Are You Okay?

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A year-long spiral out of control culminated in a burning throat as my body violently rejected the bourbon I had forced into it. A part of me sat there, knowing I was a fucking mess. Another part, looked into the swirl of half digested dinner and thought, “What a waste of good Bourbon” 

As I staggered naked to my bed, a voice cut through the darkness. 

“Are you okay?” 

I am not sure of when I stopped being okay. 

Shortly before my mother passed, plans were being made. She wanted to see her grandsons. I wanted my children to have someone on my side of the family. I had grown tired of introducing them to “aunts” and “uncles” who were just the friends who stuck around after I became a parent. I wanted them to have real family, from my bloodline. A big part of being a parent is giving your children things you felt you missed growing up. I felt I missed out on having a family. They deserved to at least have relationships I hadn’t been afforded growing up.

I also hoped kids were the medicine my life needed. And mostly, they were. In becoming a father I moved past parties and recreational drugs, settling into a comfy pair of sweatpants and watching my waistline expand. I was hoping the same injection of purpose given to me would spread through members of my family. In an, I will admit, odd line of thinking, I hoped my kids would give my mother and various other family members a reason to be in my life. That they would be brought together by my sons and we might just yet have a large, smiling, family photo next to the christmas tree. For my kids to have “Grandma Chris” was a big deal to me.

On January 28th, after hearing the news that a heart attack took Grandma Chris before she got to hold her grandchildren, a piece of me died. I had tethered myself so tightly to the dream of my kids sitting happily in my mother’s lap as I looked on smiling that there wasn’t any way it not happening wouldn’t completely destroy me.

Have you ever watched as the ice splinters and fractures? Ice cold water pours through cuts to the surface, as the ice that held together so valiantly just continues to fracture into pieces. 

On the surface, it became easy to smile. How do you not? We live in a society where grieving periods last about as long as a trending subject on social media. Below the surface, demons awoke. For all the fights we had, they knew with the passing of my mother that I was weakened. Like ice, I fractured and the demons poured through the cracks. As I grew accustomed to doing over the years, I bit my lip and refused to acknowledge the problems. In ignoring my needs, I hoped they would just go away.

If I don’t feed you, you will die.

But, I was feeding my demons. I might not have been very public about the late nights sitting there nourishing them, but I fed them.

Beer. Cigarettes. Whiskey. Vodka.

I gorged them on love and lust, feeding them desire after desire. Infidelity and everything in between.

I sat there holding a match to my life, waiting for it to be caught in flames.

The family I felt I never deserved now watched me spiral deeper into my own madness. Random acts of assholery and rage.

If you don’t acknowledge the grief it turns into an anger that can completely engulf you.

A year of feeding your demons in the dark will leave you filled with all the wrong emotions. Not releasing those emotions doesn’t make you a harder person. It eats you alive.

In nine days it will be a year since I sunk into the darkness.

A year of trying to destroy everything.

A year of self sabotage.

A year of silent suffering.

“Are you okay?”

“We both know I haven’t been for a long time” 

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13 comments on “Are You Okay?
  1. I can relate to the not having family side of this. I see my mom a couple of times a year as we live in different states. The rest of the family has never been there, and now, at the old age of 44, I’m not sure I want them anymore. I have nothing in common with them and they were not there for me when I was little and being abused. My husband’s family is wonderful. So, I just stick with them.

    Big hugs to you.
    Lisa R. Petty recently posted…Social Media 101My Profile

  2. I’ve got nothing to offer but condolences. I’m so sorry that there is darkness. Thank you for writing, and sharing. 💜

  3. Britton. I am sorry to hear that your dream of a simple family portrait was taken away.
    I also cling on to my first born with goals of providing a sense of family that I didn’t have. He’s 8 months now and he’s only met one person from my side of the family. I have formed a grudge against my mother who has not made whatever arrangements necessary to meet her first grandson – typical.

    But you, and this post.
    I’m going to reach out to her and tell her how I feel, so that maybe together, my mother and I can give ourselves the sense of a family we’ve all never had, but so desperately crave.

    I hope you tell your kids how great grandma was, even if she wasn’t at times. And continue giving them the amazing childhood you deserved. And when you become a grandpa, you’ll have that Christmas portrait year after year.

    <3 best hopes.
    Momillennial recently posted…Weekly Reads for Millennials – 1/11/16My Profile

  4. I want you to not be hurting so badly. You have hurt far too much for one lifetime already. I do know what self-sabotage is like though and it’s a very hard way to live. I hurt many people I loved to punish myself before I ever broke that cycle and felt worthy of other people’s love. It’s a long road back, but you’ll find your way. I have no doubt. <3
    Melissa Mowry recently posted…A Single SnapshotMy Profile

  5. There you are. It’s been a while since you were actually present. This is hard. But you ripped off the bandage. Time to start the honest healing, my friend:)

  6. Know that you are an inspiration, even if you reject that fact, and write. And write. And love. Write some more. I hope you find peace in those cracks, I hope some day the light from it will banish some of the demons. Xo -T.

  7. When you open yourself up and pour all the bloody gory stuff out it’s a thing of beauty. But I also hope it’s healing. Grieving is different for everyone and has no time frame. And fuck those people who think it should swiftly dealt with and boxed up to never be spoken of again. Those people have either never suffered great loss or are lying to themselves and afraid to go there. As for self destruction… fight that shit. Please. I know you’re a fighter. You may never be “OK” in the old sense of the word, but you can be a different kind of “OK.”
    Gretchen recently posted…Ciara Exposes Cleavage, Ruins FootballMy Profile

  8. Saying you are not ok night be your first step in finding your way back there. As Gretchen says it might be a different kind of ok now. But you will know yourself that bit better too. Wishing you healing.
    Kiri recently posted…SignsMy Profile

  9. Pingback: Mystery! Blogger! Award! by Punk Rock Papa

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