I know I've railed on in the past about how I despise MySpace. I dunno, I think it's just too popular. I have this aversion to change and I think that I make all sorts of lame excuses in order to avoid having to explore anything new. However, I buckled down and created a barebones page Monday. I didn't plan on developing it that much because the format seems really unwieldy. The only thing I wanted to do to it immediately was create a link to this blog.
My cousin's wife was the one who suggested to me that I create a MySpace page and she told me about how several of her high school friends had gotten back in touch with her through it. After I registered with the site and created my page, I decided to start looking up the names of some of my old friends. To get straight to the point, the first name I searched for was that of an old boyfriend.
There were a few people with his name that had MySpace profiles but after I'd checked out the first four or five guys with that name, I found his page. I just felt numb looking at his picture. He looked just the same even though it's been years since I last saw him. VanGoghGirl was a toddler then. I don't think I could put that day in the proper context without first explaining our history. In keeping with my usual policy about real names, I guess I'll just call him The CanadianBoy.
Well, first of all he isn't just an old boyfriend; He was the first boy I ever loved. Before I knew The German, CaliGuy, VanGoghGirl's bio-dad and even Spoogie, I had known and loved this guy. In fact, I'd only had two boyfriends before him. My first boyfriend was the cousin of my best friend and, since I was only about twelve years old at the time, we only spoke on the phone two times before we lost interest in each other and went back to being little kids. My second boyfriend was this really sweet Hapa boy that was in the Gifted program with me during middle school. We both liked cyberpunk novels and Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series. I was the first girl he ever kissed. Those first two boyfriends were really initial experiences where I was basically just trying out the whole transition from thinking boys all had cooties to trying to understand what that little flutter was that I felt when I talked to some of them. But things were different between me and The CanadianBoy.
I tried my first cigarette in the summer between eighth and ninth grade. I never really liked the way it made me feel but it did help me to fit in with the stoner crowd that I hung out with. I was already a drinker at that age, thanks to my paternal family. It's sort of a family tradition to teach the kids to be able to handle their liquor from a young age. Eh, maybe it's unfair of me to say that my family's philosophy is the reason why I began abusing alcohol. I can't really group everyone in my dad's family together.
My grandmother always kept a well-stocked liquor cabinet and she let us try any kind of alcohol that we asked for. She'd sit us down at the table and pour us a drink and let us see how it tasted. I have never seen her abuse alcohol or encourage others to abuse it. She didn't allow us to get tipsy at her house until we were teenagers. We never even considered asking for enough alcohol to get us totally drunk as kids. We knew better than to believe she'd allow that. On the other hand, we had other family members that were more than happy to help us get drunk. The first time I ever got totally pissy-drunk was at my dad's cousin's house when I was around 12 years old. We (my brothers, my cousins and I) asked one of my great uncles for some alcohol and he went and got us a big cooler full of beer and told us to enjoy ourselves. If my mother had been there, that never would have happened but my parents were divorced and we were with our dad that weekend. Anyway, that was just the first of many, many times I had too much to drink before I was legally old enough to be drinking at all.
By the time I was solidly in my teens, I could drink like a fish and I often did. I'm Irish and my best friend was Italian and we used every occasion that came along as an opportunity to try and test out our theories about which ethnic group can drink the most alcohol and still function well enough for it not to be detected by our parents or teachers. Yeah, that's right. I can't even count how many times we got drunk while at school.
During that first year of high school, I also started smoking marijuana. After marijuana became boring to me, I worked my way up to a few other drugs. I don't want to skim over that as if it's not a big deal but it's just a part of the bigger overall picture. I think that a lot of my experimentation with drugs was an attempt to self-medicate. My parent's divorce when I was ten marked the end of the only period of happiness I experienced as a child. I was my father's favorite child and when he left, I was devastated and that's when the depression started. I've also discussed a little bit about what I went through during those long years of my life before I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus. Clinical depression is one symptom of the disease and, if that weren't enough, I was also depressed because I knew that something was wrong with me even though no one else believed it back then. I had also been sexually abused by several different people before I even entered my teen years and felt very little self-worth as a result. I took the drugs hoping they'd make me feel better but they never did. That still didn't make me stop; I simply added even more self-destructive behaviors on top of it all. I really was hoping to die because I didn't see any reason to believe that my life would ever get any better. I felt like it was inevitable that I was going to crash and burn one way or another and I didn't much care if that time came very soon.
My poor mother can't be blamed for not being aware of every single thing I was going through and doing to myself back then. She was a single parent of four kids and worked like slave just to provide for us without anyone else's help. She wasn't on public assistance and she only received child support sporadically. She really deserved to have a better daughter than I was to her. When she got a call from the local mall to come and pick me up because I'd been caught shoplifting, she was really shocked. It was suddenly apparent to her that she'd been underestimating the extent of my problems. A few days after that, she had me put into a psychiatric hospital.
That's where I met The CanadianBoy. He was two years older than me and absolutely gorgeous. We were assigned to different units (floors) but there were some interactions between the two groups. I first mentioned my crush to one of the other residents and it turned out that she knew him so I made her tell me all about him. Like the rest of us kids in that hospital, his life had been hell too, but nothing about him made me like him any less. Getting closer to him was actually easier than making friends in the outside world because I didn't have to pretend as if my life was just picture perfect. He didn't mind that I was so flawed; We were both really damaged people.
According to the hospital rules, residents weren't supposed to get involved with each other but that didn't stop us. We were only allowed to make and receive calls during certain hours of the day. When it was phone time I used to sneak and call him when the staff wasn't nearby because we weren't supposed to call the other floors.
I was madly in love with him. I used to spend half the time anticipating our weekly Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous sessions because they were on his floor and I'd get to see him. I was really shy then and it was hard for me to believe that he liked me. Hell, even I didn't like me. One night when I was in the hospital, I took a plastic knife from the dinner utensils and I carved the word "HATE" in large letters on my left thigh. That got me locked in the solitary confinement room that they used to keep an eye on suicidal patients.
I used to feel so self-conscious anytime he was around. It was almost summer time and the hospital had a big pool out back that we were allowed to use every once in awhile. He would look out the window on his floor and watch me swimming with the other kids in my unit. I used to wish that I wasn't so skinny so that I could look as pretty and curvy in my bikini as the other girls did in theirs but he never seemed to care about that.
It was a really nice psychiatric hospital--trust me, I've been to several and this place was like being in the Ritz-Carleton compared to a few of them. The doctors and therapists were really kind and did their best to help the residents deal with their issues. However, I think that having someone in my life, someone who wanted me and accepted me just as I was, helped me more than anything else.
I got out of the hospital before he did. My mother pulled me from the hospital after one of my doctors suggested to her that I be put on anti-depressants. She was more than willing to believe that I was absolutely nuts but the idea that I might be given medication to help me seemed like coddling, in her eyes. I was really upset about her taking me out of the hospital because I knew that I still had a lot of progress that I needed to make. We hadn't even dealt with my sexual abuse issues yet.
Leaving the hospital also meant that I wasn't able to see the CanadianBoy anymore. My mother had this view that crazy people shouldn't be allowed to spend too much time around other crazy people, so she was totally against the idea of me keeping in touch with him. That didn't stop me from calling him though. She sent me to go and stay with a friend of our family who she thought would be able to keep a closer eye on me until she was able to deal with having me around the house again. Fortunately, the person she sent me to stay with wasn't nearly as perceptive as she wanted to believe she was. She had a daughter my age who was actually even wilder than I was. The girl also had a knack for making her mother believe that she was more innocent than the virgin Mary which made it a lot easier for us to sneak around and do whatever we wanted to do without getting caught. That included me calling the CanadianBoy every chance I got.
I was very worried that since I was no longer there, he'd fall for some other girl at the hospital. I really wanted to keep him as mine forever. So many people that I'd loved in the past had left me in one way or another. My grandmother had died. My father had skipped out. Lots of people that I should have been able to trust had violated me and abused me. I felt like if he dumped me, then I'd completely lose it for real, just slide back into all of the self-destructive behavior that I was trying so hard to keep away from. I don't know if words can really describe how I felt about him. It was the sort of love that can truly drive a person mad. I was really afraid of him finding out how much I was in love with him because I was sure that it would be the straw that broke the camel's back and scare him off altogether.
After awhile we found out that he was being released from the hospital and would be returning home to Canada. Before he left, he gave me one of his favorite shirts so that I could put it on and wear to bed whenever I was missing him. Since his favorite color was blue, I gave him one of my earrings that contained my birthstone which is also blue. I cried and cried when he left New Orleans because I was sure he'd forget about me but he didn't.
Not long after he got back to Canada, he sent me a letter. We wrote each other every week and made phone calls whenever we could. My mother wasn't thrilled about the idea of me writing to him but she never tried to stop me. It's a good thing she didn't because I'd have done it anyway. To tell the truth, I'd have done anything he'd asked me to do just to be with him. I wanted so badly to leave all of my life in New Orleans behind and be with him but we were just too young to really be able to take care of ourselves yet.
Our relationship lasted for almost a year and then he stopped writing to me. I'd get occasional phone calls and I'd want so badly to ask him why he'd lost interest in me. One of the final times we talked I could hear the voices of other kids in the background and they were all laughing and having a good time. Some of the voices were female. I was devastated. At that point, I knew we were through even though he never did formally break it off with me.
I spent the next few years drinking my life away off and on but still managing to coast through school with good grades. I tried to commit suicide a few times, went through a few bad relationships with guys and even managed to get pregnant and have VanGoghGirl. Then one day The CanadianBoy showed up at my parent's house while I was away from home.
He was working as a truckdriver and one of his trips had brought him near New Orleans. We went and had lunch together and talked a little bit. I wanted to ask him why things had gone the way they did but, as usual, I didn't dare do it. It's not that he was hard to talk to. I just always felt like he didn't take me seriously, like I was really just a big joke in his eyes.
I was so happy to see him again and be near him again. He's always had this very infectious sort of passion encompassing everything about him. I began to remember all of the reasons why I loved him. Kissing him made me want to believe it when he said he'd keep in touch this time. I'm glad that it didn't go any further than just that though because, just like before, he disappeared from life again after that. That was the last time I saw or heard anything about him until this past Monday.
I sent him a short message via MySpace and it just so happened that he was online at the time and wrote back to me in a matter of minutes. That shocked me because I honestly didn't think that he'd remember me or even care enough to respond if he did know who I was. In his response he seemed really happy to hear from me. Since then we've been talking a little bit and sending each other messages. He filled me in on what happened to some of the kids who were in the hospital with us. A few are doing okay. One guy committed suicide not long after the last time The CanadianBoy saw him.
It seems that the CanadianBoy's life has improved a whole lot. He's married now and has three kids--two with one of his ex's and one with his current wife. We've been catching up on what directions our lives took us after we last saw each other. I still haven't really processed it all in my head yet. I think that may take some time. Meanwhile, I have to admit that it feels good in so many ways just to be able to talk to him and laugh with him again.