Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vague Vappa Variety

"Write drunk, edit sober."

In the words of the late great Shila Buff (I'm cackling at that vicious misspelling and absolutely leaving it there for comic value), alcohol can only enhance creativity. Right? Right??

Just kidding, it was Ernest Hemingway and I'm not drunk. Wine buzzed? Perhaps. Enough so that this disgusting red originating from Spain doesn't taste half bad. My advice? White wine only. Or, you can drink red wine so there's more white for me.

I'm getting more views which is making me hyper aware of what I'm writing. In turn, this is making me want to censor myself - something I never wanted to do when I started this blog. After some genuinely serious consideration, I have made a decision.

If you know me through my workplace, do keep in mind that I am a real person. While at work, I work very hard to maintain a certain level of professionalism. I'm blessed to have a fantastic job where I serve some of the funniest, most interesting, most wonderful people I have ever met. At that place, I strive to do everything I can to enrich people's lives and bring a smile to their faces. This blog, however, is a space for me to open up about things I don't necessarily feel comfortable talking about with people or struggle to articulate in conversation. If you disagree with things I write or I make you uncomfortable, I'm sorry to have made you feel that way but I do not intend on changing the content of my personal blog. Should you dislike what I write, I encourage you to simply stop reading.

For those of you I am acquainted with but do not know well, I would wish that you know at least one thing about me. The beginning of my life and a fair amount of what came after childhood happened to be utter shit. A lot of times I find myself combing through my negative memories and dumping them onto this blog. However, I am actually a very positive person and I absolutely love my life, my friends and my family. Writing has always been my most effective coping mechanism which in turn tends to make a lot of what I write seem dark. Despite this, everyday I am terribly grateful to be alive and surrounded by the people I know now. Even you - no matter who you are - I love you. Those who know me well are aware of the fact that if I do not care for someone, I tend to make it very clear to them. As I recently posted on Facebook: if you can't be honest with someone, what's the fucking point?

Which is sort of my point here. In the past, I was a compulsive liar and concealed my feelings constantly. Instead of expressing myself, I hurt myself so no one else would know what was going on with me. Over ten years of my life I spent confessing my anger and sadness to a blade instead of a person and although I understand why I did this, I refuse to do it any longer.

When I was in eighth grade, a friend's mother barred me from entering their home and seeing their daughter. She used language I had never heard another person's parent use before. Her final words still ring in my head as clear as the day she said them to me: "I would jump in front of a bus for my family. Right now, you're the bus."

Walking home from my friend's home, I was consumed with rage. Poles that I passed by became my punching bags. To this day, I still bear scars on my knuckles from my mania-induced anger.

Those words writhed in my head for years. Over the course of high school, I had a few more parents share choice words with me. The most memorable of those experiences would probably be my boyfriend's mother stalking me and threatening me in the parking lot of a gas station near my home as her sister watched. "I'll tell all of the parents about you!" she screamed. For a long time, I was outraged and refused to understand why they would want to control their children, to keep them from me.

Now I understand.

I was a destructive force. I would enter people's lives and destroy them. In elementary school, I dismantled a girl's belief in God. Everyone I met, I'd tear at slowly until they had shed their summer skin and revealed a raw, pink coat of hard flesh. Though this wasn't my intention, it was my nature nonetheless. The daughter I had been forbidden to see, I had infected with the idea of self mutilation. The son I tried to steal away was damaged by my infidelity and carelessness. After I left them, I was still empty. After I left them, so were they.

At least, this is how it appeared to the mothers of children they loved and wanted nothing more to protect. Looking back on all this now, I see why they tried so desperately to chase me away. In their eyes, I was the catalyst to their demise.

The very same mother who had compared me to a bus once said that she was in awe of my journey. It's interesting, I've been asked before about how I became who I am now and what happened to make me change so drastically. The answer? I don't know. A variety of factors, I'd assume. Growing up makes you less egocentric, for one. At the same time, however, this answer doesn't suffice as an explanation. I was such a terror in my youth that I'm sincerely afraid of having children. Should a tiny Carly emerge from my loins, I might beat the shit out of her. I was a fucking terrible person, who once claimed she hated hospitals while her best friend was admitted for appendicitis because she could recall her cousin Alex's death. Absolutely bullshit. Sure, I have a cousin Alex, but he is alive and well and having children. To carry on the garbage story, I even decorated a pair of jeans with "RIP ALEX", all because I was jealous of the attention my friend was getting after almost fucking dying.

So why the change? Now, in 2014, I either tell the truth or keep my mouth shut. Lying eats at my conscious so viciously that it's impossible for me to keep any of my secrets for longer than forty-eight hours. Instead of creating conflict as I used to do, I'll simply change my behavior to eliminate it. I have become the ultimate people-pleasing pushover in a dire attempt to keep everyone I love happy and my life full of joy. Perhaps the answer is simple: love.

I am a strong believer that love and patience can solve all problems. I'm a big feminist, and as tempting as a violent revolution may sound on dark days, I would never support it. Violence only begets more violence. Hate only brings more hate. Every force is met with an equal and opposing force. As cheesy as it may sound, love is all you need.

Nicholas opened me up to the idea that I wasn't such a terrible person, that perhaps there was no need for me to act out or hurt him to get his attention. That simply being who I was at my core was enough and that even if I wasn't destructive, I was still interesting. This, paired with my mother's lifelong patience and love, finally brought me to a place where I was beginning to comprehend the concept of unconditional acceptance.

Maybe more importantly, though, I experienced a withdrawal from this kind of support. I had spent so long assuming people would be around me no matter what kind of bullshit I got into that I didn't realize how rare and unique this kind of love was until it was gone. He moved to Oklahoma and I was lost. The next three months of my life, I dug myself into a pit so deep and dark that even the violence and neglect I had experienced as a child seemed to pale in comparison. I spent every day uncaring whether I would make it to the next and encountered abuse and disinterest and every turn. When I begged him to return, he did even though it would have been better for him to stay where he was. At last, I understood the importance of loving deeply and without holding anything back. The therapy I had been undergoing during that time period finally seemed to make sense and I understood why I needed to work so hard to give to those around me instead of take.

Our lives on this planet is terribly short. The impact we leave on it is minuscule at best. Facing this reality, I have made a decision. And when it boils right down to it, no matter how depressed or anxious you are (and I've spent almost the entirety of my life forcing myself out of bed because of those things), that is the most important thing you can do. Decide. Decide to live. Decide to love. Decide to forgive and understand and be patient and try. The decision I made was to do all of those things and it was the single most important and most difficult decision I have ever made.

Still I have days where everything seems pointless and tomorrow seems to have no meaning yet those days I drag myself out of my hole, look in the mirror and say, "Today is going to be a good day." Yeah, a lot of times I hear that voice in my head telling me I'm full of shit but I choose to believe it anyway. Why? Because otherwise I'll make it be a shit day. Life, while seemingly meaningless in the grand scheme of things, is a gift and you are the one who chooses what to do with it. I don't care if you're poor, sick, whatever - your heart is beating and people love you. Including me. So make the decision to live or you'll die unhappy. It's as simple as that.

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