Thursday, March 3, 2011

Who I was

I think of it as my other life.

That life I lived before I got here.

The times when I think about it, it seems like it happened to someone else. Those spectacularly bad decisions couldn’t really belong to me, could they?

But they did. And still do.

When I left, years ago, I didn’t tell a single soul. I left everything behind, hoping I could outrun the person I was becoming. Too many times, I’d look in the mirror, thinking about the decisions I’d made, the people I’d hurt, and I’d see my father staring back at me.

No matter how many times I’d tell myself that I wasn’t like him, it turned out I was. Hurting the people I love? Check. Running away from my responsibilities? Check. Drinking every single day, in an attempt to swallow who I was? Check and check.

It’d get to the point that I was drinking to mask the pain, and then waking up with my head about ten sizes too big, and drinking to make that go away, too. I drank to run away, and the only thing that changed was that I needed more to fill that empty space, that steely ache that was always there to meet me.

For what we’re running from, there’s not enough booze in the entire world.

I finally made the decision to move away, to either get better, which I really didn’t believe, or to find out what sort of life awaited people like me.

I met a guy, my first week living there. That was the first really bad decision I made.

The second was moving in with him.

I can still remember being so numb, that I couldn’t be bothered to care. Outwardly, he was fantastic. Attentive, loving, and wonderful. All those adjectives that make you want to roll your eyes.

It took about two weeks to meet the real him.

I don’t remember what I said, or did, but I remember how unexpected it was. I’d watched my share of Lifetime movies (the man hater’s channel, as I like to call it) and anytime a man had to spank a woman in the teeth, or give her a punch; she always had enough breath to say something shitty or ask him why.

I didn’t. I couldn’t breathe. It felt like being hit by a Mack truck.

I’d like to say that was the first time, or the only time, and that I hit him with a brick or cut his penis off and threw it in a field.

But it’s not a fairy tale I’m telling you. I’m telling you about a girl who had nowhere to go and no one she wanted to admit her stupidity to. So, it went on that way for awhile. I never believed that whole “I swear it’s the last time."

But I wanted to believe it.

I let that nightmare continue for another month or so, before my breaking point.

When I called my brother from the hospital after I’d gotten away, I remember hearing his voice, and I could feel the tears, shame at what I’d become, heating up my face. He sounded so safe, so sane, and so normal. If he would’ve asked, I would’ve told him everything. He never knew that I called him from the emergency room, and he never will.

I knew better than to call any of my friends. I ended up sitting on a hospital bed, talking to the Chaplain. He had the kindest eyes. I told him that the smell, the smell soaked into my pajamas was lighter fluid, like for barbeques.

I couldn’t say the rest of it, it was enough for me just to have made it through. I’d take the nightmares, too. Nightmares are for people still alive to have them.

I took that night for what it was. A second chance. A lesson who not to be, what not to become.

The better part of me made it out of that night, that's for damn sure. I know just how lucky I was.

Some don't make it out at all.

There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar. -- Moby Dick


Nessa Roo said...

Wanna peek at my drafts? The ones I'm too scared to post? The ones that will expose me for who I really am...WAS...

Anyway, thanks for writing this.

Philip said...

You write with a bareness that can't be ignored. There's a steely strength in your words. A genuine strength.

Happy Frog and I said...

I am in awe of your writing, it and you are so powerful. I often look back on parts of my life and think how did I make it to here and now? Why do some people who make the same choices get to live and others die?

I do look forward to seeing your post because I know they are going to make me feel.

Moannie said...

I found you on MLS's sidebar. Now I know why; he knows great writing when he sees it [hehe! I'm on there too]

This razor sharp spare prose, soul-baring. I can't do that..I have to make a joke out of everything.

Fiona said...

Oh Sal, how I know what you mean! We stay, long after we should....the lucky ones get out before the inevitable happens. We're the lucky ones.

Big big hugs....and you are such an amazing writer.


caterpillar said...

You make me want to are a very strong woman....*hugs*

Bruce Coltin said...

After reading this, I have little choice but to be a regular here.

Robbie Grey said...

"For what we’re running from, there’s not enough booze in the entire world..."

True words. There is also truth in what you said about nightmares.


becca said...

this is the reason i come here powerful and truthful writing. thank you for sharing. Hugs

runawaybride said...

There is a lot of truth in what you have written.

"The times when I think about it, it seems like it happened to someone else." Many of us would have such experiences. A truly wonderful and strong post.

Maryx said...

Wow... What a gut-wrenching piece. Thank you for sharing. You're amazing.. you know that right?

Amanda G. said...

Thanks for writing this. So honest. Wow.

Shopgirl said...

Sometimes I feel like you are a psychic that can peek into my soul and my past and write my story into words that I dare not fathom.

There are too many things in this post that are beautifully written, full of strength (sorry to repeat Phillip) and made me relate to it.

I want to comment more, but I'll just say thank for writing this. This is breathtaking.

Fluid Idleness said...

i love that you shared this with us. i love that you had the strength and the words to do it. i love that you made it through and are here. now.

light208 said...

Stunning, simply stunning. A raw topic written with care. I have been back twice because I couldn't find the words to describe my feelings on this. Some things just defy language.

Baglady said...

Fantastic writing.

I'm hoping that it's fiction.

Mr London Street said...

I think my reaction to this might partly depend on whether it's nonfiction. Is it?

Anonymous said...

wow, i can safely say i've never tried to set my girlfriend on fire.

Bth said...

So raw, and structured so perfectly, as if you are pacing, pausing on whether to tell us or not, and edging yourself further onwards in this hard time. Brilliant.

Travis said...

"For what we’re running from, there’s not enough booze in the entire world."


Love you, Sal.

One Girl's Story said...

Wow, it felt like reading my own life. The pain, the bad choices, the choice to continuing making bad choices, the alcohol.

Is this really about your life?

My blog is about horrible things that happened to me as a child, and while I have everyone sympathy at this moment that is following, I am afraid, when Iget to the part where I am an adult, and made horrible choices, as you describe here, that the sympathy will disappear and the cold hard judgements will start.

After all, it has always been the double standard. You know us women always end up being the whore...

Fortunes Fool said...

Sometimes, whether the abuse and the beating is physical or mental, we take it. We take it because maybe deep down we think we deserve it. Maybe we can't walk away because we aren't even aware how strong we are. Maybe, just maybe, it makes us feel alive in some sick twisted way. Second chances don't come often. I think maybe this is mine. Thank you for sharing yours. You are amazing. Truly.

Sharon Longworth said...

Like MLS and BagLady, I'm left wondering if this is fact or fiction. As a piece of writing it's stunning - so it doesn't matter but I still feel I want to know, because you made me care.

Sally-Sal said...

Nessa Roo:
I'd like to see them. I think that no matter who you were, or what you've done, nothing is so bad you can't be forgiven.

Thank you. I think that strength is something no one really wants, because strength is the product of what you made it through. Strength is something that is earned.

Happy Frog and I: It's funny. The things I write (like this) are the things I'm so sure no one will want to read. :)

I'll have to check out your blog. :)

I think of that day sometimes, when I need to remember what it took to get me to this point.

Sally-Sal said...

Thank you. I don't know if I'd call myself strong, but those things definitely make me compassionate.

Bruce Coltin:
Welcome to my blog! And thank you.

Robbie Grey:
During those years, I didn't know whether I was holding the bottle, or if the bottle was holding me.

Thank you. And I'm glad you liked it.

runawaybride: Sometimes my past feels..surreal.

You're good for my ego :)

Thank you for your kind words.

I'm definitely not psychic :)

Fluid Idleness:
I'm thankful to be here every single day.

Thank you for your comments. It was hard to write, but demanded to be written. It wouldn't leave until I finished it.

It's nonfiction. Just a little peek into my past.

It's nonfiction. I wrote this, not knowing if I had the stones to publish it, but in the end, I thought 'fuck it'.

vampire guts: I'm sure she's thankful for that :)

It felt like that, writing it. Wondering how much to tell, not knowing if it was too much.

Love ya too, Papa Bear!

One Girl's Story:
I think sometimes, we have to just tell who we were. Everyone has things they'd rather not have done.

Fortunes Fool:
Thank you. I think of my second chance all the time. I've had quite a few of them (although not this type).

Sharon Longworth:
It's fact. Embarassing, more than a little humiliating, but fact. I'm glad you liked it :)

NWO said...

You sure do amaze me... You've lived too much life in too short of a time. Mucho hugs Sal.

ladytruth said...

My sister, I wish I could say HAD, but unfortunately, very unfortunately still has an abusive husband. She has kids. The oldest phoned me in the middle of the night once crying that her mommy was hurt and that she didn't know what to do. Needless to say, you can't choose for someone else. I wish, no scratch that. I even prayed for my sister to gather the strenght to say 'enough' but that still hasn't happened. I salute you for saving your life and your dignity. You're one brave sista :)