I want you to do something for me. You don’t know me personally but you’ve read my heart and soul through this computer screen and now I need you to do something for me. I need to you look at yourself in the mirror. But I need you to really¬†look. Grab a handheld mirror, get as close as you can to a mirror and look. And I want you to stare yourself right in the eyes. I want you to look at your eyes, the pupils and the iris. The way they meet and blend together. Look at the little swirls and loops of color. Your eyes are a galaxy, forgotten and unappreciated.

Why is it we look into the eyes of others and notice them, but we forget our own? I used to think my eyes were boring brown until I truly looked. And in them I saw a galaxy full of beauty. Almost other worldly. Almost. Perhaps? Just look.

You shouldn’t have called me a friend.

In grade school I had friends. Just a few good ones. My one saving grace in life when I was younger, between the ages of 8-12, is that I had some good friends to walk to school with. Every morning I would walk a block to my friend K’s house. Then we’d walk a few houses over to A’s house. A’s mom worked a Monday through Friday and was up early in the morning. Their house had a specific smell to it. One that has stuck with me to this day, 22 years later. As a kid I didn’t really know what it was, but now when I think back it was mainly coffee with some fruit and the normal smells of a home mixed together. Occasionally you’d be able to smell a home cooked breakfast mixed in. It was such a calming smell. Each morning I’d walk into A’s house and the smell would greet me and linger in my sense of smell. I loved it. If for some reason we were running late and I didn’t get to go inside A’s house, it made me feel like I missed out on something. A morning ritual. I’ve come to realize with time that it wasn’t just the smell that brought such joy to my morning. I enjoyed going to A’s house because it was like an alternate reality to my life. My life was chaotic. My mother and I were poor and I never knew any other way of growing up than without money. I didn’t know how it felt to have new shoes, how it felt to have brand new clothes, how it felt to not have to rely on the kindness of others to get the things I need or wanted in life. I constantly reeked of cigarette smoke and my (future) beautiful curly hair was always a mess. My mother worked hard at a job that barely brought in enough to pay the bills. At the time I wasn’t aware of her addiction to scratch tickets, but now in my older years I realize a lot of things my youthful naivety kept me from noticing. Going to A’s house was like a breath of fresh air. A’s mother was also divorced with a young daughter but she worked a decent job that brought in enough money to pay the bills and mortgage on a really nice house located in a safe neighborhood in a good school district. A didn’t go without. She had everything she needed. She had long blonde hair, THICK, with braces and she walked with terrible posture. She wore glasses. And she was the stereotypical nerd. She was extremely intelligent and if you needed help with your homework she was the girl to ask. I don’t know why she was my friend but I didn’t deserve her.

The truth is, I bullied her. I was mean to her. K and I were mean to her. Me more so than K. I made fun of A a lot. For being nerdy. For being smart. For being such a good kid. I was jealous because she had more than me. In my stupid little kid brain I was jealous because she had things that were out of her control. I was jealous because she had a mother that worked a normal job so her family didn’t go without. Jealous because she didn’t live in the neighborhood crack house. Jealous because she didn’t have to share a room with someone else in a house where multiple people chain smoked cigarettes and did crack in the master bedroom for days on end. At least I can credit my mother with that: She never touched the drugs. And before we moved into that home (that was owned by her best friend at the time) no one was doing crack. Times changed and things got crazy and it’s a long story. But I was jealous so I was cruel. And I am ashamed of that.

I found A one day on Facebook and messaged her. I apologized. Not to make myself feel better, but just because I wanted to let her know she deserved better than that. And I was so happy to hear she was living an amazing life. Her brains got her far. She got her braces off and improved her posture and turned into a woman as physically beautiful as she is on the inside.

I didn’t deserve to have A as a friend, but I am absolutely grateful she accepted me for who I was even when I couldn’t do the same for her.

A man.

Let’s talk about a man

His scent as I bury my face in his neck

The taste of his skin as I gently bite down

It’s primal, this need to nip and bite and taste

How about the way his smooth back feels as it runs under my soft hands, feeling… always feeling

Greedy and alive

His lower back, taut and ready and willing

To be touched and caressed

And the energy, shared between us as our bodies touch in the most intimate way

Feeling things we won’t forget until next time

Saying things we’ll forget tomorrow

Touch me, with more than just your hands

My beautiful disaster.

I was 24 when I met him. From the across the bar he was the most perfect specimen I’d ever seen. Up close he was even more so. His smile ignited mine and from that moment on I’d forget what it meant to be alone. He was a beautiful disaster. A swirling of chords and notes that smashed into one another, creating a sort of chaotic free for all. For once in my life I could do what I wanted, and what I wanted was to be with him.

Reality hit shortly after. The blindness I had allowed to take over my life was soon healed. The veil was lifted from my eyes only to create the perfect storm of devastation and realization. What I thought was love was obsession. An obsession to not be alone. Alone I was nothing but a mess of nerves and anxiety. I was no one. With him I was something. I knew how to be around him. I was exactly who I thought he wanted me to be.

The drugs took over. His pupils, constantly dilated, looked at me with fear and longing. “Don’t leave me. I can change.” He’d say. “People don’t change…you’ve taught me that.” I said, as I sat in the Panamanian airport with him, feeling more alone than I’d ever felt before. Salty warm tears streamed down my face for all to see. People, see my vulnerability, feel my pain or laugh at it. It’s raw and it’s real. My heart breaking more and more with every painful thought of losing him.

“People don’t change.” I thought. As I flew miles and miles away from my beautiful disaster.

Jason Mraz saved my life.

I was laying on the floor. Just laying there. In the middle of my living room, in my tiny apartment. I was 18. My legs gave out. They just couldn’t stand it any longer. If my carpet had been soil weeds would have grown from my the tears that soaked through to the under layer. I was heartbroken. I feel so terribly sorry for the first person to have ever experienced heart break, and named it so. A fitting name, so very proper for the way it feels when someone lets you down in the ultimate way, and takes a small piece of you with them. As I laid there, feeling like I just wanted to disappear, thinking of ways I didn’t have to be around anymore, a song came on the radio. Before, what had just been background noise, turned into a saving grace. The sweet melodic voice of Jason Mraz poured through my speakers and serenaded me with sweet, sweet relief. Life is Wonderful. Isn’t that quite a song to come on at that very moment. It could have been any song in the entire world and it was this one. And as I listened to the captivating music and the comforting words, my tears started slowing down. And finally, I began to feel again. That’s the amazing thing about music. You may think you’re alone in what you’re going through, but if you look for it, or in my case just happen upon it, you’ll hear something that yells right in your face “YOU ARE NOT ALONE.” This too shall pass. So I felt the carpet beneath me, I felt the cool air on my skin. I breathed in, I exhaled out. Over and over again….and I lived. I kept living. I realized that life is wonderful. And from there, I continued to make mistakes. I continued to get hurt, but it didn’t hurt quite as much.

I think once you’ve been irrevocably hurt by something and come through it stronger and more aware, it is just simply easier to get through it again because you already proved to yourself that you can. It’s possible. I can count on 1 hand the amount of times I wished I was dead. Sadly, I can admit this to myself and to you. Fortunately I held off and the next day am extremely glad I did. I have never suffered from crippling depression, but I know it’s out there. I have been depressed before, but nothing I didn’t get over. I know how difficult it can be. Get help, please. This life is so precious and you only get one. Take advantage of the help there is. Suicide hotlines, free clinics if you don’t have insurance. Talk to family and friends and let them know you need help. Help yourself. You got this, just one step at a time.

Thanks Jason, I owe you one.