So I’ve been very quite lately and decided that I would continue doing what I promised I would do and that is living an honest existence. The last week has had me facing 2 suicide attempts, being baker acted only to be released to attempt again and now home going through the motions of trying to be okay while I seek treatment and holding on to the fragile threads that keep me connected to life here while finding the act of breathing an all out effort.
But that is the take away here… I am seeking help. I am still here and I am still breathing, one day at a time.
This is a letter I wrote today and figured it summed things up best…
Sometimes we just break. Despite our best efforts not to, sometimes life just becomes too much. Grief, loss, pressure, stress, sadness, mundane, the accumulation of bad to good ratios, the truth is sometimes even the strongest of us get caught in the details.
I allowed you to affect my mood, my psyche, my view of myself, my value, my worth. No-one forced me to do that, I allowed it because the truth is it reinforced a lifetime of feeling worthless and ultimately I was looking for reinforcements.
So this truth may be a little long winded, hard to read for some and quite possibly written for my benefit because the likelihood of it reaching receptive eyes is non-existent and I know this feeling all to well.
You see, what I learned over the last week was more than I have learned in the last 42 years of my life.
I was driving back from your house, down I95 at 95 miles an hour in the fast lane with the most focused tunnel vision I have ever had and I saw my vehicle flipping and rolling over, crushing me beneath the weight of the metal and being dragged bloody on the asphalt.
It was so vivid I could smell the pavement and hear tires screeching and horns blaring and the dim light from behind my eyes finally, finally coming to it’s end and I felt so righteous that I pressed further down that road determined to make that happen.
And somewhere in the madness I saw the lights flashing behind me and heard my daughter’s voice through my fog and for the second time in my life, she saved me. Her voice reaching some primal part of my heart, the one that is biologically, chemically connected to hers and I pulled over.
I managed to talk somewhat coherently to the police officer long enough for him to bestow compassion on me. Something in him saw my pain, but also saw the good in me beyond my reprehensible actions, because the truth of it is that I had enough medication and alcohol on board to properly kill myself and potentially others, an admission that even now makes me sick to my stomach because I could not have lived with myself knowing I could have hurt someone else.
The details…sometimes I think they matter so I over explain, the truth is, you don’t care about any of that. You don’t care about anything. It’s a statement I used to not be able to quantify because I so desperately wanted to believe you could care, until I realized that you didn’t. But I suppose the truth is, I always knew that.
My first memories have never been of being loved. My first memories , the very first things I can grasp out of the hollow places in my mind are of being beaten, of being scared, not feeling safe, hiding, running, crying, defending, challenging, losing, screaming and then the horrible memories take hold and I remember the WHY…WHY I screamed feeling my insides being ripped apart, WHY I gasped for air after being punched in the stomach by a grown man, WHY I hid…so he wouldn’t find me, use me and discard me.
When your first tangible, impressionable memories are of being a thing, it’s hard, nearly impossible even to define yourself as anything but.
I had bits of memories, like scraps of paper pressed between the novel of what I knew to be true, that hid tiny truths within my pages in the form of my grandparents love. They loved me and I knew that, I felt that but it was as if it were a secret, a secret so small that it was whispered between bruises and never quite scratched the surface, never settled as deep as the blows.
One of the most lasting scars a child can face at the hands of systematic physical abuse is the mental and emotional toll it takes on your feelings of self worth. You learn quite quickly that you are a thing that is disregarded as easily as trash and that takes a firm hold in the roots of who you believe yourself to be, long before you ever nurture that belief with bad choices.
Some of us, well…we fake it really well…an edgy sort that come through our childhood with a tougher outer shell than most and all the softness of every made for TV movie. A happy ending waiting for that one person to see our pain and the beauty in our ability to have a good heart despite all the reasons we’ve been given to turn from love. And isn’t that what we’re told? That the knight in shinning armor will be from the “right” side of the tracks and if we just hang in there long enough, he’ll come to his senses, leave the prom queen behind and show up on our front lawn with boom-box in hand playing a Peter Gabrielle song that will perfectly convey his love?
My second set of memories are of me using my body in middle school to obtain short bursts of feeling. And I won’t even lie and say I ever thought I felt loved back then. I just didn’t want to feel like nothing. So I did what all the other girls wouldn’t do and I allowed myself to be used up in small increments and each time I did I lost another fragment of whatever was left of me. I am certain it wasn’t much but I knew I wasn’t dead and that I suppose, was something.
I didn’t have the emotional maturity to think beyond whatever I lacked feeling in the moment so I repeated the same behavior over and over again, I thought somewhere in the back of my mind that if I was in control (a blissful illusion) of what I did with my body instead of it being decided for me as it had been in the past that I was winning the battle. Until I was gang-raped and that illusion was shattered and I hated myself, my body and began to believe that I was a object, devoid of feeling to be used and thrown away because it was all I ever knew. I starved myself, binged and purged, abused diet pills, caffeine, laxatives and managed to control my body into about 84lbs of hatred…and blossomed under the reinforcement that my skeletal frame made me more attractive, the less of me there was the more desirable I became. I used that fuel for years. Even now using my physical appearance to control how others perceive who I am.
I spent a lifetime of making choices that reinforced just how nothing I could become. Except 3 years ago, something changed.
When he hit me with his truck and left me bleeding and fractured, something happened to me, to my insides and I finally, FINALLY saw my value and for the first time.
I stood up for myself.
I STOOD UP.
I fought FOR myself.
It happened like a strike of lightening.
I drove angrily to work as I always had, in pain, sadness and hatred in my heart and something changed in an instant. I grew wings. I let go. I forgave every single thing that had ever been done to me, forgave everyone who ever wronged me, changed my entire outlook on this world, connected with everything in it in a millisecond and I knew I was going to be ok and that I had a voice and I was going to use that voice to help anyone and everyone I could reach. On that drive to work, my life changed and I opened myself up to the possibility of love, real LOVE again.
I began writing. I began connecting. I fought my battle in court with him and won.
You know this, you were there at the end…I met YOU shortly after this epiphany and that is why I held so tight to the belief that YOU were my person, sent to me from the cosmos to illuminate my way to finally feeling what I lacked my entire life…LOVE.
And I loved you. My god did I love you, in ways you will never be able to understand. I saw the reflection of pain and suffering in your own heart, I saw a lifetime of choices spent trying to undo the feelings of your past. I saw every whisper that never scratched the surface of your skin too and I thought I could infiltrate your veins and love you on a cellular level, from the inside out and rebuild what you had lost along the way…I was going to be the lyrics blasting from the boom-box straight into our happy ending…roll credits, fade to black.
So convinced I was in my ability to love you through any darkness because I had been there, I knew that sunlight was fleeting, but there.
…I knew that love was the way and I wanted to show you how to get home, back to that place of living…not just surviving.
How naïve…I was still living my made for TV movie fantasy.
The reality was that the last hold of my innocence hadn’t yet left me and I was making yet another shitty choice to give what was left to someone who only wanted to take from me all that was good, all that I had to give, that last bit of virtue…the last bit of untapped goodness my heart could hold onto and use it up until I was a shell and so low that I would remove myself from this earth and tidy up your loose ends for you so that you wouldn’t have to deal with the guilt of what you had done.
I suppose that was my exit strategy, because before you I had always left an “out”. I had never given all of myself. I always held onto something that was just for me, something I could get back to, to build from…breadcrumbs.
I skipped along the trail with you at your insistence each time and didn’t even consider what I was leaving behind. I left nothing of myself and poured myself into you with reckless abandon. I loved you more fiercely than I have loved anything. I loved every rotten, disgusting characteristic you showed me. I loved every poor decision, every deceitful lie, every ounce of insecurity and selfishness. I SAW you and loved you despite every reason you gave me not to and thought if you saw my perfect acceptance that I would be allowed to finally show someone else the pain that lay behind my eyes, the sorrow in my soul, the choices that I had made. I thought you’d see ME and still love me…assign me value, assign me worth.
But all I did was make another choice to reinforce what that little girl who had gone off into hiding always knew…I was disposable.
I could be used up, lied to, manipulated, deceived, cheated on, abused and I would still give…hoping, always hoping to be shown love.
I used to think that you didn’t see me, but you did. You saw me perfectly and you made a choice each time I begged you not to hurt me, not to yell, not to ghost, not to abandon…you made a choice each time to do exactly what you promised you wouldn’t and I made a choice to reinforce my worthlessness by accepting your scraps, your whispers on the surface of my skin that never settled.
I was there when you needed me most, forgiving your transgressions to ease your conscience so you could abuse me over and over again at your discretion on your terms, without so much as a moment of regret. Because it reinforced my belief that I was a thing, an object to be used and discarded for a lifetime.
And that is where I am now.
Trying to find the will within my soul to believe that I am more than my lifetime of experience, that there must be more to it than this.
I don’t know why I have to break so hard. I don’t know why I was put here. I don’t know why I am still alive, why I breathe, why I cry, why I suffer, why my heart hurts in places I didn’t even know existed. I don’t know what’s left. I don’t know the why, the why to why I still want to believe in anything beyond what I know to be true.
I keep thinking there must be something beyond this pain and wonder where that hope comes from, wonder if those whispers tucked between the pages of my world are a secret that I need to search for or if I am the one abusing me the most by believing in something better.
I suppose only time will tell.
And I suppose I will navigate the rest of my journey as I always have, alone, broken but believing that my pieces will make sense eventually and that if I never have answers at least I will know that I have given myself and all that I am to those little whispers that believed even if briefly that some part of me was worth loving.