This Monday’s fractured blog post from my upcoming memoir “Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac” isn’t a look at my current situation. Instead, it’s a look into the past.
We all have stories. We all have reasons for being who we are. This week talks about some of the reasons that, despite amnesia and brain trauma, I am the person I am today – and that people have been trying to help me for most of my life.
The link to pre-order “Shattered” is at the end of this entry. It doesn’t feel right to post it here. Instead, let’s get into this fragment:
The next morning as I make my way across campus, both heartbroken and hung over, I stumble and collapse on the steps in front of the music building. My advisor spots me and, knowing I’m falling apart, takes me into his office.
“You can’t live this way,” he says to me. “You are literally wasting away. I think that someone has to tell your parents. And you should consider going home.”
“I can’t tell them shit. They hate me. I’m a liar. I’m the worst. And they’re right – it’s true.”
“You need to see a proper psychologist,” Terry says. “Because what you see and what I see are two different things. You see a broken girl who has been seriously damaged by trauma. And you have been – that girl exists. But I see something else. I see a smart girl – someone about to be a woman – who has so much intelligence and talent that she’s wasting it by subduing her pain with alcohol and cigarettes. I see a beautiful girl who could take that trauma and put it into her singing and writing. That girl could help others. You can do more than you think you can.”
“Do you want to sleep with me?” I ask.
“When people say things like that, they want to fuck me,” I tell him.
“No,” he replies. “You’re a beautiful girl. But you’re 18, and I’m not. I just want you to be well.”
“So you wouldn’t fuck me if you had the chance?”
He shakes his head. “To be frank,” he says, “I think you’ve been fucked over too much.”
Terry’s pleas eventually reach my parents, who agree that I need to see a proper psychologist. My mom comes up twice a week to take me to a doctor, and during our rides home, we talk. I tell her about the things I resent from my childhood and teenage years, and how clouded my head is. I tell her that I haven’t been faithful to Jess. I begin to open up in ways I hadn’t been able to before.
Part of the plan to make me well is to move me into a different dorm, on a no-drinking, no-smoking wing. I agree, hoping that I’ll be safer, and while withdrawing painfully, I meet my new roommate, Ann. We get along immediately, and suddenly, college feels like college again. We spend our nights talking about our boyfriends, our career goals, and our passions. We hang out with other girls on the hall and go to Denny’s at three in the morning. It’s safe – just safe enough for me to resume going to classes and trusting that the world may OK again. No one is going to force me to take off my clothing, or coax me to drink until I no longer am in control of myself. I can just be normal.
But as finals approach, it’s clear: nothing is safe. The world is not OK. And neither am I.
(For more excerpts from “Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac,” please check back every Monday at 10 am. And pick up your pre-order for Kindle today right here on Amazon!)