I have learned not to listen to the pain. The pain that is always with me. Inside of me. I’ve learned to shut it out, hide it away, to bury it deep, deep within my soul. I’ve learned listening to it does nothing to alleviate the hopelessness of my brokenness. It doesn’t ease the hurting, nor does it bring healing. Releasing it doesn’t empty the reservoir or anguish, nor does it rid me of the weight of the burden of carrying it with me everywhere I go each day.
It whispers in my ear, telling me, if only I will listen and acknowledge the horrible torment I’ve experienced and resulting shame and agony, I will be liberated from the chains it has woven round me all these many years. I’ve learned the pain lies. It has no intention of setting me free, no matter what I say or do or think or believe.
It is the spider. I’m caught in its web. The spider will never let me go. It waits…and wants…only to devour me whole. Its hunger is ravenous. I will be a tasty meal.
I have learned there is no way to escape the web. I have learned there is no way to escape being eaten alive.
I’ve learned not to show the anguish. Not to let anyone know I’m in terrible pain. I’ve learned to hide the heartache. To ignore it. To act as if it doesn’t even exist. To lower expectations. I cannot change what has been, nor can I seem to prevent what is to be. I can’t erase the past and the devastation that has resulted from its rough and uncaring treatment. I can’t avoid it either, for even when I deny the loss and torment, it eats away at me; acid in my soul. The scars are hideous.
I’ve learned the scars are here to stay. I’ve learned to keep them to myself. They are disturbing and offensive to those who catch a glimpse of them. Life belongs only to the unblemished. Those without baggage. Those not in need of healing or redemption.
I’ve learned to avoid mirrors. For I am hideous even to myself.
I’ve learned the pain has changed me…not for the better. This version of me that was created from abuse and neglect and trampled and broken is not acceptable or adequate. I’ve learned that something went very, very wrong in my life when I was too young to understand or to run. My DNA was altered by the anguish. By the suffering and abuse. I’ve learned this is my unalterable fate. And I’ve come to understand that fate will always have its way with us.
I’ve sat on the knee of the destroyer and suckled at its breast. It has taught me. It has taught me well. It has taught me much.
I’ve learned not to trust my own heart because it lies. Feelings lie and they can lead me far astray. They can cause me to open up when I should stay closed, to speak when I should maintain my silence, to cry when my eyes need to stay dry, to trust when it is ridiculous to do so. Feelings can lead me into very dangerous territory.
I’ve learned to keep myself to myself. To avoid being a burden. To be quiet and invisible, embracing the silence and emptiness of suffocating isolation. It’s better that way. Lonelier. But I’ve learned, it’s the only option if I want to survive.
And I do want to survive. Though I hoped to do a little more. To experience life, a life worth living. But I’ve learned…I’ve learned. I’ve learned to aim lower and to hang on. To swallow my medicine, take the hits and live with the rejection. To carry the fear and shoulder the shame. I’ve learned to take whatever little bit of good I can find wherever I can find it. To make due. To keep walking, even when the road ahead leads only to more of what I have endured and purposefully attempted to leave behind.
This is what I’ve learned. You don’t usually get to experience a happy ending. Life does what it wants and takes you where it wants you to go.
So yes, I’ve learned not to listen to the pain. It burns its brand into the most tender and vulnerable places of your being. Deep into your flesh. A brand that marks and claims you. I’ve learned that everything leaves a mark. Everything has a price and the price is often too high to pay. Not every broken piece of the soul can be restored. Not every wrong can be made right. No matter how much you pay or how hard you try.