I looked at this blog the other day and realized I haven’t updated it since 2013. That’s insane. Holy shite. That’s not to say I haven’t been writing or working on the Lyall series (when I’ve been able to function) – in part, it’s also because I’ve been focused on trying to have my own life, too.
When I started the Lyall series, I was twenty-one. I’m inching closer to thirty and unfortunately, my body feels like it’s ahead of time. By that, I mean, that after spending nearly two years going to the chiropractor and trying to sort out the whole C1 squishing my brain stem and other back issues thing – my doctor finally diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (which is just a fancy medical term for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
It suckeths. There’s no other way to put it. It’s an every day battle. It puts a strain on my relationships (at times – I’m lucky to have very understanding family and friends), and worse, my writing. But, that’s what happens when you suffer from a chronic illness. You find yourself in a constant balancing act – your needs versus everyone else’s. I’ve learned that I have to take care of myself. If I don’t, I can’t take care of anyone else.
On the brighter side, my Generalized Anxiety Disorder is fairly much in remission (I still have PTSD and depression, but I’ll address that later in this post). The medications have helped greatly. But I noticed, again, my writing was taking another hit. I remember when I first got on medications my psychiatrist told me that she wanted to closely monitor my creativity. “Sometimes, medications can stifle your creativity. Sometimes, they can make you more creative. We need to make sure they don’t stifle your work.”
Well, they did. At least, one of them did.
I quit taking Trazodone to sleep. It took me some time to realize that when I didn’t take it, my creative flow started coming back. When I took it, it began receding again. I will say this, it was a bitch to come off of (I’d been taking the drug since 2012, so, even though it’s not addictive... my body was used to having it). I had withdrawal symptoms – physically, at least. And a little bit of emotional, as things started to surface and flow again. You see, the Trazodone was like throwing heavy wet blankets over my emotions. It stifled their intensity. I liked it. It helped me function, but it dampened my emotional nature to the point where I couldn’t write. The things I needed when I sat down at the computer were under heaps of those heavy blankets. And my muse was in the back room going, “Bitch, I can’t help you if you won’t allow yourself to feel.”
No gift comes without a price, eh?
Recently, I’ve become highly emotional. I started crying again. But instead of a gentle tide crashing against the shores of my mind and then receding – everything pulled back, and turned into a fucking tsunami.
I’m not ready to write about this. I started a blog a month ago and never finished it. I’m never fucking going to be ready to write about this. I’m not going to be able to do her justice. I feel like I should be able to do that – especially since she was always telling me how amazing of a writer I am. But I can’t. There are not words in the English vocabulary to explain to you how tragically fucking beautiful my friend was. I knew it the moment I locked eyes on her – she was different. And gawd, her eyes. She had the deepest most compassionate and tortured blue eyes I have ever seen. I remember thinking when I first met her, “Who is this beautiful and magical girl?” She reminded me a bit of Emilie Autumn, but she was *all* Argent Love (I’m using her rave name, as it’s what she would have preferred... for now, at least).
I met Argent through a friend. When I met her, she walked up to my porch wearing a tutu and thigh high stripey socks that reminded me instantly of Alice in Wonderland. I couldn’t stop stealing glances at her. And we kept making eye contact. It was instant, immediate. But I didn’t know that she had felt it too. Not until she found a way to contact me through email. I was so happy when she did. And floored, as the girly insecure part of me couldn’t believe such a gorgeous creature would ever have any interest in me.
We became friends. We started sleeping together. We forged a bond and connected on a level that was solely for us. She told me about her depression and showed me the scar on her head where they’d placed a tube or something when she was in a coma after trying to kill herself. We talked about getting into a relationship, but we were both so uncertain and hesitant and neither of us wanted to mess up the friendship. We knew. We both knew.
“I couldn’t ever bear the thought of finding your body,” I said.
“And I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt you,” she told me.
Eventually, I got into a relationship. We remained friends, of course. We were close. And though we weren’t intimate anymore, our connection never wavered. It was like we had a silent understanding of each other, a secret language that only we spoke. I can’t really say that I grew to love her, as I kind of knew the moment I saw her that she was someone I already loved. It was one of those connections. Those rare and important people that come into your life and you know, on some level, your souls are from the same star or something.
I was upset. I wanted to knock her upside the back of the head.
“All this time,” I said. “All this time, it’s taken you to realize all of this when those people I’ve dated could’ve been you. No, they should have been you.”
She was leaving in a few weeks – moving to Corpus Christi. She was convinced that the beach was where she belonged, that it was the thing that would finally make her heart happy. In the time before she left, we remained close. We had a brief taste of what could have been. And then, we let each other go, with nothing but the best of wishes. I wanted her to find a place where she could be happy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Corpus.
She texted me one night and told me she was driving back through Oklahoma to visit and that she wanted to stop by and see me. She showed up at my door in the small hours of the morning and when I looked at her – my heart cried. She was thin as a rail and covered in bruises. She’d started stripping as a means to get by and had bruises climbing her thighs from a costumer that raped her.
I didn’t want her to go back. I told her I didn’t feel like it was a good place for her. But she did. She was convinced that being near the beach was the only way she could ever truly be happy in this world. I told her I felt like she was chasing something that she had to find in herself.
“I can’t find happiness in myself in Oklahoma.”
“Yeah,” I said, “but you’re not finding it in Corpus, either. You’ve been mugged. Raped. Robbed. How on earth does that contribute to your happiness? If anything, it’s damaging.”
It was the ocean. She had fallen in love with it and wanted to be with it even if the situation was completely toxic for her. Then again, I came to realize it was a part of a larger pattern. She suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. I began to call her out on her self-destructive behavior. I think, I was one of the few people that even noticed, and that’s why she was so open with me. She knew I wouldn’t bullshit her. She knew I wouldn’t tell her pretty prepackaged lies. She knew I would listen and that I would actually hear her.
Fast forward, as life continued to move on as it often does. I met a wonderful pain in the ass (my girlfriend, Melanie). And Rachel stayed in Corpus. We kept in touch with each other here and there to see how the other was doing. She made it a point to tell me I was the last woman she’d been with. She still hadn’t found a girlfriend. Eventually, she settled for a guy she met.
“I’m lonely,” she admitted. “And I don’t want to ruin my chance of finding happiness just because he has a penis. You know?”
“I just want you to be happy, doll.”
She fell in love with him – of course, she did, he was fucked up and toxic as hell for her. I didn’t piece this self-destructive tendency together until recently, mind you. However, when she was with him, she confided in me that she had started having nightmares about being raped again.
“I should tell him,” she said.
“Are you sure you’re not trying to sabotage the relationship?” I asked her.
“Honestly, I don’t fucking know,” she said.
She told him and as I feared, things started falling apart in her world. She found herself homeless, jobless, boyfriendless, and puppyless (her words, not mine). This guy and the puppy she wanted became her new ocean. And by that, I mean, that her disorder convinced her, “Hey, these are what we need to be happy. We absolutely cannot be happy without them.”
She messaged me, again, in the middle of the night. “Can I come over?” she asked. She was staying with her ex-boyfriend and he was hanging and kissing on another girl in front of her.
“Of course! Get your butt over here. My door is always open, silly girl!”
We sat up talking all night. She kept going on about how when she left, the girl her ex-boyfriend was seeing got weirded out and left.
“I have to go back and apologize. I have to make things right. I just want him to be happy, but it hurts so much. But I want him to be happy.”
“Rachel,” I said, “this is fucking ridiculous. Why the fuck should you have to apologize just so he can get in some other girl’s pants? Fuck that shit. And fuck him. You deserve better.”
And she would respond with something like, “No, he deserves better than me.”
I’d face-palm. She could never in her life realize just how beautiful she was, how intelligent, compassionate, strong, and etc, she was. When I tried to be optimistic for her and to tell her, “There are other people out there. You could meet a girl, you know,” she’d tell me, “She’d just break my heart and the only girl I’d want is already with someone that she won’t leave.” I had told her I wouldn’t leave my girlfriend. No, she didn’t ever ask or expect me to, she wasn’t like that, at all – we both take loyalty very seriously. But, both of us also knew that relationship-wise, we had missed our opportunity. Regardless, we remained loving friends.
I told her she could stay whenever she needed a place. She admitted to feelings of depression and feeling suicidal.
“I think, given your situation, that anyone with depression would feel that way with the things that are going on in your life. But, you have to realize that right now, you’re not seeing things clearly. You’re seeing everything through the fog of your disorder. Your emotions are turned up to top volume and drowning everything else out. I don’t think it’s good for you to see your ex-boyfriend with other girls. I think this is another part of you allowing yourself to be hurt.”
Karmically, she admitted, she felt like she deserved it.
“That’s bull shit,” I said. “It’s complete and utter bull shit.”
She stayed with me the night before she had an appointment with her psychiatrist. I told her I was calling for, “Winter & Argent Time.” She slept that night. It was the first time I’ve actually seen her fall into a decent sleep.
“This,” I thought, “you should remember her like this.”
My dog, Apollo, was curled up against her. It was the only time I’d seen her features at rest, with some semblance of peacefulness etched across them.
I knew when I met her that her trying to end her life was probably inevitable. The shadow that hung over her was so fucking persistent and heavy. On April 9th, she messaged me asking where the lake was that I took her to one time. I was asleep. At five o’clock in the morning, she sent the last text message she would ever send to me.
“I don’t know what’s more appealing to believe about the afterlife… Heaven, hell, reincarnation, purgatory (like I believe), nothing, or something else…”
After speaking with the detective working her case, I found that a couple hours later, she shot herself out on a pier at that lake.
I went into mama lion mode – trying to keep an eye on everyone, trying to make sure everyone else was okay. Everyone kept asking me if I was all right and I pulled the, “Oh, you know I’m more logical than emotional,” thing, and, “No, I don’t need to talk.” I had to remain grounded. I had to focus on reality. Again, I knew when meeting her that this was more than a possibility, it was a probability.
Even knowing that, no amount of logic in the world will help you dodge the pain of losing a loved one.
It took a while to kick in, but I started slipping into a major depression, from which I’m still trying to claw my way out of. The doctor upped my medications and that seems to be helping. I don’t think I’d be writing this if he hadn’t. The grief of losing her has hung a huge shadow over my life. It changed my perspective. The darkness rolled in like fog, and like mist, it began to cling to anything it touched.
Depression is insidious. I didn’t want to be depressed. I didn’t want to be “negative,” or a, “downer.” But depression... it doesn't care.
A few weeks later, it finally hit me. I reached my breaking point when one of my friends, someone hugely important to me, ignored me when I told her about Rachel’s death. I began, in my own way, to understand how Rachel must have felt, how lost and unimportant and small and self-loathing. As I said, depression is insidious. It creeps in uninvited and coils around you, until one day, you find yourself trying to breathe molasses.
Finally, whilst speaking with one of my friends in England, I faced myself.
“I’m worried about you,” he said. “I think you are in denial.”
“I’m in denial of what?” I asked.
“That you’re fucking depressed, woman. You need to let yourself feel! You need to grieve, to cry, to shout, to whatever you need to do to get through this!”
“Yeah, but in order to get through this, it means I actually have to go through it and right now I’m kind of rocking that whole avoidance thing.”
“And what good is it doing you?”
Point made. Point made, indeed. But at that time, it was a little too late. Depression had already walked in and taken a seat at the table, ready to begin its game.
I began wondering who in my life really cared. I started thinking about the fact that people didn’t seem to care about Rachel until it was too late. When she begged people for help, they turned their fucking backs. But when she died, they started spilling out of the woodwork with sympathies. Bull shit. Sit the fuck back down. You’re not fooling any of us that were there for her in her final days.
The metaphorical clouds over me began growing darker and denser. They were heavy with things I didn’t want to face and the more I didn’t want to face them, the more they devoured whilst I tried to overlook them. I started thinking that no one would care if I slipped away, too, except for a few people. For days, I wouldn’t get out of bed. Everything began to seem so pointless. Food lost its flavor. I lost pretty much any desire for anything. Worse, It started to feel like the people I cared about most didn’t really care about me – that they only pretended to. I couldn’t get over the friend that ignored me, just like the people that ignored Rachel.
It hits like a fist, grief does. And it’s triggered by strange things – a word, a phrase, a scent, a song, an image, a memory…
I break down and then apologize for it.
I broke down driving to my girlfriend’s one day and when I stepped out of the car with tears still spilling down my face, she asked what was wrong. A song had come on that reminded me of the last night I spent with Rachel. It didn’t occur to me how weird I was being about feeling until I realized that I was apologizing for grieving, for caring, for being fucking human. I’d convinced myself that I’d become nothing but an inconvenience when I allowed myself to feel.
The last physical memory I have of Rachel is of her waking me up before she left to see her psychiatrist. She woke me, and gave me a hug, and she said, “I love you.”
And that was her, “goodbye.” I’m glad I convinced her to stay with me while she did. I’m glad we had the time together that we did. I will never, for one moment, forget her.
And that’s the beauty and tragedy of life. They don’t tell you that when you give pieces of your heart away, you never get them back, and that when someone dies or walks away – they take an inevitable piece of you with them.
This is our gift to each other. This is what it means to be truly human.
And though I am still grieving and breaking down at random moments, I will push and claw my way through. I will be thankful for the things that I have, the loved ones in my life, and remember that these, these are the things that help you through.
Love is everything. It’s the very thing that holds everything together.
So, I’ll end this blog post with this bit of advice:
Love without hesitation…because life, life is too fucking short for stupid bull shit.
Peace and Love,