Who Did I Kill?

•March 28, 2012 • 7 Comments

I’m sure I must have murdered someone.

My eyes are crusted closed with sleep and clumped mascara. Mouth feels like the desert after a fraternity party. There are french fries and McDonald’s wrappers littered across my bed. A stray half eaten cheeseburger, cold from it’s night long nap. Empty and half squeezed ketchup and BBQ sauce packages stick to my feet as I stumble to the bathroom. The mirror. Oh my God. What did I do?

I creep over to the window and look outside. I see my car. Parked perfectly in it’s tiny, thin, one car only spot. But. What the FUCK?

Outside my front door now, I stare with deserted eyes at my car. It is totaled. TOTALED. The boys who live upstairs are outside having a smoke. Laughing down at me. “Someone had a rough night.” They say. The group laughs. And I move back inside. Slow motion.

I look for my purple pager and see it is blinking at me. What time is it? Oh my god. There are several messages from The Doctor. I am in big trouble now. He’s going to kill me. What did I do last night?

**************************************************************************************************

The day before I had received a “page” from my, well, I guess the nice word would be pimp. He was my patient, too. And the owner of a large bagel chain. I should say, he was our patient. As in, he’d come in, pay cash, get clean pee to hand over to his probation officer and some FenPhen and quality grade uncut ecstasy to give to the girls he “managed.” Everyone in LA is famous for something. Maybe he’d get his blood drawn and blood pressure checked, just so we’d have something legitimate to document in his medical file. This was life at the medical office. A store front operation for the sinister inner workings of a rotten core.

Since the Doctor had declared “Darlin’, you were made for fucking” I had resigned myself to that notion. Here I thought I was getting some power back. The asshole boyfriend had been kicked to the curb and I had asked for a raise. I got a raise all right. Or should I call it A Lower?

In only a few days I had learned of my fate. Was it a choice? Yes. But I thought it was all I was worth. It had been confirmed. The Doctor had said so. I was only good for fucking.Dr. X took me to a fancy Hollywood house party. He paraded me around like his new toy. I immediately took to sucking down the champagne I’d probably never afford to taste on my own. He stiffly held my arm in a fatherly type grip as we worked the room. Within a half hour an “offer” had been made. I can’t mention the star’s name because I am still. Afraid. After. All. These. Years. I hate you. I run from you.

The ugly ass star offered $5,000 for the night. (I’m talking, HIDEOUSLY ugly. Why else would he have to pay so much?) The Doctor had made his own deal with me for a 70/30% split is his favor. FUCKER. I chugged champagne. There was a gnawing inside. I could not make myself do it. Could I? I got so drunk at the party Dr. X took me home and scolded me. What on earth would that man have made me do for $5,000?

I was then “licensed” to the Bagel Shop Owner and he was to dole out my assignments. I think I was too strong headed for Dr. X. He wanted to point and shoot me like a camera. I had some pride. Did I?

I still remember driving down Santa Monica Blvd. when I got The Page. I can still hear the sound the beeper made and it makes me wince if I ever hear it in a movie, or old TV show. I pulled over and called pimp daddy Bagel Man. The plans were in motion. I had agreed to my first client.

That night I drank two cold bottles of cheap white zinfandel. The thought makes me gag today. But it was my soul candy. I blasted Alanis Morisette’s “Bitter Pill” as I slicked my hair back into a sleek flamenco bun. Long red skirt with tiny white flowers that belled at the bottom and hugged my curves. Tight black dancer’s top and a red beaded choker. Glitter in my cleavage. Red lips. Shoulders back. I can do this. 

I barely remember driving to the Sunset strip. I don’t remember the name of the hotel. But I know it by the throw up that knocks at my chest when I drive by it. I was early to arrive. Old habits never die. I ordered a bottle of wine, and waited while the staff seemed to watch me out of the corner of their eyes. They must know what I am up to. Guzzle. Guzzle. 

Bagel Man showed up first. He was there to make the deal. And then came Pit Boss. A big, huge, fat and tall beast of a man from Las Vegas. Bald. Waddling. He had to be about 400 pounds and well over 6’5″. I am short but I lie on my driver’s license and was wearing black stiletto heels. Shoulders back. Head high. That’s the way we like to die.

I remember little about our dinner. I just know that Bagel Man left at some point.

I can still smell him. He laid there liked a beached whale, naked on the bed, saying “Come to Papa.” It was dark but the bathroom light was on. I excuse myself and close the door. Mirror. There she is again. Hello? Where are you? I look pretty. Where is my Anne Taylor jacket? Fuck! What the hell am I doing? Fuck! You can’t do this. You can’t. The person in the mirror shakes her head. A solid and resolved eye contact is made. RUN!

His smell of baby powder and pasta sauce lingered in the air as I swiped the cash off the dresser and walked straight out of the room, letting the heavy door slam shut behind me. I knew it would take him a minute to realize what had happened. I RAN. I took my heels off and ran. When I got down to the valet station I was crying. “Get my car, get my car.” I lied to them and told them a bad man was chasing me. They helped me. I don’t know how I was forming sentences by then. Screech.

BLACKNESS.

7/11. I must be buying smokes. Someone slips me a piece  of paper. They are all staring at me from the parking lot. What the hell is their problem?

I “come to” in a sizzling moment of clarity. I am at the window of the drive thru at McDonald’s. I guess I have started shoveling fries into my mouth and dipping them in BBQ sauce (my favorite) and it must be all over my face, because the person behind the window is staring wide eyed at me like a spooked owl. I look in the mirror. No BBQ sauce. What’s taking them so long? They are looking for change for my stoeln $100 bill, I think. And then, I see more faces gather at the steamy window. What are they—

White Smoke. Billowing from the front of my car. What WAS the front of my car, which is now more like the splattered face of my car, smashed in.  It’s sputtering and coughing. Get me home, it says. Those poor McDonald’s workers. I must have given them a new item to add to their “What the fuck was THAT?” list. They will not take my money. They are shooing me away. GO. GO. Their hands say. The drive thru window is kept closed. What’s their problem?

BLACKNESS.

Unthrown up food digesting in my belly and on the side of my bed are more empty cheeseburger carcasses. Bags and trash all over. Wow. I must have ordered enough food for an army. The army of lost souls and painted faces.

Beep. Beep. Beep. It’s the Doctor. I gather the courage to call and check my messages.

“Ummmm. DARLIN’ it’s Dr. X. Give me a call, will ya?” Beep.

“Uhh. Yeah. HI. I heard from your date last night. He is Not Happy. You really fucked up, sweetie.” Beep.

“Listen. YOU need to make it up to this guy. [Bagel Man] is PISSED. You need to get on the phone right now and make arrangements to meet with Pit Boss. And BRING HIM MOTHER FUCKING FLOWERS.” Beep.

I scramble through my purse, looking for clues. I’m still in my clothes. So that’s good. Where is my Anne Taylor jacket?? I find a crumpled piece of paper in my wallet. And three crumpled hundred dollar bills. What are these? Oh my god. What did I do? On the paper is a name, and a phone number. With “AA” written in quotation marks. Must have been the people at 7/11. Oh my God. Who drove me home?

I go back out to my car. Not only is it unrecognizable, the metal on the right has cut so deep into the front passenger side tire, it is a mangled death of blackness. Completely flattened. The engine is smashed like an accordion file. The windshield is a breath away from shattered. There are black and orange streaks along the entire right side of the car. I can’t look anymore. The smoking boys above are still amused and looking down at me. Mocking me.

How did I get home? An angel. An angel must have driven you home. Look at your car. You should be dead.

Oh my God. I stole the guy’s money. Oh my God. I ran out without doing it. Oh my God. My boss is going to murder me. Oh my God. WHO DID I KILL?

Kissing,

The Cockroach

Note: this is a flashback that I finally talked about in last week’s EMDR session. If you want a little background, you can check out:

The Good Doctor

Trauma Driven Life

EMDR

Copyright © 2012 Kissing The Cockroach All Rights Reserved.

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My Heart Exploded

•March 26, 2012 • 25 Comments

It did. My heart EXPLODED. It started out so dark and ugly. All mixed together. What I meant to be rainbows turned into meaningless, gray matter. I almost lost hope. I’ve come to a sobering realization. It’s more painful to let myself play  and create than to recall a horrible experience. What is that all about? Emptying the clogged drain. Went to EMDR today. I really need to write about it, but my laptop is at the doctor until mid-week. I can’t stand typing on this dinosaur.

I guess therapy is like the Draino to my clogged soul. I see two therapists a week. I’ve never skipped out or used “my gramma died” as an excuse. It is so unlike me not to disappear. Poor gramma. She turns 89 tomorrow and she doesn’t know how many jams she’s gotten me through. I would never do such a thing anymore. Yet why do I still feel so culpable? So guilty? My EMDR therapist has me reading “The Body Bears The Burden.” BOY is that some fun-times. Fairy tale and romance novel reading. N-O-T. Ouch. It is heavy. Yet pertinent. All the little pachinko pieces are falling into place. I can see it now.

Today we did some work I have been avoiding. That “inner child” (she wants to say CRAP.) But when I really let myself go, my mind goes straight to visions of dances, paintings, colors, and light. Today I saw my 11 year old self. She was cowering under a table. Physically, my whole body was folded in like pancake batter. Head down, to the right. Crunched down as far as it will go. My ET asks me to describe the body sensations. It’s so fucking hard. The little girl hides under the table.

The woman I am today comes along. She’s painted in rainbow water colors, and flows, kind of like water. The little girl under the table is a moving wad of black crayon scribbles. She can change shapes to fit into the tiniest of cracks. Rainbow me reaches down to tell the little girl she’s there. “I’m here, sweetie. Want to come out from under there? You’re safe now.” The black crayon child cowers in the corner and tries to disappear. If she’s still enough, she’ll be mistaken for darkness. But a piece falls loose.

Rainbow woman waits patiently. She reaches down under the table, and takes the tiniest little shred of black crayon that the girl has extended. No words are exchanged.

The Rainbow woman stands and starts pulling at the crayon thread.  She gathers more and more and more until a big ball of crayon markings has formed like a cloud. Only the crayon threads that rise above the table are not black, they are bright, brilliant colors. They fill the Rainbow woman’s heart as she takes a slow, deep breath in. Inhale color. Exhale black. Inhale rainbows. Exhale loneliness.

We are in Tree Pose. My body the trunk. The child fills me with her color. Our leaves turn into shades of pink, red, purple, yellow, orange, red and blue. We balance on our left foot and stretch our sunshine powered arms to the sky. Inner body bright. Shining light. The tree grows and the branches fan out for a magical display. The leaves rustle in the wind. They make a tiny whispering sound. We are here. And we are safe.

My therapist asks me if I am fully able to rescue the black crayon girl from underneath the table. No, I tell her. She’s stuck in between. In between what? Half of her body, the upper half, is above ground. She feels the sunlight on her face. She’s reaching for the stars. Where is the other half? The lower half is still down below. Stuck in the darkness. Kicking. But paralyzed.

“Do you think you can ask the girl to come all the way up?” She asks. At my silence, she questions, “Not yet?”

I smile. Shake my head no. “Not yet.”

More for another day…

Kissing,

The Cockroach

Copyright © 2012 Kissing The Cockroach All Rights Reserved.

Flinging this computer out the window.

•March 24, 2012 • 19 Comments

APPLE thinks they have made a perfect product. But I beg to differ! This MAC airbook laptop is only months old and already the touch pad has a mind of it’s OWN. It is as though my computer is possessed. I would think it was funny, if I didn’t want to seriously fling this fucker off the deck. But what would that do? Leave me computerless. Taking it to the Apple Doctor tomorrow. I am a social phobe. I HATE malls. Thank God I’ll get to hang on to my boyfriend’s coattail so I can keep my head down but avoid falling.

I’ve been practicing keeping my head UP as I walk. It’s unbelievably hard! No one would guess I have this problem. I don’t appear to be a hermit cringing at the very hint of life around me. But I am. No one suspects a redhead. Sigh. The mask. I imagine a red balloon connected to the top of my head. Helium balloon. It holds my head up when I feel like holding it down. Know what’s funny? You NOTICE a lot more stuff with your head up. We have walked this neighborhood hundreds of times, but it takes time number 101 for me to say, “Oh, has that house always been purple? How weird.” Oh I mean time number 111. Better number. FREAK!

On another note. Every time I (force) myself to sit down and type something, it is without fail, that the TV…someone on the thing…will say a word that I am typing at that very moment. Does that ever happen to anyone? I know it sounds totally insane. It’s those little **things** that happen in life that make me smile. That remind me, hello, I am here. Everything has crazy meaning, nothing has meaning, it all has meaning. It has the meaning that we make it to have. So we have choice. Does shit just happen? Or does it happen on purpose? That is our choice. We can see it both ways. Shit happens, and we are in charge of how we react to it. But what about the THIRD instinctual human response to danger? We all know about Fight or Flight. But how often do we hear about FREEZE? I am learning about that now. It is bittersweet. I blamed myself for many years for “not doing” something or other. Or for not talking. Not acting. Not telling. Not running. Not looking. This other response it like “playing dead.” Like an opossum. There is a purpose. It gets us through to the other side. The problem is….”it” then sleeps and stores itself in our bodies…it burrows down like a tick, feeding off of us until it is forced out.

Sometimes we have reactions to things today that seemingly make NO sense. (Kind of like this post?) But our reactions are springing forth from deep, old waters. Let yourself have them. Whatever they are.

I promise to respond to those TAG thingies soon. I am not in the right head space to do it until I get my computer fixed. The cursor keeps popping around, deleting things at will, and switching pages. So as to not kill a cockroach by mistake when I huck this piece of metal off the balcony…

Even cockroaches deserve a chance to live.

****KISS****

Everything has meaning and beauty.

Sidewalk Love. By The Cockroac

Copyright © 2018 Kissing The Cockroach All Rights Reserved.

Trauma Driven Life

•March 21, 2012 • 14 Comments

EMDR session number 5 started like any other. I arrived a half hour early and sat in my car outside ET’s house. I decided this was a good time to try and meditate. I can’t seem to force myself to sit and meditate at will so the timing was mine. Close my eyes. Concentrate on the breath. Inhale God, Exhale Fear. I wonder what we’ll talk about today. I bet she wonders, too. I can feel a heat sensation rising in my chest. Damn. I’m struggling. Inside body, outside body. Wax on. Wax off.

At 11:56am I walk up to the Hollywood tree house. To my right, I see a blur of white. I turn my head and am astonished to see the HOLLYWOOD sign in the hill. Somehow I have driven here on 4 other occasions, and I have never noticed it. Or have I?

I get comfy on the purple couch and ET looks at me with this bright expectant smile. As if to say “Wellllllllllllllll, How Are WE Doing??” She’d never say it like that. But that is what I imagine. She has a purple flower in her curly black hair and I notice she is once again dressed in shades of purple and blue. She’s holding The List of traumas I made for her last week, and I am getting antsy. I’ve been feeling a little out of body lately, so I am not certain what I felt like dealing with this time. Ha. As if it’s ever a choice. I thought perhaps I could get off scott free, maybe talk about my back and why I am still in so much pain after the fusion surgeries. Or, maybe we could talk about the weather. That would be good. Spring starts tomorrow after all. Look over here, look over here. Don’t look over there. The little dancing cockroach is waving his tiny arms, with top hat and cane in hand doing the Mr. Peanut Dance. Over here, over here.

She first gives me the names of 2 books I am to purchase and read. One, called “The Body Bears The Burden” Trauma Dissociation and Disease. by Robert Scaer, M.D. The second is “Crash Course: A Self-Healing Guide to Auto Accident Trauma and Recovery” by Laurence Heller. I write the book names down and feel my brain twitching. You know you’re going to have to read these, right? Not only to get through your own shit, but to help people in the future? This is your job. Fuck me. Why am I doing this again? For the others. For the others.

Then she hands me an article, “The Rape of Mr. Smith.” We read it out loud and I ask if I can keep my copy. I have adjusted in the purple couch about 20 times by now. I can’t get comfortable. Fuuuuuuuuuuck.

We put the EMDR headphones on and I hold the vibrators. I no longer use the lights, as we think that may be the cause of post EMDR headaches. I close my eyes. And it takes only nano seconds for my face to scrunch up into a wadded piece of paper. I am turning in on myself. Like an invisible protective barrier is incubating me. Here we go. Look over here. Look over here. Hello my baby, Hello my honey, Hello my ragtime gaaaaaaaaalllllll….dance, dance. Hat trick. Twirl. Over here.

I start by telling her that both she and my regular therapist have made several comments about how “amazingly in tune I am with my body and my emotions.” I felt it was important to let them know this was not normal for me. If you asked me 3 years ago how something made me feel, I would have raised my upper lip at you, furrowed my brow sarcastically and said, “Feel?” Offended at the notion.

It was the bus accident and the subsequent physical injuries that brought me here. Oddly enough, physical pain has the unshakable ability to bring you into the present moment. Present moment awareness. EWWWW. I never wanted any present, past or future moment awareness. I wanted numb. I wanted buffer. I wanted cotton shoved in between my heart, ears, mind and soul…and the world out there. In here. The secret world in here.

With my eyes closed, I sit quietly for a moment. Or so I thought. I didn’t realize she was watching this happen and it took a few minutes for me to feel it, but I was clenching my jaw, tapping my left foot vigorously and if the hand vibrators had life they no longer did because I was squeezing it out of them. She asks me simply, “What are you aware of now?” I say, “I’m aware of why I was diagnosed with TMJ.” She laughs. I laugh. Then she says, “You know, grinding the jaw is usually a sign that we want to say something that we’re not allowing ourselves to say.” Uuuuuuuggghhhhhhh. Where’s Mr. Peanut when I need him. I need a diversion.

“I guess I am here to talk more about The Doctor.” Mind you, I have not talked with her about The Doctor yet. I’m confused. I think I have only written a little about it here. It took me a year and a half to mention it to my regular therapist. TheRapist. God, I’m crazy. I am pretty sure I have only talked to her about it. I was struck speechless when after telling Regular Therapist the story, she asked, “May I ask you a question? Was that man’s name Dr. X?” I couldn’t tell if I was scared or relieved. She knew him. She had heard of him.

Holy shit. It’s real. I had convinced myself over the years that none of this was real. That I made it all up. That I deserved it. That I brought it on. I wore the wrong clothes. I asked for it. It’s all jumbled. Why now? Aren’t I over this yet? God. I can’t believe this is my life. But I let it come out the way it wants to. ET tells me this is how the brain works. Connecting the dots. I’m seeing spots. Hello my baby…

I had just kicked my lying, cheating psychotic boyfriend out of the apartment. I needed to find a second job, quick, if I was going to stay in LA. I worked full-time for the The Doctor, but he only paid me $10 an hour. There was no way I could make my rent. I can not move home. That is not home to me. I can not fail. There was a piece of me that lit up, the moment I found out The Actor was a pathological liar. I had never felt such vindicated rage before. I felt like She-Ra. My ET tells me to stop, and asks me where I feel that in my body. The She-Ra effect. “I feel it in my chest.” I tell her. “I feel it in my face, as it lifts up to look evil in the eyes.” When she sees my body move as I talk, she asks me to stop, explain what I am feeling, and to re-enact it. To exaggerate it. Slowly and deliberately. So I puff my chest forward and lift my chin to the moon. Move over Mr. Peanut, I’m the one dancing now. I’m proud.

Proud? Of what?  I was young, I needed the money. God I’m sick. You’re sitting here talking about this shit….again? Haven’t you talked about it enough? But no, I don’t think I have. Have I? Not with other humans anyway. I told you, you were crazy. Isn’t it true that if you think you are crazy, you’re not? Don’t be silly. This is your job. This is your school. Learn how to walk through this. Right here. Right now. Allow it in. Allow it out. Wow, I can’t believe you are here. You’re here. Do you hear me? I am so proud of you.

I take some deeeeeeeeeep breaths and rearrange my body on the purple couch. I sit cross legged, with a fluffy purple pillow behind my back. Inhale God. Exhale Fear. Okay, now I’m ready. I relax the death grip on the vibrators. Try to unclench my jaw. And feel the sweat flood my armpits. The same sweat that is rushing to my armpits as I type this now. Expression. The body bears the burden. Oh well. No one said this would be pretty.

(to be continued…)

Kissing,

The Cockroach

Copyright © 2012 Kissing The Cockroach All Rights Reserved.

Filling in the Blanks

•March 21, 2012 • 10 Comments

Have been feeling a bit “numb” for the past couple of days. My EMDR therapist says I am in and out a dissociative state. Blah! Yesterday was another surprising Microscopic Monday on the purple couch. I swear, I went in there thinking I was wearing waterproof mascara in vain. That it wouldn’t be necessary. Yet once again I found myself free associating with whatever we were talking about. She remarks once again that it’s a miracle I’m sitting on her couch. She’s holding The List in her hands, shaking her head. Saying “You are just remarkable.”I imagine myself with black marker scribbles on my face, remarkable.

Hmmmm. I don’t know what to say about things like that. I suppose I’m in denial. Everybody has secrets. We all have a story that would make you cry. Just because someone has been through 3 things and another 30 things doesn’t make their pain any more or less. But I do realize I may have a lot of sludge to wade through. Anyway, I thought we might talk about something pleasant, like how do I get rid of this pain in my body, or how can I unblock myself creatively. Yet, she handed me something called “The Rape of Mr. Smith.” And wouldn’t you know,  I wound up going into That Night on Sunset Blvd. The night I gave the world of prostitution another last chance. Umm, Oh. I’d like to mean LAST chance. But before the internet there were newspapers and if placing ads for “benefactors” in the local meet up section counts, well, that went on for a while. What can I say. I gave myself lots of rope with which to hang myself. Plenty of reasons not to get to this very moment where I am typing this. Remarkable.

But the Sunset strip story is one I’ve shrugged my shoulders at so many times thinking “Eh, I’m over it. Whatever.” But then try to sit yourself down, with these tones playing in your ears and buzzers in your hands, eyes closed….and go back there. Not only to re-imagine the scene, but to recreate it. Re-frame it. I can still see the look of shock on ET’s face as I started to tell the story. (Hadn’t she studied The List before the appointment?) It was like, lady, you don’t even know the half of it. I am one of the lucky ones. I ran and I ran and I ran fast. And then I hid. And it would be years later I’d be faced with the even uglier underground world of rich people, organized crime and abuse. Sigh. I’ll write about it tomorrow. Wednesday Wallows. No wallows actually. Just chronicles. I suppose it’s good for me to just get it out once and for all.

With that, I leave you with “The Rape of Mr. Smith.” From Readings for Diversity and Social Justice – Anonymous

The law discriminates against rape victims in a manner which would not be tolerated by victims of any other crime. In the following example, a holdup victim is asked questions similar in form to those usually asked a victim of rape.

“Mr. Smith, you were held up at gunpoint on the corner of 16th and Locust?”
“Yes.”
“Did you struggle with the robber?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“He was armed.”
“Then you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than to resist?”
“Yes.”
“Did you scream? Cry out?”
“No. I was afraid.”
“I see. Have you ever been held up before?”
“No.”
“Have you ever given money away?”
“Yes, of course–”
“And did you do so willingly?”
“What are you getting at?”
“Well, let’s put it like this, Mr. Smith. You’ve given away money in the past–in fact, you have quite a reputation for philanthropy. How can we be sure that you weren’t contriving to have your money taken from you by force?”
“Listen, if I wanted–”
“Never mind. What time did this holdup take place, Mr. Smith?”
“About 11 p.m.”
“You were out on the streets at 11 p.m.? Doing what?”
“Just walking.”
“Just walking? You know it’s dangerous being out on the street that late at night. Weren’t you aware that you could have been held up?”
“I hadn’t thought about it.”
“What were you wearing at the time, Mr. Smith?”
“Let’s see. A suit. Yes, a suit.”
“An expensive suit?”
“Well–yes.”
“In other words, Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn’t that so? I mean, if we didn’t know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think you were asking for this to happen, mightn’t we?”
“Look, can’t we talkin about the past history of the guy who did this to me?”
“I’m afraid not, Mr. Smith. I don’t think you would want to violate his rights, now, would you?”

Naturally, the line of questioning, the innuendo, is ludicrous – as well as inadmissible as any sort of cross-examination – unless we are talking about parallel questions in a rape case. The time of night, the victim’s previous history of “giving away”that was taken by force, the clothing – all these are held against the victim. Society’s posture on rape, and the manifestation of that posture in the courts, help account for the fact that so few rapes are reported.

Pain Colored Goggles

•March 17, 2012 • 10 Comments

I can’t quite think clearly. And at the same time I don’t like to complain, yet again, about being in pain. So I often just hold it inside, stay silent, wait for it to pass, try to wear a smile.

Sigh, what a liar.

Let’s go back. Yesterday I went to a funeral for my second cousin. Ummm. Let’s just say the circumstances of his death were very suspicious. It appears there was a recipe for Perfect Storm Stew. Alcohol, weed, money, mental illness, a lonely elderly man and a fight of some sort? A mental breakdown? We’ll never know. The cops are “investigating.” But the bottom line is no one cares. He was already brain dead by the time the ambulance brought him to the vet hospital. I just saw him on Thanksgiving. Oddly, he was giving his prized possessions away. He gave me his hat from the Korean War. He wrote letters to my gramma, his aunt and closest friend, with lines like “The end is near.” We will never really know what happened.

My parents drove down so we could attend the funeral. The plots stretched miles wide, with many different entrances and chapels. We got there early so we went to Starbucks to kill time. I didn’t know my parents drank Starbucks. Funny. We got back and sat in the parking lot until 8:55. Remarking “Hmm….who’s that? Who are they?”

My mother insists on taking pictures of everything. So we took a picture outside the chapel then walked towards the door. I knew I had the scowl of hate on my face but I could not seem to remove it. I’m not a good sport about taking pictures at inappropriate times. Good thing I looked at the sign. We were at the wrong funeral. I couldn’t help but be giddy inside. This made the day so much more surreal. We began the mad dash to find the right funeral chapel and made it a couple of minutes late.

The ceremony was nice enough. It was an open casket. He had been dead for 9 days. It’s so fucking creepy how they pump you up with chemicals and put make up on you. He did not look like himself at all. I could not tell if I felt numb because that’s a common feeling about death. Or if I was just feeling he was finally at peace. Seeing his body meant nothing to me. I knew his spirit was flying around somewhere else by now, exploring other lands. My mom took flash pictures in the chapel throughout the entire funeral. Is that even allowed? I flinch every time I hear the camera click.

While the guys carried the casket out, I hear a woman saying “Look, a wolf.” I turn, and look up at the hill where she is pointing. That’s not a fucking wolf, I think. That’s a tree stump. The other women say “Where, where?” And she describes and points to the exact location of the stump. She says “He sees us, so he’s being completely still.” I am laughing inside.

We begin what my mom calls “the carpool” following the white hearse to the grave site. It’s raining a little. Cloudy and foggy. Kind of pretty and eery. There are two soldiers in uniform there to do the folding of the flag ceremony. I am enthralled. I don’t know how these men and women find the courage. The discipline. How do they do it? The young one folds the flag wrong, so has to slowly unfold it, and fold it again. After tucking the flag meticulously into it’s triangle shape, the older soldier nods his head at younger soldier, who slowly goes walking across the graves to a truck….waaaaaaaaay far away. We are told to salute, or place our right hands to our hearts, for the playing of “Taps.”

Ahhh, I think to myself. Here is the beautiful moment. Here’s where I’ll cry. I’ll feel something. Younger soldier is standing so far away we can hardly see him, but he pulls out a white trumpet and plays “Taps.” Right then a plane flies overhead. We can’t hear “Taps.” But my mom is crying anyway. Just when I think I’ll get to hear the end of the song, the plane passes. And a train blows. I am laughing again inside. My mom is sniffling.

The deacon says his final blessing over the casket. And the woman who saw the wolf stands up, goes next to the deacon, cups her hands around her mouth, and screams “LoLoLoLoLolololLoLoolOlOlllLolLoloLo.” Like an ancient battle cry. Birds flee from the trees. It was beautiful in a bizarre kind of way.

Later I hear wolf lady boasting she is in a tribe. I don’t know these people. I don’t think they knew my cousin. They knew his oldest son. But I do know that wasn’t a wolf. But I loved the battle cry. Whatever. I am so used to things like this.

I put a rose on my cousin’s casket, even though I know he wasn’t in there. “Thanks for the hat.” As we walk to our cars, we find out that younger soldier wasn’t playing the trumpet. It was just a recording playing through a speaker placed inside the fake trumpet. This again makes me laugh.

As we drove home, all I could think about was the pain I was in. So selfish. And the look of his made up dead face. So lucky. Gone now. An end to much pain in this world. I have to fight this, I’m thinking. Don’t give up. Your day will come and I want you to say you did the very best you could. Lived your fullest life. Healed and helped others to heal themselves. But I can’t think of anything except how much I want to die if this is all there is. I’m afraid. That I’ll need more spinal surgeries. That I’ll never be able to work again. I wonder who would show up at my funeral. I hope they dance. I hope they wear glitter. I hope they have words to say…like “She changed my life.” That is all I ever wanted. I suppose if I have to wince through it, just knowing I’ll have my day in the grass, the long eternal dirt nap, means I can’t stop fighting now. I have to press on like a soldier. Do what soldiers do. Keep fighting. So I don the goggles of many colors. Colored by shades of pain. Acceptance. It just is. Nothing to do about it…but hang on for the ride.

Kissing,

The Cockroach

Copyright © 2018 Kissing The Cockroach All Rights Reserved.

Dear Tomorrow…

•March 15, 2012 • 5 Comments

Dear Tomorrow,

It’s today, really, but it feels like you are still tomorrow, because it’s dark outside and I have yet to go to sleep. What day is it? And why am I still here…

Tomorrow, I used to worry about you and dread you. I regretted yesterdays and I held my breath until the todays were over. I wished my life away. Time stands still. And then it whips by like a deja vu. A memory I have had before. Who am I becoming? Now that I can’t hide anymore?

I’m on the brink of understanding that all things have led to this very moment. It all makes perfect sense. Shouldn’t “it” all just disappear then, and become a clean slate? Ha. Tomorrow, you cruel, cruel prankster. You like to watch us dance and keep us on our nervous little toes.

Tonight, I wish for peace of mind. I wish for sleep and no nightmares. I wish to wake up refreshed, and without any knowledge of how tired I am right now. My body hurts from head to toe. It’s a mental game. Pain. Is it real or did I paint it on command? Chronic Paint splatters in my heart yet I hold my canvas white and blank.

Although I have told my parents everything that has happened to me in life, I think they have selectively forgotten. I would too, if I were a parent. Or perhaps I am the one left holding the bag of my soiled past, feeding the monkey on my back, hanging on. When people have shit in their past, it must be scooped out, then flushed with clean water and fresh air, then reborn as a deep open space filled with possibilities. There is no **poof**….and tomorrow it is gone.

Trauma is hard. Dealing with it is hard. I wish I could easily explain why yesterday matters today. And why tomorrow I pray for it to be gone. Today. I need an escape…How can I be here now if I don’t want to be here now?

So I will paint my face in smiles and bright, attentive eyes. I will show up for life just one more time. I will be hopeful, cheerful and an example of what living in the moment is…until of course the moment is over and I am back in the past. And it will be over before the next tomorrow worries me. I don’t want anyone to wear black at my funeral. Let them wear rainbows.

I’m just so tired. My mind has been activated. My body is awakened. My spirit is anxious to get down to work. We want to dance and play and laugh and twirl and create spontaneous paintings, unconcerned about the outcome or judgement.

Just for tonight, I am glad it’s already tomorrow. It’s like living in a crack of time that does not technically exist.

Do something beautiful for someone today. Smile at a stranger. Give yourself a break. Believe in magic. It happens.

Love and always Kissing,

The Cockroach

Copyright © 2018 Kissing The Cockroach All Rights Reserved.

 
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