The poor girl struggled exhaustively and indefinitely but it’s hard to remember of her complaining. Instead she rocked — and rocked and rocked and rocked and rocked — even while standing she was rocking. As a baby she had a rocking horse and rode it to death. If not rocking she was busy collecting and organizing food for proper placement toward bingeing and purging. Distraction was her method of coping — not complaining — and it was very hard to find her eyes where they might be available for looking in to. All troubling thinking was to be avoided — that space inside herself that longed for magic kinds of touching was having shovels of dirt thrown over it instead — drugs and alcohol. It was magic in the seconds that she wasn’t gone and there were countless others clamoring for the few seats in her theater. Musical chairs. Being a sister was a preferential position, but after all, it was her choice who she’d see in the very few moments or seconds when she could see.
It’s always children that are hurt the worst. Even though they had been in the front row of her audience, the show of affection she was staging in the bathroom while they dressed up, put on Twiggy lashes or fixed their hair to mimic models while trying to sing Belladonna like Stevie Nicks only served to interrupt proper growing. She wasn’t really there but her flesh was available for clinging to. Abuse by neglect is more penetrating by its presence than its absence — but leaving wasn’t healing. They were all interrupted — perhaps the boy even more because he wasn’t inclined for any of the pretending of which the girls were more than willing. Any holding on to see if she was looking was grossly overrated and only served to stop their own full living. It still seemed like there was a story they were making
” ‘Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.’ ” No, that wasn’t it. ” ‘Get Up. You ain’t hurt!’ Yeah, that was it,” she could remember a favorite saying of her sister’s. She wouldn’t have been a Republican if she’d had any inclination to think about things like politics but that was put in the same place that alcohol and drugs shoveled their dirt over. It might have been her husband that used the bootstrap metaphor but not her. She liked to help others. As for herself, she kept trying to convince she wasn’t hurt.
She had little bits and pieces of paper tacked up close to all the near millions of mirrors spaced at intervals convenient for not interrupting her seeing her own eyes since no one else could. They all had sayings she had written on whatever envelope or bag was there for writing on. She was constantly looking for some kind of inspiration that would dig the dirt from over the dead thoughts and revive them for better consideration but wouldn’t hurt more than she could stand. The mirrors helped her see that she was really there and check for the only true understanding she had of herself — that she was beautiful. Constant checking was to see if it had faded any — what else would she have if it had or wasn’t what she thought it was a minute or two ago?
“I want a white poodle with a cute pace,” she’d written with her first grade teacher, Mrs. Ishoy, on a giant lined piece of paper with a squeaky marker she brought home to show her mother.
Before that she’d wanted white marching boots that she cried and cried over when they quit fitting. After the poodle, she wanted a long blonde wig so everyone in the family she was in then made sure she got whatever it was she wanted because if she didn’t, she was miserable to be around and consistently melancholic. If they’d known then that they were not helping, maybe they would have done something different but when she wanted “to look like Twiggy”, no one could give her that. Anorexia could and maybe drinking so she became friends with Anorexia and anyone who knew how to get the bottles.
“I don’t think my brain can be fixed,” she’d told her sister just a night or two before she pulled the trigger. “I think I’ve had a great life,” she added to that. Her sister couldn’t imagine that all the misery she had witnessed her suffer could equal the sum of a good life, but she also knew that celebrity often comes with a price and her sister had been a really big fish in a little pond so it was good to think that she’d found some happiness in that hell. It was now her hell to live the rest of her life without her sister, her sister’s children too.
Oh to have found a way to help, but there hadn’t been one — not that she could find for herself nor could any of the numbers of those who were trying.
Gabor Maté says that best someone who loves someone can do it to not stop loving no matter what and even maybe bring them a needle or at least the anecdote if the needle tries to kill them. Love is the only hope and a requirement because the reason they feel so empty and are stuffing feelings down is because somewhere along the line, love got interrupted and more, not less love is required to bridge the gap. Not bootstraps.
Oh, how she wishes she’d grabbed her sister up one more time when she was claiming she wasn’t hurt and said, “Who are you trying to kid, kid. I can see your pain,” and tried harder to switch places.
She still can’t remember of any complaining.