The best day EVER

Just a little ditty I wrote for my Creative Nonfiction class. 


I had just been released from a six-day stent in a psychiatric hospital.  It was late August, the hot summer sun shone on my face and I was a free woman.  My boyfriend, Travis, picked me up in my beloved, superbly maintained car.  My suicide attempt had taken place in my car so it was only fitting that this new phase of my life began in my car.  We ate lunch at a sushi joint close to the hospital.  The food was far superior to that of the psych hospital.  The drive home was an hour and a half.  It was an intensely cathartic car ride.  The late afternoon thunderheads forming in the sky warned us of a powerful thunderstorm slowly rolling in.  I chitter chatted with Travis the entire way home, something very uncharacteristic of me, well the old me.  We took the scenic route home and it filled me with peace.

When we got home, I fell to the floor, greeting my two cats, Kelty and Spartacus.  I sprawled out on my side to better cuddle them long enough to get my fix. Travis helped me up off of the floor.  He led me back to the bedroom where we both undressed and dove onto the bed in a tangle of passionate release.  I was lying atop a mountain of clean clothes (he never was good at putting laundry away, that was my job).  The sex was liberating.

After dressing in preparation for the rain that had started falling, he drove me to my therapy appointment.  When my psychologist first saw me, he embraced me into a patriarchal hug.  We talked about the attempt and why it happened, as well as discussing life in the psych ward.  It was the most extreme yet pleasant session. 

Travis and I spent the rest of the day together, running errands, dashing through the rain to and from his truck.  We held hands the entire time, softly squeezing each other’s fingers and palms in recognition of how lucky I was to be alive.  That night, we snuggled on the couch and watched cartoons.  We perfectly fit together, body conforming to body. I fell asleep with the rhythm of his breath on the back of my neck.  That day will forever be my own Victory day.                      



A Pilot’s hat

When I was a kid, I always loved going to the airport.  Living in Colorado, Denver International Airport was my playground.  These were the pre-9/11 days, when the gates were available to family and friends of travelers.  One could walk right up the gate, embracing their traveler until it was time to say goodbye to them and watch them walk down the long jetway.  The airport was a fun place.  Between the moving sidewalks, the fountains, the strange architecture of the heavy canvas ceiling, home to many birds, and the fast food, which on rare occasions, we were permitted to eat.  My two older brothers and I would collect all of the luggage carts we could manage to push or pull along with us so that we could return them to the automated luggage cart rental hub where, after we pushed the cart back onto the locking frame, the little computer inside of the hub rewarded us with 25 cents.  We were known to have kept the airport clear of any stray luggage carts.

I was about eight or nine when my mom and I took a trip to the airport to pick up my grandpa.  We arrived very early and were sitting on the skimpy and uncomfortable faux leather seats strung together by cheap armrests and metal frames outside of the gate where he was to arrive.  I was waiting patiently, elbows on my knees, chin resting on my hands, enjoying the prime people-watching that airports are so spectacularly good at supplying.   The voice over the loud speakers mumbled about departing flights and courtesy phones.  My mind softened as I took in the entire environment instead of focusing on one particular thing.   At one point, I noticed a pilot and his crew come sauntering, or so I perceived, through the waiting area at neighboring gate.   There was a pilot, his co-pilot, and three flight attendants. They were waiting to board their next plane.

 My mind came back to a point and my gaze was drawn to them, specifically the pilot.  He was standing so that I could only see the profile of his right side.  He was chatting with his crew and was unaware of my eyes absorbing his every detail.  He was the definition of professional with his sleek, double breasted dark blue suit jacket, the right side of his chest adorned with a set of small gold wings.  The large brass buttons popped out of the navy blue color on both breasts of the jacket, four gold loops wrapped around his cuffs, and a starched white shirt with an expertly tied tie showed through with perfect symmetry in between the large collars and the opening of the V where both sides of the double breasted jacket met.  His perfectly pleated pants transitioned my gaze from his torso, to his waist, and down to his shinning polished black shoes with neatly tied shoelaces.  He and the rest of his crew were each towing, what I assumed to be, expensive suitcases behind them. 

Unlike the rest of his crew, he wasn’t wearing his hat, he was holding it in his left hand with a relaxed grip, the inside facing out towards me.  I turned my attention towards the dark blue hat.  I noticed that at the crown was a thick, small, perfectly cut piece of plastic and tucked under this plastic were wallet-sized photos.  I squinted so as to get a better look at them.  I could see a little girl.  Based on the size of her body, I guessed that she was no younger than I.  She was wearing a red shirt and had long dark hair.  The details were blurred by the plastic but the general outlines were visible.  Behind her was another wallet-sized picture.  This one appeared to have more than one person posed in the middle of the picture, a portrait of his entire family?  Peeking out behind that photo was the corner of another photo but unfortunately, my view was completely blocked by the previous pictures.  I tapped my mom’s arm, leaned in close to her, and quietly told her about the pictures inside of the pilot’s hat.  Her eyes turned away from the large windows and scanned for the scene I was describing.  She saw him and smiled.  Her smile was that of a mother recognizing a devoted father, a family-man, a loving man.    

She leaned into me and whispered about how sweet a gesture that was.  Without taking her eyes off of the hat, she told me that this kind of detail is the detail that makes a story great.  My mom is an English major and a Librarian.  Language is her life.  She always spoke so eloquently, making sure to define the big words and constantly encouraging me to write.  I have been waiting 10 years to write about this scene.  This is a detail about a detail that has vividly stuck with me.  I live my life in the little details, sometimes this leads to me missing the big details but more often than not, it leads to something beautiful like this experience.    

Cut to Black

Being fresh out of a psych hospital, I’m cautious about everything.  But I suppose that’s the point of a psych hospital.  To make you become more aware of yourself and slow down those racing, ever-present and ever-pessimistic thoughts.  A psych hospital is a Land of No’s.  They hammer you back into the mold of your normal self through tight restrictions.  You have to be open to the experience.  You must allow them to hammer you.  Even if walking in a line down the hallways feels childish.  Even if being told what you can and can’t do, down to every minor detail (floss, shampoo, conditioner, trash bags, shoes, clothing, underwear, food, medications, bed time, visitors, phone calls, TV, any and every aspect of life outside of the bin that you take for granted) smothers the adulthood you have worked so painstakingly to achieve.  The entire experience takes you back to some form of what a childhood should probably be:  boundaries, support, physical, and emotional safety, structure, growth, and direction.  Nevertheless, a psych hospital is a Land of No’s and you are, undeniably, an adult committed there.

A common thread passing through the minds of all of us patients was that you reach a certain point in your mental stability and growth while in the hospital where you are ready to leave the Land of No’s in exchange for the real world.  You are ready to try your hand at life again.  However, the logistics of simply getting out of the doors interferes.  And then you start to find that all that stability and growth you just worked so hard to obtain and maintain are tested in a way you didn’t exactly expect.  You find it necessary to protect your new sanity from the inherent insanity of a psych hospital.  You genuinely feel emotionally ready to leave but logistics, protocols, and paperwork dictate.

It was an experience that I needed.  I was ready for treatment.  The type of rock bottom I hit involved many, many bad decisions coming to a head, a new anti-depressant enticing that dark side of my mind into action, isolating myself in my parked car in a desolate area of northern Wyoming, copious amounts of pills, windshield wiper fluid, and motor oil.  The motor oil was a “just in case the rest of this doesn’t work” type of deal.  At that point, simply closing my lips around the mouth of the oil jug was nearly impossible…life was fading to black.  But not in the nice euphoric way life fades to black when you pass out from lack of oxygen.  It was more of a lack-luster, cut to black.  No stars, no tunnel vision, no sense of the nothingness you are about to enter…just absolute nothingness and you aren’t even conscious enough to appreciate it.  I – obviously — didn’t know what I was doing or thinking so hoping for a pleasant introduction to death might have been a bit silly of me.

In this life you need best friends.  Best friends who will bring their lives to a screeching halt in order to drag your life out of the abyss.  I am lucky enough to have two such best friends: Ashton and Rachel.

Despite having lost total control over my actions and my memory, I am told that as I sat slouched over in my car quietly waiting for death, motor oil-infused vomit soaking into my clothes and the upholstery of my car,  I answered my phone when Ashton called me that morning. I had been texting with my friend Lana early that morning.  I lied to her.  She asked me if I was going to do anything stupid.  I told her no.  I told her no but the lie was obvious, it leeched through my feeble words of assurance.  She then called Ashton and asked her to check in on me.   Ashton, hearing how utterly fucked up I was, knew she had to act quickly.  I was able to talk to her just enough to tell her that I was in Wyoming, she immediately started driving north, and called the Wyoming Police.

After the police pinged my cell phone, four hours passed before I was found and rushed by ambulance to a hospital.  I don’t remember any of this.  In fact, if I’m doing the math correctly, I would say that my mind and memory were absent for about two days.  Totally and completely black.  And yet, I was responsive to verbal ques.  My senses and my memory were operating on two different planes of existence.  I remember nothing save for a quick flash of my brown leather cowboy boots covered in vomit and the sensation of being carried in someone’s arms.

When I finally began returning to my mind, I found myself in the Progressive Care Unit of the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper.  I was aware that there were people in the room with me.  Ashton?!  Yes!  Indeed it was Ashton!  No finer sound than the voice of your best friend.  A best friend who literally saved my life.  I’m still not totally sold on the whole God idea but Jesus Christ, thank God for Ashton.  I’m totally sold on her.  She reminded me that some part of my brain resisted death.  Why else would I have answered the phone?  That little voice in the back of my head, I suppose it also saved me.

Waking up with my mind and my senses finally properly communicating, the first things I noticed were the two 18 gauge IVs in either arm.  Being an IV certified EMT, I can work the treatment backwards and, to a certain degree, deduce the severity of the original emergency.  I was always taught that placing two 18 gauge IVs, about the size of a coffee stir straw, in either arm was for more serious medical or trauma emergencies.  Two large ports of access.  Quick…emergent.  Seeing these ports of access in my arms brought the weight of the situation back into my mind.  I had a nice vacation in the blackness but now it was over.  Next on the docket, a 381 Hold (meaning a patient under suicide watch), requiring a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA, a license I also hold) one of my own people to watch me at all times, outrageously long days of dialysis, around-the-clock IV medications, and being confined to the PCU for six days.  When I break it down into nicely structured sentences like that, it deprives my story of some of its depth.  Just know that this happened:


Take a good look at it.

During those six days, I had very little medical attention given to my mental health.  As the doctors explained, their primary goal was to make me medically sound before any mental health issues could be addressed.  One of my primary nurses happened to also work at a psych hospital and proved to be a wonderful asset to me.  She prepared me for life in a psych ward.  The first few days will be the worst days of your life.  You will be miserable.  Don’t make friends.  Of course I was frightened but her advice was invaluable.

After spending one day with me, Ashton had to return to her normal life.  16 hours after the crisis, Travis, my boyfriend of three years, finally managed to track me down.  I had cut off all communication with him the night prior to the morning.  I was already absent from the relationship.  It was another attempt to further isolate myself.  The poor man had no idea where I was or what condition I was in.  My dad was the next to set up camp in my room, and finally my dearest and other best friend Rachel flew out from PA to support and help me.  My mother would have been there but she was in a remote part of Maine with inconsistent cell phone reception and I assured her that I wanted her to enjoy her time away.  It was her first big adventure after her absolutely soul-draining back surgery.  She sent me flowers and spoke with me every day.  I have always been more connected with my mother than the rest of my family.  Women, we just get each other.

Between Travis, Rachel, and my dad, I received pretty damn fine mental and emotional help.  Rachel bought me a slew of books in preparation for my inevitable stay at a psych ward.  She shared stories of her own mental woes with me.  We talked meds, we talked men, we talked literature.  She even read me the much abbreviated Cliff Notes for the conclusion of Camus’ The Stranger.  I had been reading it before my attempt.  As it turns out, that existential novel is not recommended for suicidal people.  But I needed to know how it ends so Rachel assisted me and then scolded me for having read such a story while I was in such a state of mind.

Rachel then returned to her life.  The ranks of my immediate support system were made up of my dad and Travis.  The two men who love me the most in the world.  And yet, they are also the two men I have sometimes found myself the most emotionally distant from.  They are both self-proclaimed, “quiet men.”  As I am learning, this mean to them living in the moment, living for the moment, and not dwelling in the past, or fretting over the future.  What a beautiful and peaceful place the moment is.  However, to a mentally unsound woman, a quiet man is a man unable and unwilling to understand my emotions.  While they have both occasionally been found unable to understand my emotions, they have never truly been unwilling to understand them.  Although, it takes two to dance the dance of emotional disconnect.  In the past, I have laid my emotions out before them, ready to discuss, wanting to discuss, and for whatever reason, the topic was never addressed.  This led me to carefully folding my bruised emotions back up and hiding them away, saving them for people who could easily understand them.

This is where I am finding it difficult to continue telling my story.  I don’t want to cast myself as some absolutely loony, beyond hope, stereotypical crazy woman.  But I also don’t want to cast my dad or Travis as emotionally perfect, or even emotionally dead as the last three sentences of the prior paragraph might have you believe.  Allow me to just state here that this recovery process is infinite.  There are…forces…in my brain that are so powerful and so full of self-hatred that it is not safe for me to approach them yet.  This leaves a lot of my convictions stuck in an emotional limbo which makes the telling of this story particularly hard.  So I ask you to stay tuned as I try to map it all out.

I was left at WMC with my two Quiet Men — my dad and my lover.  Travis spent all six days with me, lying next to me in the hospital bed, taking care of our lives back home while taking care of me in Wyoming.  I was attached to four IV pumps and had a central line placed in my neck for the majority of time which made showering very difficult.  He would stand outside the walk-in shower and help me navigate the tubes as I  washed my body.  He was wonderful, a true warrior of the heart.  He refused to let me go.

We talked for hours.  We talked about what happened, how the windshield wiper fluid tasted, how disappointing the blackness was, how hairy I was going to be by the end of this entire ordeal, plans for our future, plans for my future, plans for his future, how we want to grow carrots in a Topsy Turvy planter just to see how gravity affects a bulb-like vegetable.  We talked about everything and anything little, mediocre, massive, terrifying, and hilarious that came to our minds.  He was, and still is, truly amazing.  It was a side of him that I have never seen, and I’m fairly certain no one has seen.

In between conversations, we mostly wept and watched TV (having only bunny ears at home, we greatly enjoyed the cable television).  We wept for him and his own emotional trauma, which surfaced as a result of the gravity of my emotional trauma, breaking the silence of his Quiet Man.  His Quiet Man needed to speak and weep.  It needed to have its silence shattered against the walls of the hospital room.  We wept for what I did, what almost happened to me.  We wept for our past and just how diluted it had become before this but we also wept with joy for our new future.

I will never forget the moment when he first saw me in the hospital.  He circled around to the right side of the bed, laid his head on my chest and sobbed.  He desperately embraced me, grasping me tighter with each sob, not seeming to be able to hug, hold, or squeeze me tight enough to his satisfaction.  I carefully draped my IV lines across his trembling back and stroked his hair, holding him to my chest so he could hear my heart beat, a smile gracing my lips. Not only had I survived, but he broke his emotional silence

We were now broadcasting at similar emotional frequencies and speaking the same emotional language.  We were now able to truly grow closer.  And we have.  We are stronger and more confident than at any other point in our relationship.  We are stronger and closer in our relationship than I have ever before experienced with a man.  It is intense and yet has such an ease to it.  Who knew that a failed suicide attempt could begin to fix so many deep and significant issues?  Who knew that so much love could exist between two people?

While I was medically treated at WMC, he lounged out and read his magazines and books while Travis and I lay in bed talking.  He was always ready to make a food run to one of Casper’s finer diners. When Travis would leave on the occasional errand, my dad would sit at the side of the bed, just as he did when I was a child, talking my monkey-brain off of the ledge when I would get overwhelmed about the monumentally challenging steps ahead of me right now.  His actions were wonderful reminders that no matter what I do, I will always have his love and support.  And that feeling alone was enough to calm my panic, cradling me like a long overdue hug.  I had forgotten how nice it was to let my father be a part of my life.  The certainty of his love is so powerful.

It was the kick in the ass, the slap to the face, the good, strong check of reality that not only did our relationship need, but that I needed, that Travis needed, and that my dad and the rest of my family needed.  I have learned just how strong I am and as it turns out, I’m pretty goddamn tough.

I have also learned, and now truly believe, just how worthy I am, how deserving, how beautiful, loving, and kind I really am.  I have internalized these facts.  They have taken up permanent residence within my head and my heart.  Of course, as I mentioned above, those forces that took over that morning are still there.  They wait for a lapse in my confidence and attack.  But my calvary, my troops, my warriors are growing.  They are getting stronger and more prepared to fight those evil forces.  They are evil, pure evil.  Was that the true me acting that morning?  Fuck no!!  It was not.  I will come back to this topic another day when it is safe to confront that evil.  Right now though, that would be like playing naked outside during a storm of fire-tornados.

I have been working this experience in my favor.  I have used it to reconnect with family.  To open the lines of communication that were shut off.  It is a foundation, a real, undeniable reason to talk.  It won’t fix what ails us.  The real work still needs to be done.  I have hopes that in time, we will be a healthier family with more honesty and more quality time to look forward to.

After the good doc’s at the WMC found me to be medically sound, they shipped me off the psych hospital.  My dad drove me from the hospital in Wyoming down the psych hospital in Louisville, CO.  It was his legal responsibility to transport me directly to the psych hospital with no stops at go home to pack a bag, only stopping for food and fuel (and a secret trip to the barn so that I could love on my horse before being separated from him for another six days) were permitted.  During that six hour drive, we talked, truly talked, more than we have talked in…dare I even say years?  Yeah, I do dare.  We discussed religion, clothes, relationships, my parents’ divorce, my brothers and their lives, therapy styles, food, school, all of the topics that we had left unspoken for so long.  There are still a vast many topics that desperately need discussing but we only had six hours.

Upon arrival to Centennial Peaks Hospital, the Land of No’s , I observed a most happy reunion between a young girl, a freshly former patient, and her parents.  The joy was tangible.  The smile on her face was the antithesis of the frown on my face.  Before walking out of the front doors a free woman, she stepped into the bathroom in the lobby and applied her makeup, a luxury denied to patients.  I longed to be in her shoes.  The endeavor ahead of me was daunting, it felt impossible.  And yet based upon this girl’s happiness, I felt a small sliver of assurance that I, too, could do this and come out just as joyful and full of life.

I sat down, comfortably sandwiched between my dad and Travis, and began filling out the admission forms, the emergency contact information, the insurance information, and the consent to release protected information to my psychologist and psychiatrist.  I bit my tongue, chewed on my lower lip trying desperately not to cry at the thought of being separated from Travis.  We had bonded so much during our time together at WMC.  The thought of him having to leave me there twisted my heart into fragile, trembling fibers, afraid to beat too quickly for fear that my heart would implode, leaving an empty cavity in my chest.

I was soon taken back past the locked doors to a small, barren room under the surveillance of a small camera mounted in a corner of the ceiling.  There, an intake counselor ran through the forms that I had filled out in the lobby, applied my wrist band, and took my picture.  The picture was to be used for the staff to easily identify me during the 15 minute attendance checks and medication administration.  The anxiety and sadness over the battle ahead of me mounted.  After she completed her duties, she brought me back out to the hallway leading to the lobby for one final goodbye.

The separation was inevitable.  I said my goodbyes.  I hugged my dad and clung to Travis, tears charging down my face.  The honeymoon of having lived was over.  It was now time for the nitty gritty.  I was taken back to the unit where I was to spend the next week.  I was placed in the Adult ward; it was the middle ground of the wards.  There was a Children’s ward, a Detoxification ward, and a more intensive Adult ward for patients suffering from severe mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia.  The patients in my ward were nothing but welcoming and (relatively) happy.  There was much laughter.  The bedrooms were shared and the doors were never shut.  Privacy for the bathroom was provided by only a shower curtain, forget about inhibitions.  My roommate was pleasant and we spent much of our time together.  Thankfully, I made many friends there.  However, I heeded my WMC nurse’s advice and did not keep these friends past my time spent at Centennial Peaks.

The first night, I was put through the process completing more paperwork and uncomfortably personal surveys regarding my mental and physical health to be discussed with the Charge RN on duty.  I had a baseline set of vitals taken as well as a naked skin search documenting any existing bruises or cuts.  The morning of my discharge from WMC, the IV in my right forearm had become infiltrated.  The Charge RN at Centennial Peaks dismissed my observance and assured me that the inflammation was simply a part of the healing process.  It wasn’t until three days into my stay, after my entire forearm was swollen, hot, and streaked with purple lines that I was finally given oral antibiotics.  Needless to say, I was not pleased.  It was a reminder of how even the staff at the hospital could easily stereotype us patients as “crazy” and nonsensical, ignoring our legitimate complaints.

Later that first night, I partook in the scheduled outside time, playing basketball with a few of the other girls.  Next was dinner.  The food was decent!  It was obvious that the chef was passionate about his job and wanted to supply us with a touch of home.  As the routines unfolded, I found the structure to be a welcoming change in my life.  Even the requirement of roll call, lining up whenever we left the unit, and walking through the halls in a semi-single line were nice reminders of a simpler time in my life when my only worries were which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle I would play at recess.

The atmosphere of the unit felt like the grown up version of a kindergarten classroom.  In the common room, there were snacks available to us most the of the time, there were dozens of puzzles sprawled out in various states of completion, there were coloring books, crayons, golf pencils (the only pencils allowed to us), and markers kept in pink emesis (vomit) basins, puzzle books, novels, magazines, and crossword puzzles laying all over the room.

There was a washer and dryer available to us under the supervision of a counselor or nurse.  I washed one load of laundry, the only clothes I had had for the first few days before Travis brought me a fresh articles of clothing from my own closet.  I had hoped that I would be able to clean the motor oil infused vomit out of my favorite sweat shirt.  Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful.  What I was successful in was accidentally depositing the oil all over and in the drum of the washer.  This left blotches of oil all over the favorite sweatshirt of a friend who used the washer after me.  I felt horrible and offered to pay for a new one.  After her initial anger subsided and she heard the story of how the motor oil came to be stained into my hoodie, she softened and kindly refused my offers to pay her for a new sweatshirt.  Traces of my trauma had leeched into the fabric of her favorite article of clothing, her happiness.  That was a common theme at the hospital.  It took tremendous fortitude to not let the depression of others damper your progress and fledgling happiness.  It was absolutely necessary to form bonds but also keep a safe emotional distance.  It was a wonderful lesson in setting boundaries, a skill that many of us lacked.

As the days progressed, I settled in and found my place within the unit.  I played more basketball than I have played since I was kid, shooting hoops with my dad in the driveway.  It was difficult to really get moving around on the black top with the flimsiness of the supplied flip flops crammed over the hospital socks.  Many patients had their pants taken away upon admittance as the pants they came in wearing were deemed unsafe for suicidal people.  Instead, they were given blue paper scrubs, with weak stitching that always coming undone.

One sunny and warm afternoon during smoke break, one of the patients broke off a length of the string and showed us girls how to “string” our eyebrows, an alternative technique to plucking our eyebrows.  She told us that she picked it up during her short stent in prison before her arrival at Centennial Peaks.  There were many tricks passed around the hospital from unit to unit.  During lunch one day, a woman from the intensive Adult ward took a handful of the lemon juice packets supplied to us and showed us how she used it to lighten the color of her hair.  The tricks ranged from beauty tips to tips on the type of behavior that would get us out of the hospital the quickest, a most useful tip.

Group therapy sessions were productive and painfully emotional.  Whenever I had the courage to share my thoughts and experiences, my emotions erupted out from within me making me whimper and cry through my efforts to talk.  I left every session feeling a little better every time.  There were group sessions every 45 minutes.  It was intensive.  The sessions consisted of workshops, small lectures, and process groups.  They were almost all beneficial as long as you kept a receptive attitude.

We were permitted visitors once a day every day.  That was my absolute favorite part of the day.  Travis came every day to see me, traveling 12o miles round trip every time.  One of my big brothers came a few times, as well as a two of my close friends.  Ashton wrote me letters that Travis delivered to me.  He became my personal postal service as I had asked him the deliver letters to friends I had written during our free time.  Phone calls were freely permitted until 10pm, lights out.  The phone in the common room was a simple version of the telephones found in the now obsolete telephone booths.  The connection was awful and required a good, solid shaking of the phone every time.  Thankfully, there was another, more superior phone in a private room across from the nurse’s station.  That was a hot commodity and you were lucky to be able to sneak in there in between activities and the ever-present line.

The details of my stay are abundant.  They continue to drift back into my mind on a daily basis.  It was an experience that I will never forget.  The breakthroughs were powerful.  I remember one evening during a group therapy workshop about journaling I had a major shift in my psyche.  As I fervently wrote down my flow of conscious words, I began to truly feel self-love and self-worth, I believed in my beauty inside out.  I loved myself, I honestly loved myself.  This was an experience that I had been missing for years.  I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt that way.  I left the session feeling light as air, my heart floating in my chest, carefree and full of optimism.   I immediately called my psychologist of four years and left him a joyful, sobbing voicemail about how much I had learned to love and believe in myself.  Whether or not it was audible, I don’t know.  I then called Travis and oozed my newfound happiness and carefree attitude all over him through tears of pure elation.

I was finally discharged on the sixth day of my stay at Centennial Peaks.  With every page of paperwork completed, my excitement grew.  I knew that in only a matter of hours and then minutes I was going to be a free woman, a transformed and free woman.  I would be as happy as the young girl I envied upon my arrival to the hospital.  I would be able to walk out of the locked doors and never look back.

Travis picked me up.  I ran into his arms, embracing him a passionate hug and receiving an equally passionate hug in return.  The happiness was beyond any description I could ever describe.  He had surprised me by getting the interior of my car detailed, cleaning all of the vomit out of the upholstery.  What a guy. He also bought me four new, top of the of the line tires but not without first having a friend film him performing a massive burnout, destroying my old tires in a most glorious fashion.  With a newly refreshed car, a newly refreshed attitude, and my man at my side, I walked out of Centennial Peaks a different woman.

The time spent at the Wyoming Medical Center was a time to mend my body and to start mending two of the most important and broken relationships in my life.  It was also a time to cherish dear friends who love me unconditionally.  My time spent at Centennial Peaks Hospital, the Land of No’s, was spent beginning to mend my broken mind and the broken heart that I had created for myself.  It was only the start of this new life that I am determined to create for myself.  In a sense, I experienced an existential death.  There was nothingness, absolutely nothing but blackness.  And out of it, I am carefully creating whatever scenarios I want!  So stay tuned




Science Talks

This was another night of playing hide and seek with my good ol’ pal, sleep.  It was as elusive as coherence after binging on benzos, weed, and booze.  Just when I could feel the sleep stretching out from inside the core of my mind, its finger tips reaching out to caress those last few wild and wakeful thoughts into submission, pulling me into a pre-orgasmic state of oblivion, my legs would twitch.  A twitch here and a twitch there.  Restless Leg Syndrome is what they call it.  Bullshit is what it is.  Each twitch must correspond with each throb of pharmaceutically-stifled life coming from within my unconscious.  After what felt like endless hours of allowing my frustration to erode away at my will, I finally slipped out of bed in defeat, tossing the blankets off with as much drama as I could exhaust without waking Travis. 

One half of my broken glasses hung sadly from the crest of my ear like a disappointed 1830’s gallery monocle after learning that it belongs not to a rich, successful woman attending an extravagant gala but rather to a poor, blue (as deep blue as the scrubs I wear to work every day)-collared, college grad dodging collections.  The other half of my broken specs bravely adhered to the bridge of my nose, clinging with the squishy, sticky aid of duct tape.  Their days of serving as one cohesive unit are as dead as doornails. The soft Cervical collar fixed around my neck served as a subtle reminder of the severe and mysterious muscle spasms afflicting me as well as the medical bills yet to come…and to most likely never get paid off in full.  This image reflected back to me in the mirror perfectly mirrors my history with medications…simply a mess.       

I blame science.  Where once I ra-ra-sis-boom-bah-ed science for all of its achievements and advancements in the mental health field, I now find myself poo-pooing it for all of those achievements and advancements.  It seems as though every attempt at medications has consistently led me to a poisoned well, the only well, in a desert.  Where once I shimmied my pom-poms in support of psychiatric medicine, I now find my proverbial pom-poms quivering from sadness and withdrawals.  And perhaps I am an isolated case.  A drop out, angry at a system that was installed only to help me open my eyes in the morning and achieve a new ease in life.  Either way, I blame science.

It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I donated my living body to science.  I ingested an exogenous calmness triggering an emotional paralysis.  I surrendered any further clear communication between my unconscious and my ego.  .5mg, 10mg, 20mg, between my body and my mind, 40mg, 60mg, 600mg, between everything.  It is amazing the power of Prozac.  Since last I opted out of the science experiment of Prozac, compulsions I didn’t even know that I had came lurking out of the deepest recesses of my mind.  Food.  Not a compulsion to eat, but rather a compulsion to feel hungry.  I’ve come to love hunger.  The jittery instability of low blood sugar perfectly matches the temperament of my mind.  There’s stability in instability.  I suppose Prozac made eating possible.  But for what it made possible, it also made impossible imperative things such as orgasms. 

The variety pack of other medications that I have been on has served one purpose, as it does for any mental health patient, to quiet the mind.  This has caused a systemic disruption from the brain on down.  It has completely destroyed any concept of adequate happiness or sadness, it has produced an apathy.  This paralysis of the mind has manifested itself in the form of physical symptoms.  When the emotions are no longer perceived by the brain, they trickle down to the body, acting out in an effort to regain my mind’s attention.  I become like a Xanax-fueled creature of Dr. Frankenstein.  A bastard creation of science and shrinking societal patience.   

They are manifested in the primal panic and adrenaline that erupt inside of me whenever I hear a noise in the night.  In the glimpses and sensations of dark figures lurking and stalking me through the house.  In the feeling of a frozen fist strangling my ascending aorta, while grating my sternum with its knuckles.  In the tension of my jaw so taught and tense that it could snap right in half.  Only, it is missing the words necessary to part the lips that have been keeping the snap incomplete.  It is felt in the jungle vines running up along and tangled within my vertebrae that have been twisted by a freak tropical snow storm, producing a painful popping and crepitation with every bend and twist of the waist.  It is manifested in the unexplainable illnesses, the idiosyncratic diseases, and in the bona fide ones as well. 

But there’s a part of my unconscious, an underground that fights the forced surrender between itself and the ego, and between the mind and body.  It is the reason sadness persists even when medicated.  It is the nurture that battles the science.  It is the projector of emotions and messages yet to be processed.  It is the conscious representative of my unconscious, an advocate and the source of all of those physical sensations and symptoms.  It places mind over matter because the matter is the product of the mind.  A fit of restless legs, a flare of Fibromyalgia, and a second round of Mono are the projections of deep havoc caused by emotions slathered in stagnation. 

I would love nothing more than to give the Underground a fighting chance.  However, because I submit to the pains of depression and the perceived facts of science, I interpret them as reality and in doing so I lose the essential message from my unconscious.  Matter because of mind, matter because of mind, matter because of mind. 

And yet, after all of my talk about the dark agenda of science with its poisoned well, I find myself unable and even unwilling to interpret the matter sent from the mind.  Too anxious and agitated not to take action yet too overwhelmingly depressed to take action.  They call it Anhedonia.  They want to medicate it.  And I need to allow them to do so, even if, in my eyes, there’s nothing more pathetic than a defeated hypocrite. 

I’ve reached a point in my hellish history with medications where I can distinguish between pharam-numb and depression-numb.  Sometimes, science is necessary to give the Underground a fighting chance.  The other voices present in my mind have their own hellish history and they are at their loudest and most volatile when not pharam-numbed.  But perhaps I am an isolated case.  A drop out, angry at a system that was installed only to help me open my eyes in the morning and achieve a new ease in life.  Either way, I blame science.

When I die, you leave science out of this.  Burn my body at sea.  I’ve already contributed enough.  Science can keep its gloved hands off and out of my body.  Dump my medications back into the well. This misery will not stand. 



I know a guy

I turn the shower off.  Squeeze my hair out, shake off some of the excess water, and slide open the glass door.  I step out of the shower but instead of reaching for my towels, my eyes are immediately drawn away towards the harsh outline of her long, black curly hair… she is sitting there on the counter waiting for me.  Waiting for me with a pair of handcuffs and a vile of acid.  She is perched on the counter, enticing me to come closer, drawing me in so I can see my own face in the mirror.  The fight is on.  If this she catches me, she’s going to beat me without mercy, restrain me, and pour that vial into my ear, enjoying every second of my misery as the acid burns, eats, and erodes through my skull, and bubbles down to my brain.  She will take the time to spit in the wound after each round of her scalpel-like east coast laugh.  I could run but she would give chase.  Clawing my back and twisting her hands into my hair, getting a solid grip and yanking back on my scalp, knocking me off kilter just enough to kick me in the back of the knee, sending me to the ground.  She will win.  She always wins.  She always poisons me.  I have no choice to but fight back and fight with more ruthlessness.  Fuck this bitch.

Growing up paranoid about being raped by anyone who wanted to have their way with me, I made it a ritual to identify the most lethal object in any room.   Here, naked and wet, in the opposite corner of the bathroom, my options are limited.  My vulnerability is obvious.  But she waits.  She wants me to come closer so that I would be able to see myself in the mirror.  See my torture in the mirror.  My eyes scan the bathroom.  My only viable option is to launch my towels at her hand holding the vial.  She is so used to winning this blood-ridden fight that she has developed a sense of ease about her.  The standoff continues.  She narrows her gaze in on my every action.  I stand there naked and wet.  Vulnerable.  She begins to notice my fight instinct creeping up so she begins to creep in on my space, attempting to corner me.  Intimidate me into defeat.  I reach for the towels to my right and in one smooth motion, yank them free of the rack.  After a quick shot of adrenaline screams through my system, I heave them at her right hand with every ounce of strength I can muster.

She is surprised by my efforts and even though the towels do very little to damage her attack the distraction provides me with just enough time to spring for the lid of the toilet tank in front of me.  She launches herself towards me.  Although she is handicapped with the task of keeping that vial intact while trying to stop me from cracking open her skull.  I had left a hammer on the counter after hanging a picture.  This should teach me to always put my tools back when I’m done.  She manages to snatch it off of the counter while I am tightening my grip on the heavy porcelain lid.  She strikes with painful accuracy and follow-through, nailing my left hand a heavy blow.  I can feel the metacarpal bones crush under the hit.  The rage and adrenaline within me cover some of the pain, just enough to allow me to keep my baseball bat grip on the lid.

I wind up like an industrial strength skeet thrower.  Every ounce of fury and strength in my body racing through my muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and nerves, from the pinky toe of my supporting right foot, up through my calves, tightening and suppling my knee caps, flexing my thighs and preparing my hips for a pivot of death.  The energy travels up my back.  I have the lid slung over my shoulder, knowing that my lethal strength lies not in a sideways blow but in bringing the heavy lid down over the top of her head.  The energy bursts out of my shoulder blades and into my arms.  The space between her dumbfounded face and the arc of the lid is quickly closing.  I clench my jaw with the anger and brace for the impact.  Those evil black curls slowly give way under the encroaching lid and the laws of physics reverberate down through her skull and back out into my arms.  I continue with a follow-through of my own despite this sting, especially in my crushed left hand.  The sound of her skull cracking under the hit alerts me of my success.

He gaze goes soft and disoriented.  Blood runs down her face.  Her hands go limp and I snatch the vial of acid away from her.  I toss it on the soft carpet behind me out of her reach.  She slouches and stumbles off of the counter, dazed and unaware of the following disaster coming down upon her.  My initial dose of adrenaline recedes after seeing her so unarmed.  But this has become a personal battle.  A battle worthy of personal vengeance.  I ignore the throbbing pain in my left hand one more time and tighten my grip on the lid, calking my body for another blow…chambering another round of rage.

I flip the lid over so that the smooth, flat surface area is facing out.  I grasp it length-wise, one hand on either side.  My body takes a fighter’s stance and my arms and hands draw back into my chest.  With a quick burst, I shoot the hefty lid straight forward into her face, smashing her nose and forehead.  I can hear the sickening crunch of the cartilage and bone in her nose as the lid makes solid and gratifying contact.  Her disorientation grows and she fumbles with her hands towards her broken face, choking on her own blood.

I put the heavy lid on the counter and take a moment to recover my faculties.  I deliver a kick to the side of her knee, easily sending her to the floor.  I pick up the cuffs that she had cast aside when she had grabbed the hammer.  I put the cuffs on her hands behind her back.  To save my other hand damage I use the hammer as leverage to pull up the slack up in the links between the cuffs as I drag her across the carpet floor out of the bathroom.  I am constantly assessing her awareness to assure myself that a fight is not imminent.  It is not.

My part here is done.

I restrain her with a simple noose resting loosely around her neck but it is tied off above her and out of her reach so that if she were to try and stand or move towards me, she would strangle herself.  I have her legs taped together with 100 mph tape (army issued duct tape).  I take this opportunity to dress, brush my hair, find my cell phone, and tend to my hand.  With a bag of ice carefully affixed to my damaged hand, I pull a wooden chair out from the dining room and place it across from her, taking a seat and keeping my eyes ever on her evil face with those black curls crusted in her own blood.

I know a guy.  No one ever assumes him.  No one ever assumes him or his pack of dogs.  No one ever assumes him as the threat that he is capable of being.  That’s because that part of his personality lives in seclusion.  People only ever interact with the nice guy.  The only rage they ever see is the kind of rage that is easily laughed off.  The rage that can be quickly and easily capped off.  Not even rage so much as irritations and frustrations.  The rage that lives deep and far away is a solid, flowing stream of unforgiving lava followed up by a pack of hell hounds.  It is a low, constant, unwavering drum of quiet and calculating wrath that will make problems disappear.  I know this guy.  I just called this guy.  He will be here in 30 minutes.  He’s no laughing matter.

I don’t talk to her in the interim.  I am channeling this guy.  I am meditating on his rage and precision.  She slowly begins to regain her awareness and I can see a panic start to overcome her.  Sure I could torture her as she tortured me so many times.  I could walk back in that bathroom and pick up the vial of acid.  But no.  I have the ultimate means to an end on his way.  Instead, I tighten the noose just enough so that she can’t free herself from its confines.  I sit back down.  I hear the engine of his truck as he pulls up to the house.  He turns it off before ever applying the brakes.  He glides to a nice easy stop at the bottom of the driveway.  I hear his driver-side door quietly open and then close.  No sound of his steps.  Just an opening of the front door.  I would make eye contact with him but he wears dark shades.  So dark and so reflective that I see only myself in his eyes.  I see my slightly damp hair and my expression of total submersion in the weight of the moment.  I can feel his quiet, calm, serious rage.  It feels like a hug reinforced with steel and shotguns.  Empowering.  He goes about his business of preparing her for his leg of her journey.  A gag in her mouth covered with the army tape and a black sack over her head.  With no effort, he hefts her over his shoulder and descends back down the stairs towards the front door.

At the bottom of the stairs, he turns to face me and again I am met by my own reflection.  He nods and with his free hand, silently opens the door, glides out with his package, and has her loaded on the floor of the cab of his truck.  He shifts the truck into neutral so that it also silently departs from the property.  I hear the motor finally kick in halfway down the cul de sac.  And with that final mark of his presence, I am relieved to realize that is also the final mark of her presence.

I think tomorrow I will go buy myself a pair of vicious shades.

This is some active imagination work.  All different complexes within my unconscious and conscious mind.  Also, I have to cite my one source: I got the idea of “vicious shades” from a poem written by Charles Bukowski titled “dark shades.”  Great poem.  Go read it from his book “Love is a dog from Hell.” 

I dedicate this piece to my lovely friend Ari.  While he lives across the country, he still managed to be there for me through every single misery-ridden event of that evening as well as the new light of the next day, and the rest of that ridiculously bad weekend (and everyday ever).  He is a tried and true friend and without him, I would be fucked.  Ball chin, Ari. 

Oh also, it turns out that I had mono (for the second time) during that entire weekend so I actually was not equipped to handle anything other than sleep.  But still…come on!!

I can’t even handle the sunshine in my eyes these days. When it manages to penetrate through my uncomfortable and bothersome squints, all I want to do is close my eyes regardless of what I’m doing….riding my horse, driving, walking, writing, existing. I’ve reached a point of fatigue and haggardness where even the smallest of trifles is overwhelming. I fumble with the girth on my saddle and I can feel the complete exhaustion of the task travel up through my fingers and into my brain, hissing about giving up. That night, the forward wind was taken out of my sails, replaced by a backwards, regressive, overwhelming wind.

We were huddled in my friend’s bathroom primping and preening getting ready to go out.  I said to the three other women, in their glam, “This is like the high school I never had!” I was leaning against the bathroom wall while my friend made up my eyes.  I watched as my blue/grey irises popped with every application of eye shadow. I felt beautiful.  I was clinging to the hope of a decent evening, I was determined to make the most of this Friday night regardless of the emotional bayonet that had just been freshly plunged into my heart by someone I loved.

I can’t handle even the sunshine in my eyes these days let alone heartbreak. I can’t handle even heartbreak these days let alone the looming fear of regression back to the darkest days my heart has known.  I can’t handle even this looming fear let alone a stranger throwing peanuts at my face from a hidden location across the bar.  A legume sniper.  I sat with my back hunched over against the brick wall, tears silently doing their best to ruin the makeup.  Biting my lip to keep the sobs quiet, my chest flailing up and down in an effort to maintain normal breathing, I was determined to keep my composure.  However, the overwhelming nature of the evening settled into my bones with the same potency as the frigid, humid cold of the night air.  I was succumbing to total defeat.

My mind was drowning in my thoughts. The musician playing his own renditions of popular songs on his dark blue electric guitar created such a flurry of spiraling emotions within me that the thoughts started to churn, eventually progressing from a small undertow and then opening up into a sucking, spinning all-consuming whirlpool of misery.  I couldn’t avoid the fresh heartbreak.  It was being strummed and picked straight into my ears and mind. And then there was the threat of regression sitting next to me, looming, ever looming, watching as the tears came.  Actionless, emotionless, and absent.  The whirlpool and regression pulled me down until the pressure of the surrounding cosmos began crushing my mind and soul…like a deep sea vessel that traveled just too deep.  An implosion was imminent.  My lungs were filling with the despair my heart was bleeding.  Drowning from the inside out.  Crushing from the outside in.  Unbelievably overly overwhelmed.

And then I felt a little thud against the hard shell of my Carhartt.  It was distracting enough to pull my attention out from under the crushing inside my body.  But only because I hoped to god that it wasn’t what I thought it was. I hoped to god that no one was throwing peanuts at me. I looked down, and as I saw that peanut lodged into the fold of my coat, I felt another thud but higher up this time. Another fucking peanut.  And as I furrowed my brow in total confusion and disbelief, the tears escaping my lids, one of the peanuts pinched between my fingers with rage and defeat, something hit me square between the eyes.  All of the energy that had been crushing and imploding suddenly diverted its course and exploded back out.  I burst to my feet, no longer able to conceal my sobs, and rushed towards the safety of the back of the bar.  I could hear a small group of girls who were witness to these actions giggle.  Fuck them.

Who the fuck throws peanuts at a girl crying in a bar? And who the fuck breaks my heart with such ease and neutrality?  And who the fuck rejoices in regression? It is evidence like this that provides me with proof in a god. No miracles, no beauty. No, those are too lovely to be created by someone who modeled humans after himself.   God can be found in the slew of one seemingly unrelated bad thing happening after another…all night…without reprieve…rapid fire, with the destroying power of a minigun.

A fumble in my fingers right now is enough to tip my wavering emotions southwards and send in the defeat. There’s just no fucking way such subtle, masterfully crafted cruelty can exist without an omnipotent mind plotting it out. The precision of the blows to my heart, my strength, my trust, and my face were too well executed to be left to the cosmos.  Perceived triviality damned.

I shunted the rest of my emotions solely to not falling apart in public.  To stop giving a damn about someone who could toss me aside with such ease after such passion was shared.  To stop rushing into regression that might not even progress.  To stop hating.  To stop feeling because feeling only lead to hate, hurt, sadness, depression, and despair.  The rest of the time spent in the bar was shunted away from my memory.  It was not vital.  It was trivial.

I was finally able to collect myself enough to leave with friends who were waiting on me.  As I approached them, my eyes fixed on the wooden floor littered with peanut shells (or spent ammunition), my friend embraced me in a hug that was so loving, so needed, and so unexpected that it penetrated even deeper than the pain and defeat.  This hug came from a stoic, hard, detached man.  His grip was tight and redeeming.  It kept me alive.  We left and I retreated to the couch where I passed into sleep, a deep, deep, deep sleep. I didn’t move all night regardless of my awkward, rag doll position in the crook of the L-shaped couch. I woke in the morning with all of these words bubbling in my head. Finally. Words in my head ready to be put to paper.

I repositioned to a sitting position on the couch. The morning sun blasted through the glass of the sliding door and shone directly into my eyes via a hole created by four missing vertical blinds from across the room. I squinted. But I found no overwhelming feelings looming, no exhaustion, no defeat, no heartbreak. It felt warm and calm. Brilliant.  I welcomed it.  Much like the hug.  The sun was rising quickly and the intensity faded with the passing minuets.  I found that I was able to handle it.  Such a monumental relief.  The pressure was gone.  I could handle even the sunshine in my eyes at that moment.  Lord, please let it last.


I once met a city-boy while visiting friends across the country. My friends promptly pulled me away from his charisma. But I was drawn to him like a bug to an oxyacetylene torch. Like a country moth drawn to the bright, neon lights of the big city. The novelty of his shine overshadowed the familiar faint glow of the country lights. He was tending bar, nodding his head welcoming new patrons, flashing a flirtatious smile. His hands slinging drinks or always busy below the bar. I could feel the vibrations of his labors pulsing through the air surrounding us, like when you can feel a hummingbird drumming the air next to your head.

I once fell in lust with a city-boy while visiting friends across the country.  My friends dragged me out of the bar in an effort to smother my little flicker of a flame. They told me that I was to stay away from bartenders and musicians. I once worried that I would never see this boy again.

We then relocated to what I assessed to be a seedy basement bar/dance club a few blocks down the street. I swiveled my hips and popped my chest to the beats, closing my eyes and letting the music glide my hands up in a slither of intoxication like a snake charmer. After we had our fill of the beats, we decided to take a reprieve from the heat of the dingy basement and sought the cool air of the November night. What a relief.

I once giddishly trotted along the distance between this basement bar and the bar employing the city-boy, closing the distance with each purposefully stride. My friends in tow, clamoring on about how I, “Better only be going back to use the bathroom” since the facilities at the basement bar were just as sordid as the establishment. I rounded the corner, pulled open the heavy wooden door, sashayed in, and, as I made my way to the restrooms, let my eyes perform a quick scan of the people at the bar…no city-boy. I could feel my eyes ablaze with a hunger that consumed the grey/blue of my irises’ and a focus of passion that narrowed my eyelids to those of the sites of a gun. A quick glance out on the patio, our eyes met for a second.  My body immediately filled with the titillation of contact.

I once felt my heart beat with the elation of finding this city-boy again. When I finished primping my hair in the bathroom, I pulled together my best, “Come hither” air and made my way back to the bar where he had resumed his station. I leaned in towards him…fuck, that smile…and said, “My friends seem to think that you are no good for me. They keep dragging me out of here.”  Words, smiles, and phone numbers were exchanged, his name and number scrawled out on half of a small flyer advertising a special. He then invited me to his solo show the following night. Once again, my friends dragged me out of there.  I gently folded the paper and put it my pocket. It was like ordering a decadent dessert at a five-star restaurant and taking it home to savor for later.  I turned my head to leave him with a honeysuckle smile and myself with an image to savor for later.

I once missed this city-boy’s solo show while visiting friends across the country. “Hell no! You aren’t going” they responded…or at least that’s how they would have responded had I even bothered to ask them.  After their obvious distrust of him, how could I even fathom asking to leave their sides for a night in a new city?  To go do lord knows what with a pompous, ego-centric musician, bartender, city-boy.  No.

To my surprise, he continued a small dialogue with me even after I told him that there would be no meeting. My plane left that following day and so did any hopes of ever again seeing this city-boy. He told me to come back and stay longer next time. I told him that I definitely would.

I once maintained my life with the savory little knowledge of that city-boy lingering in my wallet and my mind. Under the subduing hum of xanax, I once propositioned this city-boy to a vacation with a stranger. He accepted. I once spent a few months twitterpated with this city-boy, counting down the days until I was to visit him across the country. We talked all throughout every day.

I once had all of my friends caution me about the stereotypically true default operating system of such a pompous, ego-centric musician, bartender, city-boy. I once ignored my friends and got on a plane.

I once spent a week with a pompous, ego-centric musician, bartender, city-boy. But I also spent this same week with a gentleman, a sensitive boy, a boy secretly craving love.  A boy no longer wholly dominated by the fame-seeking, pussy conquering, self-inflating-ego, selfish tendencies of an aspiring rockstar, but rather those of a boy with small hints of pure vulnerability and innocence. Like wildflowers forging a life just above tree line. So fragile yet they have evolved to survive in such an unsympathetic environment.  However, even the slightest trample can devastate them.

I once spent an entire week making love with and to a city-boy…physically, emotionally, and mentally.  Indulging the wildflower.

I once spent a week observing his two sides interact with each other. On a drunken and high impulse, this vulnerable little flower would crane its face up towards the glow of hope for a life freed from its past. These were moments only expressed in the safety found only in privacy.

I once fell in love with a wildflower of a city-boy.

But wildflowers flourish best in their natural environment. They are not to be transplanted. Even if a relocation (be it only mental) could yield a more successful growth. I once had to walk away from a fragile wildflower through the streets of a foreign city. Alone and, without the convenience of the mountains, no sense of direction.

The pompous, ego-centric, musician, bartender city-boy did not heed the signs warning him to stay off of his delicate cerebral tundra. I simply couldn’t allow myself to become the sign enforcer this time…not again.  It is so incredibly hard to walk away from such potential beauty. I once had my heart broken by a city-boy.

I eventually learned to pluck the delicate memories of our time spent together out from the weeds of our miscommunications which were fueled by the pompous, ego-centric, musician, bartender city-boy. I now store them alongside the steel reinforcements that I have learned to forge in order to protect my naïve, stubborn, silly, poetic, essential wildflower of a heart and mind.

I once saw the beauty in this city-boy (many times actually) and I wanted to nourish it. But I do not nurture like the wilds of the tundra.  I nourish like a lush, green meadow enveloped in the hug and sanctuary of a pine forest warmed by the mountain sun.  My wildflowers are hardy and joyous.

I once walked away from a fragile wildflower of a city-boy.

I occasionally stumble across both of these boys while reading lines from Poe, Twain, Bukowski, Vonnegut, Salinger, Wong…hell, even Austin. Or while listening to The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Hank Jr., Hank the III, and Waylon. In one reflection, I see that boy who wants love and who wants that perfect woman. And in the next, I see the man who hates to love loving and leaving.

These imperfectly lovely and flawed authors and musicians bring me peace. Because women once fell in love with them and were left to wonder whether or not they ever mattered. While this city-boy is no esteemed, tortured author, he shares these tendencies. He shares their behaviors. They grant me access directly into the inner-workings of their minds and perhaps even a little into his.  Like staring straight into the painful beauty of the abnormal intensity of the sun as experienced from the dangerous elevations of the tundra.