The Disappearing Act

*I decided to re-upload this story because I shouldn’t feel bad about being at my worst – this was me 2 months ago

A notification went off and she glanced at her phone. “If he hates me that much I don’t want to be in anyone’s life”. After typing out a quick response, Audrey set down her phone. Maybe she was just being dramatic? Two more days go by with silence on the other end. The message remained unread. Audrey sent out a couple more texts. “I’m getting a little worried 😦 can you at least leave me on seen so I know you’re ok?” Nothing.

Attempting to calm herself, Audrey reached out to a mutual friend, Nelly, in the hopes that someone knew where Terra was. A couple brief text exchanges between the two and it became apparent neither of them have heard from Terra for the past several days. Audrey sent over the last message Terra had sent assuming her worst fear became reality. Another friend was alerted, Katie. Katie looked down at her phone to see when she sent her last message to Terra. Katie had sent a text five days ago that was unanswered. “Can you go check on Terra’s apartment, I’m worried something might’ve happened to her”.

Nelly drove out to the apartment, the panic seeping in. She looked up to the dark windows and hurried to the door, quickly knocking. No response. As the terror set in, Nelly reached out to Terra’s mom for clues.

Where in the world is Terra?

Several months before my friends began worrying I was content with life. I was never diagnosed with any mental health issues and I didn’t mind living an average lifestyle. I worked two jobs while I finished my last college class over the summer. When I wasn’t writing essays or working, I spent my time dealing with a difficult cat and lazy afternoons with my boyfriend. As summer was coming to an end, the gnawing fear that I won’t find a job and the insecurities in my relationship overcame me. By the beginning of August I found myself single and back at my parents’ house.

During the month of August, I kept myself entertained to avoid losing what was left of my sanity. Still applying to jobs, I took up photography and worked on maintaining a pseudo-relationship with my ex. Lucky for me, I found a contract position for hire and quickly moved out at the beginning of September. Unlucky for me, my ex and I had an explosive argument that led to me kicking him out of my life for the next two months.

A week after kicking him out of my apartment, I was a train wreck. At work I would take breaks to cry in the bathroom stalls, I became a hermit to my friends as my nights ended early. I opted to go to bed at 8pm to avoid the harsh reality. I opened up to my friend Audrey about the breakup only to find she seemed rather sympathetic towards my ex than me. Apparently he had been telling people about how he is mad and hates me, playing the victim. I messaged Audrey, “If he hates me that much I don’t want to be in anyone’s life”. Three days after I sent out that message, I broke down and went to talk to my ex.

My ex and I sat in my car. We spent an hour going over everything, struggling to reconcile. I checked my phone for the time and was stunned to see several texts and missed calls. The first text I read was from Katie.

“Nelly just freaked me out and I just want to say I love you and I’m so sorry I haven’t been as there for you as I should be but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you and I’m here for you and I will do literally whatever you need me to do for you.”

I was stunned. I called my dad back and he relayed to me how my friends were concerned about my whereabouts and wanted to check up to see if I was alright. What in the world is going on? Slowly making my way through the texts, Katie, Nelly and my mom were concerned about my whereabouts that night. An out-of-context Instagram message between Audrey and I was sent out. Add my hermit status to the situation and my friends assumed I was going to/have already committed suicide. I calmed everyone down, reassuring them I was in fact safe and I was with my ex. No part of me wanted to end my own life. That was the last time I saw my ex.

Ok, what’s the point of this story? Well this is the beginning of everything. When I started my blog, I wasn’t at my best self. I felt beaten down. Work became stressful. My friendships after college were declining. I had failed yet another relationship. Even worse, the person I had loved most in the world made me feel like a horrible human. I felt gross and wondered how anyone could’ve loved me. That negativity spiraled and consumed every aspect of my life.

Sure, I can be a drama queen, but this was a new low because it wasn’t my standard M.O. Bitch for a couple days, drink with friends, throw up, then bounce back to life with renewed vigor. I, instead, had no idea how to deal with this new found sadness. I was unable to see that my friends were there for me and found them a nuisance. When I realized I hated Tinder after two unfortunate dates, I started to see someone equally as unfortunate. He was clingy, would bad talk me behind my back, and overall unnecessarily cocky to overcompensate how miserable he was. A month of this and I blocked him from my life. I wasn’t down on myself that much to deal with him any further.

In a twist of irony, I had focused so much on how I’m a horrible person, it took me getting into a car wreck to find out I’m not that bad. Okay, well I’m a bad driver, not a bad person. It’s all relative. On a rainy night, I slammed on the brakes too late and hit the car in front of me. Resisting the urge to start crying, I ran out of my car to check on the passengers. A father and his daughter. The father was stunned as his daughter remained silent. I immediately called the police and requested an ambulance. I repeatedly checked on the daughter and they both were fine. There was minimal damage on both vehicles. The father hugged me and thanked me for my kindness. I was shocked. I was the dick who hit their car. When my mom called the father to follow up, the man had, “nice things to say about me,” according to my mother. That made me think, if a stranger can think this after I got in a fender bender, I can’t be all bad, right?

So how did I improve? Well I improved by doing several things. Rather than sitting at home sulking, I would cycle through visiting friends after work. My Saturday mornings were orchestra rehearsal and lunchtime was when I visited a therapist I found online. Sundays were photoshoot days. Giving in to go see a therapist was soothing. It was like having a friend to confide in that was knowledgeable on the workings of human emotion and was legally obligated to keep our sessions private. As time went on, I cut out various friends and acquaintances from my life. They weren’t all toxic, but they all did something in the past I felt like I blindly ignored and now realized, I should’ve taken the time to forgive them.

As for social media… It’s easy to assume you always need to be happy when social media glosses over the bad, photo shopped bodies and faces displaying a dazzling white smile. I removed Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat from my phone. I disabled all three apps for a month. No more comparisons. When I trickled back to Instagram, I made a new account and followed Instagrammers who promoted positivity and a healthy lifestyle. Viewing regular people on my newsfeed that had average lives made me feel less small. It’s easy to think you’re behind in life and you’re really not. Take everything at your own pace. No, I can’t afford a vacation to Mikonos. No, I’m not engaged with a Tiffany diamond ring. No, I’m not making six figures with an amazing retirement plan. I AM working hard to save money for a new car and to pay my bills on time. There’s nothing wrong with living a life where you want a future with kids in a nice suburban community.

When it all comes down to the real question. Am I happy now? No. I’m learning to be content again. The toughest realizations for me to make were that there is no solution and no one can do it for you. You’re all alone. No amount of encouragement or advice can pull you out of the 6 foot grave you began digging yourself. Every time I felt ready to climb out another issue arose. “You’re like a vulture, you pick at everything.” “I don’t like her, she makes everything difficult for no reason.” “She’s toxic.” The negative comments threaten to consume me.

I still keep climbing though. Those comments aren’t who you are, you know who you are. I know I’m not a toxic manipulative bitch. I’m a girl who got hurt and called out the people who were doing wrong. I’m terrible at texting back, but every time you need me I’m there to pour you shots or hand over a tissue. I can say mean things when I’m hurt and I’ll always apologize knowing at the end of the day our friendship means more. Hell, I might not donate blood, I did however buy food for the homeless periodically and hand it out on cold winter nights. I can manage to love the small things about myself. Because I know one day things will get better.

“But all the magic I have known

I’ve had to make myself.”

-Shel Silverstein



2 thoughts on “The Disappearing Act

  1. I love this post. Advice about “loving yourself” can be so difficult to follow when there are so many days where you struggle to even like yourself. Recovery is definitely a process, and it can be difficult to stop comparing yourself to others. You’re doing a great job, though! Keep up the amazing work!

    Liked by 1 person

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