It seems like forever that I actually sat and wrote from the comfort of my room, and I must admit, I kind of like it. Sometimes, occasionally, when the moon is just right – Home is where you can truly bring things to their meaning.
I just got back this afternoon from yet another amazing cruise but this one was quite a bit different in so many ways. So many, in fact, it has sparked a few different blogs I’ve been working on through the week. I’m choosing to write about this one first (and much out of order) because I feel I need to share.
I could tell you about the group of folks from Georgia who I spent days and nights laughing with. Or about how they so easily scooped me up and made me feel like we had known each other for ages. Or the silly names I gave them because I couldn’t remember them all. Or how it stung having to say goodbye to them wondering if we would ever cross paths in the future. Or about running into old/new cruise employees and the talks we had. Or meeting a new acoustic guitar player I was smitten by.
But I want to share those fun and fulfilling moments later. This blog is how I let the darkness in again. I think I may have even invited it myself. I can’t remember the exact day but I woke up feeling a little unlike myself and I had wished I brought the medication that would have helped but I didn’t think I would need it. The day went on like the days always did and that night I found myself in the same place everyone knew to find me – the Red Frog Pub. I had cried earlier but didn’t really know why. It wasn’t the typical. Hell, I don’t think I thought of my Ex once, Mama didn’t make me cry, I wasn’t thinking about my Papa or the job I loved or the friends I wish were closer or the uncertainty of my future…I just cried. And then…..there was tequila. A LOT of tequila. When you want to have fun with your friends you may have a shot, possibly two and then move on. Not this country girl. I thought I was invincible so I believe my count was 8 or 9 shots…..and then there was beer.
My friends were right outside the window chatting and had a clear view of me and keeping a watchful eye. However, the acoustic soloist I had been smitten by was either playing or chatting with me so they knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I bought guitar man a beer and he pulled up a stool and the conversation was quite general (I think) and pretty basic. I recall him drinking Miller Lite and I grabbed the beer cap that he had bent together and was playing with for an unknown reason to him but I knew what I wanted. As he spoke I began taking that sharp edge and discreetly digging it into my left forearm over and over and over. It ended up breaking into two halves which actually made things easier.
The next part is a little fuzzy but I do know that my friends seemed to think it was time for bed. Who was I to argue? And I gave Wendy my beer cap. They all brought me to bed, shut off the light and closed the door. Not long after I jumped up and ran to the bathroom…this is where I disposed of the tequila. I sat on the bathroom floor sobbing unconsolably without knowing what was making me so sad. And then I remembered – I had silverware in my bag from lunch earlier. So I went and grabbed the butter knife and used the force of every tear to push it into my thigh right on top of my favorite scar. I refused to allow myself to stop until I broke the skin enough to see a drip of blood. I used my pajama pants to stop the bleeding so there wouldn’t be concern from my Steward the next day. I changed and rocked myself to sleep.
I know the expectations of “life after TMS” however experiencing a total breakdown in the middle of Paradise was a bit perplexing even for me. I really wasn’t the same for the remainder of the trip and I’m sure I fooled no one but I have always had a way of tricking the world into thinking I was a happy girl. For the most part I am but the demons don’t just go away. They sit quietly in your ear waiting until you least expect it and they make themselves known once again.
Around 5:30 the next morning I went outside my room at the front of the ship and whispered for forgiveness. To God? To my Angel Mother? To my friends who believed I could make it? To my poor Father who feels he needs to take care of his sick 37 year old daughter? To my Doctor who gave me the miracle of TMS? I don’t think I was asking any of these people. I think I was asking myself. I was seeking forgiveness from myself for slipping, failing, not talking to someone, letting myself feel worthless, always feeling like the last one picked, for not knowing my worth. And I will let myself off the hook someday soon but for now, everything I type hurts my arm and sitting down hurts my leg. I will let it go when I no longer feel its presence on my body. Until then, I live with the shame.
“Growth is a process. You gain, you lose, you cry, you grow, you learn, you try, you fail but don’t you dare quit trying.”
Light & Love,