Plenty of Chances

“Beware of missing chances; otherwise it may be altogether too late some day. ” ~Franz Liszt

I thought I had plenty of chances.  I truly thought I did.  But I was wrong.

Very wrong.

Time keeps moving.  One moment after another moment.  And suddenly, a lot of time has passed and all chances are gone.

Gone.  Lost in the wind of time.

Somehow, I went from being a 16, 20, 25 years old to this…this wrinkled, tired, saggy…old woman.  A senior citizen. Nearing the end.  Destroyed.

Being destroyed.  It’s cute when you’re a young girl full of angst.  It’s not cute when you’re an aging woman.  An aging, lost woman.  A woman who is alone. A broken woman.  Someone who is undone.  You’re supposed to have your act together when you’re old.  You’re supposed to have wisdom.

“The years teach much which the days never knew.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I tried to understand.  I tried to learn from the years as the days went by.  I tried.

I tried to get my act together.  I promise you, I tried.

I thought I had plenty of chances to heal, to fix myself up, to live life.  To make a difference.  I thought this right up until the time I realized it was all over.  Until I realized I was getting old.  Not getting.  I am.  Old.  And my chances are as ancient as I am.

My chances have been spent, carelessly.

My skin sags.  My face sags.  My hands are starting to look like an old woman’s hands.  I am tired, numb and without hope.  Nearing the end of my time here.  How did this happen?  How did all the years in between then and now disappear so quickly, without notice?  How did all of my chances slip through my hands without me knowing?  Without even recognizing a chance was waiting and within my grasp?

How did I screw up so badly?

When I first left home, finally escaping from my abusers, my parents, I saw an incredible future before me.  Chance after chance after chance.  Opportunities.  Hope.  Endless hope.  I launched out eagerly and optimistically.

I believed tomorrow would be better.  I believed in chances.  Plenty of chances.

That’s when I discovered I was broken.  Flawed.  That’s when I found out I was unacceptable because I was broken.  I was unacceptable just because of who I was.  Just because I was.

That’s when those chances started oozing through my fingers, though I didn’t realize it then.  That’s when I started hemorrhaging hope. 

Up until the time I was in my late 40’s, I still thought I had a lot of chances.  Opportunities to find life.  To find wholeness.  To finally get it right.  To find love.  To love and be loved. To find meaning.   Purpose.  Happiness.  Worth.  Joy.

And then he left me.  The man I stood by, loved, was loyal to.  I stayed, even though, within the first few months together, he told me he didn’t love me.  That early in our marriage.  And I felt hope draining from my heart.  Still, I stayed, even though he told me I was disgusting to him. All the time.  Even though he expressed total disdain for me in a million different ways.  For years.  Years.  During all the good years. When I was young.  When there was at least a little hope of a better ending, had I cut my losses and moved on.  But I didn’t.  I hung on.

He told me.  That I was not worth loving. For 22 years he told me. I stayed with him those 22 years, in spite of him repeatedly telling me he didn’t love me.  I thought a time would come when he would.  I thought a day would come when he would want me.  I kept hoping.  Believing.  Waiting. 

Then he left me for someone else.  Someone he said he loved. Someone he said he LOVED.

After all that, after all those years, he never came to love me.  Never did.  Never would. 

I believed I had all the chances in the world until that moment.  That moment when he left.  I stupidly believed a day would come when he would love me.  And so I stayed.   Hoped.  But he left.  And just like that, it was all over.  My final chance was gone.

And just like that, I was old.  And empty.

My abusive childhood cost me everything.  My father and mother who looked at their little daughter and saw a worthless object; no one to love…my parents cost me everything.  When they looked at me, they saw nothing.  Saw only a thing to be beaten, rejected and used.  Abused and raped. They broke my soul and my heart, taking everything I was and they changed me.  They stole all I ever wanted, ever hoped for, ever dreamed of.  They, my parents, my abusers, cost me all my chances long before I realized there just might actually be a chance for escape before me.  They stole my chances when they decided I was nothing and taught me that I had no worth.  They poisoned me with their abuse…until I became unlovable because I was an odd, broken person.  Unwanted.  Under their “care,” I became a creature that didn’t deserve to be loved or cared for.  I became a freak. They left me scarred.  Left me empty and alone.  Destroyed.

Worthless.

I ran out of chances.  I lost all hope. 

“The greatest risk is really to take no risk at all.  You’ve got to go out there, jump off the cliff and take chances.”  ~Patrick Warburton

I’ve never been able to truly live.  I tried to play it safe, avoided the risk and lost my chances.  I don’t know how to live at all, any more than I know what it means to be loved and wanted.  I don’t know how to live…and now, I’m out of chances.

I should have jumped off the cliff.  One way or the other.

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