Thursday, September 10, 2015

From What I Broke Free

Eminem and Rihanna came out with "The Monster" on October 29, 2013, about two weeks before I completely lost my integrity for a time.

You're trying to save me? Stop holding your breath.
And you think I'm crazy? Well, that's not fair.

I'd always liked Eminem (anyone who loves words should like Eminem. He is brilliant.), and I'd recently come to admit that I liked Rihanna (as a masochist who struggles with a porn addiction, she'd always hit a little too close to home), but "The Monster" took an unprecedented hold on me.

You know how I used to write in Purple and Green? That's because I used to THINK in Purple and Green, except that it felt like they were thinking for me.

I felt like my mind was made up of three distinct characters:  "Stephanie," "Purple," and "Green." We were each our own person with our own voice. A lot of the time, I--"Stephanie"--wouldn't get very many lines inside my own head. I would sit there and watch/listen to Purple and Green argue and discuss and joke until I felt like I was going legitimately crazy.

They wouldn't let me get a word in, and eventually I figured it didn't matter. Listening to them helped me process my thoughts anyway. I stopped trying to shut them up and started trying to use their interactions to reason my way through life.

Because life was bad.

It didn't always feel bad; in fact, most of the time it felt awesome. It felt like staying up late (to text PC, who I was supposedly broken up with) and saying what I wanted (which included a lot of profanity) and eating what I wanted (whether too little to be healthy or too much to be healthy) and going where I wanted (including to friends' apartments in the middle of the night so I could sleep on the same bed [i.e. dirty mattress on the floor] as PC).

I knew my life wasn't right, but a lot of the time it felt really great. I felt like I was really, truly, finally starting to Grow Up. I guess I thought growing up meant doing whatever you wanted and feeling really jaded about life.

But deep down, I felt so, so empty. I felt lost. I could close my eyes and see my heart inside of my chest:  dark, swirling, smokey fog. Empty. Insubstantial. Uncertain.

I lied to my family a lot. I told creative truths and lies of omission to Cassidy. I lost a lot of respect from my little sister. PC helped me do it all. I felt like he was really helping me though. I felt like he was helping me to Grow Up:  to be my own person and make my own decisions and fight my own inner demons.

He especially seemed to help with the inner demons.

First, he helped me to identify them, which included realizing how "arbitrary" my conditions for dating him were. (I really was being irrational and unkind. I couldn't reasonably expect him to get his life on track before I dated him again. Dating is all about understanding and tackling life together, right? I shouldn't demand that he get a job or become a real Christian first. That could come later.)

Second, he helped me figure out how I could combat the demons. For example, since I felt so guilty about constantly going farther in our physical relationship, we should set boundaries and stick to them. (He was also really patient when I didn't say No loud enough or push his hands away enough times. He constantly offered to draw the boundary lines again, and even offered to stop in the middle and go get protection when it looked like I really wasn't going to be strong enough to resist.)

Third, he offered educated diagnoses for my mental episodes (episodes such as changing my mind a lot, hearing Purple and Green, feeling really depressed, etc.). He gently cautioned me that I might be schizophrenic or have serious repressed sexual issues from childhood. Using extensive internet research and carefully constructed logic, he suggested that I might be a sociopath, and that he could see signs of psychopathy in himself (what a perfect match!).

Eventually I stopped resisting him. He was probably right about everything, and even if he wasn't, I had already gone too far down this particular Growing Up path. PC was not only the best I was ever going to get, he was also what I deserved.

I started hearing "The Monster" on the radio around the time I stopped resisting. I mostly skipped it; I never seemed to be in the mood to learn a new song, and sometimes I still liked to pretend I hated Rihanna. However, it was catchy, and it reminded me of myself in a way that made me smile wryly.

"I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed, get along with the voices inside of my head..."

That line always made me think of Purple and Green.

"You're trying to save me? Stop holding your breath."

My heart would pinch as I thought about PC. He loved me so much. He was trying so hard to help me become my true self. He was trying to save me, but I knew I was beyond help. I was hopeless.

"And you think I'm crazy? Yeah, you think I'm crazy. Well, that's not fair."

That line gave me pause. The rest of the chorus resonated so perfectly with me. But the speaker wasn't crazy? I was crazy. Wasn't I? Didn't I make up unfair, arbitrary conditions for dating PC; and change my mind all the time about how far I wanted to go physically; and hear voices; and have trust issues? I was crazy.

But what if that wasn't fair? What if...what if I could get along with my inner demons and voices in my head by myself? What if I could actually handle them just fine? What if PC's trying to "save" me wasn't really salvation at all? What if his saying that I was "crazy" wasn't true? What if it was a selfish ploy to get what he wanted? What if he was just posing as my savior and convincing me that I was crazy?

Well. That wouldn't be fair.

What if I wasn't crazy? What if I just wanted something different? What if I just wasn't who he wanted me to be? What if I just wanted a different definition of Growing Up? What if he was just labeling me as crazy so that I would trust him over myself?

That's. Not. Fair.

"The Monster" didn't change my life; it didn't inspire me to break with PC once and for all; but it was sort of an unintentional mantra for the next several months. I would listen to it every time it came on the radio, and I would sing along. The last line of the chorus always came out with more conviction than I anticipated:


How dare he convince me I was crazy just to get what he wanted? That's. Not. Fair.

And now, every time I hear that song, I am reminded that I am my own person. I am reminded that I have to be careful whom I trust. I am NOT crazy just because someone says I am

It's funny:  ever since I really, truly, finally broke it off with PC, Purple and Green have kind of left me alone.