People have many ways they express wishes and wants. They throw coins into pools, they write them down on a bucket list, they whisper them into their pillows or to their closest friends, they close their eyes in the freeway tunnel, they blow out all their candles in one go, they even blow dandelion seeds into the wind to express a wish. I have two things I do. I whisper my wishes into the stars and into my pictures, and I take a plumeria and I let it go into the ocean or let it be carried away by the breeze. I imagine that in giving the flower to the sea, the sea will carry my wish away to some kindly ocean goddess who may grant it. Any whimsical little fantasy that will keep me going. Any little daydream.
I remember when I had depression for the first time when I was about 13 and when I ended the sexual abuse that same year… And I remember some days when I would hold onto some memories that made me sad, but it was a good kind of sad. It was the kind of sad that made sense.
I imagined sitting on a lightrail seat with my cheek pressed against the frigid window, raindrops shining on the glass through which I could see the lights of the night rushing by. Where I imagined stars sparkling in the cold, dark sky. I was listening to the song Airplanes by B.O.B.
In truth that’s the reason I named my blog Wishes Into Stars. Because of that memory and one other.
Years later when I was 18 and considering taking my own life thanks to the hell that is anorexia nervosa, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and severe depression the thing that stopped me was the promise of a hug. My guyfriend, KT. He hardly ever paid attention to me until one night I prayed same way Lilo did in Lilo and Stitch “send me an angel, the nicest angel you have.” I cried when I watched that movie because I felt more alone in the first weeks of my PTSD than I had ever been in my whole life. And the next day after a severe car accident that ripped the front off my car- while my dad was in Utah with the rapist, clearing out my grandma’s house- KT texted me. He was just correcting my spelling of his name. His name is Kaha’owaioluokalaninamealohamauloa. Besides his parents I am probably the only person who knows it and that’s because I’m stubborn. If you have ever seen an otter trying to pop open a shellfish with a rock- that’s me. I don’t care how long it takes I am going to get my snack and heaven help that lil shellfish cause I am gonna eat it at some point.
I was standing there, ready to take my own life, and I remembered KT saying the night before that he wanted to hug me. He asked if it was okay… And the thought of that stopped me. What if it was okay. Did it feel good to hug someone? I hadn’t been touched in 13 years because of the rape. I channeled all of my emotions into sports and broke apart my body to avoid my feelings. And I just was curious.
In the following months I found that in truth that was the only thing I wanted. It kept me going. The idea that I might get a hug from someone I really cared about. One night I was leaning out of my window onto the roof, looking at the desert sky just past dusk when the stars had just started to peep from the heavens… The breeze was blowing and it was dark and getting cold in the autumnal weather that is the Arizona winter… And the words came to me.
“A desperate wish, for comfort, for a friend
A single teardrop gathers to fall and is stopped
Perhaps she crossed a line, irritated him in some way, maybe he is too busy to be there for his friend
Maybe he no longer cares
Her eyes darken with grief
A shroud of sorrow clings to her, gossamer edges fade in and out of view. A gruesome series of cuts and bruises is hidden in sorrow.
Her hand opens
Dreams, wishes, hopes, smiles
Vanish into the stars
Alone. In the darkness. She waits for the nightmare to return.
Noone will notice. She hopes. Noone cares. She’s not worth it.
But the mark on her heart, the anguish in her spirit, sadness in her eyes…
Not everything can be hidden, concealed under a forced smile.
In a moment of pain she set free a desperate wish.
A wish she so much needed.
That when it left her
It’s been almost a year since I wrote that poem and the same thought comes to my mind is that the desperate wish I breathed into the stars- was for love. For a best friend.
Most of today when I felt sad and lonely I beat myself up. You don’t need anyone. Don’t tell her the truth. Don’t ask. Don’t tell… But the other night in prayer a very simple thought came to me and it was maybe the solution to this mental illness isn’t to be stronger or tougher. Maybe you need someone to be strong for you and hold onto you through all of this. You need comfort and love.
It’s funny how damn simple that is. One of the first patterns I noticed in treatment was 1) that all of the women had been raped 2) That they lived despondent lives not just because of rape, but because rape led to starvation from love. That they never had a stable, nurturing connection that wasn’t ripped from them. 3) That starvation from love turned into addictions to drugs, sex, porn, food, starvation, purging, exercise, and dangerous people. To fill the never-ending hunger they turned to things that satiated for a second but always left them hungrier than before.
Today besides sleeping off that pill I kicked my butt and I went to the store and the PCC. I put together a gift for my friend. I bought some chocolate for me and hated myself for it. I was standing there in the grocery store trying to come home with the cheapest, healthiest chocolate I could get and the thought crossed my mind “what are you really hungry for?” Well… To feel like I belonged. I didn’t want the chocolate. I wanted to feel loved. I didn’t know what to do with that feeling and I have had skyhigh self-harm urges all day and I realized that largely, it’s because I don’t know how to satiate my own real hunger.
When people ask why my knuckles or arms are bleeding. Maybe it’s because I’m so distressed and starved for love that I just hurt myself to try to make the feeling stop. I don’t know any other way to feel better right now.
There’s another quote in Lilo and Stitch
“You can never belong”
Maybe not. Maybe my doctors and therapists from treatment are right and I am the mythological rainbow sparkle unicorn and I will never fit in among the sheep. (Yes in treatment they did refer to me as a unicorn. That story alone deserves it’s own post. And I have said before my life has to have an HBO series- “the unicorn” requires at least two 40 minute episodes). Maybe it’s true.
But even though I’ve been told my whole life that I’m not good enough or sexy enough or just eough in general. That I don’t deserve love or a healthy relationship… I am coming to think that maybe I am just fine. I have a good heart and I work hard to be kind to others. Many, many people go to sleep at night thinking of their money or their relationship status, all of these things that we foolishly think will bring us lasting happiness. I’m going to sleep tonight knowing that at the end of the day I was kind.
And I think even rainbow sparkle unicorns deserve to be loved, cared for, and held and cuddled. Even though it’s kinda intimidating to approach a rainbow sparkle unicorn… They’re known to show mercy if you are a super cute athletic sweetheart Tongan named Apple. And they j’adore magical hugs.
❤ ❤ aloha and goodnight