Hide and Wait

This is the screwed up person’s version of the timeless game of “Hide and Seek.”  See, with “hide and seek,” you KNOW someone is going to come looking for you.  They want to find you.  And they will search relentlessly, looking in the most improbable places until they find you.  That’s how the game is played.  Discovery is the ultimate goal.  Hiding is part of the fun and it’s all in fun.  You want to remain hidden the longest, but you don’t want to hide so well that you are never found.  The mad dash for home base after you have been discovered is part of the excitement you look forward too.  It’s a thrilling moment when you’re finally out in the open racing for home while trying to avoid being tagged!!

With Hide and Wait, the ultimate goal is to remain hidden…forever.  Discovery is failure and there is nothing fun about it.    And no one is going to try too hard to find you since “finding” is not really what the game is all about.  It’s about keeping distance.  About not discovering much of anything about the person you are talking to and not letting them discover much about you.  Keeping it shallow.  Keeping it light.  Keeping it safe.

If you are the hider (which is most often my role), one tactic that is particularly effective is to get the other person talking about themselves.  This accomplishes a couple of goals.  One:  You can easily hide because all you have to do is sit back and listen, asking an occasional question to keep the dialogue going.  Two:  Other people think you are interesting.  More importantly, they think you are NORMAL.  This is ultimately what the game is all about for the hider; appearing normal.  Because when you are the hider, you are decidedly NOT normal.  You’re hiding for a reason.

My reason is that I was abused as a child and it did a lot of damage.  I’m different.  I’m damaged.  I’m broken.  I’m also a little shy and introverted, which doesn’t help.  And then, there’s this eating disorder thing that I battle daily. (Can you believe how much of our social interactions revolve around FOOD!??).  It’s rather awkward to excuse yourself from the table after eating so you can go throw it all up.  I’m also divorced and don’t have any children (or, gasp, grandchildren, as is common among my friends now), so I don’t have any of the common connectors that most others have.  As a result of all of this past “yuck,” I don’t want people to know exactly how messed up and lonely I am.  Therefore, I try very hard to keep all that “garbage” hidden away inside of me.  I hide and wait until the conversation is finished, then critique myself afterward to determine how good of a job I’ve done at hiding.  I sigh a big sigh of relief if I’ve managed to keep it all fairly well camouflaged.  I kick myself a hundred times if I know they caught a glimpse of my mess.  In which case, I figure they won’t want to talk to me ever again. Which makes me feel more lonely and more like a freak.

You see, when you play hide and wait, you’re playing because you’re a messed up lonely person who craves a little human interaction.  But you know if they see the real you, they will flee, screaming as they go, because you are so horrid!  So you hide all the “ickiness” away in hopes of getting a little touch, albeit a shallow, insignificant one, from another person.  Then you pretend it was enough to get you by until the next time.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, they don’t really WANT to know (me) the hider.  They don’t want to go deep.  They DO want to talk about themselves because they find themselves to be endlessly fascinating (and they are, in most cases, very nice and interesting people).  So they aren’t really seeking.  In that sense, they are hiding too.  They have stories they tell about themselves, but they are very light and amusing and…shallow.  What I’ve found in my experience is, most people only need fairly shallow interaction.  Those deep connections are not something they crave the way I do.  So not only am I hiding myself away to avoid discovery, my heart is longing for something the other person is ill-equipped to give.  It’s a stupid game, truly.

I’ve been a master hider.  Used to be astoundingly good at it.  Then I ran out of energy and tenacity.  More often these days, I find myself hiding by isolating.  Social interactions are torture…just can’t seem to muster.  Can’t even pretend to be normal.  I’ve become more and more awkward, more odd, more filled with raw sewage (the smell is difficult to disguise!).  The side-effect of isolation is that you become even worse at interrelating as time goes on because you’re so out of practice.  Isolation does icky things to a person.  Psychologically, you become less fit and less capable of relating normally because you are broken down piece by piece by piece until there’s not much left.  When you’re broken to begin with and you are being worn down through self-imposed isolation, the end result is dust.  That’s what happens to your heart and soul.  If you’re fortunate, the mind survives, but survival isn’t the exciting option it’s made out to be.  Survival is just that…barely surviving…alive, but not so much.  Which provides you with even more garbage to hide!  Yippee!

The most scary thing about the game of hide and wait:  it’s not really a game.  It’s deadly serious.  And losing is not an option.  Losing means exposure; it means you’re found out, rejected, labeled, avoided, judged.  There is no “Olly, Olly, Oxen Free (all in free).”  You’re a freak and people know it.  And being an “it” really sucks.

The Sky Is Crying

The sky is crying and so am I.  It’s that kind of a day.  Cold, rainy, gloomy, depressing…the hint of spring we were beginning to catch glimpses of is all but swept away and hidden beneath heavy winter coats, breath fog and involuntary shivering.  I’m so ready for spring…but spring is not yet ready.

I find that in the darkness of this day, in the unrelenting rain, in the bone-chilling wet and piercing cold, I have nothing more to say.  My voice is gone.  I am broken and empty.  All I can do is let my tears join those of the raindrops the clouds are crying.  Words are often inadequate vessels and today they leave me cold and alone, seeking a flower where there is none.  In this wintry, lonely place, I have no words.  My tears must do the talking for me.

Another Week Down the Toilet

That’s kind of how my week has gone.  The thing that scares me the most about this is, they all seem to go this way.  Week after week, another one goes down the toilet…along with hundreds and hundreds of dollars of food.  Way too much of my life revolves around the toilet, quite frankly.  I need to get out more.

But it’s Friday, which is good.  Soon it will be Friday afternoon and that will be even better. Followed by Saturday, which is a big relief. Then Sunday, when I gear up to do it all over again.  Monday is horrid; I can barely force myself to face it.  Tuesday is still really depressing and difficult.  Wednesday is more drudgery, but I’m becoming numb to it.  Thursday, there is hope of a break; some rest if I can just hang on a little bit longer.  Which brings me to Friday once more, thankful it’s almost the weekend when the demands of performing are reduced.  Do you get the feeling I am dragging and clawing myself through the week, just…barely…hanging…on…until…the…weekend?

Weekends are a big relief.  I can get up whenever I wake up and I can take a nap if I get tired.  I can even take two naps if I’m feeling exhausted.  Sometimes, if things are especially not going well, I might not get dressed if I’m too depressed.  I can fail and not beat myself up so badly.  I don’t have to fight and struggle like I do during the week.  I play with the dog. I play on the computer.  I run a few errands.  I try to do a few chores.  Yes, I’m always pushing myself, but on the weekends, I don’t push nearly as hard.  I cut myself some slack.  I give myself some time to breathe and to crash and burn.  If I don’t perform at an adequate level, I’m not going to utterly hate and despise myself for it.  Not as much, anyway.  On the weekends, I can be who I am, even though who I am is not acceptable.

I wonder what life would be like if I didn’t hate myself.  I get the feeling most people DON’T – hate themselves, that is. I can’t honestly imagine how that must feel.  But I would think it would be kind of nice to actually enjoy your own company and not be completely disgusted with yourself.  Maybe, if a person likes who they are, they don’t simply endure the day…day after day after day.  Flushing them all away down the toilet as fast as possible as they try to make it to another weekend when they get another short reprieve.  Maybe, when they like themselves, they actually find some enjoyment in every day…even in a MONDAY.  Maybe, if you like who you are, you can like your world too.  It’s just speculation on my part, because, honestly, I can’t fathom what this would actually feel like.  I still have my head in the toilet.  Watching the food as it’s flushed away, along with my emotions and sorrow.  Watching the days go around and around and down the drain, never to be experienced again.  Watching my life disappear minute by minute, day by day, week by week, year by year.  Watching it all whirl around and vanish.  And I can never, ever, ever get it back…

Am I a Person?

When you are sexually abused as a child, you learn quickly that you are not a person.  You are, in fact, an object to be used by your abuser.  In my case, my abuser was my father and he used and abused me from the time I was about 4 or 5 until I was 14.  By the time I was 6, I knew deep in my heart that I didn’t matter.  I knew I existed only to please and satisfy my parents.  I was to bring fulfillment into their lives.  I was not a person.

When you are not a person, the rules do not apply to you.  People deserve to be loved and cherished, especially when they are children.  But since I wasn’t a person, I didn’t deserve anything.  I was fortunate indeed if I received a few crumbs from the table.  How dare I even THINK I should get to eat a meal with human beings!  I was an object…objects don’t eat at the table with the real people.

I learned to live without love and nurture and care and protection.  Those were reserved for people.  I learned to live with being hit and sexually used and neglected and slapped and overlooked.  I learned to be happy if I was tolerated, though not accepted.  I learned to live with rejection.  I learned to hide myself away…the real self…the one I buried deep inside of me, in the caverns of my soul.  Life was a scary lonely place.  It still is.  But then, I’m not a person and as such, I don’t deserve anything better.

When you are not a person, you can beg your daddy not to make you strip for him, but since you are only an object to be used, your words do not even penetrate the air around you.  They go unheard and unacknowledged.  They have no impact whatsoever.  When you are not a person, you can plead with your father not to make you perform oral sex on him, but your pleas fall on deaf ears.  Objects have no voice.  Objects exist for the sole purpose of being used.  Every instance of abuse just drives the point deeper into your heart.  You are nothing.  You do not matter.  You are not a person.

Today, all these many years later, I still don’t believe I am a person.  My counselor tries to tell me that I am.  But I learned the lesson well and all attempts to dislodge this long-held belief have been unsuccessful.  He says I can’t face the truth because if I know I’m a person, I will be very angry about how my parents, my father in particular, treated me.  The injustice of it all will become clear.  The pain will be overwhelming. So I avoid the problem by clinging to the belief that I am not a person, therefore, I didn’t deserve any better than what I got.  The problem is, I don’t know how to see things any differently than the way I see them.  I don’t know how to change my perspective because what I have always known is all I know.  So I type this note, casting the question to the gods of the internet as I try to understand and find the truth.  Am I a person?  I am haunted by the question.  I have no answers.

Alone is a Hard, Dark Place

That’s life..stuff to deal with and more stuff to deal with.  Comes at you all the time. From everywhere.  Anyone else relate?

I don’t deal with life’s stuff very well.  I am terrified of the future.  Tormented by the past that has broken me and won’t let me out of its gnarly grip.  Afraid I won’t be able to do what I need to do today to successfully navigate all the stuff that comes my direction.  I’m tired of being broken.  Tired of being scared.  Tired of being tired.  And I’m really, really tired of being alone in an empty life.

I’ve been alone forever.  I was totally and completely alone as a kid when I was being abused.  There was nowhere to turn and no one to turn to for help.  I did try to reach out a couple of times: once to a teacher and once to a pastor of a local church. Both times, I was told to stop lying.  You see, my parents were respected in the community.  My father was a teacher and the police judge in our small town.  Everyone knew they wouldn’t abuse me! Especially not sexually abuse me…not my teacher/judge father!  So I was not believed and I had no one to reach out to from the nightmare I lived each day.  Then I was married for 22 years to a man who told me he didn’t want to hear about what was in my heart or mind.  He wanted me to keep it all to myself and not bother him with the “yuck” that was inside of me.  He liked my parents, thank you very much.  And, by the way, he didn’t love me, so why should he have to put up with all that garbage inside of me?  I saw myself as nothing more than an object to be used, so I accepted his tolerance of me as the best I could hope for and stayed with him.  Of course, I died inside over the years.  And I died even more when he left me because he fell in love with another woman.  Can you understand why I’m tired of being alone…and why I say I’ve been alone forever?  Even when I was with other people, I was alone.  It’s a dark place.  I would like to live in a place that isn’t so dark.

The future scares me because I’m getting old enough now, I don’t relish the thought of facing this phase of my life without a partner by my side.  Getting old and sick when you’re alone just isn’t appealing to me.  Getting old and sick “period” isn’t appealing, but doing it alone…not really something to look forward to!  I need a hand to hold.  A heart to share with.  A mind to probe.  A shoulder to lean on.  Someone to walk with.  Someone to share with.

Today is frightening because I am barely hanging on.  Depression. Eating disorder.  Financial problems.  Laundry.  Job.  Doctors / counselors. Dentist. Taking care of my dog.  Cleaning house.  Running errands.   Church.  Isolation.  Dishes.  Cleaning the bathroom.  Changing light bulbs.  Getting the car serviced.  Having the toilet fixed.  It all seems very overwhelming, probably mostly because of the mental health issues.  How will I ever find someone to walk with when I’m so stupidly and completely messed up?  Who would want me?  I can’t even stand me, so why would someone else want to hang out with me?  Life looks bleak…

Alone is a hard, dark place.  I know.  I’ve lived there for a long, long, long time.  I wish I could move to another neighborhood.

Almost Made It

Almost made it through another week…that’s a good things, you know.  Sometimes, at the beginning of the week, I’m not sure I will successfully navigate all the challenges the work week throws my direction.  This week has been especially tough because I’ve had problems with potassium and sodium levels, feeling weak and faint, major cramping in my feet and depression.  When I don’t feel well physically and am struggling with depression (which, by the way, I’m ALWAYS struggling with depression), it’s much harder to keep going and to perform at work the way I need to perform.

Did I perform the way I needed to at work this week?  Well, honestly, probably not.  I tried.  I gave it my best shot.  I did all I could do, considering my limitations and challenges and health.  Issues.  I have issues.  I HATE having issues.  Sometimes I feel like that’s all I am…just one big, frickin’ stupid issue walking around in the world, disguised as a human being, but not human and barely being.

I have so many things I need to accomplish that I am not accomplishing, both at work and at home.  If I could stop all the crazy behavior centered around my lovely eating disorder, I would have a lot more time and energy to tackle those tasks.  But my life totally revolves around ED, as he is affectionately referred to in the eating disorder world.  ED is demanding.  But I don’t know how to live without him.  Hate him.  Love him.

I feel so stupid for struggling the way I do.

A Day in My Life

So, here I am world!  I got up at 3:30 this morning (thank you, Zoe…my Miniature Schnauzer decided it was time for me to feed her) and I was…TIRED.  The bad thing about getting up before the alarm goes off is that I want to eat.  And then I want to throw up everything I eat.  And that’s exactly what I did.  Not a good way to start the day, really, but there you have it.  Just another day of life with an eating disorder.

I go through periods of restricting and then I go through periods of, as they call it, binging and purging.  Eating and throwing up.  I’m in that mode at the moment.  It’s a barrel of fun.

But…I made it to work and I’m performing to a certain level, which is, in fact, a miracle, considering.  Oh, and I fed Zoe, but I made her wait until 4:30, which is when I’m SUPPOSED to get up.  Don’t want her to get in the habit of waking me up early because she thinks it’s time for her food!  Both of us can’t have an eating disorder!!!

For me, everything is a struggle.  Depression does that to you.  It makes even the simple things hard and the hard things become impossible.  Getting to work every day is a struggle.  Cleaning house is a struggle.  Running errands is a struggle.  It’s a constant battle (fighting against myself) to get the things done that need to be done.  That’s my life.  No wonder I’m tired…

Today is my first day to blog!

I’ve never done this before. I decided I wanted to start a blog, not really because I have that much to say, specifically, but because sometimes I feel like I have things I WANT to say that I can’t say otherwise. Things about work environments, what’s going on in my life, how bad the traffic is…just STUFF in general. I live alone (well, I live with my Miniature Schnauzer, Zoe) so there’s no one to talk to (except for Zoe and she doesn’t listen all that well!). Guess you are my audience, the friends I will be talking to through these pages as I share my thoughts, observations, decisions, challenges, hopes and dreams. I hope we both enjoy the experience!!

The World Through My Eyes