I just discovered the “My Name Is” project. I’ve been watching the videos on You Tube. One after the other. And I’m so depressed… When I heard about the project, I was excited. I decided I wanted to make a video too. I want to add mine to the gallery of survivors. But after watching them, I realized I can’t. I don’t have a pretty ending to my story. No victorious Hollywood conclusion. And from what I have seen, that’s required. The way it works is, you tell your abuse story with pictures and words. “My name is Robin and I’m a survivor of childhood physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect. ” You talk about some of the things that have been damaged in your life as a result. What it has cost you. What you have lost because of it. You have music playing in the background that goes along with your story and you show pictures of yourself, of others, or of things that further articulate what you are trying to convey. So far, so good, so to speak. But then, you have to end with…”but I’m so much more than just a survivor…” And at this point, the pivot point, you go on to tell about how you’re a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother, a wife, an artist, a shining diamond, an overcomer. You tell about how you found your voice, how love conquered the darkness in your life and how full and rich your world is now because you found your voice, let people in, learned to trust, to love, to laugh. I don’t have this kind of an ending. Not yet anyway. I guess miracles could still occur. I don’t have much hope, but it could happen. I haven’t found my voice. I tell my story in bits and pieces on this blog, but I never tell anyone with my voice. Telling you, here, feels risky and daring. It feels good too, to let a little of the pain out. To be real. But I can’t speak the words aloud or talk with anyone about any of this yuckiness, well, unless I’m paying them money to listen and take notes which they place in a file they compile about me and stick in a drawer. Sometimes I feel like a man who uses prostitutes. Except in my case it’s, “Let me pay you to listen to me for awhile…” But no one listens (or has sex with me either, for that matter) unless they are paid. I haven’t found my voice. I haven’t overcome. My life isn’t full. In fact, it’s frighteningly empty. I hide behind my keyboard, within the vast world of the internet. No one can touch me. I am alone. I am isolated. I am safe. I am vacant. I am hurting. I’m reaching out the only way I know how. It’s incredibly inadequate. But it’s all I have. I have no children. No grandchildren. No rich extended family that is filled with laughter and joy. No connectedness. I have a dog. I love my dog. I have no husband. No boyfriend. I have been divorced for almost 8 years now and haven’t been on a single date in that entire time. My ex, the one who left me when he fell in love with another woman, remarried years ago. His new wife has a child. His world is full. Mine is a wasteland. I have a handful of friends who are the busiest people on the planet. They have children and grandchildren and church and work they seem to enjoy and husbands and fathers and mothers and go on date nights and to lunch or dinner with other friends. I am lucky if I see them once or twice a year. I have a job I’m barely hanging on to at a company that is being sold, which means I may not have the job much longer. I’ve not been allowed to do more than a tiny bit of anything to make the place better than it was, even though I wanted to do so much and tried at first. Getting squashed makes me give up. I’ve been squashed. I’m completely terrified of losing my job, even though it’s drudgery. I’m in debt because of medical expenses and because I had an almost 2 year bout of unemployment a few years ago. I’m scared to death about my finances. I am terrified of losing my house…my port in the storm. The place where I retreat to, where I hide, where I lick my wounds and watch You Tube videos and get depressed. The place where I try to recharge my batteries enough to meet the obligations of my running-on-empty world. I’m battling an eating disorder and it mostly wins. I don’t have the strength to fight it. But it costs me a lot of money too, which creates additional stress. So, I have debt, pain, loneliness, isolation, brokenness, fear, terror, emptiness, wounds, despair, hopelessness, anguish, darkness, depression, an eating disorder and a few distant friends. I have no close connections, no husband, no significant other, no children, no grandchildren, no stability, no security, no excitement, no happiness and no anticipation of a better tomorrow. Oh, yes, and I’m old. Which doesn’t help much, frankly. The optimism of youth is long gone and with it, the hope for a rich and better future. I do have a brother who loves me and a sister-in-law who seems to care about me and an aunt who I think cares to a degree and an uncle who cares a little. And I have a job for right now. Insurance. A dog. A battered car, after my recent wreck…but it still runs, is drivable and it’s going to be repaired. God is out there somewhere. I guess all is not lost, maybe. But my ending isn’t looking too inspiring. I really wanted to be a part of the project. It hurts a lot that I can’t. I thought I was uniquely qualified, since it’s all supposed to be presented by a community of people who have survived some kind of childhood abuse. My community. But even there, I don’t seem to fit. Because I am a survivor, but nothing more. And once again, I’m left wondering what I did that was so wrong, I can’t even come up with a slightly happy ending for a video about my life. Why am I still standing out in the cold when so many others who have suffered things similar to what I have suffered have been invited into the warmth of a whole new, wonderful, different world? What have I done so terribly wrong that I have ended up this way? And is there any way I can escape before time completely runs out? Stupid me. Still looking for that fairytale ending. The happily ever after. The inspiring Hollywood finale. Waiting for my ship to come in. And I’ve been waiting now for a very, very, very long time. It’s obviously not going to happen in time for me to be a part of the “My Name Is” project. I can only barely hope, before the day I die, something wonderful and healing will finally happen. That there will be some redemption before I leave this earth. Some miracle that makes life worth living. Please forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.