I say “truly” because I’m finding out that just not having actual face-to-face, virtual, or cellular interaction doesn’t mean I’m truly over it like I want to be. I need to be over it. I have to get over it.
I feel, and it’s only my opinion, that being truly “over it” is akin to the experience of going to Alcoholics Anonymous. You can go to AA because you’re told you’re not supposed to drink alcohol or are mandated by the court to do so. You white-knuckle it day-by-day, chanting the mantra, only to repeatedly fail and stuck in a torturous loop. Or you can go to AA because you truly, deeply in your heart, believe you have a problem with the way you think about alcohol, want to change that, and find only then do you make the change into who you’re meant to be. Lesson by hard-won lesson, one day at a time.
The important lessons are always hard-won.
I tried pure cocaine once. Decades ago. It’s not a euphemism. It was 100% pure cocaine. It was pure; pearly and flaky and amazing. It was euphoric. It was power and happiness and heaven. And the next morning, I wanted to die from the headache and shame. The cure for the shame and wanting what was bad for me was in already knowing it wasn’t good for me. Already knowing that dipping my toe didn’t mean I could swim. It didn’t lie; it’s just true.
Had I not known, though. Had it lied about its intentions, lied about its aftermath, I would’ve been hooked. I would’ve been conned into needing what it gave me so teasingly. If thought I could have that dreamy euphoria once again, even as it vanished without a word, only to return with more tasty promises—always just when I had curbed my addiction—to suddenly, cruelly, and without explanation deny me access again…would I do anything to entice it back? Would I have hung around despite it screaming at me what a piece of shit I was so humiliatingly only hoping for it to throw a little of that paradise back my way like it used to? When we were new? Were lovers? Friends? Before it convinced me I wasn’t worthy of even mere crumbs? Would I subject myself to torture to bring back that euphoria like it promised? Of course I would.
I’m glad I didn’t have the option. It was fun once and that’s where it belongs. Once.
But drugs and alcohol are easy to vilify because they’re recognized as something not to do. For good reason. They destroy people, lives, potential, energy. They’re vampires. And, there isn’t anyone telling us we’re wrong about them being dangerous. Drugs and alcohol don’t lie. People do.
Because of that reality, I’m struggling with why I should bother. That tiny bit of euphoria offered to me, despite the horrific psychological, physical, emotional abuse that comprised the interim, has been more desperately comfortable to cling to than having to admit to all of it being over. To not have that comfort to withdraw to, as fleeting and as false as it was, is frightening. Even worse is having to admit to being fooled entirely; a euphoria manufactured from Day One. It’s humiliating, crushing, defeating. Releasing that tiny last memory is the last comfort left until total emptiness. I fear the worst but have nothing left to cling to.
And it is worse. The emptiness breaks my heart in what little of my damaged life I have left.
Now it’s just dark.
So dark that it seems like I’m reeling towards a brick wall at midnight at 100 miles per hour with no time left to wonder what’s stopping me from running headlong into it. I can’t seem to see past the brick wall, what little shadow I can see of it. All I see is end and blackness and stop. Not death, just apathy. Just nothing.
Yet, I somehow know it’ll get better.
Because it has to.
Because there is no going anywhere but up from….
–No! Don’t say it! Stop this now.–
That statement is dangerously untrue! It’s only a semantically tricky way to invoke danger. I know better than to ever say the words, “things can’t get worse”. Because they will. I’ve lived it before. When those words are uttered, the gods go out of their way to prove us wrong. Like some medieval-themed game played with a 12-sided die, saying it makes it true, no matter what kind of cloaking word devices I use. I know better than to tempt them that way.
So I take it back! I take it all back.
Clinging to comfort isn’t living. Clinging to life isn’t living. I won’t do it anymore. The new die is cast.
So instead of tempting the gods into perpetuating a violent felon’s idea of what I deserve, I’ll say instead…I’m aiming towards the black, brick wall. And running head-first.
Propelled and limping as I near it, pinwheeling weak baby giraffe-like legs harder and faster, gaining speed and strength as the force of my own acceleration peels back my cheeks into some kind of a smile. A one-two leap and I’ll launch over it, shoot skyward, bounce off intermediate hills and haughty mountains. Somersaulting then regaining my direction in tighter trajectories.
I’ll dodge swoopy bald eagles until the goofy one I can’t avoid connects, startled as myself. We’ll explode into a hilarious mass of feathers and laughter.
Landing hard on our backs, we’ll high-five while panting in catching our breaths.
Wondering at our luck in our escape, pride in each other’s soaring, we see that wherever it is we land, it’s surprisingly sunny there.