The world that I was born into was a dark and lonely place. I figured it out pretty early. My life wasn’t like that of other kids. My parents weren’t like their parents. The things that happened behind closed, locked doors, out of sight of those my parents sought to fool and impress, were very unlike those experienced by most other children.
I was a child of pain.
The very first thing my eyes were able to see, blurry though the image might have been, were the faces of my parents. The people who created me, so to speak. They claimed they wanted me. But these people who struggled to name me, who never really adjusted to having me, who were supposed to love and protect me, introduced me to a hostile, chaotic, dark world. A planet where pain ruled and thrived.
Pain claimed me at birth and never let me go.
It became a way of life for me and it wore my canyons deep. When I awoke, it greeted me. And it held me as I would weep. As my life went on, it became my song. It was all I knew. It was the way I grew. It penetrated my bones and as my soul grew numb and cold, it wrote on my heart of stone. Marked me forever.
From the womb that bore me, that grew, ripped and tore me, to the abuse, the out-of-control screaming and hitting, the demands and expectations that I could never meet or fulfill, through all the ugly and despicable things I endured, I became pain. Pain became me.
There was no safe place of laughter, no nurturing, no dinner conversations about my dreams…or my day. My world was lists of chores, front and back, 30 items or more long that were supposed to be completed every evening before my parents got home. It was straight A’s, or else, smiling on demand, keeping my mouth shut, and hiding from their violent outbursts whenever I could see them coming. I didn’t laugh together with my parents or act silly and have fun with them. Instead, I learned about secrets and how to keep them. I learned about monsters who hide in plain sight, who wore masks of respectability, but who snuck into my room at night to rape and abuse me. I learned about double standards, surviving the darkness and nightmares all alone, keeping my head down, and trying to do as many of those chores on the never-ending lists my mother made for me without complaint. But nothing I was or did was good enough.
I learned slapping leaves a big red welt, but it fades pretty quickly. I learned that you can be knocked across the room with one punch, but you can still get up, go to your room and do your homework. I learned that being alone, totally and utterly alone, was crushing, but being with people who trampled and molested you was even worse. I learned about the power of words to cut you to your core. To leave you bleeding and deeply wounded. I learned about pain. Pain provided the only air I was allowed to breathe; to take into my lungs. It was the blood that flowed through my veins. It was my skin. And my eyes. For everywhere I looked, pain was there, waiting to take me down.
I stumbled through endless days, trying to avoid land mines. Trying to stay alive…physically and emotionally. I succeeded to a degree. I physically endured. But my body was the only part of me that made it out alive.
Child of pain. It ate my soul and devoured my heart. It permeated every fiber of my existence.
Fate spun her web made of poisoned thread. I have a multitude of scars to show for it.
Once you are wounded and marked, once you have been saturated by pain, it doesn’t go away when finally you physically escape your abusers. Abusers who gave you life, then sucked it right back out of you. It stays with you. Sometimes forever. Once a child of pain, always a child of pain. The scars don’t fade easily, if at all. Pain enjoys torturing and destroying. Playing with you. It finds you wherever you go, delighting in the chase. There is no escape.
Some things cannot be repaired. Some wounds can never be fully healed. Some pain is so deep, you drown in it. You are absorbed into it. It changes you. And once you know pain this intimately, you are joined with it forever until you become one with the agony and anguish.
Born into pain. Living with the shame, sorrow and heartache, trying to build a life in spite of massive damage and debilitating brokenness. Living with the emotional encumbrance, longing for escape, until death ultimately marks you, claims you and carries you away.
Child of pain. Until death do us part.