World hunger. Hunger in communities. It’s in the news all the time.
A child in Africa who can’t get wellwater. A child in America curled up under dirty sheets the stench of marijuana in the air, an empty chip bag on the floor- if there is a chip bag. The kid who comes home to an empty fridge, and empty cupboard.
But there’s another kind of starvation that doesn’t make the news. The hunger for happiness. So many people today are unhappy with their lives. Selfishly wasting away money, fame, what little success they have- medicating their unhappiness with drugs and alcohol. Poisoning the mind to feel something other than this need that isn’t being addressed.
When a kid acts up we hand them a toy or an ipad. When our elderly watch their children move so far away… Paying professional cuddlers to touch and show love to people in rest homes or the mentally ill. How savage society can be!
My best friend was my first experience really *hugging* or being hugged. I’d been abused for so long I’d fallen into this pattern of Just Say No and not a single person was allowed to touch me ever except for these two guyfriends. Of the two guyfriends, my linebacker was the one who gave me a real hug and it was the sweetest thing I have ever experienced. For other people it was just a hug for a minute but for me it was a treasured memory, a moment of peace and relief in the turmoil of mental illness and trauma. I will never forget what that did for me.
But in the months that he’s been gone and with my struggle to break out of this shell, this vice, that the abuse shoved me into, I’ve never had that since and I don’t know if I ever will.
Raindrops plop onto the window and run down in weeping streams. I sit on my bed which is a mat on the hard floor with my knees drawn up to my chest, arms clasped around my knees. Tears would be falling from my eyes except I’ve forgotten how. It’s not dark outside yet but its dark inside my heart. Dark enough to know that even though I’m going to have nightmares every night, I’d rather be asleep than awake in this hell that is my depression.
My phone is on silent because I’m sick of calling doctors who don’t know what to do. I try in the back of my mind to remember something happy. Some reason why I shouldn’t just end this. I have the pills. I have razor blades. At least then maybe I could be numb in a way that didn’t hurt. A way that was like sleep but without nightmares.
I want to remember the warmth and closeness of his heartbeat and how safe I felt with his arms around me. How I finally relaxed and that ball of tension that knotted every muscle in my back into “fight” position loosened and let go. I could finally lean into someone instead of away. But I can’t remember. The memory is less than a shadow. My mental illness that is ravaging me body and mind has taken even this memory away so I don’t even remember what love feels like- because I can’t feel.
Cuts from the razor blades, the scissors, slash angrily up my forearm and then swipe across my shoulder. I reach over to my phone thinking maybe I can find something that can make me feel some comfort and this video shows up on my timeline. I’m too embarrassed to watch it at first but then I do watch and something inside my heart was soothed at watching him touch her. Not in the violent way I’m used to but in a soft, gentle way, that tells her without words just how valuable she is. And she smiles and she’s happy.
My broken heart needed something to hold onto. Some semblance of that piece of my life that’s been ripped apart. The scars and cuts from the razor blades are largely from loneliness that is unbearable, some way of easing the pain of feeling cold and alone all the time, of not being able to express the feelings that are in my heart because people won’t hear. Because I’m so ill that I’m dying inside but it’s a silent death. It’s hard to call it living.
I curl up on my mat with tears in my eyes that I refuse to let fall, wrap my arm around myself, and watch the video over and over again until sleep comes.