I’ve written about regrets before…it’s something I have a lot of and that I struggle with mightily.  I suppose I’m not alone.  I read an article the other day about the top five regrets of the dying.  It included things like, “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”  Or, “I wish I had worked less.”  “I wish I had let myself be happier.”  And as I was reading, I realized my biggest regret (and I have many) is that I wish I had let myself be me.  I wish I had been true to who I am, followed my heart, not hidden myself away, strangled all that I was (because it’s unacceptable) and not tried to pretend that I was someone I’m not.
All of my life, I have been trying to be someone else.  Someone much better.  Someone who is normal and unbroken, prettier, who doesn’t have an ugly past, who isn’t terrified of life and afraid of what horrible thing is going to happen next.  I’ve been trying to be someone who isn’t so serious, isn’t so introspective, so introverted, so afraid to connect for fear of being rejected and cast aside like worthless junk.  I’ve been trying to wear a mask and appear to be a person, like everyone else.  A person who can take showers without remembering being raped by her father.  A person who is actually happy.  I’ve smiled and laughed and never, ever, ever talked about what was really going on inside of me because I knew everything that I was, everything that I thought and everything I believed was flawed, deplorable, unworthy, defiled and damaged.
If I could go back, I wouldn’t hide or pretend.  I might not have many friends, but guess what?  I don’t have many friends now.  And the ones I have, I rarely see.  Rarely interact with them.  I might scare a lot of people away.  But because I’ve hidden myself away, I have never connected with anyone in a real and genuine way. And I scare people away now because I can’t pull the act off long enough to convince anyone I’m totally “fine.”  They know I’m different.  They can sense it.  No matter how well I hide or how hard I try to be normal.  The mask I wear only offers a minor disguise.
I did try, when I was married, to be me, at least initially.  As you know if you have read much of my blog, that didn’t work so well.  Before the first year had passed, he told me he didn’t want to hear it.  “It” being my heart.  My thoughts.  My emotions.  Didn’t want to hear what was inside of me.  Didn’t want to know me.  Didn’t want the garbage…because that is what I was…garbage.  Didn’t want to be even slightly touched by my pain.  Pain was a downer.  He also made it very clear that what I was, the little bit of real I allowed to show, wasn’t worth anything.  That I needed to work very hard and perform very well to justify my continued life on the planet in his presence.  This rejection set the pattern in concrete.  After that, I fully comprehended and believed wholeheartedly that I was lucky to even be tolerated…by him or anyone else.  And I could only be tolerated if I kept my crap to myself.  If I wore the mask and remained hidden.
If I could have just been me…sad, wounded, funny, slightly crazy, depressed, imperfect, intelligent, sensitive, scared, destroyed, caring, deep, thoughtful, creative, tender, scarred, hurt, terrified, insecure, unsure, lost…if I could have just been that real person, and been loved in spite of my “issues,” I might have been able to heal.  To change.  To get past the past.  To overcome, at least in some areas.  I think I would have been a very different person today had that happened.  But it didn’t.  As a result, I have come to believe the secrets have eaten my bones away, poisoning and rotting my soul.  I have held them close and they have injected me with a toxin that keeps me ill and unable to truly live. 
Wearing the mask kept me isolated.  Hiding has kept me locked in shame.  Trying to appear that I was who I was not, and that I was not who I was, left me alone and unwanted.  And trying to keep the mask in place drained my energy and left me weary and depleted.
Being myself, all the good and horrible things that make me who I am, might have also brought me to a point in life of being completely alone.  But it might have allowed me to connect with a few brave souls…really connect, on a deep and satisfying level.  And that is what my heart has hungered for.  I am, in fact, ravenously hungry for this type of meaningful connection with another human being.  And the pain of not having that rips my heart to pieces.  I can barely stand the anguish.
I wish I could have come to a point of being accepted without having to perform to a satisfactory level.  Where I didn’t have to work so hard to compensate for my inadequacy.  Where being loved wasn’t about how well I cleaned the house or how much money I made or how I looked and smiled and how good I made everyone else feel.  Where it wasn’t about acting normal.  Where hiding wasn’t necessary because what I was was good enough.  Imperfect.  But still wanted and cared for.
Maybe, just maybe, I could have found a person or two who would have still wanted to be around me.  The real me.  The ugly me.  The broken me.  And maybe their acceptance would have helped me to be able to accept myself.  And if I could have accepted myself, maybe I could have become more the person I was meant to be before I was damaged.  And maybe, had that happened, I wouldn’t have been so ugly or broken or unacceptable. 
Unfortunately, it’s too late to find out.  I’ll never know who I might have become.  And that, I deeply, painfully regret.


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