as long as i can remember, i have had an ongoing sort of to-do list in my mind. i’m also a list-maker on paper, but the one in my mind is something else. included on it are things i need make up to people. a ledger, of sorts, of debits and credits, that paralyze me with guilt. it is a constant, perpetual, loooooong list, dating back decades, in some cases. i don’t think i could ever get to the end of it.
some people would call this a manifestation of anxiety. i guess it is. but for me, it’s also a manifestation of shame, of a mind that was constantly trying to anticipate where i could go wrong, and to right it when i inevitably did. if i was stupid enough to make a mistake, i needed to make up for it forever, and i mean for. ever.
when i am stumbling around in the wilderness of shame, as i have been lately, this list is everywhere. a blaring marquee in my mind, in black and white all-caps, with spotlights. projected onto the backs of my eyelids at night. and i hear it everywhere, too, like it’s a script everyone knows, a litany of my wrongness.
i don’t even know who i would be without it, except i’d really like to find out.
**this post was actually written on Jan 12/19 but backdated to the day the word came out**
Reading pc’s post again tonight brings tears to my eyes. She writes beautifully about the ugliest of things and she’s put words to things that I had zero desire to try to write about yesterday.
I want to add some more. And I suppose there are two types to this. The physical pain, and far worse, the emotional. I’ll start with the former.
- The bruises on a body from ‘kids being kids’.
- The feeling of suffocating when your head is held underwater and however much you flail and try to get out of their grip, you can’t.
- Or when their hand is over your mouth and nose, or around your neck and you can’t escape.
- When their body is on top of yours, pinning you down.
- When your arm or leg is held so hard you end up bruised.
- When you are hit or pushed down or threatened without the requirement of words even leaving their mouth.
- When their penis is down your throat and you cannot escape. When you gag and can’t breathe, and the only air you can get into your lungs is when they release the pressure of their hand on the back of your head and you can pull back just long enough that you can breathe through your nose again before they thrust your head back forward and you’re suffocating. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat x 100.
- When you disappear to wherever you can, because the things they are doing to your body are more than you can cope with.
- When doors are slammed on hands. Objects thrown at faces. Plates and glasses smashed on the wall behind you.
- The sweet sharp pain that is self inflicted in order to try to bring yourself back to the present, or punish yourself, or just feel *something*. Or rather, actually, to so often feel nothing, to numb everything happening in your brain and body, to remove yourself from it all.
And yet, the actual physical pain and fear is short lived right? Ha. No, not really. Because the emotional pain brings them back all the fucking time. Periods become triggers where your body feels like it’s still happening, over and over, where your memories torment you. And all of these things come back, out of nowhere, when you least expect it, when you might be having a good day, and then SLAM. Hit in the face with this shit, out of nowhere, for no reason that you can pinpoint.
And as pc has said, all of the other shattering things.
- The fact that they chose him, yet again. The fact that you’re not chosen. The knowledge that you won’t ever be.
- The fear that has your knees curled up to your chest whilst you sit on the floor of the shower for half an hour hoping that the water will wash it all off of you.
- The birthdays, the christmases, the fathers days, the mothers days, the lunches, the dinners, the family gatherings, the celebrations.
- The never ending silencing.
- The earth shattering loss of parents that can make you feel orphaned, and alone and like you won’t survive it.
- The shame. The white hot, flushed cheeks, sweaty bodied shame.
- The fucking ocean of grief. And the ocean of grief that you haven’t been able to cry for in years.
- The years spent taking care of yourself because nobody else will. The putting yourself to bed and the crying yourself to sleep at night.
- The feeling unseen, unheard, unappreciated, unloved. Unloveable.
- The taking all of it on so that you can retain some semblance of control.
There are so many more. This list isn’t even close to exhaustive, but I have another post I need to write.
this is another big one, and i’m not sure i’ll be able to do it justice in my current frame of mind. which, ironically, is feeling wrong in my body and wrong in my mind and wrong in my whole life. i am exhausted and feeling beaten down, i’m young and horrible. i’m flooded with guilt and shame and am convinced i’m a burden, a horror, a crap partner and mom and friend. it’s not a nice place to be.
i hate the feeling of wrongness because it’s so familiar. and every time i feel this way, especially lately, i think about how long i’ve lived with the conviction that there is something wrong with me. that i’m inherently just wrong, somehow, sloppily made from the get-go, pieced together from discarded bits of intergenerational flotsam and jetsam. how i spent so long feeling like i was just born wrong, could never hope to get things right…and how just the right combination of circumstances in my life today can send me straight back to that awful, desperate, deadly place.
i might have to come back to this one because i need help unhooking from how i’m feeling, and this is sending me deeper into it. i want to talk more about it but tonight i just can’t.