Childhood Reminiscing

My early years were spent in a duplex behind 7-Eleven on Wasp Road or Hornet Road, I don’t remember which they were next to each other. It was also a cul de sac. You don’t know how long it took me to remember the words “duplex” and “cul de sac”.

We lived there until I think I was 5. It’s odd because I have so many memories from that time period. I first thought they weren’t memories, then my sister said some of them were her memories, eventually when I was alone with my mom I asked her some things and my dad other things. My mom could make some events sound more interesting than they were or so I always thought.

I didn’t find out until after she passed away the stories she told me were true and some had actually been toned down. If there’s one thing my Dad does not do is lie. Don’t ask me about my Grandmother because I’ve shocked people with some of my responses. I think one was “You mean the Psychotic whore who abandoned her children and left them living in a chicken coop?”. That didn’t go over well but I refuse to sugar coat a thing for that woman.

My Grandfather (Papa) and his girlfriend lived in the duplex with us. Seven people in that duplex was kind of a lot but I don’t believe Papa Doyle was there the entire time. It wasn’t the best neighborhood even then. There were drugs, drinking and fights. It was low income and some unstable people lived there also.

It was cold outside when I saw the man on his bike, I didn’t know what he was dragging next to him as he rode until he got closer. It was a dog hanging on a stick attached to one of his handlebars. When he went by he told me we better keep our dog from barking or the same would happen.

I remember standing there, unable to move for a long time. My mom finally came to get me. She kept asking what was wrong. When I told her she went into Mama Bear mode. She did this well. No one messed with her babies no matter how old they got. She knew her limits though. She waited for my Dad to get home from work and told him. He left the house with a slam of the door. I didn’t see the man on the bike again.

My Grandfather had a habit of not locking doors and falling asleep with lit cigarettes or cigars. A large drunk man was coming home late one night but came into our duplex instead of his. He made it all the way to the room I shared with my twin sister when I screamed. My Dad came running, picked the man up by his shirt collar and it was like they both floated down the stairs and out the door.  On another day outside a man put his hand through his bedroom window, I just remember all the blood.

My brother was 12 and already smoking pot with the kids in the neighborhood. He didn’t realize the glass door was down and my mom had cleaned it. He smashed through it. My sister doesn’t remember these things only being stung by a bee on the bottom of her foot which isn’t correct. I stepped on a piece of glass it was in the arch of my foot but I ignored it until I got home. When my mom first looked at my foot she thought I stepped in something. When she realized there was glass embedded in it things changed.

We also had an odd shaped glass ashtray. It was kind of a triangle. Somehow I fell into the point of the ashtray and it went to the back of my throat cutting it. The problem was it cut close to an artery. My mom was in panic mode because blood kept gushing from my mouth. To the hospital we went. They stitched it but I had to be still for days so it wouldn’t rip and open the artery. This I don’t remember but I have a small scar under my chin from hitting the table with the ashtray.

The best thing my Dad did was work hard and sell everything he had to put a down payment on a house to get us out of that neighborhood. A man with an 8th grade education, an outcast, forced into the Navy, an alcoholic, never shown love, gave everything to protect his family.

The love he had for my mom was special. It wasn’t easy but they never gave up on each other.

My Dad set a high bar. For me a man should protect the people he loves, he can be strong but sensitive when needed, my Dad has never disrespected a woman sober that I know of, if he makes a comment it’s positive, he’s honorable, that’s the word that fits him most.

DRINKING: Why I Miss It And Why I Stay Sober

I like to remember when I was drinking sometimes. Once in awhile I miss it. The important thing is to remember the good times and the bad times. I have a habit of only reflecting on the good times. I also have to remind myself why I stay sober. My reasons won’t be the same as someone else’s reasons and that’s fine as long as it works for me.

I loved the excited feeling I would get inside as I prepared each day to drink. It was a ritual. I had to do my hair and make up and pick an outfit to wear. Even though I was over 200 pounds these things still mattered to me. I make myself sound disgusting but I guess I had a pretty face and there were men who were attracted to me.

When I drank there was a physical change in me. I stood up straight and held my head up looking people in the eye with a confidence only alcohol could give me. At times this did cause trouble. Other times it worked to my advantage. I never would’ve met as many bands as I have if I hadn’t been drinking. I never had to pay for a meet and greet, my best friend and I would somehow end up meeting them. I was the charming one and she was the beautiful one.

I regret the fact I don’t remember some of the people I’ve met. How could I forget an entire car ride and conversation that lasted over an hour? I didn’t blackout often but we had been in the pit during the concert so it’s possible I hit my head. Guys hated it when we went in the pit so I would make W. go in with me just to piss them off. Drinking with me was like a box of chocolates, you never knew who you were going to get.

Alcohol almost always acted like a stimulant with me until I reached a certain point. I just never knew when that point would be so I would drink until I got there. I wanted to feel normal inside, I wanted the pain I couldn’t name to go away, I wanted to be able to talk to people and not feel like I didn’t belong all the time. And alcohol did that for me.

Alcohol also made me say things I wouldn’t normally say, do things I wouldn’t normally do, spend time with people I wouldn’t normally spend time with. Did I love meeting Lars Ulrich, Zakk Wylde, Sebastian Bach, Stephen Pearcy, Pantera and being at The Rainbow? Yup. But some meetings didn’t go so well and all I can say is I’m glad they were as drunk as I was.

Never being in a relationship wasn’t exactly fun either. The police knowing my name in three towns was bad too. Pepper spray is never fun, twice is just cruel (both by accident I was caught in the crossfire). A DUI is something to be ashamed of not to mention what I put my family through.

I’m sober now because I know why I drank. It became clear when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It didn’t take me long to stop drinking after that. As I learned more about why I drank it made things a little easier. Treating addiction has to go hand in hand with mental health treatment or you are not going to get far. I know this firsthand.

If I drank now my body couldn’t handle it. My brain would think I could drink like I used to but I only have one kidney now. I have thought about it recently because my medications are not being absorbed and I feel like I did when I was younger. I have my dad to think about. If he wasn’t here I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t have some kind of light fruity drink. Which I never ever would’ve had years ago but now it’s the only thing that sounds appealing. Kind of strange.

I’m tired, alone, trapped, isolated, filled with grief but for who? Maybe everyone and myself the life I could’ve had and now never will. The 20 years I wasted or my mom who I still miss ever single day or my best friend who I never see or my twin who would rather commit me than have a conversation with me.

I always told W. if things got bad I was going to Vegas and pulling a Nicolas Cage. She always laughed and said “No you won’t”. This last time I said it and she started crying. She said she wouldn’t blame me and she knew how bad it’s been for me but she loved me. First time ever someone said the right thing.

So I’ll stay sober and try to help my Dad celebrate his 74th Birthday tomorrow. Do they sell cakes shaped like pigeons?

Black Hole Sun~Until You’ve Been There

I was reprimanded today for crying over someone I did not know personally. The problem is in a way I did know him. I knew when I heard the news at 7:30 a.m. this morning what had most likely happened.

My sister sent me a text saying she had been crying all morning and we went back and forth a little. She has not talked to me in what for us is a long time. The communication stopped immediately when details were released later today. I knew she would discontinue communication when she learned what I already knew.

The life expectancy of someone with a severe mental illness like Bipolar Disorder is much shorter than the average person. If the person also has an alcohol/drug addiction you can take off a few more years even if they are now sober. I’ve done all the research there is do. I have a thing for statistics and research.

I cry over someone who writes lyrics that explain how I feel or have felt but could never put into words. Some lyricists write like they’ve been in my head or knew me at a specific time. It’s a tell like in poker.

Until you have stood on a roof looking down into a black abyss of pavement thinking “I can’t take this pain, this empty ache in my chest any longer” and you jump, I don’t want to hear your opinion. (I was closer to the ground than I thought and extremely drunk. I chipped a bone in my ankle and some cuts and bruises.)

Until you have had charcoal forced down your throat or your stomach pumped because you swallowed a bottle of painkillers while thinking “I never belonged here. I watch other people live but I don’t understand how. I don’t fit. I wasn’t meant to be.” I don’t want to hear your opinion.

Until you’ve been stitched up for you fourth time because you have no self respect and think you deserve to be treated like garbage I don’t want to hear your opinion.

Until you blow a .36 at the Police Station where you’ve been many times and the men in the room are wondering how you are still functioning and you hear the names they call you and are so humiliated it has gotten this bad you picture doing the unthinkable I don’t want to hear your opinion.

I hope I’ve made it clear that unless you have been in a person’s situation it isn’t gossip or fodder for the media it’s someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, husband, wife. Remember that and the suffering that goes with it.

To the person who is no longer here. You had empathy, talent, a light inside of you that you probably couldn’t always see, and you made a difference to me. You will be missed.