I don't get mad about much. I just don't. If I am given honesty, I believe I can overcome just about anything. I can see multiple sides of things, so that rush to anger just doesn't happen... because I can imagine what it is like to be the other guy.
But I am mad that no one asked questions. I'm not mad all of the time, but when I think about it, I am. Family, friends, teachers, you name it... no one stepped in. No one asked why us kids were always miserable. Everyone cites being nervous about how to approach their family member or authorities about it, but no one made a decision to stop it. They saw tears and gave hugs, and for that I am grateful because hugs were not had any other time. But they did not do anything to help make the tears stop. I get mad sometimes, because they could have made it stop.
And in that, I find my own guilt. I also could have made it stop. I could have made a phone call or told someone the details. But I was a child still trapped in the tornado that abuse sweeps children into and convinces them that the debris flying past their heads is normal. I knew unhappiness, but I did not know it was abuse. I did not know it was uncommon. I did not know I was doing damage by not stopping it. Yet, that does not change the fact that I still know I could have stopped it. I was older. I was more aware. I was more insightful and analytical and reflective. I saw the hurt and sadness and hopelessness. But I did not think those things were bad enough.
That was their job; the adults were supposed to see it and question it. They were supposed to ask why I had new scars on my wrist, why I came to school in tears, and why my sister went to school on drugs. They should have asked why my brother was violent and unpredictable, and why the other brother hid away most of the time. Looking back, there was no shortage of times when someone could have decided to figure it all out. But no one did. I told a teacher Bill sexually abused me, and he kept that info to himself until he wanted to use it as ammo when I had been skipping class. At that point, I denied it out of fear of being in trouble with my mother. And every teacher and the principle at that parent meeting took my back-peddling as truth. They contacted no one to look into it, nor questioned me further. They sent me home. My mother sat there and let me tell them I lied, knowing I hadn't.. and they turned their cheek to the possibility that a scared 17 year old girl might need to tell her story to a safe person in a safe setting.
My family told me once that they thought about taking us kids, but didn't know how to tell a family member that they thought she should give us up. THAT is what came between them changing 4 innocent and crumbling lives... fear of a reaction.
I had many of my friends' parents offer to take me in, but I had to have my parents' permission. Think about that... They volunteered to save me if I could get the people harming me to let them save me. Saving me would have been calling someone about your daughter's friend and her constant struggle to want to stay alive because her home is a constant emotional and physical warzone.
I sound bitter. I am not, really. I know it isn't easy to pick up a phone and get involved. I know it isn't easy to make someone else's battle your own. I don't think less of those people I encountered in my life that watched us float by without throwing us a life raft. And I don't stew over it any more than a fraction of a second every million years or so. But sometimes, I still get mad. And that's okay. It's okay to still get mad. But it's not okay to forget that each of those people had their own battles they were fighting, and it might not have been as obvious to them that something was as wrong as it was.
Hell, I didn't even see it.. and I was living it. It is an odd thing to consider when you think about it; how pain can hide in the shadows of the very soul it lives in. It's like living in your own house, but never being able to see yourself in it until you get a chance to leave and look back in.
Much of the content may be a bit dark, but it is not necessarily in chronological order. There are no dates, because I don't think it matters if I wrote it 3 years ago or yesterday. I decided to write for me and I know most of the time I feel like writing is when I have something I need to process or work through; this is really my only place to come to and release.
I am not miserable, I am just healing.
I am not miserable, I am just healing.
I have lived through plenty in my life to make anyone scared of others. Problem is, that gives them the power and I am not down with that. If I let what has happened to me turn my life into something I navigate with fear, it is because I gave it up, not because they took it.
- my enlightening facebook wisdom. ;)
Posted by Unaffected at 3:23 PM
i miss you.
Posted by Unaffected at 10:21 AM
In all seriousness, sometimes I do wonder how I made it out with all of my marbles in place, and in a funny way I feel lucky. I would have been luckier to have not needed to overcome bullshit in the first place, but that's neither here nor there, really. Spilt milk, etc, yadda yadda.
Most of the time, it is my ability to be an affectionate and patient mom that baffles me. There seems to be this well of knowledge and compassion and common sense that I draw from and I haven't the slightest idea where the source of the darn thing is. But, I am glad it is there and I am immensely proud that I have been so determined to drink from that well rather than the one I was handed the rope to when I was a kid.
This time, though, it is my lack of fucks to give that I am proud of. Of course, I give lots of them when it comes to caring for people, but I seem to be very low on them when it is in relation to what people think about my actions/looks/dreams/love/everything else. It seems simple, right? Just don't care what people think of you! Yeah! Just don't! Except that goes against everything that was presented as normal to me my entire young life. I, somehow, looked upon a mother that revolved her every decision and judgments around what others would think of her, and instead of needing validation, I couldn't care less if you or anyone else thinks I am doing "it" right. I don't care if you hate my hair or my tattoos. I don't care if you think my significant other is ugly. I don't care if you think I don't discipline my son correctly or spend my money wisely. I am not an asshole... I KNOW that I treat people with respect and kindness (sprinkled with a bit of sarcastic humor if I think you are smart enough to catch it), and I KNOW I am a good person, good friend, good mom, and good lover. Anything beyond that is pretty unimportant.
I have acknowledged many times that "fuggit" is a common go-to resonse for me. It's not that I don't take anything seriously, but in the end there are very few things worth tearing yourself to pieces over. Yes, I watched my mother throw her own children under the bus more times than I can count for the sake of preserving her own image with people who really didn't fucking matter. But I refuse to let what someone might think of me dictate who I am, what kind of person I become, and how I interact with the world. Do I think my shit doesn't stink? Ha! No. I have my insecurities. I have stretchmarks that I hide and my sports abilities are nothing short of humiliating. I have my moments where I can be embarrassed or try to avoid just such an outcome. But for the most part, I came to this point retaining a healthy sense of who I am and how to be okay with it.
Going back to be unaffected, though... this state of comfort with my decisions and my instincts has not always been bubbling over the sides for me. It was a fight. I had all the tools to run with being a carbon copy of a woman who didn't know how to take a step independent of the world's glare around her, and I was walking on wobbly legs for a long time. I wanted her approval. I wanted anyone's approval. Love was good, but validation was the best. I did not come through the other side unaffected. However, a combination of self analysis and taking lots of long looks at the what and why of my history has helped me grow. Stepping outside and looking in is hard. But living your life looking out at everyone else looking at you is harder. I much prefer life as it is now, where I can be confident in where I choose to plant my next step. I don't always know it is the right step, but I know it is my step... and I don't care if you think it is weird that I took it dancing, crawling, or crying. I will not be crippled because I am waiting for someone else to tell me which way to go.
Which brings me to the question of what I fear. If you asked me in person, I would likely retort with a smile, "not much." It is true, to a somewhat odd degree. But the truth is, I desperately fear being fearful. I don't want to hold back because I am scared. I do not want to live with a glass wall in front of me that I cannot get passed, even if I can see through it just fine. I don't want to be scared to try, to fall, to hurt, to get embarrassed, and to move. Scared to move... THAT is my biggest fear. To be so crippled, whether it is a fear of failure or a fear of others' judgments, that you can't get out of your own head and your own bubble... it's a nightmare. So, I rock my pink hair and my beat up truck and I curse a lot... I admit that I fucked up and I put my feelings out on the table. I try to stay open rather than putting up walls.
I am okay if you can see my inner workings, because I don't care if you think they are put together the right way or if you think they are pretty. And because I don't spend my time worrying about that, I can love without the boundaries that fear builds around us. I can live.
Posted by Unaffected at 1:42 AM
Somewhere in the midst of a bottle of Riesling working its way through my system and an ever enlightening walk to campground restrooms, three words came to me. I had been having a conversation with my friend about why I have not written a book yet; as you could imagine, it was an emotional conversation. I usually blame my lack of interest in writing one on the fact that no one really cares what I have dealt with or what I am doing now... I am no one special, after all. But in the clarity that can only happen when your mind gets a little foggy, I realized that it is because I don't feel like I have any standing or right to tell anyone else where to go when I don't feel like I have gotten where I am going yet. So, as I walked back from that bathroom, I repeated those three words over and over so I wouldn't forget them... because we all know I have a tendency to move onto the next thought as if they were just being thrown into my lap to deal with in rapid fire succession.
Those words landed on a random open document I had pulled up in on this laptop in the woods weeks ago and it wasn't until now that I found them. I probably should have followed up with wherever they took me at that moment, but wine and my ability to stay awake are directly related to each other: adversely, unfortunately.
Unanchored. What does that even mean in relation to why I am not writing a bestselling book yet? Well, drunk me probably could have answered that a little better, since she is the one who spit it out in the form of an epiphany... but I will give it a go. Drunk me is still valid me... she usually has her wits about her more than one might expect, so we won't dismiss her. Honestly, how the hell can I tell anyone else how to get from point A to point B if I don't know where the hell my point B is? I have a general picture of where I want to go, but I am not anchored yet, and I have no idea when it will happen. If it will happen. Life is in charge of all that mess, after all. If I was living in a world of stepping stones and paths that I could shine light onto, then maybe I would feel like sharing the directions made sense. But right now, what would I do... point off in the distance and say "go that way over there... maybe"? Or am I supposed to tell people it is okay to treat life like an unwritten story like I do? That could be the opposite of what they need! I do not have an anchor down, how do I show anyone else what it is to not get taken by the storm? I don't feel like I am drifting, by any means... but I don't have any clue how I would tell anyone else how to stop drifting without throwing down anchor. If you ask me, I have no idea how I saved myself... other than maybe winning the genetics lottery that gave me the smarts to process things the way I did.
One might argue that writing is my anchor. I guess it isn't wrong. But it isn't an answer for everyone else, and trying to guide others feels like the blind leading the blind sometimes.
Unsatisfied. This one is sticky. I AM satisfied with who I am, though I hope I keep growing and understanding. I AM satisfied with how far I have placed myself from where I could have been. But I am not satisfied that I have reached a place where I can tell anyone else how to get there. I still want to do so much, be so much, accomplish so much. How can I feel worthy of giving guidance when I feel like I am only a few chapters into my own travels? I look around me and I am just beginning. I have lived so much life... gone through so much and done so much, but it is a drop in the bucket in relation to the shenanigans I have on my list of things to do. I am still working and living paycheck to paycheck (sorta), I still have relationship issues with friends/family/lovers, and I am still mad sometimes.
I guess that flows into Unfinished pretty effortlessly. Truth is, I am not done getting better. Am I a mess? No. Am I bitter? No. But I still get mad sometimes. I still have little bits of hurt and confusion and anger that exist within me... and though I have done amazingly to not let them become me or what I am about, they are there. I cannot smile and tell someone it will be okay, that they should let it all go, and that I figured it out when I am not done figuring it out. I don't know how to evict all of the negative thoughts and shake it all away, because sometimes I still want to shake my mother and punch my adoptive father. Sometimes I still want to scream. Sometimes I still cry... out of no fucking where. Sure, it is like 2% problem at this point, absolutely nowhere near a common occurrence or thought or rumination. But even if it's minute, how can I act like I figured out how to leave it all in the dust when every few months I still wish I could just have a few minutes to tell those people how much they suck?
The friend I was camping with said something that is obviously true... she said "Maybe you aren't supposed to write about how to beat it. Maybe you are supposed to write about how to keep moving through it and survive it"
I know she is probably right. I don't have to wait until my life glistens to talk about finally wading through and out of the muck. But I still feel grossly unqualified to have a single person looking to me for much of anything. Not because I feel that I am not awesome (cause, well, I am most of the time), but because my awesome might be their terrible and that is a lot of responsibility.
Posted by Unaffected at 9:37 PM
There's been this ongoing theme to my life...a theme of uncertainty and slightly whimsical disregard for a final story to be written out as the pattern for what my life should look like. I have ideas and they change. I see visions of what I might have outside of my kitchen window one day... but whether I actually have a kitchen window and what is outside of it never remains a constant or solid picture. Cityscapes morph into country sides which fade into farms and back around to industrial landscapes. Sometimes I am in an old barn with no walls and only lofts and beams to plot out the rough and fluid spaces within my home. Other times I am in a 100 year old home with original woodwork, fireplaces, and huge windows. Then , the appeal of a small and simple repurposed shipping crate sounds amazing, only to be followed by the idea that a hut in Africa wouldn't suck at all.
Rigidity is almost like a four letter word for me.. I have no idea what I will end up doing or where I will go. It could be Africa or New York, Ohio or Scotland. It sounds scattered and flighty, and in a way I suppose it is, but sometimes I wonder if it is just a way of protecting myself from disappointment. If I don't set anything in stone, when it washes away, I can just write something else down in its place. That doesn't mean my heart was never in it... it just means my heart has gotten really good at treading water and waiting for the tide to go back out again. It feels like it is drowning in the mean time, but it always finds solid ground eventually.
But does that mean I am anti-settled down? I don't think so. I think I always keep my options floating around in my head, but that any one of them could result in just as much happiness as the next. If I end up in a warehouse loft in New York, I will be no more or less able to feel at home as I would in a farmhouse in Ohio. I won't suddenly feel like I am too tied down and run away, or become bitter about all of the places I didn't get to live. I would, of course, be dead set on still having options in my life... they are the soil that dreams find sustenance within, after all. But I don't have a checklist of places I want to live that needs to be crossed off, with no sign of stopping in sight. I want to be able to go if I so choose and if my family so chooses... I want to be able to write our own story completely independent of what society and others think a family's story should look like.
Sometimes, the picture I see out of the window in my head surprises me. Sometimes... the place where I end up standing and the warmth I get from it is not what I ever thought it would be, and I love that about myself. The fact that I can get faced with what I would have said is not 'me' and welcome it, hug it, and accept that it might be a part of my world that just hadn't been given enough thought until now; that I have come to a place in life where I know there are no lines to color inside of when it comes to painting a picture of who I am... there is only an expansive canvas and shit tons of colors to mix and throw at it. Pink may not have been my color, but it could be. And not because someone said it should be... but because, why not?
Lately, the picture I have been seeing was a little surprising. It wasn't a loft apartment in New York or a big house upstate. It was a cozy house and a barn and land with chickens and gardens and love. It was hugs that felt like they encased me, and passion that knew no boundaries. It was bonfires and bike rides and kids and hound dogs. Naturally, a trip to save orphans and build houses for people in need here and there would be in the works... but the picture out of my window has been a sunset, apple trees, and a barn full of projects. It has been a place where a feeling of home and safety and music and laughter not only existed, but wrapped around us like big ass blankets.
Of course, I would want to jump out of planes still... I would still want to put a stripper pole somewhere so I could learn to dance on it, go out for sushi once in a while, hop a plane to the city, and spend exhilarating days or weeks saving the world. That is never going to go away no matter where I land long term. I am always going to be too big to fit in one box all of the time. But the place I come home to has been looking lately like one of creativity mixed with love and beauty... with beat up trucks and fast toys. And a lot of love.
That is the one thing that never changes when my vision or my story morphs... there will be love. The kind that makes you smile when you are 40 years into it and still think about them when you are away. The kind that you dance in the kitchen to, stay up all night fixing the cars in the barn with, and the kind where you are still you and they are still them and together everything just fits.
I read a few days ago that you can tell when someone loves someone because they look at them like they are magic. Nothing is ever trouble free, but I believe there is going to be someone with me, looking out of whatever window I end up with, that will think I am magic. THAT is not an option, it is a must.
Posted by Unaffected at 3:14 PM