Friday, May 11, 2018

Free To Sign

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: showers, rock, notary, mailbox, highlighter, pinwheel


*not autobiographical*
_________________________________
The papers had to be signed in front of a notary...which was fine of course. Even the thought that she would finally be free made her feel lighter, capable of a smile for a change. As soon as it was done and filed, she could start over, rebuild, figure out who she was and wanted to be.

Just one more step and a little more waiting...

For the last 13 years being married to Brian she'd felt like a pinwheel. She was at the mercy of his temper, blown by the winds of his moods, beaten down by his storms, unable to stop the showers of his rage or his punishments and their effects on her. For so many years she was treated like a pet not his wife at the best of times and a punching bag at the worst. Every small problem in their life would send Brian spiraling into hurricane season ultimately ending in a category 5 storm she would never outrun. There was no way *not* to rock the boat no matter how many times over the years she told herself if she just kept quiet, kept out of his way, kept the house spotless and made all his favorite meals everything would be fine.

It hadn't started that way. He was perfect when they were just dating. They were still babies really...fresh out of college with their whole lives ahead of them. She worked to put him through grad school for the first few years, then came marriage and what was supposed to be her turn at getting her master's, but Brian had other plans. He'd darkened by then. One by one her friends slipped out of the picture. She couldn't go out. She could barely answer their calls without weathering a Brianado. He interfered with her relationships with family, refused to let her work anymore even on her degree, and never let her out of the house after dark without him. GPS on her car tracking her movements, security cameras in the house... Once upon a time she had a full life, her independence, friends, a loving family then one dat she realized she had no one but Brian. And according to him, no one else would want her anyway.

She took the blame as belonging solely to her because what else could explain the change? For so long she thought it must be her own doing for not being enough or being too much...

Until she didn't.

Maybe it was a slow evolution happening in her subconscious that she wasn't quite aware of in her waking world, but it felt like it sprung on her overnight--she was absolutely NOT going to do this anymore.

He'd stopped allowing her to say "no" to sex a long time ago...but when he started getting violent with it ramming inside her in the middle of choking her out, something inside her woke from a dead sleep like Godzilla rising from the depths. The first time it happened she was so numb it hardly registered, but the second time? She was filled with a blinding rage burning so hot it terrified her. She clawed his face screaming at him to get the fuck off her. He was so used to her complacency that the shock was enough to get him to step away. Before she even realized what was happening, she felt her knee connect with his still exposed crotch, and when he doubled over in pain, she dropped to one knee and shot her fist into a sort of uppercut right into his nose.

That's it? she remembered thinking. All this time and that's all it takes to knock this motherfucker out? She didn't dwell on it for long though before she was up and out the door. She ran screaming to a neighbor's house, clothes torn, lip split, and eye already bruising from the beating she had been taking when he... when he... she couldn't bear to even form the words in her mind.

It was over now though. Done. She was done. The police were called. She DID press charges. She DID stick with it even through the nice guy routine, even when some of her friends and family believed his bullshit and took his side. She kept going even through the weakest moments, even when she no longer recognized herself in the mirror, even when she felt her most lost. She found that little bit of herself that refused to be beaten down hidden in the deepest pit and unleashed it. This beast, this new version of her, would be her new beginning.

She didn't expect the divorce papers in the mailbox that day. She really hadn't expected him to give in without a fight, but he'd already moved on, found himself a new sweetheart, Tracy, who promised to love him the "right" way so his monster never showed its face. Maybe this new girl would learn Brian was the monster. There was no soothing it into peace like it was just a part of him that needed pacifying. Brian and his monster were one and the same even if he wore a nice guy costume when it suited him. And maybe Tracy would learn that before it cost her life.

Either way, the papers would be signed and initialed on every line marked with neon highlight in front of a notary as soon as she found one--an end and a beginning.

___________________________


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado https://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/05/pomp-and-circumstance-use-your-words.html

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2018/05/hold-onions.html

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2018/05/brunch-at-cafe-uyw-may.html

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2018/05/use-your-words-international-festival.html

My Brand of Crazy https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 4, 2018

Road Trippin'


Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 10 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Road trip: You’re given a rental car and a credit card that is good for accommodation, food, gas and entrance fees for 10 days. The offer includes as few or as many passengers as you may fit into your vehicle. Where are you going and with whom?

It was submitted by: https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Even just a couple years ago, I might have been the perfect person to answer this prompt but as it stands...well...it's just no longer in the cards. But here we are anyway. I gave it my best shot. 

___________________________________

Road trips are not exactly possible for me anymore. I have me/cfs, and that means my ability to do things I once enjoyed is limited. And it also means my energy levels are pretty fucked. A 45 minute trip to the grocery store wipes me out (not including the drive time). Traveling isn't really in my goals anymore...at least not a 10 day trip. I do have a small trip tentatively planned to visit someone I write later this year, but honestly I can count the times I have been even an hour from home in the last 2 years of being sick on one hand.

That's not to say I couldn't dream up some amazing places to go if I wanted, but part of me being able to deal with this illness is being realistic. I think some people get by living in their heads and pretending things are different, and I get that. But for me that kind of daydreaming is just a reminder of the things I'll never get to do. I don't want to pretend I'm ok and live in a fantasyland in my head, and I don't really want to try and push through for the sake of doing something I really want to do, that I've talked myself into despite knowing I shouldn't, because the blowback of being bedridden for days and not being able to speak right or focus or take care of my responsibilities as a parent, pet parent, and homeschooler just isn't worth it. I have to accept life for what it is now, and the more I do that rather than pretend things are different, the better I deal with it all both physically and mentally.

I'm not selfish though.

My son's father and his new family have been on several trips to Disney World, and the boy always has fun, but more than anything he really wants to see the Harry Potter part of the Universal Orlando theme park. We read those books together a couple years ago, bonded over them, and really fell in love with the wizarding world. We cried and learned lessons about life and love and figuring out who we are. It was an amazing journey we shared, and if I had not gotten sick not long after we read them I would have taken him by now as much for myself as him.

Universal Orlando is roughly a 6 hour drive for us. I can't drive it safely, but he and I wouldn't have to go it alone and could take as many rest stops as I needed. And when, inevitably, my energy gave out, I could spend my time in the hotel away from all the chores and responsibilities that usually keep me up and moving long after my energy levels crash. It certainly wouldn't take 10 days to drive to and see the park, but we have animals to care for anyway--special needs cats and dogs that no one can medicate but me. Believe me when I say I've tried to hand off that chore when I'm feeling my worst. It always ends up being on my shoulders though.

So there I would be along for the ride and missing some of the best parts of the park hiding away from the lights and sounds that always end in pain and resting up for the drive home. Bet your ass I'd also be feasting on candy from Honeydukes though, and elated over the few trinkets from other parts of the Hogsmeade shops I'd manage to snag.

I may not have the life I once did, and I may have to forfeit many of the big dreams and goals, but I'm okay with a life lived in small moments. I kind of have to be.

Also, if it weren't for the kid being a Potterhead, I'd opt to stay home, sell the trip, and take a mental journey with some shroom chocolate.

___________________________________

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado https://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/05/movin-on-secret-subject-swap.html

Friday, April 13, 2018

Empathy Costs Nothing

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: trash, construction, Elvis, without, retrieve

They were submitted by: http://Bakinginatornado.com

You might be entitled to your opinion, but maybe consider if that opinion makes you sound like an asshole before you spew it.
________________________________________


I read a few articles recently about the documentary on Elvis that Priscilla Presley was recently involved in and stories a few months ago about suicide notes he left behind. It's a new revelation in his story that puts to rest all the conspiracy theories and mystery. After years in the spotlight, Elvis, like many others before him, felt the need or desire to take his own life.

Now, if you're one of those people who thinks it's weak or selfish or who questions how someone who seemingly has it all could still get to the point of suicide, my suggestion to you now is to close this out and move on. Your opinion won't be welcome here and is, factually, trash. My best advice is for you to retrieve your head from your ass and find some semblance of empathy within yourself and stop with the blame/selfish commentary because every time you do it, someone you know who has had suicidal thoughts realizes they can never come to you about their feelings without being judged. You're helping no one, and it is you who is weak and selfish.

But, what I really want to say is that suicidal thoughts aren't necessarily abnormal. Shit happens, and sometimes it gets the best of you. You have a bad month or a bad year and the depression sneaks up on you like a monster coming out of the shadows. It's not out of the ordinary when everything is piling on for that thought to lurk in the back of your head. It's there and gone like a morbid peek-a-boo session with your darkest self.

Sometimes you can't pull yourself back out of the muck on your own. And that's ok. I've been there. You get stuck on a loop of awfulness, and no matter how much you try to wiggle free you are just caught in it like a fly in the spider's web calling it to dinner. There's nothing wrong or weak or broken about asking for help even if you just need a quiet body to lean on who won't judge how long you've gone without a shower or how long it has been since you washed the dishes. Spider battles are not solo ventures. They're meant to be fought holding someone's hand with every available resource you can grab onto to help. Yes, even medicine. And no, not always more sunshine or grabbing onto your bootstraps and sucking it up--anyone who says that has never fought a spider like this before.

There's no perfect construction for how a person must be. Sometimes regardless of our station in life, our fame, glory, how much money we have or don't have, no matter how much we have or haven't gone through, as evidenced by Elvis and Robin Williams and all the others, those thoughts creep in. Sometimes they stick. Sometimes they can't be patched. Sometimes the patch fails and the roof caves in, and you can't find your way out of it. And maybe you don't want to.

Even then...especially then... judgment has no place in stopping it from happening again to someone else. Nor does it help those people you may know who lost a loved one that way and can't bear to hear those opinions and fucked up jokes and condemnations.

Love. Kindness. Empathy. Know them and use them. Or simply shut up.

____________________________________


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado https://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/04/shades-of-parkland-use-your-words.html

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2018/04/half-baked.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2018/04/broken-hearted-mama-uyw.html

Friday, April 6, 2018

Me, Myself, and I

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 9 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Who is the one person you admire more than any other? Why?

It was submitted by: http://www.southernbellecharm.com 

Maybe it's ego. Maybe it's just appreciation. 

_______________________________

Myself.

And I absolutely realize it sounds pretentious at best and narcissistic as hell at worst, but it's deeper than that, bigger than that, so let me explain.

I feel like a lot of folks might choose a parent, a spouse, a friend, or a celebrity, but anyone who knows me well also knows that I learned a lot about who I didn't want to be from my parents. And to be honest while I love my friends and do admire the occasional activist celebrity, I also realize celebrities are not super human and no better at this struggle than I am by way of having had more opportunity, and my friends I think of as my equals--flawed but trying our best all the same to be the best we can with the time we have. These might be easy choices for any number of people, but it just doesn't cover it for me. I have strong, talented, woke as fuck friends. I write some people who have made complete turnarounds with their lives, and while I admire those qualities, I also appreciate that we are all works in progress.

Given the prompt it would also be fairly easy to come up with a cutesy answer about my child, and while I do love him to pieces and admire the person he is becoming, I also know his reason for becoming that person is my influence. I'm his teacher, mom, ethical guide, moral philosopher, and often a substitute for a dad. When he chooses kindness over hate, when he discusses current events with me or points out how someone else is ignorant in their thinking about others, when he gets lost in books about other worlds and gets excited about writing papers on his favorite characters or shows, he's reflecting back to me the things I have taught him are valuable and the work I taught him would make the world a little better.

I've done a lot of searching, changing, and work to get to this point in life where I can pass down these important lessons, and it's really that line of thinking that made me choose myself. Sometimes in life being humble or modest isn't the best choice, and I think with the way American culture has headed over the last few years, 2016 to now especially, it's prudent to be as open and honest as possible. We sure as fuck aren't getting that kind of honesty elsewhere.

I didn't have someone to teach me those lessons at his age--how to love, how to embrace difference, what differences really mean. And while my family might not have been actively hateful, they weren't exactly the best examples either. I had to relearn everything, start as fresh as possible, and be real with myself about what biases I picked up on the way. And I've done that through some of the worst obstacles a person can face. It would have been easy to let the world turn me into a cold, hate-filled monster. Surely that's what it taught me humans are more than capable of... But I didn't let my experiences hold me back. I've swallowed a lot of self-pity and picked my ass up off the ground over and over to keep pushing through, keep striving to be better, to reach out to people who have no one, and continually evaluate my self, my behaviors, and my intentions.

I'm proud of myself for not letting where I came from dictate who I would be. I'm proud that I didn't let the things I went through harden me, that I choose empathy over apathy every single day rather than give in or give up. I'm proud I never let fear dictate how I would live my life and see others. I admire myself for being able to hand those lessons down to my own child both by words and actions. And I admire that I do so knowing I am in no way perfect and will always have room to grow, learn, improve, and better the world one action at a time.

So yeah on the outset maybe it sounds a like ego to say the person I admire most in the world is myself, but I also know how far I've come, and I think it's perfectly ok to be proud of that fight.

_______________________________

Here are all the submissions! Enjoy.

Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

Never Ever Give Up Hope https://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Climaxed https://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

My Brand of Crazy https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 16, 2018

Prey

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

inevitably ~ first ~ differently ~ fiesta ~ routes ~ hosted

It was submitted by: http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/ 

___________________________________________

The house was pretty quiet when she heard the scratch at the back door. She closed her book about one of America's first female serial killers reluctantly, sat it on the arm of her chair, and chuckled to herself. Voorhees, her big ginger kitty, couldn't be kept inside no matter how hard she tried and had learned to scratch the door like the dogs when ready to come back in for a soft spot to nap and a bite to eat. The lines between species had inevitably blurred in this house, and she couldn't help being amused by it.

She made the short journey across the kitchen to the back porch, flicked on the light, and opened the door for His Dark Majesty. He trotted, sass fully on display. She waited for his usual chirp--a rolling half purr, half meow--that meant, "Hi, Mom. Pamper me." It was one of her favorite sounds and even in front of company she found herself chirping back in full conversation embracing the crazy cat label happily. People were okay and all that, but animals seemed to love differently, wholly and without the baggage humans brought to the table, so even though she loved her friends, she'd take a night in with her furry nuggets over a fiesta full of people any day of the week.

Voorhees was quiet though. Instead she felt him flop onto the floor. He had a tendency to plop down in front of the food bowl and eat laying down. (What a life). So she snuck a quick look behind her to make sure the bowl was Vorhees full. Super full. A half empty bowl would never do for her fat boy...not without him howling for more as soon as she sat down at least. But when she looked.... was that something moving? In his mouth?

She took a step backwards, flipped the light on, and felt her jaw unhinged in shock, tiny noises of protest wheezing out.

She looked harder but refused to step closer. Voorhees held it tightly in his mouth for the moment, but no way was she getting any closer. She'd read sci fi novels for fuck's sake. She'd seen the movies. The woman always warned them to leave the thing alone, and she was always right. Before you knew it everyone in the story had hosted some parasite or alien or been eaten alive. She wasn't going down like that. Nope. Not a chance.

It was a pink, fleshy color kind of like an earthworm. She couldn't see much of it except the writhing mass of tentacles trying to pull itself to freedom, gripping the cat's whiskers but failing to get purchase enough to pry open his jaws. While she watched, Voorhees bit down harder, and a split second after she heard the squish of meat, a piercing screech rolled through her brain so loudly she fell to her knees. She didn't hear it so much as felt it, and as soon as she regained composure she saw the cat had been completely unaffected.

Weird.

She stayed on the floor watching the thing a little longer when the cat dropped it out of his mouth and squished it to the ground with his claws. Because of course. Cats. Fucking cats playing with their food...even if it looks like an alien earthworm octopus. Maybe especially an alien earthworm octopus.

She tried to fake some calm in her voice, "Voorheeees, baby.... please don't let your little friend go."

And because he's a cat, Voorhees stared her dead in the eyes and let the little fucker go.

It screamed again causing her to kind of double over and grasp her temples, but she kept her eyes on it as it defied gravity and climbed the kitchen cabinets like a spider up to small shelf where she kept some kitschy kitty cat figures she'd had since she was a kid. It seemed to stare dead at her as it pushed them off one by one so they shattered on the ground .

"Hey knock it the fuck off!"

It reared back on a few of the tentacles and roared inside her head, so she slid over to the cat, grabbed him in a bear hug and ran for the living room through the only exit from the kitchen and one of its only escape routes from the house.

She'd grabbed a chair from the dining room and placed it under the doorknob leading to the kitchen and pulled her chair to sit in front of the door and keep watch. That was hours ago now...


The sun was coming up, the first rays of light peeking through the windows behind her. Her eyes felt heavier than the gun in her hand, but she couldn't sleep. Voorhees was prowling and meowing in front of the door begging for his prey like he knew somehow it was still there, too. It hadn't made a sound, but she felt it. Waiting.

_____________________________________________________________

Check out the other submissions this week!

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/03/rebuild-and-recharge-use-your-words.html

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Cognitive Script https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2018/03/reunited.html

Friday, March 9, 2018

Tea Cup

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

If you woke up to find you were still 16 years old and you had just been dreaming of what adult life might be like, how would you react?

It was submitted by: http://thelieberfamily.com

This was difficult for me, but I think I hammered this thing out into something worth reading.

____________________________________________


16 year old me had already lived through some difficult shit in her short few years. There's no sugarcoating it. From an abusive alcoholic of a father, a mother affected a lot by him and her own abusive parent, their divorce, the violent aftermath of the divorce, rape, and living with people at 16 who absolutely did not get her, did not want to, and hid her (the highlight reel), 16 year old me was broken into tiny pieces that a later me would have to try to put together into a whole being. Imagine a tea cup shattered on the floor being held together by a little glue and spotty self-love, missing the handle, chipped, the cracks minute but visible yet still standing, still stout. Fragile but determined. That's 36 year old me, that surgically reconstructed tea cup that will never accomplish what it might have been meant for but is still beautiful, still going, and still has purpose.

Also imagine some filthy word like "fuck" painted in delicate calligraphy across the front because it's me we're talking about...

16 year old me, though, was still in shatters. Waking up to find she'd gone from the me I am now back to who she was then... torture. Still understanding there were nearly 20 years standing between where she was and the part where she, I, we reconstruct the tea cup and find ourselves happy and at peace with where we are would bring a lot of pain, torment that she couldn't go to sleep like a princess in a fairytale and wake up when things are better. To feel the warmth of a life being lived and lived with love and wake up back in the cold of a castle tower, brick and mortar walls constructed to keep everyone out and protect those tiny shards of tea cup, Trust No Bitch flashing neon across the outside would almost be enough to push her over the edge.

At first.

But maybe it would give her hope after the first few moments of realization hit hard but while she was still awash in the glow of what would be. She might not be out of the thick of it, but there were a lot of nights she didn't want to live anymore at all, plenty of barren, hopeless nights when the tears had dried up long ago and the isolation was too much, too alienating, too cold. Seeing that future and its possibilities and how loved she would be; how fulfilled surrounded by her little family (chosen and not), the animals she saved and adored and gave new lives to, her letters keeping her fulfilled, in good conversation, and with purpose; and, how much she would laugh instead of cry even with a few more hard times ahead would give her strength to keep going and live life on her own terms.

That's not to say she wouldn't be slightly confused, young me. Married? Divorced? A kid? She wanted none of those things. A degree but no job from it? She was supposed to do G r e a t T h i n g s with it, you know. And a chronic illness? That was never in the cards. But she would see herself making the best of all of it, learning from her mistakes, carving her own path, and I think she would find herself at peace with where she is headed once she made terms with the fact that she was still stuck in the pit for awhile longer. Those things, even the illness, made her a better person, mentally stronger. And the kid...his long-haired, anime-loving, too smart for his own good weirdness would be something she never could have planned for anyway. He gave her purpose stronger than anything else she would ever know and every giggle would renew her life. It was a tragically flawed but beautifully constructed puzzle, her tea cup, and it was better than anything she thought she would have.

_______________________________________________________

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/03/karma-on-fire-secret-subject-swap.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2018/03/halloween-joke-in-march-sss.html

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/2018/03/nosy-flystander-secretsubjectswap.html

Friday, February 9, 2018

Stuck

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.


My words are: stuck, lock, everlasting, rock, and roll. They were submitted by: http://bakinginatornado.com/


There's probably something wrong with me. I have no other explanation for the following...


___________________


The Black Keys' tune Everlasting Light popped into her head suddenly out of nowhere exactly 136 days 7 hours 23 minutes and 42 seconds ago.

She remembered her alarm going off at 10 a.m. to walk the dog before her last gyno visit with that song blaring between her temples, bouncing around and seemingly waking up all her synapses...well as much as they woke up these days. At the time, it was welcome. She hadn't actively listened to the opening track from the Brothers album in quite awhile, but it had always inexplicably been one of her favorites. She loved Dan Auerbach's soulful, bluesy crooning, but his voice on this track was so entirely different from most of their library of songs that it belonged, really, to an entirely different band. Still, it never failed to make her smile and sing along.

Well... until it had been stuck in her head, indie rock with no roll in too high a pitch, for over 4 months with no breaks, no pause, no other music forcing its way through no matter what she listened to, how loud, or for how long.

Stoner rock, fuzz metal, sludge, hip hop, soul, blues, garage rock, alt country...the classics...Nothing worked. It was just there on repeat, and she was absolutely losing her fucking mind over it.

In desperation after the first month, she saw a psychiatrist who sent her back to her regular doctor who sent her to a neurologist who sent her back to the psychiatrist who shook his hands of her with monthly prescriptions of Xanax and Celexa. He'd still happily make money off her, you see, even if he couldn't tell her why it was happening or how to stop it. It was all in her head, he said. Pun not intended.

In any case, she took the Celexa faithfully while nothing changed except weight gain and a steep decline in her sex drive (yes of course she still wanted to. It was the Black Keys in her head for fuck's sake not tom waits). She took the Xanax every night without fail, and she slept...but the song was in the background of every dream. She even took 4 of them one night (they were only .5 mg. Chilllll). Nothing. Not-a-gd-thing.

So. She channeled her best Hunter Thompson and tried shrooms, acid, cocaine, weed, ecstasy, ketamine, bought antipsychotics and Adderall from some high school kid who most definitely needed to be taking them herself. She had briefly even considered giving meth a shot, but a bitch has to draw a line somewhere and bathtub drugs made by rednecks with batteries and fertilizer and whatever else were apparently that line.

She wasn't the praying type, but she did return to Church for awhile until she was asked not to come back for laughing hysterically during the preacher's sermon about gay sin. So then she stayed home did the rituals, talked the talk, read a Dollar Tree bible and prayed. Hard. She asked others to join in--every Facebook prayer must obviously magnify your specific claim no matter how generic the request may appear on social media (...like how do we know what to pray for?) judging by the behavior of the religious folks on her list. No answer. No change. She didn't even feel heard or warm or have clearer skin (which she also prayed about).

She posted the specifics last month online and got the usual recommendations from the armchair physicians on Facebook: yoga, drink more water, exercise, go for more walks, get outside, enjoy the sunshine, smile more, stop worrying about it, meditate, take B12 and D, acu-fucking-puncture, a chiropracter. You know, all the regular suggestions people give when they don't know shit but think they do. She. did. them. all.

Yet here she was, song still playing like the repeat button in her brain was on lock mode. 136 days 7 hours 26 minutes and 12 seconds. Torture. If the government could harness this power (scary to consider really) they'd never have to waterboard anyone again.

She had watched this documentary type show on Amazon called Lore some time ago, and one of the episodes was on the history of the lobotomy. If she hadn't ever seen a woman get an icepick through her eye to destroy part of her brain to make her more docile and subservient to her husband, she might be more inclined to joke about needing one, but after that, the whole idea was too dark even for her sense of humor.

Electroshock therapy was a consideration maybe... but then she'd seen what it could so on shows and documentaries and how often it was used to keep women in line when they were "hysterical." She'd rather deal with this song on repeat for the rest of her life than be completely locked inside her own head because of some mishap with a therapy that probably shouldn't have ever been used in the first place.

136 days 7 hours 29 minutes and 32 seconds

"Let me be your everlasting light.
The sun when there is none
I'm a shepherd for you
And I'll guide you through"

So she took the lyrics literally. Finally.

She sat on the floor pillow she bought for meditating purposes and let Dan Auerbach be her guide through her own imagination. They were in some sort of vast Middle Earth realm where the sun had been blocked out, and Dan literally shone like a star guiding her to an oasis of sorts. They sat under date palms on a log near a little pond listening to its creatures' mating calls. And as Dan turned to croon the song to her as he had in so many Xanax fueled dreams before, she pulled out a dagger of moonstone (whatever the fuck that is) and cut out his tongue.

Everything was silent. In fact the silence was so sudden and so complete she fell off her pillow back in reality and startled herself out of the meditated fantasy. When she opened her eyes, for a moment she saw the oasis, the stilled part of tongue just inches from her face as she lay in the sand. She jumped up and away from the sickening thing and found herself back home in her apartment surrounded by her things and in complete nothingness until some asshole blared his horn on the street below. She hurried and thought of any song at all besides THAT one and was pleasantly surprised to "hear" Benjamin Booker's Violent Shiver playing in her head.

We found a way, indeed.

...

The next morning though when she picked up her phone like she always did and flipped through Facebook, a headline from Rolling Stone jumped out at her.

Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys and The Arcs Found in Hotel Room Missing His Tongue


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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts: