The world couldn’t understand my total sadness day in and day out. I wanted to fly away, high over the mountains and low under the sea.
I met many men in my lifetime. They were the good man, the bad man, and the indifferent men. Some were violent, some played the victim, and some just like me had an unstable behavior and a distorted perception of reality.
Mikely, was from the island of Dominique. A man with a different perspective on how to treat a woman. He assumed a woman needs to be kicked around and be domesticated like a mare.
I wanted to go back home, and my mother sided with marriage, vows and staying with your husband, it couldn’t be that bad, stop complaining so much. It was like saying "it's your fault, live with it," and that I did.
Eventually, I gave birth to a baby girl. She was small, head full of hair, and healthy. My first child and I had no clue what to do. I started confiding on a neighbor to help me.
After giving birth, I had a great deal of energy and was not able to stay put. I started leaving the baby more and more often with the neighbor, just going out during the time he was working, and then I started meeting with men.
One evening I left my daughter with the babysitter and left a note stating not to give my daughter to my husband if he came to her house.
The next morning I went to pick up my daughter and the babysitter told me my husband took her, and she wanted nothing to do with the whole situation. He took my daughter to my mother’s home, good, right? Wrong. My mother and sister opened a case against me through the Department of Social Service. I went to court and lost my daughter. The rest of my family didn’t lift a finger to help me. I was heartbroken and cared less about anything or anyone.
It took me almost twenty years to speak to my sister again, and I never forgave my mother.
I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, then. I learned that domestic abuse was a magnifier to my mental state, and I believe that after my pregnancy I went through a manic episode, exasperated by the hormonal changes cause during and after the pregnancy.
Today Mikely lives in Florida, he plays music and owns construction company. We divorced about thirty-two years ago, we kept a cordial relationship for many years.
The Voices in My Head
It’s not easy to stop the voices, nor keep suppressing the feelings that come and go, like a giant wave. The feeling are overwhelming, it feels like entering a small space where your chest grows tighter by the minute. The air is thick and heavy, while entering the lungs, and your face turns a reddish blue as the thoughts of death at that instance are irrelevant because they are obvious.
Death is coming. Death is here, right at the door of an idea that was stage, while in pain and nothing else. Conceived under the idea of pain, racing thoughts, and inferiority, death is to be a welcoming friend when no one else seems to care.
When memory is full , put on the perfect lid.
This Morning's finest syllable
I am on a journey, but is more complicated than just find- ing the best route, the cheapest ticket or the best location.
My journey is one of self-discovery. This journey has taken me to a mountain top, where I stand looking at the possibilities that might or might not become a reality.
Not knowing if I can let go; not until death does us apart with blood and tears signed a contract, that wash away all that remains unspoken.
I don't know if I am sure that perhaps, I need to sit at the mountain top a bit longer and take a closer look at all my maybes, could-bes and want-to-bes praying that is not too late to take that journey again.
I finally arrived
I overlooked the good things that happened to me, for many years. I want to think that good is measured when you finally arrived in that space of tranquility. I am not sure if I am there yet, but eventually, I will arrive.
Many people that I came in contact were kind, loving, caring, hypocrites, liars and, overall leaches. Men and women equally, no bias here.
Because of their nature men, tend to let women hear what they want to hear, they can’t help it. Moreover, women assume that sharing the same gender qualify them to be an expert in women issues. Here right here is where codependency starts. You are right, I am wrong. Then tell me what should I do?
Codependency and mental illness are sisters, they work very closely together to break through someone who is weak and lonely. At times codependency obstructs an individual's doors to growth. It does not allow a person to think or reason without another’s input. I depended on my mother, neighbors, drug dealer, doctors, and the list goes on and on. Does it sound familiar?
Here, right here, at this very moment, I stopped codependency, and turned this vicious cycle into a victory for the team, ME. So, I can evoke all the good things life gave me and all the good people that crossed my path, by remembering who I am.
The Best Friend
Lili was a shy girl, skinny, and was mostly into books. Her parents had a grocery store, a “colmado” in the next town from where my grandparents had their “colmado.” Her family was just like mine, respected and liked.
We met in Junior High, in Puerto Rico. We hung out with different crowds, but I had no crowd to hang out with. Remember the bully, that was the time when black and blue was in, for me.
I am sure today, that when I look back into my behavior and how I carry on, something was not right. Maybe, I was overwhelming to them. My speech, the way I did things and how
I did not care about the majority of things happening around me.
We had a program prepared for the school, I had to learn a few lines of a poem. Back then I was not comfortable to speak or address crowds. We all learned each part and on the day of the program, I forgot all of it. I ran out of the class and I heard everyone laughing, every teenager’s nightmare. That was my time to shine as the underdog. This girl came running after me, smiled and sat by me.
Her name was Lili. She told me that everything was going to be all right. Not to worry about it. I just smiled back, fixed my skirt and walk right back into the room.
She was always so soft-spoken, into her books, I wanted to be like her, but I couldn’t. She was the piece that I was missing, the tranquility that I need it. It felt good to be with her, just talking.
We grew up, and we went on our separate ways. By the time I saw her next, I had a baby and was trying to survive with what I had. Although she was attending college in Puerto Rico, she decided to move to Chicago.
We kept in touch for a while, and then she got married. The letters became less and less, until we lost touch with each other.
Last year while rummaging through social media, I found her brother. It has been thirty five years since I last heard from her family. I gave him my information and waited.
First the email, I couldn’t contain myself. I read it so many times. She had one baby girl, married to the same man for thirty-something years and successful. I was not expecting anything less from her.
We spoke on the phone, we remembered our families and she remembered who I was.
“Cathy, do you remember the night we went to a dance and Maria asked you why I was following you around?” You gave her that look and told her, “She is my friend, why you think she is following me around?”
“I remembered that night,” I said. “That night, you did the nicest thing anyone did for me.”
I heard about her niece, who was raped and killed in Chicago. She learned about my son. She only had one child, after trying and losing hope. We try to share thirty-something years on a conversation. We might need another thirty-something to catch up, but it is all right “time is on our side.”
And you think it's the end.
Baby father number four tries very hard to be a good man to me and my children. We met, and certainly, we became an item. By year two we had our baby girl, by the third year I was living upstate New York on my own.
Monticello, is a small town housing, during the summer, the majority of Brooklyn Jews. The surrounding towns were beautiful, it was like being home again, hence the fact of the majority of the population was white.
Tina was the manager of the housing project I moved into. She was considerate, loving, and a wonderful friend. Her family became my family, and I saw all her children grow up. She stuck with me for many, many years. She helped me, every time I was in trouble. She embraces my children and continues to help my son. Through the times in the hospital, mental illness, suicide attempts, and assisting my mother when she moved in with me.
She like many other people saw me for who I was. A person with possibilities who was very sick that needed help. She saw all of me at my worst and at my best.
In Monticello, I tackled my problems or so I thought. I met my demons, partake with them, lived among them, and close the doors behind them.
It was only two doors left and a hundred keys to open them.
“I found love again.” Yes, I did. After my divorce and leaving the business, cars, and house behind, I found love again. Thank God for internet dating.
I met my husband through an ad in a Muslim matrimonial site. Three months after we were married, eleven years have passed and we are together.
It was not easy at the beginning, I was not taking my meds, and my thoughts were racing faster and faster every day.
We had nothing, a bedroom at his sister's place, then an apartment in a very bad neighborhood, an attic at another place, and finally we found a home. It was an apartment, but the owners were amazing people.
At this time, I had my first back surgery. Spent a month away, then three long months in house therapy. Eventually, I got better, physically, but not mentally.
I stopped going to therapy and taking medication. One bad habit we bipolar folks are guilty of is that we think we are cured after two pills. We stop therapy, meds, talking, and then the cycle begins.
First, we want to do so many things at once. We never finish one thing we set out to do.
Second, we start acting as we are another person. That bi in bipolar comes out, is like an evil twin, grabs you by the hand and whispers in your ear, “Go ahead, is all right you can do this.”
Third, we fuck all that we touch. We become reckless and mindless. We use all that we got and abuse all who we know.
At that moment you come to terms that something is wrong, not by your own reasoning, but someone else’s. Then you want to crawl under a rock but is not enough. The voices, the screams, your past comes hunting your mind and the razor caresses your wrists one more time. My husband loves me and he is here with me, able to understand me and remember me as I am every day. We are partners, we are buddies, we are all we need for each other and in my darkest moments, he is the one I seek to help me as my anchor. To Allah, is the honor first, and then to my husband who continues to be that anchor through all these storms.
I will conclude this insane moment that has no logic, no meaning and probably no sequence with a note of gratitude.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder over 20 years ago. I went through drug rehab, the therapy, the denial, and the acceptance. I will remember everything that happened to me, since the age of three until the day I die. The price to pay when you have a photographic memory, which becomes selective when protecting yourself. The rehabilitation program was the first and the last, I ever visited.
I learned how to deal with the consequence of my drug use. Was I in denial? Yes, I was. After I have stopped the drug use, I will become addicted to other things, like sex, lies, and food. Something was amiss. I am sober, but why was I still acting like an addict? I started lashing out, and I ended in a mental health ward and finally, I was diagnosed as bipolar at the age of 35.
I have a problem, and I acknowledged my problem, what did I do about it? Therapy, pills, and continuous visits back and forth to the mental health ward.
Am I accepting my problem? Yes, I am. Do I follow all the rules? No, I don’t. Have I found peace? Yes, I have.
I am grateful, for the first time I have written about some of my demons and angels. About the road less traveled, and the roads that lay ahead, waiting to be discovered. I have tried to map a mind that is in pieces, yet struggles to become complete.
I am grateful to all who have touched my life, ruined my life, stayed in my life and run away from my life. I am not defined by my condition, nor by weakness.
I became Khadijah because she was the best of women, the best example to live by, and a woman who was ahead of her time. May Allah tala, see me as a better woman, the best companion and the loving person I want to be.