Busking New York or Confessions of a (psycho) Subway Troubadour (method #2 the slit of the wrist)

In logging all my suicide attempts I decided to go backwards starting with the most recent first which I told about in my last post. Before my final attempt,which was the over dose of lithium, there was New York and my subsequent stay at an anonymous Hospital which resulted from a failed attempt to slit my wrists.

I was in my very early 20’s and had just arrived to meet a penpal who I was introduced to by a friend of a friend.  We corresponded for some time and decided we would give love a try so I packed by bag and rode the amtrak cross country to the big city.  The late 90s were in full swing in New York and I was living with a writer for a semi-popular music publication. He was lucky enough to be able to interview some of Indie Rocks bigger names at the time and they would sometimes visit our little apartment near NYU on 2nd. I loved wandering down the streets,frequenting the crazy little thrift stores I found and just sitting in Washington Square park which proved to carry just as much entertainment as the clubs could provide at night and for a much lower price. I remember a man who use to come and take daily showers in one of the larger fountains in the park. He always wore speedos,carried soap with him and treated the fountain like a regular bath,washing under one arm and then the other. I also loved record hunting at places like Kims and Other Music. My only means of support at the time was busking(playing my guitar and singing for money) down in the dreary under-bowels of New york known as the subway . It was also a great way to meet and interact with folks since I only knew a few people in the city thus far.  I would make enough to cover food and chip in for bills and such.

Things were going well and I finally found a small part time job at a crazy boutique. I also met some great people including a woman who offered to let me audition for her band which played regular shows and sounded great. They reminded me of Helium or maybe a bit like a mellower Babes in Toyland. I had even found a drummer to play with me on my solo recordings and if you were a musician in the 90s you know a drummer is a hard thing to come by. Everything was falling like puzzle pieces into their grand little places but suddenly I just shattered like a vase dropped from the roof of a house. I think it was the little insecurities that ate away at my sanity like flies on on a molasses pie. I was very jealous of my boyfriend who prior to me had dated a big name musician and I always felt like I had to live up to her. I couldn’t. Nightmares about imagined infidelities haunted me and drove me further away from him. I hated myself.

A new style of love blossomed from my self hatred which just seemed to create inner darkness for Ash. It grew like a garden of rotten vegetables wrapped in delirious,darkened fantasy. Our bed was always a place that was never quiet as Ash and I had incredible physical chemistry. It was always sweet before with sweaty tangled sheets and sticky kisses but my sickness made me cower until little by little Ash dominated me in every way degrading me to the very core. My insecurity fueled this dangerous fire that burned me every night. Finally Ash had consumed me completely.

During the course of the next few months I completely withdrew from everything around me. I read Nick Drake’s biography and fantasized about ending it all, romanticizing death and courting it like a lover. Ash never seemed to notice what was happening as he was wrapped up in furthering his own journalistic career. I was lost inside myself and he was blind to my depths of darkness and the fury for my self and what was becoming of me. The weekend before I decided to act on my grim thoughts, Ash received an offer to meet and interview a particularly sexy musician who he offered to cook dinner for at our apartment swearing up and down it was all innocent and meant to get him a better position at the magazine he wrote for. He asked me to leave during the day of the meeting,which obviously fed my fears and manifested the reality of his indiscretions.

I always loved taking a hot bath like Sylvia Plath described in the Bell Jar(which my life had become) slipping down into that hot water,washing all of life’s dirt off until you felt like new again. That evening I sat in the bathroom as the water ran with my headphones on listening to “Roman candle” by Elliott Smith over and over again gathering my courage up, clutching my knife in my hand. Push & pull into skin,drag,push hard,harder see red. The pain feels better than what is on my insides, the burning sores burning on my insides in my mind. Slip into the water and watch it clouding pink, then red,redder. and suddenly a knock…. I shutter at the thought that Ash might push through the door and sink into my red tub with me. Would he be so blind he wouldn’t even notice that? The red that clouded and covered every bit of my pale flesh. “Hey June?” “You want some company?” “I’m coming in”.

“What the f*** June?”  “What the hell?” It was all he could get out.  He kept repeating this in shock until finally he stumbled arms forward grabbing my bloody naked body out of the round bath tub which resembled a giant soup turine. It was a bloody soup of me. Me soup. Ash’s slight but deliriously tall frame some how managed to dry and dress my floppy,bleeding corpse wrapping my arms tightly with clean rags. “no no no” i whimpered. “Please leave me” “Ouch Ash,..Please”.    “June what have you done?” “Look at this mess you’ve made” ….all i could manage was “Ouch ash…..Ouch Ash”

We lived in a high profile building above some other business’s and Ash could take no chances calling an ambulance as it might risk unwanted attention and negative press for his precious career. My head reeled at the cruelty of Ash parading me down the street like an injured drunk waving violently for any passing cab. The rags held my flowing blood at bay for the time being but I was still quite heady from the loss of blood in the tub.

The cab ride was short as the hospital was just 20 or so blocks away. I laid collapsed in Ash’s lap as he stared out the window and stroked my hair torn between love and defeat. Sadness and hatred at the loss of respect I knew he was feeling piled on with a sickening amount of pity. i didn’t want his pity and now i could never have his love again. This stain of an incident had made me flawed in his eyes and now my soft pale virgin arms  were scarred forever with the tattoo of love lost. These new lines on my arms formed words that everyone could read. “psycho” “disturbed” “crazy” “nuts”

After stitches upon stitches,  I was immediately admitted into the “crazy bin” of a semi notorious N.Y hospital. That is a story in and of itself. Because i was of no notoriety I was placed in the geriatric section of the psych ward where men forgot to wear their pants and women screamed and howled in fits of schizophrenic obliteration. Their were only a few people near my age and I was lucky enough to room with one of them.

Willow was a beautiful lesbian of ethnic descent and I found it odd that they would room 2 young and fairly attractive women in one room. Especially when one of them was a struggling lesbian and the other a vulnerable broken hearted tom boy. Sometimes I wonder if this was done with the intention of entertaining the bored male doctors and member of staff hoping for some girl on girl action. I will admit that I found Willow or Wil as she preferred to be called very beautiful and we clicked becoming good friends. Both of us there for the same reason …not so much a broken heart, but an inner darkness that we couldn’t shake.

Wil worked for a mainstream music publication and had a dreamy job in my eyes at least. We would talk for hours,drinking copious amounts of the chamomile tea they forced on us. It was that or decaf coffee that tasted like what I imagine a stale maxi pad might taste like, full of metallic iron flavor. Like dogs we were taken on walks with several orderlies watching us and leading us single file through a near by park. Lookers on stared at us like a geek or freak parade walking by them slipping in and out of their imagined perfect lives for an instant. I wonder what they thought of us? Sometimes the nurse would tell me that I resembled Juliette Lewis along our walks although I am not sure she was really familiar with who she was. This comforted me somehow as in my head the mirror reflected a pale and slight monster with eyes filled with confusion.       MORE SOON!       I feel I must again add with much emotion that slitting your wrists will probably not kill you and will leave you with horrible scars that will constantly haunt you. If you do get deep enough to do damage you risk losing function in your arm and hands by cutting tendons. When you are in public the lines(scars) will speak to people labeling you “crazy” or “psychotic”. Wearing short sleeve shirts only proves to be an exercise in futility constantly wondering who is looking and if they will ask you where you scars came from. You will fumble with lies about falling through windows or breaking mirrors but you will always know what those lines mean. If only people were kinder. it is up to us to help stop the judgement held against those with mental illness.




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