I go every three months to see my psychologist so she can sit me down on a couch and ask me,“So, Meara, how have you been lately?”
And she’ll ask me about school, and she’ll ask me about my family, and my roommate, and work.
I’ve been good, they’re good, she’s great, I don’t work…
She’ll weigh me to make sure I’m eating. Even though I’ve never stopped eating. She’ll take my blood pressure to make sure…I don’t know what she wants but she hands me another prescription - my “happy pills” I called them at 12, my meds I called them at 16.
“I’m a druggie”
“I pop pills”
“Oh yeah I love me some pills”
What? No, I don’t do drugs. No, you can’t have them! Are you kidding me? I need these!
I need them to be happy: to not kill myself like I cried at night hoping God would do for me when I was 13, because I could not hurt my mother, my father, my sisters, my brother, their children. What would my dog do without me? Who would walk him in the evening when he was restless like my teenage mind? Who would chase him when he tried to get away, like I so desperately wanted to?
London, Dublin, Berlin, Rome, New York, Los Angeles
I dreamed desperately that someone would come and take me away because no way I could ever be happy in small town Louisiana. No way could I survive so many more years until I got to college and got out. Oh poor teenage Meara, drowning in sorrow over some chemical imbalance in her brain. How can I tell myself at 12 years old that the pain still doesn’t go away 7 years later? Seven. Years.
And now I’m 19 and I still can’t explain why I’ve taken these pills for all of this time. Watching the clock go tick tock as I still wait to get out and get somewhere new for a new adventure - but for now just watch videos and pictures of my old adventures.
I miss your streets of water and I still laugh over the time that we sat together in a gondola while men exchanged insurance information because we got into an accident. Venice, I loved the way your walls tasted of salt and that I an American sat in your authentically Italian restaurants and was served by a waitress from China that spoke neither of our languages. Florence, you make me happier than I ever believed I could be, and it’s because of you that I cry at night thanking God for not taking my life because He knew that you were waiting for me. I love your art and your history, and I miss your tiled streets and getting lost in the rain because who needs a map when I have your beauty to get lost in?
Greek mythology says that Narcissus fell in love when he saw his own reflection in a pond but I see myself within Florence and it is she who I love. I left my heart in my days with you, Italy, and I regret not a bit because you will never regret me. You will never betray me. You will never cut through my face with your razor sharp puppy teeth when I go to pick you up because it was time for bed.
Sometimes I drive through the city at night and listen to my favorite songs to stare at the skyline and watch the moon drift lazily across the sky. I like to pretend that I have somewhere to go or that maybe I’ll find myself at the airport catching the next flight out of here - out to where? I don’t care. Take me anywhere; get me out just, get me into a new city! A new place - somewhere I can explore and set myself free. I want to fall in love with somewhere new. I want to skip down her streets and learn her history and smell her sweetness and taste her and have adventures with her because it is adventure and travel that destroys these pills within me.
I will never escape the pills because I need them. My mind needs them. Chemicals and science are law and they say that I need them. But when I make myself happy - when I go somewhere and explore her and learn myself as if I were a stranger meeting me, Meara, for the first time - I become once again the child who did not need science, but argued how fast the grass grew, because it made her happy.