color key — blue: mental health; yellow: relationships. contrast of light and dark correlates with bright and somber tones of voice.

It's 9:18 p.m.

It's 9:18 p.m.

It's 9:18 p.m.

It's 9:18 p.m.

It’s 9:18 p.m. on a Thursday night. This week flew right by me. My thumb hovers over my older sister’s phone number, but I don’t press it to call her. I think to myself, This is it. This is the feeling that’s making me sick.

It’s connection I need. But calling a family member of any kind only ever makes me feel worse, and there’s always more than a heaping dose of self-doubt and reversal of self-validation. Imagine a volcano being told by nature that it’s time to erupt, but when it comes time to let all hell break loose, it suddenly shuts itself off, because erupting would mean nothing but damage for itself and the villages that surround it. It’s the tornado’s nature to express and it’s also it’s fault for needing to. I’m jealous of tornadoes for being tourist attractions, because at least when one decides to completely lose its shit and show its truth, it’s covered with what I can only imagine is a new skin of hardened lava that people then use to make face masks. 

Nobody’s dying to make a nice, gorgeous detoxifying, face mask out of my pain. But every time I have to self-soothe and go another full 24 hours without talking to someone I start to believe that I’m never going to have anyone to connect with.

I don’t just want to be seen, validated, and understood. I want to be marveled at too. I want to be appreciated for my outrageousness and loved for my honesty because at the end of the day I’m a balanced creature. There is something so confident about a volcano and I never saw it before. Volcanos and explosions..they’re all metaphors quote-junkies, and I’m sure psychotherapists, have been using for ages, but I finally get it. Maybe it’s too late for me. It sure feels like I’m easily 10 years past my due date and I’ve been living with my insides already overwhelmed and hardened. Am I choosing this? Why would anybody choose to be this way? Why then, when I am not silent and stand my ground, do things feel shaky, and my mind and body suffer massive consequences? What did I do to deserve such harsh treatment and lessons in this form? Am I some kind of future TED talk curator? Do I think I’ll even survive this era of my life? It sure as shit doesn’t feel like it. I’m too chicken shit to do anything stupid to myself, but if there was such a thing as death by never leaving bed and painlessly falling asleep, I’d be doing that.

But even after all of that, I still won’t call my sister. She listens to me at her own discretion and screens my calls most days. She text messages me all of her feelings and tells me about all the Psychology Today articles she’s reading about topics that I’ve been dealing with for decades, but she’s only at the beginning of it. I’m angry at her. I was going to say “with her” but that phrasing sounds far too compassionate. I’m specifically angry AT her, but I can’t stand the sight of her name on my phone or the sound of her dissociated, non-genuine voice. The same voice my barely alive father gives me when he’s just trying to check off all the boxes of his relationships. Work? Check. Utterly exhausted and miserable? Check. Depressed? Check. Obligatory “how are you” text message to my daughter after two months of complete silence? Check, check. See, I’m a good dad and I deserve lavish get togethers for Father’s Day. 

I barely breathed while writing that. I am so angry, disgusted, abandoned, nauseated, and petrified by my family.

Is this the way of our new generation? Why do I feel like I’m piss poor while my parents take trips and write checks for their church?

I feel so physically ill and it’s got to be all trauma-based because none of it makes sense otherwise. What I’m urgently concerned with is what the possible solution is for me. Do I go on pretending to be alive? Fake it to make it? Try to wean help from my toxic family members that I want nothing to do with anymore, but can’t let go of because of the mental, financial, and emotional ties I have with them? How do I let go of those ties? Will I ever? Or will this all kill me?

I like to think I’m in control of myself, but there are some of us who have such little self-belief, awareness, and strength left to go on. I used to believe that deep down I was capable, but every time I try my body pulls me back. So now I hate the body I have worked so hard to understand, and I regret every choice I’ve ever made that has led me here because it feels like one of the shittiest situations I have ever been in, and I’ve been in a lot. Nothing feels worse than living e without connection, and beyond that, rejection, disapproval and meanness from people you have no desire to be connected with. I feel insane. Everything is smoke and mirrors, and I don’t trust anything anymore, but nobody hears me, nobody will help me, and I can’t help myself. Right now I can’t help myself, and I’m barely alive.

© Midnight Woman 2021