I was in an Uber to San Francisco yesterday afternoon. I had just bought tickets to a comedy show off of a friend for next weekend. My dog sat in my lap. I was going to a swanky bar on Polk Street to meet my boyfriend. I watched the skyline emerge on the horizon, the sun hitting the Salesforce tower.
I am lucky. I am grateful. I am so, so fortunate to have "made it".
A few days ago, ironically before the start of Mental Health Awareness Month, was my three year anniversary of overdosing on Ativan.
The ER is not where you want to be. I just started writing, "the voices inside my head told me to do it" - and they did - but what a load of predictability. It's so much more than that. It happened in the middle of the night, parents were involved, my only rocks in the darkness. Oh my god. Rocks in the darkness? This has to stop. There are better words, like better places I could have been.
I'm not sure if I want to get a tattoo anymore, of my dead friend, who also overdosed but didn't survive. I think I'm getting into my head. This thought occurs to me as I'm driving over the Bay Bridge, the one that will take me to the new life it has taken me three years to get to. To Polk Street, near where my best friend lives, who is also a part of my new, better life.
I wonder in this Uber ride if we are post-pandemic. I don't think we are; I know we aren't. I think about how grateful I am that this pandemic didn't happen while I was in school, in college. I'm lucky it happened now, at this point in my life. Up until this point, mental illness has defined my world. Quarantine has honestly helped me to flourish. The people I've reached out to, the friends I've kept in contact with, have helped to lift me. I'm going places, and I don't mean just San Francisco. I'm getting published; I harnessed a love I didn't know I could do things with - writing. I sat down, metaphorically at some stable table, and put my demons to rest.
I want to keep going like this. Not the pandemic. I want to keep being with people, people who love me and understand me where I am. I want to keep writing down what's real.
The ex I overdosed for? He didn't know anything. Not like what I know now - to keep going, to push those underneath me who did me so wrong.
The bar on Polk Street is quiet. I walk into the sunlight, and I am whole, contiune to be whole, and I can always meet myself where I'm at - mentally ill, sure, but also lucky, certain of where I'm going.
Born during a hurricane in southern Oklahoma, the current swept the three of us away, far from each other. I washed up in the Hollywood hills, amid the blinding lights and a sea of sheep, finding all I desired was to go home.