The stakes are getting higher and higher as each day passes. Each and every precious day represents a step closer to our final destination: Completion of our MA Thesis! Yay Class of 2021! I’m all in! All my cards and chips are on the table! As I throw all my cards on the table, face up, I realize that this has been the most transparent, vulnerable and the rawest I’ve ever been in my entire life. That realization within itself has been transformative for me on a spiritual, and emotional level. I’m on the eve of my 39th birthday. This Friday will mark the end of a another decade of life for me. I say this birthday will hit me the hardest, not because I’m getting older and pushing forty (yikes), or because my entire 20’s was a total shit show (ugh) but more so because this has been a decade of true rebirth, renewal and like the phoenix rising. The beginning of my 30’s started out rough. I was hit hard with a severe resurgence of my OCD. I struggled and fought, literally for my life, for almost 3 years. Finally, I clawed my way out of the darkness and back into the light of day. For the last few years of this transformative decade I’ve been thriving. Although, even today, that new found light is sometimes too bright for my mental state to bare. But I’ve made it! Made it to the other side of healing and more inner peace. I can proudly say I rose from the ashes. That’s why, I’ll miss my 30’s so very much. I’ll try to cherish each and every moment of 39. God willing, my 40’s decade will be the best one yet!
Below I’ve shared a short excerpt from Chapter 4 entitled: Brotherly Love. Enjoy! Xo. (Unrevised, unfinished).
Chapter 4: Brotherly Love
The earliest memories I have of spending time with my older brother and only brother Gianni, is laying in his bed with him and watching classic 80’s movies like our favorites: The Goonies and Stand By Me. His wallpaper was a light grey, with the planets, stars, spaceships and starships adorning almost every inch of the walls. I would sometimes stare at the faded star constellations and fall into these dream like states, where I would imagine my brother and I on these fantastic intergalactic adventures together! Battling aliens and all the bad guys as if we had been transported into an old arcade game. He was eight years older than me so I always got to learn and experience cool new things about life through all his firsts. I got away with watching certain movies and playing video games and listening to more mature, cool music at a younger age because I was just following my older brothers lead. No questions asked. I cherished my special moments with him. I remember giggling and laughing endlessly at the movies we enjoyed to watch together. Rewinding our VHS tapes on our old VCR to the precise parts we loved most. Even as a small girl, at the age of about five or six, which made my brother twelve or thirteen, he would never refuse my requests to come into his room. I would knock softly on his door and he always opened it with a smile. He had thick, dark brown, unruly hair, with braces. He was tall for his age, and lanky. I remember always having to tilt my little head back, my dark brown curls falling back out of my face, as I looked up at him. He never made me feel like the annoying, bratty little sister that most older brothers would. Even at times when our older cousins or his friends from school would come over he always would allow me to tag along and play. Oh, how I loved my big brother so.
I wish life could always be as sweet and simple as it is when we were squealing with laughter and joy as kids. But times goes on, faster then we would like and we soon discover that life is transitory. So are the fond memories we make along the way. I learned this the hard way in my mid twenties while my older brother had already reached his mid thirties. I was upstairs just about to step out into the hallway when I overheard a conversation between my Mother and brother. They didn’t know I was in the hallway. Their tone of voice and the tension I felt rising up in my chest, made me stop dead in my tracks, as I continued to listen intently.
“Send her to a mental hospital or a facility! I don’t know what to tell you!”
He said with anger and what felt like to me, disgust.
“What?! Don’t say that, your sister is struggling. I’m worried about her. I figured you could help, or know what to do. You have faced some of the same struggles.”
She said this with what sounded like resignation in her voice.
The kitchen grew silent and colder in that very instant. Now I could only hear the slow drips of the faucet and the thumping of my racing heart. Beating so hard I thought my ears would burst. I was frozen in time and in my space. I quietly leaned my back up against the wall to steady myself, it took all my will power not to slide down to my bottom and curl up into a lifeless ball. The wind had been knocked right out of my soul. I was breathless and blindsided by what I had just heard. How could he say this about me? A mental hospital? What? Why? Where was the older brother I looked up too? The brother who I thought loved me as much as I adored him? Suddenly, and without warning I began to daydream or maybe even hallucinate. Their voices in the kitchen became muffled and everything around me became a blur. We were now in space. This magical, intergalactic fantasy where my brother Gianni and I were once again, transported into the old arcade game we used to love to play at the local pizzeria. We were in the same spaceship, shooting down the aliens and fighting off all our enemies. As the glowing, bright stars and constellations guided us on our adventure through space.
We were laughing and high fiving in complete and total bliss. Oh, how I wish this daydream could last forever. But as I slowly came out of this happy haze, reality hit me hard, and where it hurt the most, in my heart and in my gut. I slowly and quietly made my way out of the hallway and back into my bedroom. My Mother and brother were continuing their heated discussion of my wreck of a life, and hopeless state of being. But again, it was all muffled. I couldn’t hear a word. The only thing I could hear was the thumping of my now, broken heart. Beating harder and harder as I made my way to my bed. I crashed into it, the tears came pouring out, as the room began to spin. I made no sounds, just silent tears, silent pain that I would carry with my for many years after this incident. Tears endlessly streaming down my face, soaking my pillow. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, when she cried and cried and almost drowned out the entire land, the rabbit urgently begging her to stop. The salt from my tears were making the skin on my cheeks sting and feel tight. Could it be I wondered? That we went from fighting off the bad guys as a team, to now my very own brother, my big brother, my only brother, who I loved, admired and adorned, becoming one of the bad guys himself? It was too much for my already fragile heart to bare.
To Be Continued…