Once upon a time, I wrote whatever I wanted, and I didn’t care what anyone thought about any of it. Back then, all of my problems were new and interesting, and I didn’t have much to lose. Over time, I learned how to behave myself, and I learned how to hide those ugly parts of me that I didn’t want anyone else to know about. I learned how to keep a job, and how to lie. I learned what it meant to have everything to lose, and how to hold on, no matter the cost. I learned to be afraid, to hide, and worst of all, how to be ashamed of who I was and where I was at. Do you know how hard it is to ask for help when you would rather die than tell anyone what is really going on with you? I have never been in a place like the one I have lived in, off and on, for the past few years, and I hope never to be again.
This is what I want to say about all of that. If you are my friend, I need you to be my friend NO MATTER WHAT. I need to know that you aren’t going to let me go when I am up to my neck in it. If I feel like you will, then guess what? I am going to lie to you, because I am scared, and because I love you and want you to love me, too. And then I will fade out of your life, and you won’t hear from me, because I am afraid. Which, maybe, is better for you, right?
I have lived my life as close to the rules as a person like me can. Whatever rules you give me, I want to follow them. I want to be the girl that everyone loves, funny and bubbly and witty and sweet. If you ask around, I think you will find a few people who can agree that I am all of those things. But what about the times when I am grappling with my illness? When I am strung out and sick and miserable and bitter? Who wants to hang out with that girl? There are a few people- most of them as sick as I am, but a few beautiful, scrappy folks who will hang around with me and love me through all of that. I am so grateful to you.
I don’t want to return to that, I can promise you that. But I also promise that I am done saying never again. It hurts too much when I fail. Right now, I am so good, and I want to stay that way, but I am not promising anything. I am not following any rules that do not resonate with me, not anymore. I am a grown woman, and I know what is and is not okay with and for me. I am going to live MY life, not the life you would like to see me live, or the life that I wish I could live for you. I am going to try really hard to stay where I am at, and to get better and better.
But I am not going to hide. Not anymore. Not ever again.