Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm a horrible, horrible person.

I've been writing here quite a bit lately. I go through phases, I think. Right now I feel like I can't figure out whats going on. I just don't know.

I went to church today and they spoke about the desires of our heart. The ones that stay and stay no matter what you do. The ones God has written on your heart and you want it so much its like when you are waiting in line and you stand on your toes to get a better look. Its like when you dance around and get all fidgety in anticipation. Its a desire so strong that it becomes a physical thing that you cannot ignore. And I lost track of what was going on after that because my whole focus was on that place inside my chest that longs for my person. Surely, surely he is out there somewhere. And I don't seem to be getting any more patient as time goes on.

I understand the reason for the delay, of course. Because a little over a year ago my idea of the perfect person for me was so much different. Not completely, but enough that I wouldn't be happy with my then-perfect-person now. So its good I didn't meet him then. And I understand that maybe I'm not done with the changing process and perhaps my idea of what I want in my Person may just change again. It might not be time yet. Or maybe HE isn't ready yet.

I understand all that. I know that sometimes in my life the thing I want the very most turns out to be very, very bad for me. And the worst things that have ever happened to me have been the catalysts for changes that brought even greater joy. That made me stronger. And I know that my limited view may not be anything at all compared to the whole picture. I know. I know. I know.

But none of that does anything to quiet the voice inside my head that says, "I'm ready!" None of it soothes the ache in my arms to hold another person. I can't stop the feelings that tell me I want to know and be known. I want to love and be loved. And finally, I think I deserve it.

I know that I'm terribly flawed. We all are. And no one knows just how horribly messed up I am more than I do. No one could possibly hate parts of me the way I can. I'm a full-time audience to the disaster and I have VIP access to the thought process behind the whole mess.

But still, I deserve the kind of love people write books about. I could love someone so much. And it better be someone who can handle all of the text messages and letters and words and time and affection I am so ready to give. I could be someones safe place. Someones private joy and laughter. I could hold secrets, soothe worries and stand together through storms. I could be that for my Person.

There have been times when I have been so preoccupied with another persons touch that I don't even register what else is going on around me. Just the lightest pressure of a knee resting against mine when we sit close together. Just the warmth radiating from an arm that is so, so close but not touching. I want someone to be so preoccupied with my presence that they forget to watch the movie too.

Because I keep being just really good friends with boys. Yes, yes, I know they love me. I know they think I'm all kinds of amazing. But I'm a friend. I'm not ever that girl they want. I'm the one you can talk to and laugh with and go on adventures with, but for heavens sake don't touch me. I wonder if there will ever, ever be a man that touches my face. Or runs his fingers through my hair.

Being fat made me feel like I wasn't a woman. I couldn't be girly. I wasn't sexy. I wasn't weak or precious or dainty. I was awkward and lumbering and uncomfortable. I don't know what it is to feel small. I'm trying to learn now. I was so afraid of things like make-up and nail polish, high heels and cute purses. I thought if I couldn't have every part of the "woman" experience, I should just avoid as much as I could. Maybe then it would seem like I chose it. Like it wasn't impossibly out of reach. I don't know if I could explain to someone who hasn't been there. And part of the whole experience was feeling undesirable. Like no man could ever be attracted to me. How could he?

So now more than 100lbs later, I still have that awful feeling. I see a face and body that I'm starting to like. I feel more comfortable here now. But nothing about me feels desirable. I feel even less so now. Its so much worse. And I know it sounds awful, but I want so much for someone to help me feel that way. And that seems hopeless. I want to feel like the stereotypical girl/woman person.

And it only gets more intense the more weight I lose. Like the desires were stored up in the extra fat and as I burn it away they are the only thing left. Or maybe they were hidden away behind some wall, some floodgate now released to wreak havoc on my spirit. I don't know how much more I can handle.

And who do I talk to about this? Does that even help anyway? Because it seems like saying the words out loud don't make it any better. And its embarrassing and awful. But I want so very much to just be touched. I want my first kiss. I want to hold hands. I want to trace invisible patterns across skin. I could say so much more. I could go on and on.

But this isn't helping. And writing always helped me before. This is only making me more miserable.

I'm going to have to go back to the part where I try to think about something else. Anything else.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Like that long, slow ride up a roller coaster.

I started three books and haven't finished them. I don't even want to .
My mind keep going back to the conversations last night. Spinning them round and round. Trying to uncover all the layers of what the words and facial expressions meant. What I said wrong.

I wish I could decide how to feel. That would be the best. Then I could stop putting my heart places where it shouldn't be.

I wonder how it feels when someone likes you back?

And I can't hurry the future. I want to be at the part where I'm at OTS. Or maybe the part where I'm finally sure of what to do with my life. Or the part where someone holds my hand like it belongs to them. Any of those parts, really.

I just want to go away. I don't think that would fix anything though. I think that part is going to hurt quite a bit.

I'm afraid to hope anymore. After that last time, I feel like there's nothing left in me that knows how to hope. I'm always making alternative plans in my head. Ways to survive if things don't go the way I want to it. I'm never all in now. Because last time, that hurt more than I have words for. Just thinking of it makes me feel sick and stupid and ashamed. How could I be foolish enough to hope for so much? All those made-up dreams in my head, those painted futures ran like water colors in the rain.

And I keep thinking of those little puzzles where you slide the pieces back and forth, up and down, around each other to rearrange the picture into its former order. Sometimes I'll get two or three pieces together and see a glimpse of the big picture but the location is all wrong. Its not time for that yet. And that's how I feel right now.

I'm seeing a couple pieces of my life slide into place. So nice. So comfortable. Just the way it should look. Just the way it should feel. But the rest is a mess. This can't be the time. This isn't the place. Its the only thing that makes any sense and so it can't stay. I'm going to have to tear the whole thing apart again until the whole thing makes sense. But I want it so much. Want so much to stop the construction. I want to cling to the part that seems safe. But if I do that, its going to hurt. Its like summertime or hot chocolate. I can't keep it. Even when I want it. Even when it isn't even mine to decide.

Its going to hurt so much. Because it already hurts now. Like drinking that hot chocolate too fast and burning my tongue. Its going to be so much worse later. I think. I don't know what to do. Because maybe everything will be okay. But I haven't seen these things end okay yet. I remember the violent explosions that come at the end of these things. Maybe a slow burn would hurt less?

I'm scared.

That's the word for it and its so hard to say. I'm scared and every single time I get close to someone I find reasons to back away. My mother even pointed this out to me the other day.

Round and round like watching the carnival rides with the blinking lights and flashing faces.

I'm scared and all I want to do is close in on myself and hope I've got all the vital parts protected for when the hurt comes. This is familiar. This is my pattern.

But I was brave. I opened up my mouth. I've been a stranger to me. A stranger I sometimes admire, other times I fear. I don't know what she's going to do next. I don't understand her motivations. But all this new stuff is exciting, even when its frightening. And I can't see the path ahead.

Maybe, maybe, maybe, it will all be okay in the end. Maybe it will dissolve naturally like a couple other times before. But still I see all kinds of sharp edges upon which I could cut myself. Lets see where this strange girl takes me. I'm not going to give into the fear. Not today, anyway.
I have a lot to think about. But first, I need to think about exactly which things I'm going to think about. This may take awhile.

Friday, August 28, 2009

All I'm saying is . . .

These breasts I have now seem really, really small. And also too low. I'm going to have to fix at least the latter problem sometime.

You paint the light and not the dark.

I had a dream that things kept trying to get into my bedroom window. I had the window open but the screen was closed and stuff kept getting in. First it was a bird. And it talked! And I shoved it out the window and it caught on fire and cursed me! Then it was a cat and it tried to claw at me. And then it was a woman! I pushed her back out the window too and she said she read my book and it was trash!

So so so weird. Haha.

I think there's crack in my peanut butter.

I've told my mom nearly everyday since the day we moved, "I hate this house." Today my mother tells me, "I hate living here. We're looking for a new place to live."

Umm. Moving sucks. And this house sucks. And I'm wondering which is worse. I'm thinking moving is worse. I get awfully moody when we move. But I guess I don't have to worry about having even LESS space. I hope.

I went to the gym and now I'm hungry but I'm not eating because when I eat late at night I wake up feeling sick to my stomach and I don't want to eat breakfast. And I weigh more in the morning, which is when I weigh myself. I'm so so so ready to be at my goal weight. I wonder if I will find a new confidence there, being the size of a normal woman, or if the excess skin and my history will still weigh as heavily on my shoulders as weight I lost ever did.

And I'm worried about being naked in front of my Person when I meet him. I've probably said this before and I know lots and lots of people feel this way but it doesn't take away the worry I've painted across my stretch marks and sagging breasts and jiggly belly. These are parts of me. And some things no amount of surgery could ever correct. But surgery couldn't correct my self-esteem anyway. And if someone can't love me as I am now, imperfect and flawed and sometimes ugly, they they aren't my Person anyway, right?

I am beautiful. I can own that now. I've changed my body in ways I thought impossible. I am a new person, forged in the fires of my determination and desire. What is there I cannot do now? And I am still everything good about me that I always was. I am joyful and accepting and strong. I am smart and honest and unassuming. And I am new things I never was before. I am active and adventurous and brave. I am so many things that don't fit into one word.

And this face. This face I see in the mirror is so strange. Who would have thought a face could change so much? But this face is more confident. And I like it. I'm happy with the shape of the jaw and the eyebrows and the neck it sits upon. I can wear it with pride. My face. Its mine and I made it so.

But still I worry. I guess its a worry born out of years of disinterest from the opposite sex. It is a worry nurtured by my own self-hatred and loathing. It is a worry that thrived in my complete inability to even speak, to even try. But I'm trying now. And I'm learning the worst thing in the world is not rejection. The worst thing is not being brave enough to say anything in the first place. And wondering. Always wondering.

I feel all kinds of good right now. It might be from the running. Gotta love endorphins. I think there's crack in my peanut butter.

Its amazing how talking on the phone with a friend, however brief, can heal the wounds of the day. I feel so much better now, having had my girl time for the night.

I'm so disorganized and its late and I should stop eating this delicious, delicious organic peanut butter. Right now.

If you're actually reading this, you are probably a person I love. So, um, I love you!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I wish my mouth made words as well as my fingers do.

One day, I won’t be so inarticulate and awkward. One day it will go the way I want, and not the way I expect. One day, somehow, the stars will align or lights will shine or some other cosmic happening will cause my heart to know a different ending. One day, the bitter tang of disappointment will be complemented by the sweet, sweet flavor of reciprocity. One day.

But it's still today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm just telling you what I want to do, not asking for your permission.

So.. I haven't really talked about this much, but I'm thinking about joining the air force. I have to lose more weight, of course, but I think I could do it. I've been running this summer and I'm getting better. My legs hurt though. And now I'm sleepy! I'm going to go take care of that. Night!

If this is a roller coaster, would you please hold my hand?

Back at the blog again. This usually means I haven't been saying what I'm thinking/feeling to the people I'm spending my time with. Uh-oh. I don't know if I want to fix that or not. Because really, I haven't figured out what I'm thinking/feeling enough to use words for it anyway.

But tonight when I said I was going to shut up because I was inarticulate, things turned out okay anyway.

I just wonder if everyone else has so much trouble figuring things out.
And I wonder how much more love I could possibly fit in my heart. Especially when love and fear are mixed in equal parts in my heart. I'm terrified to care so much because it seems no one ever cares at much as I do. And then when they seem to, I get nervous and back away. But letting people close means they can hurt you more. I think my heart needs healing.

As the tarot card reader told me, I need to learn to trust again. Trust myself. Trust other people.
I wonder if she had any idea how hard that would be. Because right now I'm willing to trust someone new and I'm completely and totally terrified. If this is a roller coaster, would you please hold my hand?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Later, whenever that is.

I only have four minutes before I leave for work. How much could I possibly say?

I dreamt about being on a boat and keeping the baby from falling off. I was afraid I would be late for work and I was texting Jeremy but the font kept messing up and then the text was 8 pages long and I realized that would probably be really annoying to receive. And I was going to be late for work.

I should look for jobs today. After I go to the gym. And the grocery. And do my laundry.

I weigh 206.4! That's totally 113.6 pounds lost! Who wants more?!?! I know I do!

Two minutes left and now I'm thinking I should enter this loss into But I can do that later. When I have more than two minutes and less of a desire to write.

I should write that book. I should do it right now. But I keep wanting to spend my time other places. Obviously.

One minute and I've got to put some shoes on. I'll be back later. Whenever that is.

What if it hurts?

I just wanted to write and then I got distracted by all kinds of stuff. The baby came in and decided she likes me today. She is actually talking a lot more now. Its her birthday today. When she climbed into my bed I saw the bottoms of her feet were completely black so I talked her into going into the bathroom so I could wash her feet. Then we came back to my room where I proceeded to spray her with body spray and put lotion on her feet and legs. I massaged her little feet while she decided to rub lotion on her belly in circles.

There is something about taking care of a persons feet that feels like saying I love you. Washing away the dirt and smoothing out the skin of her two-year-old little feet seemed important to me. Then I washed her face and (tried to) brush her teeth and I carried her around the house with me while I washed my face and brushed my teeth and got ready for bed. She talked to me about stuff in nonsense words and I told her what I was doing and why. It was very, very nice. It kind of made me want to have a little person like that one day. One day far, far away. But one day. And the little person would be part me and part some man I love and I could make sure that her little feet and teeth and face were clean every night before she went to bed. I could make sure she ate healthy foods and played outside in the sun (with sunscreen) and got read to often and participated in stimulating activities and knew what it was to be loved unconditionally. But this baby, I only get to see her for minutes at a time and she watches TV too much and eats junk food and drinks pops. Its awful. I'm going to talk about something else.

Well yesterday I went out to lunch with Krystal and it was satisfying because I missed her so darn much. Then we went hiking with Jeremy and things seemed weird and he was quiet and I couldn't figure out why. It made me worry and I was uncomfortable until he told us that Reese was sick and dying and he had to dig the grave that morning. I was sad to hear that and relieved that he finally told us. Later that night Jeremy and I went to PF Changs. We saw Nika, or rather, Nika saw us as she screamed my name across the restaurant. She complimented Jeremys hair and that unnerved him because he has brought it up several times since then.

After dinner we went to Lil Chicagos to see some bands with Johnna. Sarah was there and offered to buy Jeremys drinks. He drank alot. So did Sarah. Drunk people are sure fun to watch but I was ready to go home and was glad when Jeremy suggested that because Sarah kept wanting to play pool. It smelled so bad in there. So bad. Jeremy gets really, really nice when he drinks. He told me I smelled sweet like sugar and that I drove him home with grace and beauty. And he said I have a beautiful voice. It was really nice to hear that last one because I've always been a little nervous to sing in front of him. He notices absolutely everything I was afraid he would only hear everything I'm doing wrong when I sing. But I guess I don't have to be so nervous. He seems to see the good in me. I don't understand that when I'm so used to focusing on the bad parts.

I stayed for a little while because I wanted to make sure he took a vitamin and drank enough water. We started watching a french movie and I was getting sleepy. So, I left before I got too tired to drive. Apparently I left too early because he threw up a lot after that. I should have stayed. I should have been there to take care of him.

And then Sunday we all went to see Inglorious Bastards. That was after I made myself breakfast and reveled in the joy of another pound lost. When we all drove off after the movie I was worrying about Jeremy because he had to go home and bury Reese. Krystal had church and Billy had work and I didn't know if Jeremy was a person that needed to be alone or needed to be distracted after sad stuff so I asked if he would go to Chipotle with me. I never know what to say or do when sad stuff happens. When its me, I try to think about anything else at all. But what about other people? So I wasn't sure if I should ask about Reese or talk about other things. Jeremy noticed. He notices everything. Well hopefully not everything.

So we finished watching that french movie and then watched another. Now I'm home and not ready for bed. I don't even know why I felt the need to write about all of that. Its boring if you weren't there, I think. Its like something for the other blog. The stuff we did. But that's the stuff I did and I was writing about it so I didn't write what I'm really thinking. What I'm really feeling.

Do you ever feel like you just can't say the same thing enough? Because I keep feeling it and telling my friends about it once doesn't even begin to cover the intensity in which the thing is affecting my life. And also, I don't like complicated things and things just seem to keep getting complicated.

There are things I wanted that I found I hated when they were in my hands.
There are things I never imagined I would need until I stumbled across them.
There are things I haven't found yet and am not willing to give up on.

I am a flawed creature, but I need someone to love me anyway. I need someone to search out the best parts of me and accept the worst. I need someone to open up and show me the best and worst of them too. Someone to laugh with. Someone to sing with. Someone who will go on adventures with me and grow with me and so many other things.

He has to be smart.
He must be happy.
And active.
And good with words. Because I need to be told. There are things I cannot read in facial expressions and causal touches and flirty remarks. I don't like hints and suggestions and games. I know those things are fun but I don't get it. I need him to tell me things. With words. Better for him to be blunt and alarmingly honest. But then I should be too.


But what if it hurts?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

To my Person:

Fill me up. Fill me up until I cannot hold anymore. Drink from me. Press your lips to my skin and drink until you've had enough. Lift me up and pull me back down to you. Spin me around until the world is a blur and all I can see is your face. I'll stand still while you run circles around me and you are only the breath of wind on my skin and the occasional flash of color. Hold me. Hold me until I forget what its like to not touch you. My skin will grow accustomed to your warmth and then every moment without you will be like ice.

And love me. Love me for who I am now and all the people I'll be in the future too. I'll find every beautiful thing about you and cherish it. I'll search and dig and look until I know you better than myself. And I will love you. More than you ever thought possible. More than you think you could deserve.

Challenge me. Push me to the edges of my comfort zone and plunge with me into the frigid waters of adventure. Together we will make waves the likes no one has ever seen. We are going to be great together, you and I. People will look and wonder and want the kind of joy they seeing flowing back and forth between us. Shining out of our eyes and fingertips and sparkling in every breath. They will call us newlyweds at our fiftieth anniversary and our children will hope that one day, one day they will find someone to complete them so.

And we will have glorious fights. I'll say things to you that should never be said to another person. I'll get so mad that I just drive off in my car and cry in the walmart parking lot. You'll ignore me at dinner time and probably yell a time or two. Sometimes we'll have civilized conversations where we share whats bothering us without the anger, but the anger will come. And it will only make us appreciate the peace that much more. We'll come back to each other like two magnets finally released. My world won't be the same without your smile.

It will be work. It will probably be the hardest, longest project we ever start: this life together. We won't understand how it was so easy at the beginning. But we'll see the beauty in the thing we are building. This insubstantial castle. And at the end of it all, there at the close of our lives, there will be nothing we cherish quite so much. It will be like somehow we grew invisible body parts that attach us through the open air and nothing could ever make us two people again.

We are going to be glorious together.

So come close to me. Come take my hand and demand my time. Come look into my eyes and ask questions and tell me all about you. Be bold. Be joyful. Be strong. Be smart.

I'll be here waiting for you,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I smell like smoke and french toast. Not a good combination.

I'm about to go to walmart to buy a workout/dance video to do in the living room. Never thought that compulsion would happen to me. I'm a complete stranger. I have the same name and hair. My voice is familiar, but the things that come out of my mouth are not.

Thats not what I wanted to talk about. But I think what I wanted to talk about I need an actual person in front of me for. A girl. Yes, a girl. Its about boy feelings.

This makes me feel like one of those awful movies where the plot is always the same and its just different characters and places. Stupid, stupid feelings. But then I like the way it feels to hope and look into his eyes and wonder.

But oh my goodness. Its kind of scary when those gaga goggles come off and then I wonder how on earth I had feelings for THAT guy. Are you familiar with this? And then I look at him and try to remember what it was that made my heart race or my fingers to itch to touch him and instead I feel that cold, steel wall around my heart telling me this man isn't right for me. This man would hurt me. Hmm.

I'm terrified of people sometimes. I wonder if that ever goes away. I'm gonna go to walmart now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

We built castles of flame and wove baskets of fire, but they too became little more than glowing piles of ash.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I wrote a journal entry I couldn't post here but:

Maybe we could give and give to each other and never run out and never have too much. That’s what those awful vines whisper to my heart. Squeezing. Promising. Hoping. Impossible.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Self-therapy in three-two-one:

Krystal suggested I write because it always makes me feel better. I suppose she is right. I hope you'll forgive my lack of a point or any kind of organization at all.

I worry that living here with these people is causing irreversible damage to my personality. That now somehow I will always be too much for another person to handle. I am damaged goods, right? But surely this isn't true. I know we all have our own secret horrible places that we think no one else could handle.

This is what I've learned:

No one else will take care of me. I am everyone's last priority. I shouldn't even begin to hope that I could trust someone with my care. I will worry about it all by myself. I got it. I don't need a hand. I don't need your help. I don't want to lean on a crutch that may suddenly disappear at any moment.

It doesn't matter when I'm upset. I'm probably causing a big fuss over nothing at all. I am ridiculous. I should just shut up and deal with whatever is going on because no one is going to change for me. I have to accept it for what it is. Even if "it" is a serious drug problem or illegal activities or hazardous to my health. Deal with it and stop complaining. Other people have it worse, right?

And everyone lies. People will tell me what they think I want to hear even it if is completely inaccurate. Even if the truth is going to come out very, very soon. Lying is a price worth paying for a few hours of silence. I don't deserve enough respect to be told the truth. They think I am too stupid to recognize the lies.

I shouldn't forget how much I have. Things like running water and toilet paper and food should never be taken for granted. Neither should things like feeling safe at night or having a place to live. I only remember this when suddenly these things are gone. Maybe if I were more grateful, I wouldn't lose so much all the time.

You have to love people as they are. Sometimes there are parts of people that are absolutely horrible. Parts you could never understand. Parts you don't know if you can handle. But you can't pick parts to love and parts to ignore. A person is a whole. Don't go in expecting change or improvement. Just accept and love and hope. That's all we can do. That's all we can hope for in return.

Disagreements are scary. They lead to screaming and slamming doors and throwing things and sometimes hitting. Its better to just leave. Its better to hide. Its better to scream into a pillow and pray the problems go away on their own.

Compartmentalize. I don't let the horror of one part of my life spill into another. Like floodgates. Keep it separate. Worrying and fretting and thinking over a problem fix nothing at all. Nothing gets better if I am sad about it all the time. So I'll forget about it until I get home. I'll let the joy of the moment fill me up as completely as possible. It doesn't matter what is happening at home when I'm not there.

I am strong. I don't care what assumptions people make when they see me. I don't care if they can't see past the surface. I am strong. I have survived every worst day of my life. I hold up under pressure. I find light in the darkness. I sing through the pain. I don't crumble; I am a better person for it.

This did make me feel better.
They lie to me so casually, as if I am some ignorant child. It doesn't matter how many times I tell them, it never gets through: I would much rather be upset about what you've really done than be upset about what you've really done AND be upset that you lied to me about it. Its horrible. How many more times can I say this?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

What would you say, I wonder, if I told you this?

Its embarrassing how much I think about you. Even when I can't control it. Waking up from dreams where you were the star. I dream about people a lot, but they are usually passing thoughts like seeing strangers at the mall. These dreams are about you though. I can't even read my cell phone in my dream so I hand it to you. It is dark but you can see. I am alone and then you are there. I am asleep and you wake me up. I am scared and you comfort me. You save me. You take me away.

What would you say, I wonder, if I told you this?

And then I talk about you too much. No one says it, but they make assumptions that aren't true. How can I explain how I love you? Its a love that is content with what is. I don't want anything from you that you don't already give. I don't hope for more than what is there. I am content. I have enough. But no one would believe that. I don't even believe it.

I don't understand a feeling like this. One that fills me up and yet doesn't hope for more. I understood the way it felt to yearn for more and never get enough. I knew how it was to be looked over, ignored, not good enough for attention. But you see me and spend time with me and make me feel worth attention. And you talk to me and make me laugh and make me feel safe. What more should I hope for?

And then when you aren't with me I wonder. What are you doing now? Are you happy or anxious or bored? Will you tell me stories about it when I see you again? What would you do if you were here right now? I'm sure you would say something funny to lighten the mood. I'm sure you would know if that was honeysuckle. You would probably make fun of me for doing that. You would have gotten that spiderweb and when I wandered down that path and changed my mind, you would have pushed me forward, into an adventure.

I would call you my best friend but that feels wrong. Doesn't my best friend have to be a girl? And it seems like I should know you longer before I use a word like that. And if you were my best friend I should feel comfortable telling you how much I enjoy you. But I'm not completely honest about it. I fear saying it too much, too honestly. Because the gender is all wrong, I think. I don't want you to misunderstand. Because I don't even understand. But I don't want to ruin things with my confusion. I've seen the aftermath of saying the wrong thing. But can I tell you that I love you? It isn't the kind of love that make me want to touch you and make promises. Its the kind of love that makes me want to unravel your secrets and help bear your burdens and share adventures and see what you do next. Its the kind of love that makes me want to somehow make your life better.

But I worry. Maybe I shouldn't talk to you for a few days in case you need a break from me. You need breaks from other people, you probably need them from me too. Its always harder for me the more time I spend with a person. It gets easier to not miss people the longer they are gone. So I think about you most often the day after I see you. A couple days later and I'm thinking about other stuff mostly. I don't think other people are like this. I think other people are the opposite.

And it scares me to care for people too much. I know what it is to love someone and have them completely disregard anything that matters to me. I know what it is to be left behind and forgotten, reeling from the sudden hole left in my life. It makes me want to keep a safe distance. I want to shore up a secret part of myself that could survive if you decided to morph into one of those monsters that people become. I don't want to give you all of myself. I don't do that for anyone anymore. Not after last time. I couldn't survive that again.

I wanted to tell you that my standard for people is higher now. If people like you exist, then I don't want to settle for less than that. There are good things about you I didn't know people could be. I don't know if you are the only one, but how could I dare hope for less than what I've seen in you? Now when I meet my Person, I'm going to be holding up this invisible you-shaped measuring stick. Does he meet the standard? He's going to have to be a little more broken than you though. I'm terribly, terribly messed up inside. Someone equally messed up should be with me so neither one of us feels not good enough. I'm awfully tired of feeling not good enough.

Now I just want to listen to you talk. Sometimes when you are talking I try to figure out exactly what response would keep you talking. Sometimes the answer is silence and silence is hard for me. But I want to know what you think and how you feel and what you wonder about and what plagues you at night and what you are hopeful for and all kinds of other things. I want you to be able to tell me anything like you said I could tell you anything.

I have written SO much about this and still words flood into my fingertips. I am at war with myself about whether or not to post this. I want to speak. I want to be heard. But I don't know if I should speak this to you. I don't know if you would read this anyway. But then I nearly always say too much. And I've never gotten a bad response from you.

Is everyone else so terrified of actually getting close to people? Is it always this scary to love someone?

I am not smooth and whole, but I will keep you warm at night.

How many mornings will I be woken up by screams? This new house has walls like paper and I hear every word, every slammed door. And now she is smoking in the bathroom with the door closed. The smoke fills up the tiny space and I can't go in there. Should I go somewhere else to pee? Does anyone else ever worry about this? I could hold my breath long enough, I think, but the smoke would sneak into my hair and wrap itself around my skin and follow me into the bedroom like the screams.

And who should I tell? It burns inside me like quiet embers, the glowing evidence of a raging fire. No one can see the flames, but do they see the scars? And what good would that do anyway? No one is going to take me away and make it all better. I never trust anyone enough to let them do something like that anyway. I know its awful here, but here is familiar. Here is what I know.

What are they screaming about? Is it drugs this time? Money? Aren't those the same thing? The cigarette smoke is in the hallway now. Long fingers of it now creep invisibly under my door. It doesn't matter about the door, though. It is swirling now into the air conditioner intake. It will pass through the rumbling machine and blow through my bedroom vent with vigor now. No more need to hide. I can't see it and the AC has turned the hot weight of it to a cold burn that fills up the secret places in my nose with ash. And the screaming continues.

I wonder how normal people sleep? My father would tell me I ought to be grateful I have a place to sleep at all. He would say that other people have it so much worse, who am I to complain? I am unhappy, that's what I am. I know other people have it worse, but I can the evidence that some people don't deal with this. I didn't understand that when I was a child. I assumed everyone knew what it was like for the police to come in the middle of the night to stop Mommy from chasing Daddy with the 2X4. I assumed every parent had more than one personality. People change so much when they are "tired" as they call it. I know better now. Should I still sit here in silence? They are never silent.

How would it feel to sleep with the bedroom door unlocked? Or even worse, open? Or to lay in bed not crowded with fear and anger? Fear crawls close to my chest and sends my heart into a panicked, lopsided stumble at the first sound. It opens my eyes and ears as I stare at the doorknob, praying it doesn't move, that the screaming stays on the other side of the walls. Anger is gentler, wrapping itself around my fingers and slowly bringing them into fists. The nails dig into the flesh of my palms. The heat spreads under my skin in trickles like rain down a windshield.

Finally, finally, finally: silence. Now the decision comes; do I go back to sleep or should I leave? If I sleep again, it will inevitably lead to another episode of screaming. How long do I have? Twenty minutes? An hour? And if I leave, where shall I go? The gym is good but I can only stay there so long. And I don't have money for things. I can't go to a friends house. I don't know how much to tell them about this.

When I try to share, I get the same response all the time. I'm so sorry Sarah Jo. You are so strong Sarah Jo. I didn't know you had to deal with that. You seem to be handling it so well. Somehow I earn a new respect and a new pity. Its uncomfortable now like a fever blister or a pimple. We all know its there. And it hurts. But all you can do is pretend it isn't there and hope time fixes things quickly.

But how can I tell them I'm not strong? These screaming words are fine razors, dragging shallow lines across my soul. I wake up and I cry and I beg the ever-silent god to make it all go away. To save me. But there is always another morning and I am absolutely covered in scars. Who will love me now? Mottled in scars like lines of stitches on a quilt. I am not smooth and whole, but I will keep you warm at night.

One day, I tell myself, I will have forgotten how it feels to feel this way. Time and circumstance will change the situation and I'll take for granted a peaceful morning, a quiet discussion. It will be like the weight loss. The memory always a looming horror, but behind me now and only thought of occasionally. This is my silver lining. This is my promise to myself.