Dear Brother

Abuse, Addiction, Anxiety, Assault, Life, Love, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Love, Sex

Leaving you to die was the hardest decision of my life. The night you called to tell me I broke your heart was the night I knew I could never keep you again. It was no easy feat, hurting you while you were already hurting, but you hadn’t cared about my pain in so long, how could I still carry yours? I chose you and you chose me, most days. Sometimes I wonder if we were family, or if you just needed someone to walk in the Underworld with you. For years I defended you, your heart was my own and no one dared cross you while I stood to your left. But how far we’ve fallen from the crowns we carried in the kingdom of our own creation, no longer rulers of the night.

We found ourselves before each other one morning that grew from the early hours, in the apartment of an older man gripping his youth by the neck. Although I had never been there before, it was a place I was no stranger to. Four years of living my life dancing with my favourite drug felt like an eternity from the sleep I ran from. I stood on one half of the island, demanding my respect from a man who had none for even himself, and from the other you rushed to my side. Arms raised, it was in that moment we felt a commonality, a kinship. We revered ourselves as holier than the demons we ran with. We were the angels, who sought to play in purgatory but we weren’t of it. Or so we thought.

As we grew together, so did the fire surrounding us. But we didn’t mind, we didn’t even notice. Convincing ourselves and each other that this inferno was our home, we lit the night alive. Melting every evening into the sun of the morning, and sometimes into the next. People from all around our lands came to revel in our glory. Your home became mine, and every line given was a handful of seeds ushering in the winter of my soul. We were the place where souls came to surrender, festivities and proclivities enjoyed that would make Dionysus flush. I eagerly burned beside you, brother, my brother. You held my hand in ways that no one had before, you never led me anywhere I didn’t want to go.

And when we fell in love, the other did too. Always welcoming in the new additions to our realm, cheshire grins wider than the open arms we held to receive our latest acolytes. Every foot set on our grounds was a prayer, a worship, a sacrifice to you and I and the life we had chosen. The life we had made, together. Sovereign side-by-side, we granted passage only to those who knelt before us both. Two Kings, never to be crossed, every war you fought was mine too. Whatever harm came to our hearts, the other was waiting and able to salve any wound. Even when you named her Queen, it wasn’t long before a long night found us packing up her belongings once we named her traitor. Over the years together I tried to fall in love as hard as I was falling for the drugs. My admirers who came to play only found the same ways to fail me as others did. They were never meant to last. I recall lying down in my room while you stayed up all night with the man of my heart. I awoke, choking on my own vomit, facedown on the floor. He had placed me back in bed and returned to you. We called the mutual demons within us love, but there was none there. No one could love each other in that place. And yet, I never had someone like you, someone who held me as their most prized possession. I needed you as much as you needed me. Only now can I see, maybe I used you as much as you used me.

My greatest cross from an old life appeared one night, the only being who could falter me, and I struggled to lift my sword. The soulless blue-eyes that haunted me from the year before. The being who drew down my shorts while I laid in a prescription-induced sleep, and took whatever he saw fit. But where I fell, there you were to lift me. Your arms clasped around mine, protecting me, guiding me, swinging and clashing where I failed to. Brother, my brother, at times you were my sole saviour. When I tried to retreat, you swore no harm to pass my gates. You would fall before you allowed me to. I was the only thing you ever loved, and you mine. I loved you because I could never love myself, and you allowed me to. My Knight of nights, both of us too afraid to lay in it alone, so we wrapped each other in the sapphire dark and called it home.

But the stars soon left our skies. Tried as I might to remain in the black, you would soon find me choking on mouthfuls of darkness. Convulsing, contorting, crooking my spine, the place I called home and hurtless began spitting me out. I could no longer stay there with you. There was a war in my bones, and you had no more allies to rescue me from it. I had to do it alone.

It was not without great resistance and pain that I let our life slip away. I tried to return to the kingdom, many a night, but the dark was no longer home to me. It was as if I had grown too tall for its ceilings and skies; there was no room for me there. You reached up for me many a time, never wanting to join me in the clouds – the inferno would always be of you. But then I fell. The fire will always grow if you stoke it. The scent of flames and brimstone called out to me, and the demons I caged beneath my ribs scratch their way from my skin. You welcomed me backed with open arms, the prodigal King had returned, and our world would once again turn. I think I ached to belong to something, someone, so much that when you started feeding me the things that made me sick, I eagerly ate them. You welcomed my downfall, if only to return me to you, brother. You ached the way I did. But I never wanted to stay. I tried to move between the skies and the pit, but the smoke that filled my lungs threatened to weigh me down. I was no pyre, my embers were fading fast, and instead I was searching for the tide that would pull me to shore.

One early morning you summoned me to the empire for aid. You were under attack and you knew I would save you, as I always did. As I always would. But when I arrived, I knew it was the beginning of the end and that your downfall would soon follow. The sun had set on your reign. I saw what living in the twilight had done to you, to your eyes, there was no life there, only despair. And as you held another’s in your hands, with no remorse in sight, eyes darker than the country we grew from, I knew this was nothing to fight. But save you I did, and her too. I never told you that part. What I saw that night tore me open, centrefold. I made the choice to save her life, but I always carried the guilt of the call placed to do so. I thought you would kill her. I knew you wouldn’t care. I tried to convince myself otherwise, and I moved you anyway I could. Not only for her, but for you. It was always for you.

It was only a few days later that another warning bell rang – you were no longer a king, but a prisoner of your own making. I tried to bring you home, to a new dynasty I had made, but you could not live there, I don’t think you knew how. And just as quickly as you arrived, you soon set your life in the shadows of the dusk. Brother, my brother, I searched and searched, but you were nowhere to be found. You knew we no longer spoke the same tongue. I think you were ashamed. I was too. Eventually, I had to close the door to our world, I could not keep it open for you any longer. My arms were tired, knees broken, and you could not find it in you to care. For the first time, I felt our love fade.

You were entrusted to me by the powers we seldom honoured in our life together. I pledged myself for you and you took it for granted. I finally saw a darkness I couldn’t breathe in. The drugs had consumed you completely, the person I promised everyone around us you never were came to surface. You showed up at my bar, and assaulted a girl I had known for years. You spun a different story before she had a chance to speak to me, and then you asked if I could pay for your beers while you ran out. Brother, my brother. You were no family of mine from that night. I made her wait until I finished work and took her home. I don’t even think you knew her name.

It took all of my tears, and all of my fears, to release you from my heart. You said you understood, but I knew that meant you would never forgive me. And I, you. Pulling your bail was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. Everyone who loved you told me I had to, for me. They all knew you didn’t love me more than yourself anymore, it makes me wonder if you ever did. While I thought you were protecting me all these years, I now think that perhaps I was a different type of prey to you. I gave you all my love, affection, and protection. I was your family, the one you never left. You feasted on everything I laid out for you, as did every man I had ever loved. But maybe I was too eager for a home to see, or care. I didn’t mind where we ran, as long as we ran there hand-in-hand.

Now you outrun everything. Now there is no fire in you, only night. If I could chase every sun from you, I would. But in truth, I pray it sets on you, if only to give you rest.

I’d rather see your nightfall, than your burnout.

There is No Me Without You

Life, Love, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Love, Sex, Spirituality

A few years ago, during a psychedelic trip, I was shown an insight that would forever change my life. This lesson came to me with such a knowing, that I tattooed it’s symbol on my hand as a reminder – this is what will always lead me. The discovery came in response to the question, what is the most romantic thing in the world? Is it flowers, opening doors, buying gifts, writing love notes, trips to Paris? Is it forehead kisses, or late night rendezvous? The answer that was revealed to me – parallel lines. They are defined as two lines, infinitely traveling in the same directions, never crossing one another. But what happens when you remove one, or change directions? They are no longer parallel lines. They lose their definition when they lose each other – this is what it is to be human. Your existence defines mine, and mine defines yours. In order for us to fulfill our purpose, and exist in the way intended for us, we must also honour this equilibrium between and within us.

This piece will examine various spiritual and psychological dichotomies in an effort to present you with evidence that spans across cultures, religions, and time, that we cannot have the harmonious existence of our true selves without honouring both sides of the coin. We do not receive fulfillment and true power without mending the relationship between opposing forces within ourselves.

I have always believed in the power of unification and connection. Albeit, throughout my life there have been many dividing forces and energy, I have seen the true power in the act of two becoming one. So much of the world we experience in North America is created to divide us. We are shown our differences more often than our resemblances, we are taught to compartmentalize and section off other humans; we are told we are alone. Herein the great void between you and I will we find our greatest weaknesses and darknesses, how we fail ourselves, how we fail each other; they are one and the same. However, if we seek to remember, we may just find that through the discovery of the joining between the divine masculine and divine feminine that lives in all of us, we will be led to a river of wholeness and love that we can all drink from. In the dishonouring of each of these divine energies, we create a fear-shame dynamic that plagues many relationships. Yet, in the reconciling of each, we can and will become what we have always been – one.

Let’s begin with the objective, before we dive into the spiritual. The fear-shame dynamic is the force that attracts us to one another but also our reactive trigger in relationships. That is to say, one person is shame-reactive, and the other is fear-reactive, and their behaviours will seek to avoid each of these respectively. Often times, it is the female who is fear-avoidant; she is seeking someone who can promise long term protection. She seeks to be free from fear, she wants to nurture an individual whom she can place her faith in. She wants to believe in you. We can see this present in human psychology. PTSD is more prevalent in females than males (10% of women, 4% of men), perhaps because 50% of females experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, perhaps because one in three women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The symptoms of PTSD present themselves differently between the sexes as well. Women are more likely to exhibit alarm-raising behaviour. They become more apprehensive of situations and others, high-strung in stressful or fear-inducing contexts, and display avoidant behaviour. Men, on the other hand, become more aggressive and are unable to aptly regulate their emotions.

If we look to the animal kingdom to support this theory, we are provided answers within the morphology of other mammals. Males tend to be larger and more aggressive in nature as a result of their greater testosterone production, as within human males. Obviously this does not apply to all, there are exceptions to this as there always are. Female hyenas, for example, have genitalia that closely resembles the males, they come fully equipped with a pseudo-penis. However, they also have increased amounts of female testosterone produced within their abnormally larger adrenal gland. The life expectancy of the males, both animal and mammal, is considerably less. This is often aligned to the fact that males participate in more risk-taking behaviour, such as competition. Could this be out of the innate desire and drive they have to prove themselves worthy? The need for males to prove oneself of value and purpose appears to be more than coincidence.

The shame-reactive individual is seeking a partner that believes in them, that needs them. They are seeking a purpose, to protect, and they need to feel as if they are fulfilling this purpose. If this function is not fulfilled, the individual feels ashamed, inadequate, and a failure. Shame is the negative evaluation of self, in this emotion, there is a consciousness of one’s shortcomings. Therefore, the individual who is shame-avoidant will seek someone who will not let them fall short, or feel as if they are.

When these two individuals meet, the shame-reactive person has finally found someone who is seeking their protector and will praise them as such, while the fear-reactive person has been brought before their saviour. The problem that occurs each time however, is that this does not free each individual from their predispositions. Their initial meeting and coupling only acts as a momentary reprieve or escape from their driving force. When the fear-reactive individual displays anxiousness, worry, or terror, it triggers the shame-avoidant individual who feels as if they are failing their partner. This leads us to the dishonouring of one another because each individual is seeking solely to satiate their own proclivities, they are acting from ego which is pleasure-seeking and fear-avoidant.

The ego is the death of love. It is the resistance we meet within each of us, as well as one another – it is a shared enemy that we must overcome. Often times, the darkness we see in one another is what calls us in. Like a black candle, and our demons a moth to it’s flame. Tales of ego and it’s harm have been retold throughout various religions and cultures for thousands of years. Take the Hindu goddess, Saraswati, for example. One third of the Tridevi, a divine trinity (which also includes the goddesses Lakshmi, and Parvati), Saraswati was born from the five tongues of Brahma; knowledge incarnate. She is the goddess of wisdom, art, language, and learning. Her name means fluidity, and free-flowing as she is akin to the energy of a river, or lake. She has been said to have originally been a partner to Vishnu, but many references of her also tell of Brahma’s pursuing of his own creation. When he bore her, he looked upon her with endless love for her beauty and she proceeded to run from him. He creates another face so that he may gaze upon her again, and she runs away persistently. This happens until he creates five faces total. Eventually, Saraswati runs to Shiva for protection who rips off Brahma’s fifth head, said to be ego. Following the removal of such, Brahma decides to bless her rather than badger, and this is how she receives the water energy – a gift from her creator. Brahma then takes Saraswati inside of him so that he may continue to learn and grow from and with her. They become a harmonious one again. Even in this tale, we can see that the dishonouring of the divine feminine only leads to the detriment of the divine masculine.

So what is the divine masculine and the divine feminine? It is important to note that while these divine energies are spoken about in a binary form, they are regarded as polarities and not necessarily gender. That is to say, within each of us while both polarities exist as our life source, each human’s balance or imbalance of each has nothing to do with their own gender, or ascribed vernacular. In order to express the importance of the necessary union and harmonization of these two divinities, we must first explore each individually.

The divine feminine is the dreamer. She births the dream which is the divine masculine. The divine feminine is intuition, creation, and healing. The most healing force in this universe is love, this is what leads us to the dream. This divinity is aligned with water, which is the element of the emotional world. It is also ruled by the moon, a being with a gravitational pull strong enough that it moves the ocean. The moon controls the tides on Earth as it rules over the ebb and flow within each of us. The divine feminine is the catalyst, the muse; it gives purpose. Sound familiar? When the divine feminine is suppressed and dishonoured, it reacts from a place of fear. The violated divinity will in turn be wrathful, and will seek to diminish others feminine energy to feel empowered. An individual who has an exploited or abused divine feminine within will have attachment issues within their relationships, they may become co-dependant, suffer from extreme self-doubt, and can seek to manipulate others in order to regain her footing. These actions will trigger shame and unworthiness in the divine masculine. Thus, the dishonouring of this divinity within us, leads to the dishonouring of the divine masculine.

If the female is the dreamer, birthing beings into existence, then the male is the dream. His purpose is set forth by his creator. He is given space, home, a calling because of Her. This divinity is logic and reason, and when it cannot rationalize or is unable to fulfill its purpose, it will become judgmental, separated and closed off. It is no coincidence that increased testosterone levels have shown a decrease in interpersonal trust. The divine masculine is the protector and guardian, He is action and survival. He is firm, unable to be crossed, and his boundaries are always set and immovable. When the divine masculine is dishonoured, it reacts aggressively and is unable to appropriately convey emotions out of shame. Also sound familiar? The dishonoured divine masculine feels lost, without purpose or cause, so it will seek to regain power via whatever means necessary – which leads to the suppression and exploitation of the divine feminine.

Another retelling of the dangers of not honouring the divinities within us come from the Gnostic myth of Sophia Gaia. She has many incarnates – Mother Mary is her ascendant form, Mary Magdalene is her earthly body. She is known as Shakti in Hinduism, and Boddhisatva in Buddhism. Born of Depth and Silence, Sophia lived among the spirits of life, along with her twin brother. But Sophia falls from her home in the light when she follows another light below into the underworld, believing it was the Father, the Creative Source. There she remained trapped, and the dark energies of the underworld abused and exploited her. She was violated and soon birthed offspring that was of pride, ignorance and fear; demons only seeking power and pleasure. As we have seen earlier, the violation of the divine balance leads to these same outcomes; ego. Yet, Sophia never forgot the light she came from and remained in her power, honouring herself until she was able to birth beauty and spiritual potential into the world, rather than the unrealized potential that brought about ego. She placed Consciousness into the body of man, who was Adam, and this was actualized into the world through the creation of Eve. In the bible, it states that woman was built up from man, from his rib and delivered unto him. Could this be a reference to the higher placement of the divine? Sophia returns to her home eventually, and marries herself with her brother, symbolizing the unification of divine masculine and feminine. She divides herself throughout time and space on the Earthly plane so that enlightenment may be attained for all.

You may now be wondering, how do we reconcile these divinities within ourselves? We must dive into the dark if we are ever able to lead ourselves out of it. Do not let the fear of your own madness hold you prisoner there. To be able to seek the solution, we must find first identify the problem. How are you acting from a place of ego? What types of behaviours that are not in alignment with love are you displaying? Are you constantly receiving the same results from your relationships, even though the people are different? Much like Brahma and his five heads, by merely changing the faces of our obstacles does not remove them from existence.

My journey thus far has led me to want to examine this for myself. I have spent much time sitting in my fear, asking my insides who has seen it. What am I running from? What do I fear and from where does it stem? Lately, the answer has never been louder. I fear the greatness that lives in my bones. I fear I am not enough. I fear doing or saying the wrong thing and losing your love. I fear it all. I had to come to terms with the fact that in this fear, I was not honouring my own boundaries. By acting from a place of fear, not of love of self, I was not protecting myself. I was not protecting my divine feminine. I didn’t believe in the innate worth of myself. I was not being my own purpose. I was seeking validation in order to feel loved because that is how I feel safe. But by breaking contracts with my own divine masculine, it left the divine feminine in me to be dishonoured and thus, I have not been able to stand in my whole power.

What is there left to do? Uncross myself. As the parallel lines live in a paradoxical state of both counterpart and one, so must my masculine and feminine divinities. By honouring the characteristics and embodiment of each – of loving, healing heart, and protector-guardian to this energy – will we each be set free from the mortal confines of our conditioning.

When will you decide to honour all parts of yourself?
When will you decide you deserve to be honoured?

The Scariest Thing You’ll Do

Abuse, Addiction, Anxiety, Life, Love, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Love, Sex

What are you most afraid of?

Heights?
Flying?
Clowns?

Phobias are often rooted in some sort of traumatic event or experience, like having a black widow land on you while in the bathroom, or watching “It” way before you should have. Your reactions to these triggers are a conditioned response from aforementioned traumatic incident or situation. While I am terrified of spiders (yes, that bathroom story was an actual occurrence) what could be more traumatic than a failed relationship? The answer: several failed relationships.

So what is my biggest fear? Love.

To speak on any fear you have to go to the beginning of it all. What was the initial conditioning that brought about this phobia? For me, it was my home. I was raised to believe that emotions are a sign of weakness. To let others see you cry and to expose yourself in such a vulnerable way will only bring about pain – so best not to do so. My mother is the strongest woman I know, I was very blessed to be raised in a family of matriarchs, but at the same time, when my dad was emotional (he’s a big teddy bear) we would make fun of him. It was all done in a loving way, but that response obviously stuck with me. I’ve only witnessed my mother crying twice in my life. Once was when I put myself in the hospital by a suicide attempt, and the other was when she was grieving her father. We never talked about our feelings in my home, and I could always hear their voices seeping through the walls talking about me but never to me. I internalized all of this as emotions and vulnerability are best kept to yourself, and I carried this in myself for years.

Something I’ve only shared with a handful of people, is that I was also a victim of abuse growing up. My family, to this day, doesn’t know. I was filled with shame, and guilt and burden for many years because of it. I still find it incredibly difficult to have compassion for myself, but that is just a part of my journey. I won’t go in to details because that’s not what this post is about, but the lesson I internalized from these occurrences was that everywhere I was supposed to be safe, I wasn’t.

So that little cocktail of fucked-up-ness led me to my first love. I was graduating high school, and I had met him through some mutual friends. I would sneak out to see him most nights, we would go on adventures around the city and I felt love for the first time. It was intense, we belonged to each other, but it was also toxic. He became incredibly abusive towards me. One day we were arguing in the car and he smashed his entire dashboard, I sat there crying as he screamed at me asking why I have to make him so angry. He called me the worst names when he was mad at me, and I just took it all because I felt as if I deserved it. I told him I had tried to kill myself years before, and he would say things like, I wish you went through with it when we would fight. One year on his friend’s birthday, he was mad at me for dancing with our friends while he wasn’t feeling well so he screamed at me in front of everyone on our way home. He called me a whore in the middle of the street. I drove him home and when we arrived and I carried him to bed, he said I could sleep on the floor like the dog that I am. I laid beside him crying until he passed out and eventually I left. I was so drunk I fell asleep at a red light for twenty minutes. But I made it home safely. This behaviour lasted for three long years. I didn’t know any better, I was in love. I needed him and he needed me. But it wasn’t love, it was co-dependency. Eventually, I developed feelings for another person and left my first love. He had been a friend of mine for two years, he was my best friend’s older brother, and he was good. He was kind, and sweet, and gentle, and one of the best people I had ever met. We almost got married, but that’s in another post.

So how did I move on from there? I spent four years wasting my time, not moving forward, thinking I was having fun. Four years of drug abuse following my formative years was my escape. It was my mask, it helped me separate myself from the pain, and hurt that people only bring. It gave me a place to hide and detach from the world. I spent four years partying, and I was dating men who cared more about themselves and the party than me. Men who let me overdose in the next room, men who cheated on me, men who took my love and gave me nothing but heartache in return. But you can’t ever rid yourself of what the human experience truly is – a desire to feel loved, and belong. I looked for love in these places, even when I thought I wasn’t; I always had hope. Yet, there is no real love in that type of life. Every time I tried to open myself up again I was shown I shouldn’t have. At every turn, when people asked me to love them, I did. And then I was shown that they could not do the same for me.

It wasn’t just romanic relationships I was separating from, it was any and all form of relationships that could hurt me. I stopped communicating with my family because I had so much resentment built up over the years that I just didn’t want to see them. I had all the “friends” someone could want – every bar I went into, everything was free and everyone knew me. I could always find a party that would welcome me at any time of day. I’d stay up until 8am, 10am, 2pm, having meaningless conversations with people that had no clue of the hurt I was holding onto, over a plate of cocaine. But here, I was safe. I didn’t have to let people in, i just had to numb. I didn’t have to feel anything I didn’t want to.

That numbness only lasts for so long. I was emptier than ever, I was hollow, and so I allowed myself to stay in a relationship that was not good for me. A year of co-dependency and drug abuse, and toxic arguments. The mask I wore for so long no longer kept my demons out but instead led them straight into my bed. So here I am, almost seven months clean, in a new relationship, living in a new way, reconnected with my family, and I’m dealing with emotions I’ve never learned to process.

I’ve never had to feel it all.

Now I am at the scariest part of my journey. Unlearning the conditioned fear responses I’ve used to protect myself for all these years. I can no longer run away when it hurts, I can no longer hide when my feelings are uncomfortable, and I can no longer push down the feelings I have. The scariest thing you’ll do is learn to love again after you feel as if you can’t. The scariest thing you’ll do is reveal your true self to someone and ask them to love all of you. Trust me, I am more terrified than I have ever been. Because this is the whole me – this is it. I have nothing else to blame if I am not wanted now. Its is just me. It is uncomfortable to have no shield these days. Most of us are willing to let others love the mask because we’d rather have that than nothing at all. But what I know now is that the path to true love is only through revealing and living your true self.

Letting people in is not easy. I spent years keeping everyone at a comfortable bay that now when I’ve changed my life for the better, these same people are nowhere to be found. People that used to call me everyday, or message me to invite me out, or called me family – they’re just ghosts of a life I used to live.

We’ve all heard of the “fight or flight” response – when presented with an immediate threat, it is instinctual that we either fight back or we run. We are only afraid of things we do not know, or do not understand. When I changed my life and became sober, I became unfamiliar. I became the mirror that no one wanted to hold up. But that was my choice, and saving my own life was more important than maintaining a popularity with people who wouldn’t truly care if I lived or died. They would still do the next line of cocaine after saying, “that’s awful” and carry on with their evening.

In relationships, its always been easier for me to run away than to break down my walls. Or I am so uncompromising that I break the other person – that’s not what love is. Love is being there for someone when you can hold space for them. Love is putting the other first when you can. Love is bending but never breaking because love binds us not splits us in half then leaves us that way. Love won’t make you feel as if the other person is your whole happiness, love will create happiness within you. And you get to take this with you wherever you go. Love doesn’t leave you with nothing – it builds you, supports you, and shows you how to love yourself. You can’t be left with nothing, only yourself, and you are love.

Doesn’t that sound better than holding onto whatever past you keep replaying? Why not take the risk for something more? My sponsor once said to me, that I have to be both parts – the light and the dark me. I have to embrace it all and just be authentic. I told her that I wasn’t sure if I liked both parts of me, so how could I expect anyone else to. She replied, people respect authenticity. I said – that’s not love. She answered, no, it is not love. But it is real.

This was my realization that I was so afraid to let others love me, that I was afraid to love myself. Everything I had learned, and heard, and learned made me believe I couldn’t be loved. But just because things didn’t work out before doesn’t mean they never will. If you want a different result, perhaps you have to try a different method. Perhaps this time around I can lay my arms down and appreciate the love I’ve both grown and found, instead of running away.

If you seek affection from others, you may find some sort of feeling resembling love, but if you seek to love yourself, I promise you will find it. Let others in, let yourself in; wade in your own shadows, my love. If you keep everyone out, you’ll soon forget to let anyone in. Let others see all of you – the scars, the bruises, the aches, the beauty. Take it from someone who mastered the art of detachment, you only end up exactly where you’re afraid to – alone. The only way to dispel fear is to unlearn these lessons so wrongfully engrained into you.

Take the first step forward – listen to your heart and not your head. Do what would be done in the name of love and not fear. It is scary, and unnerving, but a river never stops flowing, and the world doesn’t stop turning – who are you to be better than the elements you’re made from?

I need you to move.
I need you to be brave.
I need you to let go of the devil you know, because if we spend so much time afraid of what could happen, we won’t ever learn what good may be in our stars.
I need you to know that you are worth loving, no matter how many people tried and failed.

I’ve been given a second chance at life, and this time around I will build an armour of love and not fear – I hope you do the same.

The Worst Night of My Life

Addiction, Assault, Recovery

Before we get into this, just know, none of this is pretty. Nothing about this story is kind, or gentle, because they weren’t. And I’m working on the forgiving part.

My roommate and I threw a housewarming party. It was a fucking rager. We had easily over eighty people in our 1000+ square foot condo, complete with a stripper pole in the living room. Our new white shag rug, which we thought was a good idea, was destroyed within the hour, and we had dozens of bottles of alcohol in the house. Good thing I was sober, right? Wrong. My idea of sobriety then was not drinking, I thought it helped me control the amount of cocaine I was consuming – it didn’t. In theory, that may have worked when I first started using, but it did not last long. I hadn’t touched alcohol in a year, but it is no coincidence that the night I broke my perception of sobriety, I truly started spiralling.

Someone I believed to be a friend, which is akin to most of the people I used to surround myself with, was there that evening. Alleged-Friend we’ll call him, offered me some Xanax at one point in the party. I had never done it before, but like a good little addict, I was down for the high. He said it was really good with cocaine, and I should drink with it too. He was laying down on our once-white carpet, in his bright orange sweater, telling me it’ll be fun. I took it. I fell. At some point in the night, I vaguely remember walking into my kitchen, grabbing a bottle of champagne, and chugging it. My roommate was surprised to see that I was drinking since I was always so adamant about not.  I put my finger to my lips and gave her the “shh” sign. I was so out of my mind that seemed inconspicuous, right? Idiot.

When the party finally started winding down, at a casual 7am, I was standing around with Alleged-Friend, and a small group of people. Included in this group was an individual that would soon change my life. This person was (still is) a graffiti-artist-ex-con-wanna-be-tattoo-artist-piece-of shit. Alleged-Friend and the group decided they wanted to go to Piece-of-Shit’s house. He told me I needed to come, that we’d all hang out, there was more drugs, and he would make sure I made it home safely afterwards. So I went.

After that, the events leading up to my attack are blurred. I didn’t tell anyone about what happened to me that morning for almost a year after it happened. I felt responsible for what he did to me. I know I didn’t lead anyone on, but I went, I did their drugs, I learned – I should have stayed home.

I remember Alleged-Friend telling me he was leaving. I remember trying to reason with him to take me with him. I remember him telling me all the reasons why he couldn’t and how I needed to stay there and rest. I was so high. I was so confused. I knew he would be going past my area, and I still stayed. I don’t know why.

I remember telling Piece-of-Shit that if I stayed, nothing was happening. I remember him saying that was fine. I remember the feeling in my stomach that it wasn’t.

I remember waking up with my pants down being assaulted. I remember being terrified. I remember that I was told he had an unlicensed firearm under his bed. I remember thinking that if I didn’t stop him it could be worse, and even though I regretted everything up until that moment, maybe I could stop regretting the next.

I turned around, hit him in the face, and got out of the bed, shakily. I don’t remember if I grabbed all of my clothes that had somehow left my body. I don’t remember running down the stairs of this old apartment. I don’t even remember where it was.

I made it into a cab and called my roommate to let her know I was alive and coming home. I don’t remember much else.

Fast forward through a year of partying, I was at an art show with my best friend, and Steven (remember him? If not, better read that first blog post). I was making another failed attempt to be sober. I had made it one week and that’s when I saw him. Piece-of-Shit was there, smiling at me from across the room. I almost passed out when we locked eyes. My chest closed up, my legs gave out, and I was fighting the sickness in my stomach rapidly making its way to my throat. I ran outside. I was shaking, my voice trembling. I was fighting for any bit of air I could breathe into my newly collapsed lungs. I swear I could feel him on top of me again. So I did what I always did when I couldn’t stand the pain – I numbed. I started chugging wine at the bar, I started railing lines faster than they could be broken up. I didn’t want to do any of that but I knew I had to stop the pain.

Later on in the evening, I was speaking to a curator. That’s when Piece-of-Shit came up to me, grin and all, and had the disturbing confidence to ask me how I was. He called me babe, and said it’s been awhile. I looked him dead in the face, not wanting him to know I had stopped breathing half an hour ago, and told him to get the fuck away from me. I calmly turned back to the curator, who had an astounded look on her face, and I told her he had sexually assaulted me the previous year. She commended me on how well I handled it. Meanwhile, I had to end the conversation before I passed out.

My friends and I left, went to another party at APT 200, and of course, there he was. My bestie tried to confront him, but he denied everything. In fact, he said he had been texting with me the next day, and that I was reaching out to him. I could feel the sickness rising again. A fight broke out between one of his friends and me, and soon enough, everyone outside of the bar had been privy to the worst night of my life. Well, one of.

The next day, Piece-of-Shit had spoken with Alleged-Friend (I’m assuming), and they weren’t happy with my accusations. I soon found out that there were several photos taken of me from that night, photos I had no recollection of, and they were quickly posted on Instagram for the world to see. I felt assaulted all over again. I was so angry, sick, and hurt. I just could’t get away from this. I felt as if I was back in that room, I swear I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. My skin turned so cold I thought my neck would snap. I was horrified at how much worse it could get.

So I did what I did best – I numbed.

I got so high, I started reaching out to people on the wrong side of this life. Soon enough, I found someone willing to bring me a gun. I wanted to shoot him, and I didn’t care who knew or saw. I just knew I needed him dead by my own hands. Even writing this now, not killing him still feels like a great regret of my life. And I can’t believe that individual has changed me into this person. I was fortunate enough to have someone talk me down from a life-changing moment. A friend of mine came over, told me the choice was mine, but to speak to him about what happened, to give it an hour. If in an hour that’s what I still wanted, it would be done.

I backed down. They talked me off the ledge I was about to throw myself off of. Ruining my life would only give him more power over me. He wasn’t worth it. He still isn’t.

I’ve run into this individual a handful of times over the past two years. Normally, I have him removed from wherever I am. Just the other day however, I made the mistake of walking into his workplace. I didn’t know he was there, and when he turned to face me, there it was again. The grin. His face. The sickness. He said five words to me and I turned and ran. I had a panic attacked outside the shop. This entire post was sparked by this moment. I have never dealt with this sober. I had nothing to numb me, I had nowhere to hide. I had to go through it, and overcome the sickness, with just me. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a recovering addict. I went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that same evening, and when I decided I wanted to share about my experience that day, I couldn’t. I completely broke down, I started shaking, and crying. I couldn’t handle my feelings towards the situation that was so far behind me, and I hated that this nothing of a person still had this power over me. I spent days in depression over this. It took all my strength not to step in front of a streetcar that night, or turn my arm into mincemeat. I felt like I was a kid again, going through my first depressive episode. All I wanted to do was hurt myself more, or end it all.

I showed someone the first half of this post, and they asked me, where is this going now? To be honest, I think I needed the therapy of writing and sharing this. This is how I heal myself, or at least try to. The hard part is over, the nightmare is done; the trauma, and the re-traumatizing. Where I think this is going, is a platform to share and show you, that bad things can happen, and you can talk about them. You can share them, and most importantly, you can come back from those dark places.

I was attacked, and when I confronted my attacker I was targeted by the same people who caused me harm. I could have killed someone. Worse off, I wanted to kill someone.

Being sober now, and working on shining the light onto the parts of myself I hate to look at, allows me to see how far I’ve come. Working through all those emotions without drugs was (and continues to be) incredibly difficult, but it is the worst of it and it too shall pass. I have to believe that the darkness from others isn’t my own, that their actions are not mine. That maybe I am better than that.

I guess these moments are the “oh no’s” that have shaped me.
And in my grave mistakes, I only hope there is a lesson for you and for me.

Thank you for letting me share.