The decision has been made.
I was amazed to find this journal entry from the late 1980s. I've often added color to my pen handwriting. I might feel green, or purple, but having been an English teacher, I try not to use red. I never bled over student essays, but I've seen papers corrected to the point of student despair. I'm content to tutor now.
These four pages of notebook paper were written in dark pink ink. Somebody told me about certain people being especially sensitive to color, and she thought I was. I know colors affect my mood. I could never plan my work clothes the night before for work. I always wake up in a different mood.
Computers are fine and efficient, but I still enjoy the feel of putting pen to paper. There are so many types and choices of pens now that I really enjoy a trip to the office supply store for pens and the other few office items I keep regularly stocked. My last box of paper lasted almost three years. For whatever reason, I read and comprehend better from a piece of paper as compared to a computer screen.
I wonder if students are able to enjoy personal pen variety, or if it's still, "Miss, do you have a pencil?" As a teacher for 12 years, I've donated my portion of pens and paper to my ISD. I hope teachers and parents encourage their children to journal. It's a very personal thing. I've always kept mine in a spiral notebook, hence the notebooks on my bed. Honestly, there is a reason for everything. I do try to use logic, which tells me I should reproduce a chapter of life I wrote lifetimes ago.
The Decision's Been Made
At this point, fear is the worst. I don't know how to deal with being afraid. Always before, I just didn't face it. So far I've been able to stay busy--obsessively compulsively busy, really busy--with anything to keep me occupied so I don't have to think.
To not be afraid
To not be "whatever."
Then there was another way to not face what was bothering me during the decade of the Eighties. I would get loaded. That was during my stint working for an apartment complex. I would go to a dart bar and drink wine until I laughed, and flirted, and just got silly. I enjoyed being myself around other people. I liked me drunk, to a point. That point eventually became a personal impediment, and I rarely drink beer, wine, or mixed drinks.
I generally carry a rather somber demeanor. Usually, there's not a smile on my face. When I went out to play darts I had fun being around people and playing darts in several Texas cities, and once in Shreveport, Louisiana. Darts is a competitive drinking game. No matter how much I'd had to drink, I always played to win. I only played for money at in-house tournaments, and I usually won enough to cover my tab. It was a stage of my life with lots of good memories and too many glasses of wine nites. I won fourth place in the ladies division of a Fort Worth Dart Tournament, twenty-something years ago My aim and my math skills got better with time.
Drunks don't lie, "they," say. Now, I feel like I was only able to be myself after consuming three or five glasses of wine during an evening league or tournament lay. I have codependent tendencies. I don't think the pharmaceutical companies have a pill for codependency. It's a two-person counseling issue. One person can't fix but makes an attempt to keep the other person loved and cared for.
Codependency is a catch-all phrase from that era. It may be a new phrase for lots of ears, and it hurts to explain. It's about trying, fighting to be yourself, live your own life, but you are emotionally hooked to another person so that your wants and needs and their wants and needs are indistinguishable. One person assumes to much of the other, and elevates their needs above that of the other person. It's like the two people are circles, and they totally overlap each other. There is no room for self. A codependent is a care giver, who becomes increasing irate because nobody even said thank you, or acknowledged the prooffered assistance. Melody Beatty has written several absorgin books on codependency and overcoming it.
I visualize images easily, and I remember the lyrics of the songs I grew up with. Many of my life experiences, and yours, are generically protrayed in song. The important ones have stuck with me--the ones with a message There's a song from my early memories by Peter, Paul and Mary:
“Little Boxes” written by Pete Seeger, folk legend
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
And the people in the houses all go to the university
And they all get put in boxes, little boxes all the same.
And there's doctors and there's lawyers
And business executives.
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.
And they all play on the golf course and drink their martinis dry.
And they all have pretty children and the children go to school.
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university.
And they all get put in boxes, and they all come out the same.
And the boys go into business and marry and raise a family
And they all get put in boxes, little boxes all the same.
There's a green one, and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
(Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/p/pete+seeger/little+boxes_20246431.html .
Accessed July 1, 2012)
It's just an old folk song that stuck in my head at an early age. Check out the versions on YouTube.com if you don't remember or know the melody. I always needed to be one who was different. I have to be myself to be happy. I am very good at putting on a a facade of a mask and acting a part in a play. I hate feeling boxed in, pegged, stereotyped, generalized at, and I know it from life now. When you are bipolar, and not-close friends know it, they behave differently toward you. People are unknowingly, and sometimes knowingly hurtful. Music is one of my means for dealing with the hurt. I have every vinyl I've bought since 1962, and there are lots of them. I have always needed access to my music, as I know from experience that certain songs can get me over the negative road bumps in life.
A codependent person is like a little box of person made of styrofoam on the inside, and mirrors on the outside. Styrofoam just takes up space that isn't needed for a productive purpose. Yes , made of sytrofoam on the inside.
The mirror on the outside causes you to be a chameleon, to look and to act just like everybody else, to fit in with the stus quo, to be a crowd pleaser, everybody's friend, always ready to do a favor--even if it causes self-disarray. This particular. codependent guy is a workaholic, able to take care of everybody and everything--but not self. Do you know spouses who unknowing support their significant other's drinking, making excuses for them and such.
You see, there is no self, only styrofoam and mirrors. Life is lived from the inside of mirrors of an empty self, according only to the view reflected outside the self. It's as if there is no longer any self there, only the outer world reflection.
About a year and a half ago, I started investigating myself, thinking if there was anything in-between my "styrofoam peanuts" of boxey person. I have gone through periods of self-searching during eventful times of my life. I try to resolve ethical and philosophical issues about dealing with other people and material things. Honestly I found some good stuff, and some bad stuff. There is also stuff I'm working hard to change, and with the experience of increasing years I know I am not the top 10% of my graduating class, or the opinionated stereotype that always pops up when one says the word "teacher." I am an individual with unique life experiences that have made me who I am today.
Looking back over my life, there are phases I am very proud of, and there are other nights I still try to forget (oxymoron). Today, I am okay with the past that brought me to this minute of life, and I am optimistic about my future. To paraphrase Joel Osteen, if you expect miracles to happen, they will.
I had been to the busy corner pharmacy after 7:00 pm one evening, and did not discover I didn't have my phone until 10:45 pm. I grabbed my keys to the truck, forgetting my hair was pinned for sleeping, and I drove carefully and directly to the drug store. When I walked in two women were standing in line to check out with their merchandise. I politely got the cashier's attention, butting ahead in line but feeling an urgent need. This is the cell phone I bought to replace the smart phone that got misplaced while uncharged. I couldn't be such an airhead to loose two androids in one month.
"In the last couple of hours, has some honest person brought you a cell phone they found on the parking lot?"
The two women looked at me compassionately. They knew the answer. What were the odds, really. We live in tough financial times.
"Is this it?" The cashier who had checked me out earlier in the evening held up a cell phone case, and I could tell the cell phone was still in the case.
My whole body went through a flash of goose bumps. My heart beat hard in my chest.
"Oh, yes. Thank you Sam." He told me to have a nice evening, and I assured him I would now. I had a slim hope, and a belief in the goodness of the people frequenting the pharmacy. It's a neighborhood pharmacy, not a superstore. I consider the locating and retrieving of the phone to be positive karma from something nice I did for someone else some time. I expected a miracle, and it happened. You are welcome to believe as you like.
Every time I discoverd good stuff about myself, I was sure I must be wrong or I didn't deserve the good stuff. To even the situation out, I'd intentionally mess up, proving to myself that I didn't deserve the good feelings and positive self-confidence. Besides, feeling not-good about myself was something I was used to doing, used to being perceived as by certain others. I'd been down on myself so long that it felt natural and normal. That's not good. My ego was not positively intact, but I began consciously working on feeling better about myself.
I suppose these are emotional and self-worth issues. But I kept a balance, or I intentionally attempted to. I would keep my good parts intact, and let my bad parts out to play for a bit. I was a binge drinker when I drank. When I was perceived as a "good" person, I would feel emotionally compelled.to be bad on purpose. The balancing act left me feeling more human. I felt less perfect, and less pressured to perform and produce at 100^ efficiency and unfortunately more comfortable when I didn't feel all that good about myself When I felt I was perceived as good, I'
"As hard as a person works, that's how hard he or she should play." I don't know if I heard that or came up with it myself. It makes sense to me, balance wise. The way I was behaving, it didn't. I worked full time during the week, and I held down the weekends as a restaurant hostess. Sometimes I'd get obsessed about work. Other times I'd get obsessive with people who I didn't work with.
With social friends at the dart bar we would laugh and not care about the world or anything in the moment, which went on for four or five hours at times. It's easy for me to act that way when I've been drinking. Usually my beverage was liefermilch, good German wine. Then there were the heavy alcohol nights that called for bourbon and coke, or rum, or Wild Turkey, or maybe a White or Black Russian, or Screwdrivers and Bloody Marys. It depended on my mood.
Life has fewer hassels if you're drunk, high, or stoned. That's how I feel today. I just keep myself from feeling, because feeling is painful for me.
On November 17, 1988, my life hit the second to lowest point I ever experienced. You know "they" say that once you hit bottom, there's nowhere to go but up. My glass of German wine was tasting better and better. Valium took away all the fears.
I could actually remove the problem from my sight if I poured enough gasoline between the two little frame houses directly across the street from mine. I could burn up those two houses, both of them, and no one would ever know that I was the one who had started the fire. Maybe both houses would burn to the ground.
I was sure,
I had spent time with the guy who lived across the street. We were boyfriend and girlfriend for months, then years. He drank a lot of beer, I drank wine coolers, we cooked out often, and we smoked pot. We had plenty of spats, but we usually just forgot it the next day because we were both hungover. After he heard me use the term "soul mate," he'd say it back to me but I knew he didn't understand what it meant. He couldn't. He didn't have a soul. I didn't discover that until much later.
We'd broken up over something, and were avoiding each other successfully. His father was the landlord of the two houses, and this ex-guy of mine rented it to a pretty young female. They seemed to be going to each other's houses a lot. I lived directly across a narrow lane from them, and my swing-open peep hole gave me a direct view without being seen.
I didn't care about him anymore. I did care about him. For almost two months I watched the two of them spend more and more time together. They were spending the night at each other's houses.
I spent my nights grading papers, and peeping out the peep hole of the front door. I did it more and more as the schol year went on. I couldn't not look. I was stuck in obsessive behavior. Every night became the same,
One night, we ran into each other at a neighborhood bar, and we started talking, and we kept drinking until he had a plan. He didn't talk particularly good about this new female person, but he wasn't wanting to piss her off. He wanted to come to my house and have sex with me. By the time the bar closed we were both very drunk.
He planned to walk home up the hill on the street that ran behind my house. Full of alcohol energy, he said, "You go on home as usual, and I'll jump a couple of fences and be at your back door in five minutes."
I thought I was getting what I wanted. Those were the thoughts in my head when I fell asleep on the carpeted dining room floor. More than ten minutes had passed.
I didn't hear the commotion he caused jumping the two back fences, which were chain link and pointy on the top, and I didn't hear the barking chorus of neighborhood dogs. I did wake up immediately, sprang to my feet, and ran to the back door. He relayed the harrowing tale of guard dogs rushing and sticker bushes scratching. He was a little scraped up.
We went to bed. I was too drunk to remember details, or it wasn't the details that were important. We slept together again. The night ended early in the morning when he snuck to his house via the other back way.
When we spoke again, he wanted to see me on the sly. I don't think he could have handled two women, but he worked construction and had the body for it. I wasn't interested in being sloppy seconds. My heart was very confused, but I had my pride. But it was turning winter and the nights were dark, cold, and particularly lonely.
Again, I spent less time grading papers and more time peeping out the peep hole. I couldn't make myself stop. There was nothing else to see out of my front windows.
One morning I went to my Firebird to head for work, and I found an ice pick stuck in the back tire closest to this female's house. I confronted her. She denied it saying, "I don't even own an ice pick." And I thought, I guess you don't because it's sticking in my back tire. That was the first time my work was interrupted. I could grade papers in that condition, but I was at the end of my rope. I had to do something to make the pain go away. Home was no sanctuary.
Before I began to enact the details of my plan, I picked up the phone and talked to a very good friend, not associated with the neighborhood. We talked. He was a person who cared about humanity. I cried.
I drank wine from the bottle and took one last cruise around White Rock Lake in my Firebird, enjoying the adrenaline of taking the winding and curving road too fast.
Suddenly, as if struck by lightening, I envisioned myself driving into the lake and drowning. I was full of cheap wine and valium. When I ran out of lake road and wine, I drove myself to Baylor Hospital and checked myself into the psychiatric ward.
Only a few days remained before Thanksgiving vacation, so I made another call for a substitute teacher for my classes. I packed an overnight bag with clothes for a couple of days. I wasn't released until the day after Christmas,
An old neighborhood, dark streets with little foot or car traffic at night, and me sneaking across the street, dressed in black unfamilar clothes, a couple of cans of gasoline, and my cigarette lighter was the plan in my head. It played in my head, inside my eyelids over and over and over. I could do it, and get away with it.
That would fix the situation to my satisfaction, and I was damn sure I could get away with it. I knew I could get away with it.
That was going around in my head, again and again as I swerved around bend after bend of the lakeside road The effects of wine and valium caused me to cry hysterically so that I could barely see the night road lit my headlights only.
I would never do anything like that. I'm not vindictive. It was never my nature to get even. My tendency is to hold my anger inside, for about two events, and when someone has crossed my positive path, trying to turn it negative, I would just walk away, and rant to myself. There were some good words I could have gotten out. No, not good words, angry, emotional, hate stoking insults and observations. I lived that sort of personal philosophy during my thirties, and some of my forties. By my fifties, I've redirected my philosophy to be in line with my heart and soul, what I truly believe and know of myself and my purpose on earth.
My philosophy now centers more on the concept of "karma," what goes around comes around, but not necessarily from the person you would expect.
Some ego-centered individuals feel the need to control their environment, and the people around them who touch their lives on an irregular basis.