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The Locked Diary #9: It's In My Blood

It doesn't matter how you get there. So long as you get there.


I meet my friend Dakota for a late dinner in Williamsburg. The restaurant we choose is called “Sundays In Brooklyn” and is right down the street from Violet’s apartment. We call it “Sundays” for short.

Sundays is like most Brooklyn restaurants in that it serves water out of a mason jar. Is it just me or do mason jars instantly make you think of the Pinterest board of a bride-to-be planning her farm-chic wedding? Is it just me or do you *also* think mason jars are too contrived to be chic or cool for that matter? When irony becomes a Pinterest-able trend, is it even irony anymore? These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.

I posture in front of the mirror for a while before I leave to meet Dakota at Sundays. I haven’t had an appetite in months but my face has managed to quadruple in size. If there was a prize for post-crying water retention I'd be the surefire winner. I squint into the mirror, almost impressed by my moon-like face. In fact, it’s not just any ordinary moon; it’s an extraordinary moon. A harvest moon. Shiny, perfectly round, and tawny orange from another sunscreen-less summer. I marvel at my feral hair, too. She’s wild: A hodgepodge of mismatched curl patterns crash-landing into one another, saltwater split ends sixteen shades lighter than her crown falling into my bra-less tits. I haven’t had it in me to straighten out the kinks of my hair, or much else. I haven’t had it in me to really wear a bra, either. My nails are cherry red but fabulously chipped, a real work of art. My lips are cherry red too, but they've been painted perfect. I always wear red lipstick when I’m going through something. Don’t we all?

I kiss my dog Luka on the top of his head marking him with my lip prints. I stomp out the door feeling kinda hot. In a damaged way. There’s just something about heartbroken women. We ooze a dangerous unpredictability that can not be manufactured or bought, and things that can not be manufactured or bought are the most authentic, thus the most coveted, thus the most sexy. I *know* you get it, sis.

I arrive early. I perch at the bar and twirl a lock of hair around my pinky finger. “I’ll have a prosecco, please,” I purr to the lesbian bartender. I know she’s a dyke not just because her hair is short but because she has a similar energy to me. All gay girls have an air about them that reads: "You, think I give a rat’s ass if MEN find me physically attractive?” *EXHALES PROVERBIAL CIGARETTE.* “Ew.”

I’m a femme lez but I intentionally wear shit that freaks out heterosexual men. Dark lipstick, spikey bracelets, hats, slut attire. You’d think men would like slut attire but they’re too territorial to take it. They instantly think of other men looking at you and they can’t handle those emotions. Trust me—I know this. I used to date men. I know everything.

I tap my unmanicured nails against the oak bar, alone. I feel like I’m starring in an awesome french film, one of those you come across late at night, scouring Netflix for a breath of fresh air. These movies—they never have much action or plot; it’s all extreme close-ups of pouty women staring out of dirty Parisian windows in their underwear, ashing into stemless wine glasses. I love movies like this. Not just because they teem with lesbian undertones and glamorize my favorite vices (smoking, drinking, baguettes and fucking) but because I love watching women do nothing. But live. What a treat.

A feel a tap tap tap on my shoulder. Adrenalin fires through my bones. It's like sticking your finger into an electrical socket. The power goes out. The lights in my brain don't fade to black, they cut to black, quickly. A hand is clasped over my red lips. I can’t breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. The French film is no longer. I’m about to die.

“Yo,” Dakota saddles into the seat beside me. She’s wearing a black suit. I don’t really notice it yet, but I will later after the trigger subsides. The good thing about being triggered frequently is I've learned how to deal with it. I throw my hand over my chest and pause and will my heartbeat to slow down with my mind. It takes about thirty to seventy seconds these days.

Episodes like this used to happen to me several times a day, you know. Anytime someone snuck up behind me, touched my skin without warning, slipped into the room too quietly, kissed me too softly, made love to me too tenderly—I’d all of a sudden feel out of control like I was caught in a rip-tide fighting for my life but losing the battle: death by drowning. I’d go into what the kids call “fight or flight.” My senses would go razor sharp, high definition, 4k. I’d be met with a melodramatic surge of manic energy—like I’d just snorted a fat rail of blow. Good blow, not the kind cut with baby laxatives. My blood pressure would then rise to the top of the empire state building and shake her hand: I see you tall building and you're right. The view is fucking nasty from this high up. My heart would sprint faster than Usain Bolt smashing world records at the Olympics. Only I wouldn’t be able to channel the burn into a run, like Daddy Usain. No, sir. Quite the opposite, sir. I wouldn’t be able to move at all. I’d freeze like a fawn peacefully frolicking down a country road, suddenly faced with a foreign bizarre Ferrari speeding through the streets, shitty loud music blaring through the speakers, the person behind the wheel, an unfortunately endowed man because that is what boys with little dicks do. They crank up the volume when all is still and quiet, so everything in plain sight—even the trees and the deer—are fully aware an intruder is near.

I went on Lexapro after the incident that invoked this, again, what the kids call, “trauma response.” And guess what. It worked!

Fabulously. For a while. But do you want to hear a hard truth? Oh, you don’t? Too bad, baby sister. I’m your big bad sister and I’m going to force the truth on to you, regardless of whether you *want it* or not. I Know What's Best/You’ll Thank Me Later. Here goes: Unresolved trauma will crack through the walls of the best goddamn medicine, eventually. That’s why you need to go to therapy and talk about shit, honey. I know it sucks. I hate therapy but I make myself go through with it, weekly, because I don’t want to become the kind of adult who's resentful and takes her baggage out on pretty young things.

I thought antidepressants would do the trick but there are no tricks. About a year deep in pill land, the triggers came back. I started having night tremors too, how glam. An old girlfriend of mine noticed and that’s when I decided to see a real live shrink. It wasn’t enough for me to do it for myself because I had no self-worth, you see, but it doesn’t matter how you get there so long as you get there.

That’s another truth bomb I’m going to drop on you today: Despite what the Instagram wellness bitches tell you, it’s absolutely fine to improve yourself for the sake of an outside entity, if doing it for your own self isn’t motivation enough. If you stop destroying your body with your eating disorder or cut down on binge drinking because you’re hurting someone you love and the *only* reason you’ll get help is because you can't stand what you're doing to them—(but not yourself so much because you are a worthless piece of shit)—that’s more than okay. Your life will still improve, regardless. And here's the good news: when you start to go to therapy and tone down the self-induced vomiting or starving or snorting of toxic white powders or whatever self-destructive hell you’re putting yourself through—you’ll start to feel better. And when you feel better you start to garner self-worth. And when you have that shit, you’ll actually understand what it means to love yourself. And when you love yourself you wind up doing things for yourself. That’s what happened to me. I went to therapy for her but kept going back for me.

But why you ask, are the episodes coming back now that I’m beautifully medicated and have pumped an embarrassing amount of hard-earned cash into weekly sessions with a licensed professional?

Because healing isn’t linear my dear. You’ll have ups and downs throughout the journey. Your mental health will fluctuate like your weight. After all: We’re women. We attain the ability to carry life up in this beast!

How can you expect something so extraordinary to stay the same?! But that doesn’t mean we welcome these unsolicited home visits from our scariest demons. So what do we do when the monsters come knocking on our doors? And the things we rely on—the things that usually prevent the past from entering our sacred spaces—suddenly stop working? Well, we go deep inside of our closets and unearth the dusty old toolboxes we keep shoved beneath our old prom dresses or wedding dresses or whatever else we’ll never wear again but can’t bear to get rid of, and we pull that shit out!

And then we sit on our beds in our ugly old pajamas and peer inside of them and see what we got. All of our boxes hold different tools; for our life experiences conjure coping mechanisms unique to each individual. Mine has therapy, obviously. But that alone isn’t working, so the other day I pulled out meditating and gave her a try. She was helpful but no cure. So then I pulled out good ole' EFT tapping—which stands for “Emotional Freedom Technique.” It’s supposed to reset a fucked up nervous system. It’s been proven helpful for veterans suffering from PTSD. Sometimes she work,' sometimes she don't.' So I tried journaling. Helpful but in no way did she really move the needle. But that’s okay. Sometimes you can exhaust every tool in the box and still be a triggered hot mess.

And when that happens you just need to accept it and remember that discomfort sucks—but it won’t kill you. And as much as you think your panic attacks and body tremors and sweaty armpits make you look like a freak of nature, I’m here to tell you something that will set you free, for real, this time: No one fucking notices. Because no one fucking cares. Because everyone only cares about themselves.

Isn’t that a relief?

“Hi,” I say to Dakota, flirtatiously, because that’s me. A shameless flirt by nature. My mother is an OG playboy bunny, after all. Batting eyelashes is in my blood.

“Yo. I’m hyped. It’s straight up good to see you.” Dakota speaks like she grew up in the hood but really she’s a rich girl from a really bougie part of Long Island, went to law school, and I’ve only ever known her to live in a doorman building.

Dakota orders a low-calorie cocktail because she’s been making gains at the gym and doesn’t want to fuck it. I get it. I don’t want to fuck it up either, but the problem you see, is that drinking always fuck it up. And by it? I mean everything.



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