I haven’t written a single poem so far this year. I spent New Year’s Eve and Day in a psych hospital because I was falling apart. The doctors there didn’t even adjust my medication. I just needed to be in a place where it was impossible to kill myself. I wanted to die after what that man did to me. It still hurts to think about, so I’m just trying to turn the page, close the book, and burn down the library. All without hurting myself of course, because hurting myself is a maladaptive coping response, and I’m not doing that anymore. I’m not. Really, I’m not. For real this time. This time is different from all the other times I’ve gone to the hospital or residential treatment or any other kind of specialized psychological treatment. This time is different. Because I will die if it’s not.
The hospital I was in during the 29th-2nd was a crisis stabilization center, so I was discharged after three nights. There was a week of limbo where I was on leave from work and technically on winter break from school, so all I had to fill my days was AA and time spent on Colette’s front porch, chain-smoking and staring off into space, wondering how I’d gotten into such a jungle. I’d ask her about the jungle, and she’d say it was a safe jungle, that the animals were nice, even the snakes (don’t think about snakes don’t think about snakes I’m thinking about snakes). Colette is such a good friend. Sometimes, fish swim on the house across the street from hers, and they’re beautiful. It reminds me of that movie about the boy who becomes trapped on a raft with a tiger. There’s this scene with all these amazing special effects with ocean creatures, and that’s what Colette’s across-the-street neighbor’s house looks like.
I know it’s only Christmas lights. I know that. Really, honestly, I do.
I’m trying to tell you about what happened after I got out of the hospital.
I went to another hospital. This one was a long-term inpatient treatment center in New Orleans. They have four different units, and the one I was on specialized in trauma-related disorders such as PTSD, dissociative identity disorder, etc. I stayed there for four weeks, and I was discharged this morning.
There are songs I can’t listen to. “Free Fallin'” is one. That one with the guy yelling, “From the windooooow/to the wall!” is another. “Free Fallin'” would come on the radio at the hospital in NOLA, and I’d panic, and Henry, the snake who (used to?) live inside my body would sing it to me all night long until I took a Xanax and passed out.
It started when I was six years old. An uncle, an air mattress, parents away on business, confident that their children were safe with family. Something about “non-protective bystanders,” something about how it wasn’t their fault for not knowing, something about how it wasn’t my fault for not speaking up because I was an innocent child.
I have problems with the word “innocent.” It implies being untouched by men, pure, clean, good, holy. As in: girls and women who are untouched by men embody those qualities. How Victorian of me to hold onto such prudish ideas. What about “Be a slut, do whatever you want!” Who even said that, anyway?
My doll is broken. They took her away at the hospital because they thought I was going to break her and use the shards to cut myself. That would be like breaking my finger off and stabbing myself with the bone.
I can’t write about this anymore. I’m supposed to be better now.