Saturday, August 27, 2011

Men ALWAYS Leave…

They say that in your adult relationships you are “mimicking” the relationships you witnessed when you were little. You learn how to be in a relationship basically by how your parents were in their relationship.

I am not sure if I believe that cock and bull, load of crap, psycho-babble or whatever it is you want to call it, but I guess if I did believe it, then I have moved forward into adulthood and into relationships with the belief that “Men ALWAYS Leave”.

And I am pretty sure that is what I thought when my sailor left.

Because after months of not hearing from him, no letter, no phone call, I went with the assumption that would make any Psych 101 college student proud and believed that he left, just left, never to turn around, never to think of me again.

He walked away without a second thought. Because that is what most men in my life have done since I was a little girl.

It fits.

It’s perfect.

I mean it is the meaning of “textbook”.

My father left when I was little.

Then there was a very close friend of the family who became my surrogate father and he left.

And then there’s my stepfather who basically raised me and I haven’t heard from him since my mom and him divorced.

Now not all of these are in succession but when my sailor left I guess my innate response was that I was abandoned once again.

I did write to him.

Letter after letter after letter.

I can’t remember exactly what I said in each letter but I think there was a progression from: “Where are you?” to “I miss” to “Please let’s work this out” to “Fuck you!” over the course of many, many months.

And every trip to that empty mailbox increased the feelings of the latter.

And it hurt more than any other hurt I ever felt in my life.

I would call my mother on the phone everyday for months on end crying hysterically “Why!!” “How come…” “I can’t” “This hurts so much” “I want him back” “I want us back”…

And I kept going over everything in my head.

The house he bought. Re-enlisting. All pointing to me being a fool.

And there were other behaviors that raised red flags that I didn’t realize until I spent months listening to sound of my own tears and trying to figure out what happened.

And just like the hurt little girl that I used to be, all my feelings of insecurity and abandonment filled my being and I blamed myself. Feeling that there must be something intrinsically wrong with me that makes men leave.

But I did have the Theatre and I dived into school every day immersing myself in order to try to move past the pain. And I guess the funny thing is; acting school is probably the only place where not only do they allow you to express your feelings but they encourage it.

It truly was my life preserver at the time.

And after about 8 months and a lot of prodding from friends, I started going out.

I even had a date.

I started dating Stockbroker boy in an attempt to move forward.

The first time we were “together” I remember going home and crying. It felt as if I betrayed my sailor, even though I hadn’t heard from him, no letter, nothing.

Because he just left right?

Because men always leave.

And I was moving forward right?

I was moving on.

I mean really, I was never going to hear from him again and I had to face that right?

Well that is what everyone was telling me and in my head I knew they were right but my heart…my heart wasn’t ready and it was clear that my heart wasn’t ready since being with another man only brought me to tears.

But I covered up the pain. Put on a brave face and marched on because that is what I had to do whenever the men would leave.

That is what I did after my father left and so that is what I did after my sailor left.

And my brave face marched its way out to the mailbox in September of 1995, 9 months after my sailor had left and in the mailbox was 2 letters. 2 letters; one with a post mark from March and the other was from May.

And in those letters…

Well, let’s just say it was not what this little abandon girl had expected.

He was asking what was happening with us because he keeps writing and I am not responding.

He wrote that hadn’t heard from me in months and that he wanted to come see me on his leave in August to work it out.

It was now the middle of September.

So although he left, he actually did turn around. I just didn’t know it.

Somewhere, somehow our letters never reached each other.

I went to the post office and I asked: “Why did it take so long for me to get these letters?” and I was told that the postage was off by 1 penny.

1 penny.

The funny thing is (or should I say tragic); is in this day and age with emails and Facebook and always having constant contact this would have never happened.

In 1995 there wasn’t internet and emails. And for those geeks out there if one of you makes a comment: “The internet was in use in 1960 blah blah and people had email by 1970 whatever…” I am going to smack the dork right out of you (oh and by the way I absolutely adore geeks. I am a geek wanna be) because in reality, the internet and use of emails didn’t really become mainstream until late 1900s, early 2000s.

So in 1995, the post did us in.

1 penny…1 stinking, lousy, penny put an end to us.

As soon as I received those letters that September and realized that he didn’t just leave, I called his mother. I told her how I never got his letters until now. I told her to give him the message.

I started writing again but he had changed ships.

I called his brother. Left a message again. No response.

Now I don’t know if he ever got my messages. I will never know. But I have a sneaking suspicion that he did not.

But this time…yes this time…

I never did hear from him again.

And once again that little, abandoned girl inside of me became more acutely aware that Men ALWAYS Leave!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men…

I’m going to be honest.

This is something that is hard to admit.

And I know there will be some of you who aren’t going to believe what I am about to say.

Many of you are going to shake your head and wonder “How could you forget?”

But in all honesty, I can hardly remember what happened that day.

The day he left.

What we said standing in the airport…

I don’t remember.

But when you’ve spent so much time trying to move past the pain.

So much time trying not to think about it.

So much time trying not to remember.

I guess eventually you do succeed and forget.

It’s like physical pain. You remember that it hurt but you don’t quite ever really remember the details of the pain.

I guess the same holds true for emotional pain.

Til this day I can still cry over the loss but I can’t remember all the details.

But what I do remember is…

I was living my dream.

Soaking up every site and sound.

Every drop of wisdom from my acting coach, my voice coach, my Shakespeare coach and on and on.

Every day was something right out of the movie "Fame" and I was living it.

And I was doing this.

And I was doing that.

And to be perfectly honest I don’t think I said we since I got on my “I Horse”!

It was Christmas 1994.

One year later.

One year after I faced the unimaginable and rescued myself from my own suffering.

It was a long hard fight but I was on the other side.

And it was my turn to go to England.

And I knew this.

My sailor wrote me a letter, like he had done so many other times before but this letter also included plans for me to go to England.

He wanted me to come stay with him and his family and it was my turn but I…

Well I was in love with Manhattan and the Theatre and my acting classes and my dance classes and my voice classes and I had to rehearse and needed to practice and…

I think he had other plans and me going back to school didn’t fit into those plans.

And somewhere along the line he also got on his “I Horse”.

And even though I was riding high on my “I Horse” none of it would have interfered with our plans.

But his “I Horse” even though it included me none of it was part of the plans we made.

He had bought a house with his brother.

But there was more to this house.

So much more. That house was like a condemnation notice.

He condemned us.

But I didn’t know it at the time.

I told my sailor that I couldn’t go to England and that he had to come here.

I promised him that the next time I would go there…next time (little did I know there would be no next time)

And so he did. Come here. But he wasn’t happy about it.

As a matter of fact he was downright angry about it.

He was angry about everything.

When I talked about anything he would say he didn’t like it.

“We’re studying Anton Chekov. Aren’t his plays amazing?”

“NO! I don’t like Chekov.”


“Hate him”

“Arthur Miller”

“Hate it”

“The Beatles?” “Journey?” “The Doors?”

“Horrible!” “Awful” “Abysmal”

“Mac & Cheese, Beer, Pizza?”

“No, No, Not anymore!”

You get the point. MAD!!

But I had to go to rehearsals while he was here even though it was Christmas vacation.

I tried to include him in my excitement. I tried to show him what it was that I loved so much.

So, I brought him with me a couple of times to NYC, to my new home and of course to the Theatre.

And I asked him what he thought of my school, my new friends, the director, my scene.

I bet you can figure out his response…

“Et, Uck, Hmm, Ehh”


I don’t know if it was me he hated or the fact that I went back to school and ruined his plans.

But here is the thing. Here is why that house turned into so much more.

It wasn’t in our plans.

That was his plans…

The ones he didn’t tell me about.

Our plans…

He told me he was going to leave the Navy in 1995 and move to the United States. This is something we started planning years earlier and the last I knew was that he told me that he already contacted the British and American Embassies to put our plans into motion.

But then he bought house in 1994 and re-enlisted in the Navy for another 4 years.

Not our plans at all.

If he bought a house and re-enlisted, he had no intention of moving to the United States or leaving the Navy.

That means somewhere we lost OUR plans and I guess we had just his.

He had new plans and without knowing it I think I threw a monkey wrench into those plans.

But as I said I can only speculate.

He never told me what the new plans were.

He never told me why he left.

I can only hypothesize about what it was that couldn’t put us back together again.

I came home from rehearsal and he was gone.

And you have to remember that this was a time before cell phones.

I think the only people at this time who had cell phones were those who were pretty “well to do” and the cell phone itself was the size of a regular phone with a long, retractable antenna.

And actually I think it was only car phones that you could get at the time, but anyway, I couldn’t just call and see where he was. Or text to find out.

I had to figure it out.

And I did when I noticed it was not just him that was gone but everything was gone.

All his clothes, his suitcase.

I called my mom.

She had brought him to the airport.

She said he wanted to be home with his family.

He called her for a ride.

She didn’t know what to do.

I frantically drove to the airport.

And that’s where it ends.

That is what I can’t remember.

I remember crying.

I remember yelling at him:

“How can you do this to me after all I went through last year!?!?”

Once again I was on my “I Horse”.

I remember him leaving but I don’t think I realized at that moment that I would never see him again.

But that was the last time I ever saw him.

And I never loved that way again either.

But what happened when I heard from him again over 8 months later is even more tragic then that fateful day in the airport.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Turnabout is fair play…

**Before I continue with my story, I need to send out prayers to Shannon at Chasing Rainbows for her precious little boy Finn. Know in your heart that it will all be okay!**

Human beings are the only animal able to rescue themselves from their own suffering. ~ From a sermon from Pastor Bill Davis at the First Presbyterian Church of Whippany NJ

I spent Christmas in the hospital.

I spent New Years in the hospital.

But my Christmas present that year in my eyes was nothing less than miraculous.

It is still the best present I EVER received.

I did not have Leukemia.

So what was it?

Without getting too technical, basically what was causing the bruising was a lack of platelets in my blood. Platelets clot your blood.

The average person has around 200,000 platelets.

When I arrived at the hospital two days before Christmas in 1993, I literally had 2. 2 platelets (2 might actually end up being a theme here).

My doctor told me it was the lowest he had ever seen and if I had cut myself at any time before I got to the hospital I could have bled to death right on the spot. Crazy right!

There are a lot of big fancy doctor-like words but I will break it down in laymen terms (or in other words non-doctor language):

Platelets are produced by your bone marrow. Since I had so few platelets, the first round of tests, tested for Leukemia which is cancer of the blood.

Being told you might have cancer is a moment no one should have to face.

I couldn’t even begin to describe what I was thinking or feeling at the time. Because your brain can’t wrap around the worst case scenario and the worst case scenario is all you can think about.

My results were absolutely, positively negative!

And THAT is a new lease on life! Something everyone should be graced with.

So the cause?

My spleen.

The spleen filters your blood. My spleen (for some unknown reason) wasn’t working and it was “killing” my platelets.

The treatment…tons and tons of steroids to “jump start” my spleen.

As I said the average person has about 200,000 platelets.

I had 2.

On my first day in the hospital, they gave me 10,000.

I needed 20,000 to get out of jail.

That took 14 days.

And all the while they were pumping me full of mood altering (anger inducing) steroids.

When my sailor had left I was still in the hospital.

When he came back I was staying with my mom.

Anyone who has ever been on steroids can tell you that the side effects are unbearable.

There is depression, weight gain (lots of weight gain); depression, my hair fell out, more depression and to add to the depression a good dose of insomnia.

Days upon days without sleep.

I went from the bed to the floor, to the couch, to the floor all in hopes of falling asleep. And this went on night after night. I even took my pillow and blanket into the bathtub one night in a desperate attempt to bring on the zzzs.

And let’s not forget the mood swings.

I was crazy, hysterically crying, irrational and angry.

And I mean angry.

I remember being in the supermarket with my sailor and I needed a new toothbrush. He said he needed one too. So I grabbed a double pack but he wanted a different kind in a single pack.

No big deal right!


I was infuriated. I pictured myself jumping on his back and sticking that toothbrush “you know where” after he gingerly grabbed it off the shelf and turned to walk down the aisle.

And I couldn’t figure out why.

There I was standing in the middle of the Pathmark envisioning murder by toothbrush.

I knew it was irrational but I still felt enraged.

Why I was feeling this way?

I didn’t know. All I knew was that I was suffering.

And my sailor…

He had no choice.

Once again he had to leave and I was still pacing the floors at all hours of the night begging for sleep or sweet release.

I was so alone.

The depression was so intense that every morning when I woke up or I should say got up from my very minimal sleep, I felt like I was being crushed under a concrete block.

I actually remember thinking that if I get hit by a bus today that would be the best thing that ever happened to me.

It took me a while before I equated all of this with the steroids.

I just kept thinking: “What is wrong with me!!”

But once I did put 2 and 2 together I knew something had to change.

So there were two things (I guess 2 really is a theme) that I decided I needed to do.

The first:

I needed to get off the steroids.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not like to gamble. I get pissed if I lose a roll of quarters in a slot machine.

But this was a gamble I HAD to take.

I knew I couldn’t be on these steroids “indefinitely” like my doctor said I would be.

So I had to bank on the fact that for most of my life I have been a very healthy person and that this must have been a freak occurrence.

I placed my bet that my body had healed and I could live without the steroids.

So, every day I would lessen my dose and once a month I would go to my Hematologist (who was this funny, little Asian man) for blood work.

And every time I would say: “How are my platelets?”

(Waiting for the house to win!)

And every time my Hematologist would reply: “Good. Good. How are you doing with the medicine?”

And I would say: “Good. Good.”

(Knowing I was left to play my hand one more time!)

Until one day after months of this wager, I turned and said: “How are my platelets?”

And he said: “Good. Good. How are you doing with the medicine?”

And I said: “I stopped taking the medicine 3 months ago.”

I’m pretty sure he was shocked and I knew the lecture was coming.

He told me in no uncertain terms that if my platelets started to drop and I refuse the medicine than he would have to remove my spleen.

I said: “So be it.”

And he folded.

I really don’t remember too many appointments after that.

But I won.

I knew I won.

I had to win because I couldn’t keep living like that.

And I felt better.

And I looked better.

Now I had to take care of the second thing that had been eating away at me since I got my new lease on life:

And that was I had to start living the life that I so graciously got back.

Ever since I had graduated college and met my sailor all I did was wait tables and bartend.

Waiting for him to return.

I wasn’t pursuing anything.

I wasn’t doing anything.

I wasn’t living my life.

I was biding my time.

I knew that none of this was his fault.

I loved him. I loved him more than life itself.

But when I was faced with losing my life…

I knew that I had to start living my life.

I actually had a friend at one time say to me: “You are too young to be sitting around pining away.”

So I decided to go for it.

I decided to pursue my dream and I auditioned for some of the best acting schools in Manhattan.

The process of auditioning was exhilarating in itself but getting accepted to one of the best Acting Conservatories in NYC…

I was over the moon.

But out of the two things I decided to do…

The first probably helped our relationship.

The second is probably what tore it apart.

Because once I started living my life…once I started going back to school…and breathing in the city, the lights and the Theatre, that is when it seemed like he got angry.

So angry that one day when I came home from school…

He was gone.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

And we all fall down…

(courtesy of google images)

In hindsight I can only speculate as to what happened.

But I will honestly never know.

He left on a plane in January 1995 and I never saw him again.

When did the cracks start to form?

When did it all fall apart?

As I said I can only speculate.

This is what happened the way I see it.

I have no other eyes to view this with.

But if I had to pin point when the first cracks started to form I would say it was in early 1994 after I got out of the hospital.

My sailor had come to stay with me at Christmas time like he had so many other times.

When he picked me up at the airport I showed him a series of bruises that had literally just started appearing all over my body.

Out of nowhere I would get a new bruise. And it was dark and purple and large. Bruises were covering my legs and I swore to him over and over that no one touched me.

Over the next couple of hours bruises started appearing on my arms and my eye even went black.

His exact words were: “Looking at you, I want to arrest myself”.

The very next day I went to my old childhood doctor. A doctor I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager because I rarely get sick. I knew that there had to be a logical explanation for this. In my mind I thought I ate something bad and was having an allergic reaction.

But by the time I got to the doctor, both my eyes were black, my legs and arms were covered in bruises and I had a bloody nose that would not stop.

My doctor immediately called an ambulance and had me rushed to the hospital.

You do not pass go. You do not collect 200 dollars. You do not go home and get clothes. Someone can bring them to you. You go directly to the hospital.

I was admitted to the hospital just days before Christmas.

And I would not be released until after the New Year.

To say that the whole experience was surreal is an understatement. From the ride to the hospital, to being admitted, to being taken to (God I don’t even know where) but they were giving me transfusions and asking if I knew my blood type and people who could donate…it was all so surreal and scary and lonely.

And then the tests…my doctor (being so sweet) said to me “We are going to do a series of bone marrow tests”

And I stopped.

And my heart stopped.

And I knew.

I mean I really knew.

I looked at my doctor two days before Christmas in 1993 and I said:
“Oh my God. You think I have Leukemia.”

And at that moment.

At that moment in time…

I didn’t know where my sailor was, or my mother was or even where God was.

I looked at my completely bruised body and all of these things hooked up to me and I felt like I hadn’t lived and that I might not ever have the chance to live again.

And my doctor put his hand in mine and said: “It’s okay. You’re going to be fine. I’ve seen this before with my son. You are going to be okay”

Only to find out years later that his son died of Leukemia.

And the tests…

Let’s just say that they were painful.

Very painful.

To the point of passing out painful.

But they came back negative.

Absolutely, positively negative!

And my sailor.

He stayed with me during the day and then stayed at my parents during the night but…

But he had to leave.

And like always.

I knew it.

He knew it.

But we ignored it until that day came.

And in the middle of all those painful, heart wrenching, soul stealing tests…he left…

He did come back as quickly as he could. He put in for an emergency leave and was back by my side two weeks later but…

But I was on crazy amounts of medication including some pretty strong steroids.

My emotions were everywhere and all over the boards.

But the one emotion that was constant was anger.

And I was angry at him.

I’m not saying it was right or wrong or justified.

It was uncontrollable.

And I think part of it could have been because I knew…

I knew he had to leave again.

I knew that at a time when I was at my loneliest he was going to leave me.

Leave me all alone.

And even though after I got released from the hospital and things went back to normal…

Normal being that I lived my life separate from him waiting for his return.

Waiting to live my life with him.

If I had to put my finger on it, I would say that was the first crack.

The first chink which would ebb out creating more and more cracks, leading to that fateful day in 1995 when he got on a plane and never returned.



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