In Which There Was A Broken Strand

I took Daniel to see the movie ‘Jackie’, thinking it was going to cover more about her entire life and womanhood in general. I didn’t realize the movie would begin with the assassination of her husband and never, ever, move on. Together we saw through a very grim story and I found myself relating to the first lady who had never really owned anything, merely walked among it, before unexpectedly being separated from everything. What would happen to me, being in a relationship that was heavily-dependent on the title owner? What will come of my haphazard blueprints for Camelot?

When the movie was over I grabbed my purse and stood up to leave. The house lights were still off but the credits were scrolling, and Dan pulled my chair back down again. I thought he wanted me to make sure I hadn’t left anything so I started to raise my purse to show him I was on top of it… then he grabbed my hand and said, “Sit down.”

He looked up and I could see the light of the screen reflecting off the tears streaming down his face. He didn’t want to leave because he had started to cry, lost in his own similarities between Jackie’s loss and his own. I felt bad for him, sat down and told him I was sorry.

On our way out of the theater, my pearl necklace broke. Without a sound, the little beads quickly rolled down my shirt and began to sprawl across the carpeted lobby. I was in a bit of shock, empathizing with Dan, and seeing my broken jewelry going everywhere felt entirely surreal. It felt like a moment, that’s supposed to be saying something, only I couldn’t understand other than the part that said THIS IS NOT PERFECT AND NOT GOOD.

“Oh my gosh, her pearls!” a woman yelled before bending down to gather them. Then there were more people, all older, all lowered to the floor to retrieve the beads for me. I was speechless. I was thinking of Jackie’s pearls, the movie, my life, and how things just don’t always go the way you intend them to.

It’s difficult to come up with an answer for what’s good about a problem. Sometimes I just want the problem to be eliminated, and not have to work with it. I want to figure out how to change it, get as close to making it go away, than move in the direction of appreciation.

For example, the bird feeder in my back yard has caused me a lot of stress in the past. Dan agonizes over what to switch around if and when squirrels figure out a way to reach the seed. I have to plant around it. I’ve gotten pissed about the mess the birds leave, how the seed casings seem to pierce fragile hosta leaves and attract animals that like to devour my plants. I have hated the bird feeder.

But today I saw it, blanketed in snow, unable to hurt any living things underneath it, and I saw something different. I saw a variety of birds eating from the different hanging feeders; I saw a unit working as it is intended to. I saw the tall shepherd’s hook that must have come from my boyfriend’s late wife, my own feeder working well off one of the hooks and the energy my boyfriend has used to pull everything together so the birds could eat. Everything combined to create something nice, and the beauty of it really touched me.

Something like a bird feeder out under the tree is so easy to ignore, but I felt like I really saw it today, the trifecta of caring people. Suddenly it was much easier to answer what was good about it. Suddenly, it worked.

I have hated living in a pre-furnished house. It hasn’t felt like me, like my home, but rather like a museum I’m not supposed to touch. I have HATED having my things stored in bins and closets and being unable to play with colors, textures and style.

Rather than resolve to be entirely against the cluttered shelves of blue porcelain, I decided to work with it yesterday. I took everything off the china cabinet and divided it in to “looks like a nicer piece” and “fucking hate this awful shit”. Then I shopped the house and pulled different mediums that all fit a color pallet and just started redesigning.

Something as simple as an old tin would show me a parallel between its colors and the rose on my teacup…then I could see a matching saucer from another cupboard, and eventually I could work other colors on to the blue hell shelves. I could work my things in to her things, in his house, although it made me nervous to try. Dan doesn’t like change. In his head, the exposed interior walls and hanging speaker cords are pure perfection because they were from a time when everything was perfect and he had his saintly wife, so even making an improvement can result in backlash, argument and hurt feelings. I try to remind myself that it is touching, how firmly he believed in his Camelot, how strong his grip is on it – even if not always for the better.

When I was done, even the “hate this shit” items gave their weight and contrast to balancing the final result. Everything had a place. And it began to live, breathe and tell a story. Something as basic as decorative shelving gave me a rewarding feeling I can’t begin to describe. I wasn’t embarrassed by the design. I wanted to be in there. I had created love.

Top it off with a table cloth from my lifetime ago, like an old friend thought dead, and I could have just cried.

dining

I still can’t arrive to any certain message from my broken pearl necklace. Maybe a message isn’t really a message if you can’t clearly understand it, or maybe some of them are meant to be understood later on. I just know that I love the beautiful things, want for them, tell myself that they WILL BE MINE… but what is beautiful and what can be possessed is always changing, coming and going, like loved ones, like birds to a feeder.

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Part Heavy, Part Hopeful

I hope everyone is having a great 2017 so far. For me, the year started off as an extension of the same old stuff until around the end of the month when I decided that the time was right for my resolutions. It’s doesn’t have to be New Year’s to start again. It can be any month, any day, any time. The important thing is believing in yourself and getting on that track to greatness.

Maybe I’ve been on that track a million times and fallen off. Who cares. Screw that. I’m on it now. I live it now. I’m fighting now.

Looking back on previous posts that detail some of my darkest moments (when I’m most inclined to take the time to free write), I don’t see the rockiness as a bad omen. I see my struggles as the storms I needed to get through in order to grow bigger and better. There are a handful of tales written in sadness and anger  – but never defeat.

I’ve been thinking about the first boyfriend I ever had, and my near-ten years with him. Some of the memories are good and some are lessons. There were a lot of mistakes and missed opportunities but in the end, it still came down to having separate deal breakers for being together as a couple. He was an absolute sweetheart with endless potential and from a distance I am always wishing nothing but the best for him. For real. God bless Brad.

My family has been going through some tough times. Christopher has had to face the consequences of his actions and is currently serving a short jail sentence. My thoughts are with him even if I am horrible at ever finding the right words, or the right way to help him. After having spoken with his representation I was told that they had a bigger picture and better understanding of his reality. I am hoping he accepts the help that is given to him, and that he tackles drug rehab full on. It hurts me to know that he is miserable right now, and yet I am happy to know that he is not on the streets, in the cold, living from fix to fix. There is more to him than The Darkness, always was, and I believe in a better future for him.

Dad’s pulmonary disease is what it is, and he has been as functional as he can in this stage of his life. Mom is facing retirement at the end of the school year and I am hoping, praying beyond prayer, that there are good things in store for her after the many years she did everything she could for the school system. But there is fear. I don’t like the uncomfortable or the uncertain. I just want for us to have more good times together and I often miss them, living several hours away.

I’ve been waiting for the tulips. Last year I bought and planted the bulbs as a means of development. I wanted more beauty per square foot as if it could equate to happiness per moment. Never have I invested in the idea of a short Spring bloom, but Daniel is fond of tulips so I wanted to make it happen. Now I find that I am waiting for those purple miracles, like an omen or a promise. Please, please, be wonderful.

After tracking my own behavior for years, I really believe that I suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It seems to be a calendar cycle, during a certain time when I feel out-of-control and, if the wrong mood should hit and I am not smart enough to remind myself of the condition, I could very well tear at the foundational building blocks that have built my life. I could throw my life away in a second. This seems to go hand-in-hand with my diet and nutrition as well: if I’m skipping vitamins and living the fast food life, my body retains water, I swell up and feel miserable. If I’m abstaining from crap food, everything normalizes from my sleep cycle to my energy and ambition. I have vowed to take control of my emotions and actions. I’ve been making smart decisions and calming myself down when everything looks terrible and pointless. It has only been a little while. Please, clarity, please, creativity, please, dreams, please, stay with me.

Admittedly, a lot of my self-worth is invested in my relationship. I give a lot, to Daniel. Our relationship can feel like a gauge for my own personal well-being. ‘We’ are something I treasure. And we are in a stable place right now. It takes focus and lots of perspective. I need to always feel like we’re moving, so this year I’ve decided in my head that I’m going to assist him in his “outdoor Summer” he has declared, and spend time together working with the landscape that I love more and more each day. I’m also going to support him in whatever indoor task he takes on, as there are plenty of rooms and renovations to go before the house is fixed up or otherwise sold. Our future is unclear – we have so many separate goals to reach that we aren’t in a place to discuss any next levels like that. The objective is to realize what we have, appreciate it, and care for it together.

I look forward to enjoying just that.

‘Better Off Dead’ Means Wanting Life More Than You Can Stand

My thoughts have been with Katelyn Rogers, the 12 year old girl who recently live streamed her own suicide by hanging. My Facebook feed was cluttered with related links centered on the shock over availability of her video: Police Cannot Remove Horrifying Video From Internet, Suicide Goes Viral While Family Grieves, Video Outrage, etc.

I had the most sensible reaction to the information: I immediately Googled the video because I wanted to see it. All I had to do was enter ’12 Year Old Hanging Suicide’ in the search engine, narrow results to videos and eyeball what looked like a video you would shoot on your phone as opposed to what looked like a story about the incident. As of right now, the footage is still up on a classy site named ‘The Gutta’.

Video footage shows a broken girl, small frame, dressed in white, taking a rope and climbing a tree. Crying as she speaks to her live audience, she is apologizing to a few people in particular as she admits her “act of selfishness” and, after a few emotional deep breaths, she kicks something out from under her and the body sort of convulses like suffocation although her arms never raise to address her neck so consciousness is uncertain.

For something like twenty minutes, she slowly swings back and forth under the shade of the tree to the sound of birds and traffic. Finally you hear people calling out from somewhere, as if looking for her. The volume level is smashed by a sudden musical chime and you realize it’s her phone ringing, thundering as it also vibrates, and hearing it absolutely chilled me. It is the final word, somehow, as the video concludes just after.

I would never, in a million years, have even thought to wonder, but the question raised for me was: Why does someone with severe depression choose this as their method of execution? The internet says that death by hanging is immediate if the neck breaks, as well as painless. In other instances you feel a few-second rush and pass out before death…or, you remain conscious “for as long as you can hold your breath” and suffocate in extreme pain.

The online footprint she left is significant. Many lengthy videos can be viewed and analyzed. I watched her, watching herself in video phoning trend, as she consistently checked her image against the camera. Unrefined, throwing around profanity and words like “gay” and “faggot”, a lack of education and  culture seemed apparent. I felt bad for her right away on ignorance alone.

In the background you can see the appearance of low-income housing in the details, an unfinished bedroom with filthy carpet and clutter, a sheet hung as a room divider, mattress on the floor, etc. There are always young children around her, climbing on top of the dresser, screaming at the top of their lungs, leading you to assume that she and her siblings were often abandoned by the alleged parents.

Then the domestic disputes begin, recorded live at the time, of her fighting with her mother and then sobbing in to the phone camera as heavily applied makeup streams down her face. Too many times. This was a horrifying pattern that Katelyn lived regularly. She tells her audience that she gets called a whore, that she hates everything, that her dad “lives two miles” from her but refuses to acknowledge her, that her step-father assaulted her and that she is very, very tired.

“When you see someone who is emo, run up to them, force their sleeves up and kiss their arms. It will make all the difference. Trust me,” she advises in one video.

I even found myself researching the emo subculture, bourne of emotive rock and made popular in the early 2000’s. It is a look and sound that blends punk music culture with goth culture and rock music. So it’s an interesting style that is intended to say “I’m counting myself out before you count me” yet is carefully styled, depending on your ratio of time to money (because my god, dying/feathering your hair, flipping it upside down and wearing it off to the side isn’t easy) a contradiction in itself that seems to say: I don’t care, but I care so very much.

She walks outside during one video, walks past the tree and says, “This is where I ha-“ and the video cuts out temporarily. Where she hangs? Where she hangs. Where she hangs herself later.

An online blog, self-declared as ‘Broken Doll’ where she went by the name Dolly will tell you, she hated Christmas. It was never an enjoyable time for her.

She briefly broadcasts herself syncing along to Ruth B singing “Lost Boy”.

There was a time when I was alone
No where to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too

Then one night, as I closed my eyes
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for a while
He said, “Peter Pan, that’s what they call me
I promise that you’ll never be lonely”

There is something unsettling, that perhaps I cannot relate to, about this digital age. Why do you feel so strongly, show off so much, only to succumb to the ails you’re exploiting with every soapbox announcement? How do the people that follow you, the There that is on the other side, the Force you join when you go Live, how is it guiding you? How does the attention, good and bad, factor? Were you not on a journey to be able to get through every day?

Maybe you aren’t looking in to IT, in to You, when you do it.

Are YOU reading this? Do you need to reach out and tell someone that you’re feeling out of control?

Are you at the end as far as you can see?

Whatever you do,

Don’t

Leave.

This story, this true story, all of it because of a heart-breaking video that made headlines, yet, that no one wanted anyone to see. I forgot, somewhere down the rabbit hole, what my original questions were, what I was searching for as I tried to uncover this story about a girl that the world misses very much.

I did it. I found her. I see her, I’ve got her. I know now.

But she’s gone. I can’t make her go forward. She only goes backwards and disappears.

My brother called.

“Autumn. I’ve made a huge mistake. I need your help.”

All of my previous drama is drowned out, the very volume on my life going down as I press my ear to the phone.

“A girl lured me online to Detroit I came down here and when I got to the house I was concerned because it looked boarded up but she was outside and she said ‘hey C’mon In'”…

The idiot, he actually got closer, still wanting to cling to the idea that his online soulmate was just feet away…

“And then this guy tried to get me to go down to the basement…”

He ran away. My brother got away.

Daniel stopped me several times from bolting from the house to pick him up. He said they could be trying to lure me too… that my brother might have been forced to call me…

He made it to a greyhound station just across the way from Windsor, where I got him a taxi to me, then we made the hour-and-a-half drive from my house back to my hometown. But that time in between almost killed me.

It’s over. It’s over. It’s over. He’s home. I’m home.

He had to struggle to figure out where he was. I had to struggle to understand if he was really free, if he was safe…his phone died before his ride made it to him and I just had to hope…hope… I can’t explain. I’m too tired.

My brother peered in to a boarded up building in Detroit and certainly saw death waiting in the dark.

I am hurt, in a panic, shaking even now, at the very thought.