My Dead Friend, Tony

My Dead Friend, Tony: Second Half

Twenty-six year old Mary is trying to make it big in the radio industry, despite the chaos from living with a middle-aged, raging alcoholic man who also happens to be dead.

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After sobbing for a couple of hours in the gas station parking lot, which had become one of my new pastimes, I guess I drove to the beach. I don't remember getting there, or being there. I must have gone swimming, because the next morning I woke up to wet clothes and chattering teeth. Chocolate was smeared on my face. I was grateful that I ended up in my car with all of the doors locked. Even through my complete dissociation, at least I considered personal safety.

I wanted a hot shower, so I drove home. I wasn't the least bit surprised when I walked through the door and saw Tony sitting casually in the armchair, drink in hand, with no pants on.

"What happened to you?" he said.

I ignored him and went straight to the bathroom. "I'm taking a shower, don't bother me." I said before slamming the door.

For once, Tony let me shower in peace. Maybe he could tell I was finally at the end of my rope. Maybe he felt bad. So bad that he left for good, and I could go back to having a clean apartment, or not cry every hour. I let the hot water burn my skin until I turned into a lobster.

I got out of the shower and put on my pink fuzzy robe. I opened the bathroom door as the hot steam rolled around me as if I were an evil villain entering from the depths of hell. I turned the corner and jumped. He was still there. I'll never get used to seeing a grown man sitting in a dark corner, lounging in his underwear.

"So, I listened to your answering machine while you were out of town. Your boss called," he said.

"I told you not to do that anymore." I glared.

"I can't help it, Mary. The messages play automatically!"

"Plug your fucking ears, then!"

"Where's the fun in that?" He chuckled.



Anxiety jolted through me like a tranquilizer. Oh yeah, that's right, I have a job at the local radio station. I totally forgot. And I'm expected to be at this job five days out of the week with written material: public service announcements, pop-culture segments, sports commentaries, what have you. The station was small and run-down enough to where I had to write everything myself, because my boss couldn't afford to hire anyone else, although the tech-guys helped me every now and then.

I didn't even know what day it was. I sank into my bed. Barney was propped up on my pillow, good as new. How'd Tony get his hands on a sewing kit?

"What did he say?" I asked softly.

Tony handed me his drink. A whiskey sour. I took a sip. I couldn't understand where he got his alcohol in the first place, since I never bought any for him.

"Hmm, well, he said if you don't show up tomorrow, you're fired."

"Cool. Anything else?"

Tony nodded and ran his fingers through his hair. He looked at me gently and smiled. A tear ran down his face. Why was he acting like a dad from an after school special?

"He said you're one of the best writers on the team, and he doesn't know why you're throwing that away."

"It's all your fault, that's why. I'm going insane because of you," I said.

"I know. I'm sorry, Mary, I really am."

He got up from the armchair and made me a drink of my own. I don't think he realized that as a former addict, alcohol wasn't really the best thing for me to have. But I appreciated the gesture. I took it, since everything else was going to shit. He sat back down and beamed at me.

"I have an idea, Mary," he said.

I scoffed. "You have an idea?"

"Yep. And I think it's a pretty damn good one, if I do say so myself." He took a sip of his drink and blotted his moustache. I waited. He took a deep breath and exhaled.

"So, you're failing at your job. That's okay, we've all been there." He laughed.

"And, I like to think I'm a pretty interesting guy. Charming, you could even say . . ." He stirred the drink in his hand. I watched as the brown liquid and ice clinked against the glass. "Charming" wouldn't exactly be the word I would describe him as, but I let it go for the time being.

"Okay, so?" I said.

"Don't you see?!" he exclaimed. I shook my head no.

"Mary! Write a segment on me!!!" He shot up from the chair and paced across the room, his hands flying every which way.

"You can talk about what it's like living with a ghost, such as myself. I really do put ya through the ringer, huh? You can interview me. Hell, we could even have our own radio show!" He clapped his hands together. I sat in silence. He looked down at our puke-stained carpet and twiddled his thumbs.

"I thought too, ya know, it'd be something we could do together. Something fun. It'd sure beat goin' at each other's throats all the time, don't ya think?" He smiled again.

I mulled his idea over in my head. The thought of presenting this to my boss made me want to throw-up. "Yeah, hey Bill, sorry I haven't come to work in I don't know how many days. I got this cool idea though, about this dead guy living in my apartment I could interview. He's pretty charming!"

And how would this work, even? It's not like Tony could come to the office with me. Or . . . could he? He'd never mentioned anything about leaving the apartment. But then again, where were all his booze coming from?

I took another sip of my drink and tried to picture doing a show with him; what that would even look like. It would be funny, probably. He had his moments. It could be philosophical, too, if he wanted to talk about what dying was like and what happens to you after the fact. Scientists and psychic mediums everywhere would eat this shit up.

Holy shit. Maybe Tony was onto something. This drunk lunatic could actually help me out. This could potentially be the perfect scenario. Doing a radio show with an actual dead person? It would be groundbreaking! It would be the talk of the town or the entire world, even. What if I made money from this? What if everyone who's ever doubted me would finally believe me? MethHead Mary was telling the truth after all! I'm not crazy!!!

A smile formed on my face.

"Okay, fine," I said.

Tony leaped in the air from excitement, giggling like a schoolgirl. The whole apartment shook. He started pacing again and muttering to himself. I'd never seen a purer side of him before. It was almost cute.

I guess I was helping him, too, in a way. I didn't know what it was like to die or be dead. I'd never asked him. It was probably lonely. Maybe that's why he drank all the time. Maybe having a platform to talk about it was something he'd wanted.

"Cheers to that!" he said.

We clinked our drinks together. He downed his in one gulp and made another, then downed that one, too. I went in the kitchen to grab some notepads and pens, and brought them out to the living room. I sipped my drink. We sat cross-legged on the floor and bounced ideas into the wee hours of the morning.

The sun eventually rose and I got ready for work, which meant pulling my hair up and putting on pants that were not flannel pajamas. Tony was passed out on the floor, snoring. I smiled. I put a blanket over my dead friend and walked out the door, hoping to God that I still had a job.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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