Triggers. Memories. A long [non-linear] time ago.

by Jessica Ceballos


1-S1n8Wt8ow9IYcISMD74x5AIt’s a beautiful morning in Los Angeles, but since last night my head has been stuck in 1999. And I know where my heart is, but pieces of memory are tugging at anything that might be a little loose.

How does someone survive through so much heartache. The NBA draft, the fame, the money, the championships, the wedding to pretend that love makes everything better, the hope that everything will be made better. None of thatcan make a deep dark sad better. Especially when that sad started at birth. And the world kept trying to crush him, and so he self-medicates though the crushing, through the depression, through everything. And then it becomes too heavy and something makes the sadness stop…for just a second…and that second becomes everything in the world. And it’s okay to be happy for just one second. But that’s only on the outside.

But sometimes that everything ends everything. Those are called accidents. Accidents happen. Sometimes people just want the sadness, the pain, the hurt…. to stop. They don’t want to go away forever, necessarily. They just want everything to stop.

And a lot of us know what that’s like. To want everything to stop. And a lot of us have fallen in love with someone who wanted everything to stop. And who maybe wanted to go away. And some of us know of the pain of that, and of trying to live in your own body and head, while simultaneously trying to fix someone else’s. And I know what those four days of binge happiness is like. There were so many of those important family moments that I missed, so many that I now refer to them all as ‘the lost years.’ I regret not being there for my mom’s hysterectomy, or my sister’s high school graduation. But those lost days of happy, before the debilitating crashes, always made the bad go away — at least for a second or two. And they also made me feel something, in the time of numb. And I’m lucky that I woke up from those ‘happy’ moments and those crashes that towards the end of that chapter in my life had me walking half asleep to the roof of our downtown L.A. loft, looking out at the sunrise over 6th and Los Angeles Street wondering if “this is what living is like.”

And though I went through my share of traumas, grief, loss, abuse — all of it, I had a family, a loving one, and for the most part so did the person that I shared my life with at the time, but when we’re ‘dealing’ with mental illness or certain traumas go ‘undealt’ with, none of that loving family matters. We sometimes surround ourselves with people who are closer to that trauma, who are also broken. We go on feeding each other broken pieces of heart fragments that really don’t add up to a whole. Our interior tries to make sense of those unhealed traumas by replaying them like a record, over and over again, in some sort of way. But while they subconsciously or consciously make our lives worse, they are also situations that can help the pain magically disappear. Momentarily. Until it grows into a monster of something that forces you to make life-altering decisions. For the better or worse. That was the person in my life for a while, he made the pain magically disappear, it was that or he helped me make more pain to numb the other pain. Layers of pain. And then layers of our self-medicating. But I kept trying to know, trying to heal, trying to remember what my therapists would tell me about self-actualization and self-care, and so I’d try out safety, over and over again. A move to Spain, a drive to nowhere. Alaska? “You’re moving to Philadelphia? Place after place. Unsettled, I called it growth. Yet he was always still ‘here,’ and I was still broken, so I’d keep trying to settle — while staying unsettled. Read Rest of Essay Here


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