Missing you.

We make assumptions in life. And some days, you wake up and an assumption that you’d grown used to, suddenly isn’t so stable anymore.

It’s been over five years. Five years, nine months, and thirteen days if you want to be exact. Years that have changed me through heartbreak, transition, and opportunity. And I know they’ve changed you too.

Almost six years of silence.

I woke up this morning with an assumption firmly set in my mind. An assumption that told me there was no hope. An assumption that promised I would never again hear your voice or your laugh, I would never again see your face, I would never again have your friendship.

I woke up this morning to a very subtle change. And I could feel, can feel, it reaching for me. I can feel it’s thin, cold fingers, I can feel the brittle nails, wrapping slowly around my heart. This monster called ‘hope.’ Begging me to give in.

But I know hope. And hope is not to be trusted.

Didn’t you teach me that?

It was probably a mistake. It probably meant nothing to you. You probably thought I wouldn’t notice. You probably didn’t give it any thought at all. You probably didn’t mean to cause my assumptions to waiver.

Five years, nine months, thirteen days, and I’m still…

Missing you.

-Melissa

Choosing.

I don’t like being around people when I feel like that. I feel like I’m infecting them.

I can feel waves, like heat, radiating from me. This bubble surrounding me that those standing too close are trapped within. I feel their awkwardness when they can sense something is wrong but don’t know how to ask. I can’t make eye contact with them but I can feel the stolen glances they brave toward me. I can feel my silence- it’s palpable. But I feel enclosed in my own gloom.

And my thoughts make me ache. It’s your choice to feel this way, you know. You just have to stop. You’re making this hard on everyone, you’re ruining their time. Choose to feel better. It’s your fault you feel this way. You’re not doing anything about it. You have to do something about it. It’s your fault.

And then there’s tears in my eyes.

It’s your fault.

And it is. It is my fault. I should just smile. I should pull myself up by my bootstraps. It doesn’t matter how. I should just do it. I must be choosing to feel this way – I must be.

Just relax.

Just smile.

Just feel better.

Just talk.

Just act.

Just be better.

Just choose.

-Melissa

Superwoman.

I think there’s a superwoman in my head.

Really, I do. I think she takes charge and gets stuff done and pushes forward. I think my ideas come from her, my grit comes from her, my strength comes from her.

I think she gets defeated sometimes. I think she goes to battle with the other voices and forces in my head and she looses. Before I know it, she’s buried beneath the debris of the fight and I can’t find her anywhere.

It’s in these moments (or days or weeks) that I’m at a loss. It’s when I find myself taking every possible minute to myself. When I find myself giving all that I can to my job but that’s almost nothing. It’s these moments that I find myself desperately trying to figure out what to do, searching things on the internet like “how to deal with depression at work” and “should you tell your boss you’re depressed.” It’s when I look up therapists in the local area, only to come to the conclusion that I can’t get myself to spend that much money.

I’m tired and I’m sad. This day is no where near over and I can’t find superwoman.

-Melissa

Can’t.

I have these two people in my life who I would call friend. I haven’t known them for long. About eight months or so. I think they actually might want to be my friend.

I can’t believe it. I’m not saying that in a surprised way. I’m saying it in a ‘no’ way. Like, no I can’t believe that. I can’t. I won’t allow myself to believe it.

And it doesn’t seem to matter that they seem to… like me. Seem to actually want to be my friend. Seem to actually enjoy my presence. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how many hours I spend with them or how many conversations we have or… or anything really. Because why would they want to be friends… with me?

Just… why?

Why would they want to be friends with me? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t have any good to offer their life. I’m not fun and I’m not nice and I’m not… anything. So why would they bother?

And I have these moments that I’ll cherish forever. These moments that make me smile and make me feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m wrong and they really do think of me as a friend. Maybe they actually do like me and who I am as a person. But that can’t be right. And I’m so scared.

I wish I didn’t wake up in sadness. I wish I didn’t feel like crying so often. I wish I wasn’t guilt ridden and paralyzed by insecurity.

But it’s okay. It’s okay, right? Because five minutes from now I’ll be smiling. Five minutes from right now I will push all of this aside and do what I need to do. I will be who others need me to be. And then I’ll hold out until I can be alone again.

I should probably talk to one of them about it. But… what’s the point? They would just feel bad. Or realize I’m more screwed up than they thought, and really, who wants to put time into that? Or… or they could just decided they didn’t want to be friends with me. They could turn away from me and act like I was never even a part of their life.

I mean, goodness… It’s not like they’d be the first.

-Melissa

Torment.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

I felt tears growing in my eyes at the words. They were harsh, bitter. I thought about how I could do just that – keep my mouth shut and not infect those around me with my own irritability. I really should just listen and not add anything to the conversation. I mapped out conversations, wondered over how I could successfully deflect, agonized over how unhelpful I’ve been, worried over how much I revealed about myself.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

I couldn’t argue with the words. They were true, weren’t they? I did need to talk less. Everyone would say I needed to talk more but, I mean, what do they know? They don’t know me like I know me. They don’t know my thoughts. They don’t know the kind of person I am. Because what good do my words add? And if they add no good, why say them?

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

And I don’t need to talk. No, people need to be heard. That’s one of the only things people want – to feel heard. So I should give that to them. I should listen. That’s all I should do. Let them talk. Prompt them to talk. Give them my undivided attention. And I should stop giving advice or adding my input; it’s not helpful and they don’t need it. What if it’s even harmful? I should just keep my mouth shut. They don’t need my input. They don’t need me.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

The words, harsh and bitter as they were, were also silent. Your own thoughts often are after all. And, I don’t know what your thought life is like, but mine isn’t always pretty. It’s so interesting to me that, when thoughts like that fly through my mind, no matter how painful, you just… keep moving. You smile, you hold you head high, and you keep walking, even through the torment.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

-Melissa

Anything.

I asked her how her day had been and she skirted the question. She answered it, technically. But I could feel more beneath her response. I asked again, differently. Again, she answered, but not fully. She said a certain part of her day had been fine.

“So what wasn’t fine today?” I asked.

Finally, I’d hit the right question. She blurted out what she hadn’t been saying, coated with annoyance. She avoided any detail, so I asked another question. And then another.

And then she was crying.

I pushed away the anger I felt growing in me, not toward her, but toward those that had hurt her. I pulled her in for a hug and just held her why she cried.

“You didn’t do anything wrong.” I told her quietly, combing my fingers through her hair, “You didn’t do anything wrong.”

I wondered what I could do to help, to fix this, to retaliate. Nothing, really. Only this. Hold tight to the hurting and brush away their tears, even if they continue to cry.

You didn’t do anything wrong.

-Melissa

There.

Last Friday was a year since you last spoke to me.

Four days later, I got a card in the mail. There was no return address, which I found a little odd, but the handwriting was simple and friendly, so I opened it. My mind scanned to the bottom of a written page. It was from your mom.

I quickly shut the card and shoved it back in the envelope. Not now. I told myself, You’re at work and you’ve got to get this task done. I knew if I just jumped in and read it, I’d be crying in the office. Which, you know, is not a preferred method.

I read it later. I read it quickly and then shut it again. Her handwriting is flowy and hard to read. The only parts I remember were that she’s apparently on your no-contact list too, that she’s praying for you, and that she’s also praying for me.

You screwed up, man. You really did. Kick me out of your life? Fine. I’ll back away and give you space and cry somewhere where you can’t see me. But your mom?? Dude. Come on. It’s your mom.

I’m sitting here reflecting on your relationship with your mom, the one I witnessed for nine years, and I’m only coming to one conclusion: You must be confused and in a hell of a lot of pain right now. I’m so sorry. Sincerely, from the deepest parts of me, I am so sorry you’re facing so much pain right now.

Brother, know this. Know that I am in pain because you left me behind and, when or if you regret that decision and seek my friendship, know that we will have to work through that and it probably won’t be pleasant.

But also know that, when you need me, I will do my best to first and foremost be there for you. I know you’re hurting and really struggling right now and, as soon as you need me, I’ll be there in whatever way I can. I will do my very best to support you and stand next to you as your life seems to go up in flames.

You’re my brother, kid. I might be mad at you and, yes, you’ve hurt me very deeply. But if you call me, I’ll be there. Even if you wouldn’t do the same for me. You still have my number. And, apparently, your mom has my address. So if and when you need me, don’t be afraid to reach out.

-Melissa