1 comment

Sad Drama

This story contains sensitive content

Fall From Grace

*Trigger Warning: Contains substance abuse, physical abuse, death, and other content that could be sensitive to some.

So much pain. It’s like someone physically drove their hand into my chest, grabbed my heart, and violently ripped it out. My whole body aches. I can’t breathe. My only solace right now is this cold floor and mildly damp rug. Laying on my side with half of my face on the linoleum, I can feel the tears roll from one eye to the other. 

And all I want is someone to blame. Because if there isn’t anyone, if no one can be held responsible, then who can answer me this:

Why the hell am I here, in this deep hole, feeling like I’m never going to be able to climb out? Like I will never add up to anything more than I am right now?

Life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people. Turn to God. Things don’t always turn out the way we had hoped. Blah, blah, blah. Are those stereotypical phrases really supposed to make people feel better? Because they don’t. At least, they don’t make me feel better. Ever. I’m going to need something more than “It was just God’s will.”. That’s not good enough for me. I’m sorry. Do you know God? Are you friends with Him? Does He call you at home? Did He tell you His plan? 

Why the hell am I here. HA! What a generic, mainstream question.  Probably over half of humanity is asking themselves that same thing right now. But, just for the fun of it, let’s take a little looksie at how I could’ve arrived here. Shall we? The commute has been quite the journey.

Could my being in such a crappy situation be credited to a series of bad decisions and mistakes I’ve made in the past? I mean, let’s face it. My taste in partners has always been garbage. I have more regrets than I care to count. My spiritual walk has never been high on my priorities list. I’ve never taken the time to consider what kind of person I am. And I’ve treated my body like the drop-off ramp at the junkyard that operates on the outskirts of town.

There was the dangerous cowboy. He was unbelievably handsome, equipped with eyes that were bluer than the Isle of Capri. And oh how he could make me laugh. But he was meaner than a rattlesnake. And I quit college, quit two jobs, got evicted from my apartment, wrecked my credit, lost full custody of my son, was disowned by my entire family, and got my car repossessed…all so I could drive to Texas to bail this man, someone who would eventually end up beating the living daylights out of me, out of jail for…wait for it…beating up his ex-girlfriend. He also had a charge in another county for running his truck through a house over a drug deal gone bad.

Remember those regrets I mentioned? I still haven’t finished college.   

I let another guy lie to me and steal from me for months, all while he was shooting heroin and cheating on me with a girl who eventually ended up overdosing and dying in front of her kids. 

My God. What a pretty little idiot I’ve been. 

I had a two-year affair with a married man. I’ve been a borderline alcoholic. I’ve lied. I’ve cheated. I’ve stolen. I’ve dabbled in drugs. I’ve been a horrible mother. A horrible wife. A horrible daughter. A horrible sister. A horrible friend. 

A horrible person. 

And now I sit here on my bathroom floor, where I’ve looked at my reflection in the mirror for so long, I can hardly recognize myself.  And I wonder why? Wonder who I can blame for being where I am today? 

It’s a harsh slap in the face when you realize that the finger…should be pointed at you. I’ve been in my own way this whole time. 

This is all my fault. 

I sit here, on my cold bathroom floor in front of a full-sized mirror, and I sit with that. This is all my fault. As uncomfortable as it is, I sit with it. I go through every regret, every mistake and bad decision, every borderline evil thing I’ve ever done…and I acknowledge it. It’s almost physically painful and at one point, I actually question why God has allowed me to live for as long as He has.

My eyes are swollen from the tears. I should have taken my contacts out. I feel hungry and weak.   

I think of everything. From the small minor things, like the time I cut holes in my sister’s favorite silk house robe because I was mad at her. To the bigger, more crippling memories.  Like the abortion I had. While a piece of me will always feel like I made the right decision, I’m still having a hard time forgiving myself.   

It's so hard to veer off the path of self-destruction when that’s all you’ve known. It’s even harder when you’re really, really good at being a bad. 

All of those selfish decisions? All the pain I’ve caused the people around me? The fact that I’m nowhere near where I thought I would be at this age? That’s all on me. That’s all because of me. Each mistake has bled over into the next because the starting point was already contaminated. 

I am patient zero when it comes to the diseased state that I now call my life.

The bathroom floor is cold but instead of getting up, I just grab a towel from the rack, place it over me like a blanket and wonder:

What’s the antivenom for a broken, selfish, ugly heart? 

I’m not having a breakdown on my bathroom floor because a few minor things went wrong in my childhood. Or because my mom was a control freak. Or because I fell in love with the wrong guy. Or because I haven’t gone to church enough. I really hate it when people try to pull that last one.   

I’m having a nervous breakdown on my bathroom floor right now because every poor, self-centered decision I’ve ever made has led me here. To this shitty bathroom floor in this shitty apartment that’s perched in this shitty town. And all I would have had to do was go the opposite way when I had the chance.  

Ya know, I look at some of the people I graduated high school with, and it makes things even worse. Yes, yes. I know. Comparison is the thief of joy. But let’s be real. We all do it. 

There’s Sarah. She married a big-time contractor, and they have four kids (two are twins) and live in a big fancy house. She’s still just as beautiful as she was in high school. Maybe even more so. 

And there’s Lauren. She’s the first-grade teacher at the local elementary school and she married her high school sweetheart, who is now the K-9 officer for the county. He gets recognized all the time for his work. They have two beautiful children and I heard they both just got their real estate license so they could sell real estate together. Talk about a power couple. 

But then, there’s Susan. Poor, pitiful Susan. She married Mike. They were also high school sweethearts, have two beautiful children, and now own half of the businesses in our small town. But Mike also has at least five affairs a year and I’m pretty sure Susan couldn’t function without an Adderall prescription. 

There’s also Lynn and Paul. Lynn was homecoming queen and Paul would have given his most prized possession to be her boyfriend. Lord have mercy. He chased her for at least a year before she finally caved. But when she did, it was game over. You guessed it. High school sweethearts. Marriage. Two kids. Years invested. And one giant crash and burn. Affairs. Alcoholism. Divorce. 

As sad and awful as all of that may sound, it brings me peace. Maybe that’s the selfish wench in me talking, but it goes to show…you can do everything right…and life can still go wrong. As unfair and harsh as that reality is, it does bring me an element of comfort. Almost like a small feeling of redemption. 

Would things have still gone wrong, had I made all the right decisions? Had I not gone to Texas? Had I not quit college? Had I not dated half the bar flies that walked into my bar? Who’s to say? Nobody can. Not really. 

Growth can hurt. It can be downright brutal. But if I ever want to be able to look at my own reflection and not hate it, it’s something I have to go through. It’s something we should all go through. But only a few have the determination (and pain tolerance) to actually go through with it. And judging by my experience tonight, I could go either way. Because this really does suck.

Can I just try to be a little bit better, every day? Like…Hey! Today maybe I’ll try to not snap at my kids over things that really don’t matter. Or, Hey! Maybe today I’ll put an hour of my time towards some crazy outlandish dream I have for myself instead of pounding six pineapple seltzers. Or, Hey! Maybe today I’ll be loyal to the healthy boundaries I’ve set for myself and not stammer or feel ashamed when I tell someone “No” because they’ve asked me to do something, and my plate is already full.   

I’m slowly but surely realizing that having respect for others often translates into respect for myself. If I valued myself more, then maybe I wouldn’t settle for the hardened, abusive criminal to take as a partner. If I cared enough about my body, I would set down the booze and pick up some water. If I was as passionate about my personal dreams as I claim to be, I would spend more time working towards them instead of avoiding the hustle that I know it’s going to require. If I really want to be a better person, I’ll put constant effort and awareness into controlling my emotions, instead of them controlling me.   

Yes. I’ve had an absolute come apart on my bathroom floor tonight. But with that fall from grace, came the birth of a falling in place. Because now, I know it was me. It was me all along. The obstacles. The trials. The turbulence. All of it was my fault. And I may not know exactly how to fix it. But at least now, I can pick myself up off this dirty floor…because I know where to begin. 

I begin with patient zero. I begin with me.  

September 28, 2022 16:07

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

Sumiko Courtney
02:03 Oct 06, 2022

Reedsy has suggested I read your story as part of the Critique Circle. I'm glad I did. You've captured the pain and anguish of someone at the end of her rope, and I like her realization and turn around at the end. Here are some editorial notes: 1. "quit two jobs, got evicted..., wrecked my credit, lost full custody of my son, was disowned..., and got my car repossessed…all so I could drive to Texas...". Did this all happen while she was in college? How does getting evicted and her car repossessed connect to driving to Texas? It sounds lik...

Reply

Show 0 replies