I have spent more time today catching myself wiping away tears than doing anything else… It was the same last night too. I find myself sitting on the steps to the throne of Oz, one hand on the curtain and terrified of what I will find on the other side.
As much as I have written over the past year and more, there are things I have danced around, truths I have alluded to, but I did everything in my power to pretend the things I didn’t want to acknowledge simply didn’t exist… You see, I know there is much which has happened in my life to make me who I am today, and while I have endeavored to only concentrate on those things which have become mile markers in my life, there is much which resides in between them which is becoming more important in understanding who I am…
Speaking about the guilt I have felt, continue to feel, over simply being who I am has brought some of this to the surface and it is going to eat me up inside if I don’t deal with it.
I have spoken before of the things my mother said and did, her cutting comments, her obvious disapproval, her refusal to see in me anything but her own failures… but more than that was the constant, unspoken feeling that whatever had happened in her life was in some way my fault. That her life would have somehow been better had I not been there. It was rarely overt, just a look in her eyes, a downward twist to her lips. Her refusal to accept I had a right and reason to become my own person… her clear thought that the only reason I should exist was to cater to her every need and whim, that doing otherwise was a personal insult. That in seeking my own path, in searching for my own happiness, I was being spiteful and selfish.
There was a time when she wanted me to use my veterans benefits to help buy her a house, when I asked what would happen if I met someone and wanted to get married and have a place of our own, she told me in no certain words I was just being selfish. The look on her face made it clear what she thought of me meeting anyone who would waste their time being with me… A year later I met A and she never forgave me.
There was nothing I could do which would ever be good enough… I would never be good enough… No one would ever love me or accept me because I didn’t deserve it.
I was born and raised in guilt… It was because of me all the bad happened in the lives of those around me… If I hadn’t done this, if I had done that, if I were just bigger, smarter, more talented, a more obedient child, a better student….
Certainly my father was no better. In his eyes I was a disappointment. I wasn’t his “little man” no matter what I did. I wasn’t rough and tumble, (I always managed to got hurt), I wasn’t interested in the things he was. I wasn’t into sports or guns or the crude humor he enjoyed. I was too sensitive, too emotional, too introspective. We had nothing in common and so he made every effort to ignore me unless there was something I needed to be punished for and some how there always something… He tried to teach me to “man up,” to “be a man.” He thought using pain and humiliation was the way to teach me how to be what he thought I should be.
All I learned was to bury myself deeper within myself. To hide myself away and try and survive another day.
I took all these things, big and small and used them to punish myself until the time came when what they did hurt less than what I did to myself.
I have lived so much of my life believing all the bad things which happen to those around me was because of me. If they had never met me then none of it would have happened. I was a jinx, a bad omen, an angel of suffering.
I didn’t deserve to be loved, accepted, understood, or even tolerated.
My own hopes and dreams were meaningless.
The only use I had was in what I was able to do or others and in that I allowed myself to be used. I didn’t have true friends, I surrounded myself with those who saw in me what they could take for themselves.
These are the things I am finding as I slowly lift the curtain. They are painful to see, to acknowledge, but they cannot be ignored. Not if I am to heal.