“Right Where It Belongs”

See the animal in his cage that you built
Are you sure what side you’re on?
Better not look him too closely in the eye
Are you sure what side of the glass you are on?
See the safety of the life you have built
Everything where it belongs
Feel the hollowness inside of your heart
And it’s all
Right where it belongs

What if everything around you
Isn’t quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection
Is it all you want it to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks?
Would you find yourself
Find yourself afraid to see?

What if all the world’s inside of your head
Just creations of your own?
Your devils and your gods
All the living and the dead
And you’re really all alone?
You can live in this illusion
You can choose to believe
You keep looking but you can’t find the woods
While you’re hiding in the trees

What if everything around you
Isn’t quite as it seems?
What if all the world you used to know
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection
Is it all you want it to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks
Would you find yourself
Find yourself afraid to see?

 

 

SUICIDE.

Four years ago today, Friday August 13 2010, I was wondering where the fuck my brother was. 

It wasn’t like him to not come home at night. But no matter, I had a party to be. I’ll ask him what it was he did all night tomorrow. Tomorrow came and he never did come home. Nor did he that next night. It wasn’t until Sunday morning when my uncle and father found his body in the woods down the street from the house we grew up in did I learn where he went that night. 

Suicide isn’t glamorous or courageous. It is an act done by a person that truly feels there is no other way to escape how they feel. 

My brother’s name is Paul Caraway and he was twenty-one years old when he decided living just wasn’t his thing. I’m sure there are people who are up in arms over my casualness of his suicide. I’ve been told plenty of times about the families who have to deal with family members doing themselves off, escaping their duties. It’s selfish. It’s cowardice. 

I’ve been that family that has to deal with the aftermath of a suicide. I call tell you about my heartbreak or my own depression fueled drug addiction. I can tell you about how after my brother committed suicide that I would drive down the highway just on the verge of swerving over onto oncoming traffic. Or the suicide letters I wrote and never fulfilled. 

I was the coward. I wanted to die and I couldn’t even do it. 

My brother was my best friend. As we grew up we were shuttled from house to house and eventually ended up in foster care. The day we were picked up we were driven to a beautiful big house and told this is where we were going to live. We were lice-ridden, poor children who never had anything. As you could imagine, we couldn’t contain our excitement. It wasn’t until I was out of the van and the door closed that I was told it would just be me. I cried. As a girl who grew up with only brothers I wasn’t accustomed to crying in front of anyone, but I cried to the point of hiccups. I wasn’t worried about my parents or other siblings, I was worried about the boy in the van that I thought I’d never see again. 

My amazing grandmother eventually won custody of us and we reconvened in Kansas City. We’d often go “exploring” , walking for hours at a time talking about god or politics. Even as children we had this peculiar heightened obligation to stay knowledgeable. 

Paul was a shy, funny guy. A genius in some sense with an IQ score of 165. He also had an extra tooth that he would point out as making him special. Something I’d always laugh at, who the fuck wants an extra tooth? The guy made fun of me for having dimples. I told him it was also special, to which he replied, “webbed toes are special, too.”

Touche, motherfucker. 

My brother went to a college preparatory academy, the same one that I eventually tested into. He dropped out before I entered my freshman year but I still heard all about him from upper classmen. “Caraway? Are you related to Paul? Man…I remember the time he climbed the top of the school building. That guy was my hero.” Or, “You’re related to Paul? That guy is hilarious!” 

It’s some impossible shoes to fulfill, I tell you.

I knew he was depressed. I was depressed, and we often talked about it. At one (marijuana-induced conversation) point we concluded that the way to live forever was somehow to kill yourself. I forgot how that actually panned out but we thought we were fucking geniuses. 

His first suicide attempt was April 2010, an early morning when my dad busted into my bedroom screaming to get up. Not accustomed to my dad being around or people bursting into my bedroom, I woke up in a daze. I walked into my brother’s room to see what he was doing in this commotion only to see his wrists bleeding and a shoelace tied around his neck. 

I ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife before returning to his room to saw off the restraint around his neck. How ironic, I was worried about cutting him while attempting to cut it off before it strangled him, whereas he was worried I would cut if off in time. When I got it off he laughed.  

It was five in the morning, I was confused, crying, and my brother just laughed in my face after cutting off the shoelace that was strangling him to death as our father attempted to stop the bleeding from his wrists. 

I slapped him the face. “Why would you do this? Why would you do this to me?” I asked him as the EMTs arrived. They carried him off on a stretcher as he gave his most convincing remorseful-face.

The state put him up in a rehabilitation center to try and get him evaluated for medication. As a couple of aides were escorting him from one building to the next he politely thanked them both for their service and told them again, very politely, he would be leaving then, before taking off and jumping a six-foot fence and eventually running the eight miles home. That was when my grandmother called me. I rushed home, from where I can’t remember anymore, before cornering him at a friend’s apartment where he told me he was going to shoot himself in the head. 

One of the most incredibly saddest moments of my life was when I had to call the police on my brother. They came out and confronted him. Apparently by the law, they can only arrest him if he openly admits to wanting to kill himself, which he did.

He must have known the law, which makes me wonder if that was just a cry for help. They took him off to another rehabilitation center.

I skipped school the next day and proceeded to the county courthouse. I was eighteen years old and had no idea what I was doing, but I filed the paperwork to have my brother involuntarily committed on act of insanity. I fucking tried. 

I went and visited him a week later. He was smiling and even apologetic. He told me he was “such an idiot” that he’d “never do that to” me again.

It was a couple good weeks. I was busy working, about to start college, and even getting married. 

On August 12th, I bought fake ecstasy. (Drug experimentation was something we did often. Don’t get me started into that story about him tripping Dramamine when I was trying to sneak in one night YEARS ago)  When I told my brother about it, he wanted some. So I gave him some money to buy it and let him borrow my car to go get it. When he came back he decided to go watch a movie, I went on a walk to the park.

I didn’t see him that night, but the next morning we all woke up early. My grandma wanted the family to go to breakfast. Me, him, and my uncle (who is now deceased) rode in the same car. My brother asked about about some good liquor to celebrate with. I offered Disaronno, my uncle- tequila. 

Later that day, as I was getting ready for work, my brother came into my room. He asked me if I was really happy. He wanted to know if I was really in love, if I’d be okay. Then he gave me a hug. It all seemed so weird, and out of place, but I thought he was just being emotional and/or drunk. (Both very plausible excuses) 

That was the night that he took his shoes off, pocketed a handful of my dad’s sleeping pills, and walked down the street to the woods with a bottle of Disaronno to never wake up again. 

He was so set on the idea of dying, no one was going to stop him. Trust me, I’ve been paying for it ever since. 

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KANSAS CITY IS THE BEST CITY- PART 1: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Opened in 1933, The Nelson (as we call it for short) is Kansas City’s premier art museum. A staple field trip in every adolescent student’s life within a 100 mile radius and an escape for every type of art admirer. The Nelson boasts impressive collections ranging everywhere from African to European Renaissance to the ever popular Egyptian exhibit (complete with a mummy).

The view from the front including lawn and additional exhibits

The view from the front including lawn and additional exhibits

The giant lawn in front is usually crowded with picnic goers on nicer days, often including myself. I will grab a skinny iced vanilla latte (or bottle of wine) and my nook and head over for an afternoon spent of chigger bites and intense reading from the book I started to read eight months ago but can’t seem to get into.

Robert Morris's Glass Labyrinth

Robert Morris’s Glass Labyrinth

If warm sandwiches and public intoxication aren’t your thing, there are multiple engaging things to do still outside of the museum, including the above pictured Glass Labyrinth.

Built in celebration of the Nelson’s 25th anniversary, the “Glass Labyrinth is a brilliant, interactive addition that now occupies a prominent site in the south section of the park”… or so according the museum’s website.

Also be on the look for the three giant shuttlecocks placed around the grounds, an icon of KC.

Entrance into the galleries

Entrance into the galleries

The museum itself is quite impressive in size, not including one of the newest renovations, the Bloch building. Once trekking up the stairs to the main entrances to the museum, you enter the lobby as seen above. Once stepping into the tapestry adorned walls of the room you are immediately greeted by a suited attendant offering maps and advice. At which point you pay your admission price of … NOTHING.

It’s free, let’s all rejoice in our thriftiness.

"Step up your art appreciation, Scrub."

“Step up your art appreciation, Scrub.”

Photography is allowed in most of the galleries, however, flash cameras are not.

I have a specific route I tend to take while visiting but I recommend that you allow yourself to be drawn to wherever and whatever you may fancy.

A particular game I like to play while strolling is “would I wear that?”. It mostly consists of jewelry and mostly located in the Roman/Byzantine exhibitions.

With a high bun, oh yissss.

With a high bun, oh yissss.

As a history fanatic, it was to my absolute delight when I stumbled upon some of the galleries that were actual rooms, or walls, of art. As there is something so gratifying about being immersed from wall to wall in beautiful works from the past.

You'll get in trouble for licking the walls. FYI.

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In one of the Asian galleries, meditation classes are given once a week. It’s nothing I’ve tried yet, but I feel would be a really good bragging subject at my local juice bar.

I don't know if it's technically a terrace

View onto the court from the second story terrace (?)

According to the museum’s website, “In the dramatic style of a 15th-century Italian courtyard, Rozzelle Court Restaurant serves artful cuisine worthy of its glorious setting.” 

While I can’t really account for the quality of it’s cuisine, the beauty of the Nelson’s unique courtyard is obvious.

Meet the Museum Guard

Meet the Museum Guard

Garnering second glances and oh-so-original selfies for years, the Duane Hanson constructed sculpture of a traditional museum guard is a well known piece of art here.

Some of the lesser known pieces known by me are located in the Bloch Building, along side our friend the Guard.

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Modern art has never really been my forte. Regardless, the Nelson offers the more appreciative types quite the array of art to view.

I don't get it.

I don’t get it.

All condescending put aside, it really is impressive the work put into some of pieces displayed in the Modern & Contemporary galleries.

133If you haven’t yet, visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art whether you be a local or simply visiting. It is one of the most enriching experiences offered in the Midwest and on par to the art museums of Chicago and New York.

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I STARTED GETTING BOTOX AT AGE TWENTY

There’s an epidemic in our society, it’s called “resting bitch face.” And it’s real.

After forgetting my sunglasses and/or judging people’s stupid-disapproving comments on CLEARLY HILARIOUS photos of cats on imgur, I’ve grown a permanent scowl.

"What do you mean you don't like Chris Farley?"

“What do you mean you don’t like Chris Farley?”

Depending on how hard I’m concentrating, the crease in my brow can be anywhere from a smolder on par to that of Colin Farrell’s (yeaaaa right) to a Neanderthal-esque look of confusion.

It’s a trait I share with most of the people in my family, unfortunately. However, I am the only one that is A. vain enough B. financially capable to get something done. So while I walk around with the forehead of a toddler, my sister looks like she’s sitting on the panel of a cupcake competition.

This is me honestly trying to scrunch my brow. Tres Chic, non?

This is me honestly trying to scrunch my brow. Tres Chic, non?

And if you were wondering, YES! I am a hypocrite. I cringe at questionable food coloring choices and think that eating anything that is not bought from Whole Foods will give me cancer. Then I go and get my face injected with unknown substances because I don’t like my brow furrow. To each their own vice.

It costs me about $150-200 and last upwards of 6-8 months. That’s months of being able to look in the mirror and not think to myself that I look bad or worry about my signs of premature aging. I am living life, yo.

And if you’re thinking to yourself, “but the first picture isn’t even that bad”, I know. I am not going to really put a bad photo of me up. You’re going to have to take my word for it.

Don't I look like someone you'd want to take out to lunch and pick up the tab for?

Don’t I look like someone you’d want to take out to lunch and pick up the tab for?

That photo makes me want to go back to blonde. Ugh. Dilemmas.

Maybe when I’m forty and it’s more an appropriate time to actually look forty I will cease to get botox injections, I’m not holding my breath. At the end of the day I do what I need to feel okay with myself, and at least that doesn’t mean bathing in the blood of innocent virgins (see: Elizabeth Bathory).

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I’M LEAVING EVERYTHING I KNOW FOR THE OREGON COAST

If I never leave and consciously decide to come back, it’s as if I just got stuck. As if I settled. Settled is the antithesis of my life’s goal.

I feel like I’m on the verge of something, whether it be an epiphany or a mental breakdown. I need to go and clear my head. I need to find me under all this baggage and expectations put on me by other people. 

Oregon was a place that I felt electrified, alive. I could breathe for the first time in years and I loved every moment of it.

I just want to love moments again. 

 

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QUESTIONS NOT TO ASK DURING AN INTERVIEW (APPARENTLY)

1. Is there an open bar at these work functions?

2. Up to how many abortions does the company’s medical insurance cover?

3. Is my direct supervisor single and/or ugly?

4. Is smoking permitted inside and to what am I limited to smoking?

5. What’s your policy on sleeping on the job?

6. Can I use my vacation time like… right now?

7. Can you hold this? I’ll be right back.

8. Have we slept together before?

9. Do you want to see my belly button ring?

10. Why does your company have such a high staff turnover rate?

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Sometimes I’m afraid I won’t wake up in the morning. Sometimes I’m afraid I will.

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WESTON, MO.

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LOSS.

I knew a boy in high school who had a crush on me but I think it’s safe to the feeling was mutual. We never dated but we’d talk on the phone and met up at parties every once in a while. At one party, while I was on a split from an ex, we danced and talked. My friend who accompanied me slyly pointed to him while he wasn’t looking and gave me a thumbs up. “I know, right?” I mouthed back at her. Later that night as we smoked cigarettes my ex-boyfriend approached the house where the party was taking place. I ignored all his calls so I didn’t know that he was invited and was looking for me. I was seventeen and in love with a man who was in love with playing games. As my ex stood on the porch making conversation with me my friend from school tried to intervene. He inserted himself between me and my ex in order to garner back the attention he lost to his competing suitor. I, completely bedazzled by older treacherous lover, dismissed the former’s advances. I knew he was trying because he thought we had something, but I dismissed him. I wouldn’t see him ever again. 

Eight months ago that friend of mine was shot and killed by a police officer. He was stopped for smashing windows out of his neighbors’ cars early in the morning of November 16, 2014. The night before I remember his eccentric Facebook statuses. He claimed to have been being watched and that he was going to do something about it. I do not know if he was on drugs or as a lot have assumed, bipolar. When he was stopped, standing on the corner in a neighbor’s yard, the police drew their weapons and demanded he dropped the baseball bat he was carrying. As he went to lower it a police officer started to step forward. My friend, already paranoid and feeling confronted, raised back up the bat and was immediately shot by the approaching officer. 

There’s no real moral to this story, just grief and guilt that I still feel. I am sorry for what I did to him as well as sorry for what was done to him that morning. Just another tragedy… 

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