I remember as if it was only yesterday… Being young. Feeling hopeful about the future, in spite of the present situation in which I lived. Being confused and hurt and wounded, but believing, believing, believing. That I would overcome. That I would find a life worth living. That I would become someone who made a difference. That I would be loved. I remember climbing out of the tangle of scar tissue, pain, darkness and damage of my childhood and looking at the fragmented pieces of myself scattered…far and wide. Like dust. Like sand. Atomic particles. Everywhere. But still I believed I could put all those pieces back together. I never doubted that I would heal. Be whole. Learn to live and laugh and finally experience joy. I wanted to use my pain to reach others, to help them find their way out. I wanted to touch their broken hearts, wash them with my tears until they were clean and new and let them know they mattered. I wanted to give them all the things I never received. Because I wanted the horrible things that had happened to me…the sexual abuse, the physical abuse, the rejection, the neglect…to count. To be redeemed. I wanted to help those who were like me. So we could all touch the stars and dance with the planets. Free.
I remember being so afraid. To be seen; to speak. To let anything that was inside of me show. But I had words in my heart. So I poured them out on paper. I wrote them down. And when I got it right, when I said what I was trying to say in a way that made it real, I broke my own heart. Because the words pierced me. But it was a good pain. An honest pain. Healing. And I longed to provide that release to others. To connect with them. To touch their heart in those deep dark places they guarded and feared to share. So they would know they were not repulsive. And maybe, in the process, I would find a way to believe that I was not repulsive either.
I was afraid of many things. To trust. To risk. To let someone see the brokenness I carried. Yet I still believed. I would crack open the doors and windows a little at a time. Test the waters. Wade in a little deeper each day; each encounter. I would be able to be me. Genuine. No more hiding. No more shame. The fear would not prevent me from finding true life. True love. Yes, I believed…with all of my broken heart. I believed.
There were times I remember being so alone, it hurt. A crushing pain. Ripping, tearing pain. But I knew, or at least believed it would not last forever, so I could endure. Tomorrow would bring friends who cared and someone who would believe in me, think I was special, want to be with me. Forever. With someone’s hand holding mine, we could face any adversity, any challenge, and come out ahead. Together, we would be unbeatable. Nothing would be able to keep us down, hold us back, keep us from moving forward. Together, we would be unstoppable.
I blinked. The earth circled the sun. The day became night became day became night. The years fled at light-speed. Fast motion. And then, I was old. And alone. Still alone.
But it was only yesterday that I was looking forward, believing in a future! Surely I am still that 16 year old girl. I feel her inside of me. We remember, she and I.
Sometimes I feel as if time wrinkled and I walked from yesterday into today without living the intervening years. It was during those years that dreams fell like leaves from the trees and winter winds whipped them into a frenzy before blowing them away. The sap in my soul slowed, then stopped altogether. I became numb. Dead. I watched seconds fall like raindrops in a monsoon. And then they vanished. As the cold and darkness enveloped me, hours and years passed in a vacuum. Where did the time go? How can it be that my life turned out this way? How can it be that I didn’t win? Didn’t overcome? Never found love? Never found life?
How did I get from there to here without living? How did I somehow sleep through the years; the days and nights, the big and little moments? How did I lose my ability to experience highs and lows, joy and pleasure, the celebration of breathing? How did I become blind to the passage of time? How did I let everything I cared about slip through my fingers until nothing was left? How did I lose my dreams and belief in a future worth living for?
Where did yesterday go? And how do I keep from losing the little that is left me tomorrow?