Thought Catalog

17 More Gripping True Tales Of Sheer Terror From America’s Darkest Highways

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 08:15 PM PDT

via Flickr - Dee Ashley
via Flickr – Dee Ashley

1. A Full Face Print

My aunts and I were on a road trip to visit my grandparents. We were driving almost 3000 miles to The NW territories Canada from Portland Oregon.

Most of the drive is long lonely highways. I decided it would be a good idea to bring along an Unsolved Mysteries book to pass the time. Because reading about murder is always good road trip fun.

We stop at a camp ground and just sleep in the van. I was sleeping in the front passenger seat. I thought I heard footsteps close to the van but didn’t see anything. When I woke up the next morning I glanced out the window and there was a full face print on the window. Like someone had been watching us during the night. Needless to say I didn’t sleep for the rest of the drive.

2. “He’s Getting Closer”

When I was younger, each summer and almost every New Year my family would pack the car and go on a road trip to visit family in Mexico. We never had any problems until one particular trip when I was 8.

Like every road trip before, we left our home in North Texas around 6 PM in order to reach our destination the next morning, so around 2 AM, we crossed into Mexico — and that’s when things got weird.

When you’re on the only stretch of freeway in the middle of the desert, you don’t tend to freak out about having the same car behind you for miles. It was practically pitch black outside our car windows — the only visible shapes being the dotted stars and the eerie silhouettes of the cacti. We’d been in Mexico for about an hour and still had few more to drive, and I remember sleeping but still being semi-conscious of what was around me because I didn’t have the skill to really fall asleep in a car. So when my mother suddenly spoke my dad’s name, I heard her.

“Miguel. That car behind us. It’s been behind us since we left Laredo.”

My dad peeked at the car shrugged off my mother’s tension.

“A lot of cars use this road. He’s probably going to Reynosa or another city.”

And he left it at that.

Despite his sureness, my mom kept a wary eye on the car behind us. By this time, my siblings and I were hyper aware of the car and entertained ourselves with watching the car through the gaps in the luggage that blocked the rear window. We got tired pretty quick.

“He’s getting closer.” My mother noted, and we turned to watch as the car inched closer and closer to ours. “He’s too close, Miguel.”

And she was right. By this time, the car was practically pressed against the rear of our car — and on a lonely stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere with another few hours until daylight, it was downright scary. We couldn’t do much. My dad didn’t slow down, didn’t stop, and he didn’t speed away either — he just drove. And the car followed.

The next thirty minutes were the most tense we had ever experienced. The Car would ease off sometimes only to press its blinding headlights against our rear once more — like he knew he was freaking us out and enjoying it. It was during one of the periods that The Car had pulled away that my mom spotted a police car up ahead parked on the side of the road and she didn’t miss a beat.

“Pull over! Right in front of the police. Pull over right now, Miguel!” And he did. And The Car kept driving. I wonder how confused the policeman must’ve been as he watched my dad park our car right in front of him. The policeman came over and asked what was wrong and my mother urgently told him everything. The Car, the way it followed us and taunted us.

The policeman took her claims seriously and told us of how people were victimized and had their cars stolen on these empty highways by thugs and criminals. And then he offered to drive behind us for a while to make us feel safe.

We drove off with the police cruiser behind us — relieved. Until about 10 minutes later when we saw something that confirmed the policeman’s words and my mother’s worst fears.

Ten minutes later, we saw The Car pulled over on the side of the road — waiting.

3. Springing The Trap

I was on a road trip with another girl and it was about 10 o’clock when we realized we needed to stop for gas and start looking for a place to stay the night. I’m careful and look for a nice safe place for gas. Finally I found what looked like a good place. It was a brightly lit gas station, clean, and looked pretty busy with a bunch of cars and just one open pump in the middle. I get out of my car to fill the tank. As I’m unscrewing the gas cap, I hear a shout.

There’s a guy with a gun and a group of people. Looking around I realize that the other cars are all empty. This was a trap set for whoever pulled into the center pump. He yells for me to get on the ground and for my friend to get out of the car. He continues shouting about how they’re going to shoot us or fuck us until we can’t walk and other threats if we don’t get on the ground now.

My friend is frozen in panic inside the car. I stick the gas cap in my pocket and tell the guy with the gun to let me talk to her. He lets me get in the car to talk her into getting out. Instead I start the car, throw it into reverse and nearly run over one of his accomplices leaving the station.

The look on his face as we sped out of there was priceless. He looked so shocked and so dumb. We finally got gas about 30 miles down the road when we were running on fumes, but decided not to stop again until we reached our destination.

4. Creeped Out At Wolf Creek

I was on a road trip across Australia. We were heading from Brisbane (east coast) to Broome (west coast). We had 72 hours to get there.

Before I had moved to Australia I made the unfortunate mistake of watching “Wolf Creek” which is a horror about a psycho out in the outback murdering tourists, loosely based on true events. My friends always teased me saying shit like “oh he’ll get ya”, knowing it freaked me out. I always said “I’ll never go anywhere close to Wolf Creek”.

So we’re into the second day of our trip across, we had 2 cars worth of people, I think 11 in total. All Europeans. We hadn’t slept because it was just too uncomfortable. That night we ran out of gas, guess where? Yup, 15 miles from Wolf Creek, I shit you not.

Before this the cars had gotten separated so there was about 4-5 of us on our own. We had pulled up to this gas station to wait until morning when it opened so we could fill up and be on our way.

So it’s getting late now but it’s the outback so it’s still a good 30 degrees (Celcius) at night. I was sitting in the back of the car in the middle seat with people on either side, no air con. I started to have a panic attack due to the heat and the claustrophobia of being in a car so I just decided to get out of the car and get some air. I went to sleep on a bench with outside the gas station and after about a half an hour this pick up truck pulls up beside me and turns the lights off, no one ever got out of the car and you couldn’t see inside the cab. It was one of the creepiest experiences of my life considering where I was at the time and also the fact that the dude in the film drove an almost identical pick up truck.

I decided that the car was my safest option that night.

5. The Man On The Walkie Talkie

I lived in New Mexico for several years before moving to the Midwest. My friend, Amy, and I (both females) would spend many days exploring the remote corners of New Mexico, discovering abandoned ghost towns and enjoying the quiet, desolate beauty of the desert.

One afternoon in March 2010, we were traveling from Ruidoso to Albuquerque. Always up for exploring, we took a back road rather than traveling the more direct highway.

One leg of our journey had us on NM55. It's a remote, teeny, tiny two lane highway. We loved those types of roads- up until that day.

This part of New Mexico is flat and desolate desert. You can see for miles. And there is virtually nothing except dirt and rock between towns- and towns can be miles apart.

So we were on NM55 going north. After a few minutes, we saw a white pickup truck up ahead of us going the same direction. Suddenly, he stopped his truck sideways in the middle of the highway- blocking both lanes. We were about a mile away from him and as we got closer, we began to get uneasy. We could see no reason for him to do this. We were the only other vehicle out there and we began wondering if we should turn around rather than come up to him and have to stop.

We were about a half a mile away from him, when he pulled over to the opposite side of the highway- but his truck was still pointed the direction we were going. We tried to relax a little. Surely, this guy was a rancher or something. Maybe he was checking something on his land.

As we passed him, we noticed a few things: 1) There was only one person in the truck- a middle aged guy who never took his eyes off us and 2) He was talking into a walkie-talkie.

A few seconds after we passed him, he pulled back onto the highway and started following us. But, he never got too close. He would get to within a few car lengths and then drop back a little and then speed back up again to within a few car lengths. We were getting nervous. We realized how alone we really were. We had seen no other traffic on that road and we hadn’t told anyone about our ‘great idea’ to take this detour. We checked our cell phones and neither one had signal- typical for remote New Mexico, but scary given our present situation.

Amy was driving, and speeding up, while I frantically checked the map, hoping to find a road that would have more traffic. There was no other road. We had to travel this one to get to the next town (Mountainair). Turning around to go back the other way didn't seem like a good option.

After a few minutes, we saw another pickup truck coming towards us. He was going very, very slowly- maybe 20 MPH- if that. This pickup was old and beat-up whereas the one behind us was newer.

Amy had us up to 75mph (which wasn’t typical for us on these 55mph highways) and we blew by the old pick-up. As we passed it, we saw that it was another middle aged guy- and he was talking into a walkie-talkie.

After the white pick-up passed him, he pulled a U-turn and pulled in behind it.

As we watched all this, we could see the white pick-up truck guy talking into his walkie-talkie.

No doubt these two knew each other. We were being deliberately followed. And for the first- and only time- in my life, I felt hunted.

They stayed right behind us. We watched for obstacles in the road. We truly thought ‘old, beat-up pickup guy’ had set up a trap in the road and our vehicle would be disabled somehow. We talked about driving into the fields (we were in an SUV). But this was obviously ‘their territory’ and we were afraid of what would happen if we went off road and got cornered. So, we stayed on the highway.

By now white pick-up truck guy was right on top of us. We could see him talking into the walkie-talkie and he stayed right on our bumper. And old, beat-up pick-up truck guy was right on top of him. The three of us sped down the highway.

The white pick-up inched closer. His maneuvering and edging closer made it apparent that he was trying to bump us. I watched helplessly as he got to within inches of our back bumper. Amy floored it. We were passing 80mph and edging up to 90mph. The road was flat and deserted, but any little thing going wrong would have been catastrophic. We absolutely were not going to slow down or stop if we could help it.

The white pick-up pulled into the opposite lane and started to gain speed. The only thing we could think of was that he wanted to pass us and get in front of us. If he got in front of us and his buddy was behind us, then we'd be boxed in and trapped.

We looked frantically at the rocky desert on both sides of us. Our only option was to off-road it. Should we risk it? Could we speed through the desert and make it to safety in one piece?

As we topped a small incline, we saw a sign that said 'Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument' and it pointed towards a road on the left. And right at that moment, a blue pick-up truck pulled out of that road and onto the highway in front of us. As we came up on the blue pick-up, we saw the plates said ‘US Park Service’. We looked at each other and then looked behind us- both pickup trucks did U-turns and went the other way. We followed the blue pick-up to Mountainair and then made our way to Albuquerque.

I don’t know exactly what those guys' intentions were, but they weren't good. There is something seriously wrong out there. I notified the State police and they said they would keep an eye on things.

This area is very near Belen, NM which is where Tara Calico was abducted. It's also about 100 miles from Elephant Butte, NM which is where David Parker Ray had his little secret torture laboratory. We didn't put all that together until later. Even though David Parker Ray had died by the time this happened to us, we do believe that there are others out there like him.

And whoever abducted Tara has never been caught.

Or maybe we came into meth lab territory. But since this happened on an actual highway- rather than a back country road- I tend to discount the meth lab theory. Whatever is going on out there, it's not good.

6. He Just Walked into The high grass

Three friends and I ( 3 girls and 1 guy) were on our way back to Sydney, driving from Melbourne and we stopped at some random rest stop along the way so us girls could use the toilet.

We get out and use the toilet, fix ourselves in the mirror and while my friends were still talking and fixing their make up I went outside and had a smoke with my guy friend ( I am standing in front of the car and facing the women’s toilet).

The girls walk out from the toilet and sit on a picnic table and wait for me to finish my cigarette. After about 2 minutes I see a very creepy man that looked to be in his 50’s, thick grey beard and dirty clothes, walking out from the women’s toilets. The same toilets my friends and I had just used and never noticed we had unwanted company.

We got in the car very quick and as my friend is speeding off I swear I saw this man walking into the dark woods with grass as tall as he was. That was very strange.

7. Just Trying To Get Some Sleep On The Road

When I was younger, me and my family went on a road trip to Wyoming to see Yellowstone National Park. it’s a beautiful place, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d recommend it. Anyways, so from our home in California, it was about a 17 hour drive in our Yukon XL (the largest, most comfortable road trip SUV you can imagine). It took us several days worth of on and off driving to get there, and during the nights we would try to find a little motel to rest at. One of the nights, due to us being behind schedule, my dad attempted to drive through the night to get us there sooner. He made it probably into the wee hours of the night before he deemed it unsafe and parked us in this little unlit rest stop in the middle of the woods in some fly-over state.

Me and my brothers had fallen asleep in the car several hours before he’d stopped, so for at least a couple hours we were all sleeping in the car in this dark little parking lot surrounded by forest. Having got a couple hours of sleep and being in a pretty uncomfortable position, I woke up in the middle of the night, pretty disoriented but not really scared. I looked around and see everyone fast asleep in this pitch black car and naturally I feel pretty alone. I try to fall back asleep, but it’s just not working out and so I just sit there for a while, boredom setting in.

Looking out the window to see where we are, it’s pitch black so I couldn’t see jack shit. Luckily, I wasn’t the type to pack light and had brought a couple flashlights in my bag. Being careful not to disturb my sleeping family, I reached into the backseat, unzipped my bag, and pulled out a little plastic yellow flashlight. It wasn’t the brightest but it was enough to see the foreground of the general surroundings. I put it up to the glass, making sure not to make any noise, and pushed the little switch into the on position. I pressed my face against the glass and looked out.

At first it looked like a normal tree line with some bushes, trees, whatever.. but as I scanned the darkness, looking for animals, buildings, etc., I noticed this dark shape standing between these two trees in the distance. It looked like the shape of a man, but it wasn’t moving. Just sitting there. After watching it for a good while and seeing no real signs of movement, I just assumed it was a bush or some kind of natural occurrence. Just as I was about to turn the light off and reattempt sleep, I saw this shadow shape turn 90 degrees and move behind a tree, disappearing from sight. This scared the shit out of me, and I immediately turned off the flashlight and threw my sweater-turned-blanket over my head, shutting my eyes tightly and covering my ears. I was paralyzed with fear and, too full of adrenaline to get any sleep, sat in this semi-fetal position, clutching my flashlight, for the rest of the night.

I waited until the sun came up and we were back on the road before I got any sleep. I didn’t tell anybody about the man I saw in the woods.

8. Don’t Sleep By The Side Of The Road

About two years ago, I was driving home from a family reunion pretty late at night, and the drive was about two hours. I didn’t stay the night because I had to be back for work the following day. Most of the drive was on roads with dense bushes and trees on either side – the real creepy ones you see a lot in movies. Anyway, I had been driving about 45 minutes, and I was starting to get really tired. You know how sometimes you just suddenly become really tired, out of nowhere? Well yeah, that happened to me. I knew I wasn’t going to last, but I didn’t come across any place that I felt I could park and safely sleep.

Anyway, after it became clear to me that I wasn’t going to find a place to pull up, and my tiredness wasn’t going away, I did something very questionable. I pulled over to the side of the road onto the grass, behind some bushes, to try and hide my car from anybody else who was going to come past (the roads weren’t empty, I came across another car every few minutes or so). I made a mental note that the time was 11:22, and then fell asleep.

Some time later I was awoken by a scratching sound. I looked at the clock – 11:50. The sound stopped after a few seconds, and because I was still extremely tired, I didn’t bother looking around and simply went back to sleep. I was later awoken by the same sound, and it was now 12:40. This time it really freaked me out because the sound didn’t stop. The thought ran across my mind that it was just an animal inspecting the car, but why would it return almost an hour after it had left the previous time? I looked in my rear view mirror and just managed to catch a glimpse of something running away into the forest. Now, at the time, I thought it was the damn hook killer, you know the one that scratched that couple’s car and then slaughtered the guy when he got out to investigate? Fuck that, I thought to myself, so I got the hell out of there. There was a bend no more than a hundred yards up the road, and as I came around it, there was a fucking car, parked off to the side of the road with the driver side door opened. I slowed down just to look to see if anyone was in there (there wasn’t). Then I looked in my rear view mirror. I didn’t see anything, and all of a sudden, this guy comes sprinting around the corner. He starts screaming at me, shouting stuff like “Hey! Hey you! Get the fuck out of your car! Now!” I noped the fuck out of there and sped off. I never saw the guy again. Moral of the story? Don’t fucking sleep on the side of a deserted road.

9. She Was Staring And Smiling

My husband and I were driving on the highway late at night on our way home from a trip to Utopia. There weren’t many cars, but there was an old lady in an old Cadillac and she kept racing up to stay beside us in the next lane, then all of a sudden she starts merging into our lane and starts ramming us off the road. It wasn’t even like she couldn’t see our car, she was staring right at us and smiling. Luckily the next exit was our exit so we were able to make it, just. Called the cops but don’t think they ever found her.

10. Real Life Can Be Scarier Than Any Movie

I was driving a shortcut from Twentynine Palms, CA to Albuquerque, NM. Twentynine Palms is located in the desolate high desert east of LA. The shortcut was all two lane road through total nothingness, except for passing through Amboy, CA. Amboy is a nearly abandoned town nearly as far below sea level as Death Valley, with a dormant volcano and lava field on one side and a salt flat on the other. It was also, at the time, a hotspot for satanic group activity.

So I was driving by myself in the afternoon. I stopped in Amboy and snapped a picture of the city sign, just to prove I was there to friends who dared me to take that route to I-40. I got back in my car and proceeded to drive up into the mountain range between Amboy and I-40.

Once I reach the top I am driving north through a canyon with high grass on both sides of the road. Up ahead I see some stuff in the middle of the road. As I approach I slow down to see a red Pontiac Fiero stopped sideways across both lanes, a suitcase open with clothes scattered everywhere and two bodies laying face down in the road, a man and a woman.

I stop a hundred feet or so away and the hair on the back of my neck is standing up. Being a Marine, I reach under the seat and pull out a 9mm pistol and chamber a round. Something seemed very wrong, it looked too perfect as if it were staged. An ambush? Was I being paranoid? Something was just wrong. Getting out of the car seemed unthinkable, it was the horror movie move.

As I scanned the road I saw a line I could drive. Pass the guy in the road on his left, swerve to the right side of the woman, behind the Fiero and I’d be on the other side. I dropped it into first gear, punched it and drove the line I planned.

I passed the back of the Fierro without hitting it or either of the bodies in the road. I continued forward a couple hundred feet and slowed down so I could breathe and let my heart slow down. As I looked up into the rearview mirror I saw that the two bodies had gotten up to their knees and twenty or so people emerged from the tall grass on either side of the road by the car and bodies.

At that moment my right foot smashed the gas pedal to the floor and did not let up until I had to slowdown for the I-40 east onramp.

I will never know what would have happened to me had I gotten out of the car to check on the bodies or stopped my car closer to them. Somehow I do not think it would have been good. Sometimes real life can be scarier than a movie.

11. Night Driving In New Mexico

Driving on a super isolated road late at night in bumblefuck New Mexico (285 north, for those who know. For those who don’t, it’s a skinny little two-lane road for the most part which goes right through the middle of a lot of nothing with roughly 100 miles of fuckall on either side of it) and got followed for a long ways by a huge black pickup truck. One of those giant dodge king ranch things, all black, cow catcher on the front, limo black on all the windows, everything. It tailgated me at 85mph for about 75 miles, and when I stopped at a truck stop to pee it pulled off too, but nobody got out. It just idled away in the parking lot until I got back in and got on the highway again. Fucker followed me all the way to Carlsbad before peeling off and heading back south. I’ve never seen it again, but I refuse to make that drive by myself anymore.

NEXT UP: A Guardian Angel In The Dead Of Night (Click Here To Go To Next Page)

I’m Not Sure You And I Will Ever Fully Let Go

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 08:00 PM PDT

Gabi E. Mulder
Gabi E. Mulder

You reach out to me when it’s dark enough that I won’t question your intentions. This is who we are now. This is what we do. We’re lonely and scared, and trying to pretend we don’t still dream of tasting each other after all these years. Maybe it’s wrong. But I’ve never believed good and bad are definitive terms. Maybe we’re dipping our toes in both things.

You tell me it never stopped for you. I bite my tongue so I don’t scream out, “ME TOO! ME TOO!” Now is not the time. Now is never our time.

My mother says when it is here to stay, love will come softly and not require so much heartache. But I remember how she fought with a dying love. A literal dying love. The way she held his hand under fluorescent lights and beeping machines. Love isn’t smooth sailing. Sometimes, you are crying at 2 am when the doctors tell you what’s going on.

My love, we are not smooth sailing, but I’ve never known anything that was.

All I know is it’s been so many years, and we still circle back to the spot we first met.

All I know is it’s been so many years, and you still tell me you find my face when you’re sleeping.

Should we be stronger than this? Should we learn to let go without holding on when no one is looking?

My knuckles are turning white from such a tight grip. Your arms are shaking when I’m too far from reach.

Let’s just admit it.

Baby, the only thing we’re worse at than being together is being apart. TC mark

10 Things I Learned Since The Day I Loved You

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 07:00 PM PDT

 Ismael Nieto
Ismael Nieto

My mind is still baffled since the day you came into my life. I kept asking myself a lot of questions about your purpose entering my life. Until everything got put off or possibly things simply happened amid their best times. Your appeal and oddness impressed me. It resembles to see half of myself in similarity of you. Days and evenings went on thus as we.

1. Being yourself wouldn't bring you any harm.

At the first two dates that we had, I tried to show tons of finesse. Yet on the contrary, you showed me your entertaining-insane-abnormal side. I still tried to hold it together yet I fizzled. I wound up snickering with all of your dance moves and lip syncing numbers. People were gazing and giving a stunned look at us, yet you tend not to care thus I didn’t as well.

2. Happiness starts within oneself. Your happiness is an add-on to mine.

When you were not yet part of my daily equation, I found my life happy. I have a career. I have a family that I love. I have plans to explore and look for better opportunities abroad. It felt that my plan is really working. I got everything planned up. Everything is in their places or I just thought so. At night, there's me praying for something I have been missing for quite a while; a commitment.

Out of nowhere, our story worked out. We met and then we fall in love.

3.To love is to be vulnerable." – S. LewisThe Four Loves

When I was beginning to know you in a more profound sense, I let myself simply be totally powerless. I let myself be fearless to have given love a chance to come in my direction. And there you were that night, lying in the field with me as we look into the night sky together. A little rain sprinkled from the sky and we went to your car with all of the windows were open. You looked at me as I rest my head in your shoulder. You confessed the love that you have for me. And in a couple of heartbeats, I simply realized that I'm defenseless. You asked me, and I said, "I love you."

4. A good man won't let you let go of your aspirations and dreams. He will support you despite of the sacrifices along the way.

At first, there's a falter in my heart that you may be absolutely against all of my plans. Like you will prevent me from seeking after my dreams. But you showed me off-base. My heart was happy to discover that we're on the same side. We truly are a team.

5. You as a person is my most noteworthy guide and my companion.

You never cast me in the shade. You are as good as a wagon.

6. Love can cover miles and miles of separation.

Distance will always have its numerical calculations that you and me are 3739.2 nautical miles away from one another. But your love is so bona fide, it's equitable; so consoling and fair.

7. Simple things count to be the greatest.

Our "back-of-the-truck" kind of late-night snacking, dinners with your families, attending mass together, holding hands, wiping a bit of a sauce on the corner of your mouth, rubbing off your shoulders, your skin against mine, your arms around me, your heartbeat, forehead kisses to rain kisses and a lot more.

8. We are responsible to look after each other.

I have a strong feeling that this is us being blessed together. Since the day I love you, I know you made me more grounded. You have confidence in me. You never let a day to go by without caring for me.

9. Plans are something that we look forward to.

We are like the other couples in the world, we make plans. And those plans have become to be our goals.

10. You will feel that your life has been blessed with love. 

Regardless of where the story goes, you simply need to keep it together. Continuously be appreciative that you were sufficiently fortunate to carry on with an existence with such gifts. Not everybody in this world is as fortunate as the others. Some are as yet seeking, and tragically, some has surrendered.

Days and months in the calendar will change, even the seasons will wear out; yet I will dependably be thankful to you for picking us consistently. I never see myself that I'd be so profoundly upbeat, placated and in love to somebody who appeared to be extremely peculiar yet could catch my heart. TC mark

I Still Want To Run Away With You

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 06:00 PM PDT


Remember the people we used to be?

Remember the ways we unhinged each other? The way our minds unravelled – disassembling the world as we knew it, stripping each other of defenses and forcing our armies to lay down their battered, tired arms? Remember the ways in which you melted me? The way your fierce gaze could shatter the defenses that I didn’t know I’d riled – the way your careful hands undressed me without ever touching my skin.

You were liberation and the whole world was a wildfire around you.

You were the dismissal bell on the last day of school before summer vacation. You were the first breath of salt air when your car rounds the bend towards the ocean. You were running so far and so fast and so furiously that you weren't sure you'd ever find your way home. You were the kind of feeling the English language doesn't have words for, yet.

You still are.

And nothing about our love was ever straightforward. Our love was an unpoliced riot. It was windows smashed and cars totaled through the barren, deserted ghost towns of our hearts. It was resurrecting something that had lost its pulse for so long that we’d forgotten there was any life in it to salvage. It was setting fire to everything that was dead inside of both of us and letting it burn down to ashes on the pavement while we kissed in the wreckage on the sidelines.

Our love was unruly and disordered. It was the anarchy we never thought to yearn for.

And so whatever became of those people that we used to be?

I think I missed their memorial services – the day we buried their bodies in the backyard and laid our collective wilderness to rest. I think I deliberately skipped out of the wake, telling myself if I don't go then it doesn't really matter, then I never have to miss you – or the person I became alongside you – at all.

I could go back to living inside of the world that has rules and regulations and consistencies. The world where your reeling mind and roaming hands didn’t knock the air straight from my system and leave me defenseless. The world where my heart was my own to hold onto, again. Where everything was smaller and safer and mine.

And yet there is a part of me you woke up that refuses to stay dead and buried in that backyard garden.

I think I’ll always want to get on a plane with you.

I think I'll always want to get on the subway at 2am to come see you.

I think the wildest, freest part of me will always want to pack up my bags, leave in the middle of the night and run away to wherever it is you’re going next.

I think I'll always want to do everything on earth with you.

So long as you're alive and I'm alive too, my heart may never find a way to ever fully bury you.TC mark

Here’s The Heartbreaking Secret To Feeling ‘Whole’

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 05:00 PM PDT


I am not a whole person; but, I am things. I'm a mother and a wife. I'm a daughter and a sister. I'm a variety of jobs or tasks; gardener, cook, housekeeper, storyteller. These little pieces of people have been fastened together to make some sort of mockup of an entire person.

But— I am not a "whole" person.

What is a whole person? There isn't really a definition; though I wish there were. It would be so much easier.

To me, a whole person is someone who doesn't need constant validation and acceptance from the people she loves. She can be content just existing, as is, imperfectly, without needing to define herself in any particular moment as a mother, wife, or otherwise. She wouldn't be multiple pieces; hastily thrown together to protect what is underneath.

Realizing that I wasn't a whole person was a painful moment. It wasn't immediately liberating, either, although that came later. It happened one afternoon, when my husband looked at me contemplatively after I had been complaining about something mundane— socks discarded on the living room floor again, probably. After I goaded him to tell me why he was giving me his "disapproving face" he finally offered to me that, "It just seems like you don't really have fun anymore. Do you?"

I was broken, immediately. Not having fun meant that I also wasn't a fun person, in my mind. Next came a series of negatives: my husband was married to an un-fun lady. My daughter's mom? Super un-fun. Other people were fun. Other people would be better wives, mothers; I wasn't good enough. Suddenly every piece of my carefully assembled armour – which as it turns out, is rather frail – started to crumble into an un-fun, sad little pile. And the person underneath was pitiful.

That was all it took to break me, and that was the painful part— emotionally, I bruise like a peach.

It then occurred to me that the tiniest bit of criticism (was it, even?) could chip a fatal hole in the walls I had spent decades building and reinforcing.

A statement like "you don't have fun" shouldn't cause chips in my wall, anyway. A whole person would not allow chips – a whole person wouldn't even need a wall. She would take such comments and filter them into neat little piles. She'd discard whatever was toxic, whatever was unnecessary. And you know what? She'd probably be fun, anyway, naturally, since she wouldn't be such a worried mess. So, it would be a silly thing to say to a whole person.

I have a theory. I am not a whole person because, quite simply, I've never been forced to be. I've never really been alone. Honestly! I've always had an "other half"— a boyfriend, fiancé, husband. I've always been a part of another person. Never whole.

I've been in long term relationships my entire adult life.

While I have been with my husband for about 8 years and we're in it for the long haul, I was in a series of long term, frustrating, damaging relationships before I was with him. I suppose that makes me a serial monogamist. I don't think it did me any good.

How does this all apply to my whole person theory? Well: I have never really dated. You know, like, gone on a date and it didn't progress into a relationship immediately. I have never learned to just "be." To just sit and think and dream, and find a happiness that can only be found when you are looking for a lifelong partner. When you aren't settling. When you are dreaming about what your future partner will be like.

Because, by doing that, by searching for Mr. Right and discarding all the Wrongs, you grow and develop as a person. With every horrible date, you discover what YOU like. You discover what you are looking for in a partner and what you aren't, what makes you happy, what turns you on, what turns you off, what you need and, essentially, what makes you tick.

What makes me tick? Who the fuck knows, at this point.

Okay: I know a few things. I know I love my husband. I know he loves me, too, although I often sabotage our relationship because I'm not sure what there is to love about me— how do you love someone who is not whole? It's a question I struggle with. It comes out in ugly, horrid ways. Somehow, he's managed to stick it out.

I know my daughter thrills me, daily. She is amazing. I know that I worry that I'm not enough.

And that's something, right there: she's only 20 months old, so she isn't really anything yet. I mean, she's a toddler. But she hasn't pasted together any armour. She's not yet a wife, mother, dog walker, etc. But, she is happy without that armour. She feels things. She cries when she can't open a Tupperware container by herself and laughs when the dog's tail tickles her neck as she walks by. She hurls herself into hugs the same way she fearlessly hurls herself down the slide. She gives sloppy, wet kisses. She holds nothing back.

SHE is a whole person. I want to live exactly like her.

It's not so simple though. Becoming a whole person is a long and frustrating journey— it was one I was supposed to do gradually and naturally over the last few decades. I'm in counselling for it now, and it's hard. After all, it's taken 20 years to piece together the roles and odd jobs and loose definitions that make up my suit of armour, so, how long will it take to disassemble? It's too soon to tell. The person underneath hasn't had enough exposure over to grow and branch out and taste the sunlight. To get big and strong, or at least to get big enough and strong enough to be vulnerable without breaking at the tiniest bit of pressure. To let people in even though they might see that in fact you are not perfect, and to realize that really, that's okay.

To be whole, you have to strip down to nothing first. You have to build it from the inside out. It is brutal and awful and scary and intense.

And it's the most glorious thing I've ever done. TC mark

‘Police, Please Stop Killing Us’ — Signed, A Black American

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 04:04 PM PDT


In the past week, police around the country have killed multiple black people in cold blood. Add their names to the growing list of black people killed by police around the country without regard for their status as a human. Without regard for their family, their friends, their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It's no longer possible for me to sit idly and cry for the next hashtag. At this rate, what's stopping me from becoming the next hashtag?

To be black in America at this point in time is to be three things: sad, scared, and angry.


Because watching time and time again as our peers are murdered under the guise of "protecting us from ourselves" is so exhausting.

Because no man should have to listen to his parents worry for his well being on an evening drive.

Because no person should feel the need to whip out their phones and record their morning run "just in case."


Because seeing blue and red lights and thinking "shit," not "safety" is a fact of life.

Because not knowing your father, your brother, your cousin, your son is going to make it home in one piece every night leaves a pit in your stomach every time they leave the house.

Because it's terrifying to see an officer following you down a secluded block after dark, knowing that nobody is around in case "something happens."


Because I'm tired of waking up every morning to news that another one is gone.

Because you complain every day about the people you're supposed to serve and protect.

Because you can't expect anyone to take this kind of oppressive abuse again and again and again and again and again without some kind of response.

I'm tired.

It's not enough for me to sit here and cry for my lost brothers and sisters. I've done that. I always have to do that. It's time to start questioning why I have to live every waking moment in fear of the people charged with protecting me? What can I do to make you understand that I am not a threat? What can I do to make you remember that I'm human too? What will it take before you realize that my skin color is not a death sentence?

Please… Please stop killing us. TC mark

Everyone Thinks We’re Wrong For Each Other, But They Just Don’t Understand

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 04:00 PM PDT


They don't know. They don't know that I've waited my entire life to meet you. That I've wondered what you were like. That I've dreamt about who we would be together. They don't know that now that you're here, I'm becoming a person I never knew I could be. They don't know. Or maybe they do.

But if they did they wouldn't tell us not too. To not love you simply because they're afraid I'll get hurt. Or that I'll hurt you. Or that we'll self-destruct together. They don't want us to get so lost in each other that we won't be able to find our way back. And they're just as worried as I am that we're only temporary. That this is only temporary.

They don't know about the conversations we have that make us see a future together. If they did, they'd never question our intentions. They would let us be and let us figure out what we're doing as partners rather than strangers. They would let us grow together, and individually, because this love is something that's made for both of us. Not anyone else.

What I do know is this; we're supposed to be here. We're supposed to be right here, right now doing this.

Doing this thing together. And you need the inspiration that I can provide just like I need the relaxation that comes just from being around you. I know that we're meant to tell each other our secrets late at night and encourage each other to follow our dreams. That while we're both completely lost right now, we're also found because we found this and we're doing this. Together.

They don't know about the doubt. The doubt that we're both feeling because it feels too right. It does feel too right doesn't it? Like sometimes when it's just the two of us and we're talking about nothing, everything in the universe is aligned.

But they do know about our struggles. They do know how we've managed to fall so fast so quick that we've almost skipped the initial phase of just getting to know each other. We've gotten so deep, so fast that they're scared it'll fizzle out. And what if it does? What if we wake up one day and realize that we did everything in fast forward and it's too hard to go back now? Back to when things were just us and just this.

They also know how much I can't figure out how to believe that I'm enough for you.

That I'm worried that when I see that distant look in your eye, that you're thinking about what you're missing out on. And it's not anything you've done because you've been nothing but there, but just my own insecurities reminding me how every time before you and every time I felt this before, it was ended in my heart break.

But they don't know you. They don't know how amazing you are in your own right. They don't know that all I can think about is you. That everything that you represent for me is hope. That you came at a time when I needed you the most. That you taught me and are still teaching me patience. You're teaching me that I should always keep the faith.

Faith that no matter what, this is going to work out the way it should.

That's between you and me. Our secret. Our secret to keep and whisper to each other. What's between you and me is so much better than what everyone else thinks they know. Because it is all speculation on their part. That they know better than us. That they see the end. Even if they're right and this ends with us both in complete and utter pain, we know that we had to do this. We had to give us a chance. Because us was better than you or I alone.

They don't know about our love but we do. And that's enough for us. TC mark

Missing Someone Doesn’t Mean They Belong In Your Life

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 03:00 PM PDT

Noël Alva
Noël Alva

I think about you damn near every day. I've been thinking about you since the day you entered my life.

You were, and still are, so tall and handsome with big, rough hands that drew me in. I wanted to know you, so I took my time and I learned who you were.

I learned how you slept and how you snored. I learned you weren't a breakfast person, but you loved your morning coffee. I learned you were kind, like really, genuinely kind. You cared about people and you wanted everyone to be included. I learned every time you sat on the couch you grabbed a pillow to wrap your arms around. I learned that you could only sleep in pitch black with the doors closed and you cringed over the fact anyone could sleep with socks on.

And of everything I learned about you, the one thing I'm still certain of is that I still miss you terribly, but I know we don't belong in each other's lives.

I could call you, send you a text, show up at your door, do whatever I wanted to do to contact you, but that wouldn't change a thing. It wouldn't make us compatible because I'm admitting, yet again, that I miss you. Just because I miss you doesn’t mean it would make everything work out.

All it would do is cause more pain. It would be like the cut that is almost healed being split wide open again.

I would love to crawl back into your bed one more time, I would love to kiss your lips and tell you how I've missed you, but it would be toxic.

It would be like I'm choosing to slowly kill myself.

I could love you again; I could call you and tell you I need you. But it would just rekindle the pain. It would be like breaking my leg again when it was in the process of healing. It would be like getting hit by a bus, then walking back out in traffic and getting hit again.

It would be like getting stabbed in the heart, then walking right back into the knife because I couldn't stay away.

As much as I miss you, I know we aren't meant for each other and we're definitely not good for each other.

You're the alcohol and I'm the painkillers, we're safe when we're alone, but together we're a dangerous combination.

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to separate you from your memories. I’ve been trying to convince myself I miss the memories, not you. It’s working a little, every day I try to think about you less. The pain of losing you is getting quieter.

I don’t reach for you anymore in the morning and I don’t sit around waiting for your call anymore at night.

I’m moving on and I’m trying to get stronger, but I still don’t think there will ever come a day where I don’t miss you, at least a little. But I’m getting there and I know going through the pain of missing you is just part of moving on.

You might forever live in my heart, but you’ll no longer live in my life. I’m moving on, for good this time. I’m done sabotaging my own heart going back to you because I can miss you all I want, but we will never be good for each other. TC mark

When I Finally Fell For The Right One

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 02:00 PM PDT


Do you remember the first time you told me you loved me? We were sitting in this crowded, loud bar, full of screaming, drunk people and music. You sat facing me at the bar, put your hands on my legs and you told me you loved me. At that very moment, no matter how many people were screaming, laughing, crying, dancing, falling over drunk, all I could think about was you and those words. "I love you." I've heard that from a few different people and none of them made me feel as whole as you. From then on, that is what you are in my life. The part that makes me whole. The calm in the storm, the clarity in the chaos and one of the missing pieces to my soul. A hundred voices surrounded us and you're all I could hear.

I remember the first time I knew I loved you. You were leaving this party we were at and I surely did not want you to go. You grabbed my face and said "I wish you could see yourself the way I see you" and you walked away; leaving me utterly speechless and in love. I've also said those three words to a few people before, but I've never meant it like this. For once I didn't love someone because they loved me first. I didn't fall in love with someone because they were the right choice, the safe choice or the one who flooded me with compliments. For once I didn't fall in love with someone because I was lonely, broken, scared to be alone and completely infatuated with the fact that I took up their attention. I fell in love with you, because you were the someone who saw me differently.

You saw through my faults, struggles, heartache, imperfections and found grace inside them.

I fell in love with you, because I couldn't wait to figure out who that person you were looking at, was.

How lucky I was that you weren't looking for a bright and vibrate star. You were okay with a dull and half broken one; you loved that troubled star anyway.

When we first started dating, I was fun, bright and full of love and laughter. Over time, things changed and you saw me for who I was, under the mask and armor. You saw me take off the entirely too heavy shield, lift off my helmet and lower my sword, showing you the vulnerable, half-broken, sometimes sad girl I am.

You continue to find the girl under the armor beautiful as well, no matter how inside my own head I am.

How lucky I was that you needed someone to lift you out of the life you were living and hiding in. That you were looking for your missing piece; the one to believe in you and help guide your days. How lucky I am that from day one, you've never let me hide. You have constantly been trying to pull me out of my own mind and heartache, that you've been making me a better person every day. Through every day that you help me, you find more of yourself also. You were looking for something you didn't think existed, but it does, in me.

Through all the heartbreak and disappointment I have faced in trying to find the one who would respect me, my thoughts and choices, really believe in me and my strength, know that I am capable of anything I put my mind to and the person that truly finds me beautiful in every way that I am and that I am not, I found you. A boy that has been in my life since I was 15-years-old. The boy who has protected me, mended my sad heart once or twice, been my strength and backbone through grieving, the lost boy I once worried about every single day. I worried that you'd never find someone that would love you like you deserved. I worried that you would never find your way, be wholeheartedly happy and have to struggle every day of your life. I worried that you were going to stay back with your friends, instead of truly allowing yourself to find the girl of your dreams. You proved me wrong and made my worrying stop, lost boy. You have grown into a man I hope to love forever. You have shown me that I was your missing piece and the smile that the realization of that brought to your face, heart and soul, I will never forget.

I am proud of the person I am, even on my darkest day, because you show me that I am the reason you are still here.

What everyone needs to know is this: true love, real love, unconditional love without limits, expectations or restrictions does exist. The person you are meant to laugh with forever is somewhere out there, or for me, right under my nose the whole time. Timing is absolutely everything and my love for my lost boy proved that to me. You need to be at a place in your life where you're ready to open up to love. Hell, I sure did not think I was in the mental state for any of it and neither did he. He went through a lot in his life to get to the point where he could be loved. He made choices, fought through the dark and stood in the light that day we first saw each other, after so many years apart. That is timing and fate at work, I just know it.

So, wait for it. It's worth it.

I do not believe in the cliché words, "you need to love yourself before you can love someone else," because I do not wholeheartedly love myself and neither does he. We are going to spend our lives trying to find ourselves, love ourselves and build ourselves, while being the best team possible, together. Love is about growth and learning who you are inside of it and outside of it. You will test limits, struggle and fight, but when you come out on top, a little less of you will be broken, each time. True love is about mending the broken pieces of your soul and filling them with laughter, joy and the strength that has come from yourself and the person you love. The right love has taught me that and I sincerely hope you all find it. TC mark

Date Someone You’re Compatible With

Posted: 08 Jul 2016 01:00 PM PDT


For the longest time, I've struggled with the idea of "compatibility". I believed that for a person to be compatible with you, they'd have to like all the same things you do. It was all I looked for in a "perfect" partner.

It wasn't a surprise that I never understood that infamous line in 500 Days of Summer. "Just because someone likes the same crap you do, doesn't make them your soulmate." Wrong, I'd say. Of course that would make them my soulmate. Hello? Do you realize how rare it is to find somebody who shares my tastes in music? A guy that also likes spicy food as much as I do? A guy that laughs at all the twisted jokes I laugh at? "Gosh," I'd laugh and say. "I'd definitely love to meet a guy like that."

But you know what? I did meet him. I met a guy that ticked off all those boxes. He listened to the same music that I did. He and I shared the same twisted humor that we'd send each other the most crude videos and jokes and get a good laugh. We liked the same food so there was hardly any disagreement in picking a place to eat. I thought I had finally found my partner. My soulmate.

The saddest thing I discovered through all of this is that I was wrong. Just like Tom in 500 Days of Summer, I had missed one key thing that made all the difference.


Compatibility in the form of how we felt about love, about commitment, about our relationship and showing how we cared about each other. Ultimately it didn't matter if we listened to the same music or loved the same kind of food. Ultimately, we had to agree on one major thing: love. And it broke my heart to finally realize, after two years, that it was the one thing that we didn't agree on.

My idea of love and his idea of love never matched up. I was always asking for more from him and failed to realize that he had already given me everything he could. He couldn't care about me in the way that I wanted him to, not because he didn't care about me at all but because the way we loved each other was different. He needed me to understand this about him yet I couldn't.

By the end of our relationship, our mutual love for punk-rock, arcade games and good burgers wasn't enough to hold us together. And our difference in how we perceived love drove us apart. TC mark