I was stomping on a couple of empty boxes of Honey Nut Shredded Wheat this morning. Preparing to put them in the trash (I like to compact my trash, and having no compactor, I do it the old-fashioned way). As I crushed them underfoot, I couldn’t help but read the slogan on the back of the box that was staring me in the face. Post proudly claims their cereal has, “Nothing to Hide.” Started thinking about that. Nothing to hide. Nothing. To. Hide. Seriously? Maybe that’s not such a big deal for cereal, but for a person…wouldn’t that be the most incredible thing? I mean, can you imagine? Is that even possible? Maybe it strikes me the way it does because, well, I have like a zillion things I have to hide. Every day. I’ve hidden my entire life. And it takes a ton of energy. And it keeps me from connecting, so I am isolated and lonely. Makes me feel totally unlovable. Makes life not so much worth living. Hiding is what I do. It’s how I roll. I hate it. Why do I hide, you ask? Well, because I’m all messed up and I generally don’t want people to know how very messed up I truly am. I mean, nobody would hire me if they knew. I wouldn’t have any friends at all…oh, wait, I don’t really have what you would call close friends anyway. Maybe one…kind of. But I for sure would never have any if I let all my yuckiness hang out there for everyone to see. People would flee. They would reject me completely. Small children would cry when I approached. Babies would scream. O.K. Slight exaggeration (I hope). But people who were terribly abused as a child often struggle to look normal. I struggle to look anything close to normal. To not look like a total freak. There’s all that damage and weird wiring in my brain that resulted from 10 years of sexual abuse by my father. And getting hit a lot by both of my parents. And never being good enough; never living up to all those expectations. My parents couldn’t love me. Rejected me. So I don’t exactly feel like I’m somebody people want to know. No warm and fuzzy in my personality. I have two failed marriages under my belt to prove what a worthless pile of crap I am. I have this ridiculous eating disorder. I’m seriously depressed. Deeply, profoundly, can barely function depressed. So I’m incapacitated to a rather large degree, even though I keep trying to put one foot in front of the other. It’s a monumental effort that drains me dry. I have all these weird defense mechanisms that keep me imprisoned inside of myself. I’m not fun. I’m not bubbly. I’m introverted, awkward, slightly shy and invariably stupid. I’m in debt bigtime. My house is a mess. My heart is a worse mess. I can’t cook. Showers freak me out because I was abused once too often while trying to take one, so I have to force myself continually to step in and rinse off. I can’t keep up. With anything. I don’t know how to have fun. I’m not even sure I’m a real person. So, hide? Ah, yeah. Wouldn’t you? I’m also getting kind of old. Don’t have kids or grandkids or a mate, so I don’t have much in common with most people my age. It makes it even harder to connect. But I want to. Connect. In a real way. I long to. My heart hurts because I can’t seem to. I walk through each day like a Zombie, secluded, strange, alone, cold. Not the kind of person anyone wants to hang out with. I don’t even want to hang out with me. Yet I keep wishing someone would show me that I’m worth something. Worth loving. Worth knowing. Worth the trouble. Zombies don’t get a lot of positive reinforcement…trust me on that one. So I hide, deeply ensconced within the facade, mask in place. Broken, desperately isolated, weary, longing for a gentle touch, some acceptance, or, in my wildest dreams, love. Hating myself while hoping someone out there will find something of worth when even I can’t. The sad fact, my cereal is a better person than I am. Feeling good about itself. Having nothing to hide. Just being what it is. Holding nothing back. And I find that to be rather pathetic.