Frozen by fear

Eleven days ago, I shared in a post, about what an amazing opportunity I’ve been given.

I was over-the-moon excited and spent 2-3 days setting up the new blog, profile, an authors Facebook page, twitter and even researched my first six stories. I invited a friend who loves to read, has a big heart and an even bigger personality, to join me in this adventure.

I made these grand plans for creating a Monday, Wednesday and eventually a Thursday series. The details kept flooding me like a waterfall. I invited the teens in my life to be my guest interview hosts.

As soon as the planning was done and it was time to get down to work…(insert screeching tire sound here)…panic-button-1375953_960_720

I had nothing to say, not only on the new blog, but here.

When I have an idea, I take it to an infinite degree in detail. Which, if I were a millionaire with nothing but time on my hands, would be ideal!

Since I’m neither rich, nor lacking in time consuming responsibilities, I eventually (it took less than a week this time) realized the impossibility of accomplishing all I’d dreamt up.

So I reached my perfectionism moment, when I had to decide to either scrap it, or do it knowing it will likely never be what I imagined…

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Today I sent a Facebook message to the first person I hope to interview. Then I told another friend and asked if she would be interested in doing a host interview.

Maybe nothing will come of either, but today I stepped forward.

A seat at the grown-up’s table

I have always believed that I could make a difference in this world before I left it. Even prior to my life going off the rails as a young adult, I had dreams of making a difference.

Unfortunately the derailment left me behind the curve in both maturity and education, which seriously shattered my confidence.

Since my divorce and more importantly since starting this blog, I feel like I’ve finally caught up in life and I’ve been anxiously searching for my direction. My way to make that impact I honestly believe I’m here on earth to make.

I tried many things to date including my Achieving Independence dream, but keep hitting road block after road block. Each time I’d adjust my trajectory, but up until a few days ago, it was still just a dream.

Then it happened….table

I got an email from a upstart company that read my blog and invited me to be a content contributor…or author on their site.

First, let me say that I’m a skeptic at heart, so I assumed it was the latest scam unfolding and kept waiting for the part where they asked for money. I checked out their site and it seemed legit, so I responded to the email asking for more info. We had a back and forth dialogue which resulted in me signing up.

The best part…they still haven’t asked me for money!!! 🙂

Then the reality starting hitting me in waves…

I’m going to have a voice.  

I’m going to be writing for someone else.

There are no limits being placed on me, just an open book to start writing!

It’s not a paid job, but there will be opportunities to make some money in the future. They seem to have grand plans, so money or not, if they become as big as they hope, it will be a platform for me to share my passion to make the world a better place.

So, worst case scenario, I start posting and nothing happens, at least I had fun posting. Best case scenario, it takes off and I have an incredible platform to share my voice.

It’s finally time for me to take my place at the grown-up’s table…

and baby, I’m ready!

HAVE YOU EVER

Have you ever listened so hard, that you thought you heard what you were listening for, even though it wasn’t there

Have you ever wanted something so much, you could feel it practically sitting next to you

Have you ever heard yourself cry

Have you ever felt that you were caught up in a dream with no way to wake up

Have you ever felt so Blessed that you were sure your “time” had come

Have you ever noticed an ant walking on the side-walk all alone

Have you ever found a four-leaf clover

Have you ever lost something so precious to you that if made you vomit

Have you ever found the kind of peace that Psalms are made of

Have you ever cheated death

Have you ever made a mistake that was so terrible you didn’t believe you could ever be forgiven

Have you ever found love where you least expected it

Have you ever felt your heart race when you see that special someone

Have you ever held of fluffy baby bunny

Have you ever had “the falling dream”

Have you ever lost everything material you owned in one day

Have you ever gone through divorce

Have you ever painted an oil painting on a canvas

Have you ever held straw in your mouth like a cowboy

Have you ever danced to the music in your head

Have you ever stayed up all night to watch the sunrise

Have you ever felt so convinced you were right, only to find out you were wrong

Have you ever convicted another without all the facts

Have you ever created your own recipe

Have you ever climbed a tree

Have you ever watched a sunset over water

Have you ever wished you weren’t born

Have you ever said you would never do something, then later do it

Have you ever held someone’s hand as they passed away

Have you ever loved a child (your’s or someone elses)

Have you ever stopped to thank a police officer

Have you ever “paid it forward”

Have you ever prayed with all your might for someone else

Have you ever seen an animal run with delight through a field

Have you ever sat and watched a butterfly flutter by

Have you ever looked deep into someone’s eyes and instantly knew what they felt

Have you ever helped a stranger

Have you ever wanted to be just like someone

Have you ever said “I could do that!”

Have you ever been lulled to sleep by rain

Have you ever visited a cemetery at night

Have you ever dreamed of something that later happened

Have you ever been terrified

Have you ever lied to protect someone

Have you ever wanted to have a super power

Have you ever drank from the garden hose

Have you ever fallen asleep in the daytime and woken up disoriented at night

Have you ever cried for no reason at all

Have you ever given up

Have you ever lit a campfire

Have you ever looked down a mountain side and felt on top of the world

Have you ever held on too long

Have you ever protected a sibling or best friend

Have you ever had your heart broken into so many pieces you were sure it would never heal

Have you ever burnt dinner and ordered delivery

Have you ever planted a flower or tree

Have you ever been waiting for someone, only to find they forgot about you

Have you ever let a baby hold on to your finger only to realize how tiny and fragile they are

Have you ever felt nothing

Have you ever lashed out at someone, only to regret it later

Have you ever believed you could trust that one person with your life

Have you ever helped a friend through thoughts of suicide

Have you ever faced addiction

Have you ever cried so hard that there were no tears left, and you were cold and shaking

Have you ever sang your heart out

Have you ever felt patriotic

Have you ever played in the rain

Have you ever felt like a song was written just for you

Have you ever let an opportunity pass you by

Have you ever turned down the car radio so you could “see” better

Have you ever wanted something you knew you could never have

Have you ever stood completely still and held your breath in hopes not to be found

Have you ever felt like you were living a lie

Have you ever ran until you couldn’t run another step

Have you ever had a love one surprise you for your birthday

Have you ever reacted to something with absolute rage only to be jolted out of it by a shock inside your brain

Have you ever heard the stillness after a heavy snow

Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you

Have you ever whistled

Have you ever found something while moving that you didn’t realize you lost

Have you ever hurt someone who you didn’t mean to

Have you ever walked out into the middle of a field on a foggy day

Have you ever felt a part of something bigger than yourself

Have you ever seen lightning strike something

Have you ever put food out for a stray

Have you ever felt so lied to that you didn’t think you could trust again

Have you ever been so swept away by a movie, you lost track of time

Have you ever felt like changing your name

Have you ever had that fleeting moment where everything seems perfect

Lost in thought

I’ve been lost in thought lately.  I did have to put Kokomo to sleep a few days after my last post.  I’ve been on the energy roller coaster since then, cleaning until 2 or 3 am for several days and then sleeping a whole day away.  I am trying to keep up with everyone’s posts, but know I’m a bit behind.  I will get caught up though.

Dear Kokomo

My sweet 20 year old Calico kitty. Besides my son, you are the last thing connecting me to my ex, the man that adopted you to impress me.

I didn’t know it at the time, but you were rescued from being put to sleep by a coworker of your dad’s and he decided to take you in, because he thought since I loved cats so much, it would bring us closer. Of course, I didn’t know this until after our divorce, but on some level it brings me joy that his caring about me, saved you.

You were a feisty little kitten. I had made the two hour drive to the West side of Florida to spend the weekend with your dad, when I got a call saying, “I need your help.” It was your dad. He had adopted you from the coworker during work hours and you wouldn’t stay in your make-shift box carrier and they were afraid you would get out in to the mall and be lost forever.

So I rushed over to get you. When I got to the back room, there you were on the desk batting peppermint hard candies around. You were completely oblivious to all the workers that were cooing over you…all you cared about was the little candy.

I was completely smitten with you from the very first sight.

I drove you in your make shift box to your dad’s place. At every light you would pop your head out of the box and I’d have to get it back in before the light turned green again. It was hilarious.

I got your safely settled in and when your dad got off work he joined us. It was so cute to watch this grown 6’4″ man get way down low and talk baby talk to this tiny little tot of a kitten. He was right, I loved him even more for adopting you.

After a few weeks, you started to get mean. It was because your dad worked so many hours around the holiday’s and you were lonely. So I talked him into adopting your brother, Bandit. At first you wanted to kill bandit, but just like us, he won you over.

Within a few weeks, you two were inseparable. You would run so fast that you could run up the side of the wall over the couch behind us without falling and then hit the ground running when you got to the other side. It was so cute. You would run across your dad’s head and in and out of the covers all night long. I couldn’t believe you never woke him, but you certainly left him with a few scratches.

When your dad and I moved in together, it was the day a hurricane was supposed to hit Florida. I lived on the East Coast and he was moving in with me. So he drugged you two and put you in the jeep to make the two hour trip to my place, only a few hours before the hurricane hit. Your brother was out like a light, but not you. You hated the drugged sensation and cried until you felt normal again, including the whole two hour drive. I thought your dad was a saint for not smothering you. He handled it like a trooper.

You were always daddy’s little girl. Dad never had the same schedule from week to week, but like clockwork, when daddy sat on the couch to watch tv, with beer in hand, you would park yourself right up on his lap and purr like a kitten.

When we moved from our first place into a bigger place, we got one with a beautiful screened in patio (“lanai”…I’m still not used to that name!). You and your brother Bandit would wake me up just before sunrise and I would open the slider and let you two watch the sunset come up together from the lanai. You were adorable. You would catch bugs and lizards every morning.

Then one morning a cat was outside and you went nuts. You used your claws to slice the screen and out you went to eat that cat. Your dad and I panicked…it was still mostly dark and we were out there running around trying to catch you. Not because we were worried about you with the other cat, but we were living on a lake full of alligators. It took a half an hour, but we finally got you in and because you smelled like outside now, Bandit didn’t recognize you anymore and you two started fighting. That lasted two days before I finally got advice to put a little of your dad’s cologne on you both so you would both smell the same and magically, it worked like a charm.

You and your brother were scared to death when you human brother came into the world. You wanted nothing to do with him, but you compromised because you had to if you wanted daddy’s lap. Kiddo in dad’s arm, you in dad’s lap. I would try to hold you, but you could care less about me, you were dad’s cat.

When your kitty brother ran away, you seemed lonely at first, but then got closer to your human brother, so we didn’t get another kitty.

Later we ended up adopting two dogs. You were the queen of the house though, those dogs ran in fear from you. They knew better than to even sniff in your general direction.

When your dad and I split, he took the dogs and I took you because dad was not himself and I worried you would get the short end of the stick when dad was having bad days.

You were never super close to me, but once we moved, you became very affectionate with me. You dominate our home now too. The two adopted kitties I have now, know who is boss and NEVER get in your way.

You’ve been declining in health for a while now. You don’t hear well, you seem to get lost and I’m not sure how well you see either. You just lick most of your food now and miss the litter box more than you make it, but you seemed content to this point.

Today when I cleaned your litter box though, I found pink. You have the saw-dust pellets for litter, so they are usually just brown or yellowish. I’ve never seen them pink before. I cleaned it all out and put a different batch in there, in case it was just a different type of wood used for that batch, but tomorrow we will know for sure. If it continues to be pink, that is blood in your urine. While I could put you on antibiotics, this is just the second time in less than a year that I would be dragging you to the vet after 19 years of never needing to be seen. I feel like this is just the beginning of the end and the last thing I want is for you to suffer in the end. So if there is pink tomorrow, I think I know what I have to do.

It will be so hard, but you have been so loved for 20 years, and I know it’s right not to make the end bad by hanging on too long.

Your name was taken from the song Kokomo, because your dad and I would go to the Florida keys to get away and had so many wonderful memories there watching the performers with the cats and visiting the store for cats, that we wanted to be reminded of that happiness anytime we looked at you. Now anytime I hear that song, I will be reminded of the happiness you brought me.

I love you pretty kitty Kokomo. See you in the next life.

The good, the sad, the advice

Ladies Night!

Last night was the big night. The paint and wine party we went to was a huge success.

I was a tiny bit nervous that not everyone would have fun. Only a couple of them knew each other, and I worried that someone would feel left out.

When we got there, the place was pretty full, so unfortunately, we couldn’t all sit together, which made me even more fretful, but I steered people together that I thought would get along. So three sat together, one sat across from me and one next to me. The one across from me was definitely cut off and didn’t know the people around her, but she had already gotten seated before we got there so I couldn’t really help it.

About half way through we got a break and all finally got to sit together around one table and chat. I told everyone that I wanted to do something like this once a month. That if it’s a group, then if one couldn’t make it, at least the rest could still get together.  Most seemed on board. 🙂art

Once we got started it was so much fun. Being an ambivert, I can turn on the charm when I’m out for a limited period of time. I was laughing and carrying on so much people around us joined our conversation and we all got to know each other. It was a blast!

I’m not an artist (clearly), I’m very left brained, but I didn’t do this for the art, I did it for the companionship and it was exactly what I’d hoped for!

I wasn’t the only one that enjoyed it either. I got texted by nearly everyone afterwards telling me how much fun they had and how they appreciated me putting it together. The next day, one of them even invited all of us over for Memorial!

I think we are finally getting this girls night thing down!

Our wedding song

I was completely caught off guard tonight when I was watching the Ellen Degeneres show and she had the singer Sia on to sing a song that was in the movie “Finding Dory”, coming out soon. When she started singing I thought she sounded so beautiful. I started to feel like I knew the song, but when she got to the chorus, I realized it was my wedding song…”Unforgettable”  As she sang, I went down a painful memory road. I remember him dancing with me and mouthing the words, his eyes had a twinkle. He seemed so sincere.

Now he is on a vacation with his new wife, celebrating their anniversary, which just happens to be on my birthday. It hurt.

I had intentionally allowed myself to forget the song and even remember just recently thinking how great it was that I couldn’t recall it off the top of my head…the only time I think I ever really appreciated my declining memory….and now, just like that it all came flooding back.

I was proud of myself though, because while I shed a tear or two, when it was over, I put it behind me and continued to enjoy the rest of the show. I’m happy these reminders are fewer and farther between.

I’m still going to watch Finding Dory, but at least now I’ll be prepared for the song and hopefully can relate it to something new.

And then there’s that…

Feeling a little sorry for myself, I decided to go on eharmony, a dating website where I’ve had a membership for a while now and see if there was any new matches that said hi.  No luck there, but I did find an article that I thought was great advice.  Not just for relationships, but in all aspects of life, so I thought I would share it with you.

Here is a teaser:

Harris calls this process “fusion” and offers a simple and quite effective strategy for “defusing” thoughts:

  1. Think of a thought that has been troubling you, such as “I’ll never find the right person.” Spend ten seconds really immersed in that thought—believe it as much as you can.
  2. Now add the phrase, “I’m having the thought that…” Take ten seconds and repeat that to yourself: “I’m having the thought that I’ll never find the right person.”
  3. Add a final phrase: “I notice that I’m having the thought that I’ll never find the right person.” Repeat to yourself for ten seconds.

When I ask my clients how they experienced this exercise, they say that with each step they gained distance from their thoughts. They realized they were … just thoughts. They weren’t immutable truths; they weren’t prison sentences. They were just momentary blips that passed through their minds.

Hope you enjoy!

How not to lose heart

 

 

Procrastinater VS Planner

Since my ability to straddle the extreme in most anything is not in question, I’ll refrain from the long list of struggles I’ve had in this area.

You’re welcome. 🙂

I do have to tell you a funny story though and in it, I’m sure you’ll see this contradiction at play.

Monday’s used to stress me out. A LOT!

I’m not a morning person, and sleep has always been an issue, so I often spend my weekend catching up on sleep, which bites me in the butt on Monday’s when I have to return to the “early bird” world. And that is just the beginning of why I hated Mondays!

In the last couple of years, I’ve implemented a solid system of planning to prevent Monday’s from being so stressful.

  •  I changed my start time at work to an hour later on Monday’s and offered to do a task that can only be done at night, in return. Problem solved!
  • I make sure I have clothes ready before I go to bed Sunday night.
  • I have a back up outfit, just in case.
  • I have two alarms.
  • I refuse any and all requests of a personal nature…no eating out with friends, no dinner plans, no running of errands, nothing.
  • I tell coworkers that Monday’s are my busiest days, so I can’t plan meetings on them or cover other people who are out. Pick any other day.

So now, for the most part, my Monday’s are relatively good and even when it does get a little hectic, it’s still manageable.

My planner side is typically very effective….until my procrastinating side completely undermines it.

I noticed a button on my pants has been dangling by a thread…for oh, maybe two months now. I meant to fix them…I was going to get to that soon…next time I washed them….for sure then….

So today (Monday!), I enter a stall in the bathroom at work and as I unbutton my pants, off pops the button! I have to say, if I didn’t have a planner side, it probably wouldn’t have struck me as being so funny, but I found it hilarious! So I pick up the button and sit down and spend the next 25 minutes in the stall trying to weave that one remaining thread in and out the button holes and then knot it so that it stays on. I’m so grateful there is more than one stall and most of the time I was alone, because I couldn’t help but giggle at the ridiculousness of the situation.  Me, planner extraordinaire, lost 25 minutes on my busiest day…to a button…and not just any button…one that I knew was close was about to fall off.

Today I’m grateful that I’m less stressed and can find humor in these things, as five years ago, that would have been the straw (button) that broke the camels back (pants)!

 

Addiction Confliction

Addiction has always been my demon. I believe having a mood disorder that went untreated for decades added to a genetic propensity for addiction leaving me vulnerable and willing when the opportunity presented itself.

My dad’s father died from complications of alcoholism and tobacco use. My mothers father died from complications of diabetes and gangrene that was a result of alcoholism.

I started overusing medication at an early age. I would sneak into the medicine cabinet all the time and take anything from baby aspirin to Di-gel tablets repeatedly.  My parents insisted I was a hypochondriac and I believed that as a child.  However as an adult I now can tell you for certain that I took medicine because I was physically uncomfortable, even if the cause was psychological.  Each time my parents would catch me and make me stop for a while. At 13 or 14 I started drinking, but it didn’t become regular until I was 15 or 16 at which time I also started smoking. When I started working at 16, I was introduced to coke, which led to meth. Once on meth, I completely gave up drinking and smoking and I was hooked on meth until I was 19.

The first time I got clean I was 20. The irony was not lost on me when I was the cleanest I’d ever been on my 21st birthday, a time when many are welcomed into adulthood with the ability to legally drink.

Once I finally made it through meth withdrawals and back to some semblance of normalcy, I had to start taking Ibuprofen to sleep each night or otherwise I couldn’t get but a few hours and it wasn’t enough for me to function.

I was also a roller coaster of emotions.  Anger was a common one, but the spectrum was readily available, welcomed or not.

I went to the doctor asking for a sleep aid and she said she would rather I take ibuprofen than risk getting hooked on a sleep aid. In hind sight, I probably should have found another doctor, but I understand her reluctance to give a former addict a potentially addictive drug.

Soon the ibuprofen wasn’t enough and I began drinking again. A little, quickly turned into everyday  complete with hard liquor and many binge drinking episodes over the next decade or so (prior to getting pregnant).  I also smoked off and on.

When I met my ex-husband, we mostly hung out together and drank. It was fun, we didn’t have a child at the time and we always went to work, so I became a high-functioning alcoholic.

I didn’t drink during the day (unless on vacation), I didn’t crave it at all during the day. I got home, made dinner and that’s when the wine started flowing.

When I was pregnant, it was the second time I became clean. I didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs and I have to tell you, that period of time was horrific. Not because I was pregnant but because I couldn’t sleep and there was nothing I could do about it. I would get 5ish hours a night, when I was lucky, and stayed completely miserable all day. My anxiety hit a whole new high. I was so desperate for my son to be born thinking it would surely all subside, but to my surprise things actually got worse. I didn’t realize yet how taking pain medication would throw me into deep depression. Only in hindsight (after looking back at each time I ever had to take it in the past) did I finally make the connection. So after a c-section I spent two days in a morphine haze, which turned into a deep and difficult depression.

By week 4 of baby, since I never (ever!) got milk, I decided there was no harm in drinking a little at night after baby was asleep.

I still maintained that I was not really an alcoholic because I never thought about it during the day, I didn’t miss work, I didn’t drink and drive, I just drank a bottle of wine between dinner and bed. I didn’t get drunk in case baby needed me.

Years later when my marriage hit the rocks, my bottle turned into two. I’m fairly certain I was poisoning myself daily but all I cared about was getting out.

Once I was out, 2 bottles turned back into 1 and about a year into my freedom I actually stopped drinking for 3-4 months. Then the ex’s girlfriend moved from another state, to in with him and life spun out of control once again. My drinking went from none to a bottle and a half a night, in the span of about a week.

Two years ago, the ex & his moved out of state and things settled down again. Down to one bottle I went and I drink it over 3-4 hours, so I’m not even really drunk, I just get super tired and I love that. It something no sleep aid has ever been able to accomplish without severe after affects.

Lately the amount has been creeping up again.  I know that my drinking is a problem. I’ve tried to quit several times as of late. I can no longer hide behind my fantasy that I’m not an alcoholic, despite all my excuses:  I don’t drink during the day or even really think about it. I’m not drinking to get drunk, because I don’t like being out of control, I just drink to slowly relax and eventually induce sleep. I don’t drink and drive. I go to work.

But the truth is that it does affect me.

I want to stop.

It’s good money going out the window. It’s hard on my body. I can’t lose the weight I want to. I sometimes oversleep. I hate feeling trapped by the addiction.

So in recent conversations with my therapist, I told her of my 3 year plan. My son will be out of school. I won’t feel as vulnerable, if I should lose my job. And ever since my first addiction, I desperately wanted to do an in-patient addiction program. I’ve quit “addiction” at least 3 times on my own, it’s hard, painful and I always end up back there. So my plan was to get the kiddo through high school and check myself in.

Now is when the demon rises…whenever I get to the point that I recognize addiction holding me back, I quit. I quit drinking, I quit smoking, I quit meth. So my brain is in a tug of war over the fact that I shouldn’t wait 3 more years. I’ve quit before and I should quit now. Save the money, the fat and the bad influence on my son and just stop. So I go a day without drinking and then the next day I have two bottles. It’s like I’m on a roller coaster and it’s become mostly what I think about.

I know from past experience that by week two of being sober, I’m pretty much home free if I stay away completely, but I can’t see making it to week two in my current life.

I realized last night, after drinking one bottle (all I had at home) and not being able to fall asleep, that in the last 3-4 weeks I’ve had about a dozen hair brained ideas of businesses I could start, but eventually talked myself out of.

I kept thinking it was born out of boredom. It’s not though, it’s my subconscious trying to uproot my life enough to help me quit drinking. But then addiction sweeps in and says, you can’t keep up with a business, go relax and have a glass of wine.

I want to wait and check myself in and do it right this time…with support, with medicine for the withdrawals, with no outside influence from the real world and with the proper support when reintegrating back into the real world. I want real skills to keep it at bay. I want to break the neuro-pathways for good. I want to be really healthy. I also think it would be SO incredibly helpful for them to see what I’m really like not addicted so that they can be sure I’m on the right medicine to control my different brain. I’ve never had a real diagnosis and my meds are always a best guess based on how I am at the time, including addiction. Yes, my doctors are aware I drink wine with my meds. They are not happy about it, but would rather I take meds and keep functioning than possibly slip back into suicidal ideation.

Yet, I feel like I am wasting my life. I have so much to offer, but I can’t truly be stable if I’m drinking. I don’t want to keep throwing good money away. I want to lose weight before I end up with a permanent illness like diabetes or a heart condition. I want to exercise and it not kill me like it does now. I want to get off the asthma inhaler and cure the re flux…both caused by my drinking. I want to stop feeling sore everyday when I wake up. I wan’t to break out of this 9-5 job and live the american dream…be self employed, have a for-profit to fund my non-profit. Do something that really has impact on others (in a good way!)  I want to find love.

There is a tiny part of me that is afraid. I keep hanging my hat on the fact that if I wasn’t drinking I would achieve so much…lose the weight, get healthy, save up for a vacation, start a business, find love…but what if I quit and none of that is true…and I’m really am the same person even without alcohol. Would that reality spawn the next deep depression.

Maybe that’s addiction talking, but maybe not…I have been sober before….

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I’m sure this will be the subject of my life for the next weeks to months, but I probably won’t be posting about it unless it’s that I quit, so don’t worry about having to go through this again anytime soon. 🙂

 

The Alure of Danger

***Trigger Alert***    Before we start – I’m in no way feeling suicidal

Flash back close to 30 years ago. I was in a dark place and calling my behavior “reckless” would be a huge understatement.

Enter Tarek

Tarek was from Palestine…the real one, not the one in Texas. He lived there until his early teens and carried a machine gun around town to survive. His family moved to
England to get away from the war and when he finished high school, sent him to Long Beach, CA to attend college.

Tarek excelled at EVERYTHING. There wasn’t a class or a sport he couldn’t conquer and he did it with an easy going fun demeanor, despite a lot of deep seated anger.

Tarek and I had a chemistry instantly and while it would be a long time before we ever acted on that chemistry, we started feeding off of one another’s self destructive behaviors immediately. Being an overachiever and “slightly” competitive myself put us head to head often.

We both thrived off of the adrenaline rush of danger and that of meth. To me, death didn’t seem so bad compared to my life and I wonder now if he felt that way too. Our one attempt at a relationship failed over about a three day span, but the friendship and chemistry never waned.

We parted ways when we both went to our respective homes to “straighten out.” We tried to keep in touch through snail mail, but it was hard. A lot of waiting.

One night during the first few times I considered divorcing my husband, I had a dream about Tarek that was so vivid and so powerful I began trying to find him. I learned his family moved to Spain. I continued trying to find him for years, but the mail kept coming back “no one here by that name”.

Then one night when I was at a “girls night” in my old stomping grounds I found out that Tarek had died a few years earlier, by overdosing. My world shattered around me, like a hallucination, dropping in pieces to the ground and my chest felt like an elephant sat on it. I pretended to be fine, but it was so all consuming, the minutes seems like hours and even after I got home I couldn’t sleep. I felt completely frantic.

Then I remembered the dream and wondered if it was him trying to tell me something. Maybe that he was OK? I could remember the dream in such detail, but he never said anything. We were at a picnic with his girlfriend and just having a nice time. I felt safe and happy and warm. I remember feeling such peace when I woke up from that dream and now I just felt confused.

In the last few years, I’ve dreamt about him many times. I still believe in my heart, he is trying to tell me something, but I just can’t seem to figure out what it is.

This morning I was struggling to get going because my son had a touch of a stomach bug and kept me up. I finally pulled it together and out the door for work about a half an hour later than normal.

I was sitting at a light when I looked up in my rear view mirror and saw a man on a motorcycle and instantly thought of Tarek. I smiled. When the light turned green I accelerated at my usual Mario Andretti speed and I noticed him slide up to me like I was standing still….and that’s when I flashed back to a night on the freeway in SoCal…complete with euphoric, invincible adrenaline.

Tarek and I were headed back to Long Beach, I was in my car and he on his motorcycle. We were going well above the speed limit, weaving in and out of cars like complete idiots, but the rush was like a drug. He would lead for a while, then I would manage to get out in front. We were playfully chasing one another in a dangerous dance with our lives. (and probably the lives of countless others, but I didn’t even consider them in the moment)

As the man on the motorcycle came around me and moved into my lane, I couldn’t resist the desire to keep up with him. My mind raced with memories of Tarek. It was the best I’ve felt in a very long time. After I finally backed off and he was far out of sight, my brain slowed back down to a reasonable speed and so did my car.

Then it occurred to me that not everyone who is feeling suicidal ideates the same. For many it’s a sad decent into the desire to die, but for others the allure of danger is sometimes inescapable because it’s easier to put yourself in harms way then to just take your own life. I wondered if Tarek actually meant to overdose, or if it was an accident during a rush inducing, risky behavior.

I used to be that person and while I haven’t felt the allure in YEARS…I certainly felt it in that 10 minute rush this morning. Maybe I need to take up Sky Diving. I miss Tarek.

Counting Stars