Lost and Found.

Amazing grace

How sweet the sound

I once was lost

But now I’m found.

The thump of the bass drum interrupts my train of thought as it echoes inside my chest. I want to sing along, but at this point, I cannot help but spend this time with myself in my head. I have managed to find my place in the nosebleeds. I can’t see a damn thing, but I don’t mind. In fact, I prefer it. Back here, I am a spectator rather than a partaker; a fly on the wall, safely tucked away from the inevitable alter call. Embracing this rare opportunity, I assess my surroundings from my cozy spot in the farthest corner of the auditorium’s balcony. Below me, there is a sea of hands above heads swaying to renditions of old hymns and anthems about oceans setting people free. I am growing a sincere appreciation for my nosebleed seat as I pinpoint other outsiders with mouths closed and hands to their sides. The mix of hand wavers and non-swayers is somewhere between somber and comical from this vantage point. Before my mind can think anything of it, my heart flutters. A slight sense of anxiety begins to pulse through my nervous system. It isn’t hard for me to empathize with these outsiders quietly drowning in the ocean of believers below as they begin an odd, yet emotional chorus about losing themselves. A sharp tear threatens to pierce the space between my eyelids, but I promptly wipe it away before it can fully take form.

Amongst the throngs of seekers beneath me, one group remains unmoving as if floating in the surrounding ocean of arms reaching toward an eternity somewhere above the clouds. Compared to the others, they look like statues tossed into the stormy waters. They stand firm as the waves churn around them; it is all they can do to keep their heads above water. But these aren’t statues. They are people with functional brains and hearts and legs. They don’t have to be here. Come to think of it, I don’t have to be here either… Then why are they here?

Perhaps they- perhaps we are afraid of falling into faith without being sure that Holy arms will be ready and willing to catch us. Perhaps we are worried that any sudden change of heart might result in a futile thrashing about in the seas of our souls and will do nothing but actualize the apprehensions of our dour fates.

I often wonder… Were the worshipers once like this? Like us? This morning, they seem to be lost in the words and the music. They cannot help but thrash around in unison, as one body. In fact, they seem to enjoy it. Is it possible that they find joy in this? Does the joy seep out in heaps of tears from their souls when they are not tucked safely inside this sanctuary?

Once upon a time, did they look like me? Were their heads hanging, souls searching, bodies beaten down and tired when they first sauntered into this cross covered building? Or were they born with this faith in the invisible? Are there only some of us cursed with this heaviness, this innate awareness of the inevitable end that defines our mortality?

Worship_0

I try my hardest to hold steadfast to my role as a fly on the wall, but I can no longer ignore this unique sister of fear that has taken residence in my core. Instead of observing, I have begun to project my own misgivings. Once upon a time, it was me in that sea. I was a statue, then I was a worshiper. I was empty, then I was filled. I was hurting, then I was healed. Today, I feel like I am somewhere in the middle.

Some days, I empathize with the joyful; I am one of them. With hands outstretched toward the awaiting eternity with my Savior, I sing with an immense joy in my assurance of things hoped for and my faith in what I cannot see. However, that is not always the case. Some days, like this day, I doubt. I forget how to feel. I don’t bother praying for my soul to be healed. On these days, the lump in my throat makes standing in silence much easier than singing songs about joy and faith and love. Then, the song is over. The lights turn on, chairs creak as swayers and statues alike find their seats. Someone preaches, but God’s word is what truly speaks.

As I walk back to my car, I see people. Some of them are laughing. Some of them are walking together or alone in silence. Others are wiping away tears or kneeling together with heads bowed and hands intertwined as they whisper supplications and gratitude to their Savior. Now, there is no way for me to identify the partakers from the spectators. All I see are souls. I see the lost. I see the seeking. I see the found. I was blind, but now I see.

I see that we are all the same.

Birthdays. 

Today is my birthday. It is the anniversary of the commencement of my life. From the age of seventeen, I have chosen to spend this day in solitude carrying out my own traditions. The first thing I do every birthday is pray. It is not a long or drawn out plea. It is a simple question. I ask God for one thing once a year. “Lord, please take these memories away.” Every year, I pray and wait for the big man upstairs to do something.

I give him a solid thirty minutes to respond to my birthday wish and make up for his failure to intervene whenever I may have needed him in the past. Then, after about half an hour of sitting patiently, I notice that nothing changes. The recollections continue to haunt me, and I am forced to continue this quest to forgetfulness alone. I decide once again that for the next three hundred and sixty-five days I must take matters into my own hands. I pop open a bottle of whiskey, point it toward the sky, and mutter a few last words, “Until next year, my friend. You cannot seem to help me, so I might as well help myself.” Then, I bring the bottle to my lips, and I drink. 

When I am not praying or drinking, I try to distract myself with work or other people in an attempt to push these flashbacks into the darkest, deepest corridors of my mind. Everything will be fine as long as I manage to keep the memories of those nights at bay. Alcohol is the glue that keeps my sanity together as I shove the past away from my present state of being. Every birthday, I remind myself that my brain is a vault. It is a vault that carries no emotion. It will only carry the fact that the events occurred. This vault inside my head is the only safe place to hide those heart racing, gut wrenching moments from my past. It is the only place that can take feelings of regret and bitterness out of the picture long enough to let alcohol replace their emptied seats.

Don’t get me wrong. I know there are other methods for moving on from the past. I have tried almost all them too. Yet time after time, drinking has proven to be the most efficient way to reach at least a temporary version of the kind of amnesia I crave. Despite the amazing track record alcohol has when it comes to helping me forget, I cannot help but remain acutely aware of the bitterness that often accompanies excessive consumption of this sweet nectar.  With that being said, although I keep a bottle of Maker’s Mark on deck, I will always keep prayer a birthday priority. 

After all, you never know when God might decide to show up. Maybe one of these times I will be there waiting on God and out of the blue, I will be thrown from my chair as the Earth quakes under the resounding trumpets announcing Heaven’s acknowledgement of my cry! Perhaps God will reach down, scoop me up, and plop me on his shoulder as we travel back in time together. In stunned silence, I might one day gaze at his majesty as he takes a skyscraper-sized eraser and eliminates every single hideous memory from my childhood! Or not. I know that is a bit far fetched, but deep down I would like to think that everyone will get at least one teeny tiny miracle in his or her lifetime. I feel like now more than ever, a lot of us our especially in need of divine intervention.

I have not always been the jaded cynic I am today. It was not until I started teetering into adulthood that I began to realize those emotions I tried so hard to avoid were present in every single decision, situation, and person I encountered day in and day out. I am not sure when I started waking up to the stale stench of my meth head of a mother, Stacey. Perhaps it is all in my imagination. Or maybe it has always been there, and its constant presence has made the disgusting aroma impossible to ignore any longer. I am afraid that it has become a part of me. 

Stacey was not your conventional mother-type. I never really had a father either. Of course, Stacey would disagree to both of those accusations wholeheartedly. We did not talk much, but when we did, the dialogue had a habit of escalating at an alarming rate. Our brief conversations usually consisted of demands and dismissals followed by harsh words and ridicule. I yelled at her about using, and she made her boy-toy of the week teach me a lesson. Then, I avoided speaking to either of them for days, sometimes weeks at a time until she apologized or I forgot why I was angry to begin with.

During those bouts of silence in my teenage years, I spent most of my days thinking and drawing. Oftentimes, school counselors and teachers tried to peak at my drawings, but I always kept my sketchbook close. It was for my eyes only. I knew deep down that the violent drawings of the dark spirits from my head were not normal. I knew better than to show them off and end up in the guidance counselor’s office or worse. I floated through elementary and middle school staying just below the radar of teachers and counselors. I was smart enough to know that I had to keep up some sort of social life during my time at school. I had seen too many peers taken away due to their lack of social skills and exposure of drama from home. I made it a point to get myself to school every day for a long time. I knew school was my only shot at growing up better than the empty woman who gave birth to me. Outside of school, I usually kept to myself.

It was around my tenth birthday when things began to change. Stacey’s new boyfriend, Ray, was spending a lot of time at our apartment. Him and Stacey would sometimes take needles and inject themselves with what I now know was heroin. Usually when this happened I would go on a walk or draw in my room. I knew that on average, I would have a few hours of peace and quiet while they just laid there somehow enjoying their latest poison. I had to time everything perfectly if I wanted to stay out of trouble. Once they made the switch to dope, it did not take long for me to realize the dangers of getting caught in the crossfire while they were coming down. 

Usually I made sure to leave the apartment at that time. If not, Stacey would usually hurl insults and objects at me for just looking at her the wrong way. That was par for the course until she started seeing Ray. All she had to do was raise her voice a notch or two for him to come stomping into my room. She liked to think he was her loyal pit bull terror, ready to pounce at her beck and call, but I knew it was because he just wanted to take any and all action necessary to cut off her annoying squeals of anger. Usually they were harmless, but one night, Ray’s anger reached a new level that even Stacey couldn’t stop. 

__________________________________

It was the day after my tenth birthday. I was turning a new page in my sketchbook. Technically it was my art teacher, Mr. Green’s sketchbook before I swiped it from him the week before as a birthday gift to myself. I was in a good mood that evening, so instead of the usual drawings of goblins and demons, I doodled a couple cartoons of Ray and Stacey falling over and laying on top of each other passed out. I also tried imagining what angels would look like if they were real. I never could get the wings to look like they did in my head. Sometimes I told myself that if I could draw an angel that was close enough to the real thing, God would send one as a token of gratitude for keeping my cool through all the shit I put up with.

After I got tired of the cartoons, I tried drawing an angel named Gabriel. One of my religious friends at school told me that he was the most powerful angel in God’s army. I didn’t believe in her God, let alone his rockstar angel, but I tried to create him on paper anyways. I wanted to see if he would be able to save me. While I was fixing Gabriel’s wings, I guess I lost track of time. I heard Ray yelling about cash missing from the freezer. He was scary when he got like that. He had a tendency of using his former college football skills to destroy everything around him in hopes that whatever he needed might reveal itself within the wake of his destruction. Usually he took his anger out on Stacey. She never protested from what I could hear.

I was rushing to pack an overnight bag when I heard an uncharacteristic yelp from Stacey. Suddenly, I felt a sense of uneasiness sounding an alarm in my body. For a moment, I was paralyzed. I wanted to scream. I wanted to leave my things and sneak out my second floor window, but I couldn’t. I quickly realized that something was different. He was angrier than usual. He was louder than usual. Then, Stacey was quieter than usual. I was concerned for her, but my nerves had me glued to the floor. I was not going anywhere.

I looked at my feet, but all I noticed was my heart pounding against the walls of my ribcage like a prisoner trying to break free. Just when my fight or flight response convinced me to start flying out of there, I saw Ray storm into my room accompanied by an extension cord in his hands and a darkness in his eyes. He was grinning. That grin and those eyes made him seem almost identical to one of the spirits in my sketchbook. I couldn’t help but marvel at the similarities, so I continued staring.

I am not sure how long he was standing there, probably shouting at me before I felt the sting of power cord on skin for the first time. The pain was so foreign to me at first. I remember trying to run out of my bedroom when I felt the prongs sting my back as a sharp pain shot up my spine. I fell to my knees.

Quite sure that I was going to die that night, I went limp and closed my eyes as he dragged me. With all my heart and soul, I begged for God to send Gabriel soaring through my bedroom window to save me. In a round about way, God answered my prayers that night. Maybe you could call it a miracle. I kept pleading as he threw me onto the bed. Suddenly, before I was able to fully realize Ray’s twisted intentions, an army of soldiers dressed in black stormed through the front door. It may not have been Gabriel and his legions that saved me that night. The important thing is that I was saved. Instead of an angel, God sent scary men in black with three big yellow letters written on their backs.

__________________________________

That night was the closest thing to a miracle that I have ever seen. My prayers were answered, and I have been sailing in smooth waters ever since. I am using an isolated nightmare from my past to justify my alcoholic tendencies. Maybe I am. Or maybe that is not the end of the story. Maybe it is the beginning of a far more horrific tale. Maybe the Drug Enforcement Administration was followed by Child Protective Services. Maybe I never saw Stacey again. Maybe I celebrate my birthday the way that I do because despite the noble efforts of my federally funded social workers, there were more versions of Ray and Stacey with every foster home I stayed in. Maybe all of my nightmarish foster family experiences led to this tradition that I began at the ripe age of seventeen.

As much as I hate to admit it, there will never be a valid excuse for my excessive drinking habits. With that being said, I have a couple of parting thoughts while I earnestly wait for God to take action and respond to this morning’s prayer. According to our tradition, God has four more minutes before his time runs out this year, and we are forced to part ways once more. 

Maybe all this time God has been trying to tell me something in his silence. After all these years, I can feel that my resolve is weakening as I feel my self becoming more and more like Stacey and less and less like the ten year old girl drawing angels in her room. Perhaps this one time, I might try be more like that ten year old girl who with all her strength, listened to God a little longer, prayed a little harder, and believed that he could save even me as a his daughter.

Tainted.

Psalm 23, A Psalm of David: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Tainted.

I am tainted:
Used over and over again,
to the point that I am utterly useless.

I am contaminated:
Tarnished.
Blemished.

My heart has been misused.
I am not just blemished.
I am stained.
Stained with heartbreak.

Every day this stain sets in, wounding me.
It has now become a scar.

This makes no sense.
The only sensible statement
that I can stutter is that

I am slowly s-s-slipping.
Slipping into nothingness,
no one around me except
the nonsense in my head.

Anyone with
the audacity,
the nerve, or
the sheer courage

to tiptoe toward me is
one step away from a
slap in the face.

I didn’t intend to hurt you too.
So for now, I will simply
step on your toes as you
teeter toward the edge.

You don’t want to come into
this valley that has enveloped me.

This is
the valley
of the shadow
of death.

Death is lurking around

every corner

with every

step forward.

Sometimes I start walking,
hiking up this undefeatable mountain,
but every time,

EVERY.
DAMN.
TIME.

I slip.

When I slip,
I not only fall,
I roll over myself
until I am stopped.

Again.

Suicide is so tempting.
There is no one here.

I am a wounded animal,
lost in the wild.
Everyone is the enemy.

Yet slowly,
in my loneliness,
with my crippled soul,

I become my worst enemy.

Instead of attempting to
creep further from Death,
I turn toward her.

Once, I saw her face and
looked into her eyes, and
I managed to get out alive.

I was not as ready as I thought,
but I am afraid that someday,
I will not be so cautious when
Death creeps closer.

I am afraid
that someday
I will fall into
her embrace
and be trapped.
No turning back.

Her arms will engulf me.
I will ask for more time,
but she will not hear as
my muffled cries get lost
in the fabric of her gown.

“I have been waiting, my love,”
she will whisper to me softly
as I shudder in silence.

She will slowly take in my soul.

I will scream.

In my mind,
that is,
as I forget
the common
truth that…

…Death feeds off fear.

The only thing scarier than Death
is the thought of

continuing life

the way it is.

Why, then, am I scared?
Everyone is the enemy to me.

I survive by surrounding myself with silence.
To allow someone else into my solitude
means to release the key to my demise.

Another imperfect being will use it and
discover my deepest fear
with the click of a figurative lock
and the turn of a metaphorical doorknob
“Never again will I let another in,”
I promised myself.
Yet here I am.

Alone. I am alone,
yet the feeling of
loneliness evades me.

There is someone
approaching slowly.

“Evil is near.”
He whispers,
taking my hand.

My fickle, sorry self
cannot understand this
restoration of the soul
that begins to unfold.

I stop to ponder the mystery
of where I was and where I am.

Where is he taking me?

Despite the depths of sorrow
contained in this valley’s deep,
I cannot help but overflow
as heaps of fear fall at my feet.

Where has he taken me?

Suddenly the path is not so steep.
We stop. I have been here before.

He takes my hand again,
kissing my tainted skin.
“Rest near the water, love, in peace.”
Recognizing this river, I fall to my knees.

I see myself in the water,
not as I am, but as I was.

The reflection reveals
the darkest of nights.
Nights spent releasing
streams of sadness
from my eyes.

He wipes the latest tear away.
Trickling into this lake of sorrows
the smallest drop finds her place.

My skin softens under his caress.
“I have been waiting, my love.”
He whispers as I whimper,
cherishing every breath.

Big Fish.

[DISCLAIMER: This post goes against every mental rule I made for myself when I began this blog (i.e. rule number one- always write fiction.) However, it is something that I wrote a long time ago. I was reminded of this piece today and went back to it. Rereading my words, I realized as writers- By writer, I mean one who is able to place words onto a page and cast any and all inhibitions aside- despite what society says is artistic, appropriate, or sane. As writers, we have this rare gift of actually being able to speak to our future selves. It is a rather magical experience for one to receive words of advice from her former self. After reading, I felt like the old me made some points that are worth sharing. Welcome to a taste of time travel.]

The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Jonah 2:5-7

https://imageshack.com/f/f7bigfishjj
https://imageshack.com/f/f7bigfishjj
I absolutely love this passage. Even in my deepest, darkest times that were so far away from God and even myself, this passage never failed to pop into my head and speak to me.

Jonah’s story reminds me so much of my own. He was just a simple man who God spoke to one day. Christ gave Jonah a mission to go to this city of Ninevah. From the Bible’s description, Ninevah reminded me a lot of Las Vegas or any of the different college towns I have partied at in the past. Long story short, Jonah walked away from God and Ninevah to this random city in the opposite direction. He didn’t think this mission was worth his time.

Now I will point out that this is where Jonah and I differ. If God gave me a mission to go to Ninevah and spread his word, I would have packed my bags and traveled up there that very night. However, instead of proclaiming his name, I would have gotten wrapped into the partying, gambling, and who knows what else that was going down in the darkest streets of the city. If God asked me what I was doing, I probably would have just said I was building relationships with the people of the city so that I could reach out to them on a more personal level in the future. Bullshit. I would have literally tried to bullshit God, explaining how obviously my way was a better way of giving these people living in darkness access to his eternal light. That is exactly what I have been doing for the last five years of my life.

Enough about me, back to Jonah’s story. On his way to this city opposite of where God wanted him to be, Jonah hopped on this ship for the last leg of the trip. I like to think he wasn’t all that fond of traveling this way. I think he was that guy puking his guts out in the bottom rooms of the ship, completely seasick. When his stomach finally started to settle, Jonah was able to doze off for a nice, long nap. He was a pretty hard sleeper, completely oblivious to what was going on upstairs.

Meanwhile, the entire crew was screaming orders back and forth at the tops of their lungs, trying to battle the storm of the century. Their voices just getting lost at sea, landing on deaf ears. Rain drops tore through the sails like drops of fire, then feeling like bee stings on the faces of the captain and his men. Slowly each man on board began to realize that human force was powerless in this temper tantrum of the sea. They began to pray, chant, and worship the idols of their gods, begging them to stop the storm. The rage of the sea only grew stronger with every spiritual or magical plea.

Someone had the idea that something on board was angering the gods. They threw whatever they could overboard. I like to picture this part as these men who believed in something (they weren’t sure exactly what) knew that their daily habits were not pleasing to whatever higher power that was out there. I like to picture them throwing liquor, wine, and maybe sex toys or porn overboard. They probably threw their most prized earthly possessions over, hoping that would help. They took what little treasures they had and tried to sacrifice those overboard to calm down the anger of the gods.

This was still not working. Then, as the captain tore through the rooms at the bottom of the boat, he saw Jonah. He shook Jonah out of his slumber and begged him to find a solution the issue. Jonah was still pretty out of it, so the Captain temporarily gave up on Jonah having an answer, and he and all his men decided to draw straws. Maybe that would help identify who could have possibly angered the gods so much to put them through this storm that was surely about to be the end for everyone on board.

Predictably so, Jonah drew the short straw. He finally admitted to them his entire story of running away from the Hebrew God of Jacob. He came to terms with his mistakes and told the men to throw him overboard, and he knew that paying the consequence for his actions would take God’s anger and therefore calm this torrent. At first, they refused. These men were beginning to realize a lot about their gods and the God of Jonah at this time. They were not ready to face whatever price they might have to pay for throwing a man into the doom of this storm. Finally, after they realized the storm was getting more furious the more they kept talking, they decided that fulfilling Jonah’s wish was the only option remaining.

So they did.

As Jonah flew overboard into the waves crashing below, he accepted his defeat. He thought for sure this was it for him. No matter how gracious his God had been in the past, he knew his God was also an angry and a just God. And he had the audacity to spit in this God’s face. The next thing he remembered was sheer darkness.

Jonah had passed out and woke up in a dank, dark, murky cave. He tried to get out of it, but the cave would just rumble every time he tried. Finally after a few hours, Jonah saw this light… It was a horizontal line of light. And he began to realize where he was. He was looking through the bowels of an insanely ginormous sea creature. Somehow, God allowed him to see the light of the sunrise through the mouth of this great fish. He saw the same light come and go three times total. During that 72 hour period of torture, Jonah prayed that prayer I recorded at the top of this page. Despite the feelings of doom and gloom he experienced during the first two days in the belly of that creature, Jonah finally was able to thank God for allowing him to live through this experience. He knew he deserved death and so much more. God chose to give him life, even this life of temporary darkness… Jonah knew that in reality, he had been living in darkness long before he was cast out of that ship and swallowed up by this creature.

Shortly after Jonah’s final confession and prayer of thanksgiving and realization to God, the sea creature spit Jonah out back onto the shore. He washed up on shore, crawling in the sand, barely able to handle the beaming light of midday sunshine above. After three days and three nights of repentance and realization, Jonah finally fulfilled his purpose and traveled to Ninevah.

The rest of the story can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible in the book of Jonah. To sum it up, Jonah wasn’t perfect, and he actually fell back into another argument with God. He disagreed with the way God decided to deal with this city. Adamantly telling God that he knew it all along. He knew this city would be given too many chances to change from an overly gracious God.

I am sure later on in life, Jonah told his children and his children’s children this story. At this part in the story, I can imagine him grinning from ear to ear.

“Yes young ones, I was actually stupid enough to stick to this argument without realizing God’s grace that I was so busy criticizing, was the reason I was still breathing enough hot air to continue living and ranting that day.”

I want to stop the story telling right here. The thing I love about Jonah’s story, is that it isn’t ever finished. As far as I know, the Bible never talks about whatever happened with Jonah. I don’t think this lack of completion is because Jonah never did anything more to fulfill the purpose that God gave him. I believe that God wanted Jonah to convey his sinful human nature and God’s grace to the rest of the world for centuries to come.

Like Jonah, I have been back and forth battling the same battles with God for years. I am still figuring things out, but despite all of the obscenity and misrepresentation of my “Christian” life so far, God continues to stand by me. Like Jonah, I actually had times where I told God to give up and leave me alone. I remember specific scenes of my life story where I literally faced a situation that I knew would hurt my Father, I turned away from the situation briefly enough to look my God in the eyes, make sure he saw me turn my back on his light, and follow that path of darkness instead.

I can only imagine what will happen the moment I turn back, look into God’s eyes again, and follow him.

Stop The Stigma People! 😁

The reason I write what I write is not because I am suffering from this, that, and the other when it comes to mental illness. Have I struggled with one or more of the diagnoses listed in this post? Yes, along with other friends and family members as well. I have had my battles just like one in every four of your colleagues and friends have been diagnosed with some type of mental illness year after year. There are many reasons I write how and what I write. There are many people and events that inspire these stories that I write. I write to remind my readers of one thing — You are not alone. Somewhere out there someone else has felt the same gut wrenching emotion you are feeling right now. Do not give up. Read my words and please, stop the stigma.

Living Resiliently Blog

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Control.

The crying is what I remember most from that day.

No matter what I did, she would not stop wailing. I never intended for things to turn out this way. It all happened so fast. I guess this is the first time I have really taken a second to recall each scene, clip by clip. You of all people must understand how much I loved, I mean, how much I really do love her. From the minute I saw little Lainey, she was my everything. Remember when I sang her to sleep with our old Beatles album on the record player, and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds would crackle through the speakers? Whenever we sang her to sleep, substituting Lucy with Lainey, her smile was so alive, yet timid at the same time. I never understood how one little human could convey so much emotion in just a smile. Do you remember?

In your last letter, you asked me why I did it. Let me correct myself, you asked me that same question in every letter you have written since my first week in this hell hole. The shrink here calls it emotional reasoning. Basically she says that talking or thinking about the day it all happened makes me feel heartless, so I start believing that I am incapable of love or being loved. In other words, I have convinced myself I am void of a heart, and in turn, void of exuding or receiving any type of emotion at all. She says it is a defense mechanism. I decided to stop thinking about it in order to avoid those emotions, and that was why I never acknowledged when you would bring it up in your letters.

I cannot say that I completely understand or agree with all that psycho babble, but I guess she is usually right with that kind of stuff. Either way, she is making the consequences sound kind of harsh if I continue with this “pattern of thinking.” She is reading all of my outbound and inbound mail until she sees that I’m answering your inquiries about that day.

I don’t like this abuse of power, but I have been meaning to give you an explanation for quite some time. I do not think it will be what you are expecting or needing, but at least you will no longer feel ignored. I am sorry it has taken me almost three years to write this. I hope it gives you peace.

You want to know why I did it, but please, let me preface with a few questions for you. Why does one get into a car accident? Why do kids shoot other kids? Why do marriages end in adultery and divorce? These are all situations that are out of one’s control. Do you follow me? Probably not. I guess I am trying to say that some of us go through our entire lives as good people with the best intentions. However, even the best person can have a bad day and act off of a negative emotion in the worst way. Sometimes, one split second decision changes everything.

What I did that day, when I grabbed her like that… It was out of my control. So much was already happening that day. Before I knew it, I was yelling and screaming, begging her to stop crying. My hands were shaking as I continued to boil with bitterness toward my life sentence of motherhood alone. I am not blaming you for leaving us, I am only trying to explain that I was tired. I was frustrated. I was not cautious enough, and I was angry.
One minute, my trembling hands picked her up from the crib, still crying. The next, it was not only my hands that were shaking. It was also her head violently moving as if it was only connected to her neck by a few threads, back and forth, back and forth, like some old rag doll. Suddenly, I realized what I was doing, so I dropped her back into the crib. After that, I do not remember much. I can only remember the silence.

Silence was all I heard for a long time. Then, there were sirens.