Alone

I feel a little pathetic, but I want to go home. I don’t even know where that is now. Less than a year ago I would’ve said there’s nowhere outside of Marseille I belong. I loved it, my town was part of me and there was nowhere better. Not too long ago I went back to France to visit my sister, she was taking her daughter to the Musée du Louvre. I felt terrible from the moment I stepped off the plane. I love my sister and my niece, hell, I put my entire inheritance in my niece’s name the moment I found out the only thing my sister received was the house she was already living in with her husband and daughter. Of course, that was back when I wasn’t burning through all my savings on travel costs, home medical and fitness equipment, and replacing the majority of my wardrobe… but honestly, I’d have done it anyway. I just don’t love it here anymore. Even in Waldenbuch, I feel like I need to get away.

My proper address is in Japan now. Iji insists his house is our house and his bed is our bed. I love him, I love being with him, I’ve enjoyed his city… but I don’t fit with the culture. There’s a lot of nuance I’m still learning. Sometimes it makes me feel all the more isolated. I get teased for my accent all the time. It takes a long time for me to read basically anything, and I read things incorrectly on a regular basis. I feel great in the house, even at the office, but when I’m out in town it sometimes feels a little like I’m drowning.

It should feel like home right? I live there, my husband is there… and I do love him. I wasn’t supposed to, I tried not to, but I do. It makes me afraid. What if I’m misreading my own feelings. Maybe I just love the chance to be far away. Maybe I love that he loves me. I knew he did right from the start. He has for a long time. It started as a crush when he was a teenager. He was the only person I stayed in contact with for a very long time after Eli died. He was being raised to take over the sake shop. He came to visit me during one of my stays at home in France when he was 15, just nearly 16, I was living back at my dad’s place at the time. I say he came to visit me, but he was the adventurous one between him in his uncle (the guy that adopted him, don’t question it, it made sense to them) he wanted to experience the kinds of flavors other cultures like in their drinks. So he was going to stay at my dad’s place for a week with me to tour him around as his translator. Remember he’s 11 years younger than me, when he was 15 I was 26.

I was a bit dense, there were a few things I had never even considered. He had told his sister already, but I had no idea he’d had a crush on me. So 4th day he was in town I was up late with a movie and a few glasses of wine. He came out, said he couldn’t sleep and sat down to watch with me. I let him have maybe 60 ml of my wine, the legal age was still 16 at the time and his uncle had said it was fine. He had a bit once in a while at home. I should have paid more attention, I should have noticed my bottle emptied faster than it should have. I should have noticed all of it long before he worked up the nerve to try and kiss me. But I didn’t. I did shut him down immediately though. Of course my older brother had to be down when it happened, Theo had a good time with that for months. I didn’t even look at Iji again for a few years, barely spoke to him. I wasn’t mad at him, he was a kid and kid’s do dumb things. I just wondered what the hell I did that made it seem like a good idea, I felt awkward and irresponsible and didn’t want to cause any more bad decisions on his part… here I am married to him 7 years later. Sometimes I’m afraid he was the easy option, he wanted me and I didn’t need to do anything to make it happen.

I know it sounds stupid. There’s just so much I feel like I don’t know about myself now. My own hands are strangers to me, that isn’t me being dramatic. I’ve been baking for a long time, most of my life. So much that even with the disposable income I used to have there was near nothing I’d buy at the baker unless I was short on time. I stopped measuring years ago, you just start to know the feel. A few weeks ago I was making some bread for lunch sandwiches I didn’t have a clue how much flour I’d put in. Couldn’t even estimate, even when I lifted the bowl to feel it, I had no clue. It was like I’d just forgotten all that experience. If I can forget something I’ve done more thousands of times than I can count, isn’t it is possible I could also be entirely wrong about what I feel?

So here I am, feeling more isolated than I’ve ever felt before, and I may actually be afraid of the moment the doctors tell me I can go back.

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Lost Confidence

I’m actually going to go off topic with this one. Just a real quick note, I’ve been staying in Germany with Stefan again, just not as a patient this time. There’s a door on both the guest bedroom and bathroom this time! I’ve been here a little over a week now. I’ve been having seizures and Iji just isn’t strong enough to easily maneuver me if necessary, and Stefan’s wife is a nurse. So I’m here to have some tests until I at least have a cause and treatment plan, then I’m back home again. I’ve been here a couple of days now, and I’m ready to go home. My first appointment was a few days ago, they took a couple of blood samples and a plasma sample and that’s about all I know. After I that it’s an MRI, EEG… I can’t keep track anymore.

The point is I hate my body. I never used to. No matter how I feel about my father, my genes are good, I took care of myself, I’ve always felt pretty good. After July I put on about 15 kg pretty quick. The scars on my back already didn’t bother me too much, but now I have new ones. None of my clothes fit the same and they all look terrible. I found a few things that work, but not so much with the tube running across my face. I was almost starting to feel OK then I pulled that suit. It went straight in the fireplace, silk burns up quick. Isn’t it unfair that no matter how I try, I can’t see myself the way I used to?
I have managed to work off roughly 5kg with my leg and foot fully back in working order. Cardio is a challenge I’ll have to work on later, I just don’t think I have it in me right now. Iji and I had a routine of stretching together, and we’d walk to the store together once a week. I’m trying to keep the walking up while I’m here, and he was able to take a few days off to visit during my stay so we walked together, but I don’t know why I keep getting so damn stressed out walking out by myself. I used to run every damn morning and it was fine, I’d walk around the middle of the night just to relax but now I feel like I’ll drop out of my own skin when I’m off alone. Stefan’s wife goes out with me when she’s restless, but she’s a little over 6 months pregnant with twins and wears out as quickly as I do with my heart so we’re not good for motivating each other. It also serves as yet another unnecessary reminder of how badly I fucked up, yet I still don’t regret what I tried to do, only how

I started writing this about a week ago, but I haven’t been doing well and set it aside. The update since I started writing is that all of my tests have come up with exactly nothing so they’re focusing completely on the medication angle. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options they can try because their risks are too much with the damage already done to my heart…. Right, that part where I screwed up again. There was a time I thought I was intelligent. Now I come up with new reasons every day to feel like a moron, a failure, a coward, a pitiful excuse for the man I used to be and I really can’t figure out why. I know I shouldn’t hate myself, I know I didn’t cause what happened to me, but I do, and I did. It was my fault. I should have been guarded, I shouldn’t have had that bit of wine, I shouldn’t have turned my back, I shouldn’t have ever been with him in the first place …  Then I just feel guiltier because I’m better with Iji around, but that isn’t his responsibility. He deserves more than that… he deserves for me to be better on my own so I can be better for him.

He deserves so much better than someone that came a little too close to breaking a promise today. I nearly made myself a liar and I don’t even know what came over me. I haven’t got a clue what I was thinking, I just couldn’t handle anything. I had this moment where I felt so overwhelmed. I had taken a nap and I woke up, again, feeling hands on my neck and I was so overwhelmed and terrified of something I couldn’t fight … Stefan is an intuitive genius that suddenly started worrying about me, so he stepped away from a family event and got back to his house just before. Twice now he’s saved my life, I forgive him for it this time. As much as I’d like to pretend this time didn’t happen, here it is. I don’t even know if I’m brave enough to tell Iji myself. He deserves to know, he’s putting his trust and his faith in me and I’m just spitting all over it.

Home

Let’s go from pathetic to weird. It was never the plan, but I fell in love with Ijiro. He’s kind patient, intelligent, and so many things I have respected him for already for a very long time. And I’d be lying if I said he didn’t grow into an attractive man. It didn’t help that a year prior his sister shamelessly told me about his drunken confession of a crush on me, which he admitted to being more later. So there I was, just months after I nearly lost my life twice circling around the idea of engaging in a relationship with a guy who’s diapers I used to change. You want to get really weird? I married him (He wound up asking me, if it makes a difference.)

And I feel guilty. I feel guilty because he’s so young, just 22. He’s barely dated, and I feel like I’m tying him down to someone broken that may never be fixed. I feel guilty because the last time I felt anything similar about someone was Eli. I feel guilty because he’s working on changing his own habits to fit around me.

He’s never locked his door in his life, I can’t sleep with it unlocked now. He got into our bed one night, he moved the blanket just wrong and I woke up and broke his wrist. I have terrible nightmares that wake him up constantly and I’m sure he’s probably terrified of trying to wake me out of it. Sometimes I just stop in the middle of a conversation, unable to breathe because I can feel Ralph’s hands on my neck, I hear him whispering to me. I was working down in Iji’s office below his bar one night; I went up to ask the manager a question and wound up trying to help a very drunk customer out to his cab. Before I got to him, he tripped and smacked his face right into the wall. When he turned around and I saw his broken nose… the blood on his face… I couldn’t tell you what happened until I was downstairs sitting in the micro-apartment (the room is just big enough for a single bed, a small table with a mini fridge under it, and a shelving unit with a few books and dried snacks.) with one of Iji’s friends holding my oxygen tank for me. I lost over 3 hours of my life because I saw a bloody nose. My life as a martial artist would be over even if I hadn’t fucked my heart. Iji worries about me forgiving myself, and he’s not wrong. I look in the mirror and see the scar on my forehead, and I hate myself. If his hand accidentally brushes over the scars on my back when he hugs me I completely freeze up. And the sex, either I’m on or I’m off, there’s no in between. He’s never pushed me in any way, and he’s only once expressed a need for less when I’m on.

I’ve always been a naturally highly energetic person, it’s part of why martial arts and fitness were great fields for me. My heart can’t handle it anymore. A particularly good round of sex leaves me basically immobile and attached to my tank for anywhere up to a half hour. For the most part I can handle that. My biggest energy burn used to be going on a 4km run every morning, 6km on the weekends. That’s not possible any more. I’m not physically capable of running 1km anymore. The less activity I have, the higher my stress levels go, the more often I have nightmares and other issues. It’s horrible. I hold myself back because I will not let our sex life be a symptom, but I don’t know what to do with myself anymore. And when I’m off… then I really don’t know what to do with myself and I feel like I’m going insane… and I just recently lost the funding that was letting me see a therapist. I actually really appreciated working with her and she was giving me time each week for both Iji and I. So, I guess it’s work in progress.

We have both been good for each other. Iji is terrible in the kitchen, before I came along most of his meals were ordered. I love cooking. When I was a kid I would go to the kitchen and hang out with the staff if I didn’t want dad to find me. He never thought of looking there and I learned a lot. He’s enjoyed all the meals I’ve made him and especially enjoys the pastries. I am French, we’re known for our pastries. He’s also been endlessly patient and encouraging. I’ve been feeling so helpless and so disgusting, and letting him touch me doesn’t make me sick. I can just hold him on the couch and let myself relax. He even let me turn the thermostat down when I realized I was having more nightmares in the heat, the trade-off is he gets to cuddle more to feed off my heat… oh no, how terrible… (sarcasm is hard enough in text format, I hope I convey in English.)

I’m sorry if this all seems quite strange, and I’m happy to clarify anything needed. I’ve just been having a lot of difficulty talking about all this, and have very few people to talk about it with, and thought a more anonymous environment might help. I honestly expected no one to read this and have been surprised to see people have. It’s not my intention to complain, or to scare anyone who might be in a similar situation. My father didn’t do much for teaching me to manage my emotions and I’ve been having some very unfamiliar emotions to tackle. He taught me how to handle a financial crisis, a business crisis, and a social-politics crisis, but not emotions. I still sometimes go hang out in a closet when I feel like I need to collect myself, that’s not something I like to admit. But I love Iji’s micro-apartment at the office… it’s very comfortable for me. Anyway, I think this has been enough of a rant for today. Most events, with the excepting of a few, I’ve covered are up to three months ago now so I can start with more recent times in my next post.

Spiral

I tried for weeks to convince my friends nothing happened. I was so ashamed. I should have known better. Being on guard is a natural state. When I was a kid, my older brother was a lot tougher than me, and he wasn’t gentle. There was no reason I shouldn’t have been able to defend myself. I should have seen there was something wrong with him. There’s no end to the list of should haves and I still struggle to convince myself it’s not true. I look in the mirror and feel disgusted. I couldn’t sleep in my own room. I threw out my sheets and blankets, I put a rug over the blood on the carpet. It didn’t matter. Every time I walked in I knew it was in my mattress and on my floor.

The weirdest things drive you to something good sometimes. That kid I babysat for Hitoshi that was being adopted by a man in Japan, his adoptive cousin, being raised by her uncle as Ijiro’s sister was in the states practicing at Hitoshi’s school. He visited a lot as he grew and I continued helping Hitoshi watch over him while he was in town until he was 7. He liked me a lot so we kept in contact. He’s in his 20’s now. He inherited his adoptive father’s store and house. And he invited me to stay with him and even offered me a job. So here I am, I went from a confident, decorated martial artist, to an easily panicked accountant working for a guy 10 years my junior. It got me away, and I trust him. And not to insult him, but he probably couldn’t threaten me if he tried, even with the state I’ve been in.

He even set aside some home renovation funds to add a security system hoping it would make me feel secure. Really, I feel guilty. How could I be so pathetic that someone just starting their adult life feels a need to protect me? I reported Raph under the urging of my friends, I didn’t want to but I did. I was keeping up with a lawyer by phone and email, but I had to go back for the trial. I ended up staying in a hotel, I couldn’t go to that apartment again. Bubbles’ older brother was coming to help me prepare for the trial and clear out anything I wanted to ship out of my old place. He’s not a lawyer, he volunteered to help as a friend, but I knew it was his profession (and his little sister) that drove him to help, I’ll get into that later. He was going to pick me up in the morning to go to my apartment before the trial so I could get out again as soon as possible.

I spent the whole evening imaging the way people would look at me. My own brother had agreed to be a character witness against me on Raph’s behalf. He probably resented me because of a lawsuit when his negligence put our little brother in danger. He was calling me unstable, telling people he believed I would ask Raph to hurt me. I spent the evening dreading seeing Raph again. Then I started drinking. A lot. About halfway through my bottle of vodka I realized I couldn’t face it, and I swallowed as many of my antidepressants as I could.

I’ve never felt more crushed than when I woke up in the hospital the next day. I had forgotten I put Stefan’s name on the room. I had been sleeping terribly and I wanted him to be able to get a key if I wasn’t awake. If I was ashamed before, being found unconscious in a pool of vomit on a bathroom floor didn’t help. So I was alive, but I spent so much of the night vomiting that it tore up my throat. They put in an NG tube because I couldn’t swallow at all. My blood pressure was wrecked, I could barely breathe, and Stefan was still dragging me to court assuming I could be released. I was released, into Stefan’s custody as a therapist. Instead of going back to Japan I ended up living in Germany in Stefan’s house. He took the door off the guest bedroom and bathroom, and locked all the cabinets. He took my wallet away, he also took my phone and computer, I was only allowed to use them with supervision. I couldn’t even leave by myself. If it wasn’t bad enough already, I was having a real problem getting air stuck in my stomach with the tube feeding. I was also having a real problem trying to force burps with the tube in my throat. The only way to relieve it was to let Stefan slap my back like I was a damn baby.

I hated him. I hated his wife. I hated his house. I didn’t really, I was just so damn mad. I spent most of my time at Bubbles’ house next door. As often as Stefan would let me anyway. Fortunately it was only a week before they took the NG tube out, I probably could have had it out sooner. My leg wasn’t getting any better, and two of my heart valves were damaged in the overdose. They said my heart wasn’t receiving enough oxygen, and I needed to carry a portable tank. This was my life now, is my life now. And I did it to myself, I know. And there was Iji, have I admitted yet how much I really cared about him? And I knew how he felt about me. He didn’t push anything, but he didn’t hide it. He was going to hear what I did, and it was going to hurt him. And no matter how sorry I was for that, I still don’t regret what I did. I’m angry about how it turned out. I’ve promised him it will never happen again, and I mean it. But… I wonder if it would have been better if Stefan hadn’t saved me. I’m alive, but I’ve ruined my health. I’m alive, but the memories I have are frequently overwhelming.

It was a few weeks before Stefan was confident letting me leave. Iji came to get me, it must have been an awkward car ride. Stefan doesn’t know any Japanese and barely any English. Iji doesn’t know any German and… can communicate in English. I could tell he was mad when he saw me. But he didn’t yell or anything, he never does. He just cried and I hated myself more. He forgave me and it’s so much more than I deserve. And he brought me home.

Warning for Graphic Abuse

Before anyone reads this it’s probably fair to warn you, I was raped and nearly killed in July. I thought that would be easier to type than it is to say, it is not.






Severe dehydration, 3 broken toenails, 3 bruised ribs, 1 cracked rib, right shoulder dislocation, 1 gash on forehead measuring 7.1cm, concussion, rectal tear measuring 2.4cm, pulled anterior tibial in left leg, strained quadricep in left leg, minor bruising on jaw and hips, bruising and abrasions on wrists and ankles, and 7 cuts measuring between 2.1 and 2.4 cm in the formation of a tally count on the lower back.

Raph got to my place a little after midnight. I didn’t plan on him staying long. I just needed to tell him the relationship was over or if he wouldn’t respect my choices. He seemed to get it, so I turned to open then door. He had looked so calm and understanding, a little sad, but understanding. He didn’t look like someone about to swing a bottle into the back of my head. It caught me off guard and I might have been alright if I hadn’t hit my forehead and the edge of the half wall by the entry. I was only out for a second, but I was so damn dizzy. I just laid there on the ground while he roped my arms up behind me and dragged me off to my room. I put up as much of a fight as I could, but I felt sick and my head was bleeding so much. He strapped my ankles down and then just left.

He was only gone for about 30 minutes. He came back with a huge box and asked if I wanted to apologize for hurting him. I should have said yes, I should have begged him to forgive me. I should have told him how stupid I was but I instead I told him to fuck off. That wasn’t the answer he wanted from me. He was so gentle about cutting up my clothes. He dragged my coffee table over behind I tried to turn but my head was pounding and when I moved it I thought I would throw up. I could hear him opening the box and moving something big around. It was a machine he set up behind me, a vibrator on a stick basically. He kept telling me the whole time that he loved me, and he was sorry he had to do it but it was for my own good. He turned on the machine and rubbed my back like it was supposed to help me relax.

I tried to ignore it, but the body doesn’t always listen to the brain. It took longer, but he did force me over the edge, then my back was burning. He said it was a reminder of how good he made me feel. He left after 2 more, and after marking me two me times. This time he didn’t come back for hours. And it got so hot, I was sweating, and bleeding, and dizzy… I couldn’t stop thinking I’d never get the blood out of me bedding… isn’t that the dumbest thing to be worrying about? When he came back, he stayed for another hour, still trying to convince me he cared about me and a small part of me wanted to believe him. He gave me some water and cleaned some of the blood off my face but no matter how much I begged he wouldn’t let me go. I wouldn’t apologize to him either, I couldn’t. I wanted to but I couldn’t. He stayed long enough to mark me a few more times before he left again. He didn’t come back that time.

I panicked after a few hours. I knew my bed was a few centimeters at least off the wall, if I could just push it forward, I could at least buy myself some space. That wasn’t the right choice. I dug my toes down into the carpet and accomplished nothing other than snapping three toenails and straining my muscles. I was so sure I was going to die. I passed out a few times, more and more frequently by the time Marietta got home. She only came in my room because Raph left my music up too loud. I was there a little when she unstrapped my ankles, I can’t remember thinking anything other than wanting to get away from the machine, away from her, away from the blood… I fell immediately, and I must have passed out again, next thing I knew my room was full of medics. He had turned our thermostat as high as it would go, all the way to 32. I still haven’t decided if I’m fortunate or not that I was sharing an apartment with a doctor.

Last Summer

So let’s fast forward to to when I’m 27. My mother had been diagnosed with Huntington’s a few years prior, she was hospitalized not long later and progressed rapidly. My mom had always been so accepting. I went to the hospital as often as I could to visit, read with her… I just wanted to spend time with her. She was the person in my family I trusted the most. I finally told her who Eli actually was to me. She killed herself a few days later. Last year, a few months before I turned 33. I get a call from my sister, my dad had a heart attack. I was upset, he’s my dad after all, but mostly fine. He died within a few days, and I lost it. I had only just started realizing how much I resented him, and I wasn’t sad that he died, I mad. I was so mad that I’d never get to ask him why he needed to force Theo and I to compete. I’d never get to ask him why he had the opinions on masculinity he did. I’d never get to ask him if we ever actually mattered to him. I’d never get to ask if he hesitated at all before letting me leave for almost a decade. I’d never get to ask if he would really reject his own son for being gay.

I spiraled again, turns out he didn’t do any good teaching me to handle emotions. I got so drunk a friend from Germany decided to come visit. She went pretty easy on me at first. But I needed to fight something, she wasn’t in fighting shape anymore, and I wasn’t in the tournament circle. Some bars do host not so legal fights if you know where to go though. I only had suspicions about one place, but I was right. She was so mad when I got home covered in bruises. She hid my keys and my wallet and wouldn’t leave me alone. Remember when I mentioned a couple of guys travelling around my drunken European sex trip with me? One of them, this guy Raphael was in the group. He was a prostitute before, but a very specialized kind. He used to be a paid dom. I was never really into that before, nothing against anyone who is, it just wasn’t my thing. God damn he was good at what he did though. He could make you forget your own name if you wanted, and I needed that. He had called me back a few times over the years, he liked to call me his favorite. He was a theatre tech by the time a met him, but he didn’t boot his old clients, he just didn’t charge. I was never client, he was always the one that called me. I decided it was my turn this time.

He came right away, and sure enough I was too distracted by everything he made me feel to care about drinking more. It also had the bonus effect of getting Bubbles to leave me alone, as long as I wasn’t drowning myself in wine and vodka she wasn’t so concerned. I didn’t need to be drunk I needed to feel good and he made me feel great. He even got me talking, about when I was a kid, about my dad, about everything. I really opened up to him. He even talked me into visiting a therapist to work through all the issues my dad left me with. When he asked if his previous profession would make me to uncomfortable to go on a proper date with him, I didn’t hesitate. Our first official date he wanted me to put on my best suit and take me to Les Trois Forts. Put on my best suit, my best wasn’t good enough. I hadn’t been on a real date since Eli died, it had always felt so wrong. It was so exciting to feel confident about going on a date, I went all out.
€3800 suit, silk-lined vest, silk tie and pocket square… Yeah our friend Spikey decided to start calling me Mr. Francy Pants. I was not pleased that that one stuck. But I wanted this date to be perfect, I needed a win. That not so legal fight I drunkenly decided to find, turns out my boss’ brother likes to watch fights. Turns out my boss’ brother was meeting him at the gym for lunch and recognized me. I didn’t lose my job, but I was put on a 6 month suspension pending review.

The date was wonderful, and my plan to tease him with how absolutely devilish I looked in that suit worked perfectly. That was the first night we had ever actually had sex. He always used toys, but the nature of relationship changed when we made it official. We kept the relationship going for another few weeks and it was fantastic. He was doing me a lot of good. Now, there’s one important compatibility problem in our relationship. Raph was strictly a top, I’m not strictly a bottom. I was clear with him right from the start that I wouldn’t commit to being a permanent bottom. The deal he proposed was that, as long as he was involved, whenever I wanted to top we could go find someone to play with. To me, this was just more proof that this was good. He was willing to work with me to ensure we both got what we wanted. That’s what I thought anyway. With the suspension I canceled my appointments with the therapist at least until I was bringing in full checks again. My savings had to keep me floating until those 6 months were over. Turns out, our play night was a ‘treat’ the last one I was going to get until I rescheduled all my canceled appointments.

I liked him a lot, but I wasn’t taking an ultimatum regarding my finances while I was only receiving a quarter of my salary. I asked him to reconsider, and was very clear with him that I wouldn’t accept ultimatums in a relationship. I gave him plenty of time to think on it, and the next time I invited him on a date he asked if I had rescheduled yet. That was it, I was going to end it. I asked if we could meet but he was working a play so he said he’s stop by my place after. I should have insisted on meeting out.

Drunken Slut

My fiance was dead and buried, my dad was convinced I must have hated him more than I let on after he didn’t see me at the funeral. I was 22 when he died, and when I moved back into my dad’s house. I couldn’t stand to stay in that apartment anymore. As far as my dad was concerned I just didn’t want to leave the place empty half the year if I decided to tour again. And as far as he knew, I did decided to tour again. Took a full year of leave from the gym and went on a European tour of truly trashy drunken sex. I mean it, with the help of some very talented guys I met on that trip, we probably could’ve made some porn stars blush. You want to know how many guys you can fit, comfortably or otherwise, in the back of a moving van? I have an answer for that. You want to know the best style of home bar to bend someone over? I got an answer for that. You want to know the most comfortable way to handcuff someone to a spiral staircase? I got an answer for that. Honestly, that year probably gave me an answer to almost any question you’ve got on the subject.

I even ended up travelling around with a group of three other guys that thought I had the right idea. Most of that year is a complete loss for me, I spent so much of it so drunk I’ve got almost no memory. I can’t entirely blame the alcohol. I lied to a very close friend of mine when I recently told her about what I could remember. I made some very bad choices that I’m not proud of. I know it was stupid and I’ll live with that shame for the rest of my life. All I wanted was to get lost and not care, I wanted it so badly I’d take whatever I could get. When one of the guys running with me offered me a chance to try cocaine, I didn’t even blink. Next day was heroin … I told my friend it only happened once and I never touched it again. I couldn’t admit to her that after how hard I was on them while I was captain of the competing team I’d end up using cocaine at least a dozen times and heroin for months. If you’ve never tried it, don’t. You’ll think it makes you feel so great right up until you realize how much worse everything is. Then you hate yourself, you disgust yourself, and getting clean will make you feel like you’re dying.

I was too ashamed of myself to admit what I had been putting in my body, so instead of getting help I did it myself. I closed myself in my room and and suffered alone. And I deserved it, no one could convince me otherwise. I was smarter than that and better than that and no one could tell me I deserved any support. Those were my dad’s words in my head. “Your problems should never be anyone else’s” “If you can’t do it on your own you don’t deserve to do it at all.” “It’s disrespectful to ask for help fixing your own mistakes.” The worse I felt the harder I was on myself. I was something to be pitied, decreasing in value every day. No matter how I tried to struggle through it I just kept hearing my dad tell me how much I disappointed him. It still hadn’t occurred to me that my whole life had been about living up to his expectations of me, my own feelings never once factored in.

I did get clean, but the drinking and sex didn’t stop. I wasted years of my life like that. I stopped talking to all my friends, I didn’t want them to see what Eli’s death had done to me. I didn’t want them to know that no matter how much time had passed I couldn’t seem to heal. It didn’t matter that they were all hurting to. I may have been the competing team’s captain, but it was no secret he was our poster boy. Everyone loved him, he was kind and patient. He was the one that kept me temper in check and translated when I refused to speak English, or couldn’t speak clearly enough. He was the first one at anyone’s side when they needed someone, whether he liked them or not. Everyone felt that loss but I could only think about myself. Getting clean should have been the end of it but I spun out of control. I was sleeping with so many strangers so often I was getting voluntary screenings every few months. Honestly, I just didn’t want to be left by myself. Now let me be clear, I’m not ashamed of the sex, it’s everything else. The drinking, the drugs, the poor eating habits, falling out of my fitness routine, I was a mess. I stayed a mess for years.