I think the first time I ever felt truly and deeply alone was when I figured out that the love and security that one human can give to another is flawed beyond the control of either party.
I was twelve. My Grandmother, who had been my best friend and close confidant for what I could remember of my life, was dying. She had an inoperable brain tumor that was causing her to slowly and painfully lose most of her mental and physical faculties. I'd known for quite a while that she was going to die. Dealing with that at such a young age is difficult enough, but then fate had to tack on the mental distress just to be a pain in the balls.
One morning, before school, I heard her yelling in the back bedroom and my mother crying and trying to call my Grandfather to get him to come home from work.
"Stay with her for just a minute, baby," she asked me. "She's real scared right now."
She didn't have to add that last part, I saw it in her eyes as I sat down on the bed and tried to comfort her. As I took her hand she focused on me and begged through tears for me to take her home. I tried to explain to her that she was home, and she just looked away as if I didn't understand. She wanted to be back at her childhood house, and I was no better than a kidnapper keeping her from that location. She cried, scared and alone, and I cried in the same fashion.
When you're a child, the people who love and nurture you might as well be made of impenetrable steel. To watch them crumble, when you are crumbling yourself, is something you never forget. I was trying to comfort her and tell her that everything was going to be ok, when all I wanted was for her to do that for me.
But she couldn't anymore. No matter how much she ever loved me or was capable of loving me at that moment, she couldn't do all the things she used to do for me when I felt scared and alone.
I realized that at any point, the person you love most in all the world can leave you. Even if they're sitting in the same room. That a stranger is lurking behind the eyes of even the person you trust the most.
I didn't really handle this whole idea very well.
When she died I started 'sleeping' a lot. I'd go to bed at six o'clock at night. It was so bad that my mom even took me to the doctor to see if there was something physically wrong with me. What she didn't know was that I wasn't really sleeping that whole time. I was living in whatever imaginary world I'd decided to place myself in to escape reality. In my head I could be anyone, be loved by anyone, save anyone...
The problem is when you do this; when you simply escape from all the hurt and the pain that you don't want to deal with, you end up creating a pattern of not dealing with the issues at hand. You get so good at escaping your problems that you find a plethora of other ways to avoid them.
Some people smoke pot, some people work out, some people clock 18 hour days.
Me. I write, or drink, or watch douchebags pick up grenades in overpriced clubs on MTV.
The thing is, a couple of years ago, I had a lot of safety nets surrounding me there for a while, so that even when I did fall, I knew someone would be there to catch me. And now it feels like they're all falling away. And without the drinking, or the writing, or the atrocious television it's difficult to deal with all those yucky feelings people spend thousands of dollars trying to get rid of. I know there are a whole lotta pills I could take to make all of these problems go away, and I don't begrudge those that do, but then I just wouldn't be me. And I like being me too much.
So, once the smoke clears, and I've taken the time to get to know each and everyone of my very special problems maybe I can actually work them out and send them off to torment some other poor fucker. One thing is for sure, I can't just keep shoving them in the closet so I can pretend to be who I want to be.
I think that'll be my super belated New Year's resolution. I think I need to figure out how to love myself. Not love being myself, not love how other people see me... I need to learn to love myself enough to be my own safety net.