I remember sitting in this place when I was more new to the world. Back then 24 seemed like a lifetime away to a girl of 10 with her whole life ahead of her. Now as I sit in this same familiar spot 14 years later I long to grasp onto the child that ran away from me too fast. Depression and an abusive mother made me grow up before my time; suicidal thoughts by the time I hit middle school, in therapy with diagnosed clinical depression before high school, multiple attempts on my own life, cutting and self harm have all lead me here. Down a path no one can prepare you for and few people come back from, I've been treading that path for longer than I care to think about and all I have to show for it is my life. I was one of the lucky ones...I came back. Not every teen who deals with these issues can say the same, their voices silenced at their own hands. Often times people who think they are helping just hurt more, and some people try to help when they shouldn’t. I always made it very clear to my friends that if I ask you for help or advice give it to me, but if I am telling you what’s wrong I am just venting. I learned how to protect myself a little more, while still being open to love and life. I made it to 24 when the world seemed to fall all around me, but it sure as hell wasn't just because of me. There are people in my life who all but hauled my ass out of despair and back into the real world.
Lisa, Laura, Fergy, Jess, Jenny, Jordan, Emily, Brock, Steph, Allison, Sam, Addie, Kirby, Maggie and more recently Ashley and Sarah...you all are pieces to the puzzle of why I am still here. Some are bigger than others but all of them are important to me. If I haven't thanked you before I am thanking you now. I know some of you won't read this, and some of you that do won't care because we've drifted and are no longer a part of each other’s lives but thank you just the same. You were the friends who held my hand and wiped away my tears in High School. You are the therapist that I am going to owe money to one day for all the times you listened to me, and cared about me. It was the late night chats over the internet that made me think twice about what I was about to do. It was the sleepovers and Bitchfests, the countless meals, junk food, and alcohol that got me through it. It was you caring about me when it seemed like no one else did, you reaching out to me when no one else would, you standing by my side when everyone else was turning their backs on me. If we have lost contact I am sorry because every person I named has truly been a blessing in my life and I thank you again for what you did for me. Something like this, written at midnight while I wander the streets outside isn’t enough of a thank you but then again very few words I write could say all I need to. So to all of you I give my love, my thanks, an open invitation back into my life and a special place in my heart and memory forever.
So what would make a relatively sane women sit in the cold at the end of January in just leggings a short sleeve T-shirt and a hoodie? Let me tell you… the relatively sane person can't answer that. I was looking for some clarity and here on a raised sewage drain sticking out of the hill at my elementary school I have found it before but tonight it eludes me. I look at the stars, feel the cold starting to numb my fingers and take another breath. Maybe the clarity I am searching for is closer than I realize. I just need to remember that I am still alive, and I have plenty of my life left to live. I keep thinking that losing a job I hated is the end of the world, but if I have some patience and give it some time everything will be okay, because it always is. That thought is enough to keep me going, to get me through to tomorrow, the realization that I have more time to make mistakes.
Its cold, I glance once more out over the fields and at the stars and get up from my perch. My legs are numb as I walk away but as I do I realize I'm not crying anymore which is a step in the right direction. I glide along the asphalt sea towards the school, mirroring steps I took as a girl. I see the number 1997 on the building, its first year. I was 8, in 3rd grade, I would be able to find my old rooms in an instant, most people would see that as an inability to let go I see it as cataloging where I've been. The relentless march of time never ends and so I just try to hold on while not letting go of the important things that have helped to shape me.
I walk toward where I live, the house that stopped being home a long time ago and breathe in the ice like night air. That is what I told my parents after all that I was going out for air, so I might as well get my fill before I am once again surrounded by the reality of my circumstance. I walk slowly head back taking in the moon and the clear sky and as I reach my front porch another moment of clarity.
I may not know where the hell I am going but you better believe I know where I've been.