Maybe it’s the gloomy, rainy, dreary, stormy weather that has me in this somewhat depressed and reflective state of mind. This dark state. This unproductive Boolean loop. I am being sucked under. Circling the drain. Contemplating what could have been had certain things not happened. Had others not happened in the way they did. Had others come to pass.
It’s hard not to think about what could have been. Who I could have been, if only…
What could have been if someone had taken an interest in me when I was a child? A child who was being abused by my parents. If only someone had seen me; invisible though I was, broken, terrified, shamed little girl who was terrified of everyone. Because I knew more than most of how ugly people in power could be to those who have none. If only they had taken a moment to consider what might have been happening in my life to cause me to shy away from everyone, to walk with my head down, navigating as a ghost ship through the corridors of life. If they had wondered about my somber expression. The pain in my eyes. The way I flinched on contact and shut down when they wielded their authority. If only their curiosity had been piqued, they might have realized something wasn’t right. They might have started to ask questions. They might have seen the truth.
What could have been had they noticed, listened and subsequently rescued me?
What might have happened if I had been able to go to college after I finally escaped from the nightmare of my parent’s home? I left when I was 17, having accomplished my goal, two weeks after my hard earned graduation from high school. I wonder what might I have achieved if I hadn’t had to work long hours in factories for pennies, trying to make enough money to afford tiny roach-infested apartments, ancient cars, retread tires and used up 4th-hand clothing. If I hadn’t had to worry about anything but making good grades and hadn’t had to struggle to pay utility bills or make auto insurance payments and somehow stretch the $5 I had left over to feed me the rest of the week. What if I didn’t have to worry about making myself into a “presentable” image wearing my used up 4th hand clothes as I sought a job that would give me a little more financial freedom? Freedom to pay for an education. What could have happened if I had obtained my degree and gotten my foot in the door at some reputable company and, as a result, started down a path that would lead me to a better future? To a place where I could accomplish something worthwhile and realize my dreams…and potential.
What might have been if I hadn’t had to spend my life trying to prove my value again and again and again because I didn’t have that piece of paper? If I didn’t always have to achieve twice as much to prove my worth?
What could have happened if only there had been someone in my life who loved me? Oh, yes, I’ve been a mess for a very long time. And maybe, as a result, I don’t deserve any love. Maybe I am utterly unlovable. But what if? What if someone could have accepted me in spite of my brokenness? Seen something good and of value in me. What if, instead of tearing me down even further and casting me aside, they had helped me to pick up the pieces of my soul? Because they accepted and believed in me? Wanted me? Thought I was worth the effort?
There are so many things that could have drastically changed the direction of my life. So many little things that could have led me to a different outcome. An entirely different future. To becoming a completely different person.
The rain drums on the windows of my tiny home. I am permeated by overwhelming sadness. Drenched by the rain of despair that falls relentlessly.
I am still scraping to get by. Trying to find a way to put myself back together. Trying to pay utility bills, buy tires, make myself presentable while wearing used clothing I buy from eBay. Praying the little I have will last long enough to cover basic expenses. I’m still trying to earn acceptance and prove I have something worthwhile to contribute. And after all this time, I fear I am still standing on the starting line, though I know I am nearing the finish. I’m still working twice as hard, trying to justify my existence; trying to be worthy of the air that I breathe.
What could I have done differently to change my course? To change the outcome? There are so many things that could have been that would have changed my life.
But they never were…and so here I am, staring out the window, seeking sunshine but finding none.
I search the dark gray sky for answers. But all I discover are more questions. More desperate questions that will probably never be answered.