Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why Can't I Fix It?

Today is my eldest son's 26th birthday.  This is the first time in his life that I don't know where he is or how to reach him....and I don't mean calling his cell phone.
I know that when I tried to kill myself he was really lost, and he tried really hard to cover this up by acting overly-confident and aloof.  He was angry for a long time and I thought at one point that I had reached through that anger and that we were on better ground.  But he is back in dangerous territory and I would give my right arm to help him, but he doesn't want my help.
I have taught myself to deal with the immense fallout from my suicide by treating it as payment for this life, this new life that I love, even after all of the horrendous things that happened last year.  I could blame myself for everything, but that wouldn't be very correct or productive.  I did that in my last life, and it didn't work out too well for me.
On days like this, I feel so powerless all over again.  Maybe this is normal; I don't know, since I don't have any idea how to define 'normal' and I have a very different view of feeling powerless these days.  I just want to see my son, hard as it will be, uncomfortable as it will be, just downright tedious...I want to hug him, that's all.  I know that my words just anger him and his words just anger me, so I just want to hug him.  I have no idea if I will get that opportunity...
I just hope that he will find his way, and get out there and do what he says he wants to do, and figure out who he is, his authentic self. And then learn to love that authentic self....its a tall order for this one...keep your fingers crossed for him, will you?  He needs all the love and luck that he can get.....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Where Were All the Grown-Ups?

I have finally unraveled my deep, dark secret.  It is much worse, much sadder than being 'abused' in the usual sense, because it took my trust and my belief that I could be safe and smacked it down over and over and over again.  Now that I know, now that I have let myself remember, I have to keep repeating to myself that 'you were just a little girl, it wasn't your fault' and to a large extent, 'it wasn't his fault, either, he was just a little boy'.
I don't know at what age this all started but probably around the time I was 7 or so. My male cousin, also an only child, was two years my senior.  I looked up to him like a big brother.  Even when he got me in trouble, or trashed one of my toys, I still loved him.  And the adults around would usually just let it go, because they felt sorry for him, with his alcoholic mother and perverted, abusive father.  He was rarely punished, and usually when he was he retaliated in some way.  I was punished on a routine basis, for things wasn't even in the room to do. I was as innocent and gullible as they come.  I always looked for the good....I realize that now, even though I wouldn't have been old enough to recognize it then.
Anyway, my cousin began touching me, asking me to touch him.  I didn't know any better at the time, and as I said, I looked up to him.  This was an ongoing theme throughout my childhood and teenage years as well.  The worst part of it all was what it did to my view of myself, and consequently, how others responded to me.  Self-worth, trust, self-esteem, right, wrong, all of it....very much a mess.  I touched other children....sometimes they touched me back, sometimes they told their parents, sometimes both.  I was rewarded and punished for my behavior, and never once did I admit where I got such ideas.  I'm not sure anyone ever asked.  I don't think they wanted to know.  I see now that I was never able to have a normal relationship....I was so confused about love and trust and sex.  I spent most of my youth 'belonging' to my cousin.  Because at some point, I quit looking for the adult to come and save me....I realized it was never going to happen, and this was just the way it was going to be until I was old enough and strong enough to change it....about the time I was for 10 years this was going on, and nobody said a fucking thing.  In fact, there were many times that we were just thrown together, to sleep together, to live alone together, etc.  At one point we talked about getting married or pretending to be, since we didn't think anyone would want us...we realized that we were too messed up to have normal, loving relationships.
I can't begin to tell you how far down I had stuffed this.  When I was touched inappropriately by my father and then by my step-father (I was 18 by then), I absolutely did not allow anything to happen.  Yet I would use these two instances as reason for my subsequent self-abuse.  I didn't consider what happened between my cousin and I as wrong or a reason for me to be screwed up, in comparison to what I now consider 'the dads' disgusting behavior.  I think the reality is that 'the dads' supplied the last two nails in my coffin....leaving me standing there with nothing to do but try and fuck over every man I could.
But enough for today...Seeing this written in words is very validating for me.  I was just a little girl, and I swear, I can't tell you where the grown-ups were or what they were doing that allowed such a thing to start and continue for a decade.  Kind of amazing, wouldn't you say?

Monday, August 13, 2012

..And I"ll Take a Big Bowl of Self-Esteem....

Now, should I have that Self-Esteem as a side dish or as my entree, appetizer or dessert?
My old life didn't even include Self-Esteem as a garnish.  If you had met me, you would have believed that I was fine, had a fine view of myself, and the confidence to do anything.  I knew that something was wrong, but I didn't let that ruin my pretense as a normal person.  But even as I excelled - at music, at motherhood, at friendship, at my equine-related businesses, at cooking, you name it - I never could shake the feeling, deep down inside, that I was a failure, that I was a fake, that nobody loved me, and on and on and on.  I never felt that my work would be considered good enough, so I was feverish in my efforts to be 'the best' and to be seen as a tough, accomplished person.  Yet it only took one comment, one person's doubt, one bully, one harmless mistake, and I could be sent into a tailspin of self-loathing and negativity, all held deep inside, where it festered and ached and caused the tiniest of hairline cracks in my 'image' of myself.  I spent my first 50 years living this life, until I couldn't bare to live it any longer, and those little hairline cracks all got together and shattered that 'image' forever.
The best thing that has come from my suicide, by far, is the chance to shed the layers of soul poverty and emerge a whole person, a happy, self-confident, learning-to-be-self-reliant person.  For all of the pain and all of the loss I know that who I am now is stronger and kinder and wiser.  I have self-esteem for the first time ever.  It is mine and can't be taken away from me.  It is a beautiful thing, too.
It is an awesome thing for me to accept accolades for my work, without acknowledging or validating the voice of self-doubt that would like to turn earnest compliments into twisted put-downs or shallow pacifiers.  I feel whole and alive, not just going through the motions of living.  I didn't know it could be like this, just like I didn't know that I was a lifetime victim of abuses.  I thought that was normal.  And I'll explain more about that in a future installment of this blog.  Suffice it to say that I am starting to understand my past life and why I had become what I had become.
Now I don't cook much these days, but its okay, because I find that I like my generous helpings of Self-Esteem served at room temperature or slightly chilled, with a sprinkle of cinnamon, maybe a little butter.  All good is good.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Baring the Soul...Not Always What You Would Think...

I had a very raw conversation with my husband this morning.  I asked about the missing pages in my journal, showed him the journal, where the pages were carefully torn out, the time line of the missing entries.  He said he didn't take them, and I believe him.  I know who took them, and why she thought she was entitled to do so.  I hope she finds joy and comfort in my recorded misery, as she is no longer in my life, and those pages, however dear they were to me, are all she has left of me.  No, I'm not bitter, and hope I don't sound that way.  When your mother betrays you, while already in the act of betrayal, what can you say? what can you do?  Nothing, but wave her on.  The good news is that she can't hurt me anymore.  She has lost that power that I allowed her to have over me.  I am happy to say that in her betrayal, the one where she was acting like my mother for the first time in my life, was a wonderful feeling for me.  I at least got to know what it would be like to have a real mother, who loved me unconditionally and knew that no one could take her place in my life.  It was quite an experience for me, and I am grateful.  It was short-lived, unfortunately.
Back to the morning's conversation; as i began talking to my husband about those missing pages, those first epiphanies after my suicide, i found that i was able to open myself up and tell him what i had been remembering lately about my past self, from childhood, teenhood, adulthood.  I let him know that i could now understand, remember that i was fucked up from childhood - socially, sexually, and all that came with it.  I told him that I was already completely messed up by the time we met.  I spent our marriage trying to compensate and be all the things that 'normal' people were, a good wife, mother, friend, worker, housekeeper, daughter, whatever.  I was vigilant in my facade.  I believed it was real, too.  I had to believe in order for everyone else to buy it, i suppose.
So this morning I bared my soul and my self to my husband, talking about things he couldn't have known.  I did ask him why he never questioned how i could just simply let him fuck me.  i realized that he probably didn't know any better, as he was inexperienced sexually.  I had lots of experience, just the wrong kind, so i could never connect with him, never allow myself to feel good or feel at all.
I encouraged him to use his therapy sessions to bare himself to the group; that it would be the safest place, as nothing from there leaves there.  I hope he will find the courage to let things out, take them out and have a good look at them, finally.
I don't need those pages anymore.  I can remember enough from that time.  I am saddened that someone would take them, and be so deliberate about it.  I am not the only crazy person in this story.  I am not going to allow such an act to make me feel like a victim.  I used to be a victim, with a V on my forehead.  NO MORE, though.  She is dead, that victim.  I left her in the ambulance, or the ER, wherever it was that I flat-lined.  She is dead, and I have paid for her sins and her demise.  Life by suicide is not cheap.  Realizing that parts of yourself are broken beyond repair, that's a hard thing to accept, and a hard thing for other people to accept, especially if it has anything to do with their relationship with you, be it past, present, and/or future.
I watch my husband, who victimized and betrayed me and who betrayed and victimized himself, as I say the things that we both have to hear and understand.  as we move past 'it's broken' to 'this is why it's broken' and 'this is how it got broken in the first place' we try to find our places, our roles, in this new we bare our souls.