2008 I was in the middle of my drug addicted years. Everything was bad, everything was wrong, everything hurt, every action left me feeling scorned because everything in my life revolved around my next high. Somehow at this point in time I had a vehicle, I didn't have my two girls they were living with someone safe I was allowed to see them whenever I wanted but I was so very very sick in the head that it wasn't often unfortunately. I was at my dealers house attempting to figure out my next move (how to reup) when my daughters school called me and said they needed someone to come get Nati (4) because she was throwing up. I called my mom to make sure someone would be home to be with her and stopped at walgreens to get her some tummy medicine. Nati was in this "Why" phase and "what's that" she had a genuine thirst for knowledge unlike any kid I had ever encountered normally I would allow her to ramble on and I would answer every 5th question because to answer every one of them would have taken a lifetime. This particular day I hadn't had any pain killers (my drug of choice) which meant I was in a full blown come down, shakes, sweats, irritability, the need to have an explosive bowel movement and the strong uncontrollable drive to find more pills. Keep in mind as you read this, that I have never spoken of such things from my former life I'm exposing myself like a raw nerve right now. So were in route to my moms house and Nati is asking her normal 20,000 questions all of which are distracting me from focusing on the loud annoying racket my brain and body are making, then she asks "are you gonna stay at nanas wif me?"
Me: " no doc I'm not I will come see you tomorrow though"
Nati: "but I want you to stay"
Me: "ok how about this, I will make you some soup and watch one episode of spongebob with you but then I have to go"
Nati: "why do you have to go?"
Me: "Because I have things to do"
You see my addciton didn't like questions that it couldn't answer and there was NO answer so that made me pretty aggravated.
Nati: "Like what?"
Me: "grown up stuff doc none of your concern, your nana is waiting at home to love ya up"
Then there was some silence as I tried to control my shakes and anger that was rising up from my belly with such force it scared me. Anger for no reason at all, that's what being an addict was. Anger.
Nati: "hey Jess, whats love?"
Those few words coming out of that little girls mouth taught me a bigger lesson than almost anything else I have learned in life. There was So much to those words, so much. Had I neglected her so much that she didn't have a clear line on what love was? Was I that horrible of a person?
I stammered for words... and for the first time in years the addict part of me just shut off. The sky was blue, the air was fresh, I wasn't shaking and I could see that I was living life ALL WRONG. I pulled into my moms driveway, put the car in park and thought for awhile.
What is Love? How on earth can I explain this to her?
It dawned on me that I didn't have an answer for her. Was it because I had never been shown love? No. My dad loved me unconditionally and let me know often. Hey Fred! I love ya kid. It was simply because my addiction had turned off my heart. It shut down all of the vital parts of my being that allowed me to feel love and to give love. I was lost in so many ways this was the moment I said to myself for the first time "My name is Jesse and I'm an addict who is unmanageable".
I still hadn't answered her and she was waiting.
Me: "Love is. Well Love is the way I feel about you. Your my love and your nana has lots of lovin for you inside, lets go in"
She wasn't satisfied with that answer and neither was I but I had to tell her something for right then.
As I drove away from my moms house later on that evening (dts getting worst and worst) a song came on the radio before I even left the neighborhood. It was a song that my dad used to whistle when he worked on cars or sing to me when I was scared.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night. Take these broken wings and learn to fly all your life you were only waiting for this moment to be free. Blackbird Fly. Into the night.
I sat at a stop sign and had a nervous breakdown. I lost control of my facilitys, my entire body shook as I heaved and sobbed my heart hurt, my eyes hurt, my soul... well my soul was in turmoil with my disease. I was fighting. On the inside a cage match was going on Jess against the evil dr. Watson (the brand of pain killer I preferred) I was trying to rid myself of this thing that was going to kill me, but I had no control. I kept hearing her sweet soft voice "Hey Jess what's love" over and over... blackbird fly.... "will you stay with me" I didn't want to move I didn't want to drive I didn't want to go back to my moms because I didn't want them to see me like that. So I pulled my car into the woods, I crawled into the backseat and I let the nervous breakdown continue. Wasn't alot else I could do. There was no sleeping, there was no comfort. Only pain deep burning fucking pain caused by myself. Or what I now know was caused by my disease. Around the afternoon of the next day (yea that's how long it took before I could drive again safely) I drove myself to my boyfriend at that times house, drug my limp body inside, made it to the bed the next few days were fuzzy. This was not the time that I got sober, no that time wouldn't come until 2011 and a whole lot more self discovery.
"So lead me back, turn south from that place, and close my eyes to my recent
disgrace, cause you know my call and we'll share my all, and our
children come and they will hear me roar"
Nati grew up some more and our lives were in a whole different place I had finally made the decision to change my life, to change my mind, to change my body. While I was in rehab one of the questions on one of their "discovering reasons to stay sober" homework was "what does love mean to you" here I was again faced with this question. But this time, there was no nervous breakdown, there were no bad emotions or feeling like a let down for not knowing how to answer.
What I wrote down came naturally:
"Love is worry, worrying about someone when there sick, worrying about them so much that you would take ALL of there sickness willingly if it meant they would feel better. Love is devotion, devotion to another soul that you will never leave there side no matter how rocky life gets, they will always find you standing behind them. Love is the way I felt holding my new babies in my arms and seeing all of the universes beauty in those eyes. Love is driving my sobriety, though it took along time the love in my heart is finally winning the battle against my demons I can feel It growing, taking over the wrecked parts of my soul and starting to slowly mend all the damage. Love is something that no one should have to fight for, its our right as human beings to Love whoever we want, whenever we want and by whatever terms our hearts feel necessary"
The Legendary Nati and Widdle Wiley :)
After that rehab stay almost 2yrs ago my life has made a drastic change. Not only my life but my love. I can feel love, when my man holds me tight. When me and the kids are on a leisurely walk in the afternoon and the birds are chirping. When our dog lays his head on my lap.
I can give love, when a homeless man is standing at the corner with a sign I will give all the money I can spare. When one of my friends needs a hug. When a grandma passes away. When an uncle takes his own life and mom needs to lean on me even though I'm feeling just as lost. I can give love.
I'm not going to comment on all of the gay marriage equality stuff going on because my feelings on this are widely known but for those of you who don't know here is a quick over view.
My daughters are being brought up by two gay men and they have multiple family members who are gay as well. Our girls are taught that love doesn't discriminate and neither should we. As for the "kids need a mom and a dad" argument well my kids do have both just with a third and fourth party involved (their dad's boyfriend and my boyfriend makes it four parenting techniques coming into play). But I don't feel its necessary, as long as they get a proper amount of love and structure.
Lets keep in mind that some of the worst people came from homes with mom and dads, Jeffrey Domer for instance. Yuran Vandersloot (don't think I'm spelling it right but who cares) its not always the upbringing that matters sometimes its just chemical make up of a person.
A gay couple can be the best thing for some kids, if they want to raise a person let them! It's their human rights.
I hope one day Nati will read this and know how grateful I am for her asking me that question all those years ago. She truly taught me without even knowing it, what love really is. I made a silent vow to my kids that my love for them would be strong enough to conquer any obstacles that might come our way. That I would NEVER let the demons win again.
I wear a necklace of my Nati's everyday, if I'm going through a hard time I rub it and think about her. A rush of love takes me over and I am reminded that my wings are no longer broken. This blackbird can fly.
Wiley Coyote being all Hollywood :)