Turning Point

Journal Entry: 12-25-1987

“Today is Christmas Day, 1987. This Christmas seems really humble as far as it goes, pretty ordinary. But I came to a big realization today, and it is embodied here: I trust, I have faith, that I never had before. There is a part of me that is content, even though not everything is perfect in my life. Not everything is rotten, either.

But I hit low (again, you can tell where I pick up even in this journal; I’ve really been a downer lately) last Thursday. Jill and I had just played in public together for the first time – a dream come true. Even though it was only a school concert, we tried to bring some professionalism to it. It went…fair. Both Don and John – Jill’s and mine ex boyfriends – showed up to see us. John’s a little better around me, but he can obviously not take me for very long.

After our ‘decent’ performance – Jill is hypercritical and it is getting to me – I was ignored by John. Jill and Don began to get very comfy. So I took off. This ticked me off because no one seemed upset. I tend to run away when an uncomfortable situation arises. So I went home feeling very blue. I wanted to call someone, but there was no one to call.

Sadly, I remember this night well. My parents showed up for the concert but missed my pre concert lobby stylings of our jazzed up, improvisational Christmas carols with Jill before the show. It was the biggest thing I’d done up to that point with music. Jill and I had spent so many afternoons at the local community college practicing in their practice rooms (they had pianos in them, the high school didn’t). We were very proud of our hip, jazz holiday music. I’d built up the evening into a huge deal in my head. And the exes showed up; I wanted to be good, fantastic, fabulous. I was dressed in a hot, red dress of my mother’s. After a year of working out with her every morning I thought I looked pretty good, and I wanted insane jealousy and misgiving on John’s part. I didn’t get it. I sat up for hours that night, looking at old photos, listening to music, thinking of how I just screw everything up. I screwed up my brother’s life, that’s why he was always hitting me; that led to screwing up my mother’s life by having her son removed from our home; I screwed up my sister’s life by not allowing her to live her teenage years normally, instead she had to be around to watch after me. The negative self talk went on, building on itself in my head until well after my mother fell asleep snoring on the sofa.

Long story short, I was alone, and I took a lot of pills. I felt very sorry for myself. I tried to call Ray after (to tell him off and finally give him a piece of my mind), but changed my mind.

I woke up around 2 am with an incredible stomach ache. I couldn’t sleep. So I thought about a lot of things.

I felt stupid. Really stupid. At one point I actually thought I was dying. I really did. The world got very fuzzy and far.

My mother had tons of old headache meds in the cabinet in the bathroom. My eyes blurry from tears, I went in there and started swallowing handfuls of little, pink pills. She had no idea. No one did. It proved, in my head, of how alone I was. But as the world started drifting away, I started feeling something else: fear. This was different than when I’d cut my wrists last spring. I could feel things getting fuzzy and blurry and slippery in my head. I started to panic, only to heave up all of the pink pills in the middle of the night.

But I didn’t. I got ready for school the next morning. All of my friends were there, it was the last day before break. They all wished me Merry Christmas, etc. I have good friends. They are there for me, even though I didn’t tell them. One kid found out about it. He was upset for not coming to him. Even my flute teacher, for no reason at all, assured me that I can call him any time and talk to him, or to his wife if I need to. But it didn’t click until today: these people aren’t just trying to appease me. They really care.

I guess it’s better if I don’t try to figure out why. And if there is something good and right for me out there. God didn’t let me die – I just need the trust and faith to ralize that even in my imperfection, I will turn out OK.

I realized I wasn’t alone the morning after it happened. My friends were gracious, even though none of them knew what had happened the night before. I got Christmas gifts and hugs and happiness, and I was overwhelmed. Mr. V, the journal reader, wrote kind words of reassurance and offers of help if I needed it. Mr. H had been doing the same. How could I let all of these people down? Enough. I wasn’t going to be a victim of my past any more. Yes, my head was a mess. But I had help, and I needed to recognize it and accept it.

Addendum to Mr. V: I just have to say this: thank you so much for your little reassurances in here. Just knowing that someone is out there willing to listen – someone with more than a little intelligence – it helps immensely. I am so glad I did not die, but so scared that I wanted to. I just had to let you know that your notes in here were not ignored.”

Mr. V’s response: “If I may amend this (the last sentence in the entry): you are already OK. Thank you. I need reassurance too – just as much as you. My ear and my heart are open to you – in this journal or in person.”

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