Friday, July 7, 2017

Manic Pixie Dream Girl

I know a psychiatrist isn't supposed to function as a therapist, but mine does. Well, he has so far. Up until this last dramatic explosion in my otherwise dramatically nondramatic life (yes, that actually means something, although it might only make sense to me). Either way, that's what he called me. Or, rather, I should say, that's what he said I was in danger of becoming- the manic pixie dream girl. I look back on a few relationships and times in my life and I can see his point. Yes, I was someone's manic pixie dream girl. Yes, that makes me angry. It makes me angry that I allowed it, that I was being used as someone's elixir of life. I don't want to be anyone's stock girl who is never expected to step outside of her box, that can be taken off the shelf when someone's ego needs to be stroked or when he needs to be reminded of his masculinity or virility or desirability or because he wants to feel like there is a perfect, unchangeable, damaged but intoxicatingly so, female version of himself out there in the aether just waiting for him to fall into her arms. 

I can't be that manic pixie dream girl. I am damaged, and it's not intoxicating. I am so damaged it will take your breath away. I am so damaged that unless you've known me my whole life long, there is no living thing that could dream of being with me in love or friendship or even in the same line at the grocery store. 

To those who were led to believe I am something I am not, I am sorry. I'm seeing an actual therapist- not a psychiatrist- for the first time since I was 5 years old on Tuesday. Maybe, eventually, I can sort some things out and be unboxed and alive again. 

Your manic pixie dream girl

Monday, July 3, 2017

I Don't Forgive

Please remember that there was once a little girl named Jillian Ashley who died on July 4, 1993. She'd be 36 years old now. She might have been a veterinarian. There might have been a man who loved her, and a man she loved. I may have nieces and nephews, and my children would have an Aunt Jill. My mother would never know what it's like to be a mother who's lost a child. 

I'd have never seen the process of a human body as it's dying, nor felt a human heart as it's breaking, or a soul as it's falling apart.

While you're spending the day with your perfect little families, having your picnics, laughing and playing and celebrating summer and whatever bullshit this day has come to mean, watching your fireworks and holding hands with your love while being grateful for all that you have and everyone you love, please remember a little girl who never got the chance to have what you have; a little girl the whole world forgot except the people who loved her; a little girl nobody knew except the few people who come to know a person in 11 years of being alive. 

She was my sister. She sneaked into my room and slept at the foot of my bed when she was scared at night. She laughed at all the things I didn't. She loved in ways I never could. But I was allowed to live while her life was taken away. 

Have fun tomorrow. Giggle. Hold hands. Feel grateful. Kiss. Lie in the grass and daydream in wonderment. Aggrandize your beautiful life and all the perfect things in it. 

By then, you've already forgotten my sister. 

Lucky boy. Shall there never come a day when you become a parent who's lost a child, or when your daughter or son has to stand over their sister's hospital bed and watch as her soul leaves her body, knowing she'll never sneak into their room at night and sleep at the end of their bed. 

I hope you never become the one who relives that day over and over again every year while the whole world forgets that there once existed this beautiful little girl who doesn't exist anymore. 

I hope you never have to live the rest of your life with people who have no idea what to say to you, so they say "She's in a better place," and it takes all you have not to slice them from ear to ear so they, too, can go to that better place. Or they say "Heaven gained another angel," and it takes all you have not to ram a knife into their back to make room for their own wings. Or maybe they say, "Obviously, God needed her for bigger things," and it takes all you have not to find this god person and disembowel him slowly while waterboarding him with isopropyl alcohol. 

If you are a parent, I want you to imagine your child lying on a hospital bed. Unconscious. She's been that way for 3 days. The doctor has told you the damage done to her brain by the meningitis is fatal. In fact, she is only now being kept alive by the machines she is connected to and you should start making phone calls to any family members who might want to come and see her before she dies. 

Close your eyes and look at your child. Trust me, she won't look the same. Because of the IV fluids, she'll look bloated. Her skin will be a bit pallid. Her eyes will be closed. Although you've heard what the doctor just said, you still wait for her to wake up and sit up in her bed any moment. But she doesn't. 

But it's not that simple. Death is never that simple. The reality of life doesn't stop being harsh just because your child is dying. You have to think about a funeral. Where's her favorite dress? How does all this work? You've never planned a funeral before. Is there a catalog or something? How do you plan it? Is it like a wedding.... only sad? 

There are about 40 or 50 people sitting out in the waiting room. Even though they are all people you love and who love your child, you still feel like you can't even grieve in private. 

Then, the time comes. The doctor asks if you want to be present when they turn off the machines. You know you do. You were there when this baby came into the world; you held her, you kissed her, you cried and looked at her perfect little body in wonder, you stroked her hair and were amazed that she was actually yours. Now, she needs you to be there when she leaves the world. She needs you to hold her and kiss her, look at her perfect body in wonder, stroke her hair and still be amazed that you were given 11 wonderful years with her, that she was actually yours. 

Go ahead and imagine that feeling. Holding your 11-year-old baby daughter in your arms, stroking her hair, your tears falling onto her face. The room is silent except for the sound of the machines, until the moment comes when the doctors eyes meet yours and you tell him with a glance that it should be now or it will be never. 

The heart monitor slows to a stop. You cradle her and sing the song you used to sing while you nursed her as a newborn. Look at her face. Feel her body in your arms. Still warm. Still the way you remember her feeling the last time she hugged you with her eyes open. 

The doctor gives you as much time as you need to be with your child for these last moments in this life, but eventually you know it's time. It's time to lay the body of your child down and let her go. 

Let her go and watch the world forget. 


Saturday, July 1, 2017

They're All Gonna Laugh At You one had even spoken to me. I tried. I tried to ask the security guards if I could speak to a nurse. No response. I tried to ask what was happening to me. No response. The only things I ever heard the security guards say were jokes about the other patients on the ward, and jokes about me. They laughed at me for crying. They laughed at my size and how I looked wearing the paper scrubs. They laughed when I asked if I could take a shower and one said to the other “Where the hell does she think she’s going, on a date?”