My Pain and I

I remember when I first began to realize I was crazy. There were thoughts in my head that scared me, feelings that were simply too big to explain or contain in such a small body. I recall laying on the cold tile floor alongside my childhood dog attempting to process the crippling anxiety that was taking place inside me when I thought about the concept of heaven. I couldn’t have been more than 10 years old.

It took years of therapy and white noise tapes and concentrated breathing practices to teach a young Kalee to stop pacing the halls of my home night after night instead of sleeping. For reasons I still can’t really explain, the sounds of crickets chirping in the dark would send me into a deep frenzy; I assumed that they were all sitting outside my window, carefully plotting all the ways to kill me, or at least ruin my sleep.

As I got older, I developed ways to conceal my disturbing thoughts. Sure I kept journals, wrote poems, even carved obscure phrases and lyrics into my desk tops in school- who didn’t? Though I pretended to be an active participant in my life, I’d roam the pathways of my high school in a daze, thinking not about assignments, not about making friends or the upcoming dance, but instead about how deers felt when they were being chased, what it’s like to be tied up in a basement, and crying in solitude at the idea of one of my less popular teachers dining alone.

I never really had a boyfriend until I was in college. Even then, we were only allowed to hang out on Sundays and I wasn’t supposed to refer to him as my boyfriend in front of people. I showed him a piece of my own writing once, and he looked at it like a weird bug who had happened upon his salad. The first time he saw me cry, he awkwardly patted me on the shoulder and sent me home on the 38 bus. He’s now married to a girl who smiles very easily and has nice straight hair.

I’ve read and re-read Girl, Interrupted enough times to lose count, and while books that speak of crazy women usually warm my heart and help me drift into an easy slumber, I remember realizing upon my last read that I am simply not crazy enough to be cared for. Nor am I regular enough to be loved.

For years, it was evident to friends, family, and acquaintances that I was no doubt odd, but that I would always be alright. I didn’t need to be studied, to be kept away from sharp objects or impressionable children. Quite the opposite, in fact. I was deemed an appropriate babysitter, a hirable candidate for virtually any customer service job, and an extremely capable student.

While my prickly disposition has (so far) kept me from being mugged, I’m arguably far less approachable than most girls my age.

If it ever seemed like I was going to fall apart, especially in front of people, my dad would usually tell me to wash my face and regroup with everyone in a few minutes. Potential lovers would backtrack out of any room or conversation if I showed signs of weakness, usually blaming the weird mood on my menstrual cycle or an off day. When things became too much to handle, I was brushed aside or left for good. “She’s fine” is probably the most common phrase that has ever been sent in my direction. Boyfriends would quickly replace me after months of emotional turmoil with a simpler model, one that usually looked similar to me, but seemed softer and less complicated.

As my 30s now seem like a short jog from the horizon, I don’t know if there will ever be a person- friend, lover, family, or otherwise- who will completely accept all of me. There are so many contradictions and frustrations that bubble beneath the surface of this 5 foot frame. There are days where I am completely in control of myself, my humor and my joy, and there are months where I feel like an open, walking organ without any skin to protect me- all my wounds and scars available to the naked eye. Neither seem appealing to anyone in close radius.

Being loved really isn’t all that big of a deal, especially if you’re not a sucker for Nicholas Sparks novels [movies]. It’s not that hard to fall for someone with big eyes and a cute smile. I can attract love with my words, the way I move my hands, the gifts I give, the way I laugh. For me at least, it is profoundly deeper and more meaningful to be understood.

The moments where I have felt safe and just allowed to¬†be have been few and far between. I am simply not crazy enough for the passionate, yearning, toxic love, and not simple and gentle enough to bring home to the parents. My assumption is that I will always float around in this strange purgatory of living with a not-believable-enough mental illness. I will make my way through life with an easy assumption of strength. For years to come, my parents will tell everyone that I am “fine” and that I can “handle it”, while I’ll actually be sitting in a weird corner panicking about the next social event I might be invited to, or wondering if everyone is staring at my left eye because it’s smaller than the other.

I often wonder if I’m one personal crisis away from lining my bedroom walls with jars of pee, or if I’m going to become the greatest written voice every millennial has ever asked for.

Stay tuned.


Alright Already!

Next month, I will be celebrating the 4 year anniversary of beginning this blog. It’s weird to think that a broken heart and a lot of boredom after undergrad prompted me to shell out $12 a year for my own domain and a space to complain. This blog has taken so many directions over the past 4 years. It’s been funny, it’s been super sad, romantic, vicious, cathartic…

I met my first fan last year while I was drunk in a bar, and it was probably the single greatest thing that has happened to me in my 27 of life. That was until I received my first acceptance letter from a Creative Writing program last Monday. I knew that I had been slacking on my blog, so stupid me, wine drunk and giddy at 2 in the afternoon (don’t judge) already started working on all the perfect little witty, yet inspirational quips about never giving up on your writing dreams and persevering through a joke of a writer’s salary while maintaining your lingering alcoholism.

Cut to yesterday afternoon when my employer informed me that our company was tanking and I could “take a break” on writing for now. Oh, cool. I can take a break on my main source of income? Sick.

So basically, I got to enjoy my “go me, I’m smart” moment for barely 2 days! What kind of horse shit is that?

Isn’t that the way it goes though? Isn’t the universe constantly testing us, trying our patience? Last May, I remember driving my friend Danny to his hair appointment before binge drinking and I said, “I feel like things are finally turning around for me!”

Mind you, this is following a marital separation, a car break in, $3,000 worth of car repairs, 10 instances of over-drafting my bank account, online harassment, and a public meltdown at Cabo Cantina. I feel like I’m leaving something out. Anyway, about 5 seconds later I slammed into another driver and totaled my little Beetle. Danny missed his hair appointment too.

A big part of me wants to be so pissed. I just want everyone who reads this to feel like they can do great things, that they can pick themselves up after the biggest of shitstorms, and maybe even feel empowered to be a writer. I realize, though, that sitting here gushing about my successes and my dreams isn’t what brought me a following in the first place. I got dumped by a cute Iranian guy and lived with my mom and her cats to create this. I went through terrible relationships and weird job shit and a fucked up president and being a semi-functional human being to write this.

Even though my bank account is stressing me out and I kind of feel like a weird loser, there is so much validation is every post view, and even one little letter from a school in Chicago. I’ve done it, I’ve done everything I’ve sought out to do. Where there some set backs? Fuck yeah. Are you going to experience some too? Definitely.

I hope that there is no roadblock too big that stops you from being who you are, or from finding an outlet that serves you creatively.

I know this isn’t my best work, but I’m still doing my best to hold on to this part of me, this blog. I’m still around, taking 2 steps forward and 10 steps back every time. But at least I’m walking right?