If I had just been honest. If I had only trusted my gut. If I had only just talked to someone. If I had just focused on me. I could have had friends. I could have been who I was meant to be. I would have been happy with myself. I could have lived my life free, rather than constantly envying those around me who were free to be themselves and hating them for it. I was a jealous bitch. I kept waiting around for things to change. But I was supposed to change it. I was allowed to change it. But I was scared. I was pathetic. I didn’t have a mind of my own, so I was insecure, ugly, and self-righteous. I was so scared of doing the wrong thing that it paralyzed me from actually doing the right thing. From being actively good, rather than reactively good. Every day was a lie. I pretended to be and feel and believe a certain way and suffocated the truth. Because I had been trained to suffocate my truth. Because my feelings and emotions were invalidated. All. The. Time. I was the good girl. That’s it. Everyone said I was, so I had to be. I didn’t let myself openly love, hate, or want. What a f**king waste.
“Hey there, kiddo.” I sat up in bed, my trance broken at the sound of Mom’s voice. “I brought you a sub and a salad.”
My eyes filled with tears again. I reached out my arms, like a toddler after her first day of kindergarten. A sob escaped me.
Mom quickly met my embrace and held me tightly. The feeling was strange, as I could barely recall the last time we had hugged. “It’s okay,” Mom comforted. I could tell she was trying to give off positive energy to make me feel better.
I pulled away, sniffling, and wiped my eyes. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, nobody tells me anything, and there’s no clock in here, so I have no idea what time it is, the janitor has been the only nice person,” I said it all in one breath.
“Oh geez.” Mom rolled her eyes. “These hospital quacks. Did you tell them what you wanted? Ask to talk to anybody? You know, if you want to make more decisions for yourself, this is the perfect opportunity to speak up.”
A familiar lump formed in the pit of my stomach. One I had grown accustomed to ignoring. I began unwrapping my sub sandwich. So hungry…
“I texted Justin earlier today, to tell him what happened. I said I think his porn addiction really had a negative impact on you,” Mom said nonchalantly. I stopped mid-bite, mortified. “I asked him if anything had happened between you two that might have made you feel guilty.” Sex. She’s talking about sex.
Now my ex thinks he’s the reason I’m in the looney bin. Which he’ll just run away with in his overly romanticized mentality. And did she not trust me when I have said countless times that we never did anything physically?
Mom continued. “He told me that you are one of the most beautiful women he’s ever known, and to reassure you that he has no regrets. That he would never regret being with such a strong woman.”
Here come the tears. This was all just too much information for me to handle. Mom came over to hug me again.
“Oh honey, why does that make you cry? It’s okay, kiddo.”
The sex addict I dated for four years says he doesn’t regret it, great. But I do. I was a miserable person with him. I hated who I was. And I hated him for it. But it wasn’t just him. And now he thinks it was. He made me feel ugly. He made me feel uninteresting. No, I felt that way before. But he made it worse. I just want to go back.
All of this crying made my head spin. And I could barely see as my swollen lids made it difficult to keep my eyes open. I wiped my face on my scrubs.
“Hey, I brought you some clean clothes,” Mom said, changing the subject to a lighter topic. I was grateful. “They gave me a list of items I could bring you. I had to pull the tie string out of the pajama pants, but I’m hoping they’ll fit you so you don’t need it. I also bought you clean underwear, because I wasn’t sure how long you’d have to stay here.”
I allowed myself a chuckle. “Thank you. I would love to shower, but I don’t know the rules. I also need to shave this mess.” I tapped my upper lip.
“Well, did you try asking? Use the intercom and ask for them to send a nurse.”
Yes, but they have yet to send someone from the first time I rang. I pressed the button again.
“Yes?” A different voice came through this time.
“Can someone come tell me what the rules are for showering? No one came the last time I buzzed and I smell like crap.” I felt uncharacteristically blunt.
Mom and I both finished our lunches by the time someone finally came, and it wasn’t even in response to the intercom request; just a tech coming to routinely check vitals again.
“Hi, can she take a shower? She asked a while ago and no one’s answered yet.” Mom was characteristically quick to the point. The tech had just snapped the blood pressure wrap around my arm.
“Um, sure, yeah, she can shower. I’ll let them know.” The tech was the same young blonde tech from earlier. She seemed quite new to the job.
“I’d also like a razor if I could. I don’t care if someone has to watch me use it, but I need to do something about this.” I gestured to my lip again.
“Um, yeah, okay. I’ll get one for you.” The tech unsnapped the wrap and jotted down the results. “Sorry, this place just makes people forgetful. I’ll be on my way to do one thing, but then I get caught up doing something else. It’s like that with everyone here. I’ll be back with your stuff.” She wheeled the vitals cart out of the room.
I never saw that tech again.