As each glass of elixir hits my lips I type. I keep typing, I am on fire, like a machine pre-programmed to not stop until the job is done. The words that once choked me, are now flowing freely. I knocked down my dam and can let it all go. No judgement, no more pain. Just pure unedited emotions spraying across the page.
Page one down, page two, page three...
I hear something or someone at my door. I plead with my inner self, please just go away!! I am on a roll. Who ever it is please just go.
"Raven, what are you doing?"
No, anyone but her. Not now, please. If there is a God, don't do this to me now.
"Raven, answer me!!
Every damn time I am on a fucking roll, she happens. How can I help her, what can I do to make her life easier. Give me this, please just go away. I turn my music up louder in my ears to tune out the banging of the door outside my room.
Type Raven, type, don't lose it know. A louder bang, followed by the all too familar knob turn. She pushes the door open. She is clearly angry.
"Raven, why did you not answer the door?"
I turn around slowly in my chair. Feeling a bit light headed. Oh God, please don't ask me to stand up, I know I won't make it two steps! Damn this alcohol. Dizzy, room spinning, Mom is in front of me. I am trying to gain composure.
"I was writing, had my headphones on, what do you need?"
Mom, standing there, if she could see me, I could feel the tone in her eyes growing impatient.
"What if something had happened, what if I fell? Would you have heard me? No, too busy tinkering away on your computer. When are you going to do things for me?"
Without hesitation, my mouth opens and here I go, "Whoa, hold your horses, I do shit for you all the time, you are just ungrateful and selfish, you only think about yourself."
SHIT!!!! Shut up, Raven, shut the fuck up!! Here we go. What the hell are you doing??
"Well if I am so damn selfish, why are you here? I don't need you, you should be at a good paying job, and have a husband family of your own. Why are you here?"
I bowed my head, I knew this wasn't going to be easy, I knew damn well what I was in for. Why the hell did I have to get drunk tonight?
Damn it, fuck this! I can't say what I need to say. I crumple another page into the trashcan. Why can't I think straight? Too many distractions. First there is my mother. If it isn't her way, it's no way. Then nursing a broken heart from my latest attempt and what I thought was love. Failed miserably. You would think this would be perfect influence on my writing. So why the hell can't I write?? Why am I always thinking of them? Music, yes, music and a bottle of gin. Would that work?
"Raven, get yourself together!" I yell out loud, hoping no one else can hear me.
I make my way to the kitchen, grab the gin bottle from under the cabinet, grab a glass from the other cabinet. I add three cubes of ice, no more no less. I pour the gin over the ice, and I begin to think of all the events of the past week. Mom's hospital visit, being replaced like yesterday's trash, and of course the blank pages taunting me. DEADLINES!!! I shake my head, grab my glass and set at my desk. What to write, where to start, what is my story?
If I opened up and let all the fear go, who would listen? Who would read this darkness that comes from deep inside? I take a long drink and settle back into my chair. I want to be free, brave, and true. Am I doomed to a psych ward for my horrible feelings inside? This darkness rising, waiting to strike.
Suppression has held me together, but at this moment, this one moment, I just want to scream at the top of my lungs. I want the dark words to flow from my head to the paper, with no filter. No more hiding, no more waiting. Time is now.
I down my drink with a huge gulp, slam my glass on the table and say the two words that I have been dying to say.
Everyone always says time will heal all wounds, but what about the ones that stay and never close. Feelings of trust, love and friendship that slips through the cracks only to rise to the surface and pain you over and over. Streaming images of things you never wanted to know or see play over and over in your minds eye. I keep waiting, hoping that they will end.
"Raven, you think too much. It isn't good for you." Says Steven for the fiftieth time. I just stare at him in disbelief.
"Steven, if you don't think, that is when your choices can do damage."
"Then you pick up the pieces it is a part of life." He says, like an all knowing Yoda type. I simply shake my head, and silently ponder how yet again I am here. Waiting, wondering, striving to find my way. I feel like I have been wading in quick sand for eternity just circling around. Why can't it just suck me down into it's infinite abyss already? Why keep toying with me?
"There you go again, thinking."
"Well, sir, I think so I stride carefully. I try to see all angles before I act. It is called being careful, because I would never want another to feel the pain."
"Shit happens, Raven. You either deal with it, or forget it. It is called life. We all go through pain, it is part of the package."
"Well, fuck, I didn't sign up for this one." I just look back down at the notebook in my hands, thinking of what to write next. Fear, stupidity, and impulse are all symptoms of the lack of forethought. So patiently I wait for the words to come and fill my pages. Words of wisdom, hope, or reality? What is next....
"Raven, you are way behind in life. Get a normal job, earn money, worry about your dreams later. You have to survive, not run after nonsense."
My mother, God love her but she has no idea how these words sting. I was meant to be more, to live more, to not be in this realm of suck it up and follow social norms. Crazy, yes I will admit I am. If I can't live a life that is more serving, more motivated than what they settle for, what's the point? Are we even really living?
More times than I can count I have been told to live life day by day. Future aspirations are just fleeting.
I say bullshit. I will suffocate. I write, let me create, let me express, let me be free. At least, I will be able to escape.
Reality? What good comes of staying in reality? Pain, hurt, sorrow? No thanks, I have had my share.
Escaping through words is my only way out of a mediocre existence. I need to fill these blank pages with worlds unknown, and adventures left to live. Onward towards more!
Scott says to me, " If you are going to do something, do it already, you are no spring chicken!"
All I can respond is, "Thanks captain obvious!"
Who knows maybe one day, my name will be printed on a book. Then I can say, "Raven has arrived".
"Raven, you wouldn't know a guy was into you even if he got on his knees to propose." Scott says to me as he rolls his eyes and sips his coffee. I ponder this statement, analyze from all angles. Scott would know, he has been my best friend for years, and always has a way of putting me in my place. Yet, this one, I will admit stings a little.
I act indifferent because my knowledge of truth is fucked up. When those who are supposed to be the ones you trust with all your heart, lie to you, what are you supposed to believe? You have to know what is real, and what is fiction. Being me, reality is a messed up state of mind. You believe one thing and get slammed with another. Truth is fleeting in my world. That may be why I cling to fiction so well. That is the only truth I know. With every word printed on a page, never changing, always the same. That is trust! Words that speak to my soul and open windows of my imagination, words that are like a baby's safety blanket. I can read "Alice in Wonderland" a hundred times, and the story is still the same. Consistency, I can trust this. The male species? Now that is a whole other can of worms.
I seem to have a view that is off of the norm. Sure I have guy friends, like Scott, and it is always the same, they are friends and that's it. To become romantically involved would be dare I say, a taboo? It is hard to decipher what one person wants. Being subtle never works on me, because if you don't tell me flat out, where I can look into your eyes and know you are telling the truth, I take it with a grain of salt.
This probably hails from years of being taunted and tormented by guys who thought it was funny to ask out the fat chick at school. Little did they know the effect of their actions.
Truth is in the eye of the beholder and that only lasts for a few seconds.
"Raven", she screams from the hallway. I hear her, but do not respond. I think, give it at least three more times, you know it is for something mediocre. "Raven, why don't come when I call you?"
Here it is, the beginning of a fight. Could it be prevented? Sure, but I could also become a walking talking mindless drone placed here only to serve as a robot and do her bidding. So I choose, argue, it is a small reminder I am still human and somewhat independent.
Mean? Probably, uncalled for and I am sure a bit childish. Let's just say go day in and day out listening and waiting for the call of a very capable woman who feels helpless, then we can talk.
It kills me to see a once strong person, become so frail and weak. It also kills me when they choose to allow it to happen. I know I should have more compassion and concern, but frustration keeps building. I can say, you know you are stronger than that.
But when all you get in return is excuses and pleas to feel sorry for her, what can you do? After all, only those who choose to help themselves can make a difference.
I just wish, she knew giving up, isn't an option. So I fight to keep her feisty, and alive. If she argues, she has fire inside, when she rolls over and gives in, its not a good day. What would you do?
"Raven, are you coming?"
Now I am off for another round, let's see if the fire still burns.
Damn you Pearl Jam! I hate that every time I hear your song Better Man, I go down memory lane and rediscover how lame I really am. I mean how is it that certain songs remind me of every moment I was a failure in life. It is bad enough to get your heart broken to Nazareth's Love Hurts, but seriously, my own fucking memories are destroying perfectly great songs.
I know I should be over the whole teenage angst shit, but let's get real. I bet each and everyone of us harbors a small amount of angst that we wish would stop having a permanent residence inside of us. I know I am generalizing, but cut me some slack, I feel alone in most things, please don't tell me I am alone in this too!
So it comes down to this, as the song is playing, I turn it up and sing it at the top of my lungs. I know every word by heart, and listened to that album a few hundred times. Why? Well the Christmas the album was released, I scored it as a present. To my surprise so had my crush. He was everything I thought I wanted, yet I was a total bitch to him at first. Oh how I could tell the younger version to take chances, but alas here I am. Old spinster full of regrets and stuck with a lifetime of what if's. The biggest chicken I know. Back to the story, here it was Christmas night, I had a wine cooler I snuck into my room. I downed it and made the phone call. Three rings and he answered. Oh no, what next??? I froze for a second, then my liquid courage kicked in.
"Um, is Sam Montes home?"
"This is him, is this Raven?"
Holy shit!! How did he know it was me? Caller ID? Oh yeah, my voice, the voice of a sex operator, how could I forget. I get reminded daily.
"Yes, it is, um Merry Christmas Sam!"
"Merry Christmas, Raven. How are you doing?"
"Oh, I am good just listening to the new Pearl Jam CD, you?
"How cool, so am I, I got it for Christmas. Have you listened to it yet?"
"I am now, any good songs?"
"I like Better man"
"Oh cool, so do I"
This began an hour long chat on music and bands, and what we liked and didn't like. It was a conversation we had many times before, but this time, I thought for sure it was fate! So I would sit back and wait, and wait, and let's face it, nothing ever came of it. Fate became my enemy, and being cynical became habit.
As I look back now, I see the pattern. Every single guy I had a crush on, was just that a crush. I never dared tell them, and the few I did tell, only met me with rejection. So I grew to keep my mouth shut, and my heart closed. Rejection was something I grew to hate. Being dismissed enough by my own family, there was no way in hell, I would let a stranger make me feel that way.
I really gotta find a new station, these songs are killing me.
Lost Little Girl Part 2
Another day, another drama. I wake up and it is all about her. Do I have time for myself? What does that even mean anymore? I can't remember the last time I got dolled up for a night out amongst friends. Why? They quit inviting. I can't blame them really. When every time I plan to go, some kind of drama happens. So instead, I just say no thank you from the get go. It was exhausting trying to plan, and making sure my things fit around her schedule. How in the world will I ever get ahead?
I do have some solace. I like to call it TV series therapy. Late at night, when the house is finally quiet, I can sit down and try to watch an old TV series and get lost in the characters. Sad to say, they become my friends in a way. I escape, even if it is just an hour or so at a time. I forget what is really happening. I forget about the abyss I have submerged myself into. I forget most of all, that I am hiding. It is what I do best.
Blending in and becoming a chameleon is probably my best asset. Why? When you blend, and don't stand out, no one asks questions. No one pries into your private life. No questions, no awkward details. I mean seriously, dealing with the demise of an addict is not on a person's top ten discussion list.
I do keep searching, trying to figure it out. Where is the light at the end of this tunnel? How can I emerge unscathed? The answer is simple.
I won't. One way or another, this has become a part of who I am, and who I am to become. Now if I could only figure out who exactly that is. I often tell myself, "Raven it could be worse. Think if you were born in a third world country." It is true.
Yet still the tightness in my chest, when I see the remnants of her use, reminds me otherwise. I just shake my head, shed a silent tear, if I say what I find, its a fight.
I think it is time for another episode of Buffy, or Angel, I need to see how they are tonight.
Lost Little Girl Part 1
Here is a new story I am sharing with all of you. Graphic words and material may be written here. Please be advised.
I slowly open my door, I tiptoe into the kitchen, find a clean cup or bowl or whatever will hold my cereal. I carefully pour my milk and I sit down with my TV tray in front of the old fashioned television set. I have to be very very quiet, I tell myself. I don't want to wake mommy. She is "sick" and will get mad if I do. I tiptoe into her room, yes she is home, asleep, and breathing. Whew we made it through another night. Now back to my cartoons.
At 34, you would think this scenario would never have to play in my head again. Unfortunately for me, it is a daily recurrence. As hard as I wish, and as much as I try not to be bothered by the same events, the harder it is for me to let go. This memory should just haunt me, right? I should be over this type of thing?
Impossible. Not going to happen, I have tried, and contemplated, I have yelled and cried, I spoke with intelligence and logic, but nothing changes. Same selfish acts, same selfish mother. People may see this and scream how dare you! Do you know how lucky you are to still have her in your life? Do you know you should show respect?
All I can say in response is, walk in my shoes, see what I see, and then we will talk. Wake up every morning, tiptoe into her room, check if she is breathing. Stay awake at night when she has disappeared. Or better yet wait for the call from the hospital saying she has been admitted because she was too fucking high to get back home.
Then, I welcome all comments and concerns. As hard as it is to say this, and as hard as it is to admit, I need to. Release this secret from upon my chest. Set it free, to fly in the wind. Let go, so I can stop choking on the truth. So I can stop pretending it will be alright. Most of all find out who I really am, besides a series of built up lies and made up stories of how wonderful, I imagined it would be to just be normal. That my friends was never going to be a part of my story. Much less a part of my life.
So I keep beating around the bush. Okay, breath, here it goes. My name is Raven Jackson and my mother is an addict.
Whew, there I said it, clear and honest. Now do I get a pin or something for sharing?