Come Undone, She Has
Eventually there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, for you know that every road will lead back to yourself, and that you will be stuck in your head no matter how hard you try to distract yourself, no matter how hard you wish to be free, no matter how many pills are prescribed, no matter how many nights are spent dancing. Eventually you can no longer fool yourself. Eventually all longing is compressed, compacted, condensed, and all that is left is a black hole, daring you to jump in, for what is one to do once one realizes that it will always feel the same – the initial excitement, the feeling found: “another one like me exists!”, the fear that it might disappear, the pushing and pulling, the conversations that make you smile as you cling to each word, the first this, the first that, the annoyances, the excuses that fill your mind with doubts, the apologizing: I shouldn’t have doubted you, the guilt, the wanting that tries to pass itself off as needing, the skin that still feels like it did the first time you touched it, the tears that you could hold back finally spilling out, the weeping, the promises that you hope might save things and maybe they do but only for a short time for you know, as hard as you try not to know that this is the denoument, the separating of personal effects, the emptiness.
How, I ask you, how is one to go through this cycle time and again without realizing that it is always, always, always, the same? How is one to pick up the phone when one can already see the end? Would this not be utterly, undeniably, uncannily insane? How is one to enjoy any kind of beginning when green lights are just red lights in waiting?
Eventually the girl who hated and hates statistics so much that she took Grade Twelve pre-calculus math three times just to prove some abstract point – no, not even she really knew what it was – though she could solve the most difficult questions, advanced trigonometry and quadratic functions and algebra involving three variables, she failed the unit proported to be the easiest, a silly few weeks of pure provincial education-board necessity that likely would not appear on the final exam, she even managed to pull off a zero percent before her first walk out, for some questions involving dice and playing cards and time did not make sense. The girl only attended her mandatory statistics class in university three times and still got an A, as she was happy with her life and did not have time to make a scene in front of other students about the contradictions within the equations – she fell in love with another girl for the first time a few months before the class started, and it was only the second time she had fallen in love (well, at least only the second time that her love was reciprocated). Following the laws of attraction and seduction and first hands held and first kisses, she would break the girl’s heart before the end of the summer, but she was only nineteen – she thought she was jaded, but in truth she was beautifully innocent. How she wishes she could have died that way, innocent, not yet ruined by the ugliness of the world, and the ugliness the world causes one to embody. One more statistics class was required, an advanced one, to complete her honours degree. She would not be required to take one, ever again, after this, even if she obtained a Ph.D. as she wanted to at the time. Whenever she would ask a question in class – most frequently when the miserable professor that wrote with invisible ink until a student bought him a new marker to scribble on the whiteboard with, a man who told us that no one would get a lower mark than a B and that there was no reason for us to attend class, a man that answered questions with questions and caused all of us poor students (as in Winnipeg, there are few wealthy students, and those few are in premed, not honours sociology) to spend $30/hour on a tutor for an entire semester – she would be answered with the statement that she did not have to worry because “that would not be on any assignments or exams”.
Now the girl realizes she has become a statistic. The pain is unlike any she has encountered before, and she is an expert in pain, both physical and emotional. Now, age 27, ten years after she fell in love with a “man” that spent the last two years of their four year relationship raping her, threating suicide if she would not fulfill his sexual demands, raping her while whispering in her ear: “Every woman secretly wants to be raped”, making sounds of pleasure to cover her sounds of pain, six years after she entered a new long-term relationship with a boy who she ended up playing both mother and lover to, surviving on her scholastic aspirations, two years after she entered her next long-term relationship with a purported feminist who ended up being a wolf in sheep’s clothing that, after she promised herself she would never let a man abuse her again, spent the last two weeks of their relationship abusing her psychologically, physically, and sexually, one and a half years after her roommates kicked her out for being “too
messed up, too damaged”, eleven months after the last man she fell in love with couldn’t bear her for more than one week, eight months after three months of homelessness during which all of her worldly possessions were stolen including the red and black cat she called Phoenix that she rescued the same summer she promised herself that she would never accept abuse from a partner again and that she was no longer going to suppress her feelings for women, the summer before she began dating the man that would ruin her academic career after sodomizing her in her sleep and spending a weekend in jail for coming after her with the same sledgehammer he started demolishing their apartment with after realizing she had called 911 by making up horrible lies – lies that would be accepted by the ranting paranoic that was hospitalized five times during their year together, believed over the woman that entered the program with a SSHRC grant (“The Rhodes Scholarship of Canada” and the highest undergraduate average, and a 92-page thesis on its way to publication already completed, thirty pages longer than most M.A. Theses in her program, I mean, his program (of course I left before they could kick me out), three months after leaving the city of Vancouver for the Kootenays in the same provinces interior (Vancouver being on the coast), a month after the woman she thought would replace her mother as a female in her sixties with so very much in common with her that they could talk for hours after not seeing each other for fifteen years lost control of the vehicle she had rented to drive her to testify against that man that tried to destroy her in court at 115 km/h, a month after the vehicle became airborne and flew over a cliff and rolling twenty times before stopping, a month after she found a way out of the vehicle that was starting to smoke, a month after she climbed 100 feet up the steepest hill she had ever climbed with cracked ribs and a severe chest contusion because her new baby cat, born the same day of her hysterectomy 6 months previous, as she wanted to hold her baby while she was dying: she pulled through, and I love her even more with three and a half legs. The chances of attaining psychological stability after the ten years I’ve very briefly highlighted are not good. She has not been the same since the car accident. Some days she cannot get out of bed, even to walk three blocks to thepharmacy to get her methadone, knowing that she will suffer shakes, sweats, shits, nausea, and sleeplessness because of it. She has not even been able to keep up with the paperwork necessary to be considered a healthy member of the population, nor make the phone calls that could start resolving her credit crisis – her phone, Internet, and TV were long shut off, and the only other provider in the city, Telus, requires a $900 deposit to give her service. Her social assistance “disability status” cheque is less than $900/month, and after the credit card she had to buy groceries was copied, causing 18 cash advances that were not hers to be made by some theif, her father won’t help her out anymore. He won’t give her enough money to buy groceries and toiletries, he won’t even consider lending her the money for the deposit that will be refunded in six months. She is slowly being erased. She knows that the only reason she was invited home for Christmas is so that she can be subjected to a psychiatric evaluation by dad, her
stepmother, and, most critical of all, her perfect 20 year-old sister that did everything dad wanted his daughters to do – live at home during their first degrees, entering med school or law school by age 22. She hates herself for being excited to spend the holidays with them when they just want to interrogate her and make her feel like a failure for being 27 and not yet in law school and threaten to keep her there when she starts crying, as tears are obvious proof that she needs to go to the hospital. But she is lonely, and she will take all the condescending and suspiciousness and threatening for a little company. Oh, and her aunt, after the car accident, decided to stop loving her and start hating her. I guess this was easier than accepting responsibility for the accident. During our last conversation she found something negative to say about each positive thing I told her, and she knows better than to think she will call again. Such thoughts, or rather fantasies, may lead to disappointment, and I cannot handle disappointment right now, it might break what’s left of me.
Yes, as she walks down the street or sits with others in a room, they still call her beautiful. Every damn person that she spends more than five minutes in the same room with has to tell her how beautiful she is. It only kills her softly, as if they knew the ugliness that resided in her mind, they would run screaming for their lives. But she looks down, demurely, and says thank-you with sincerity so sweet that it could break glass. Beautiful. The older she gets the more beautiful she becomes and the more beautiful she becomes the more she hates herself. When she was a teenager she wanted to be beautiful. Wish carefully, I suppose. Then men, the woman, that beg her to take them home with her, come to their home, or to join them for a drink, every time she passes a busy corner in the city. Some girls would die for her ability to turn heads, make people fall in love with her. The same thing they would die for is killing her. Beauty is not a marketable skill. Well, it could be, but she knows that if she were to start making a living based on faking it she would become so ugly that she would crumble in a matter of months. She would become a beautiful corpse.
I do not know what I have left. I once had the hospital, I once believed that counselling could make my mind a little quieter, I once had some faith in psychiatric medications, I was once unaware of the script read by each psychiatrist, yes, once I did not know the questions before they were asked. I now know the drill like the back of my hand, the happiness drill, the suicide prevention drill, the mindfulness drill, etc, etc, ad nauseam. I once thought suicide was an option. I no longer do, though I feel like I am very close to my own death.
I feel that this year will make me or break me for good, that I will either join the “27 club” or live to be 100. One month in, I’m more broken than I’ve ever been.
I have all the friends, true friends, people that care about me more than I deserve, that I ever wished for. I do not dare call a single one, as I know that none of their words can make me feel any better and that would make these dear, dear people that I love with all my heart feel guilty. And they do not deserve to feel guilty. I do not fear death, but I fear the guilt that I would leave behind.
My cat, Penelope, is the only thing keeping me somewhat functional and half-alive.
I have become a statistic. A severely depressive woman. Or, as I do experience moments of intense happiness, I suppose I am “bipolar” after all. Ten years of hell have finally taken their toll.
“How fast you go from being a wunderkind to becoming any old punk.” (Vera, Midred Pierce)
Time to take the pills that make me sleep. Time to sleep for my dad will be calling early to interrogate me further. Time to sleep because if I do not start making these phone calls to insurance companies and student aid and creditors, I might be erased from the system before I die.