Holding Down the Fort

Anytime I see a parent reading to their child who is sitting on their lap, I’m struck with deep melancholic memories of neglect followed by a warm jealous, yet happy, feeling for that special set up.
When I see couples canoodling in dark corners of coffee shops or behind bars, I get that same feeling.
As the weeks progress, the children of my kindergarten homeroom have been showering me with compliments, gifts, hugs, and I Love Yous. One boy even said, “don’t leave us like the others have.” That hit straight home for me. I know what this meant. I almost cried.
Today, I called my mother just to say hi. We spent exactly 2:49 on the phone before she said, in Spanish, “hey, I have to go, my boyfriend is waiting to take me to dinner.” I’m happy for my mother because after being single and depressed for almost 20 years, this is exactly the thing she needs. Someone to be there for her, to treat her right, to love her. I’m jealous because he’s all she ever thinks about nowadays. My mom has been absent all my life, so I’m fairly used to being parentless. Even still, I yearn for the attention. I have hope that it’ll still be there. I call her, hoping I could tell her about my days, how tired I am, how bitter the weather is, my vacation plans, otherwise, things that moms and daughters (or parents and their kids) would normally talk about. I try to engage in a filial relationship that’s never really existed and I’ve only ever witnessed vicariously through friends and movies.
Sometimes I stay up subtly congratulating myself for not being batshit crazy as should be warranted after all the misfortune I’ve been dealt. I could easily victimize myself in any situation. The way some people do because “their parents loved them too much” so that’s why they’re rebellious. Or, “I was the ugly duckling” so that’s why they’re insecure. Blahblahblah. The list of my mishaps would go on for days. But I am living proof that karma is real, that everything will be alright, and “excuses are like assholes, everyone has one.” That’s not to say that I’m abundantly confident, secure as a dead bolt, or happy as a laughing baby. No. I’m fucked up. But that’s only brought me down ONCE. Down as in to the point of committing suicide.
I wanted so badly for everything to be over. I’d read interweb self-help stuff, I’d called a suicide hotline, all of which advised that suicide was a “permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Two things: first, the word solution implies something good IMO, a valid justification. Second, the thing about temporary problem; my problems have existed and persisted since I was born, and so, temporary isn’t a thing for me. The moment I decided, I did so because I was overwhelmed with stress and sadness, to the point of breaking, bursting at the seams, crumbling like an over baked cookie. I did it. Downed 12, 20mg aderall and a handle of whiskey. From what I can remember, I was like Lucy from Lucy but not at all in the enthralling way the movie portrayed. The rest is history. Spoiler alert: I lived. GROUNDBREAKING. Bet you didn’t see that one coming!
Thereafter, my life changed. My mind and soul became one, embarked on a journey toward the light at the end of the tunnel. As Ru Paul famously says, “if you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” I’m so glad I hauled through the latest season of Drag Race. (#teambiancadelrio) It really inspired a bout of self-acceptance that, thankfully, hasn’t worn off. Over the past handful of months, I’ve really settled into myself, figured out who I want to associate with and who I don’t, the like.
Anyway, I’m doing the most to keep it all together. To overlook the loneliness. To brush the neglect off my shoulders. To hold down the fort.
Here’s to wishful thinking.

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