How To Be Alive


I write every day now. It’s too much and I know that but I’m too directionless to write my novel, too empathetic to just keep one blog. I write everywhere; words on napkins in sharpie ink, on computer screens and cell phones, in notebooks and journals and on paper plates. I write and I feel alive and it’s more than I can handle sometimes. I feel it all,I realize. I feel too much.

It’s the euphoria of life, I realize, that has made me so vocal. This time last year, I lived in the suburban sprawl. I sat outside and smoked cigarettes and I was dust in the spotlight, just kind of floating. I thought I was in love then and I was positive that I could win. If I could prove myself, I just knew I could win because he loved me once and if he had before, he would again. But the story is sad and when I recant it in my mind, I wonder why I’m still trying. I am remarkable, I surmise. I am strong and I am brave and I have had my heart broken in irreparable ways. There are cracks in my veins and tourniquets ’round ventricles. Yet when I fall asleep at night, it’s the hope of a dream that I think about. I loved once and maybe I can again. But, of course, that was before. Before, however, I was ignorant. It is a horrible thing to love something that death can touch. I did once, many years ago, but the loss of a parent is so very different from losing the person you want to marry one day and in the months since I stopped planning out my suicide in intricate, ornate detail, I have learned more about life and human nature than I did in the 26 years that proceeded it. Read the rest of this entry »


My dad had the habit of listening to the same cd over and over again. It was inherited, I think, as I am a chronic repeat listener of the same one lp ad nausea whenever I get a new favorite band. It drove my dad nuts when I did it yet he subjected me to the same thing for as long as I can remember. Sometimes, these cds were boss (Like Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black). Othertimes, not so much (Why did I buy him a Barenaked Ladies album for Christmas in 6th grade? Why?). One such of these albums was Sam’s Town by the Killers. I remember how the Killers used to be good and I remember how awesome Hot Fuss was when it first came out but by the time Sam’s Town hit, I grew weary of Brandon Flowers’s cocky attitude and dissing of Franz Ferdinand as my loyalties did and always will lie with Alex Kapranos. Aside from a few track, Sam’s Town never clicked with me and I dreaded getting in the car with my dad. Now, however, it’s different.

It’s summer and I’m walking down the street in the rich part of town at ten in the morning. The houses here are towers with multiple balconies and heated floorboards. I don’t belong here in my scuffed boots, with my hair still knotted from the shenanigans of the night before but I’m earning my keep this week by walking a white fluffball dog named Lola. I have my headphones on and since I stopped being so devastatingly sad, I haven’t cried. In fact, I’ve done everything but cry as my lust for life turned into weeks on end of partying. I justify it with the logic that, as I’m entering my late twenties, I won’t be able to rage anymore. Not like I used to. So I might as well give my mid-twenties one last hurrah while they’re still here, clinging to me like the dirt and sweat and liquor of summertime’s disappearing.

Suddenly, my iPod plays a song I haven’t heard in years and I recognize it immediately: The closing track of Sam’s Town and my eyes burn.

Each lyric from “Exitlude” is heartwrenchingly apt, from the opening lines (Regrettably, time’s come to send you on your way) to the sentiments of the chorus (We hope you enjoyed your stay; It’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for the day) and even the eerie inclusion of the word “daddy”, making it so perfect for my life that I’m pretty sure Brandon Flowers wrote the song specifically for me, as if he knew that I’d need it one day.

It’d been so long since I’d cried that it felt foreign; it felt like I’d forgotten how. I gasped and I sobbed and it was how I used to spend my days in the ‘before’, when I lived in that transitional time before ‘after’, when I hadn’t yet figured out how to live again. Only now, the tears were different. I wasn’t sad. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t even desperately want my dad here. I’ve accepted the fact that he’s gone. People die. It happens all the time. It just sucks when it happens to you.

It’s strange to cry for a skeleton from your past when you’ve made peace with the its role in your life. Before, I cried that my dad would never get to be at my wedding. Granted, before my dad had died, I’d never given much though to marriage. It wasn’t until after he died that I realized everything I’d robbed him of: He’d never get to tell me how dumb I was when I told him I was engaged; he never got to complain about making the drive to Iowa when I told him I wanted to get married in a barn; he never got to disapprove of the name I chose for the grandkid he never got to fall in love with; and he never got to see me grow up into this super strong pixie sized Amazon warrior I’m becoming. But it’s all about perspective. My dad died and I fell asleep for a few months and when I woke up, I was an adult.

We had some good times when he was here though. 

I fell in love with a band. They were sweat soaked rock and roll and after I saw them, I couldn’t bring myself to listen to any music that wasn’t theirs.

It’d been a week since I’d been home, going straight from vacation to Barnstormer, to sleep in guest houses and beach front cottages and on the floor of the living room of both my best friend and favorite local musician. I’m awake and alive and I’m drinking and smiling and wandering in fields and sitting on couches and kissing a new boy and it’s all electricity and suddenly, I live a life that isn’t mine – Cut off from my closest friends one day, making new best pals the next – and it’s a dream in which I play the part of the girl I used to be, before this sadness overtook my life and I realize – I’m not playing the part. I’m her again.

I’m finally at home after days of suitcase living turned into a week and my bathroom is in disarray. I have unpacking to do and a bedroom to rearrange. Get at it. And I do.

Since I’ve moved in, I’ve used my computer exclusively for music and let my record player, a hand me down from my dad, languish. Today, however, I needed it. I opened the cd tray to put in Strike Hard, Young Diamond, a burned copy from my best friend as I was too busy drinking and flirting away my Barnstormer to actually exchange goods for money. To my surprise, there’s already a disc in the faux-fifties all-purpose media player’s black plastic hull. I realize immediately what it is: The last cd my dad listened to in this record player. It was his, after all. It lived in his “man cave” and he used it fairly often. The day he helped me move in to my house in Ann Arbor, he brought it to me. He died a little over a month later. I regard the silver cd-r with wonder and nostalgia, a smile creeping across my face: This cd is the last gift I will ever get from my dad. I lift it up and look at the writing. In multicolored sharpie are words I’d scrolled on its surface some eight years prior and I remember. It’s a mix of Christmas songs I made for my dad when I was nineteen. We listened to it driving to the suburbs in the snow on the 25th, going to visit my grandma in the nursing home.

He’d always given me shit, the way dads are prone to do. My taste in music was never up to spec for him (I recant this to my best friend and she laughs. “Your taste in music is bad? Yours? Having good taste is what you do!” and it’s true.) but this testament, this one last tangible piece of my dead father, is proof that… My dad recognized my good taste in indie rock. And that approval was all I ever wanted from him.

It was worse than I let on, worse than I told anyone. It was worse than I even suspected it could ever become, the thoughts of suicide creeping up from behind me. I could see it from my periphery, the fog of sadness surrounding my line of vision until everything I used to be was enveloped in gray. Days passed in minutes, weeks in hours. He only died in February, how could it be four and a half months already? I laid in bed and couldn’t move, couldn’t cry. I laughed callously at my own pathetic nature, remembering when I longed to stave off tears for the duration of a whole day. You see, I’d assume that when the tears dissipated, they’d be replaced by a newfound sense of wholeness. Instead, they were replaced by a constant darkness, even on the bright days with my best friends beside me.

The depression was a rock slide that began the day of my dad’s wedding and didn’t let up until I was a heap of emaciated bones, laying on the carpet of my freshly cleaned room (Wasn’t a clean room supposed to make me feel less cluttered as well…?), thinking of ways I could gracefully kill myself without scarring my friends, my family, the people I work for. You see, I’d planned it all out: I had to be a nanny for at least another year and a half but after my obligation to the kids was done, I’d be free to die if I so chose, if my desire for death was stronger than my now non-existent lust for life. But a year and a half? With the next week seeming barely manageable, how could I be expected to make it a year and a half? To me, time was unfathomable. (Wasn’t I just fighting with my dad about what nylons to wear to his wedding? Wasn’t I just getting ready for his funeral? Wasn’t I just telling my ex-boyfriend how I never wanted to see him again? Wasn’t I just being comforted by my estranged former best friend, as I sobbed about how badly I wanted to fix things, fix everything?)

I slept restlessly until four p.m. every day, getting high to dull the bright lights and jagged colors of sobriety. At first, the drugs made life tolerable. Soon, however, they became necessary for me to function. Once so social, so vibrant, I was now reduced to a silent statue of the girl I used to be, and the only times I left my house were the times that I knew if I stayed home, alone, I’d do something drastic and regrettable. Even though I longed for death, the ember inside of me still remembered the heat of its extinguished flame and oh, how it wanted that back.

Internally, my narrative was split in two and I tried to logic with myself, to interject my false truths into the most comforting of sentences: I know you want your old life back, Amber. I know that’s all you want. But… You can’t have it. Ever. And you don’t want this life. So where does that leave us? What do we have now?

I didn’t love anyone. I couldn’t stand the idea of being touched. All my old anxieties and disorders came back to me like old friends – And the fact that I had so few friends these days made my bulimia, o.c.d., social anxiety, and fear of physical intimacy all the more appealing to keep close.

So when I left the house that day, I expected a day just like any other – I’d be there but not present, always staring at people with the blank, emotionless eyes of a girl behind the frosted glass of sadness that kept her from connecting with anyone. Instead, however, I found life waiting for me outside. I woke up from my hibernation and all my friends were here and they all loved me and they were all so happy to have me back. And that’s when I let it go – The pain, the sadness, the constant desire to die. I let it go. And ever since, it’s been gone. Suddenly, the world is Technicolor again. I can talk with freedom. And the sense of clarity I have about my sense of self is enormous. For the first time in twenty-seven years, I know who I am. And it ends up, I’m kind of a lovely person.

I remember the start of 2011. I’d just moved to Ann Arbor and I felt wide-eyed and optimistic, on the brink of self-betterment. It’s strange to think about now, the fire and vibrancy with which I lived life in winter. There was a spark in me then and oh, how it burned.

2011, you see, was supposed to be the best year of my life. It was supposed to be the year I quit smoking, the year I cemented myself as a fixture in the music industry, the year that I had a solid family base, the year I got my shit together, the year I made new friends and finally began to settle down from the arrested development of my mid-twenties. 2011 was supposed to be the year everything changed.

It ends up that 2011 was the year where everything changed. Just not the way I expected.

We all know what happened. It’s old news by now but even all these months later, I still find myself having to tell the tale to people still of what, exactly, it was that happened to the girl they used to know – A strange amalgam of old friends I haven’t talked to in years, mainly, as well as ex boyfriends looking to reignite summer flings. Reactions vary from overbearing empathy to shocked disbelief to a sudden end of all contact, the latter of which only comes from the aforementioned exes and I can’t blame them. I used to be a serial-dater and when a former would reestablish contact with me, I usually greeted them as one would an old, dear friend, thus starting a revolving door of repetition, re-dating the same guys over and over with the relationship never being taken too seriously on either side. Now, however, there is a void inside of me and it’s not ineffable. It’s a chasm that leaves me quiet in crowded rooms, feeling cold around the warmest of people. It’s not just my appearance that has changed, you see. It’s me. I’m different. And it’s not necessarily for the better.

The physical change and emotional shift happened gradually but simultaneously. Suddenly, I’m thinner and my hair is longer than it’s been in years. My skin has the pale sheen of lifeless porcelain and my lips no longer curve upwards in a heated display of affection. I don’t flirt like I used to and even though I still fuss over my eyeliner and outfits with the meticulous nature of a perfectionist, it’s no longer with the same intent. I don’t want the approval of  gentlemen. I don’t want to sleep with anyone but myself, you see.  It’s all strange to me – I made so much progress to stop being the girl who physically shuddered at the caressing touch of a boy only to fall into the same phobias again. The idea of kissing causes me a flood of nausea. The thought of being in a situation in which something sexual could transpire makes my body recoil. It’s just like being sixteen all over again, just like the time a boy tried to kiss my teenaged self and as he leaned in, I stood up and without a word ran panicked from the room. When my best friend at the time asked me why, I told her it was because I felt like I was going to throw up on his face. She told me it wasn’t normal to “want to puke on a hottie” and she never really brought up boys to me again. The only difference between then and now is the fact that I currently possess the highest self-esteem I’ve ever had. For the first time in my life, I know I am beautiful and I know I should be desired, the only problem is the fact that I feel no desire whatsoever.

It was about this time three years ago that Okkervil River released The Stand-Ins, an album which is now played with remarkably infrequence around these parts. It was right after the most depressing birthday of my life when a track off The Stand-Ins found it’s way back into my consciousness. That track was “On Tour With Zykos” and I felt compelled to listen to it for mainly one reason or, rather, one lyric – They wish they had me, Like I wish I had fire; What a sad way to be, What a girl who got tired. I sigh and I say it to myself and oh, how true it rings, as does the whole song.

The track describes a girl eerily similar to myself – She balks at the idea of love, preferring to live in an elaborate life of partial daydreams and half-formed desires. She chases halfheartedly after white lie fantasies as her real life slips away – Another day tossed and done.

I go home, take off clothes, smoke a bowl, watch a whole t.v. movie – I was supposed to be writing the most beautiful poems and completely revealing devine mysteries up close. I can’t say that I’m feeling all that much at all… At twenty-seven years old.

I remember hearing that song upon it’s initial release and thinking, at twenty-four, God, if I still relate to these sentiments in three years time, I just might off myself. The idea of such a colorless future seemed a fate worse than death to me in my youthful optimism and in the years since that initial thought formed in my head, I have become accomplished! I have become sucessful! And then… Everything changed.

My physical features, attitude, and overall disposition  aren’t the only things that have turned their intangible backs on their former selves. Two days ago, you see, I quit the music industry. There were a  million reasons but basically, what it boils down to, is the fact that I’m no longer feeling it. Sadly, by “it”, I mean “life”. There’s no fire here anymore. There’s no passion. I now live in a void of depressing firsts – The first Easter without my dad comes quick, proceeded soon by the first birthday ever that I don’t receive so much as a phone call from a parent. It stings more than I let on and I end the day a collapsed mess on my living room floor, knees down on the carpet as I stare at my hands, aware that the only reason I’m not crying is because I’ve drugged myself into an emotional oblivion. I spend my days in a haze and before I realize so much as a week has passed, it’s father’s day. Soon, it’ll be my dad’s birthday, fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and then… It’ll have been a year. But where, exactly, did that year go?

It was a prophetic moment in March when I sat on the sidewalk, smoking a cigarette and thinking “Soon it’s going to be 2012 and I’m going to wonder what happened to my life.”

March seems like minutes ago.

It seems like I was just there, walking awkwardly down the aisle in too-tall-heels as a bridesmaid in my dad’s January wedding. It seems like I just got lunch with him. It seems like I just got the call telling me he wasn’t breathing.

But it wasn’t “just”.

It’s encroaching on six months.

And with each day, I’m that much more removed from the girl I used to be.

It’s a truth no one tells you: Your parents will die and you will ache an immeasurable ache that leaves you feeling cold in the warmest of company, alone in the crowdedest spaces. It hurts every day and you will cry and you will scream and you will feel like a cork screw has been inserted ‘tween two of your ribs and that your heart has been twisted, contorted, and squeezed physically through a space far too small for it to fit out of. Your parents will die and the word “sad” will have a new meaning. Your parents will die and you will be alone.

Perhaps it’s an emotion that comes with youth – I insist that I’m too young for this. I realize that I’d feel too young at any age but 26? There was so much more life for me to live before this swell of sadness overtook me! There was a boy to meet, an engagement, a wedding, there were kids to be had! Even more important, although seemingly more insignificant, there were moments that were to take place – Not events, just moments. There were jokes to tell, episodes of The Simpsons to watch, songs to listen to, ice cream to eat, and mini-golf to play. There were stories that will never get told about things that will never happen. There was a whole slew of memories that should be nestled in bits of my brain that I can’t think of now because they never happened and it isn’t fair.

I used to think about my dad dying. It wasn’t often but still, I thought of it. And in these thoughts, I was older, an accomplished adult with glasses in a button up shirt and pencil skirt, the kind of clothes adults wear. He was gray haired and withered with age, his face dried like an apricot. He was in a hospital and I held his hand and he succumbed to slumber. That was what was supposed to happen but it was not what transpired – The only time I got to hold my father’s hand in a hospital was when he was already dead and gone, body cold and splotched with rigor-mortis. I wasn’t wearing glasses or a button up shirt or a pencil skirt. I was wearing a party dress, left overs from a celebration the day before that already seemed ages away, and my face was aglow with the youth I was losing, round with innocence that was perishing before I realized it was something to grab at, grasp tight with shaking fingers before it turned to dust, disintegrated. Now life is divided, “before” and “after”, “then” and “now”.

I busy myself with the strangest of things – I make things to feel a sense of accomplishment, I take up cross-stitching and paper-cutting, but these small moments of gladness are tinged with bittersweetness, reminders that I’ll never get to make a paper-cut for my dad and Laura on their anniversary because there are no anniversaries to had, no more birthdays or holidays, summer barbeques or weekends spent at my dad’s house on Lake St. Claire. There are no more texts to send, no more phone calls to make.

Time passes and it gets easier yet, at the same time, it gets harder – The less I cry, the more it hurts when I do cry. The more “good days” I have, the harder the “bad days” hit. I go out more and more infrequently and when I do leave, I feel like I’m the ghost, barely tangible and only half here and the people that can make me feel whole again are gone.

It’s a truth I don’t want to admit to because I was “that girl” for so long and I came so far only to become “that girl” again – Although it does strike me that perhaps I was always “that girl” and had merely fooled myself into believing that recovery was an option. I did try, you see. I tried damn hard. But it just didn’t stick. It’s been fourteen years now of starvation and purging and doing all the disgusting things that girls like me do in secret. We shove our fingers down our throats until our teeth scrape our knuckles raw. We let food rot in thermoses under beds and in drawers and force feed ourselves just to make ourselves vomit. We eat laxatives and go on liquid diets. We smoke cigarettes and drink coffee, not because we want to, but because they’re an appetite suppressant. We starve and we sleep and we set up a series of punishments and rewards – If I make it all day without eating, I can do something nice for myself. If I do eat, however, I lose that opportunity. It’s sick and it’s pathetic and it’s infuriating. I, at equal turns, play the role of the parent and the child – Insolent,  my round faced and youthful self refuses to eat as the elder Amber shakes her counterpart with more strength than I actually possess.

“You’re killing yourself.” I say, with the biting restraint that cuts more than a scream. “You’re killing yourself and you know it and you don’t care.”

It’s an old ghost I’ve let back into my life, and I welcome it as a close friend. Bulimia and I, we embrace with thin limbs wrapped around one another, feeling our spines protrude slightly more each day and it feels like victory.

You see? I don’t fail at everything I try!  I can succeed at something! I mean, it’s only been two months, really, and I’ve already lost about fifteen pounds and I’ve gotten so good at restricting. I remember to count my calories and I’ve cut out everything bad and I don’t eat meals larger than my fist. It’s all the old practices that I adopted like religion before and I’m doing it. I’m doing good! I’m making you proud!

It occurs to me, as I think these thoughts, how disgusting it is, how disgusting I am.

I know all the reasons behind it, of course. I’ve read the books and gone to the doctors and I understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. That, however, doesn’t make it right. Knowing the psychology of killing yourself doesn’t make the suicide justifiable. That sense of guilt only makes me more ashamed of myself, though. And that shame? It only makes it all worse.

Read the rest of this entry »

For the first time in my life, I cannot put my feelings into words.

It gets more and more frustrating every day, to be a writer staring slack-jawed at blank pages in notebooks, the white computer screen that signifies an empty Microsoft Word document. I barricade myself alone in my room with the sole intent of purging my mind of the emotions that it’s clamoring to communicate and my heart beats hard in my chest, as if my ventricles are making a vain attempt at breaking my ribs open if only to remind me that I am alive and I do have feelings and that these feelings must be documented, they must. So I sit. And I wait. And nothing happens.

People ask me how I am and I feel confused. I could think for hours about my emotions, examining them from various angles, with scientific skepticism and incredible attachment, and they would still be just as foreign to me then as they are at this moment. For the first time, the girl who felt everything feels nothing but a nonplussed resignation. I’m a spectator in my life, no longer experiencing anything for myself but rather living vicariously through the words of others, finding songs and books and poems that encapsulate what I think I should be feeling. It’s the next best thing to having a pulse, I decide.

Every day, I am happy. Or rather, I do things that should make me happy. I have good days, I have great days, and each one just leaves me once more plagiarizing the passion of others – I steal the sentiments of Tim Kasher when he can’t feel anything at all; I intone alongside Sad Brad Smith because no one will make me feel better for a long, long time; And when Frontier Ruckus’s Matt Milia yelps that he’s so lonesome he could drown and no one would kneel themselves down to fish him out, I sink inside because I literally couldn’t have said it better myself and the fact that I’m at such a loss causes me to tremble and ache, as raw as the burst blisters that have come to line my heels and toes after miles of aimless walking. I walk and I walk and I have no where to go, no where to be, and I think never in all my life have I seen eyes as empty as the streets of my city – Another stolen sentiment and my thievery leaves me ashamed of myself.

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Ghost Stories.


I get to Laura’s and the first thing I do it look for the urn, although I try to make my search look casual, nondescript. It doesn’t appear to be on the ground floor, on the mantle as I immediately assumed it would be. I sigh to myself and feel a wave of panic encroaching, a grip tightening around my lungs, making my heart beat faster and my breaths short, shallow. Suddenly, it’s very important. I have to find my dad.

It makes sense, I think to myself, turning way from the fireplace and starting my walk into the entry way, up the stairs, because suddenly, I know. He’s in his room. He’s on his nightstand. Of course.

I walk, nudging the door open, the door still marked with a white banner that reads “Honeymooners”, and Laura’s bedroom has turned into a memorial of sorts. All the pictures that I’d framed for the funeral so meticulously are set up on end tables and night stands but I don’t see them. Not really. All I see is the absence of my dad’s ashes and I crumble inside, go to my purse, take a Valium and wait for the panic to subside.


That night, I toss and turn, too plagued by unrest to sleep. Every night since my dad’s died, I’ve relied on sleeping pills to calm my sad, full mind enough to close my eyes. Every night, I sleep for four hours until they wear off and I wake up and I cry. I sit up and I grab an empty glass from the carpet next to the guest bed. I stand up and leave the room. I walk past Laura and she’s sound asleep, unrestless, unmoving, and I turn on the hallway light before walking down the stairs. The moment my left foot lifts off the bottom step and touches the cold linoleum of the entry way, the upstairs hallway light flicks off, silently. I curse to myself – I’d left my phone upstairs and without it to use as a flashlight, I’m in the pitch black. But I’m not angry, assuming the light had stirred Laura and she, not realizing I was using it to not fall down the stairs like a clumsy fool, turned it off.

The next day, I’m with Allen, my nephew. We watch Resident Evil, then Alien Versus Predator, both his picks. Halfway through the second movie, he draws my attention to the fact that the water’s been running a long time. Shouldn’t the laundry be done by now? I go to check it but by the time I get to the small room the washer and dryer are in, I recognize the fact that the noise isn’t coming from there. It’s coming from the bathroom. I turn on the light, walk in and hear the toilet running. Lifting up the lid, I see it’s damn near about to overflow. Allen comes in and as we try to fix the suddenly broken pump of the toilet no one has used for hours, my twelve-year-old nephew turns to me.

“I think it’s Dan. I think he’s trying to show us that he’s still here.”

I stare at Al for a moment and feel tears sting my eyes but I don’t want him to know that the truth is that there is nothing I want more than to have my dad still with me, in otherworldly ether or in flesh.

“I wish he’d chosen a better way to say ‘Hey’ other than breaking stuff.” I respond with a reposed smirk.

That same day, the kitchen sink began to spurt water. Read the rest of this entry »

If there’s one quality I’ve possessed my whole life, it’s optimism to the degree of naivety.

I lose my dream job as a career journalist in the big city and instead of getting sad, I keep writing, with even more fervor than before. I get my heart broken, callous and careless, by a masquerading boy I was convinced was the proverbial man of my dreams and I don’t feel angry or hurt. Instead, I pour all of my heart in to re-winning him over  because if he felt something for me once, maybe he could feel it again. I lose my virginity in a rape, I get an abortion, I spend twelve years languishing in eating disorder hell, in and out of therapists offices.  I lose friends and move around the country and I get mean songs written about me by boys that don’t know how to tell the whole truth of a story and I never feel upset because I know there’s something better. There’s always something better.

Today, however, I realized I was wrong.

I didn’t dream about my dad last night, for the first time since he died. Instead, I dreamt about a boy that I’ve resolved to never talk to again. I dreamt I yelled at him, told him every sick, sad, unstable thought that’s plagued my mind for the past month and I dreamt that I told him truths I’ve been hiding from everyone: That the reappearance of my OCD is more troubling than I let on, that the real reason for my drastic drop in weight and puffy face is not from depression but rather because I’ve relapsed back into bulimia. I dreamt that I cried and he held me and he told me that he wanted to make things better. I told him that he could, he could make everything so much infinitely easier for me and he wouldn’t and I didn’t understand why. And I dreamt that he was sorry and that he still cared.

Then, of course, I woke up to the knowledge that I was just as alone as I’ve been, if not more so.

And that’s when I realized that I’ve changed. The day my dad died, that naieve optimism inside of me that has made me so passionate for so many years is gone and I can’t tell if it’s a candle that’s been snuffed out but can one day be relit or if it’s burned it’s wick away I’m now fated to live with my sadness. Things will not get better for a very long time, if they ever do, and I know that. There are some events in peoples lives that change them irreparably. And my dad’s death, I think, was one of those events for me.

It’s been one month as of yesterday. Everyone tells me I won’t start to feel even a little better for at least another eleven. The fact that, for the first time in my life, I can’t fix things in a matter I deem timely is most troubling for me and the loneliness I feel at all turns is crushing. I sit in front of my computer and I want to write great American novels but all I can do is stare at rough drafts and outlines.  I go out and sit in the corner, disassociated from the party as all of my friends have a good time and I tell myself “This is not my life.”

The truth, however, is that this is my life.

And today, I accepted that.