‘And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me. He’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me’

I thought being a teenager was the hardest part of having a parent with mental illness

The fighting, the lack of understanding, the fear and the unpredictability

It wasn’t though

I’m 38 years old and the hardest part is right now

When he’s 74 years old and he’s too scared to leave the house

Too scared to drive

Too scared to be home alone

Too scared to go anywhere

It’s hearing the fear in his voice when he asks you to call him bc he’s going to be alone for a few hours

It’s seeing the anxiety manifest in his body movements and in the tightness of his face and wringing of his hands

It’s the pleading in his voice to go to the hospital where he hopes they’ll find something, that is not anxiety

It’s hearing and seeing him lash out in anger because he’s frustrated and helpless in his life

It’s knowing that he’s missing out on life because of this thing he’s battled for over 40 years

It’s coming home after seeing him

And crying uncontrollably

Because you still can’t help him

You still can’t save him

You still feel like the scared kid who’s home alone with him when he’s having a panic attack and you don’t know what to do

You still feel like the teenager whose angry and pissed off at a world that lets this happen to anyone

It’s knowing another day will go by and he won’t have conquered his anxiety

His illness wins again

It seems like it always fucking wins

And I’m afraid that mine will too…

Calabrisella Mia

When I was 16 (and in the middle of a very black lipstick sorta phase) an old man sat across from me on the subway.

He looked up at me and I remember thinking to myself ‘here we go’ as my experiences with people from my own culture had been so poor.

But this old man smiled at me and said in Italian ‘You must be Calabrese!’

I was so startled as people often judged my person style and assumed I couldn’t possibly be Italian.

I nodded to him that I was.

He smiled and winked at me and said ‘I knew it as soon as I sat down because you have such beautiful Calabrese eyes!’

That old man is long gone now but I won’t lie, he restored so much faith in humanity for me then….maybe still.

Hope Calabrese eyes are smiling wherever you are Signore.

Xo

Ps I got my hair done today and thus the reason for my smiling eyes 😬