I'm sort of in the process of just working on what is speaking to me at a particular moment. That's very common for me right now. --Bruce Springsteen, January 9th, 2014

Sunday, January 4, 2015

"Jezebelle"

Blogging Friends.... This was the most emotionally-driven fictional book that I have ever written!! Thus far!! Sans giving away too many spoilers, I killed a character. And, while this was my plan, I did not think I could follow through with it. {Take that, self-doubt!!} I cannot believe I killed a character!! It felt like murdering my own son!! And then? The consequence of killing a character gave another one heartbreak--I caused that?!--I feel so very mean!! Truth be told? I consumed far too much chocolate while creating this fictional book!! But having emotion drive my writing is good.... Correct? Read it. Please leave comments. There will be a happy ending.... I promise!! Love you later.

I was born with a rare birth defect called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Because, along with craniosynostosis and congenital diaphragmatic hernia? I am not human!! Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a congenital birth defect in which extra electrical connections, or accessory pathways, are present in the heart. Although people with the condition are otherwise healthy, the extra connection can cause an electrical "short circuit" and a very fast heartbeat. Most cases of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome occur in people with no apparent family history of the condition. These cases are described as sporadic and are not inherited. In most cases, the cause of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is unknown. This heart condition affects one to three in 1,000 people worldwide. If left un-repaired, sufferers {Who are active} can suddenly die from cardiac arrest. My Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome was surgically repaired back in 2002!!


Adelaide Dupont.... Thank-you from the depths of my heart for giving "Jezebelle" a 1 + count!! That definitely did not go unnoticed!! Because, wow. Just.... Wow!! That has never happened with any of my fictional books before!! I felt so very touched and honored!! I hope that this story was an encouragement to you, Friend!!

"Jezebelle"

Sometimes, Life can be fairly easy, with very minimal suffering, trials or tribulations. And then? Such as in Hollywood films or television shows, Life can write a plot twist. Twain fourteen year old souls named Frederick and Jezebelle are so much alike, it is almost uncanny. They share an appreciation of Hollywood movie star Robert Downey Jr.'s brilliant acting. A love for author Ray Bradbury's books. But perhaps the strangest thing of all that Frederick and Jezebelle have in common? Both were born with a rare birth defect called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome!!

Symptoms of this heart condition can vary depending on person to person. But in Jezebelle's experience? Growing up, she was a girl who suffered from sudden, unexpected episodes of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Jezebelle's heart would race so very rapidly that others could literally watch it attempt to leap from her chest!! And this was unlike any rhythmic drumbeat. For no gifted or talented musician could even try to "play" what Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome did within Jezebelle's chest!! It was unnerving at times!! But Jezebelle quickly learned certain approaches and techniques which were effective for slowing her heartbeat down. Because she simply dealt with symptoms of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome!! Jezebelle would turn herself upside down. She'd perform handstands, even!! Jezebelle would hang upside down on the living room couch, as her bare feet smudged windows. She'd bend over and then slowly, calmly, stand back up. Family members would even hold her upside down by the ankles!! Whatever approach worked, she tried!!

Frederick and Jezebelle met in Jr. High one year ago. This was far from so-called "puppy love".... Because everybody knew that they were made for each other and future marriage looked promising!! Jezebelle acted in drama. And she was quite talented!! For every character that Jezebelle brought to Life her emotions commanded!! Sweethearts. Villains. An old man character, even!! During plays, skits or programs, Frederick was continuously in a seat to support his girlfriend!! All the while smiling, crying, laughing, cheering and snapping pictures!! Frederick played center field in baseball. And he was quite talented!! While standing out in center field, Frederick always, always, always "flew" himself toward walls to catch hit baseballs!! And he was very successful at it!! While swinging his baseball bat, Frederick hit several home-runs!! During games, Jezebelle was continuously in a seat to support her boyfriend!! All the while smiling, laughing, cheering and snapping pictures!!

Then, during a baseball game on July 4th--as scorching hot temperatures soared--Frederick hit an amazing home-run. One by one by one, his teammates each leapt from their dugout seats, smiling, cheering and verbally rooting him on. As did Jezebelle, of course!! But then? Life threw Jezebelle a nasty curveball. It happened so fast. One second? Frederick was at-bat. The next second? He hit that home-run. The next second? He was circling every single base. And then the next second? Just before he could slide into home base, Frederick suddenly collapsed. Everybody gasped and screamed. But Jezebelle? As cosmic, profound, emotions flowed through her, she jumped up, pushed against throngs of shocked people, and rushed to Frederick's motionless side.

"Oh, no!! No, no, no, no, no!!" screamed Jezebelle for all to hear, "Fredy!! Wake up!! Do not leave me!! Please!! Fredy!! Do not die!!"

But Frederick was dead. Paramedics attempted their very best to resurrect him. But it proved useless. Because Frederick was dead.

"Why?!" wailed Jezebelle, wet, hot tears streaming down her face, "How did this happen?! Why?!"

As paramedics respectfully lifted Frederick's lifeless body onto one of their stretchers and covered it with a dark blue-colored blanket, the baseball team's coach, Jackson, sadly lead Jezebelle away.

"No, no, no, no, no, no, no!!" Jezebelle screamed in protest, "I do not want to leave him!! No!! Do not take me away from him!! Fredy!! Fredy!!"

Fourth of July fireworks exploded everywhere that night in darkened skies. But Jezebelle did not watch a single one. She stayed home. After an autopsy was performed, the cause of Frederick's death became known. Having been born with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, he suffered from a fatal episode which lead to cardiac arrest. On top of her grief, this news hit home--hard--for Jezebelle.

Fredy died from a fatal episode of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome....?! she thought, But.... I have Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, as well.... Should I be concerned about my own heath?!

Frederick's funeral and memorial services {Which were nothing short of beautiful!!} made Jezebelle forget these such worries. But after Frederick's funeral and memorial services? Jezebelle's grief swiftly transformed into a deep, dark, suicidal depression.

"I am quitting drama," she told the director, Zoe, "As you have already noticed, my emotions are not breathing Life into every character I play anymore. So I am quitting drama."

"We will miss you, Jezebelle," Zoe said, "You are one of my most gifted actresses!!"

"Just do not tell the other kids I said that!!" Zoe finished with a wink.

Seemingly worse than grief, depression consumed Jezebelle's Life. She suffered from nearly every single symptom. Family and friends slowly started noticing a drastic change in her personality. So they reached out to Jezebelle with wide open hearts. One afternoon, her best friends from drama, Cecile and Sonali, came over.

"Hi Jez...." Cecile awkwardly began, "How have you been....?"

"We miss your acting in drama...." Sonali added, "Class is just not the same without you!!"

"Yeah!!" Cecile agreed, "Jez, If you ever wanted to come back, Zoe will happily accept!!"

"Absolutely!!" Sonali agreed, "Zoe asks about you all the time!!"

Cecile and Sonali mean well, Jezebelle thought while smiling weakly, They are good friends. But.... I cannot return to drama. I just.... I cannot.

"Tell Zoe 'hi' from me," Jezebelle muttered.

Then Cecile and Sonali left.

"Honey...." Jezebelle's Mom, Savannah, began later, "I understand that you have suffered the loss of Frederick's sudden death.... It is hard.... And if I could take your place in this devastating heartbreak, I would.... But, sweetie.... You are falling--fast--into a deep, dark pit of depression.... I can feel it...."

"I know...." Jezebelle glumly replied, "Trust me. I know...."

"I think you need professional help, dear...." Savannah continued, "Your Dad knows somebody at work who has battled depression after his ex-wife left him.... He sees a psychiatrist.... We can probably get her telephone number...."

Jezebelle looked away. She felt like crying. Jezebelle could not even make eye contact with her Mom.

"What are you thinking....?" Savannah asked.

"I cannot go to therapy!!" Jezebelle burst out, "That is a cosmic sign of weakness!! If I go to therapy, then everybody will think that I am.... That I am.... That I am.... Psychologically disturbed!!"

Jezebelle started crying.

"Oh honey...." Savannah said, "Nobody is going to think that you're 'psychologically disturbed' if you go to therapy!! Quite the contrary!! Right now you are broken, vulnerable.... And.... You need help to move forward from this great loss of Frederick's death.... I think everybody will think that you're brave for seeking therapy!!"

"Really....?" Jezebelle asked.

She looked at her Mom.

"I know I will, baby," Savannah said.

"I need to think about it...." Jezebelle said.

"Alright," Savannah said, "But sweetie? Please do not think too long. Okay?"

And think about going to therapy, Jezebelle did.

I have my back against the wall, Jezebelle thought as wet, hot tears streamed down her cheeks, Mom is right. I am falling--fast--into a deep, dark pit of depression. I do need professional help. Like it or not. I do need help....

So Jezebelle did attend appointments with a psychiatrist named Dr. Whedon. She was most definitely born for this career!! A ginger-haired spitfire, Dr. Whedon is down-to-earth, helpful, compassionate, kind, patient and understanding. It required tons of courage, but Jezebelle swallowed her pride. Then she expressed everything {Frederick's sudden death. Her grief. Depression.} to Dr. Whedon.

"We were Jr. High sweethearts, Fredy and I...." Jezebelle began, "He was such a gentleman.... Fredy held my schoolbooks.... He opened doors for me.... Fredy even pulled chairs out so that I could sit down first...."

Dr. Whedon listened intently. Wet, hot tears streamed down Jezebelle's face. Dr. Whedon handed her some tissues.

"This may sound old-fashioned, but Fredy purchased me a gold and garnet Promise Ring to symbolize that we will always be lovers...." Jezebelle continued, "He saved up his hard-earned money for it.... Somehow.... I still own that ring...."

Dr. Whedon wrote her patient's every single word, thought, feeling and emotion down in a notebook. Wet, hot tears still streamed down Jezebelle's face.

"I used to act in drama...." Jezebelle added, "Fredy would help me memorize my lines.... He'd listen for hours on end as I recited them to him.... That was far more support than I could provide Fredy with.... Because he played center field in baseball...."

"Fredy sounded like a good guy," said Dr. Whedon, "The type of boyfriend that any girl would love to have."

"His name was Frederick!!" Jezebelle said defensively, "Only I called him Fredy!! That was my pet name for him!! Fredy called me Jezi!!"

Fresh, wet, hot tears filled her bloodshot, puffy eyes.

"I am sorry...." apologized Dr. Whedon, "Frederick. I like that name. I truly do. Frederick is a good, strong German name."

Wet, hot tears continued to stream down Jezebelle's face.

"Fredy and I were both huge Bruce Springsteen fanatics...." she continued, "We love his ingenious music, songwriting, singing and albums.... Last year, for Easter, Fredy's parents purchased us tickets to see Bruce in concert.... That amazing performance was our very first date.... During his show, Bruce sang 'Born To Run'.... And later? Fredy would sing it to me.... He'd change 'Wendy' to 'Jezi'...."

She smiled weakly.

"Even though Fredy could not sing or carry a tune...." added Jezebelle, "But he tried to be Bruce, anyway...."

"Awww", said Dr. Whedon, "That was very romantic of him."

Fresh, wet, hot tears filled Jezebelle's bloodshot, puffy eyes once again.

"I am sorry...." she apologized, "This all is so very hard...."

"I understand," said Dr. Whedon, "You are grieving the unexpected death of your boyfriend. That is not easy. Especially because you are so young. No road on this bumpy, potholed journey will ever come easy. But--with help and support--you can overcome your sorrow. Yes, you can--"

"Fredy was only fourteen years old!!" interrupted Jezebelle, "Fourteen!! That is the same exact age as me!!"

"Are you experiencing thoughts, feelings and emotions that come with facing your own mortality issues?" asked Dr. Whedon.

"I do not know...." answered Jezebelle, "I suppose so...."

Wet, hot tears still streamed down Jezebelle's face.

"Fredy died from a fatal episode of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, remember....?" said Jezebelle "I, too, was born with that birth defect.... So, oddly, I am experiencing survivor's guilt...."

Jezebelle began to sob uncontrollably.

"Why Fredy....?" Jezebelle finally asked, "It should have been me.... Why didn't I die, instead....? Why Fredy....?"

Dr. Whedon did everything that she could to contain her emotions, as she suddenly felt like crying along with Jezebelle.

"You did not die because it wasn't your time," said Dr. Whedon, "For there is still so much Life ahead to live. Because you are, after all, only fourteen years old."

Jezebelle looked down at her feet.

'There is still so much Life ahead to live', she thought, Yeah, right.

"Let's discuss your symptoms of depression," said Dr. Whedon, as though she could read Jezebelle's mind.

She swallowed hard.

"I feel so helpless...." Jezebelle began.

"This is because you cannot control all that has happened," said Dr. Whedon, "Frederick's death. Grief. Depression. All of it is beyond your control."

"That's right...." said Jezebelle, "And I feel so hopeless.... I cannot sleep at night.... Whenever I try, horrifying flashbacks of Fredy suddenly dropping dead on that baseball field overwhelms my mind.... And they're not nightmares.... These flashbacks are real.... So night after night after night, I sit up until morning arrives.... I feel physically drained.... Fatigued.... Sluggish.... I have experienced bodily aches and pains in my muscles.... Why, I do not know.... I can't concentrate.... Tasks that used to be easy--such as memorizing lines or acting--is difficult.... Constant negative feelings and emotions control my thoughts.... I cannot turn them off.... I am abnormally moody, emotional, edgy, short-tempered and aggressive--even for a teenager--everything gets on my nerves.... I have become somewhat of a chocolate addict, if you will.... For breakfast....? I eat tons of chocolate.... For lunch....? I eat tons of chocolate.... For dessert....? I eat tons of chocolate.... So obviously, I have gained weight.... I feel like a cosmic, worthless failure who will never amount to anything in Life.... I hate myself.... I hate myself.... I hate myself.... I hate myself.... I hate myself...."

Jezebelle paused for a moment to gather her courage. Dr. Whedon listened. She continued to write her patient's every single word, thought, feeling and emotion down in a notebook.

"Go on," encouraged Dr. Whedon.

Jezebelle swallowed hard again.

"I experience negative feelings and emotions that Life is not worth living...." she continued, "I battle constant suicidal thoughts.... Because.... If Fredy died...."

Jezebelle fought back yet even more wet, hot tears.

"Oh my gosh...." she cried, "Fredy is dead.... He's never coming back.... Fredy.... Is.... Dead...."

Jezebelle tried to gather her composure.

"Because if Fredy died, then perhaps I should, as well...." she confessed.

"Have you ever attempted suicide?" asked Dr. Whedon.

"No," Jezebelle confidently answered.

"Well, that is good," said Dr. Whedon, relief in her voice, "But I am concerned about your suicidal thoughts. Because aside from grief? You possess many--if not most--of depression's symptoms. I will treat you for that mental illness with medication and follow-up appointments. Okay? You are also obviously suffering from a very mild case of survivor's guilt. But I am mostly concerned about your depression. I'm also going to prescribe you a sleeping pill."

Okay," said Jezebelle.

"Also, I understand your flashbacks of Frederick's death," continued Dr. Whedon, "I truly do. That is such a tragic, traumatic, heartbreaking image which plays nonstop--like an old movie--through your head. But feeling hopeless is no way to live Life. Think about what Frederick would want to see you like if he were still alive. Alright? And Frederick would definitely not approve of this. You know it. Frederick would not want to see negative feelings and emotions continually commanding his girlfriend's thoughts. You know it. Frederick would want the old Jezebelle back. Am I right? Frederick would even encourage you to sign up for drama again. Why? Because Frederick would want his girlfriend to move forward in Life. Now, I did not say move on. Because you will never, ever, ever forget Frederick. And that is not a negative concept. I said 'move forward'. There is--I think--a huge difference between the two. Jezebelle? You are not a cosmic, worthless failure who will never amount to anything in Life. Frederick would most definitely never have believed that. And neither do I."

"What are you feeling?" asked Dr. Whedon, "Do not be afraid to share more."

"It feels...." said Jezebelle, "Like I am a prisoner of my own grief, depression, negative thoughts, and emotions.... Okay? I am incarcerated. And--trust me--I know I've served my time...."

"Only you possess the key to this self-created prison cell," said Dr. Whedon, "As I have mentioned before, breaking free will not be easy. But together we can work through this. I do mean that."

And work through Jezebelle's issues they did. Step by step by step. It required several follow-up appointments with Dr. Whedon. Tons of support from those who Jezebelle is in close proximity to. And time. In memory of Frederick, Jezebelle was scheduled with a cardiologist named Dr. LaGraw to have her Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome surgically repaired. Why? Because it felt like the right way to honor Frederick's memory!! This surgery is a minor operation. And it did not even require any sutures!! Dr. LaGraw inserted a catheter from Jezebelle's neck down to her groin area. {Isn't modern medical technology miraculous?!} The surgery was successful and Dr. LaGraw confidentially declared her "cured"!! Jezebelle rejoined drama!! Once again her emotions breathed Life into every character she played!! Jezebelle even met a new guy {Named Gavin!!} who also acted in drama!! During a play, they were lovers.... He swiftly became her boyfriend.... And the rest is history!! 

2 comments:

  1. That is such a bitter-sweet story Raelyn. Sometimes it really works to kill off one of the characters. You really put your heart into your work, I loved it!
    Lynne x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lynne....
      Thank-you for the comment, Friend!!
      "That is such a bitter-sweet story Raelyn. Sometimes it really works to kill off one of the characters. You really put your heart into your work, I loved it!" Thanks, Friend!! Oh, you have no idea how much of my heart I put into this fictional book, especially!! Because.... As per usual, I infused quite a bit of myself in Jezi--sometimes I cannot tell the difference between fiction and Reality!!--I am glad that you liked it!! ;op


      Delete