Monday, July 16, 2007

The Time I Decided to Throw Myself Into the Sea

“I can’t believe a disgusting bitch like you ever worked with children.” Evil ex told me.

I know, I know. I shouldn’t have called him. I was asking for this abuse, but it had been a month and I already received his lawsuits. I wanted to know how and why he could do this to me and I wanted to beg him to stop.

My former neighbors back in Atlanta called me almost everyday with reports of what Evil Ex was doing in MY house while I lay awake all night crying silently in my parents’ guest room. As soon as my flight landed in Florida, Evil Ex’s girlfriend moved right in. She was skinny, my neighbor’s reported. She was wearing my clothes. No, for real. She was wearing my clothes. I mean, why not, since I wasn’t allowed in the house to get them. I guess she figured someone should wear them.

“Remember those black capris with the pink roses embroidered around the hem?” asked my friend Ellen, who lived across the street.

“Yes.” I replied.

“She’s wearing them today.”

I couldn’t fit into the black capris with pink roses around the hem anymore. They were a size two and well, let’s just say that I was not a size two, nor would I ever be. At one point, I was a size two, but it was only for about a week and a half after I had a wicked stomach virus. I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that my being a size two was a one time only, very brief fluke.

Picturing this girl, whoever she was, strutting around my former neighborhood in my size two, black capris with pink roses on the hem sent me into fits of self loathing and misery. Thank God this was before I found out she was pregnant, because if I knew that this girl could fit in a size two, while she was pregnant, I might have just flown to Atlanta and burnt the house down with her in it.

Instead of burning the house down, I decided to sit and torture myself. How could a girl move in to some other girl’s house and wear her clothes? Why didn’t he want me? What was so great about her, besides the fact that she was a size two? What was so terrible about me? Why did I let myself stay engaged to someone for over four years who made it clear to me that the only reason he bought me a ring was because my parents pressured him into it because we were living together. He told me over and over that he didn’t believe in marriage. It was just a piece of paper, he repeated when I cried and begged him to set a date.

I had to know, so I called, praying she would answer so I could tear her a new asshole about wearing my pants while I festered in Florida with only a suitcase of tee shirts and flip flops.

“What do you want?” Great. I forgot about caller ID.

“How-”

“How? You want to know how? I’m happier than I’ve ever been before in my life, that’s how.”

“Why?”

“Because YOU were a bitch.”

“Why?”

"You constantly complained, you tried to control everything I did – Maya wakes up smiling every day. You never did anything but work. Maya takes care of me. I can’t wait to marry her.”

“You said you didn’t believe- You never wanted-”

“I just didn’t want it with you.”

I think I could have lived a little better knowing that it really wasn’t me. If I believed he didn’t want to marry anyone, maybe I could have gotten over it, but no. It really was me. He didn’t want to marry me.

“Why?”

“Because you were never happy. You were a high maintenance pain in the ass. Maya and I go dancing. You’ve never danced in your life. You’re scared to death of everything, nothing is ever fun with you. All you want to do is have your perfect little Martha Stewart dinner parties and put up your Laura Ashley curtains. You never even got drunk. You’re such a fucking control freak. You have to be in control all the god damned time. You’re fucking miserable and you were horrible in bed. You know, sometimes Maya just takes my dick out and starts sucking it, for no reason. I had to beg you to suck my dick. It was like pulling fucking teeth to get a blowjob out of you and then you never wanted me to see you naked, you’d never show your tits. Maya sleeps naked. We walk around the house naked. So you want to know why. That’s fucking why!”

“So all you want is some dirty whore to suck your dick and walk around naked and get drunk and go dancing? That’s what you want you fucking piece of shit and that was worth throwing away a seven year relationship for? Some blowjobs? What the fuck kind of person are you?”

“You need to look at what kind of person YOU are, and I don’t need to listen to you talk shit about my girlfriend. You’re just a lonely, sick, little jealous person and you’ll never be happy. I can’t believe a disgusting bitch like you ever worked with children.”

He hung up on me.

Looking back, I see this as more of the manipulative, abusive bullshit that I endured during the seven years we lived together, which he obviously learned from his father, a man, who once in a drunken rage came home and destroyed all of the family’s furniture. At the same time, and I knew this then, Evil Ex told me a cruelly worded version of the truth. His intent had been to make himself feel justified in cheating on me, lying to me, leading me on and then suing me. He meant to hurt me, and there was no doubt about that, but there were shards of truth amid the vitriol. I was lonely, sick and jealous. I was a control freak who had never danced or proudly embraced her own sensual curves. I was a fucking mess and I wanted to die because at that moment I saw no other way out and the dogs were barking, my mother wouldn’t stop smoking, my father forgot to pay the water bill again and my sister was dating a guy older than me when she was eight years younger than me. I hated the entire world, myself most of all. I hated. I cried. I scratched at my thighs. I looked out the window wishing for the comforting shade of ten story, Georgia magnolias and saw only sharp, dry palm fronds whipping in the wind. The hot wind. Florida was so ugly and I was stuck there.

I decided to throw myself into the sea. With a strong and unusually calm sense of resolve, I put on my bathing suit and walked out of the guest room and through the family room where my mother sat at her desk smoking. A leopard print towel wrapped around her body, hair twisted in a faded scrunchy, she played Tetris on her computer, stubbing out her cigarettes in a diet Pepsi can. The dogs fought over a pig’s ear. Papers, business cards, soda cans and mangled stuffed animals littered the room. Dog slobber dried on the green vinyl couch and the dull drone of Fox news hummed from the big screen TV. All they talked about was the upcoming election. Polls, Gore, Bush. Gaining. Falling. Mistakes. I surveyed the scene and confirmed my decision. I no longer wanted to live in this world.

“Where are you going.” My mother asked, not looking up from the falling pieces on her screen.

“To throw myself in the sea.”

“All right.”

My parents lived about three blocks west of the beach. I stalked out of the neighborhood, still sobbing and walked past the neighbor’s mango tree that had mangos hanging from cords all over it, swinging in the breeze. Something about the mango tree stopped me for a second. The mangos were the size of footballs, sticky, velvety and all purple green and orange – colors that should never ever look pretty together, but they did. But mangos were stupid and had sap all over them and they tasted like nasty turpentine. They fell off the tree and rotted on the ground so yellow jackets swarmed all around the roots and stupid mangos were just stupid and I hated them like I hated everything else in Florida and I would be glad when I was dead and never had to see stupid ass, pine-sol tasting mangos ever again.

I crossed A1A, beachfront avenue and I realize this is totally absurd, but I can not think of A1A without thinking of Ice Ice Baby, which always kind of makes me laugh. So there I was crossing A1A on the way to my death, thinking of Vanilla Ice and I realized the pathetic-ness of this whole scene. Vanilla Ice. My last thoughts, which no one would ever know, were of Vanilla Ice. And I hadn’t written a note and I was wearing a red Brazilian bikini and although I didn’t mention this earlier, I carried with me a beach towel. Now, I don’t know if there’s a proper way to kill one’s self. You know what. Yes I do know. There is no proper way to kill one’s self. There just isn’t and there isn’t a good reason to kill one’s self either. But the sobbing, swollen eyed me who crossed A1A beachfront avenue in her red Brazilian bikini with a beach towel, not having written a furtively pitiful suicide note, had not yet learned this lesson. Give her a half hour though.

Still thinking of Vanilla Ice, who also made a mess of his life and ended up stuck in Florida with no money and, I think, nothing but a llama if I’m not mistaken, I walked across the beach. Red flags staked in the sand flapped loudly. We never have waves in Florida unless there’s a hurricane, which at this point in time there had not been in ten years. This day there were waves. Big scary waves with white caps and the sky darkened to a weird night-blue near the horizon. There were no lifeguards and nothing but a man with a metal detector looking for someone’s long lost class ring.

I wanted to die because I wanted pity. I wanted everyone who ever hurt me to feel guilty – my no good, Baptist missionary, biological father who abandoned me and went off and made me five siblings I never met, his wife who made him do it, the bullies in middle school, the red headed best friend who wrote me out of her life quite literally, my mother who said “all right” because she was playing Tetris, and most of all, most most most of all – Evil Ex and the beautifully named, dick sucking, size two wearing Maya. I wanted to do something so drastic that all of them would stop their lives and realize that they had done me wrong.

I said there is no good reason to kill one’s self, but if there were, and there isn’t, I can at least say that the worst possible reason would be over a relationship. Tying for worst possible reason to kill one’s self is trying to make other people feel guilty. It’s self centered, idiotic, overly dramatic and a total, sickening waste of a good life which, although you may not realize it at the time, will eventually improve to the point where you will look back on your own near-sighted stupidity and laugh at how dumb you were. The me of June 2000 did not yet realize this either. Give her about 25 minutes.

It’s a good damned thing that I had never heard of Virginia Woolf when I was 26 or this whole scene might have looked more appealing than it did and I might have thrown myself truly into the sea in a full set of clothes instead of in a red Brazilian bikini, which would have then caused me to sink. Had I read The Waves or Mrs. Dalloway I may not have had the foresight to bring a beach towel, which meant that I ultimately knew I would need it. Luckily, when I went to throw myself into the sea I had no substantial education beyond the tenth grade and nothing but a GED that I lied about to everyone who asked where I went to high school.

Still, I was committed to throwing myself into the sea so I went and stood near where the waves crashed. I looked like shit in the red bikini. My body was going to wash up near the fishing pier looking even more bloated and pale than it already did. I could not get Ice Ice Baby out of my head. I felt vaguely hungry. I was bad in bed. I was a control freak. I never danced. Not only had I never danced like no one was watching, I never danced when no one was watching. I couldn’t even stand to be alone with myself without torturing, judging, nit picking and finding fault with every thing I did. I was even trying to judge my own corpse.

I stood about knee deep in the water, and I did not throw myself into the sea. I just stood there and though about throwing myself into the sea. The sea, pissed off that I was taking too long coming to a dramatic self realization and pissed off that I was standing there thinking like a moron, decided to teach me a lesson. It grabbed me and sucked me in.

One of the things I didn’t know as a new and reluctant Floridian, was what those red flags meant – rip currents. All I can say is that I must have a team of guardian angels who were supervising my George Bailey episode because as the ocean yanked me out to its depths, Ice Ice Baby screeched to a halt inside my head, replaced by a woman’s voice. I think she had an English accent. I’m not kidding.

God did not speak to me, that’s not what I’m saying here. I always wished I was some kind of prophet, where God would appear to me in a burning bush, but this has yet to happen. Unfortunately, no, FORTUNATELY, this voice was the woman from the public service announcement that ran constantly on our local TV channels telling tourists what to do if they are caught in a rip current. Rip currents are a huge problem in Florida and, well, every coastal area. I think I heard that hundreds of people every year drown at the beach because they don’t know what to do and I hope that by writing this, maybe I will inadvertently save someone’s life one day. You never know. The public service announcement, English Accent Lady saved mine. Because…I wanted my life to be saved.

Your brain will fool you. It creates all kinds of nonsense and distractions. Mine made me think a guy, an asshole, who based relationships on blowjobs, was worth dying for. It made me think I was ugly, useless and unlovable too. But come a real emergency and you will be amazed at how fast your brain will cut this shit out and how badly you want to live and how badly you’ll do just about god damned anything to survive. This is another reason why you shouldn't try to kill yourself. You WILL change your mind and sometimes its too late, so just don't even try in the first place.

The rip current really made me feel like I was being ripped. Something about it seemed alive, like it had a consciousness. I see how this makes people panic when it catches them. It’s like something has pulled you on purpose and it means you harm.

“Don’t Panic.” said English Accent Lady.

I instinctively arched my neck to keep my face out of the surf. Stones, sand and shells got sucked out with me, filling my bathing suit, stinging the red, raw places where I scratched my thighs in anguish earlier. Everything was gone from my mind. I forgot ever thinking I wanted to die. The current carried me out farther than I had ever willingly swam.

“Remain Calm. Do Not Fight the Rip Current.”

I held still. This takes some act of will because when you’re caught in the current you start freaking out and trying to fight it, which makes it a hundred times worse. Then you get tired and drown. Never fight the rip current. It will not carry you to the shores of Normandy. Eventually it gets to a certain point and then kind of turns. It’s hard to explain, but the rip current heads out to sea for a little while and then curves and then peters out.

“Swim Parallel to the Shore.”

Ok, I thought, but which way? English Accent Lady didn’t make it exactly clear if you should go up or down, so I swam away from the rip current. I went North and I had to really overcome the urge to freak the fuck out now because I couldn’t touch the bottom, there were waves and I was positive there were sharks who were ready to throw down and have a feeding frenzy on my arms and legs. I swam parallel to the shore for a good ways. I got tired and stopped for a little while and just floated. Remember, people die when they get too tired. Take a rest.

“Swim back to shore at an angle to avoid being caught in the rip current again.”

I tried to do this. I guess I did it right because pretty soon I could touch the bottom again, although I didn’t want to because who knows what sort of things lived on the bottom that could sting me or pinch me or bite me. I started walking and then the waves came and lifted me up. And the waves felt warm and soft as they carried me back to land where I belonged and where my beach towel had been waiting all along. I picked it up and started on my way back home because this is where I lived and where I was going to live and there was nothing I could do about it except just accept it and force myself to stop acting like an idiot.

I did not run shouting down A1A beachfront avenue about how I now loved South Florida. I did not yell “I love you bus bench with realtor’s picture on it!” I did not declare adoration for the sea grape trees, the diner on the corner that ripped me off for my hash browns or the Shangri-La By The Sea motel, with its concrete sea horses. I did not embrace the girl who walked by in a thong bathing suit baring her ass to the world, nor did I blow kisses to the guys in the pick up truck who honked their horn at her. What I did do, was pull one of those mangos off the neighbor’s tree.

I went home, sliced it and ate it down to the pit and it did not taste like pine-sol or turpentine. The mango was sweet.

(And if you need more information on rip currents, go HERE. Be careful when you play at the beach and remember you are very much loved even if you don't think so right now.)

26 comments:

amy said...

Yay, for English Accent Lady! I'm so glad you listened to her and didn't get sucked into the sea.

Evil Ex was stupid and you're better off without him. I also dated a guy who wanted me to walk around the apartment naked, give him blowjobs randomly, and be ready for sex at the drop of a hat. Honestly, I think men make up these women in their heads because they watch too much porn. I would bet money that Maya didn't do those things, either. He was just lying to make you feel bad.

inspectorguy said...

As soon as I read "A1A, beachfront avenue" I immediately thought of Ice Ice Baby. Oh shit, that is just so sad.

Anonymous said...

i've just recently started reading your blog, and i really love it! i enjoy your writing and the stories. just thought i'd share..

Miss Kitty said...

Your writing classes have really been working on you...because this is one of the best things I've seen to date on WLNM. It's subtle, it's sad, it's funny all at once. Damn, SNM...that MFA is just what you needed!

faded said...

I understand the rage, self loathing and PAIN that was washing over you. The PAIN and the rage drive you one way and you want to go another. Having suffered through a suicidal depression in understand how you felt.

ADW said...

Oh. Now I am feeling a little weepy.

The thing about wanting to throw yourself in the ocean over a bad relationship (OK - a horrible, stinking, sumbitch ex-finacee) is that no matter how many times you look back on the situation and see it for what it really is, or how many times those around you at that moment in time tell you the truth of the situation, you are incapable of seeing the truth yourself. It only takes time and space to see something so clearly that everyone around you already knew. That the pain and shame and frustration were unfortunate, but there was no reason to lose your mind, or your life, over it. I think it is just one of those things you MUST learn for yourself. I've been through it and every woman I know has been through it at least once. The only plus is that we usually learn it once and never do it again.

Anonymous said...

yes, he's a liar. no, she didn't do all that stuff on demand. no woman really does. it's only in the movies, honey. big virtual monday hugs, sunny

catherine said...

Did you ever found out what happened with evil ex and maya the ditch bitch? Are they still together? Are they still living in that house? Did the baby come out with horns and a tail? lol
just wondering :D
catherine

SJ said...

You're stories just continue to get more amazing. I heard a very similar speech not too many years ago. I remember it all cutting like a knife because they were all things I had thought about myself and it was awful hearing those things from someone you love. The beautiful thing about dealing with that is once you hear the worst, it seems easier to deal with after that.

Anonymous said...

*hugs*

Subservient No More said...

Catherine, I never did find out. I know the house is for sale, and is empty. It has been for sale for a long time now. I don't know if they moved, or if they're selling the house because they divorced. I have no clue. And the best part is, I don't care. But sometimes I think of becoming a huge, best selling author with millions of dollars so I could go buy the house back from him even though he is asking a ridiculous price, which is why it's not selling.

TwistedNoodle said...

Once again you have left me wanting to hear more. Your writing is incredible and I am hooked on your blog.

After Maya had the kid, I bet she stopped being the sex kitten he fell in lust with and he was left to spank the monkey while she slept next to him.

Andria and Co. said...

stop, collaborate and listen... i read this entry earlier today, and just wanted to come back and say thanks for getting that song stuck in my head!!

Anonymous said...

I've had some real A-Hole exes, but yours completely takes the cake. I've also experienced periods of depression and self-loathing due to being put down and dumped by my own evil-exes.

These guys aren't worth crossing the street to spit on -even if they are on fire.Not all relationships work out, but only classless jerks need to make the person they were with feel badly or cheat.

I think the other posters are right about Maya. Guys ALWAYS try to build the new girl up by putting the girl they screwed over down. I bet after the baby, Maya gained a bunch of weight and couldn't take it off, then he found a new trailer trash honey. If a guy cheats on one girl, he'll do it again as soon as things aren't going exactly his way. It's all about selfishness and lack of respect for the other person.

I wouldn't buy the house back ever, especially if he wants allot for it. Why put a dime in his pocket? Let the house that he's not living in sit there and rack up property tax bills. Let him be stuck with the house as sort of his own scarlet letter.

Green said...

In December when I went to the beach off Hillsboro, I took a picture of the A1A sign, and totally thought of Vanilla Ice.

I'm glad you married the guy who's your husband now. The old guy was an idiot to have tried to make a correlation between being good at working with children and giving random blow jobs.

JDogg said...

I am glad you are still here, and that you have been sharing such personal experiences with all of us.

Let me know when you can buy the house again and I will help with the move back north!

Maya said...

Would like to clarify: I am NOT that Maya. This story is amazing.

Sparkling Cipher said...

You rock. I'm so glad you're still around.

What kind of loser thinks being a drunken whore who likes to dance and give him random blowjobs makes a woman relationship material?

For the record, I am also guilty of hearing Vanilla Ice as soon as I read "A1A."

Anonymous said...

I hope you learned that the moral of this story is - if you suck a really good dick he won't have the energy to cheat...

Anonymous said...

I remember Feb. 1995 like it was yesterday. I was walking along the other coastline (calif.) thinking of throwing myself in and ending it all. No lifeguards due to it being winter meant no saving me. I had gotten fired from my job, divorced, lost my mom, and just didn't see a reason to live. I figured my kids would be better off without me.

Interrupting these thoughts were 2 beautiful dolphin frolicking just off the shore. To my right were the snowcapped mountains. The sun played off the ocean and put the dolphin in stark contrast. The beauty of the scene made me want to cry.

How could I die now and not witness the wonder of nature? I decided right then to live. I got dolphin tattooed on my leg as a symbol of my survival. I found a better job, a better husband, and I think fondly of my mom every day.

Love reading your stories in anticipation of your future books!

Subservient No More said...

Second to last anonymous, I love you. That was like the best comment ever. Clearly, I learned because I'm happily married now! Thank God for being friends with gay men is all I have to say about that, because I think my mother in law reads this.

Last Anonymous, how beautiful. Im glad neither of us threw ourselves into the sea. I have a dolphin story too that I'm saving for you guys. I see them fairly often around here.

Ms Robinson said...

Yes she's a bitch but you can write

Anonymous said...

All of your stuff is pure, original, just beautiful ...

I enjoyed this ...love the way it came along...

But then, each of your pieces is perfect. I'm glad you listen to your heart and let all this come out naturally. No doubt, you have a gift.

beatgrl said...

I have never commented here before, but I've been reading since the beginnng of your "new" site. Your writing is fantastic - I enjoy your style immensely. The great material doesn't hurt, of course, but it's what you do with it that is magic. Thanks for sharing it with all of us for free.

tatiana said...

*...and I realize this is totally absurd, but I can not think of A1A without thinking of Ice Ice Baby, which always kind of makes me laugh.* - I thought the EXACT same thing when I read A1-A.

Good reading. Funny how some of lifes most miserable moments and experiences render the most colorful writing.

Glad you made it out of the rip current.

Brandy said...

I love you. Thank you.

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