Unread Letters

Dear ______,

I can’t ever say what I’m thinking without butchering it. It always sounds better in my head. Somehow the words get lost in translation and I am misunderstood. My written words capture my heart perfectly. This heart is tired from constantly giving and rarely getting anything back. It’s just exhausting to care so deeply for others. It’s my curse.

I don’t know that I will ever give you this letter. Maybe I shouldn’t pour my soul out onto this page for you to see. Will you even see me? Do you have any idea who I really am? I’m not certain that I know myself anymore. I’ve clawed my way back from the bottom more than once. I may have put myself there a time or two. I’ve let my own mind destroy me. Sickness stole my joy. Depression left me crippled. I came back. I’m not who I want to be. I’m spread too thin. I’m a terrible mother and a horrible friend. I want to be better. Truth is that I can’t do all the things I need to at once.

I don’t know how much of my dysfunction you can handle. My sadness is overwhelming at times. I’m moody and angry for no good reason. I’m afraid of everything and of nothing all at once. I’m a damn mess. You should run away. I’m no good for you or anyone else. The kindness I have for others completely hides the hate I harbor for myself. It’s hell being me. I’m not easy to love nor am I easy to deal with. I’m so complex. It’s ridiculous. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m broken.

I’m not who you think I am. The ugly will start to bleed through eventually. I don’t want you to care about me. God forbid you fall in love with me. I will destroy you. I will shut down. I don’t know when I will come back to you. I am damaged beyond repair. It pains me to admit the worst of myself. I can’t lie to you. I won’t. You need to know there is a darkness that won’t leave me. I don’t know if it ever will. This is me. There is beauty in the darkness. I am living proof.

-B

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I Can’t Flipping Breathe

                               Tell me what’s worse than this

“Lydia” by Highly Suspect is my theme song at the moment. This song screams in my head. It’s haunting and slightly dark. My frustrations are many and my patience has grown thin. I’m exhausted. I’m angry. I shouldn’t be angry.

                                            I can’t believe

I can’t write anymore. The words have left me. None of this makes sense to me. I’m angry that I can’t turn my feelings into meaning anymore. My exhaustion comes from caring for others. It’s draining to give so much of yourself. I chose this. I quickly realized that I need to get back what I give out. It is emotionally exhausting to be kind all the time.

                               But at my best, I am the worst

I am giving it my all. I’m pushing through the pain. I’m running on empty. I keep moving because people depend on me. Then I realize I’m giving myself too much credit. I am not solely responsible for everything. I don’t make a difference. I am only one person. I don’t matter in the scheme of things. It’s all for nothing. Nobody cares what I do.

                           Your Eyes Are Lined In Pain 

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My eyes tell the tale. I can’t hide anything. If you want to know something just look at them and you will know if something is wrong. Lately the story my eyes tell is one of fatigue. The story is full of self doubt and guilt. My eyes are sad because I don’t have much time with my kids. They are growing up while I’m at work. I miss them. My eyes seem empty because I have nothing left to give. I give everything of myself to others. Those dark circles and bags some people like to make fun are a lack of sleep and a whole lot of worry. I don’t need eyeliner since my eyes are lined in pain and black tears don’t hide in rain.

                                          I Can’t Breathe

I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t breathe. The nightmares are crippling. I can’t go back to sleep. I leave the light on. I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of what the dark brings. My chest is tight all the time from constant worry. I just can’t stop. I worry about everything. I wonder why nothing I do will ever be good enough for some people. I’m too hard on myself. It’s brutal. So I push on. I let it build. This goes on for days and days. It gets harder and harder to cope with everyday. I try to smile. I push it back and keep moving. I work sick. I work on 3-5 hours of sleep. Sometimes I don’t eat. Then I get hangry. I’m really sorry if I’ve come at you when I’m hangry. It can get ugly. It keeps building until I can’t take it anymore and I lose my religion.

 

                I CAN’T FLIPPING BREATHE

I am compelled to yell this part of the song. It helps me release my pent up aggression. I guess the point of this whole piece is that I carry way too much.  I need to talk more. I have such a hard time getting this out of my system. It’s stupid because I feel better once it is out. Maybe I will sleep tonight since I confessed my sins. I can dream.

Only Then Can You See

It starts slowly.

I needed something. I craved the understanding. I wanted fun. I was tired of hiding inside. I was always alone. I’d trusted all the wrong people. I suck when it comes to people. I can’t give up on anyone. I’ve learned I need to leave more. I reconnected with an old friend from school. This was the best decision I’ve made in a while.

It grows with every passing day.

One day I asked if I could help him work on a car. I needed to learn more. I’m a crappy mechanic but I love cars. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s a great teacher and he’s patient when I screw up. Let’s be honest here. I could tear up a brick wall with a spork. I’m a walking disaster. I don’t have any luck. If I touch it then odds are it will break. I’m cursed. True story.

I found my church

I got my life spending time under the hood of a car. One day I was under the car changing out the air compressor. It was 100 degrees outside. My hair was caked with refrigerant. I had grease from head to toe. I was covered in sweat. I smiled the entire time. I was doing it. The best part was someone believed in me. I needed that more than anything. I found my place and my people. My church isn’t brick and mortar. It’s a driveway with cars and tools. The people there get me. I go to church often because it gives me peace.

I started feeling confused.

The lines began to blur. I couldn’t understand why I suddenly started feeling things like jealousy and confusion in certain situations. I was less than thrilled at the mention of another woman’s’ name. I never let it show. It was normal to hide my feelings so this was cake. I didn’t want to ruin our friendship so I silenced that voice in my head. I told myself it was natural and it would pass. I knew things would be normal soon. I was wrong. I couldn’t shake the feelings I developed for him.

Then in the midst of chaos everything became clear.

We were at the wrong place at the wrong time. A group of people came out of nowhere and attacked a man. We had gotten caught in the middle of the insanity. At one point they started to threaten us. I would have beat them down had anyone touched him. After it was over we got in the car and I saw him in a different light. I had a case of the feels. I said nothing. My mind was a wreck. The next day I became angered when he was mistreated by someone. It was hard to keep my mouth shut. I tried to save face so I left.

I was miserable and full of conflict. The peace was gone.

I stewed over my feelings. I pushed them deep inside. They bubbled to the top almost instantly. I was full of turmoil. I could not just leave it alone. I was subtle with my approach. After a few minutes of going back and forth with him he understood what I was saying. I felt relieved. It didn’t last long. It was time to twist the knife.

Friend zoned? Wait. My best friend just friend zoned me.

I thought I might fall over dead. The pain in my chest was crushing me. I could not breathe. The one person in the world that accepted me for who I am just banished me to the friend zone. I died a little at that moment. I couldn’t be around him. It was too painful. I had to get over my heart being crushed. I told him I would not see him for a while. I meant forever. I went silent. My car decided to die shortly after. It was fitting. Things got dark.

I was in a daze and constant state of sadness.

I cried the entire time I tried to fix my car. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t fix it either. I was finished. I threw every tool I owned into the field. I slung my toolbox and car battery. The field looked like a car parts store threw up there. I posted on Facebook letting people know I was finished with cars and they were welcome to come pick up my collection of junk and take it home. I can’t recall when we started texting. He wanted to look at my car and I said no. I finally caved. I just didn’t feel like he was the same person. His tone of voice when he friend zoned me was haunting.

Nothing was the same anymore. I ruined the best thing I had in my life.

He helped me figure out what was wrong with the car. We took a trip to the junk yard for an alternator. It was weird but I ignored it. Nothing went right when it came to this car. The part didn’t work. The car wasn’t fixed. He had to take me home. I wasn’t sure about anything any more. I was about to get out of the car. He motioned for me to get closer so he could hug me. Imagine my surprise when he kissed me. It may have been fifteen minutes or it could have been an eternity. I know for certain I couldn’t feel my toes. I was dizzy and clearly disoriented for a moment. I never saw that coming in a million years. This was special. This was unlike any kiss I’d ever experienced before. My entire life changed in a matter of moments.

I was finally ready to see things for what they were.

It took me most of my 39 years to open my eyes. My life has been on huge learning experience. I’ve lost my way more than I care to tell you. I’ve been stupid. I’ve been selfish. I’ve chased so many dead ends. I’ve used my problems as a crutch for many years. It took a dream for me to realize I would never get anywhere until I let everything go. My sweet Big Mama came to me in a dream. She asked me when I was going to stop using my problems as an excuse not to be happy and successful. She was right. I was wasting my time and only hurting myself. The next morning I felt peace. I was finally ready to see. Just like that everything fell into place. I have a relationship with someone who loves and appreciates me. He understands me. That’s not an easy task. I’m happy and I feel secure. In a few days I will graduate from a CNA program. This is huge for me. I wasted so much time and didn’t finish college. I haven’t graduated from anything in twenty-one years. I enjoy caring for people. I can finally have a job that leaves me fulfilled. Life is good when you are finally ready to see things as they are.

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He Had A Gun. I Drove For My Life

Christmas Day 1999, Small Town, USA.

I grew up in a sleepy little town. The town was on one side of the road and the railroad tracks owned the other side. The population was around 1500 back then. Everyone knew each other or they knew your “people”. More than once a complete stranger would ask me if I was a Glassco. Our dark eyes weren’t easy to forget.

I left my home in 1998. I moved to the city. I couldn’t be there anymore after the death of my boyfriend. I needed a new start. I came home often. I missed my family and friends. I loved Nashville though.

I was home for Christmas. I had gone to a late movie that night with a friend. I was in the next town. I left the movie theater and dropped my friend off. There wasn’t anyone in town. It was unusually warm from what I remember. It was sometime after 11pm. I had my sunroof open and my windows down. I was in my world where it was safe. I got caught by every red light in town. I’d sit there enveloped in one of my daydreams. That was until I stopped at the next red light.

I noticed a car coming to a stop on my right. It was the first car I’d seen on the four lane road since I left the movie. I glanced over out of habit. There were four guys in the car. One looked familiar. I waved at them. It’s something I do. It’s common in the sticks to give a finger wave to the complete stranger that you meet on the roadway. It’s just a country thing I guess.

I quickly realized I didn’t know any of these guys. They started yelling. I politely smiled as the light turned green. I got to the next light and of course it turned red. They were beside me. They kept yelling at me to pull over. I shook my head and said no. I rolled up the windows. The light turned green and I drove. The yelling continued as we drove to the next light. This time when the light caught us my stomach turned. The driver was hanging out of the window. He yelled “Pull the Mother F*ckin car over now.” I held my breath. I could see movement out of the corner of my eye. The passenger in the back pulled a gun from his jacket and waved it around as he ordered me to pull over.

This is the part where I realized what it meant to “bring a knife to a gun fight”.

I look at the red light and floored my brand New Plymouth Neon. I closed the sunroof and then put both hands on the steering wheel. I had the pedal to the floor. I knew I was in trouble. I know cars. They had a much bigger engine and they would catch up quickly. They flew up beside me. I topped the hill at 120 mph. That was as fast as she would go. Did I mention this was a 30 mph zone? I prayed to get pulled over or see another car. All I saw were tail lights as they blew past me.

I knew what was coming. They were going to force me to stop.

They got over in my lane and hit the brakes and locked it up. The rear end of their car went left the right. When the rear end went left again the car turned sideways in front of me. I had let off the gas to anticipate their next move. They were sideways so I put the pedal to the floor and hit the turn lane. The driver couldn’t correct the spin. The car wrapped around a telephone pole as I watched and flew past them. I couldn’t breathe.

I did 120 mph for the next 7 miles. I was terrified that they were coming after me. I wasn’t rational. The car was demolished. I went straight to the police station but no one was there. I went home. I stayed in my car for and hour. I was shaking. I wouldn’t go inside until I knew my family was safe.

I laid there in the dark the rest of the night. I finally closed my eyes at first light. Things like this weren’t suppose to happen close to home. I didn’t know these guys. Why did they want to hurt me? I was a good person. I even felt bad that I left them in the wreckage. They pulled a gun on me. They wanted to kill me or worse. Christmas Day has never been the same. The magic is lost for me. He could have pulled the trigger at the red light. I was 22 years old. Bad things happen and open your eyes to the depravity of some. I got lucky one Christmas night. My gift was life. I drove like hell to keep it.

Straight Outta Feels

I’ve done so much soul-searching this summer. I’ve made major life changes. My eyes are wide open. I don’t like some of the things I see. I’ve turned a blind eye to entirely too much debauchery. I’m done.

I’m straight outta feels. Take notice.

I refuse to be used. I am not anyone’s whipping girl. I will not go out of my way for people who never give me a second thought. I will not comfort you in hard times when you forsake me during mine. No more giving to those that only take. It’s over. I’m not a doormat. I am a human being. I have thoughts and feelings. I am kind and I have talent. I am a writer. If you can’t read my stuff that saddens me especially if I wrote something for you.

Just kick me in the chest instead. Ignoring an offering of my soul is betrayal. 

If you aren’t here for me then leave me be. I don’t need to be mislead into thinking people care when they don’t. My limited time online has shown me the truth of who is really here for me.  Samara Speaks recently got booted from Facebook. She learned the same truth I’m rambling about. Being forgotten sucks. When you aren’t around to serve a purpose you disappear from people’s lives.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a figment of my imagination. The actions of others make this reality. 

Here’s my reality. I live and I breath. I stumble and fall. I’ve worked hard to take my life back. I let myself fade away for three long years. I was lost. I know what I’ve done and I carry that guilt. I don’t need any reminders. It’s not been easy. I’ve clawed my way back to being a functional adult with a dysfunctional mind.

Don’t steal my damn thunder. It’s my storm and I rode it out. 

I’m not asking for a pony because I got my life together. I am demanding respect. If you didn’t live my life then you don’t know what it’s been like and you will never understand. Judge me and hate me if you wish. Your opinion of me is none of my business. My opinion of myself is all that matters. I’m proud of myself. It’s a pity that others aren’t. The truth is it only drives me to prove people wrong.

Don’t underestimate me. I’m far more powerful than I even knew.

Between The Stars and The Sea of Tranquility 

There is no wrong 

There is no right

Only stars shinning in the night

To be among the stars in the full moonlight unable to tell which one shines so bright 

Gaze into the heavens and forget about your plight

Is your love under the same moonlight under the stars that shine so bright

Are they lost and hurting like you underneath that same full moon

Among the stars is where I’ll be searching for you feverishly

Have you gone away and left me be cause there is no freedom meant for me

When you see the moon do you think of me or have the stars gotten in your way

In the sea of tranquility I find peace

Where are you my love why have you forsaken me?
  

The Aftermath

Today marked one month since everything changed. Wednesday June 24th, 2015. The day I so desperately tried to save a life. I can tell you the last thirty days have been difficult. I cope. I grieve. Some nights I sleep. Most nights I’m awake. I cry in the dark when nobody is around. I hide my pain. The wounds on my feet have healed. The scars are there as a constant reminder to me and everyone I know. No one can see the damage inside. It hasn’t healed. I don’t know that it ever will.

The pain comes out of nowhere and punches me in the gut. All the ugly hangs out. You can’t see it. I feel it. Everyday. I’ve poured myself into my work. I haven’t been writing. I haven’t written since my tribute to Jeff. My words were too dark to share. I’ve occupied my mind with The Original Bunker Punks Website the past three weeks. I’ve kept myself busy publishing other writers and their works. I do enjoy publishing,editing and posting the work for other writers. Behind the scenes work has helped me so much.

My saving grace has been working on cars. I laid underneath a Nissan and changed out an air compressor in 100 degree weather. I was relaxed. I had clarity and mostly I felt peace. Working under the hood of a car feels like home to me. I don’t know a lot but I learn more everyday. My best days are the ones when I come home covered in grease. My hair is matted with grease and refrigerant. The looks I get when I go into a store make me giggle. Cars are my therapy. Writing is my release.

My words have failed me lately. So has my car at times. I need a constant project car to continue my therapy. I have to trust my words again. I used to spill them across the page with ease. Now they hesitate leaving my mind. I’ve lost so much in translation. I hope the words will find me again. I’m a storyteller yet I can’t tell my store anymore. I feel I have no right being upset. My feelings aren’t valid. How can I be grieving for a man I didn’t know? I only met this man at the end of his story yet I’m entangled in it. Maybe these are normal feelings. I’ve lost people in a previous job. I never saw them. I was only the voice on the other end of the phone. It still hurt when I lost them. It’s a whole other ballgame when you are right there and feel them slip away.

I didn’t even think I just acted. I know I did the right thing. The right thing isn’t always easy to do. I have no regrets for jumping in and trying like hell. The aftermath never crossed my mind. I live in it everyday. I’ve thought about Jeff, his family and his friends everyday since he left this world. I know he gave me purpose. I’m struggling with it. My son was there that day. I sent him away but I caught him watching. I hope he will help others as I do. I didn’t want him to see anything that happened in the parking lot that day. I hope he understands how fragile life is now. When you are a teenager you usually don’t grasp how precious life is. I can only hope he will carry this with him and learn from it. I’m still learning from this experience.

The Aftermath is ugly. Peace isn’t mine yet. Forgiving myself will help me heal. Forgiveness isn’t easy. Doing the right thing isn’t easy. Guilt is keeping me prisoner. Letting go seems so easy, yet I can’t. I have purpose. I’m still learning. Aren’t we all?

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The Chapter of Captain Jeff McCullough

Our Lives are like books. We each have our own story. Many different people play a part in our story.  People come into your life and can leave faster than they entered your story. Our stories overlap. We are intertwined in the tellings of each others stories. Some people have smaller parts yet their impact will be felt a lifetime. This isn’t my story it’s a chapter from one that intersected with mine on a hot Wednesday afternoon in late June. This is Jeff’s story. I am but a minor character in his book. He is a major one in mine.

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It was like any other day. I picked up my oldest son in town after a long morning. I was so worn out and could barely move from the back pain. Carter informed me he needed something from the store. I didn’t want to go further into town. I just wanted to head home since I’m 20 miles away. I told him we would stop at our local Dollar General. It’s the only store in my area besides convenience stores. I rolled down Highway 64 and made a left hand turn into the parking lot. I noticed the parking lot being paved and it was roped off so parking was on the entrance side of the lot now. When I pulled in the parking lot I knew something was wrong. I whipped the car in park and we got out. My eyes focused on a man in a truck. I yelled to someone with him if he was alright. I knew he wasn’t. I heard heat stroke and commotion. I instructed my son to run into the store and call 911. I told him not to come back outside. I ran in flip-flops and scrubs. I leaped over the tape blocking off the paving. Did you catch the part earlier where I could barely move? I became a machine. I was on a mission and I would not be stopped.

I am a force to be reckoned with in an emergency. I think quickly and react even faster.  I am focused and determined. I know exactly what to do. I’m not forgetful anymore. I am strong. I feel no pain. I jump in without a second thought. This is not my first emergency. This was my worst. I asked some questions and barked orders. Our eyes met. They were so green and kind. He looked to be the same age as my father. I knew he had worked hard his entire life. I could see it. I felt his kindness all around me. I assessed the situation and reacted.  The situation had changed quickly. CPR was needed. Cooling his body temperature with water allowed us to remove him from the truck to do CPR. The parking lot burned my feet and legs. I never felt it. I made sure he stayed wet so he didn’t burn. His best friend and co-worker Wendell was at his side. It was then I learned that both men were in law enforcement in the next county. Wendell and I did CPR for what seemed like an eternity. We had some success but were unable to maintain his airway so it was vicious cycle. We talked to him. We were there to comfort him. I couldn’t maintain his airway. I ran my fingers through his hair and told him “It’s ok Jeff I’m here and I won’t leave you. I kissed him on the cheek. I felt him leave us. I went back to work. I called his name. I yelled, I begged, and I pleaded for him to stay. I had barked orders at people and didn’t conduct myself in the kind way that I normally do. I was a machine and I had a job to do. The first responders and EMS arrived. I didn’t voluntarily move. I was dragged away.

I stood up and walked away. I cried. I felt overwhelmed with emotion. I was shaken. My son was watching. I didn’t want him to see me. They continued to work on Jeff but I already knew he was gone. I failed him. I let his,family,friends, and community down. It was a punch to the gut. I knew at that moment I’d never be the same. The greatest man I never knew had left this world and I was in shock. Why? My kindness was drawn to his kindness. I’ve learned since that Jeff was selfless and kind. He cared about people and he made a difference in this world.  He was someone I would have looked up to. I admire him. Through all of this Jeff gave me purpose. Kindness is the only way. Help others and love one another.

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I enjoyed meeting his family and friends. The service was beautiful. I was asked by his daughters to join them and place a rose on his casket along with their mother. I was touched. It was moving and I became emotional. The world lost a great man when Jeff went home. I will never forget the lesson he taught me. He gave me perspective. It was an honor and a privilege to be with you in the end. I hope I gave you safe passage. I’m only sorry this was your last chapter. I will carry you throughout the rest of my days in my heart.

“A Heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others.” The Wizard of Oz

 This man was loved by everyone. His heart was pure. Rest easy.

Fate Asked Me to Dance

 

Today I’ve been shaken. I happened upon a man in distress. His coworkers and a store employee were helping him. I got out of the car and knew he was in trouble. I yelled at my kid to go inside and call an ambulance. 

I started CPR on him. I’d get him back for a moment or two then he’d leave me again. I didn’t give up. I kept working on him until Ems and first responders arrived. When they took over I started to cry. I never said a word. He died in my arms but I kept on with CPR. 

You never know when you will be faced with someone’s life hanging in the balance. Will you stand on the other side of the tape or hurdle it to help a dying man? I cleared that tape and did what I had to do. I have found out this man was a very good person. He was a well respected officer in his community. I’m only sorry I couldn’t save him. Fate asked me to dance. I never say no.

the semicolon project

This piece hits close to home. I have connected with someone I’ve never met. The Semicolon Project is really something. Pause and keep going. You don’t have to quit.

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FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

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