I’ve been at this blank page for over an hour, staring at the little straight line that ticks in and out of sight – all in beats of eighths as it waits for the letters to be typed out.
I’m sitting on my chair, my bed in front of me, and a soft lamp to the corner that only lights up half the desk. I hear nothing but the echoes of the water heater crackling in the distance: a reminder that I am indeed, alone.
I look up at my bed again, my eyes begging me to sleep, and yet I know that if I don’t write this out, I. won’t. get. rest.
Yesterday, my 61 year old mother told me she wanted to kill herself.
There are many moments in my life where I meet people and without caution, without suspicion, without holding back, they, for whatever reason, pour out their heart in my general direction.
I think it’s because instead of pressing for questions or jumping ahead in conversation to figure out what I should say next… I instead stay curious in their life, focus on their body language, and listen intently to every word that comes out of their mouth.
I’ve learned from an early age that-
People want to be seen.
People want to be heard.
People want someone to share their vulnerability. Unless they ask, many times they want to share without advice or judgement. They simply want someone who will empathically support them as they lay their head against the other person’s shoulder.
My parents were no exception.
I remember being seven when my father started opening up about how my brother didn’t love him the way that I loved him: creating a manipulative force to get my brother and me to compete.
I remember at the age of ten when my mother told me, “Jonathan why can’t you be there for me like the way you are with your dad?” This is when I realized I had to be the political meditator, playing both sides, to keep peace in the house.
Fourteen when my dad began complaining about his marital issues and wondering if I knew if there were any new tricks or tips when it came to picking up women.
Eleven when my mother came into my room crying stating she couldn’t take my father’s abuse. Sixteen when I had to keep it a secret as my dad started flirting with other women and then wondering what I thought of his game.
A teen when planning out my mother’s divorce proceedings, making sure a DV-130 was in place before my father arrived home: there as we structured a game plan to how she would tell my six younger siblings that she was finally divorcing our abusive father… and how we needed to band as one, more than ever to get through life together.
Twenty-one when I found my father in the Philippines. I was there to see if he had changed, but I found myself trying to explain to him why he failed as a father. Then… holding him in my arms as he begged for forgiveness.
At least then I decided not to talk to him anymore.
But right now.
I love her.
The phone calls.
Reminders that she is going to be okay.
Reminders that she deserves happiness.
Reminders that she is great.
I’m not a therapist.
I don’t know if I have the energy to be there anymore.
I will always have the capacity for my siblings.
They are my rock, my soul, and I’ll come running.
I need a break.
How are you?
I answer with a bright smile and emphatically pronounce that life is beautiful.
Life is beautiful.
Though many times I sit in silence wondering if people knew how I felt. I don’t like bringing up the pain unless there is purpose behind it because I know that people support those who cry with purpose.
Those who cry with purpose.
Those who share their pain with a plan.
These are the people, we all care about. People we are willing to listen too…
Right now. I don’t have a plan.
I don’t know.
I’m writing because…
I’m open to be heard.
I’m looking to be seen.
I’m willing to be loved.
Everything will be okay. I feel it because I’m going to sleep and wake up to the sun inside my heart shining: knowing full well that I’m alive and ready to make anyone I meet smile with joy – at least I have that.
It’s funny how my writing is my therapy. It is my place where I can take the smile from my face and bring it down just for a little bit. Ha.
Thanks for not judging.
Thanks for listening.
Bedroom – 4 something am
Los Angeles, CA