I clutched my chest, tightened, trying to hold on to it as if my heart were going to pop out. My naked bottom cold from the touch of the plastic toilet seat was tireless from bouts of diarrhea. Angry beads of sweat proliferated on my forehead, my underarms and my belly, and I clumsily wiped them off with my blue cotton plaid shirt, then struggled to take my shirt off. It got so hot in the tiny 1/2 bathroom of my San Francisco apartment. I got seriously anxious, palpitations and all, something I hadn’t felt in a few years. Thoughts raced through my head, “Should I call N, my best friend and emergency contact?” Should I go to the E.R.? Should I call 911? Maybe I’d feel better after a while?”Continue reading
If I try to retrace the day it happened, I suppose I could say I was wearing a light grey bias cut skirt, with a darker grey layer under – it was cut in an odd geometrical shape so that you could see just a quadrangular trim. I wore a white Calvin Klein bandeau bra top, which I never knew what to make of, as it wasn’t exactly a bra, it was more like an undershirt that you still needed to wear a strapless bra under. And I certainly could never go out on the streets with just that bandeau top – imagine the stares, the umcomfortable leary stares I would get. Still, in order to emphasize this bandeau top, I had to throw something on that would allow others to know its existence. The perfect solution? A form-fitting pale green capped sleeve, scooped neck blouse that was loosely knitted so that you could see my white bandeau and my pale honey-toned mid section. To someone far away, it may look like a one-piece monotone Bauhaus painting.
I’m sitting on a bed in one of the rooms at the Marina Inn – there is something stifling in the air, like a waft of heat that just won’t go away. I wonder if it’s the air around me, or the air in the room, for I feel sick, I feel incoherent, I feel irrelevant. I feel like meaning has escaped my body and I’m wondering why I’m still alive. I want to stop fighting – because I don’t know what I’m fighting for. I don’t know what I want. I just know I’m exhausted – I’m sick – I’m ill – I’m alone. No one cares about me, because no one cares about anything besides themselves. Period. I just want this to be over with, but I don’t know what “this” is.
I just want, for once, K to be on my side, for real. I just want K to be my family and not my family-in-waiting. Perhaps that is a tall order. Perhaps I’m asking too much. Perhaps I know this was never made to last, and it’s way past its expiration date. I think about suicide. But I don’t know if that’s what I want to do. I feel like I’m stuck in purgatory, between Earth and Hell. I’m fighting too hard to prove myself worthy, I’m fighting too hard to not want what I want. I’m fighting too hard to realize the dreams of my childhood. Love. Dignity. Family. Faith. Nothing’s real anymore – I don’t know what I’m living for, fighting for. I’m just living, trudging along, and every step of the way, I feel like I’m losing a little bit of myself, a little bit of my faith.
Am I going crazy? What should I do? I feel like I don’t have a right to want what I want. Is K at fault? Am I at fault? Or, is it just that life just never pans out? Would we have been okay if we went ahead and had the baby – instead of killing it? Is the baby, who remains sexless, the reason a part of me is dead? That it’s never the same? I feel like I no longer harbor any hopes of ever having any family. All I see is black, pitch black. My hope has died. My faith has dried up. My love has diffused in the winds of change.
You know that feeling of deja vu, like you’ve had that same feeling before, or you’ve seen someone before? These days, I feel like I get that feeling a lot – like I’ve somehow lived through a particular scene or see familiar faces in my head. Why is it that everything once familiar can become so strange that it feels like faces floating in the crowd?
Just a year or so ago, I felt like I was sure I knew what I wanted – with someone who’s the love of my life, someone who was gonna be the father of my kids. Since then, I have felt less and less sure, and sadly, less and less connected to K, who is the great love of my life just a while ago. Time and routine, unfortunately, can be a cruel killer of even the strongest emotions and conviction. Is that what happened? Or, maybe we weren’t really that connected in the first place – maybe I, and he, was just blinded by our mutual need for affection and attention and newness. And once that newness is no more, we are back to our regular selves. Our less attractive, flawed selves, weary only of our limited shelf life and vested self-interests.
I find myself weary of having to keep up, always having to be on top of things, always having to be the best I can be for him. I am so weary and drained that sometimes I consider what it would be like to be back with my deadbeat husband and actually feel a sense of short relief. Relief from not having to try so hard to be perky, to be young, to be what I am not and don’t want to be. And then I consider, “am I the deadbeat in this relationship now?” and wonder if I’m the butt of some cosmic karmic joke. Sometimes, I’m so weary that I don’t know how I feel toward anything – like there is a chilling numbness traveling down my intestinal tract, like I’m about to be sick, but am not – at least not yet. When he asks me if I loved him, many times, I indeed do not know the answer – as I can only feel the aches and pains and unspeakable disappointment at somehow having missed something along the way. Yet I don’t know what I missed – what went wrong.
As with most women, I’m inclined to acknowledge that the fault lies with me. Although I know for certain that it doesn’t. But doubt is a powerful emotion – and one that plagues me so much so that I constantly second-guess myself and wonder if I am indeed going crazy.
Have you ever felt so lonely it doesn’t seem like anything makes sense? That feeling of hollowness creeps up on you without you even noticing it, but it creeps up on you slowly alright, drawing a little bit of energy out of you every second, until you get to a point. When you don’t even remember how you got so tired, so exhausted. And then you realize, you are all alone in the room, the apartment. In this world. With no one to go to, no one to confide in, no one to drown your sorrows with, but yourself.
That feeling, when you’re not sure if you’re hungry or not, or if you’re not sure if you want to see the light of day, is… numbing. It’s like you want to feel, you want to think, but you just don’t know what you can do to make things better. You just keep sprinting in your mind, hoping if the “you” in your mind runs fast enough, that “you” may figure out how to get the real you out of the daze. But what exactly is wrong? You don’t know what is wrong. You just feel lethargic, full of hot air, and just pangs of loneliness. You ask yourself, what can you do? Can you change it? The answer if fuzzy. Can you change it? You don’t know, and no one knows.
Inertia. Sharp chest pains. Shortness of breath. Restlessness. General hopelessness. Every reunion with these familiar symptoms is like an awkward and painful reminder of every past incidence where I have felt their silent grip creeping up on me. Perhaps the worst part isn’t the actual discomfort or pain; it’s the uncertainty surrounding this mysterious disease. Where did it come from? What made it resurface? What can I do to make it go away?
I am afraid that it will take over my life again and take everything away that is good. The difference with previous cases is, I am much more aware of its toxic effect on others and how I may be portrayed to others. Sullen. Low-energy. Depressed. Angsty. Sad. Basically a downer to be around. I am afraid of losing K because I am not normal.
When this happens to me, I am just unpleasant to be around, and I can’t stand even to be around myself. I’m gassy, emit sour breath, and even my privates have a nauseating odor. At times like these, I feel completely demoralized, soggy – not sure why but somehow I just feel the word fits how I feel – and a pariah. I just want to escape to some place, but I don’t know where – or how. How do you escape yourself?
Sometimes I feel like I have it harder than most. I think that I’m normal – but the fact of the matter is, I’m different from most. I find it harder to cope with most things. I get stressed much more easily. And when I do get riled up, I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and remember that things are never as bad as they seem.