“It doesn’t matter.” My mantra. Over decades, I have repeated this to myself hundreds of thousands of times. “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.” Push it down. Close the lid. Lock it away. Look in a different direction. Forget. Let it go. It’s nothing. You’re nothing. Don’t think about it. Don’t feel. Don’t. Don’t. Just don’t.
It doesn’t matter that I have lost my heart piece by piece. That every dream I have ever had has crashed and burned, leaving behind nothing but ash. That every hope I’ve had has been smashed and ruthlessly destroyed, leaving me reeling and broken and empty. It doesn’t matter that I have nothing and no one. That I am desperate and alone. That even my relationship with God, who is supposed to leave the 99 sheep to come after the one who has gone astray, is distant, untrustworthy, and fear evoking. It doesn’t matter that I have lost every single thing in life that mattered to me one by one. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
None of it matters. Because I don’t matter. I don’t matter at all. I am insignificant.
I don’t think this is what I believed when I was a small child, but I’m not sure. It’s hard to say. I know for certain that by the time I was in grade school, I was conditioning myself with this message. A message I believe had to have come from outside of myself. And if I round up the likely suspects, well, my parents are at the top of the list. Heck, they’re the only two on the list. Somehow, through thousands of subtle encounters…looks, words, reactions…I learned I wasn’t a person. I learned that I was a nothing and a nobody and of no concern. I learned that I didn’t matter.
If I don’t matter, then the difficult, horrible, painful, terrible things that happen to me don’t matter. I shouldn’t have had expectations of good and happiness and joy. Because I am of no consequence. If I am of no consequence, then nothing that happens to me matters. And if nothing matters, my feelings don’t matter. They aren’t valid. Because you have to be someone of importance, value, worth before what you feel and think and want and love and desire matters.
Should I have been able to uncondition (unbrainwash?) myself? Probably. I should have been able to recover, right? So I have to face the fact that I am at least partially responsible. At some point, when I became an adult, I should have been able to overcome. I failed. And continue to fail. Which reinforces the original message. My parents are long dead. They are shadowy figures from my distant past. I fled them when I was 17 and built walls strong and high to protect myself from any continued contact and to shield myself from additional damage. Yet their influence continues to this day. And I hate myself for that. For failing. For failing to matter, even to myself.
The wiring was twisted, and twisted, and twisted some more. Pieces were spliced in. Other pieces were removed and discarded. Trampled. In the deep and secret places of the soul, the voice played those damning words over and over again until they became my heartbeat.
The pain doesn’t matter. Your broken heart doesn’t matter. Your destruction doesn’t matter. The rejection doesn’t matter. The abuse doesn’t matter. Your fear and terror don’t matter. Nothing you care about matters. Your dreams don’t matter. Your longings don’t matter. You don’t matter. You exist only to justify your existence by performing to expectations. Only to meet the needs and desires and wants of others. You are nothing. You. Don’t. Matter.
It is true to me. It is more solid than the ground on which I stand. More real than my faith. More destructive than the plague. More devastating than a super-hurricane. It wipes me out and lays me flat before I can get my legs under me. I can’t fight against such a force. I have no bricks or tricks or stones and mortar that will build a wall strong or high enough to shelter me.
My mantra is my reality. It is truth. It never changes or waivers. It is.
I have told myself that I don’t matter and that nothing matters so many times over the years, so very, very many times, I believe it. I believe that I absolutely do not matter. I know it completely, wholly, fully. It is my blood and my heartbeat. It is my skin and the cells that create my body. Every nerve carries this signal with every surge of blood that pumps through my body and with every breath of air that inflates my lungs. Oh, yes, it is indeed the air I breathe.
My mantra is also my executioner. But not to worry. Don’t you see? It doesn’t matter. Because I don’t matter. At all. Not at all.