My Daily Ransom

Facing the Unknown…

Side B – To the Man Who Loved Me — November 22, 2019

Side B – To the Man Who Loved Me

I’ve never dreamt of a man who would come rescue me. I never anticipated a spark of a love that would glow bright in a darken stretch of loneliness. Then you showed up.

We spent weeks divulging secrets we didn’t share with other lovers. We laid our hearts bare at each other’s feet and had the deepest confidence in our affection. It was pure, it was profound. It was more than either of us could ever envision.

We cultivated a life that we cherished and shared with those around us. Before we knew it we grew into a family and shared all aspects of our lives together. Long enchanting road trips that never became boring, nights of laughter and new experiences that we both loved. We traveled, we entertained ourselves, we adored one another.

Life wasn’t always perfect and I made my share of mistakes. But I will never regret the life we shared. I will hold our years close with fondness and growth. You showed me that I was capable of more than I believed and helped me accept the success I was achieving. For that alone, I am forever grateful.

Thank you for sharing nearly six years of your life with me. Thank you for loving me. Because of the man you are, I am now the woman I am today.

I hope this reaches you. I hope you know that our love was magic and that no matter what, I will hold Side B much closer to my heart.

To the Man Who Broke My Already Broken Heart — November 19, 2019

To the Man Who Broke My Already Broken Heart

I want to be angry with you because I feel like that might make healing easier. But I’m not angry, I’m saddened and heartbroken.

The lies that rolled off your curled tongue has stolen the trust I had for not only you but for myself. I no longer trust myself to believe the words that flow from another’s mouth into my ears. I question the genuineness of those who want to exist in my radius. The unprotected love I thrive to share with the world is starting to feel filtered. And that’s life altering.

Thoughtless phrases that trickled from your jaw to my center still ring in my head. Begging you to say something nice to me because I could not receive another put down no matter how innocent you perceived it to be. Replaying moments where I should have spoken up and loved myself more than I loved you. Allowing red flags to wave gently in my face as I pivoted away from them.

Through all of this pain and grief I’m searching for goodness, even a subtle hint. Although it’s uncomfortable to admit this, I feel like the goodness I’ve found is me. I loved you the best I could. I helped elevate you in ways that will stay with you forever. I was the other half of our home that I loved so much. Now I have to be that goodness for myself and do all those things I did for you, now for me. You exposed my weaknesses and through that I discovered patience & acceptance for myself. That’s a gift you gave to me through all the tribulations.

There’s no elegant way to end this piece of brain matter that I deem necessary to share. So, to the man who broke my already broken heart, I hope you read this and feel something.

Beginning Self Forgiveness — August 17, 2019

Beginning Self Forgiveness

I’ve made numerous mistakes in my life. I’ve also made right choices. It’s figuring out how to find that forgiveness for myself, the kind where I’m always open to understanding the shortcomings or imperfections of others and seeing why or how they feel and do those hurtful things. But I seem to hold myself at a different standard. Like I’m not allowed to have a misstep and if I do, then I don’t deserve the same love and understand that I share with those around me. How dare I not see clearly the first time and wade through all the bullshit and come out unscathed.

Now is the time I have to change for myself. To look into my swollen red eyes that burn with the tears that have fallen down my rosy cheeks. To tell myself that loving someone and trusting them isn’t something to be ashamed of when it ends up being a mistake. How many times has forgiveness fallen upon those who may not have earned it, at least not at the moment I gave it to them.

So how do I go about this forgiveness? Do I replay all the failures and misjudgments to see where I went wrong? Then will I understand why I did what I did? Or should I start with a clean slate, tell myself that from this moment on I will take care of myself. That I will fill my cup until it’s overflowing with so much self-love and respect that I will never allow another person to mistreat me again. That I will set boundaries with those I care about so that I can continue to learn about myself and have myself dignity.

But I know that I’ll make more mistakes in my life. I’m only human, right? So I can do all those things I just listed but I have to make sure I learn from what I’ve already lived through. I have to go back to how do I forgive myself, how do I trust myself? It’s important to rewind back in time and feel those emotions that I felt when I realized I had made a mistake. I’m still holding onto those mistakes today and not just the present ones that flood my heart and mind of all these misdoings I’ve allowed to happen to me or just accepted when I should not have. It’s reliving the past so that I can heal today because I deserve my own forgiveness. I deserve to truly forgive myself so I can learn to trust myself.

I’m going to take this journey of self discovery and forgiveness. I know it’s going to be a rough and painful descend as I release myself into the murkiness of past trauma but it’s something that has to be done. I’m not sure how long this expedition will last but I know it’ll take some time. I have to unravel the thread and find my way. Each knot untied should lessen the guilt and sting I have held onto for far too long. I have to focus on…me.

 

 

What and Where Are Your Fears? — July 1, 2019

What and Where Are Your Fears?

Fearful Girl
Fearful Girl

What are your fears? Where do these fears come from? Which ones follow you around each day lingering in the background waiting to pounce as soon as you’re ready to make a leap?

Just like happiness, I’m working on recognizing my feelings and understanding them when it comes to fears. Fear is a feeling that I’ve always struggled with, even as a small child. I’ve been afraid of my own feelings, my own thoughts and my own needs, along with unrealistic scenarios. I would fall into pits of fear and become frozen in that moment making it impossible to do what I really wanted or even speak the words I longed to hear slip from my tongue.

Recently, I’ve been able to look at my fears and see them for what they are. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever done but it’s also one of the best experience I’ve ever had, too. I’m not saying that I’ve conquered all my fears because that’s FAR from the truth. I still have many fears that I’ve struggled with my entire life but I do my best to work through them each day and not just dismiss them until they creep up again and overwhelm all my senses.

One of my major fears is speaking my truth about my feelings and needs. May times my empathy can take over and I’m afraid that what I want or need will ultimately take away from what the other person wants or needs. I’m starting to understand that speaking my truth doesn’t take anything away from someone else. It simply releases my needs and allows someone else to know what I’m feeling. Sharing my feelings isn’t dismissing theirs but intertwining our truths. But it’s so much easier to write that out than to actually do when it comes to that time. When that fear to speak hits me it’s like my throat, tongue and lips have turned to cement. I’m literally trying everything in my power to move them and speak the words that are playing in my head but nothing comes out. I’m terror-stricken to the point of complete silence and my entire body is numb and feels like I’m wearing a weighted vest that’s suffocating me.

Most of my fears are emotional fears, yes, but I have a few that go along with my grief. A fear that I now hold since my brother Josh passed and I was made a lone sibling. I’m afraid I’m going to die before my parents. That fear follows me no matter where I go and it’s the heaviest of all my fears.  I’m afraid that I’m going to make them into childrenless parents and that breaks my heart over and over again.

So what do we do with our fears and how do we handle them? Well, we have to make a game plan. We have to decide to take steps each day to recognized them and see them for what they really are. For me, writing them down, reading through them and breaking them down has helped me. I try to make a timeline of when I first felt that way and why. Was that fear founded in truth of the situation or was I just afraid to speak my truth, know the truth or accept the truth? Some fears have been there so long that we don’t know where they initially came from so you break it down from the last situation you felt that exact fear. Fears like to hide and manifest in many different ways. We have to do our best to stop ourselves in our tracks when we see our fears taking over. Even if you have to walk away from the situation for a few minutes to understand yourself, it’s worth it.

Fears are scary! They can do a lot of damage but they can also help us grow. Let your fears help you and take control of them.

 

What and Where Is Your Happiness? — May 28, 2019

What and Where Is Your Happiness?

What is your happiness? Do you even know what or where it is? Are you afraid of your happiness?

I’ve been working on finding my happiness or should I say happinesses. Sometimes I forget that I have happiness in many different aspects, in different moments, feelings, activities, shapes. Sometimes my happinesses last for seconds, minutes, hours, and days. But it always passes which is apart of happiness. It can’t last forever.

Yes, that’s the phrase we all hate to hear, “It can’t last forever.” because we never want the happiness to leave. We want to be happy forever and never feel sad or hurt. Our goal is to always be happy but that’s not life. Happiness is fleeting but only in that specific moment. It finds its way back to us even if it takes longer than we’d like.

For me happiness is something I feel a lot of guilt having and truly feeling. This is a topic I’ve spoken about many times. The guilt that I am privileged to experience sincere happiness when my brothers, Josh and Adam, and my Bubba (my step-dad) no longer get to have is heartbreaking. The guilt, in an instant, can be paralyzing. My happiness disappears and I feel angry or sadness about losing them. And people say, “But they would want you to be happy.” or “They wouldn’t want you to feel this way.” That doesn’t change the emotions I bear during these times. It makes no difference what they would want, it’s how I feel.

So what is MY happiness? How do I find it and accept it? I have started telling myself that I’m worthy of happiness. That no matter what I have or haven’t done in my life, no matter what I have or haven’t said in my past, I am worthy of feeling happiness. And since happiness leaves us so quickly, I can’t allow a split second of it to pass without fully participating in that moment.

So some of my happinesses come from little things and big events. My happiness is living back in Texas where I am able to be physically active each day. I can walk my pups in the morning and the evenings no matter the time of year. My happiness is being with my nontraditional family of my significant other and our pups. My happiness is laying on the couch with my dogs and man watching tv. It’s tasting that delicious dessert I’ve been craving for days (sometimes weeks!) and just allowing the pleasure of tasting it to take over my mind and body. My happiness is getting a text of the campsite where my Dad is staying or a SnapChat filtered picture from my Mom. My happiness is having a career that I enjoy. My happiness is planning for my future and things I want to accomplish. My happiness is laying in the sun reading a book. My happiness is talking with my best friends. My happiness is exploring new cities.

But I also have happiness in other aspects. My happiness comes from learning to love myself. Looking at myself in the mirror and actually LOOKING at myself. The happiness of being able to enjoy being myself fully and completely. The happiness of setting goals for myself and knowing I can accomplish them all. My happiness is knowing that I have talents and I cannot waste them any longer.

So, I’ve found happiness again. And yes, it’s always fleeting just like yours. But we have to know that we are worthy of our own happiness. A happiness that no one else can give us but ourselves. A happiness that no one else can take away from us. Remember, we can never be happy always. We have to have moments of growth in pain and anguish. And happiness may hide away from time to time. But keep working on finding that happiness again because you are worthy of it. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, you are. If I’m worthy of it, so are you.

 

“What Do You Want?” — February 17, 2019

“What Do You Want?”

Do you know what you want? You do ever ask yourself, truly ask yourself with a sincere tone as you would a dear friend, “What do you want? What do you need?”

We should all be talking to ourselves in a way we would our dearest friend who needs us. We should be our own best friend looking out for ourselves but I, myself, have an extremely difficult time doing that. I know I’m not unique in that which is even more heartbreaking.

I’m starting the plunge deep down inside my broken pieces, holding them up to the light and digging through the pain of the past to see where I want to go. I’m tired of the fear of the pain due to the past to continue to dictate the moves I make today. I can’t change what has happened in my life but I have to face those moments of earth shattering anguish to become a better person. Or at least see how I can grow from the deconstruction of what could have been.

Grief is a mistress in the dark lingering just behind that closed door. She jumps out without warning and pours her pain into your veins and shakes your thoughts to the ground. She fights to control your feelings as you melt into a puddle of misery. Your wounds are open and profound. Ask yourself, “What do I want?”

Do you want to stay in that puddle of torture? Do you want to continue to fear those thoughts that squeeze the life from you limbs?

I want to continue to love my brothers and my dad. I want to continue to remember how I felt with them. How a text or call could shine up my face. How their lives have fully intertwined into my soul and helped me become the person I am today, both the happy and the sad. I want to see the beauty in the world and not just the darkness that softly flows beside me.

I want to look in my own eyes staring back at me and see the beauty that someone else sees. I want to believe I can feel heartfelt joy and not feel ashamed of it. I want my naked truth to be seen by the world and not pitied for the pain I endure. I want to feel and give fearless love to myself and others. I want to believe in a journey of understanding and progress.

Now that I know what I want, what do I do now?

 

Adam, My Brother — January 23, 2019

Adam, My Brother

“My brother died so leave me alone!” The first time I said those words I was in fourth grade. A group of us were jumping on Jamis’ trampoline and a couple of other boys came up to me and started making fun of me because my brother was gay.

“Your brother is a fucking fag! He sucks dick and puts stuff up his butt!” they yelled at me from the side walk.

I didn’t know what to do. I was embarrassed for both of us. I already knew that he liked boys because, as his baby sis, I just knew him. Before he ran away to Florida as soon as he turned 18 we were together ALL the time. He was my best friend. I just knew who he was fully and completely. But I didn’t know exactly what being gay entailed so the thought of anyone putting “stuff” up their butt seemed horrifying.

I jumped off the trampoline and ran the half block back to my house. We lived in a duplex up the street above a store. I ran up the stairs then I slowly opened the top door and calmly walked in the house. I stood in the hallway and could hear my mother’s voice in the living room trying to explain to someone that everything was fine. “No, seriously, I just clicked over from talking to him. He was just on the other line. Who said he was dead?”

Those boys lived just a block the other direction next to a cousin of mine and ran to tell her about Adam. She picked up the phone immediately and called my mother crying and confused. Why hadn’t anyone told her.

“I have to go. Let me call you back.” my mother told her.

“Abigail Faye, what the hell is going on?” my mother called to me from the living room. As I turned the corner she looked at me and said “Why would you say that Adam died? That is so messed up! What is wrong with you?”

“The West boys were making fun of me because Allfaye’s gay.” I said through tears rolling down my cheeks. “I didn’t know how else to make them leave me alone.” and I ran to my room.

A few minutes later our cousin was there and I was called into the living room. “Little lady, why would you say that Adam died? That’s a terrible thing to say.”

“Tavon and Taft were making fun of me because Allfaye’s gay.” I didn’t have the words to say that I was tired of them always teasing me and hurting my feelings. I didn’t know how to express the anger they filled me with. How I wanted to jump off that trampoline and punch them in the face and kick them while they were on the ground. The rage I felt when I heard their voices overwhelmed my senses.

She looked me straight in the eyes and said something that has stuck with me my entire life. “You should be proud of who your brother is. Don’t ever let someone else make you feel bad about who he is.” and she hugged me. She may have even said more but that’s what I remember the most. “Be proud.”

From that day on I told everyone I knew that my brother was gay if they asked and even if they didn’t. I told them about my gay brother and all the amazing things he did (even though most of them didn’t matter if he was gay or straight). If I was talking to someone who didn’t know my family dynamics then I’d say “my straight brother” or “my gay brother”.

The amount of pride I’ve always held for being the little sister of my two big brothers is powerful. The strength I’ve received from that power has helped me through a lot of turmoil. I’m so thankful Josh and Adam were my big brothers. I love them so.

 

 

***Names of people outside of my siblings have been changed to protect their identity

 

Grief for the Holidays — December 1, 2018

Grief for the Holidays

As the holidays are upon us, some get so excited. They can’t wait to decorate the house, to share gifts with those they love and spend time together. Some love the idea of complaining about having to hang out with their annoying family members or that awkward moment at some point that so many experience. The holidays are meant to be cheerful and happy surrounded by love but for many, that just isn’t the reality of our lives.

My holidays, like so many others, are full of grief. I wish I could head home and spend the day with my entire family. Have a house full of crazy people talking loud, making fun of each other and falling asleep together in the living room. I wish I could buy those gifts that I know my Dad and brothers would absolutely love & cook them their favorite dishes and pretend like I forgot how much Joshy hates baked beans and Allfaye loves cranberry salad. But that’s not my reality. Grief has taken hold of the holidays.

Although I’ll be having grief for the holidays, I also want to have love. I want to remember how I started playing Santa on Christmas at such a young age because my brother Adam let me take over that role. How my brother Josh kept Santa real until I was in fifth grade because he didn’t want me to lose the magical feeling but what they didn’t know was that they made Christmas magical, not the idea of a man in a red suit. Waking up with my brothers and them making me tiptoe into our parent’s room and ask if we could go see what Santa brought yet. These are just a few things I think of when I think of my brothers.

I also want to think about the last Christmas I had with my entire family. I flew home from Texas and Bubba (my Dad) was so excited. He had just been diagnosed with cancer at the end of August and was having a rough time. Just being able to sit around watching football, talking about life, the plans we had for them to come to Texas, and how much we missed each other was so precious. That love that filled that entire house, I can still feel in my bones. I don’t remember any physical gifts but having the whole family there, joking and driving each other crazy was the best Christmas I could have asked for.  Looking over and seeing one of nieces on my Dad’s lap in the recliner, another one with me on the couch, Adam on the other side of us and Josh laying on the floor at my feet while my Mom was in the other recliner. What more would I have asked for? Nothing.

So if you’re like me and having grief for the holidays, think of those times. Remember driving each other crazy, remember the foods they loved, a special gift they just gushed over…do something to remember them. But you can also cry, scream, laugh, lay around all day, don’t celebrate at all. Whatever you have to do for yourself, do it. No one can tell you how to grieve, they can’t tell you how to feel and you won’t know how you feel until that time comes. What I can tell you is that the love you shared is still there. It doesn’t just disappear. And it deserves to be talked about and shown to others.

For the non-grieving ones, I would like to offer you a tip. Talk about those who won’t be here for the holidays. Speak their names, ask questions, learn their stories or ask to be told a new story about them. The worst part of losing my Dad and both of my brothers is that people have stopped talking about them while I never stop thinking about them. People are afraid that talking about them will make me sad but the truth is, it makes me sad to think that they could be forgotten by others. Their stories are so beautiful and some parts truly sad but they deserve to be told and heard.

So talk to those who are grieving about the ones they lost. Let them know that you want to remember them together. Make them apart of the holidays, too. Nothing is more heartbreaking than losing people you love and feeling like everyone else has forgotten them.

 

To Be Like Tree — October 10, 2018

To Be Like Tree

To be like tree, letting go of me

Fighting to drop off the dead parts but they cling like sap

Dripping slowing down and attracting insects that feed off it

While anguish flows in the veins up through the root

Can’t live without it even though it gives life to the pain

To be like tree, fighting to be me

Trying medication then switch to mediation

Breathing in the sweet air of understanding

Swaying easily with the wind

Bleeding out the sores that cover

To be like tree,

be like tree,

like tree…

I am tree.

 

 

The Literal Storm That Brews Above — September 10, 2018

The Literal Storm That Brews Above

As I was on the road driving my four and a half hours back home, there was a severe storm pounding down while continuing to brew above. The entire drive, there were multiple dark and black clouds circling above me. The wind would push and pull so violently to where I felt almost completely out of control. The water flooded part of the road and would throw the car this way and that. No matter where I turned or how hard or gently I held onto the wheel, uneasiness filled the air.

This is a state of mind I am very familiar with.

I attempted to listen to a podcast, “The Hilarious World of Depression”, and my thoughts would linger so much I would have no idea how much of the episode I had missed so I’d have to rewind it to figure out where I fell off. This isn’t new but it happened the entire four and a half hours. The guests and the host are very captivating but when my mind wonders, it’s hard to concentrate. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve stopped breathing and then I start to feel panic because I feel like I can’t breathe unless I tell my body to preform that function.

Thoughts tend to circle in my mind. They usually aren’t rational but in the moment seem like life and death and too often, the latter feels more fitting. Then the thought circles again and again. I find myself exhausted from the miles of running I’m doing internally.

At this very moment, I’m minutes from walking into the door and I feel as if I’ve been up for days. I feel as if I’m completely malnourished. The storm was a physical remembrance of my daily mental health and now I feel more drained than I have in a few weeks. These last couple months have been very challenging with circling thoughts, self doubt and negative self talk.

So where do I go from here? I’m not sure but I’ll try to calm these nerves that are running off the track now.