it wasn't. It is a question of time and priorities. But it is not that I do not understand. They do not get much time together, which means that he does not get much time in which to be very happy.

During a recent conversation, TyRoy had asked me the difference between BPD people and regular people. In thinking about this, I had to frame it in terms of how I was before I had my BPD under control and now. I am sad. I miss him. That is as it should be. But I am not mad at him. I do not feel like he abandoned me. I am not crushed. My day isn't ruined. The movie isn't ruined. I do not feel like our relationship is ruined, like our bond is anything less than what it is. I know that in his shoes I'd be watching that movie cuddled up with the my significant other, my lover, taking advantage of every moment that I could get with her. I am just a little sad.

And regretful. I recently told my own Moneypenny that I would never go back in time to change anything because I know what I have now and I can't bring myself to say that I wouldn't want them, which is what that amounts to in my mind. I still wouldn't change anything. The ways in which I'm messed up are what brought me to TyRoy, so saying that I wished I had been better in the ways that might have kept us together would probably have also erased that we ever were together. And it might erase his happiness now. But I regret that I wasn't those things enough that it makes continuing to improve all the more important. You never change for the one who left. I don't want to be in the same spot, several years from now, saying that I could be watching the next Bond movie with my bestfriend, if only s/he wasn't with someone else because I was too much of a burden as a partner or a friend.

We Are What You Say by Dead Sara

You gotta sink to learn to swim
These are the rules that they teach and they want you to live
Apologies will never do and I know that way too well
Brought down by somebody else's lack of education
Shouldn't be you that it hurts
But I took all the advice that I could take
Before I thought to give up

I bet you thought I'd give up

And this is what they told me…

These are the lies you gotta believe
They'll give you everything to lose if you disagree
Apologies are over used and I'd be cutting the line way too thin
I'm aware of this bitter behavior
I lost myself somewhere I never wanted to beNow it's time to start all over - we were held to the light
But we never went blind

Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh
You can't back down kid, back down kid
Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh
You can't back out now, back out now
We are what you say
We are not what you think

Too lonely to survive the loss that was staring back with bloodshot eyes
I almost fell below the ground that I was standing on
Oh no, you said it yourself, you're disappointed
And I'm ashamed and embarrassed to say that
I was a failure, a failure

But not matter how low

Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh

You can't back down kid...back down kid
Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh

You can't back out now

Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh
You can't back down kid...back down kid
Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh
You can't back out now...back out now
We are what you say