It’s been a month. I feel good. I feel better, not perfect but getting there. I’m on my way to sanity.
Except, for some reason, I’m still feeling left out. What were my druggie buddies up too? I couldn’t help but think back.
I wonder what Nate is doing most. Does he miss me? Does he still think of me? Why do I even care? He was on the fast track to nowhere. I rarely think about Brian anymore. Why should I? He was still on drugs too.
I wonder if Heath is out of jail. He definitely is. I wonder who he’s with now. He was cute, but was that it? And Jay, man I miss him. He was my best friend. I think he knew me better than I knew myself back then. And I feel bad for losing touch.
I wish I got to see him. I wish I didn’t just vanish. Everyone literally thought I was dead. Well, if I’m wishing for shit —there are a lot of things I would have done differently. Oh well. I’m starting over as soon as I get out of here. Heck, I’m starting over right now.
I have dreams of moving to California (still do). I thought if I could move somewhere that no one knew me, I could be anything I wanted to be. No one would know anything about me. No one would remember what I did.
It’s just I can’t seem to get these people out of my head.
I don’t know why I miss them. How stupid am I? I think deep down I knew that I always settled. I simply wanted a friendly face to stare back at me. I couldn’t be alone. I couldn’t just hang out with myself. What a loser.
Or, is it that I usually want what I can’t have? Why is that? Why am I never satisfied? It’s like I always want more, even though what I have is usually good enough. I just never realized it before. I guess what I’m getting at is —I want to be happy. I just want to be content.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Macey.
Let me love my insides as much as my outside.
And while you’re at it, can we speed this process up? It’s crazy that I’ve been here for this long (yet I still have so much time left) and how different things are from when I first got here. For one, Liz was acting like a fake bitch. Practice what you preach.
In short, she let someone borrow her makeup, which you’re not allowed to do (you’re not supposed to share anything; we did but on the DL). And when she was faced with telling the truth or lying, she fucking lied. It wasn’t even me who borrowed the makeup but I saw everything go down and she just threw this new girl off the bus.
On a positive note, I haven’t thought about using or had a craving in a few weeks.
And most of those lingering images of my old life were slowly going away beside a little FOMO (fear of missing out) but I was working through that. I really was trying. And isn’t that all anyone can ask for? I suppose I could push through those barriers a little harder but I’m just so tired. I’m doing my best though.
So officially, it’s June 21st, 2012 and shit is still exhausting. We have to wake up at 7:00 am. I will say it’s actually kind of cute how they wake us up. Every day a counselor in training (a resident who has been there for over 6 months; I was still a probie at this time) is assigned as the counselor on duty (we called this position COD).
Basically, they are in charge of the house for a solid 24 hours. Each morning, a different COD would be assigned. They had to wake up a little bit earlier and ensure everything was in order for the upcoming day.
Then, like clockwork, he (if it was a guy, he would have to announce himself prior to walking on our side of the house) or she (same for a girl COD for the guys’ section) would walk into each of our rooms and say (the best part), “COD on the floor. COD at the door (then they’d knock and slightly open it). 301 (the girls’ room number) it’s 7:00 —time to wake up. Please get out of bed and get dressed. Morning exercise is in 15 minutes (and then they’d always end with) —Jesus loves you and so do I. COD off the floor.”
And so, we’d all get out of bed, quickly make them and take turns in the bathroom brushing our teeth and washing our faces.
Lightly in the background, we’d hear the COD say the same thing to the room next to us (COD on the floor, COD at the door. 302, blah blah blah). I will say, we had a pretty good system. There were about 10 girls, give or take, and as the days went by, most of us got pretty close. We all had our moments. I mean we’re females, after all, living in the same room in pretty close quarters. We were together literally 24.7.
So yeah, there were times when we fought and didn’t get along. But there were also times when we rallied around one another. Anyway, after that happens, we head downstairs, walk out the front door and make our way to the backyard where we all had morning exercise. The COD would lead and it was the same thing every time. We stood in a line. Boys up front, girls in the back. And the COD would do random stretches while we follow.
Picture an aerobics class minus aerobics.
Remember, we weren’t allowed to even look at the guys. But we all snuck in a few laughs. I mean, we were all going through the exact same thing (in different ways, of course) but we had this unspoken bond, I suppose. After that was over, we’d head to the dining room for some breakfast.
This was when we were allowed to buy coffee or tea for $.75 from the main office. This was also the time when we sat down at our respective gender tables and went around (COD called on us) to share a scripture that meant something to us that specific day.
We did this for each meal.
Next, the COD would lead the house in prayer (we also did this at every meal) and finally, we’d make our way to the serving line to grab our food from the cooks of the day —ladies first, usually. When breakfast was done, we had about 20 minutes to digest and smoke our cigarettes. I’m pretty sure just about everyone smoked.
Each gender had their own smoke pit. So it was a mini social of sorts anytime we’d have a break. There were a bunch of beach chairs lined up in a circle with an old coffee container for the cigarette butts. Once our time was up, we’d make our way to whatever chore was assigned to us that day. Mine was women’s bathroom. I was later told I did a great job.
Bible School Looked Good On Me
Anyway, after we completed our chore, the maintenance guy of the day (similar to COD) would go around and check us out to ensure we did our job properly. We’d have another smoke break before our classes started. We then met in the devotional room, which was where we had our services, bible studies, praise and worship as well as any type of house meeting.
Girls sat up front, boys sat behind us and the trainee counselors —in the very back (so they could keep an eye on everyone). We’d begin with some praise and worship, which was my favorite. One of the senior staff members would normally play either the piano or guitar. This was our time to zone the fuck out and let the music speak to our soul.
And man it was beautiful.
There were times when it really felt like the holy spirit came in that room. Some of us even cried simply because the music took us to another place. It was like medicine, I swear. There were a few times this happened to me. It’s actually really hard to put into words.
The easiest way to explain it is with a Bob Marley quote, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” I say that because whenever a song that spoke to me would play (we’d sing along), it would ignite something in my soul that just made everything clear.
After that, our first class would begin.
Various teachers, spiritual leaders, and mentors would come over and talk for about an hour each. Our bible study classes were all different. The foundation was normally the same but each class had a different theme and each person had a different message.
Some we liked more than others. Many were a little radical and over the top but they all meant well and kept us interested. We were allowed to go to the bathroom whenever we had to but besides that, we were in that room for the next five and a half hours.
We would stop at lunchtime though. Except, some days I wished we didn’t.
The Bread of Life
I say that because what we had in the afternoon was the opposite of relaxing. At least in class, we got to sit and chill. The days would normally go by decently fast until work projects. Basically, after class, we’d wash up for lunch. We’d sit down, do our prayers, eat, have a cigarette break with about 15 minutes of downtime.
Then, we’d meet back in the devotional room for roll call. The maintenance guy of the day would actually lead it and go through our names alphabetically to ensure we were all accounted for. Then, the maintenance guy would give us our work project task. The closest thing I can relate this to is the movie holes. Picture me as Shia Leboeuf digging holes for two and a half houses for no reason at all.
I knew there was a reason but most of the time, we all felt like it was unnecessary.
I see now that they simply wanted us to be doing something productive, by ourselves so that we could take some time and talk to God without any interruptions. Normally, the guys raked leaves out back and we girls would sweep out front. We’d sweep even if there wasn’t anything to sweep.
The counselors would walk around and make sure we weren’t talking and doing what we were supposed to do. There’s only so much I could sweep before it became tedious and dare I say pointless, but I did what I was told.
I remember sweating a lot. It was always way too hot.
Luckily on those days, we did get a few water breaks. And we’d sneak in a laugh or two as well. Sometimes we’d even sing (Christain music, of course) and get away with it. If it was raining, we normally had to wash windows inside for the allotted time. But when the COD announced that work projects were over, we’d all run inside fast AF.
At that point, most of our work for the day was done. We could go upstairs to our room and literally do nothing for the next few hours.
This was our free time. We could make phone calls if we were far enough in the program. We could write letters. We could nap. But we all had to shower before the end of it. Once free time was done, we’d have dinner. The COD would knock on our door and say the same shit he or she always did, telling us to make our way downstairs.
Once we were all seated, we did the scripture thing and served ourselves. Dinner was delicious that night. Of course, I got seconds. I honestly could have gotten thirds —ravioli with chicken and pesto with a side of garlic bread. Fuck yes. We definitely always ate well.
At this point, it was usually around 7:00 p.m.
After dinner, we actually had evening chores, which were the same as our morning ones but easier. Nighttime was definitely more lowkey than during the day. We didn’t even have to get checked out. The COD simply ran around the house with the infamous clipboard to announce chores were over. We then had 15 minutes to get into the devotional room for some praise and worship before our nightly service.
The evening devotions were always pretty cool. I enjoyed the guy talking tonight. Reality T.V. really is awful (or awfully good). They were hating on Jersey Shore, but I’m sorry (not sorry), I love that show. His message was all about enjoying the right now and how we shouldn’t compare ourselves to the characters on T.V. because that’s exactly what they are —characters.
And just like we’d have different teachers during the day, each evening there was a different speaker for these P.M. services.
Some were educators that taught us during the day and others only came at night. Ironically, once that was over (it usually lasted about two hours), we’d actually make our way back to the dining room for some dessert. I said this in another post but I’ll say it again for clarity —Starbucks, Panera, Kroger, Olive Garden, etc would donate food that would have been thrown away even though it wasn’t expired (you know how it goes).
So we had an entire room (literally), filled with pastries and dessert. At first, I ate everything. I think I gained a few pounds but eventually, I was over it. So it wasn’t that tempting anymore. Dessert was optional so you didn’t have to hang out in the dining room if you didn’t want too. You could go out and smoke or go upstairs to bed.
Regardless, lights out was 10:30 p.m. and even if you weren’t tired, you had to try to go to sleep.
Once that time struck the clock, our COD of the day would say the same thing he or she said in the morning —except replace waking up with going to bed (obviously). Then, we’d go to sleep, wake up and do it all over again.
It was hard. At times I was bored and thought I’d go crazy if I had to stay there another day. And then, there were times when it all made sense and I knew this was exactly where I needed to be. Nevertheless, I knew I had to work on myself.
The girl I had become was a monster. And I’m no demon. At least I didn’t want to be —anymore.
So as the days went by, I started opening up. I gave myself over to the process. I followed all of the rules and did my best to be my best. And eventually, I started to heal.
When that happened, I realized that healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. I mean, the damage had been done. But that’s irrelevant. Healing actually means the damage I caused no longer had to control my life. And when I figured that out, well, shit just made sense.
I had always been stuck somewhere between who I am, who I want to be and who I should be.
And I’m sure you can relate. Because that’s the thing about this world. We are all hurting in one way or another but do we have to suffer? Not anymore. Because the core of your true self is never really lost. I was in there somewhere. We just need to let go of all this pretending and the becoming we’ve done simply to belong.
Let’s stand up in rawness and come home. You don’t have to find yourself; you just have to let yourself in. And that’s exactly what I did. The girl I used to be was still inside. Except, I also learned that maybe she wasn’t as good as I once thought. Maybe I wanted to be something more, something different, something new.
I wanted to be something other than who I always was.
I mean, she got me into this mess, to begin with. So I thought if I could shed my skin and make it to sunrise, I’d be more than OK. And guess what happened? I still felt the pain from yesterday but I wasn’t suffering anymore. I was healing.
So if you’re struggling to make it another day, I hope you remember when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
*names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.