Don’t Cross Your Arms

When a person crosses their arms it usually means they are either hiding something or trying to protect something. It’s a natural instinct built into the human race.

She sat across from me in her white doctors’ uniform. Her hands were folded on top of the clipboard on her lap. She was going off script – I could tell by the hesitation followed by not being able to look me in the eye. Routinely, when I am getting a sexual heath checkup, they ask the normal questions; the questions written down on the page on the clipboard. They ask about my sexual history, they ask about escorting, they inform me about the dangers of sex work and STD’s and I’s and HIV.

I can answer these questions robotically, having been asked them dozens of times before. It doesn’t faze me or embarrass me – my answers are without emotion. But this time I really fucked up. I really, really fucked up and now the doctor was going off script.

In a perfect routine of questions and robotic answers, the doctor will ask questions about escorting (“How long were you in sex work?” “Did you use protection?” “Did you provide full service?” ect.) and then they will brush on the ultimate question: “Have you ever had sex that you didn’t consent to?”

I had developed such a methodical and resounding ‘no’ to that question they would usually move on to the next question immediately.

This time when I was asked by this particular doctor, “Have you ever had sex that you didn’t consent to?” I fucked it all up. Instead of answering her, I lifted my hands off my lap and crossed them. It’s such a stupidly small gesture, one that can go easily unnoticed, but this doctor was perceptive. I don’t know why I allowed myself to do it. Immediate regret flooded through me. She put the clipboard down on her lap and rested her hands on top of it. She was looking down, I could tell she was building her off-script sentence in her mind.

The doctor looks up at me earnestly and asks, “Cody, have you ever been raped?”

I keep my arms crossed. I am uncomfortable but doing my best not to show it, especially in my voice. But my voice betrays me and it wavers slightly as I answer, “Yes.”

“Was it through sex work?”

“No.”

She sits up straight in her chair, “You know we have crisis counsellors here, right? If you ever need someone to talk too about it we offer our counsellors at no charge.”

I swallow hard. I wear an imitation smile and respond, “Thanks, but I’ve dealt with it all myself. I don’t need help.”

“They are always here. If you find you’re having a hard time then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can set you up with an appointment.”

I smile harder as if I am trying to prove something to the entire world, “Thanks so much, but I am honestly fine.”

 

 

 

The Guy

Sometimes I feel like an empty shell; a vessel that others have dug away and dug away until there’s nothing left but some skin and bones. I sit alone with a cigarette and look off into the distance at nothing, wondering how I haven’t killed myself already. At the street corner I am always one step away from going in front of that speeding bus. I look at the people around me and wonder what would happen if I bash their faces in – would I feel something then?

/

Other times I feel filled with emotion – with life. My inclinations are multifaceted as I laugh and cry and sing and anger seemingly at the same time. My friends are lovers are enemies are friends – I am unable to keep one label attached to them. I chuckle earnestly and love openly. The world seems more colourful even on the gloomiest of days. I want to hug and kiss everyone and tell them how much I love them – about how much I love life.

 

Evil vs Good.

Evil vs Good.

Evil vs Good.

Evil vs Good.

 

The guy that used me as a vessel for sex for a year while making me think he felt something for me / The guy that helped me sort my life out when times got hard.

 

The guy that was my best friend who told me I was too ugly and skinny and weird / The guy that would stay up late with me as we talked about love and life and everything in between.

 

The guy that I relapsed back into crystal meth with / The guy that cried when I cried when I showed him a song* that meant a lot to me.

 

The guy that first broke my young heart when he ran away to Las Vegas with a porn star / The guy that would Eskimo kiss* me and it was adorable.

 

The guy that was an off duty police officer that wouldn’t stop having sex with me even when I told him to / The guy that noticed me in the club and for the first time I felt that I was worth noticing.

 

The guy who’s mouth hung open horrifically when he took too much meth.

 

The guy that slept with me because I looked like his step son.

 

The guy that pretended to like me to try and get me into an orgy.

 

The guy that tried to blackmail me for sex.

 

The guy I had to push down the stairs to protect someone I loved.

 

The guy that used to take bodies out on his boat and dispose them in the harbour.

 

The guy that clawed at me while screaming that he was going to kill me.

 

The guy that wasn’t there.

 

The guy …

The guy

The guy

 

Is this why I feel dead inside? 

 

 

(*song was Little Lady by Ed Sheeran feat. Mikill Pane) 

(*Eskimo kiss is when you rub the tip of your noses together)

 

 

An Open Letter to Deniro

Dear Deniro, 

Well fuck, look at us now. From startling beginnings to tragic ends, our story was always one for the books. Remember when you hated me? That was a weird time for us both. Through unfortunate circumstances we were forced to become allies. You were pretty good at taking care of yourself but at the same time you needed a lot of help from me. I wasn’t ok with it at first as our friendship hadn’t started yet. Scott loved you so much and I was morally obliged to try and love you as much as he did. There were things I did to you that you hated, but they were necessary. I’m sorry you wouldn’t talk to me for a day after I helped wash you. I’m sorry you didn’t like when I had to give you your medication. I’m sorry I didn’t do a better job at making sure you were healthier and happier. 

We were at our best when we would walk around the parks, the sidewalks gleaming with late night dew. Near the end you were so protective of me. Our bond so unshakable that when Scott returned he was surprised at how well we became friends. You helped me learn to take care of something. You were the prelude to taking care of a larger problem. I still remember Scott screaming in pain those first few weeks. He’d scream, and moan, and beg and I would lay there covering my ears. I would hear you run from my bedroom to his aide instantaneously – the second he was in trouble you were his number one man.

 I knew Scott was in bad shape when I wouldn’t see you for days. You’d come down the stairs looking almost as emancipated as he did. When he started to get better we all started to get better. We healed together, you and me and him and our little townhouse in Chippendale. 

I left you alone with him. I’m so sorry I left you alone. I thought everything was getting better. I ignored the signs. They were there – just beneath the surface. I could’ve seen them. 

You’d be so happy when I came to visit. I remember my nickname for you was “The Perfect Boyfriend”, which is weird thing to say because, well, you are a dog. 

Thanks for protecting me and making me feel safe. I know you miss him as much as I do. I’m so sorry you had to be there to witness it – but you were always the strong one. 

Me? I’m in a much better place now. And I hope you are too – wherever in the world you are. You are all the love that Scott had to give manifested through another being. You carried around the best of him. 

I miss him as much as you do, 

Cody

Pigeons

The old lady came to the park every day to feed the pigeons. She would bring whatever leftover bread she had in her possession, she’d sit on the same bench, and she would slowly reach into the bread bag and toss small crumbs onto the ground. She’d move through the tossing motions methodically while facing the morning sun, the rays of sunlight illuminating her weathered face. The whirlwind of pigeons that surround her swirled and ran and flew as if they were one organism. She was a conductor under the spotlight leading her own orchestra.

Park services were unhappy. There were signs in the park that specifically said Do Not Feed The Birds. They warned her many times before that her actions were frowned upon. They complained to her that – by feeding the pigeons – it made their work harder as they had to spend extra time scrubbing pigeon shit off the bench and surrounding sidewalk. Despite the warnings, the lady came every day. The park service employees and volunteers felt that they could not take any action against the old lady because of her frailty and age, so they begrudgingly spent extra time scrubbing the sidewalk and bench at the end of almost every day.

One day a female park worker was near the bench in late morning when the old lady came in her purple overcoat and ugly floral dress. The lady sat on the bench and slowly opened her bread bag and within seconds she was surrounded by many pigeons. The worker had been picking up garbage in the grass but decided to take it upon herself to confront the old woman.

The worker said, “You know you can’t do that.”

The old lady slowly looked up at her with a frail voice and said, “I know damn well I can’t.”

The attendant crossed her arms, “Then why are you doing it?”

The old lady replied, “Because the pigeons are reliable.”

Confused, the attendant asked, “What do you mean?”

The lady slowly responded with, “It means that these damn pigeons are the only thing I can be sure of. They are here every day. They always show up.”

“Well, can’t you rely on the pigeons somewhere else?”

The old lady suddenly became cross, “Only if you carry me there, dumb ass. You think this old body of mine could walk far enough to go somewhere else? I live just over there.” The old lady pointed indistinctly to the left of her.

“It’s been very annoying having to clean up all the bird…” the worker caught herself from cussing, “… poop.”

“I’m sorry you have to put in the extra time,” the old lady was frustrated, having had this argument with many other park workers in the past, “but this is the highlight of my whole day, so if you don’t mind leaving me alone that would be great.”

“Well I hope you understand that you just waste our valuable time when we have to clean up the mess you make here.” The attendant snapped back, unable to control herself.

“As sure as I am that the pigeons will return here every day, you can be sure to clean up after them.” The old lady hissed.

The park employee retorted, “As sure as I am that the pigeons will come when you’re here, they won’t return when you’re gone.”

The old woman looked up at the attendant with a pained expression. The expression slowly turned to anger, and then it softened, and with great purpose she said, “I am sure that you are wrong.” Then she turned away from the attendant and continued her slow, repeating rhythm of tossing the bread onto the ground.

Weeks passed before the female park worker and the old lady saw each other again.

The female worker was passing by the old lady on the bench when the old lady hissed, “You missed a spot.” She motioned towards all the pieces of shit on the ground.

The attendant stopped and looked at her with great malice and said, “One day soon there will be no spots to miss.”

The old lady pondered carefully what to say next, and with great conviction she said, “Only the selfish say that the value of life is ease.”

The worker retorted, “Only the selfish make things harder for others.”

The old lady laughed, “Well then, honey, you’ve never been in love.” She looked back towards the pigeons and tossed them more bread.

The park worker turned and walked away, silently mumbling a curse under her breath.

It was over six months later before they spoke to each other again. The female worker tried to pass the old lady without her noticing, but the old lady looked up at her with surprise and said, “You’re pregnant.”

The worker stopped, straightened up and rubbed her protruding stomach, “I am pregnant, yes.” She said with no tone of friendliness towards the old lady.

“Not that I care too much,” the old lady stated, “but congratulations. Obviously I was mistaken when I said you’ve never been in love.”

The female worker looked down, “No, this wasn’t from love.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” The old lady bowed her head.

The two women were silent while the pigeons stirred at their feet and flew around their heads. The worker watched the pigeons look at the old lady in anticipation as the old lady tossed another handful of crumbs onto the ground. The pigeons went wild, scrambling to be the first to gobble up the broken bread. In that moment the pigeons seemed ferocious.

The worker looked back up at the old lady and asked, “Do you have kids?”

The old lady tossed another handful of bread on the ground before answering, “Yes. I had two.”

The worker leaned closer to the lady, “Is it easy?” She asked, “Raising children, I mean.”

The old lady smiled, “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

The park employee was stuck in thought before asking, “Do they visit you often?”

The old lady stiffened and tossed another handful of bread. Her voice was strained, “Just leave me be, please. I like being undisturbed when I feed the birds. Good luck with your child. Bye now.”

A couple months passed and the female worker’s stomach grew larger. She worked in the park until the final days of her pregnancy, and then she gave birth to a little baby girl. She couldn’t afford to take much time off work so two short weeks after giving birth she returned to the park, leaving the baby in her sister’s care during the day.

“Good news,” a male coworker said on her first day back, “The old lady hasn’t been in the park for two days. The first time in years!”

“Oh really?” The female questioned, “That’s very strange.”

“Maybe the old crone finally croaked.” The male laughed.

There was palpable silence.

The female asked, “Do the pigeons still come around?”

The male replied —

The End.

Cody’s Guide On How To Be Single

People ask me all the time, “Cody, why on earth are you still single?” They don’t actually ask me that but I’d like to think that they do inside their head. I feel like it counteracts the many times they’ve said to me, “Cody, you’re such a mess,” or “Cody, please stop doing that.”

My close friend’s are able to see through my messy exterior and see that there is a pretty-alright-if-you-look-hard-enough guy inside. Although I’ve never technically ‘dated’ anyone, I’ve had my fair share of successfully unsuccessful relationships.

Take for instance my first of these relationships: He was a hot sparky from Calgary. He was muscular, ginger, and now that I look back he was pretty boring. I was madly infatuated with him and he decided to end it with me and run away with a porn star from Vegas. Yikes. That relationship only lasted a month.

Then my next relationship came along. He was a man working in the oil fields. He wasn’t as good looking as the previous relationship but sometimes I feel charitable (Just kidding, I’m sure I was the charity). We saw each other on and off for six months. He tried to teach me to drive manual in his truck once – and once was enough for him after we slid backwards down a dirt hill with me screaming, “WHY!?” It came to light that he had major anger issues when he took a baseball bat to his classic mustang one night. He also had night terrors and scared the shit out of me when he told me he saw a gang hanging outside the house. I also accidentally punched him in the nose when we were making out and he bled all over my face. We would sleep on an air mattress on the floor because why get a bed when an air mattress is fine? In the sixth months I was with him we never had sex. I ended the relationship with him and he went to Mexico to ‘sort his life out’.

I am no good at flirting either. I had a guy come up to me in the gay club in my hometown and say, “You’re the hottest guy here.” I responded with, “Oh wow you must be blind.” and then I sank into the crowd, never to be seen by him again.

I’ve also tried my hand at flirting by saying to a guy once, “I would love to go home with you but I haven’t showered in three days.” He didn’t even end up giving me his number.

Another time I was drunk and I refused to go home with a guy because he didn’t have any alcohol in his house.

Next of my failed relationships was with this big, muscular sporty guy. We saw each other on and off for over a year and he was too embarrassed by me to even introduce me to his friends. I was so infatuated I didn’t care and it ended up being really toxic for me. I understand why, in hindsight, because I was in the messiest time in my life and the poor guy had to buy all my meals because I was so insanely poor. But he was incredibly hot and his calf muscles were as big as my head so it was a confidence booster that he wanted to be with me. It was the first time I’ve ever felt good looking, which for a kid that grew up incredibly ugly it was quite an astounding revelation. I drooled on his chest once and I was like, “Oh god I’m so sorry.” and he replied with, “It’s ok you do it almost every night.” Fuck. My. Life.

Another relationship I ended up in was pretty tragic. We bonded over crystal meth and it caused my relapse. We were both quite psychotic due to the drugs and I’m quite happy it’s all over. I’ve been meth free for a year and a half now. Out of respect I won’t say more than that because, even though he acted batshit crazy, I really can’t judge. It was bad. It was weird. I can’t stress enough that I wish him all the best.

I do find that I am quite lonely sometimes. Sometimes I wish I had someone to cuddle, to talk too. But then I remember I’m only 23 and I laugh at myself for being so stupid. Don’t get me wrong, if a relationship happens then it happens – But I’m happily single and don’t mind staying this way. I love myself a lot – it’s not a bad thing either. I think in life, loving yourself is the most important. It may sound conceited or selfish, but I think it’s pretty fundamental. I feel whole in myself that I don’t feel like I need someone to complete me. Lot’s of guys think I’m weird, but I love that. I love openly and am myself, and that is what’s important to me. If someone comes along that can fit in to that then I can make it work.

So I guess what I’m saying is; in Cody’s Guide On How To Be Single, you should just embrace it. Don’t care about it. Don’t think too much about it. Life’s too short to rely on someone so rely on yourself. The rest will fall into place. You can learn a lot about yourself from dating, but you’ll learn more from being single.

An Ode to Australia

Australia can be described in a simple 4-letter word: see you next Tuesday. 
(I can’t count)

Actually, Australia can be summed up in this sentence: cunt.
(Why am I a writer?)

Yes, Oz is a cunt. A big, fat, cunty cunt. A beautiful cunt. The cunt of cunts. Shit cunt and good cunt. All the cunts.

Now that you are used to the word ‘cunt’ you are able to learn more about why Australia is one:

I lived in Sydney, Australia for 2.5 years. I am unable to explain the beauty of it, the vastness of the land, and the persistency of near death. Seriously, this place wants you dead.

First of all, Australia can fuck off with those spiders. I can’t count on a huntsman’s eight legs how many times I woke up with those fuckers staring at me in my bedroom. I’m talking about dinner-plate sized pieces of shit that dwell in your living nightmares for eternity. A huntsman once laid eggs in our bathroom ceiling and we woke one morning to find that our bathroom was an orgy of horrifying demon babies spawned from the depths of hell. After we bug bombed the shit out of the bathroom and cleaned up the war zone of dead baby spiders we still were finding living ones every day for about 2 months.

My neighbour had to be hospitalised three times in one summer for being bitten by a white-tailed spider. She had to get skin grafts. Mother. Fucking. Skin. Grafts.

Lets not talk about the redback spider that was crawling nonchalantly through my friend’s FUCKING HAIR at a party. I told him not to panic but then I panicked. People had to calm me. We didn’t notice where the spider went. It was mayhem.

Or the family of redbacks I found in my backyard with my housemate. Yeah, I became a non-smoker for about a week.

Did I also mention the time I was chased by a MOTHER FUCKING BAT!? I’m not talking about the cute bats that sometimes wander into your home while you freak out trying to throw a towel over them – I’m talking wingspans of 3 feet here. They’re literal foxes with wings. Well, I was face to face with this mother fucker as he rested on a very low branch. I screamed. It screamed. It flew. I ran. It chased me down the street.
Do you remember the beginning of the movie Jumanji when the girl is chased down the street by bats?
The part that gave you nightmares for weeks?
Yeah, me IRL.

“But what about the cute animals?” You ask. No, just no.

I witnessed a little possum hiss at me with the force of 27 satans.

Wombats? Yeah, my friend and I hit one while driving. Dented the fuck out of his vehicle.

Birds seem harmless, right?

WRONG!

Someone in my bus tour through Cairns nearly got attacked by a fucking CASSOWARY! Those cunts look like dinosaurs and will slice you open like french bread.

You’ll hear the cockatoos coming from 100 kilometres away and you’ll pray to god himself they don’t get too close and make you go permanently deaf.

Kookaburra’s are nice tho. 10/10.

But the pelican’s will try and eat your baby whole.

Snakes? Nah.

Kangaroos? They’ll kick ya.

Wanna die by a heap of brainless jellyfish? Just take a short dip in the cool refreshing death of ocean.

The green ants work together to build amazing structures and bring death to you and your family. 

Even the plants-THE FUCKING PLANTS– may kill you.
*Cue Mark Wahlberg touching a synthetic plant and someone running themselves over with a lawn mower in The Happening.*

I’m lucky to have lived through all these traumatic experiences. It makes me appreciate why Aussies are such hard cunts. I feel like an Australian who makes it to 20 years old should win a lifetime achievement award for not getting their eyes pecked out by a magpie.

Despite all these grievances, I still rate Australia highly. If you’ve never been, then I can’t recommend it enough. Surviving Australia should be on everyones bucket list. Ill never forget it, and I can’t wait to go back.

Ill see ya next Tuesday, Australia! (But not really because Australia is expensive as fuck.)

An Overdose

Some know basic details, few know the full story. It’s hard to explain what happened to me on that night. There are two perspectives of the story: One from my point of view and one from my friend Cheryl. Cheryl’s perspective paints the fuller picture but for personal reasons I am not going to write from her perspective because I find it too disturbing. So, as confusing as telling the story from my perspective will be, you’ll be able to enjoy the confusion I felt as it was happening.

I had relapsed back into my addiction with crystal meth, though it’s hard to say whether that played a part in my overdose or not. See, I technically didn’t overdose on crystal meth. It was on a drug that used to be legal in Australia two years ago, a drug that is still legal in Canada:

Synthetic weed.

Cheryl and I had just arrived to her house after watching a concert. I had a couple glasses of wine at the concert and I was keen to get stoned. She grabbed the bong and told me where to find the marijuana – it was in the coffee table drawer. The drawer was filled with all kinds of things; papers for rolling, lighters, small trinkets. In the back of the drawer I found a little bag of what I presumed to be weed. I brought the baggie to my nose and inhaled; it had an odd, chemical-like smell. I didn’t think much of it.

We went out onto her balcony and I sat on a chair opposite Cheryl. I packed a bowl for myself, sparked the lighter, and finished the cone in one giant hit. It tasted like bleach and I thought of how weird that was. It was hardly a few seconds before I felt something was wrong. I remember saying to my friend, “This is really strong.” She chuckled. But right after I said it I thought, this isn’t strong, this is really bad. Something is really wrong. I tried to scream for help but nothing came out of my mouth, instead Cheryl slowly blurred out of my vision. Everything went black.

The next part is hard to describe and I can hardly understand what happened myself, but after everything went black I still knew what was going on. I couldn’t feel anything, see anything, smell anything – all my senses were switched off and I was all alone in my own head. I seemed to be in my head for a while, wondering why everything went black, wondering why I was unable to feel anything. Was I dead?

Suddenly a flash – my vision was blindingly white. I could hear a familiar voice say, “He’s going to throw up.” I felt like I was spinning around in a dryer. Something was rammed down my throat and my whole body wretched. Everything went black again.

After an unspecified time of total darkness a white speck appeared in my vision. It was so tiny I hardly noticed it at first. The appearance of the speck was accompanied by a high pitched sound that sounded like the dial tone of a telephone, just at a higher frequency. The dot started moving in slow spirals. The movement of the dot caused the noise to grow louder. The dot started moving faster and faster and the noise began to get louder and louder. It was hell. I was sure of it. I was in hell. The noise became so loud I couldn’t even bare it anymore. It was splitting my mind apart. I was being ripped to shreds because of it.

I thought it couldn’t get any worse until a second dot appeared, this time accompanied by another high pitched wail. The old speck started to vanish but the noise it made remained at the splintering frequency. This new dot started spinning like the first, it’s noise also getting louder. Now I heard two different frequencies that were so unbearable I wanted to die. I actually was wishing for death. I’m not being dramatic or overreacting, the sensation was so powerful that I was hoping it was the prelude to death. I only wished for silence.

The sequence repeated with a third dot. And with a fourth. And with a fifth, and a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, ninth, tenth, twentieth, fiftieth… it seemed never ending. I was lost in eternity with a hundred different frequencies that looped over themselves.

But then there was silence. There was darkness. I was relieved. Maybe now I was dead.

The first sense to come back to me was my hearing. I heard a bunch of voices, one of whom seemed to be yelling at me but the words were muffled.

Next I was able to feel. I couldn’t move my arms. What the fuck is wrong with my arms?

I was underwater. I’m drowning, I’m fucking drowning. Air wasn’t passing through my oesophagus.

What is that fucking noise?

It sounded robotic.

Suddenly, I could see light. It was so white.

Someone was still yelling but the words didn’t make sense to me. I thought I heard a female voice yell, “Breathe Cody! Keep breathing!”

How can I breathe when I’m underwater?

I tried to move my arms again but I was still unable to move them. I felt claustrophobic and started to move my body around violently.

“Stay still, Cody!” The voice said, “And remember to breathe…. BREATHE!”

I was holding my breath. The voice got closer but I could only see white light. The voice said, “Cody, I know it feels weird, but you need to breathe. You have a breathing apparatus on which is why it feels weird.”

Something was ripped from my face and I could suddenly see blurry figures. A woman was bent over close to my face and she said, “Hey Cody, did you hear me? You have a breathing apparatus on and I need you to breathe. You need to inflate your lungs and deflate them. It’s weird because you can’t feel the air but I assure you everything is fine.”

My head hurt so much and her words took a long time to make sense. I stopped holding my breath and I could feel my lungs expand even though air wasn’t passing through my mouth.

I realised then that my mouth felt like it was pried open. I could feel something down my throat.

The blurry figures were slowly coming into focus. I tired to lift my head but the woman said firmly, “Don’t move your head.”

I tried to yell at her but something was pressing my tongue to the floor of my mouth.

I finally understood why I couldn’t move my arms; they were tied up. I started to panic again and began to pull at my restraints. Tears rolled down my cheeks. The woman said to me, “Cody, don’t pull at the ties. We had to restrain you because you kept ripping out your IV’s during your seizures.”

My seizures? What seizures?

The woman continued, “I’m gonna untie you now though, but please don’t move around. Can you do that for me?”

I obviously couldn’t answer her but I stopped struggling.

“Ok I’m going to untie you now.”

As soon as my one hand was free I brought it up to my face, ignoring what the woman said. A large apparatus protruded from my mouth, it felt plastic. The woman grabbed my hand and said, “We will remove the breathing apparatus soon, but please keep your arms by your side.” I put my arm back down. My vision was coming into focus and I could see that she was in a nurse uniform. The nurse untied my other hand. There were two other people standing around me as well: one looked like a man and the other was definitely a woman.

“Cody, we will remove your breathing apparatus now. We just need you to hold still please.”

Someone unclipped something close to my face. I felt a pressure being relieved around my mouth.

“Ok, we are going to remove the tube now. It’s going to feel really uncomfortable so please don’t struggle. Ok, removing it now.”

I could feel something rip up from inside my body right out of my throat. It scratched as it rose and made me unable to breathe for a second. I coughed as air passed through my mouth for the first time. I was catching my breath and trying to speak, my voice was weak and hoarse, but I managed to say, “Where am I?”

The one nurse got close to my face and said, “You’re in the hospital. You had some seizures and are coming out of a medically induced coma.”

I was too fuzzy to even try to make sense of what she was saying. I lifted my head slowly and saw three IV’s coming out of my left arm, two coming out of my right.

I noticed I had two hoses going up my nose as well and I realised there was something snaking up my leg and right to my… FUCK! I thought, NO NO NO NO! It was a catheter.

I slowly drifted from being fuzzy to slightly less fuzzy. I was exhausted. I wondered where my friend Cheryl was. The nurses were trying to get my medical insurance details from me but I was hardly in the mood for formalities and didn’t know where my insurance card was.

The nurse handed me a phone, it was Cheryl on the line. She said, “I’m so sorry, Cody. I had to go to work and I thought that Shane” – another friend of mine – “would be there when you woke up. I’m so sorry.” She offered to go to my house after her work and look for my insurance card. I understood why Cheryl was unable to stay, she had a very prestigious job. She’s an amazing friend for keeping me well until the ambulance arrived when I first started having the seizures. I love her to bits.

Shane arrived not long after the phone call and sat with me all day. He’s the greatest friend I could ask for.

Aldo brought me flowers and came to see me even though he was hungover. He’s so special to me it’s insane.

My friend Kathleen brought me underwear (I woke up naked and in a diaper for gods sake! They had to cut all the clothes off me in the ambulance.) She’s like my fairy godmother.

I was visited by another friend and he brought me some soul food… McDonalds. It was awesome. There was a couple other’s as well who came and I am so happy they did.

The doctor came when all my friends were by my side and officially explained what had happened. He said I had about sixteen seizures in a row and was placed into a medically induced coma to stop them. When I arrived to the hospital in the ambulance I had stopped breathing and was a code red (I can’t remember what the code was actually called but lets just say it was ‘red’), which meant that all the doctors in ICU had to stop what they were doing immediately and come help me. All up I had eight doctors trying to save my life. I thank them for their work.

When I heard the story from Cheryl’s perspective I was deeply disturbed. What happened during my seizures is something I never would want to witness myself and I am deeply thankful to Cheryl for keeping her composure.

I am thankful every day for the friends who came to see me after I woke out of the coma. They’ve always been like family to me and I keep them close to my heart always.

I am now predisposed to have seizures. Because I am more susceptible I have a blacklist of things I’m not allowed to do to my brain; including taking crystal meth. So in a way, my overdose on synthetics saved my life. I’ve been free from crystal meth for a year and a half now.

The first day I was discharged from hospital I was with Cheryl and we went to this market that was outside in the parking lot. In the market I saw two earrings: A bird and an elephant. I bought them and wore them for a year and a half. I thought of them as my ‘healing earrings’. This weekend I took them out for the first time and replaced them with two new earrings: A peace symbol and a diamond.

May I never overdose again.