Run like a Well
This post is dedicated to the friends and family who love me and struggle to understand, even when I can’t. It is free, it is for you, it is shared for the people that need it, the people that don’t understand it; and most of all, all those who won’t believe it. God bless you all, that we might struggle to understand together.
When I was little, I loved to run. There are so many family videos my Dad took terribly with me and my twin sister dancing around and just being ourselves. My favorite is of our third Christmas at my Grandma Darlene’s house. We were having secret 3 year old Lauren and Haley conversations in god only knows what language underneath tables and chasing the cats. My brother Casey eventually taught us to tame cats, and now I can make cats come to me; they prefer that. But we were children that were smart and super hard to contain; we were in to everything. If you didn’t bolt it down and lock it, you would probably find it later in pieces or eaten. We were the kids with chocolate pudding on our faces that lied flawlessly about not eating the extra jello, and I would tell my parents that they had no idea what they were talking about to their faces, because it worked and they thought it was hilarious. My mom knew I would be anxious in the womb; she said that the ladies working the sonogram called me Taz because I would jump around and kick her and Lauren in utero.
I entered kindergarten. And I entered first grade. And then, second and third and up until I was trapped. I’m not sure when it happened, but I became afraid of running. My mom said that if I ran, I would fall down and get hurt. Which was true, I had scabs up and down my knees to prove it, and I loved them dearly, they were my battle wounds and I’d give you Introductory Scabs 101 if you gave me five minutes and the opportunity. I became afraid of getting broken, so I literally stopped running. I stopped running on asphalt. I didn’t want to get dirt in my scabs, because they said you could get an infection and die, and they showed me the scary pictures where people’s arms and legs got chopped off. So, no running on asphalt. I stopped running on concrete. My friends would be children, and they would sometimes fall and break their jello children bones because children do that. But I was scared. I knew that if I got broken, it was over, because I didn’t know that I could heal. My scabs disappeared, but I picked them off, so it had to be offense, my body was bad. I got sick a lot, but never super sick. I got a rash in Kindergarten, and my mom couldn’t come home so my Grandpa had to come over from Topeka and take care of me because my Father was only around when it suited him, and when it suited him, I was a Counselor, not a 6 year old. He made me sit still, and drink this Elderberry juice aka POISON OF DEATH, and the neighbor kids I didn’t understand who had been abandoned by their drug addict parent’s to be raised with special needs by their grandparents asked for my Beanie babies while I waited for my sister to come home. But I couldn’t sit next to her, so I cried a lot. Eventually the rash went away, but the flavor of the POISON OF DEATH (that crap is nasty) stayed in my mind.
They took me to counselors. They started family counseling when I was 8, because I wasn’t a good enough counselor, I guess. I got out of counseling when I was at the end of my first semester as a freshman in college. I was finally free, and I didn’t want to believe I was broken anymore. I just wanted to be free, and that was finally an option.
I stopped running finally for years in 5th grade. Girls didn’t run. I was a girl. They would talk about me behind my bad and call me “nasty” for sitting on the swing set with my friends sitting on top of me because I did that, and I never knew what sex was until my world broke in 5th grade. I knew that my mother and father had to have done it to get me and my twin sister. But they hate each other. My mother told me so many times that she would have killed my father (literally) if she hadn’t left, come back, and left in divorce finally. My father was cheating on my mother at that time when I was 3, all I remember from her house where I slept a couple times was that it smelled like oregano, she had apricots, and one time when I was alone and playing out by the curb with the sand from the cars (I don’t know where anyone was, but I loved sandcastles), a kind stranger brought me back inside and my dad spanked me until I was even more broken.
When I got so depressed that I cried on a regular basis, every day and I couldn’t leave it, they took me to a Psychiatrist. I was numb, I was an eighth grader, and I didn’t know any better. The world was terrible, the only people that believed in me were two or three teachers that took the time to know me and I wanted to run away permanently. I wrote. I cried. I wrote. I still have the journals. I couldn’t leave, so I wrote. They took me to the sliding scale mental health clinic by the hospital. I didn’t know why I was there, they barely told me, but they told me they could make me less sad. So I answered their stupid questions. My psychiatrist told me later once I was in college that I was the angriest client she had ever met in her 20+ years of psychiatry (at that point). At that point, I laughed it off, but it was true, even if I laughed about it. I have an ice glare that is terrifying, and people always used to think that it was me. It’s not, but let me get there.
My mom brought the pills home. She put them on the counter. She said I should take them every day at ____time. I don’t remember much. I remember being so terribly hurt that I took them and I buried them outside by the compost pile, emptying each of the stupid seeds into the ground. If they really worked, I thought, they can spout a damn tree. I was a fluent cursing third grader, and that was the least of my obscenities then. I left the bottle on the counter, empty. My mom cried, they were expensive, and my father didn’t even help us buy winter coats that year without me crying on purpose.
12 different medications. Geodon? That one made me fall asleep in Precalc, but I scrapped a B+ mostly asleep by the mercy of my teacher, who has such a beautiful soul to this day, I know she still does. I tried all of them. They couldn’t figure it out. I wasn’t depressed. I could be so happy still. I was pretty numb, but jokes were jokes, and some things are so terrible and true to laugh at that they numbed the numb. What about Topamax? Did nothing, but it was nothing like the price of the Abilify. $120 for three months, and that was with my Father’s fabulous insurance. When he lost his job, I had to get it through samples from that same psychiatrist; I couldn’t afford the $3000+ a year for sugar pills I never wanted that were meant to fix me. I gained over 100 pounds because my appetite increased. I was an 8th grader at a comfortable 120. By the time I stopped talking Abilify, I was obese at 220. Screw that.
I stopped taking it in Chile. I had met Jesus in March, and in May I decided to believe in the promise he gave me when he saved me from killing myself. I stopped cold turkey. It was hard, it was kind of stupid, but it worked. I prayed. I ran. I danced, if only alone. And I healed, even when I was going through medication withdrawals from my tiny dosage. It was months before I could believe that whenever I was upset, the answer was more complicated than taking a medication. I worked through it with the help of God and friends who never believed in my coping mechanisms—they loved me for me and it was more than enough, it was straight up confusing as hell. But hey, I had finally run away, maybe in Chile people did those kind of things.
I came back home. I was scared. I knew I had to come back, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I knew I had to leave, though. It was many somethings. It was a weird pulling feeling, a strange comfort, and for whatever reason, a stupid premonition that had only gotten bigger since I was suicidal; that love would be worth it, and that there would eventually be a reason to not settle and believe them. I left for Chile thinking that I would find it in romance (lol). I came back, having found it in Jesus. But it was still there when I left, and I followed it home in peace like I followed it away in peace. I was still pretty scared. But it was important.
My family hadn’t changed, not as much. That was rough. I decided to live at home. My mom was scared to let that happen, so I made it obvious I was serious. I drove a car for the first time regularly; that was a “privilege” I never earned; I only did driver’s ed the summer before I went to college. But I am not a hitter, I do not wound on purpose, and Christ loves me, I told myself. I told it again and again and again and again and again. And I told myself when I didn’t believe it. And I told myself when I had broken things I couldn’t fix alone. And I asked for help, crying. And he fixed them. And I joined a gospel choir for the love of singing, which I also didn’t do until Chile in public, on the beaches of Valparaiso, first to Jesus, then to my friends, even though my voice cracked.
I got sick this semester. I got sick enough to stop. Completely. I asked for help, but more importantly, I didn’t ask the right people. Some friends I left, they didn’t see me for who I was, much less appreciate her. They kept trying to say I had changed and become ________ (insert an adjective) since coming home. So I left them. I had been healed, and they didn’t ask, and I didn’t want to keep trying to prove things that I hated proving. So, I left them.
I found a new church. The people aren’t perfect, but they saw me for who I was when I still didn’t believe it was true. And I flit like a butterfly back and forth, and I try to help them however I can, because they are beautiful, and am free when I am at church.
I withdrew from a class yesterday. Me and my friend Michelle danced it away. Write, dance, run, sing, sass it away always worked best, I don’t know why they ever said otherwise. I was so upset though. I don’t cry in public when I’m upset for me, so I left my TA’s office with a breaking voice embedded in unshed tears. We danced. I went back. I dared to cry, because my Stats teacher has always been kind to me and seriously cares about me as a person. She is fabulous, and we will be keeping in touch, because I care about her. And so, I cried.
The funny thing about all of this is it is all true. There are so many people that insinuate it couldn’t be the full truth, but never say that. Never say that my story isn’t true. Never say that I don’t have a story. Never say that I tell it for my good alone. Never say that I am broken. Never say that I hit. Never say that I am dramatic for the sake of drama, never say that I am my sass, never say that I don’t want to be anyone’s friend, even his. I am a lot of little things, and no one ever sees most of them. I am a “deep” person, according to them, but it’s more like an endless well than a puddle. I can still draw you fresh water if we both try, but you have to want it, and if you assume it isn’t there, then you don’t want it badly enough, and it’s buried so deep I can’t wind it up myself.
I can write it up, and dance it up, and sing it up, and sass it up, and run it up. But I can’t schmooze it up. I can’t sit still it up. I can’t lie it up. I can’t fake it. Never ask me to do those things, because you don’t know how hard it comes, and you’re asking me to do something I can’t do alone, at least, not yet.
And there are so many stories like this one. They may not be written. They may not remember as much, but I only remembered most of it since last week; I was no longer afraid. Never ask me to vomit up things that aren’t so easily shared; I CAN’T. But I’m trying. And none of it ever mattered all that much anyways, not in comparison to the depth of God’s infinite love. He’s the one that provides the infinite depth of my well; you could lose a penny and never see it again except in heaven. I am well now, I am a well. And with that, God is good. Forever and ever. And for that reason alone, it is enough.
Things that I can’t ask for
I can’t ask for love,
I can’t ask for silence,
I can ask for patience,
I can’t ask for forgiveness,
I can’t ask for mercy,
I can’t ask for apologies,
I can’t ask for you to dance with me,
I can’t ask for sitting with me in the hospital (even though I hate hospitals),
I can’t ask for you to believe in me,
I can’t ask for you to stop telling me to slow down,
To stop insinuating that at my best, I’m still trying to prove something I can’t be,
To realize that me trying to prove things never had anything to do with you,
And is atrophying naturally of God’s great love,
It was never your judgment.
I can’t ask you to be my friend,
I can’t ask you to listen,
I can’t ask you to take walks with me,
I can’t ask you to be kind.
I can’t ask you to run away,
Because that one isn’t even something I can do again just yet,
I can’t ask you to keep your distance and not touch me until I invite you too
Because I need you to stop, but I wish you didn’t have to.
I can’t ask you to ask me,
I can’t ask you to stick around,
I can’t ask you to be my friend,
Not you, at least. It hurts too much to try.
I can’t ask you to watch movies alone.
I can’t ask you to let me just live my life and love you without wanting to explain,
Because honestly, I’ve tried.
And the not asking isn’t what kills.
It’s the asking.