I have spent 27 years consciously walking this planet, hunting and gathering information and experiences that might help me do a better job. Nothing seems to resonate with me more than the experiences I have when I throw up. Life lessons and profound moments have come to me while vomiting. I vividly remember why I shouldn’t eat chocolate cake or tequila (especially together).
Tuesday, in the middle of the night, I found myself leaned over with my hands on my knees in a park I used to play in as a child, vomiting onto the ground behind the bathroom building. Would it be cooler to tell you that I had been partying with some wild strangers on a weeknight and got a little too crazy? Probably. You know what isn’t cool? Lying.
I was alone and sober on a Tuesday night after I did two pretty mediocre shows, watched karaoke, started to cry in a bar and decided I should go home. Not cool, but honest. Why was I throwing up then? I had one drink but in the last two weeks I have had a very difficult time eating pretty much anything. Feeling confident and distracted hanging out with Cameron we went to Dick’s burgers and I had two regular cheeseburgers. I could get them down on my way to a bar where a friend was working to watch karaoke instead of going home and being alone. All of this seemed like a good plan.
In the middle of a song I get this rush of all the anxiety and stress I had been dealing with, maybe triggered by a man with a beautiful voice singing Sara Bareilles, maybe not. I start to get choked up in this public place and quickly head to the bathroom to pull myself together. I cry for a little bit in the bathroom stall but am able to shove it back down. As I’m standing there, getting it together, I get this horrible knotted feeling in my stomach, like there is a big brick that needs to come out. Not in the ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY I’M GOING TO BLOW’ type of sense but in the ‘this thing is coming out if I have to do it myself’ kind of way. Maybe going home isn’t such a bad idea. I pack my things up and start walking up the hill to my car.
On the way back to the car I am actively looking for a place to secretly release this beast in my stomach. Trash cans are too public, there are other people using the area behind most buildings for various things, the park near by has a fountain but I peed in that once during college so I already felt like I had marked my territory. I’m just going to start driving back to my parents’ house and find something on the way. Obviously, I wasn’t super keen on the idea of coming home to my parents in the middle of the night and drawing all the attention with my vomiting. Knowing the Renton area as well as I do, I knew this particular park wasn’t too far off the freeway, was very dark and in the middle of some houses, not on a main road. Target acquired.
As I pull up to the park, I leave the car in front of the locked gate to the parking lot. I think I turn off the lights but I do not. I get out step over the gate and walk to this covered corner on the back side of the bathroom building that I know is there because we used to play kick-the-can at this park at night all the time. There I am, bent over like a linebacker, with my boots spread far enough apart to stay out of the splash zone and my hood is rigged up to play the part of someone holding my hair back. Ejection has commenced.
After cheeseburger #1 has made its way to the ground, I thought to myself “of course this is happening.” I didn’t realize what I meant at the time. While facing my insides on the ground of a park my uncle used to take me and my cousin to, I thought I had hit that wall of stress and anxiety, frustration and sadness where you can’t do anything but laugh and you seem to have accepted that you aren’t good enough and bad things just happen to you. As cheeseburger #2 was exiting the same place I use to try and convince people I am good enough I just had a flurry of all the work I had been trying to do for things that could potentially fall flat on their face. But not me, I couldn’t fall flat on my face because I would land in my own vomit.
This hiding spot is still solid and even though I left the headlights on, no one finds me.
How Does This End
At this point, I feel like everything has gotten out but I stay in the position, staring at the blended insides of my body, feeling empty in most ways possible. Looking down, hoping the Universe has spelled something out for me here. I find nothing and walk away, wiping my finger on a fence post I used to challenge my friends to jump over, and get back in the car. I make it home, very confused and disoriented. I wash my hands, brush my teeth and go to bed. I stare at the ceiling wondering if because I am what I am, am I destined to be tortured for my whole life or if I should just not eat Dick’s anymore.
I wake up at 5 am and get sick again, almost passing out and then again at 11 am. Maybe I am just sick and I have read too far into this… just adding more questions of inadequacy over how I am approaching all of this mentally. I’m not sure if it was when I was in the park or on the bathroom floor in a modified yoga pose hoping not to pass out but I finally had the thought ‘I think I should make some changes to the way I am thinking about things.’ I would say there was clarity in those moments but I was teetering between knowing I wasn’t having any positivity with myself at all and feeling resentment toward those who have a privileged enough life to have never cried onto their own vomit in the middle of the night. Wracking my brain for all the things I had used before to value myself during tough times of stress while also wondering if I just Will Byers style flushed a demogorgon into the world.
Why Does This Matter
“Monica, what the fuck are you talking about?”
Stress is poison and I have been literally poisoning myself with my thoughts on and off for years. You probably have too. I fight all the time to stay positive but when you get sucked down the other way you don’t realize it. So when I thought to myself “of course this is happening to me” it wasn’t because I deserve to be in pain, it was because I thought myself into that situation. Of course I’m vomiting up all the poison I have been putting my body through in this park where I once coached a summer camp. Of course this is happening because my attempts to ‘take care of myself’ were only going through the motions so I didn’t look as sad to other people. I let my mind bring me all the way down when I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing and I am confidently positive about all the things I am doing. I totally forgot! I have always had a hard time letting myself feel good about anything, even though I know how to do that.
After the burger and/or pain purge I felt a little bit renewed. Every once in awhile you have to remind yourself that you are good, great and wonderful. People know that about you and your hard work in life and on yourself is worth it. Also, trust yourself. I think that is the biggest source of anguish for me, I let these negative feelings pull me away from what I know is true and good and what I believe in. All of which have been tested time and time again and I am always right.
I read an entire book the next day. I have never done that. It was only 70 pages but clearly some changes have been made. I have spent years knowing what I should be doing for myself and how I should be utilizing those tool but just not doing it. It’s only been two days but maybe sometimes it just takes throwing up in a park in the middle of the night to shake it out of you. Or maybe… just maybe… you shouldn’t eat cheeseburgers from a 1,000 year old stand on a 2 day empty stomach. Give it whatever meaning you want.
I also updated my calendar. 🙂