Used To

I, even I, used to. 
I used to have dreams.  Beliefs.  Desires.  Hopes.  I used to have faith.  I used to.
I used to have deep, viable friendships.  Loves.  Connections.  People I cared about with all of my heart.
I used to believe in happy endings.  In restoration.  In good things coming to those who were faithful; who waited patiently, not giving up.  I used to.
I used to be stronger.  More alive.  More real.  More open.  More sincere.  More genuine.  Used to. Oh, God, I did…I used to…be alive.  Damaged, but alive.  Hurting, but living.  Believing I could have a good life.
I used to love my long thick hair.  Now it’s it much shorter and it has thinned.  It hurts that it has fallen out and split off, damaged like the rest of me.  It hurts that it’s no longer shiny and glossy and beautiful.  It was the one and only thing I always liked about myself.  Gone. 
There was a time, this would have destroyed me because it was all I had.  Now, it is one small loss stacked in a pile of losses so high, I can no longer see the top of the stack.  Innocence, childhood, hope, trust, laughter, love, joy, belief, faith, marriage, friendship, prosperity…all of it stacked one upon another upon another.  My cemetery.
The dreams died before I even knew what was happening.  From the time I was a child, I wanted to be a singer and songwriter.  I wrote songs almost daily.  Stories and poems too, but songs were where my heart was.  I worked hard to get my feelings down on paper, sculpting the words until they oozed with the pain and emotion I felt deep within me.  I wanted to tell the story of my destruction in a way people could understand.  I longed to touch their hearts.  To connect with them.  To give them an outlet for their own pain.
I don’t even know when I stopped picking up my guitar.  When I forgot the chords.  When the melodies stopped playing in my head accompanied by a short phrase that would inspire me and nudge something loose deep down inside of me that had to come out.  I only know one day I realized it had been a very, very long time.  And by then, I was too numb and tired to care.  Much.
I stopped singing too.  ED stole my voice.
I used to care.  Truly, I did.  I used to care a lot.
When the music stopped, I mostly wrote poems.  There was still too much inside of me that needed to be expressed for me to stop writing completely.  I knew I would never be anyone special at this point.  I would never touch and move the world…or even the heart of one other person.  But if I could tell my story through poems, maybe after I was gone, someone would discover them and do something with them.  Something that would help another person like myself who had been abused, wounded, destroyed.  I still believed my life could count for something.  Perhaps it would only be a lesson in what not to do, what to avoid and point to a path no one else should ever take.  A cautionary tale.  I could be content with that.  It would be a reasonable legacy to leave behind.
Then the poems stopped coming.  When my heart froze solid.  When life inside of me ceased.  When it all came to a screeching halt.
I used to be alive.  When I was alive, I fought becoming a zombie.  I did!  But the numbness that started small eventually exploded and took control until my heart and soul were consumed.  I think that might be when I lost hope.  I think that might be when the poems finally stopped.  When the connections broke.  When death seemed more desirable than living.
I used to be strong.  I used to fight long and hard to live.  To heal.  To become whole.  I used to.  And then, I lost all strength.  The fight went out of me.  I found myself unable to care.  Unable to muster the will to go on.  That was when  I tried to die.  And failed.
I withdrew further and further into myself, cutting all ties, turning my back on life.  I no longer knew how to wear a mask and pretend to be normal.  I was strange.  Different.  But not in a good way.  In a weird way.  I went to work, came home, took care of my dogs, went to work…then lost my job.  My house.  My life.  The downward spiral has continued until it has consumed me and everything I ever cared about.
 I used to love my thin body, the one I finally achieved courtesy of ED.  Hated my fat body.  Wanted to leave her far, far behind.  Now, I have a body that is in between and I despise it…because I am nothing special.  Not too big or too small.  I have lost my extremeness.  My uniqueness.   Gone, along with everything else.  ED gave me hope, then betrayed me, stealing it away.  Like everyone and everything else in my life.  Another dead thing, another loss on the pile.
 I used to have optimism.  I used to believe in the future.  In tomorrow.  But it was all a lie.  Tomorrow has come and gone a million times.  Gotten my hopes up, only to smash them cruelly.  I used to get back up and keep fighting.  Come up swinging.  No more.  Now I don’t even try to pick up the broken, damaged pieces of my heart.  Because I know I will never be able to put them back together where they belong.    I leave them where they fall.  And keep walking.
I used to keep walking because I believed I would find a way to be free and whole and alive.  Now, I walk on only because there are no other options.  My broken wings will never fly.  I’m biding time until I die.
I used to be alive.  Used to.

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