Twilight, Edward and Me

by Chloe Jeffreys · 41 comments

in Mental Health and Aging Well

This story starts out very, very sad.

The day my son ran away to San Francisco found me sobbing on my bathroom floor.

Anyone who has suffered from depression knows that the commercial is right: Depression Hurts. It hurts you, it hurts the people you love. It hurts a lot.

Here I was.

I did not want my 19-year old daughter to get married. It didn’t matter that her betrothed was wonderful or that she was desperately in love; it wasn’t what I wanted for her or for me.

Several weeks after she was married I committed the ultimate new-mother-of-the-bride sin and I broke down in sobs on her couch because I missed her so much. It was awful and I felt awful even as it was happening. I know darn well that I was put on this earth to take care of her, not the other way around. I knew too well what it felt like to have my own mother-daughter role reversed and I HATED myself for falling apart on my daughter and being weak and needing so desperately for her to take care of me.

I hated my mother for her illness and for all her many weaknesses and failures. I tried and tried to forgive her, but I was never completely able to do so while she lived. Yes, I understood her; I knew why she was the way she was, and I loved her as best I could up until the end.  But I was furious that she did not take care of herself and her life. Why couldn’t she ever be the strong one who took care of me? I do not have one memory as a child where I felt safe and cared for by either of my parents, ever.

That’s why my own family was so damned important to me, and now it felt like it was falling apart.

And my son? In the Spring of 2009, I was certain that him running off to San Francisco was absolute proof of my failure as a mother. (I now think it is actually a beautiful story about how an acorn doesn’t fall far from the oak, but that’s a tale for another day.)

Everything I thought I was living for had fallen apart.  I couldn’t be a church leader anymore because I was too broken.  My children, in a matter of months, were no longer living at home for me to mother 24/7.  And my mother’s overwhelming financial and health problems threatened at every turn to comsume me alive. What was left?  Everything that really mattered to me was gone.

Well, maybe not everything.

I met HIM late at night while my husband was at work.  I swear to you I didn’t plan for it to happen. In fact, I’d planned to stay away from him. I knew better. I have no excuse.

I knew he was dangerous.

I knew I should stay away.

But that night I couldn’t help myself. The pull was too strong. Like the salesman away at a convention who knows he shouldn’t go down to the bar for a nightcap, I knew I shouldn’t go looking for HIM. But I went looking for him just the same.

And so, under cover of darkness, late at night, while my husband was off at work, I googled and found Edward.

What an evil woman Stephanie Meyer is. The depths of her depravity cannot be plumbed. She put Edward right out there in front of me, for free, and like Eve in the Garden, I succumbed to temptation.

Reading there all alone in the dark about Edward and his insatiable appetite for Bella, something deep within me that I had thought long dead began to stir.

The next day I snuck out to the local bookstore.

Trust me, I wanted to go in like this:

 

But I can’t drive that way, so I had to go in like this:

 

I’m sure the lady thought I was nutso even without the bag over my head. I kept looking over my shoulder in case anyone I knew should see what I was doing. Honestly, in my little town, I would have been more comfortable buying goddess Tarot cards and a book on how to become a Wiccan than buying those Twilight books. I felt just naughty. And damn it if those books aren’t in the teen/children’s section.

So there I am, a full grown woman standing in the teen section trying to look nonchalant.  I didn’t know where to put my eyes.  Should I look at the evil fruit I wanted so desperately, Edward, or that other evil, Harry Potter?

All the while wondering, “How in the world did I find myself here??”

Usually I try to save the planet and refuse the bag at the bookstore, but if I couldn’t put one over my head, I for sure made the poor, baffled saleslady use one for this purchase.

(Come to think of it, Why is it I always have my existential crises in front of sales ladies?)

I ran immediately home with my secret and hid myself away with HIM.

And as I read about Bella and Edward, I remembered.

Once upon a time I wasn’t a mother. I wasn’t a church leader. I wasn’t Susie Homeschool mom. I wasn’t a nurse. I wasn’t a caretaker to a sick and needy mother. Once upon a time I’d been just a woman. And once upon a time I’d been a woman in love. And come to think of it, I was still a woman in love.

And the man I was in love with was very sad, too.

 

And helpless.

He was doing everything he could do to rescue me, but in my grief and self-absorption, I’d made myself unrescuable.

I really thought I was living my life for God, and I still mostly think I was. But life hadn’t worked out the way I’d planned.  Frankly, I don’t know why God runs His universe the way He does. They say it is for His own glory, but I must admit that seems very egotistical to me.

How dare God use my pain for His glory anyway? (Don’t worry. He and I have had this discussion many a time, so Him reading about it here in my blog is no big surprise for Him.)

But the many ways God confounds me is a post for another day.

Today it’s about Edward and how he turned my mourning into dancing.

I hid Twilight from my husband for day, but finally I had to admit to him that I was reading it.

We rented the first movie. (Which, by the way, I must admit was terrible. Pattinson looks like he’s going to throw up the first time he sniffs Bella in Biology Class, which is hardly how I envisioned him when I read Midnight Sun.)

I began to remember that I had my very own Edward and he was waiting for me to come back from the undead. And unlike the Edward in the story, my lover has warm feet to warm my bed, warm hands to hold me safe, and a warm heart to cherish me always.

And just like that, I began to walk out of the grave of unhappiness I’d dug.

Our Very Own Meadow

I could tell you all the ways that Edward saved me, but I think it is best if I let my husband tell you himself.  Here is the letter he posted, in its entirety, on the Sonlight Forums on April 27, 2009. His name on the forums was The Tick after his personal favorite superhero.

 

An open letter about ‘Twilight’

So I sat with the ever young and lovely Chloe o’the Mountain a short time back and actually watched Twilight, which had caught her interest due to [a} thread on the subject.

Now….while I am pretty good at chick flicks….watch them with Chloe…watch them with Princess Sweetie Pea…even by myself if it looks like I’ll enjoy it (the latest was ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’…I really liked it) I just couldn’t take ‘Twilight’…..it was just a little much for me….but the thing that truly set me off was the whole change in the vampire mythos….I tend to be picky about my monsters.

Poor Chloe had to sit through it with me while I squirmed and coughed and made little side comments (I didn’t think I was making that much noise but she says I was……must have been involuntary on my part as I was trying very hard to keep my opinions to myself) and I think I ruined her first viewing. Not to worry though….she watched it again without me and proclaimed it to be much superior in a Tick-less environment

Next thing I know….she’s got the book…which she admitted she was trying to hide from me….out of shame I’m sure….but I was frankly thrilled to see her reading an actual fictional novel (Chloe tends towards textbooks in her “light” reading) and I told her as much.

Now on to the reason for this thread……I have noticed since the whole Twilight thing began in our home a certain lighter air…..a new twinkle in my lovely wife’s eye….more laughter…..more banter….an increase in playfulness…..which I did attribute to the “mental vacation” that nothing but a good (if not necessarily extremely well written….her words not mine) mind-candy novel can provide……..BUT………..

Imagine the shock…..the surprise……the delight……when I went into shower today…..hit play on the bathroom stereo…..hopped into the shower expecting Earth Wind and Fire………and out comes…….
KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND!!!!

(Your reading enjoyment will be enhanced if you click on the video and listen to the song as you read the rest)

Yes it’s true……Chloe not only picked out a CD to listen to while bathing (amazing enough in itself) but picked DISCO…..I’m so proud.

I therefore must admit that ‘Twilight’ has actually been GOOD for my lovely wife……and I thought I would admit it here so as to bolster up the ladies who may be reading these books with a flashlight under the covers and to throw out a word of encouragement to the men who now not only have to share there wives with Sonlight in general, but now also have to share them with Edward.

There are rewards gentlemen, at least at my house.

And yes, I shall buy her all the other books and the movies as well if she requires them……they make her happy….and that’s all that counts with me.

I may have to write that author a thank you note.

The Tick*

Do a Little Dance, Make a Little Love
*This is the post I mentioned that was inexplicably pulled off by the Sonlight Forum  moderators.  

**********

Have you every suffered from depression?

I’d love to hear how you cope with depression?

***********

*originally published July 25, 2011

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg January 24, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Hi Chloe…..you don’t know *me* but in less than 30 minutes, I feel as though as I know you. Reading a friends email, which led me to linking to her blog, leading me to another link, then yet another…..I “somehow” came to your site. And stories. And look in to your life. An honest, raw, funny, and sometimes sad glimpse in to your world. Thank you for sharing – and leaving me wanting to know more……

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Chloe Jeffreys January 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Hey Meg, nice to “meet” you. I’m glad you found me out here in the ether. I hope you will come back again.

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Kristina December 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm

A few weeks back, while laying comatose (well almost) on the couch, sick with a high fever, I happened across Showtime’s Twilight marathon. I have steadfastly refused the movies because I thought the were dumb. By the end of the marathon I was in love. With love. Having been divorced 6 1/2 years, I have pretty much put away the thought of another man coming into this household. I’m fat, have 4 kids, 3 of whom are triplets. And I’m quirky. Not exactly guy material. But watching those movies makes me wish I had someone lust after me that much. I’ve seen Breaking Dawn twice. Once by myself on a Saturday morning with all the other 40 and 50-something women who snuck (?) off by themselves to watch Edward marry Bella. Swoon. I miss being in love…
Kristina recently posted..There goes my illusion of perfection…My Profile

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Chloe December 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm

You nailed it!!! That’s what it was.

I read them and realized that I missed being in love. I’d been so absorbed with our troubles that I’d forgotten everything else.

So, Kristina, I wish you someone to love. It is a wonderful thing to have.

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Cat von Hassel-Davies November 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

You are one amazing woman! I loved the post. Unfortunately I too fight with bouts of depression. Music is definitely an uplifter for me but I have to say my online community bolster me.

P.S. I have been hiding twilight for 8 months now and haven’t read it. Maybe I will start tonight 😉

Hugs!!!

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Les Kertay November 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Wonderful post, Chloe – see what I mean about serendipitous timing?

This is one thing I’ve noticed about resilience – it’s hard to predict what will work to turn things around, and in retrospect it often seems odd. I’m reminded of a story from my teen years, when I was in Alateen trying to figure out how to survive my father’s drinking. I heard a story one night from one of the AA members who needed a “higher power” but really couldn’t accept the idea of God. One day she was standing waiting for a commuter train, and as the engine went by she was suddenly struck with the feeling of how big and powerful that engine was, and she felt in her heart that here at least was something that was bigger and more powerful than her. So the Chicago & Northwestern diesel engine became her “higher power,” and it worked to keep her sober for more than 10 years. Go figure – Edward (which I admit is really weird to me) or the C&N diesel? Who cares – connecting with that feeling of life inside, made easier through the love of another. You are lucky to have Tick, and he is lucky to have you.

Thanks for sharing.

Les
Les Kertay recently posted..Resilience – Out of the AshesMy Profile

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Chloe November 19, 2011 at 10:52 am

I loved what you wrote about and the issues you’ve brought up in your article on the subject of resiliency, Les.

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Mary Grace November 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I’ve never read the Twilight books, simply because I saw the first movie and it did nothing for me. ALthough … I was on an airplane. Maybe not the best viewing experience?

Anyhow, I, too, have gone a few rounds in the ring with depression. It’s an ugly, all-encompassing monster, isn’t it? And no, people don’t know how to help. I’m not sure they really can, to be honest. For me, it’s a battle that I have to wage on my own.

Somehow, fighting back makes my rediscovered life all that more sweet.

(And btw, I have read all of the Outlander books. Clearly, satan has a firm grasp on my reading habits.)

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Chloe November 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

Depression is serious stuff and until I went through it myself I had no idea how serious it could be.

I’ve always been a sort of “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” kind of girl and only when I ran out of bootstraps did I realize how impossible that can be.

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Robin November 18, 2011 at 10:19 am

I spent about 7 years battling depression after the loss of our baby 10 hours after birth. It’s tricky to tell people about it. I don’t mention it to see if I’ll get any sort of “I’m so sorry” or anything. It is what it is and I spent seven long painful years trying to find ways to process it. I’m still processing it, but just not in the midst of depression that clouds the ability to think clearly.

*hug* Can I also say I love seeing your little drawings again? They make me smile!!!
Robin recently posted..Laughing is my favorite.My Profile

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Chloe November 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

The loss of a child is devastating. I cannot even imagine the pain from that, Robin. Or the hopelessness.

Do you think your pain has made you a better person? A better Christian? How has your pain benefited you? Or is it just something we must endure?

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Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator November 18, 2011 at 9:57 am

Thank you for sharing this… I suffered from depression for many years, and I am so happy to feel better now at 50 than I ever have in my life… I feel like my life is just starting. It’s important for us to be real with others and share hope… and KC and the Sunshine Band. 🙂
Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator recently posted..Healthy gluten-free green bean casseroleMy Profile

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Chloe November 19, 2011 at 10:56 am

There is a reason they call them “The Sunshine Band”. We all need sunshine.

Depression sucks. I’m happy to hear someone else has made it to the other side, Stephanie.

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Chloe August 18, 2011 at 5:34 am

For some reason, none of my comments have made the migration to WP. Very frustrating. But if you’d like to comment, I’d love to listen.

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Kat July 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm

You need to do a whole blog post on your above comment. Lots there to chew on!

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I think depression affected my ability to process information well. I think the simplicity of this book and the simple story were things my brain could comprehend. And, for all Twilight's many flaws, I think Meyer does a fantastic job of make fresh those emotions of what it feels to fall madly in love.

But thing I appreciated about her story the most, aside from the romance, is the part about Edward (well, really Carlisle first) not accepting his soul-less, damned fate. As a person who clings to my faith as best I can, I can relate to that. For all intents and purposes, if vampire mythology is true (I mean metaphorically speaking, not factually speaking), then Edward (and the Cullens) are damned to hell. It doesn't matter whether they feed on humans or not, does it? But they choose to be good despite that. And I find that is my human condition.

The fact that they decide to live to a higher code of morality, and act like there is a good God, whether or not there is a God at all, or whether or not they are damned no matter what they do is meaningful to me.

They choose to be good because that's a choice they make, regardless of whether they'll be rewarded in eternity or not is meaningful to me personally.

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Kat July 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I am curious, Chloe… Do you think you would have had this experience if it was a different book? Was it just getting completely lost in the story, (any story) or is there something about Edward that you related to?
I really liked your point about growing from the pain and blessing others through it.

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I think that a lot of us get to this place at some point and start to wonder, "What does it all mean anyway?" And those simple answers just don't suffice anymore. It is a hard place to be.

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm

He's a good man. And he tolerates a lot from me. I do try to make it worth his while, but still, he tolerates a lot from me and I know it and I appreciate it very much. Thanks for reading.

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Heidi Pintor July 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Oh, and I remember this post when it was first at SL…it amazed me then. Tick's non-judgment, his grace and support…I don't have words to say what it does to me…but thank you both for sharing

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Heidi Pintor July 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm

"…..they make her happy….and that's all that counts with me." ~ Tick

That one phrase makes me want to bawl my eyes out. You're a blessed lady, C.

And now I'm debating whether or not I should get into the sparkly skinned jail-bait stories. Naw…Monday MC here is about as wild as I get 🙂

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Andrea July 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Geez, Chloe, I think we might be living parallel lives. Mentally at least. 🙂

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Stebenjoe July 17, 2011 at 7:52 am

I am totally enchanted with your blog, Chloe. So much so that Edward can wait. A bit. At least until I finally find my way to the Barnes & Noble I saw a few miles and a couple exits from my new house. =-)

Chelle

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 4:44 am

I always think of you as Soozie Homeschool Mom. You are way too cool to be Susie Homeschool Mom.

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 4:43 am

You researcher, you. lol.

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 4:42 am

I believe that your pain makes sense only to the point that you grow from it and bless others out of it. That's all I've got, Kristy. I hope it helps.

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Kristy Plata July 17, 2011 at 4:34 am

Hmmm, funny how you hope to hear a certain answer to a question…I was hoping you had the amazing and wonderful answer that would make my pain have some sense. I guess not. I'm with you, and want to believe in a good, loving God. I keep hanging on by a thread.

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Susan in the Boonies July 17, 2011 at 3:10 am

Hi. My name's Susan. You can call me Susie if you like. And I'm a homeschool Mom.

Fiction that takes one away can be a very nice, refreshing thing.

Personally, I didn't enjoy the first book in the series, so I never read any more of them, but I'm delighted that you enjoyed them.

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 12:46 am

Ummmm, yeah. I don't know. But when that happened I knew then that the eye of Sauron was upon me and that my happy days there were numbered.

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 12:45 am

I sure didn't admit it right away to people whose opinion of me as "godly" really mattered. And yes, I think that sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures and that we have to do what we have to do to survive and thrive.

I have no answers about God. I find that if I think very much on this I teeter on the brink of unbelief and I want to believe in a good, loving God.

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 12:43 am

Yeah, it totally sucks. And I really don't get it. I don't understand what God's glory really means. I have a hard time reconciling God being so consumed with His own glory and Him being good and loving and Jesus coming as the suffering servant who said that the first would be last. It doesn't make logical sense to me right now.

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Chloe July 17, 2011 at 12:41 am

lol, right. lol

The Safeway bag made me laugh. I really wished at the time that I could have gone in with a bag over my head. I was desperately afraid someone would see me. It seems so silly now to me. But it was serious to me then.

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Andrea July 16, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I'm kind of in the whole hating God using my pain for his glory thing. And I'm trying to come to terms with it. But actually right now, believe it or not, I'm watching New Moon. With my husband – who thankfully is keeping his comments to a minimum. 🙂

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fungirlRobin July 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Yeah. An answer to that question would be real nice. I'm right there with ya.

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fungirlRobin July 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Your illustrations are making me LOL. I adore them!!! The safeway bag is my favorite so far.

Oh – sure – the post is amazing but it's the art that draws me in. (har…Draws…)

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Kristy Plata July 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

"How dare God use my pain for His glory anyway." Do you have an answer for this? Because this is where I'm at right now. And I need answers!

So, if I got caught reading the Twilight series, everyone would think I had flipped and they would surely think I was heading in the direction to hell. Now you've got me all curious. At this point in my own story, any anecdote for happiness is tempting.

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Becky July 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Oh, I love this post! (The music really helps set the tone, perfect!)
I am completely baffled- no, gobsmacked- at how such an innocent, lovely post could get pulled. I truly don't understand.

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Chloe July 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Don't think I wasn't tempted. I was much too impatient to wait even for one day shipped.

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Anne July 16, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Amazon Prime. In case you ever need to buy anything embarrassing. I'm just saying.

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