Literary Persuits and other Ramblings

Living my Life: The Disorders

Yesterday was crippling. I hurt myself and didn’t feel that I got the sympathy I deserved, I had a mountain of work to do and then found out that I was going to be completely alone in the office/shop. I felt sorry for myself, I felt fearful and I felt alone.
Then when I was rescued, and it was suggested that we should go grocery shopping, I freaked out. I felt claustrophobic, my skin felt too tight, my heart was racing and all my mind was telling me was that this was a conspiracy to keep me from my comfort space.
Now to many, it seems like a whiny day where I should put my big girl pants on and just get on with it. I have heard this many times in my life. One too many times.
The problem is that I live with a few disorders which can literally turn a mole hill into a mountain.
Yesterday was a spark of my anxiety. I have what is referred to as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which is fancy speak for if I can worry about it, I will. This also include being anxious about being anxious. Sounds ridiculous, right?
Well for me, it is standard. Yes I have medication which helps, but days like yesterday are bound to happen. Then I feel like I have done various types of extreme activities. Sitting alone in the office made felt as though I was walking across a tight rope across skyscrapers with no net. My heart was racing, I was fidgety and couldn’t concentrate. Despite needing to get work done, I could only think of getting out of there. At the same time if I left, then I wouldn’t get my work done. I eventually was so wound up that I just sat in my chair sobbing silently to myself.
Yes, the solutions seem simple, but for me, the solutions seemed impossible to attain.
Once I was rescued from the office and adequately passified that the work can be done the next day, I was more than happy to come home to my comfy bed where I could get some relief from my emotional turmoil in the form of a nice calming nap. That was my focus, which was then taken away from me by the suggestion that groceries are needed. Logically I knew that the shop would not take long. Logically I understand that we need food at home. Yesterday it just seemed as though my rescuer had turned against me and was keeping me from the only place I could find any peace. I shouted, and threw a temper tantrum a toddler would of been proud of. I cried. I used every arrow in my quiver to ensure that I could get away from anxiety inducing situations and get to safety.
Yes, it was manipulative and I am anxious now about the consequences of my tantrum, but in the moment it was more than I could cope with and I was willing to do anything to get to a place of safety.
Now that was a Sunday.
That was not a need to be functional day. My anxiety has landed me many different labels in my functional working life. I have been told that I am abrupt, rude, acerbic, unfocused, and more often, that I am grumpy. The truth is that my anxiety to make sure that I am working right, not letting anyone down and just plain being functional makes me come across that way. I am genuinely hurt when I hear these things about me. I am a person who loves hugs and cuddles. I am not the horrible person my anxiety makes me out to be.
Yes, it is manageable. Yes there is medication. Unfortunately the best method of dealing with it is therapy. Therapy which, due to circumstances, I cannot afford.
The moral? I am still figuring this out. Until I do many more molehills are going to turn into mountains.

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She sat alone

She sat alone.

Her long dark hair was already pulled into a tight plait. Her hands, wrists and forearms were wrapped tightly for protection in white bandages. The white tight sleeveless tank top clung to her form in direct opposition to the flowing white cotton pants she wore. Both afforded movement. Both were traditional.

The white would show blood. It would be a mark of any weakness on her part.

Her feet were bare. Her toes icy from the concrete floor.

She sat alone.

The room dark save for a little light coming through the slightly ajar door. She sat on a small flat bed with a thin mattress. There were no pillows no blankets. A small wash basin was in the corner of the room next to a single wooden shelf upon which she had neatly folded her clothes.

She sat alone, staring at the blank whitewashed wall ahead of her. Her mind was calm. She was relaxed. The dagger which rested across her thighs was sharp and polished to a high sheen. The blade was nineteen inches in length and the tang fit snugly in a polished dark wood hilt. The hilt was further wrapped in tightly packed leather. The grip would not slip. The dagger was perfectly weighted and splendidly lethal.

She let out a breath as a bell sounded in the distance, each ring bringing a clench of fear around her heart. Once. Twice. Three times. The time had come. Slowly she stood, stretching out her back and legs. She gripped the dagger firmly in her left hand. The dagger transformed from a separate weapon to an extension of her arm. She was complete now that she was holding the weapon. It was familiar. It was comforting.

Walking towards the door, her steps were deliberate and placed with care. There was no glancing back. Nothing sentimental lay behind her. All that there was lay in front of her. A moment. One moment which would determine the rest of her life.

She walked down a corridor, her arms hanging loosely at her side. The dagger brushed past her leg as she walked. It took her fifteen steps to reach the end of the corridor. She counted each step. Taking a deep breath, she paused for a second, before exhaling any nerves which had crept in during her short walk. She waited another second before pushing the heavy, rough oak door open.

Ahead of her was an open courtyard.

The courtyard was easy enough to traverse. It wasn’t a vast expanse nor was it small. It was enclosed by towering dark grey granite walls which loomed menacingly up toward the sky. The only light which could penetrate such monstrosities was the midday sun. The ground was covered in fine white sand which was perfectly flat and smooth as a pond. There were only two entrances to the courtyard. One lay behind her, the other directly opposite. It was through those doors she intended to leave, or not at all.

As she waited, her opponent entered the courtyard. She stared in fascination at the imposing woman who stood facing her. Her opponent had short hair the colour of a winters fire. She too wore a white tank top and the white flowing cotton pants. Her opponent was tanned yet formidable looking with white scars in stark relief on her perfect skin.

She tightened her grip on her dagger. She knew what was coming, and took a step forward before fear could take root and cause her to turn and flee.

For each step forward she took, her body responded, anticipating the fight ahead. She changed the grip on her dagger, so that the blade rested against her forearm. Her right hand subtlety moved up towards her waist. The last bit of tension left her shoulder blades and she became completely relaxed once again. She came to a halt in the center of the courtyard, waiting for the fight she had been preparing for to begin.

Her opponent started circling her, waiting to tango with her to gauge her fighting style. A quick feint to her right, then one to her left. She waited and watched, as still and motionless as the air within the courtyard. She used her periphery and other senses to gauge what her opponent was going to do next. Her opponent continued to circle her like a predator stalking prey.

It was the slight sound of sand shifting which alerted her to her opponents attack from behind. In the blink of an eye she shifted her weight to her right, turning as she perfectly deflected the blow in a clash of metal. The fight had started in earnest now, and would only end with blood.

As quickly as she defended, she attacked. Her right hand circling around her opponents dagger arm. As she reached the top of the circle she bought the butt of her hand crashing down onto her opponents forearm. The blow was true and her opponent’s grip loosened on her blade. Taking advantage, she allowed her hand to travel along her opponents forearm, taking grip of her thumb. Using the distraction of her right hand going for her opponents dagger, she gave a quick shunt using her own blade sending her opponent off balance. As her opponent started to topple, she quickly gripped her elbow to prevent her opponent from regaining balance. While her opponent was floundering for the stability she needed to continue to fight, she slashed neatly across her opponents neck. Blood, hot and thick, gushed out covering her blade and arm. Soaking the bandages and turning them a pinkish red.

Her opponent dropped her dagger as she fell to her knees, her eyes wide in shock as her hand gripped the wound on her neck. Her opponent tried to stem the flow of blood. She just looked on to the doors and wiped her blade clean on her pants. Turning, she walked deliberately and slowly towards the doors which would lead her to her salvation. She walked with care, knowing she was being observed.

She pushed the doors open and walked along another short corridor to another sparsely furnished room. The bed with a flat mattress was in the corner, opposite a wash basin. She walked over to the basin, set her dagger down on the already cleared table and washed as much of the blood off her arms as she could. A servant entered and bowed, waiting to take her blade off to be cleaned and polished. She took one look at the dagger and offered it over freely.

She sat alone.

And waited.

One Last Day

She took one look at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were swollen from crying and her throat her from screaming. She was emotionally drained. It was late, almost midnight.

She turned the taps off of the bath. The water was warm. She stripped out of her night gown she had put on a mere few hours ago and stepped into the soothing water. She lay her head back and just let the warms seep into her cold heart. Not that she was certain it was there anymore, it felt as though it has been ripped forcibly out through her rib cage. She did not deserve to be treated this way. She had done everything right. Given him everything he needed. She made sure the house was in good shape for him. She ensured that his children were seen to and happy for when he came home from work. She never bothered him with petty problems such as extra money for groceries, she always somehow made it work.

She looked after him when he was sick, sorting out his daily medication making it easier for him and reminding him to take them at the right times. She had sacrficed her life and career for him. Married at the age of eighteen and straight to being a housewife. She cooked, cleaned, worked hard to keep a happy marriage.

Still he cheated. Worse, he cheated and didn’t even try to hide it.

She washed her hair and decided it would serve him right if she died. She had thought about it before, but there were always the children to consider. Now her children were adults and could continue living without her.

She stood up in the bath and toweled off. She dried her hair and styled it perfectly. She applied mascara and her best red lipstick. It took her longer to decide on her outfit. She wanted to be in her best dress. She eventually settled on one, a dress he often complimented her in. She dressed and sat next to the bed.

Her husband was on morphine tablets for his extreme arthritis. He had left them behind when he ran off earlier to his other woman. She set them out nicely, went to the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water. She returned to her room and finished the box. She didn’t do it it one go, rather easing each tablet in. She didn’t want to throw them up prematurely as she heard people often did.

Once she had finished the box of morphine tablets, she took her sleeping tablets. Enough to ensure that she will sleep perfectly. She took one last hazy look at herself in the mirror and in her high state she felt proud of what she saw. She looked beautiful.

She made her way back to her bed and lay on her back like sleeping beauty waiting for her prince. She closed her eyes and went to sleep.

He would pay for what he had done to her.

For what he made her do.

A Tale of a Flutist

There was always a level of conceit surrounding the girl, especially after being named the best fluetist in the world at a young age. Her parents often said she had been born with a flute in hand, lips pursed and a lung full of air.

Now the girl is 22. Her fame had long since faded, as had her girlish charm. Many still remembered her as the child prodigy, which gave her certain allowances, although her talent had never progressed or grown since she was a child. In her young diva mind, she was as good as she needed to be and no improvement on her skill was needed. She took criticism badly, throwing temper tantrums and telling the critics that they were wrong for not understanding her perfect musical talent.

To her added benefit, she had also grown up to be a beautiful girl. Her hair was a shiny flowing mahogany, and her eyes were the bright green of peridot and sparkled when she smiled. Her skin was as though made from fine porcelain. This along with her name meant that any lead was often given to her without hesitation and she was often the even highlight.

Many of her peers gossiped behind her back that it was only her looks that got her the best performances. Many of her biggest critics agreed, even going as far as to suggest that those in charge of the production got to savour the fruits of her sexuality in order for her to secure her position. The gossip and rumours were fueled by the girls sexual nature, which clung to her like a second skin. She was a temptress, and the girl was well aware of it.

Perhaps it was her early fame that drew him to her, or it could of been her striking beauty in young adulthood. Perhaps it was the rumours of her sexual prowess behind closed doors. No one would ever know for certain, because after it all happened they would never see him again.

When it exactly started, many were unsure. There just seemed to be a very ordinary unassuming man sitting in the audience show after show. He often sat as close to the girl as possible, eyes closed whenever she had a solo as to soak in every note. The only thing that the ticket sales clerks and ushers would recall after was that he was insistent on his seating choice, and that the most remarkable thing about the man was that he was completely and utterly unremarkable. None of them could recall what he looked like, not even his eye or hair colour.

After a while a single tulip would appear on her flute case after each performance. The girl loved the secret attention, and made sure everyone knew that someone realized how talented and special she still was. No one else got a tulip. Even when it escalated into his breaking into her home to leave her gifts and letters confessing how he loved to watch her sleep, the girl still reveled in the attention. The girl ignored the advice of her peers, stating that he just wanted to enjoy her talent and beauty. She refused to go to the police. She had no intention of letting go of her admirer, going as far as to storm out of a performance when she realized that security had been doubled in order to catch her stalker. She insisted he was not a stalker, that he was the only one who understood her. She referred to the letters, how intimate they were. How well he knew her. She went as far as to insist that he was the only man who truly loved her.

Months went by, and the girl became more withdrawn. She lived only for her admirer. If there was no tulip waiting for her or a note left on her bed when she woke, the girl would become depressed and refuse to perform. Eventually as time went by no one would hire her. She had crossed the unpredictability line and there were far more talented flutists to take her place. In some ways many were relieved not to work with her. They found her alienation to be a blessing.

She waited for him.

There was no evidence of a struggle when he eventually came back for her. It was obvious she went willingly with him. When they found her in a shallow grave under a large tree in an open field, they found to the horror of all involved that the ropes that bound her in the most contorted and obscene positions were done of her own volition. It was suspected that the sexual intercourse which had occurred was also consensual.

Her flute had been left inside her vagina after she died. She had no dignity in death, just multiple stab wounds. No drugs were found in her system. It was if she had willingly surrendered her life to him.

As for the man, he was never found. He returned to his average life as the unexceptional man, left to reminisce about his one extraordinary night of perfection with his flutist.

The List

He walked into the club. It looked the same as every other cub he had been too. It stank of alcohol and sweat. It was dark except for the dim house lights over the bars or the strobes flashing on the dance floor. He was alone, dressed in a black button up shirt and jeans. He paid the cover charge, not noticing the girl taking the money or the bouncer stamping his wrist. The girl noticed him though, and immediately wondered what it would be like to kiss his full lips.

He strode into the club, all confidence. He was alone but knew it wouldn’t be for long. He didn’t notice the girls staring at him. With his Eastern European features, dark hair and bad boy vibe, he was every girls dream in the club. Not that he acted that way, it just hung about him like a shroud.

He walked to the bar and ordered a coke. Inside he recoiled as the stench of freshly spilled alcohol hit his nose. It wasn’t obvious to anyone looking at him but the stench of the alcohol bought back dark memories. His face hardened, only making him more desirable. A predator among willing prey.

The girls smiled and tried to catch his eye. None of them were brave enough to approach him yet. He smiled back, softening his features, making him appear more approachable. Nothing screams more desirable than the mixture of dark and with a hint of light. Like a wounded animal with hope of being rehabilitated.

A monster with a soul.

The girls lapped up his presence, trying hard to get his attention. He didn’t notice. He scanned the crowd. He knew what he was looking for and knew she would find him. He held pleasant conversation with those who approached him. He didn’t realize, but he made them feel special. When someone spoke to him his full attention was on them. For the fleeting moment that he was talking to them, they were someone special, interesting and most important of all, they were seen. He made them feel more alive than they cared to admit. All the girls fell a little in love with him. His mannerisms, enthusiasm and comfortable enjoyment of life was contagious. Even the guys liked him despite that their girlfriends were fawning over him.

Occasionally he was left alone, and the darkness set back in. He was biding his time, waiting for the girl who would catch his attention. He had spotted a couple of potentials but nothing concrete. He was patient. He let his anger seethe. He watched the writhing bodies on the dance floor. The gyrating hips and alcohol induced inhibition made him sick. He wanted to grab everyone and shake them, shouting at them for being so false. Instead he ordered another coke.

Just then a girl leaned over and asked for a Cheeky Cranberry Brutal Fruit. “You don’t mind paying, do you”, she beamed at him. A winning smile. She knew what she wanted and knew she was going to get it. “Not at all”. He had found her. The one who thought she deserved his attention. He had seen her flirting with all the boys, getting them to buy her drinks. He had watched her practically strip tease on the dance floor. She was everything he loathed. She used people and didn’t care about the consequences. Used people like him. Even as he shot her a smile, he could feel the loathing of his past come up. Every single moment he had ever been used, cheated on and tossed aside only to be reeled back in was focused on this girl in front of him.

He sat and listened to her talk for about an hour. He was attentive, telling her what she wanted to hear and sympathetic to her needs. Eventually she leaned into him, full of confidence. “Do you want to get out of here?”. She knew she wasn’t going to be rejected, she knew she had him. “Would you like to come back to my place?” She beamed at him. He walked her to his car. The entire car ride she spoke, she was suggestive and his rage grew.

When they arrived at his apartment he opened the door for her, letting her enter his domain. He closed the door behind him as she stood awkwardly in his dark apartment. She was starting to get nervous now. It was easy to be confident in the club, but here it was harder. She needed another drink but it didn’t seem like he was going to offer her anything. A lick of fear went down her spine turning her cold and he stalked towards her. He didn’t kiss her, just turned her around and pushed her against the wall pulling her hair back to expose her neck. He bit her, hard. She whimpered in pain. “I know exactly what you need” He whispered in her ear.

He led her forcefully to the bedroom and threw her on the bed. It took him seconds to undress, and while she was stunned at the chiseled sight of his body and sheer size of him, he ripped her clothes off. He wasn’t gentle. There was no foreplay. In a flash he had a condom on and his rage fueled the sex. He didn’t hear her pleas, he didn’t care whether she was enjoying it or not. He just pounded into her, punishing her for all her sins and the sins of every girl in his past. She clawed at him and he didn’t care. He didn’t care that he could be hurting her. She deserved this.

Once it was over there were tears in her eyes, her make up smudged all over her face. He called her a cab, and she asked if she would be seeing him again. She asked it meekly, half dreading the answer. She was unsure what just happened but was not going to show it. When the cab arrived she grabbed her torn and broken clothes and left. It would take her a long time to heal from the experience she didn’t know how to define. She had wanted him, and she had gotten what she wanted. She just didn’t know why she felt so used and broken inside.

He watched her leave then sat on his bed. He breathed in deep and went to go make himself a coffee. The shower he took was scalding hot, washing away any trace of what happened. He was disgusted at himself for what he had done, and no amount of scrubbing seemed to make him clean. He climbed into bed, hating the smell of the sex that he had just had.

He threw his arm over his face, closed his eyes and knew that sleep was going to evade him.

She was number fifty four.

And he had forgotten to get her name.

Was it a Dream?

It was just over a year. Longer perhaps, but definitely went over the year mark.

The beginning was happy. Not new and shiny happy, but more of a comfortable fit of a favorite pair of jeans. The kind of happy where the world finally makes sense, and everything that lead you to that moment was just part of the journey. The kind of happy that made you feel as though you have arrived home after a long time.

I still feel that way. One look, a touch, sends me reeling back into the feeling of comfort and safety. The feeling of belonging.

I made a choice, I walked away. I gave up.

A year and no one knew, at least not anyone I was friends with. I was hidden in the shadows like a terrible secret. A secret that one is so ashamed of they almost try and forget that it ever happened. It was happening though. It was there. It was real.

Or for the most part I think it was. There is no evidence that it ever happened. No social media comments or social reality. According to the world it didn’t happen. Life continued and no one knew the truth. If the truth is what the collective think, then the truth is that there was no relationship. Of course there were reasons for all of the secrecy, but as time went the reasons started to sound like the logic of a child.

Then the disappearing acts started happening. Hocus pocus, abracadabra and alakazam. Gone for a day, a week. Almost a month. I was rejected. Not even important enough to be included. Heaven forbid I point out it was wrong. May I be struck down for saying that I need attention too. Why did I not understand what was happening? Why couldn’t I just let it be?

Why does all of this have to hurt so much. Five minutes to delete everything from my life.

That is all it took.

Five minutes to delete a couple of digital photographs that no one ever saw. The only evidence that may have proved that something had happened.

Was it a dream? Dreams have happy endings.

No, this was more like a nightmare. A place where I did not exist. Where I was not as important as anything else in the world.

My significant other was my world and I was not even on a list of priorities. I existed only when and if I was wanted, like a toy which could be discarded at any moment.

This is not the first time, although it may be the first time I gave away all my love. The question is rather why do I let this continue? Why do I try and justify being treated with such disregard? Do I really think that little of myself that I would stay and be treated like a ghost?

No. I do not. I walked away.

I may have left my heart behind but I walked away.

And there is not even a photograph of us to prove that it wasn’t a dream.

Writers Block

Her hair was coarse.
Dry as veld grass in winter, and about the same colour. I was certain it had been dyed though.
I guess it made sense.
She was dead after all.

Wish Me Luck

Yup. I am actually going to try and finish a big writing project. Because why not.

Distance

There is you

Then there is me

Two worlds in orbit

A distance kept by circumstance

No closer

No further

Circling round and round

A merri-go-round spinning out of control

 

There is you

And the world in which you live

There where everything is closed up

Private and quiet

All is hidden from view

 

Then there is me

And the fantasy I rule

Where everything is open and aired

Loud and obnoxious

Keeping quiet that which is hidden

 

There is you

Then there is me

Divided and torn

Broken and weathered

Beaten and left

 

There is you

Then there is me

And then there is your past

And then there is mine

On the Edge of a Blade

This post is specific to my experience with cutting and self mutilation. If you are sensitive, judgmental or recovering cutter you may not want to continue reading.

I can’t remember the first time. Nor can I remember a time when I didn’t have scars.

All I know is it starts with a feeling. A crushing weight, somewhere between sadness so intense you can’t breathe let alone cry and rage so strong that your body shakes with the violence. Somewhere between the two is this perfect emotional helplessness.

Everything rushes passed in a haze yet time seems to slow down to a crawl. The concept of time is irrelevant. It is ongoing and eternal. A deep dark hungry abyss with no end. All you can do is fall through it.

Then there is the cold. Freezing from the inside. No matter what you do you cannot get warm. It doesn’t matter the temperature outside. It doesn’t matter how many layers you wear.

It is cold.

You would think that there is a thought pattern to it. But there is nothing. It is like your rational mind has take a vacation leaving you with nothing but a hurricane of emotions which feel as though they are tearing away at your very soul.

Everything is primal. You want to scream and cry and fight but there is nothing there.

No voice. No tears. No energy.

You are betrayed by your body, by your brain, and left to rot with whatever demon hunts you. You are stuck playing cat and mouse with yourself and there is no escape.

It is all of this, but not. It is so much more complex yet somehow more simple.

I guess the first cut can be understood by an alcoholic as the first taste of the alcohol or by a druggy as the first hit. That moment when everything starts to calm down. When you are finally given release and you can start to breathe again.

It is in the tearing of the skin by the blade. The way the skin parts so easily. At first, there is a moment when the skin lies open and all that is there is white flesh. Then the blood pools in. It is hot and red and oh so cleansing. The red little beads that leave a little trail and fall to the ground are like the tears you are unable to shed. The physical pain in more bearable than the emotional pain.

Each cut is like a breath of clean fresh air deep into your starved lungs. Each cut is a measure of peace. A moment of calm in the middle of a storm.

When it is done there is nothing left. Just emptiness. Everything that was clawing inside and ripping your very being apart has bled out on the floor. There is nothing left to be felt. Just pure emptiness.

The aftermath is easy to deal with. Blood is easy to clean. The stinging of the cuts keeping the emotional whirlpool from sucking you to the depths again. Keeping you numb. Empty.

As the cuts start to heal and you watch the skin knit itself back together, you feel a measure of relief. Slowly everything is healing. It might not be as perfect as it was before, but it is over.

Until the next time the storm threatens to swallow you whole again.

I know that it is different for different people, but that is what cutting was for me.