When I moved to South Africa, as a small-town girl from Michigan, I was intimidated. I saw myself as an easy victim in a dangerous country. I told myself that I would probably get mugged at some point. Accepting that possibility didn’t make it more or less likely, but it limited the potential of that event to traumatize me if it did happen. I had only marginal control on whether or not I was attacked, but I did have control over my attitude about it.
I had many fearful moments driving alone on a remote road, pumping gas in a tough neighborhood or walking with friends from a bar at night. I often thought “if it’s going to happen, this is it” but I went without incident for months.
Continue reading “Expect the Best, Accept the Worst”
Transcript of my Moth Story Hour Submission, Subject: Vices
All my life I have been building: making plans, gaining knowledge, forming relationships, accumulating possessions. But for nine years there has been an insidious black mold in the foundation of my life’s structure that undermines everything I pile on top of it. My vice goes by a lot of names but you could call it perfectionism, insecurity, avoidance, addiction, an inability to cope.
For years, anything I didn’t like about myself or couldn’t handle got pushed down into a place where I wouldn’t have to deal with it. In time I created a “me” that was completely separate from the person I showed to the world. I had an entire hidden life.
I tried everything to cure myself of my problem: medication, therapy, rehab, self-interventions. Nothing fully eradicated it. And then, because I couldn’t fix it, I ignored it. But problems do not solve themselves and, untended, a cancer grows. Eventually it spread beyond containment.
Continue reading “My Vice”
When I told you that I was still sick,
and that I was going to get help,
we hugged and cried and you gave your support.
And while I was in treatment,
you sometimes inquired,
responding to my positive updates.
But after I left that place,
we never talked about it again.
You assumed the best and I let you
See, this problem thrives in darkness,
I hardly confront it with myself,
and even less with others.
I know it’s not that you didn’t care,
but the fact that you never asked,
If you had asked me straight
I might have lied,
but at least then you could say you tried.
There’s never time to ask the question
with one right answer,
the one that that you won’t hear.
And so it continued,
with you cloaked in wishful thinking,
and me hidden in my shame.
Until, once again, I intervened
tearing open that inner door
shining light on the destruction.
Its like I’ve always known,
that even with all the support in the world
this problem is mine alone to solve.