I know longing well

9-7-12     11:23pm

So, I’m sitting in my kitchen. I feel trapped. The sprinklers outside have filled the air with the smell of ant spray. My mom’s boyfriend has turned our living room into a movie room and they’ve been watching movies for hours. Loud movies. Sad movies. “What Dreams May Come” was last. I have the soundtrack on my ipod but I don’t need to see it.

I went shopping today. I spent too much money. I know that, but I didn’t know what to do. I managed to get to the social security office today to drop off some papers and was struck with “fear of life,” as Joe calls it. Fear of life is when I’m scared of everything and don’t know what to do. I’ve been extremely confused lately too and the mall was the closest safe place to me. I ate Chinese food, which gave me the stinky farts (who knew?), and shopped. And shopped some more. I thought long and hard before buying things. Did math. Put things on hold. I came away with 4 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of slacks, an awesome shirt, a new glasses case, and a journal. A pink pearl necklace is now waiting for me on layaway.

Today I thought intently of a friend’s happiness. I will call that friend J. (No, not Joe and probably not anyone else I’ve represented with the letter J in the past.) I like J. He’s special to me. I’d like to be his girl. I’m not sure what he wants from me. He’s always busy and the time we spend together doesn’t involve much talking. Yesterday he said he’s having a rough time and today I spent my time intently thinking of his happiness, sending warmth and love his way.

I don’t have experience with relationships. But I know longing well. It has a strange life. The experts say when you feel the primal/caveman feeling of love or affection the accompanying action urge is to embrace. They also say our pattern of action urges changes based on life experiences. Through life I’ve learned that I need to stay away from what or whom I am drawn to because if I embrace or move toward they will hurt or leave me.

I know longing well. I know the desperate need to be held, the wanting nothing in the world more than for the other person to be safe, warm, comforted, happy. Spending every waking moment thinking, praying, trying to find ways to make their life better and quell my own pain at not being able to be near them. But I don’t want it to always be that way. I don’t think it has to be. And I think this person might not hate me for not staying away. But I don’t know how to do that. It’s like a blind person painting.

I know how to get through the pain of being alone.
I don’t know how to be with people.
I know how to distance or detach myself.
I don’t know how to be authentic. It’s scary. Terrifying.
But I’m being honest, authentic, with him. When I talk to him. Which is almost never. But I’m trying. I’m trying to be me. Trying to find that girl I left on a park bench somewhere years ago and bring her back to life. Reintegrate her into the community. For now she wanders and rocks and sings and talks to herself somewhat happily. Except when she’s scared or mad. Don’t make her mad.

I want to feel loved, whatever that is. I’m accustomed to wanting or loving people who don’t want or love me back, so it doesn’t take much to make my day. But it takes something.

So tonight I feel that longing with all of my soul to be held by this person. And my involuntary urge is to turn away, to shut down. But I don’t want to. I think he’s safe. But I don’t know what to do. What do people do instead of shut down that doesn’t cause the other person to leave? (pause) I want to do that.

When asked what I think love is my answer lies along the lines of finding someone to grow old with. According to my therapist I know more of parental love than romantic love. I’ve never seen what people call “love” in front of me. I lived with my mom growing up. None of my friends had happy couple parents. I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t know what it means. I do know, however, that I need to find out. And stop rambling.

Tonight I eat salsa that tastes like the smell of rubbing alcohol and spy on my mom who’s cuddled on the couch with her boyfriend watching a movie and write to an internet of strangers about my current inner struggle with learning how to love, how to be vulnerable. Seems a stretch, doesn’t it?

I have to go now. This moment of thought is fading and I feel really confused again. Thanks for listening. I’m grateful to have this outlet.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Comfort Drive!

5-30-12     10pm

So, I frequently donate my possessions to my favorite unit at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital – clothes, journals, art supplies, etc. I get rid of stuff I don’t need and feel really good doing it. This week I had the idea to have a Comfort Drive and ask my family & friends and whomever else to join me in making a hospital stay easier on the patients there. 

It’s called the Give Back Comfort Drive and all the details and what you can give can be found on the flyer here.

Sharp Mesa Vista is a local psychiatric hospital near and dear to my heart. I have spent much time there. I owe my life to them and I want to give back. Often patients arrive without clothes or other comforts of home. Simple things like an outfit, a hairbrush, or shampoo and conditioner can help them feel loved and feel like themselves again. Even a pair of underwear that fits can make someone’s day. 

So, go through your closet, hit the store, or ask a friend. Let’s make it happen!

Please share with your friends!
FB event link: http://www.facebook.com/events/100419893433445/
PDF Flyer: http://www.dbsasandiego.org/resources/Give-Back.pdf 

There is a great need for men’s clothing and plus size clothing for both men and women. 

If you are in San Diego you can drop off donations at a DBSA San Diego group in La Jolla or contact me at michelle@dbsasandiego.org to arrange a pick up.

If you are not in San Diego but want to participate, you can mail your donations to:

DBSA San Diego
8837 Villa La Jolla Drive #12774
La Jolla, CA 92039

Thank you so much!

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Side Effects of Christmas

Written on Black Friday at the mall on a bench outside Cinnabon.

11/25/11     4:25pm

Side Effects of Christmas:

  • Fits of joy
  • Random singing & laughter
  • Urges to bake or give things to strangers
  • Uncontrollable shopping sprees
  • Flashbacks
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Urges to die
  • Intense anger
  • Spontaneous death of self or others
  • Temporary loss of judgement
  • Poor clothing choices
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Spike in your need to watch Lifetime or The Family Channel
  • Excessive picture-taking
  • Loss of time
  • Sitting for long periods of time alone on a mall bench wondering why it is we do this again… followed by a Cinnabon.

Red flag shopping warning signs:

  • Uttering to yourself more than 3 times in a day, “Man, I must be old.”
  • Sympathizing with the forlorn kiosk people
  • Falling for their “Can I ask you a question?” cuz you just can’t walk any further
  • Wishing you were the kid asleep in the stroller.

Please feel free to add your own.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011


5-27-10                 3:41am

I feel so very tired tonight, and sad. I’m here with my book light again. Tomorrow marks one year from my last admission. It’s been a long year.

Tonight I think about money. How it affects and limits me. M- asked awhile back on FB if you’d rather grow up rich or poor. I’ve thought about that a lot. I’m glad I grew up poor, that I can truly appreciate. But I could use some money now.

It’s like being trapped. My mom drives me nuts. She is my x-factor. I can’t stand her and I can’t change her, but I can’t move out. Why? No money. I’m not going to get more money. It’s not going to change. I have to figure out how to deal with it.

I don’t want lots of money, so much I don’t know what to do with. N- was talking Sunday about the average starting salary for his dream job. It was in the hundreds of thousands. I asked what he would do with that kind of money. He said, “I know. Really.” But I mean it. What does a person do with that? I don’t even know what that looks like.

I just want to not have to worry about money, to be able to be free and not tied to so many things. I don’t enjoy scouring a menu for the cheapest thing or not going out ‘cuz I can’t afford it. Money may seem trivial to some but it changes things.

I don’t claim it would solve all my problems, but even my life at USC was better. If I didn’t have to worry about the cost, how would my life be different? What would I do or change?

  • I would be less dependent on others, less limited
  • I would move out
  • I would get new glasses for me & Mom
  • I could get the dental work I need
  • I could dance (body pending)
  • I could order food I want instead of food my wallet wants
  • I might be able to get an answer to my medical problems. Doctors are NOT motivated by Medi-Medi
  • I could buy things like M’s bag just because I want to.

That bag has caused me much grief today. It’s beautiful. I want to be able to just buy it, but I can’t. He said it’s a bag “you” can afford. I’m not a part of that you. An affordable designer bag is still almost 20% of my income for the month. I could buy the bag with the last of my credit, but instead of feeling pretty while carrying it I would be plagued with guilt. That’s no way to carry a purse. My current purse cost $9 at WalMart and has taken my abuse for the past 5 months. I’m impressed. But it doesn’t decrease my desire for this purse or my anger and sadness that I cannot indeed have it. It also doesn’t make me any less aware that I do not NEED that bag.

When I look at something I want there is this fight in my head. The question is not just can I afford that? It’s do I deserve it? Because if I can’t afford it, then surely I don’t deserve it. But there’s a part of me that believes I do deserve it and gets pissed that I can’t have it. Why can’t I have x? I’m a good person. Why is this happening to me?! It becomes more existential crisis than shopping trip.

What I can afford affects how I present myself and how I’m perceived, defines a part of who I am. So I never know just who I am. There are these many different parts in different clothes with different roles, that eat different foods & wear different shoes. And I’m treated differently for every one of them. They’re all me but in different tax brackets.

I just want to be me and free. But that requires money.


5-29-10                 1:41am

I thought more about money yesterday and what it can’t buy me, what it can’t change.

Money can’t change my health. It can’t take away the days I can’t move or talk. It can’t bring me closer to the people I love. And all the money in the world couldn’t buy me someone who cares about me like my mom does. She may drive me nuts but she’s always there.

I’m grateful not to have many days like yesterday. I’m so exhausted. So sick. I had some good hours today & a long nap. But money can’t change that. It can’t bring me back.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Clothes – I Don’t Get Them

5-5-10                   1:46am

I went shopping on Sunday and thought of Malan. I was so confused. I really don’t understand clothes. I like looking pretty but getting there is a task. I’d settle for presentable.

I don’t get clothes. I tried on a ton of stuff and, for the first time ever, I looked like a bat. A bat! I put my arms out and I had wings. Now why, I ask, would I want that? My goal is to look thinner not wider. Really. Some things are cute on the hanger but look terrible on. So I make sure to pick up things I’m reasonably sure I’ll hate in case they spontaneously look great. Sometimes works.

Then there are those things I just stare at and wonder about. I have no idea what that is. Is it a dress? A shirt? A scarf? How do I put it on and what is it supposed to look like? If I have to ask these questions I’m probably not the target audience, but I’d like to know. If I knew, I might buy it or at least try it on.

I really need someone to follow me around (more like lead me) and tell me what to get and what not to and, “Oh, Honey. No. Put that back.” Like Said in Fashion Valley or my friend Sarah who lives in Boston. I would appreciate some sort of guidebook in the store that tells me what I’m looking at. Like a program at a play. I asked the fitting room attendant at Victoria’s Secret just why I would want to buy the bra I was trying on. She was confused. I said, “I know this style of bra was intended for a particular style of clothing but I don’t know which one or in what situations this bra would be useful.” She had no helpful answer. I don’t understand! I might buy the damn thing if I knew what to do with it!

(sigh) Sometimes I wonder what goes through the head of a designer when he/she is designing. Do they consider what the average consumer, such as myself, will be up against when trying to figure out their clothes? Okay, so maybe I’m not average, but I am a consumer and I’d like to buy clothes less stressfully. You know?

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010