It’s hard to believe I have any worth or value. I try to believe I matter. But the evidence; the overwhelming evidence…
I was of no importance to my parents. They said they loved me, but abused me. Physically. Emotionally. My father abused me sexually. I learned from them that I was an object and the only value I had was based on how well I performed and met expectations. Failing miserably on most counts, I often doubted I had enough worth to justify the air I had to breathe to stay alive.
I married when I was 17 and two weeks later, he asked me for a divorce. Though he claimed to have loved me before the ceremony, even convincing me to go thorough with it when I got cold feet a week before, once official, I suddenly became undesirable and unwanted. Of no worth. In the blink of an eye during the course of the short service, I became nothing. I was devastated; completely destroyed. We remained together for 3-1/2 years only because I asked him for time. Time to adjust. Time to build up enough courage to go out on my own. To his credit, he gave me that gift. But he was unfaithful throughout the union, indelibly writing the message of how I really didn’t matter deep into my heart.
I married again at age 25, believing I had finally found love and a life partner. But within a few months, he too decided he didn’t really love me. I was no longer valued. No longer wanted. Endured. But not cherished or cared for. Disdained. Once again, I had no significance. No worth. I lost all hope, deciding that asking for someone to love me and treasure me was asking way too much. Tolerance was the best I could hope for. So I made the best of it. We were together for 22 years. During that time, I prayed continually for a miracle. I still dared to hope in a small place in my heart and secretly believed a time would come when our marriage would be healed; when he would be able to look at me and see something or someone who had worth. But that moment never came. He fell in love with someone else. Left me. At which point, my life totally fell apart.
The icing on the cake, or maybe the cement over my coffin…the employers who didn’t value me. Throughout my career, such as it is, I have been beaten down and spit out more times than I can enumerate. In fact, only a couple of my bosses have placed a premium on my services and abilities. It was heaven…short-lived though it was. The rest of them have successfully looked for weaknesses and found me to be riddled with faults, no matter how much I gave, how much I contributed, how hard I worked, how many hours I dedicated, or how many things I accomplished. It was my parents all over again. Nothing I did was ever enough. It was all about performance and I could never quite live up to their exacting standards or meet their demanding requirements. And if I did ever meet their requirements, the bar was moved higher, guaranteeing failure going forward.
In fact, it is exceedingly clear that everything in life is about performance. Everything. And I am not a performer…not a good one, anyway. I try. I try hard. With all of my might. I’m not a stupid person, but intelligence doesn’t matter. I don’t smile properly, I don’t schmooze adequately, I am not happy-go-lucky enough. I don’t play the games with pizzazz, make people laugh deeply enough, make them feel good enough about themselves. I’m strange. I’m broken. I try to wear the “normal” mask and do all the “normal” things, but it’s all an act. One that takes a great deal of energy. One that’s hard to keep going all the time, every day, day after day. The mask slips. I fail to perform. My fan club is nonexistent; everyone seems to stand ready to stab me in the back. I’m suddenly alone and heckled on the stage, having been rejected by my peers, my co-workers, my friends, my family, my church. Totally alone.
I saw a document at work last week. One I wasn’t supposed to see. It was a report of positions that would be needed in the future and they very simply noted that I would be “flowing out” of the company before 3rd quarter of this year. A fact they hadn’t mentioned to me. I thought I was part of the team. But once again, I’m being rejected, shut out, weighed and found wanting, turned away. Flow out. Such a kind and gentle term for a violent act. I’ve done nothing to deserve it. They just don’t like me. I’m part of the old management team, I’m older than they like, I’m not good at playing the games. So I will flow out. Someone else will flow in behind me. It will be as if I never existed yet again. Cast aside. Without worth or value. Because I am somehow intrinsically not up to par.
I don’t know that I can survive this. This may be the end of me.
Too many losses. Too many things have flowed out in my life and so little has flowed in. I keep getting cast aside. I keep losing ground. Losing pieces of what little life I have. I’ve been shut out too often and the pain is unbearable. Healing is elusive. Hope is seeping away. Terror rushes in to fill the gap. I am lost in the ebb and flow. Me, the one who can’t perform. Who is never valued. Who can never seem to find a place to belong. Who is hurting deeply because once again, I am not wanted.
The need to perform and the lack of my ability to do so has been a constant in my life. My life is nearing the end, so opportunities are frighteningly limited. Soon, flowing out will involve me leaving the planet. And sadly, I am afraid I will flow out without leaving so much as a ripple behind.