the most heartbreaking, emotional, autobiographical book I will ever write pt. II

June 2, 2016 Writing  One comment

In so many ways, I am Jamie.

We look alike, for one. Both have brown hair, brown eyes. But she is not me. I never picture myself as her. She’s taller than me, for one.

For two, that would just be weird.

But, that being said, she is very much me. From the way she dresses to the way she carries herself to the way she interacts with the world.

Her desire to run, to leave, to start a new life in Chicago? Me.
(Except, despite my best laid plans to attend Columbia College Chicago for journalism after high school, I never made it there.)

Her need to be someone new, separate from the her she’s been in the past? Guilty again.

The way she hits a brick wall anytime she tries to apply the things other people want–kids, a family, traditional values–to herself? Yup, that’s all me too. 

The way certain people with a unique blend of softness and goodness and ruggedness can see through her armor? Been there.

Granted, we have our differences. She loves the cold. I like to pretend it doesn’t exist. She’s more outgoing and extroverted. Watches sports. Isn’t much of a reader. Shows up for her younger brother in a way I never could for mine.

If The Charm Necklace was coming from my college, becoming-an-adult self, than Running to Stand Still dives even deeper, into the older parts of me—coming from my twelve-year-old self.
I know that probably doesn’t make much sense, but it is what it is. 

My twelve-year-old self was almost entirely defined by rage. Contained, caged, locked-down-behind-reinforced-steel-doors rage.

So much pain, so much rage. And I’m not even sure if anyone could really tell.

That was the year of dark eyeliner and Evanescence and Linkin Park and wrists full of jelly bracelets (not to hide scars, mind you. I never cut. Working out was my release—as is Jamie’s) and baggy pants and skater shoes.

A lot of shit went down that year. My world was chaos and uncertainty. No solid ground. Tossed and thrown around like a rag doll in an unrelenting storm.

And no one wanted to talk about it.
No one wanted to deal with it.

All I felt was darkness, uncurling in every hidden corner inside of me.

I was very aware of how my surroundings—cold, gray, industrial, broken down—echoed how I felt inside. It was comforting, in a way. Because there was a beauty to it, to the inevitable breakdown of all things. 

Somewhere during that year—all that darkness, all that pain, all that rage—it was exhausting always trying to fight it, always struggling against it—so eventually, I just stopped fighting it. 

There’s a relief, a release of pressure, that happens when you start embracing the things that’ve been hurting you. When you grasp the double-edged sword with both hands and squeeze until blood starts dripping down through your fingers, past your hands, down your arms, onto the ground.

But something incredibly dangerous happens in that moment as well.

You start to believe things that aren’t true.

And those lies, they fester in the shadows.

They turn into an ugliness that’s almost unbearable to look at.

But they shape your life in ways—subtle, insidious, treacherous ways. And most of the time, you can’t even tell. You don’t even know it’s taking place.

Those lies, that ugliness, make you act out, lash out, hurt the people you love, self-destruct. All with a gleeful smile on your face as you relish in it all. Because what could feel better than the reckless abandonment of giving in to all that destruction?
Even as it is tearing you apart.



That is Jamie’s cross to bear. As much as it is mine. Which I’ll get into more later.


The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.





V.S. Naipaul


Until then, farewell, & may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity.


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