What I Want

I had dinner with friends last night.  These friends are pretty special…the kind of friends you can be fairly honest with.  The rare kind; they’re real and genuine people.

After we had eaten the meal my friend prepared (which was healthy and delicious, by the way), we went to the living room to talk.  They have some big changes coming up in their lives because of some hurtful events.  But they are fairly optimistic about the future, considering, which totally amazes me.  As we were talking about what they are facing and how they feel about it, the conversation drifted to me and what’s going on in my life (hate that). Out of the blue, my friend’s husband asked me, “What do you want in your life that you don’t have?”

I pretended to think for a moment, but truthfully, the answer came to me instantly.  It pierced me to my core.  Because the one thing I want in my life that I don’t have, the thing I want more than anything else I can think of is simply…love.

I’ve never been loved.  My parents didn’t love me.  My husband didn’t love me.  I’ve never been wanted, cherished, protected, cared for, delighted over or loved.  I would like to get out of debt.  I would like to not have to work so hard for everything.  I would like to experience peace and security.  I would like to find an end to the struggle.  I would like to be healed.  But the first thing that jumped from the depth of my heart to my head when my friend asked me that stirring question was the word “love.”  I was overwhelmed with how badly I want to be loved.

I want to love someone too.  I want it to be a two-way street, a deep connection, where we lean on each other, support each other, adore each other.  I’ve been around long enough to know it won’t always be wonderful.  In fact, I’ve had a whole lot of life not being wonderful.  I’m good at it.  Hate it, but I’m equipped to deal with pain, hurt and rejection.  Is it too much to want to have love?

That’s what I want.  Foolish heart.  Silly woman.  Always asking for too much…

Panic Room

I have recently started experiencing panic attacks.  It’s a horrible experience and I’m not sure what to do about them or how to deal with them.  But  I have figured out one thing, and that’s what causes them: thinking about my life.  Contemplating all the horrible things that have happened.  Thinking about how broken I am.  Thinking about how messed up being broken has made me.  How it has destroyed my life.  Thinking about the obstacles I have to overcome if I’m ever going to experience anything other than depression, struggles, and pain in life.  Thinking about how alone I am and how alone I’m likely to always be.  Because I’m such a mess.  Thinking about how different I am.  How deficient.  Thinking about how big of a financial hole I’m in and how my binging and purging is only causing the hole to get deeper (groceries are expensive…I’m basically just throwing them in the toilet).  Thinking about how badly I’m performing at work because of depression and medical challenges related to anorexia, depression and stress.  Thinking about how bleak the future looks.  I can’t see anything changing, except, of course, changing for the worse.  I could go on and on, but you probably get the idea.  Thinking about all of this hurtful, frightening, overwhelming, nightmarish STUFF becomes suffocating.  I become so thoroughly terrified, it paralyzes me.  I panic.  I spin into this deep, dark, scary place that is bottomless…and there’s nothing to grab on to as I fall endlessly deeper into the pit.

This challenge was totally unexpected.  I’ve spent most of my life not feeling much of anything at all, well, other than depression.  To have emotions that are this overwhelming is completely petrifying.  I don’t know how to deal with them.  I can’t process them or contain them.  They just…ARE.  And they are…HUGE.  Frightening giants.  They dwarf my defenses.  They lay me to waste.  They terrify me.

I need to be able to feel, but it seems I don’t have a working regulator or insulator.  At this point, it would seem I’m either not going to feel anything other than depression or I’m going to be completely and totally overwhelmed by pain, hopelessness, despair and terror.  My natural tendency is to shut everything down quickly.  Pull the plug!  I’m trying to fight that defense mechanism, but it’s extremely difficult when my circuits are overloaded and being fried by an emotional surge.  And forget about sorting anything out!  I can’t even being to grasp a single thought or emotion from the midst of the fireball of emotions that are flooding my senses.

This is one of the most painful experiences I have ever had.  Maybe I’m finally beginning to feel a little piece of the ocean of pain that has been buried inside of me since I was abused as a child.  Whoopee, right? A little late.  Kind of far down the road.  But I have always said I’m a late bloomer.  This isn’t exactly what I had in mind when it comes to “blooming,” but maybe it’s a critical step.  I hope there’s something worthwhile on the other side of all of this.  I hope there is something out there -PERIOD- on the other side of all of this.  That there really IS another side. Something worthwhile would be incredible.  I could sure use a glimpse of the future because getting through the pain and the terror is going to be a tough, rough, disorienting ride.  Assuming there is a bottom to this pit.  Assuming there is an end to the pain.  Assuming there is something to hope for.  Barely able to hope.

Mother’s Day

I pretty much hated my mother.  Never really understood why, but I did.  It baffled me every time I contemplated it throughout the years.  But I could never figure it out, so I always ended up having to shrug it off as just one of those weird things I might never understand.  I have a lot of those weird  kinds of things.  That I don’t think I’ll ever understand. They haunt me constantly.

Today, Mother’s Day, it hit me.  The reason I hated her.  She was the reason I had to keep the secret.

My dad used her weakness, her sickness, her emotional frailty, to hold me prisoner.  He always told me not to tell because if I did, my mother would kill herself and it would be entirely my fault.  All I had to do was keep the secret and she would be fine…well, she would at least live.  But if I told anyone, she would die and I would be to blame.  So I suffered through the years of sexual abuse and shielded her and everyone else from the sick nightmare I had to live through so they wouldn’t have to endure the consequences.  Of what was happening to me.

If she had been less self-focused, stronger, less depressed, less manipulative, more nurturing, more of a presence, I would have had someone to go to with all of the pain and confusion and terror and destruction.  There would have been arms to encircle me.  There would have been a place of shelter.  But there was none.  No one.  Nowhere to go, no one to turn to.  And the secret remained hidden.  Untold.  The massive damage was kept inside.  The shell walked on.  All because my mother was too weak to hear the truth of what was happening to her daughter.

I have doubts about whether or not she knew.  It happened right under her nose at times, but I certainly never told her and she never once said anything about her despondent, broken daughter.  She never seemed to wonder what had happened to destroy me.

I hated her for not being there.  I hated her because I couldn’t tell her the truth.  I hated her because she didn’t want to know the truth.  I hated her for being so weak.  And for loving herself so much that she sacrificed me so she wouldn’t have to deal with the pain.  I hated her because my dad was right; if she couldn’t ignore it any longer, she wouldn’t have been able to handle that she was married to a pervert.  If she couldn’t pretend that reality was really unreality, she would have probably snapped.  Don’t know that she would have killed herself.  I think she was too important to herself to do that; everything was about her, after all.  Truth be told, she pretty much hated me too.  So she might have killed me.  Which might not have been a bad thing, all things considered.

She’s been dead since the fall of 2002.  It was a relief when she died.  But at least the mystery has finally been solved.  Happy Mother’s Day, mom.  I finally understand why I disliked you so intensely.  Turns out, it makes sense after all.

Shambles

My father, the man I loved, looked up to and adored, sexually abused me from the time I was about 4 or 5 until I was about 14 years old. I have many very clear nearly intact memories and I have many, many more partial memories of bits and pieces of abuse. Everything fades into black. Everything. I could not put the events of my life in order if my life depended on it. My childhood is a mishmash of broken bits and pieces and flashes of really horrible abuse. All of it comes out of the darkness and goes back into the darkness. There is darkness around everything in my life. It is the one prevailing theme.

He began somewhat slowly, but by the time I was 11, my father was raping me. He would make me act out pornographic events. I would beg him and implore him to stop, crying and pleading, but he was totally unfazed by my cries and begging. He made me strip for him, he made me shower with him, he made me perform oral sex, he penetrated me with his fingers and his penis.  He did whatever he pleased whenever he pleased. He did it all and nothing I did or said ever stopped him. Not even one time. Not even a slight hesitation.  I was a toy. I was the prey. He was the predator.

He was a teacher and sometimes, he would come back to the house after he had left for school just so he could abuse me, returning after he knew my mother would be gone to work and my brother would be at my grandparent’s house where he went before school. During the summer, he was always there while my mother worked. My grandparents didn’t want me around; I tended to stand up to my paranoid-schizophrenic grandfather, which caused him to rant for days on end.  My brother, the family boy, was always welcome there, however.  This left me alone and vulnerable. I was completely powerless and terrified and degraded. I didn’t matter to anyone. I was an object. Created to be used.

My mother was narcissistic and depressed and sporadically hit me, knocking me down, dragging me by my hair, slapping me, when I didn’t do something just the way she wanted it done. My father would hit me too, but when he hit, I went flying across the room. The funny thing (well, strange thing) about the physical abuse is that it didn’t even register as abuse.  It was so benign compared to the sexual abuse and the nightmarish chaos of my life, I didn’t even consider it to be abnormal or problematic.  It still seems like a minor aside.  Like, “so they hit me…yawn…”

There was no one to go to for help. I tried. I told a teacher and a pastor. Neither believed me. My father was, after all, a teacher, a police judge in the town where I lived, respected. My parents were a bit odd, but well thought of.  Both the teacher I went to and the pastor told me to stop lying. I was totally alone.  Terrified.  Broken.

Before I married my husband of 22 years, I told him about the abuse because I knew it had an impact on me in a very negative way, although I didn’t grasp the massiveness of the devastation. I wanted to warn him. But he still wanted to marry me, which pleasantly surprised me. We were both Christians who believed God was putting us together. I thought someone loved me for the first time in my life. I thought maybe I finally mattered.

But once married, I learned that my new husband didn’t love me.  I tried to hold the ugliness and messiness in, but some of the scary emotional turmoil began to show and rear its head.  My new husband told me he didn’t want to hear about my pain or hear any of the things that were going on in my heart. He told me point blank that he didn’t love me, never had and that I should keep my issues to myself.  He completely rejected me and it cut me to the core. I tried to make the best of it.  I tried to make it easy on him and keep it to myself as he asked.  So for the 22 years we were together, I buried it as deeply as I could and tried to go on; tried to be a good Christian wife. I did O.K. in some ways, not so O.K. in others. I was fairly successful in business, considering my meager beginnings. But my heart began to feel very numb and over the years, it became dead, totally without any feeling. I was a dead man walking…a true zombie.  A shell.

Sleeping dragons never die. The monster I kept hidden as best I could all those years was still inside of me. And when my husband left me for another woman, the shell crumbled and fell.  All that was left was ashes. I lost my church at the same time I lost my husband. Then I lost my job. Then my dog, a rescue I was deeply attached to, died. I had nothing left to live for.  And so, I tried to kill myself.  But somehow, beyond reason, I survived a massive overdose, forever changing the bell curve for that particular drug’s overdose survival rate.

Today, I’m in counseling for abuse issues and for an eating disorder that has nearly killed me. Had I gotten help long ago, it would have been so much easier. Having some support would have greatly helped. But unearthing all the long buried emotions, wrong perceptions, shame, self-hate, confusion, feelings of worthlessness, blame and unending terror is very difficult at this point in my life, especially because I’m so alone.

Being abused has cost me my life. I don’t know if I will ever recover. I have health problems that cause me to miss more work than I should and I’m afraid I’ll lose my job. I need intense help, but I can’t afford it. And there isn’t anyone in my life who really wants to deal with this awful mess except those professionals I pay to care. My brother has finally come to believe and understand some of the nightmare and I’m grateful for his concern. I’m so afraid it’s too late. I don’t know if there’s anything left to salvage. Life is scary. I don’t know how to trust or connect. I’ve never been loved, so there is no sense of safety or security or of having any value. I wait for the next knife in the back, the next horrible thing to happen, the next setback. Financially, I’m in ruins. Emotionally, I’m destroyed. I’m afraid…so afraid…every day, of everything. The next thing may be the thing that gets me. Guts me. And I’m incredibly tired of trying to fight this battle and go on.

This is what being sexually abused has done for me. And this short summary is just the tip of the iceberg.

Depression

I am so depressed, so wholly and completely dejected, it frightens me.  It’s palpable.  I can’t escape it.  I’m totally encased and entwined in it, no matter which way I turn, how I try to avoid it or what I try to do to overcome.  I’m trapped, imprisoned, stopped dead in my tracks.  Can’t make a move.  Can’t take a step.  It weighs me down and holds me in place like a massive anchor attached to my leg.  It’s utterly terrifying.  I’m fighting an invisible enemy that is everywhere at once, that anticipates my every move and encapsulates and penetrates my every thought.  Where am I to turn to find relief?  How am I to ever have hope or happiness?

I’ve tried all the antidepressants and I’ve tried them in massive doses over long periods of time several times.  They don’t work for me.  I wish they did.  The only thing they do is cause severe vertigo after I’ve been on them for some time and once I stop taking them, it takes quite awhile for the vertigo to go away.  I want something to make me better, but nothing seems to help.  No magic pill for me. That’s the scariest part.   Nothing I do or try seems to dent this impenetrable, unrelenting, bottomless ocean of despair. I’m drowning in it…and it’s petrifying.

I’m doing the counseling thing too.  Have been going for years.  No relief.  Just despair.  Still waiting for a breakthrough that I fear will never come.  But if I stop going, stop trying, I’m doomed.  I have to do SOMETHING!

I want so badly to be a whole, normal person.  I want to be worth loving, to have qualities that are redeeming.  I want to have value, worth.  I want to be wanted.  But in my present state, I seriously doubt there is anything about me that is worth caring about.  I’m so afraid the bad overwhelmingly outweighs the good.  I’m terrified I’m destined to always be alone and disregarded.  Undesired and undesirable. Isolated and despondent.

I’ve tried to talk to myself to get out of this horrid pit.  I’ve tried to be strong, to ignore it, to outrun it, to face it, to tell it to go the hell away…I’ve tried everything…absolutely everything…that I can think of.  Nothing has worked yet.  Nothing has made any difference.  I’m still drowning.  It’s disturbing.  And it hurts.  Badly.

Is there any hope?  I don’t know.  Don’t really believe there is.  But if I quit, then I know there isn’t any, so I keep plugging away as best I can.  I struggle just to take one step forward into each day.  I struggle each and every day to get out of bed, to make myself go to work, to make myself do even one thing that I’m supposed to do, that a “normal” person would do easily.  I take out the trash.  I get gas for my car.  I try to make myself go to church.  Fail more than I succeed, but I keep trying.  I do the laundry.  I load the dishwasher.  I change the sheets.  I take a shower.  Hard stuff when every single step is a battle.  I keep going to therapy.  I take care of my dog.  Get the mail.  And then there are the things I don’t do.  I don’t clean my house very well. Don’t socialize.  I don’t do hundreds of things I should.  But I do the very best I can with this anchor of depression wound around and around and around me.  I hate that I’m the way I am.  I hope someday I’ll be better, even though I have pretty much lost all hope.  I may be a corpse.  But I keep…on…walking…one lonely painful step at a time.  All I can do is all I can do.  And hope the little I can do will somehow…be…enough.

Not Good Enough

I was never, ever good enough.  No matter what I did. No matter how hard I tried.  I was never able to live up to expectations.  Never cherished, delighted in, wanted, cared for, or desired.  I was always judged and found lacking. By my parents.  By my husband (now ex-husband).  By church leaders.  Very significant people in my life totally and completely rejected and discounted me, determining I had no real value.

As a result, I didn’t know I was a person…still struggle to believe it to this day.  I can remember being shocked when, at age 21, my flight instructor asked me out after we got back from a training flight.  I literally turned around to see who he was talking to, thinking there had to be a “real” person standing behind me that I didn’t realize was there.  I was utterly shocked to find there was no one behind me and he was speaking to ME.  Unfortunately, though I came to care for him deeply, he never seemed to care all that much for me.  He would act like he cared, then be totally unavailable for weeks at a time.  It was confusing and caused me to question my “person” status all over again, thus concluding I wasn’t one.  But I will never forget that moment in time when he asked me out because it was one of the first when I was treated like I was a real human being.

Sadly, I’m still not good enough.  Not enough.  And I don’t really believe I’m a person, not like everyone else is a person.  Oh, I have a few friends who think I’m O.K., though I’m not someone they hang around with much.  I’m not married (now), don’t have kids and don’t share many common interests with them as a result.  So our paths don’t cross much unless we work hard to make them cross.  And frankly, they didn’t come from the kind of hell I did, so they are more on the normal end of the scale while I’m…not.  Which means we have even less in common.  Though they share with me, they don’t talk with me about who I really am inside because of that lack of commonality.  There are certain “acceptable” things I can share occasionally, but most don’t know I have an eating disorder,  that I still don’t feel like a person or think I have value, that I suffer from major debilitating depression, or know that I was horribly abused as a child.  They may have heard I was abused, but know little to no details (details aren’t acceptable!).  A couple know about the eating disorder, but not the daily struggle, the emotional fallout, or how bad it is.  My point is this:  I have to hide because what I am isn’t good enough.  It’s shameful.  It’s unacceptable.  It’s bad.  And because I have to hide, I never really feel connected.   When you’re not good enough, it’s very difficult to allow yourself to attach or be attached to.  You fear discovery, even though you wish you could just…simply…be…who…you…are.  But you can’t.  Not when you’re not good enough.

As a result of all the reinforcement I’ve received throughout my life from childhood on, I have come to agree with the opinion of those who have so harshly abused and/or rejected me.  I have come to see myself as being without value or worth.  I don’t know how to see myself any other way.

Being “not good enough” means there is little concern and even less love in life.  It means being alone.  Being isolated.  Being different and unacceptable.  It means never having anyone to share your heart with or to connect with in a deep way.  It means keeping things light and shallow.  Not really touching.  Not revealing those ugly parts or talking about painful, dark topics.   Which perpetuates the feelings of not being good enough.  It cements in place the cycle of rejection and self-hate.  It hurts.

Never being real is painful.  Never being enough is demoralizing.  Never being loved is the biggest wound imaginable; cuts straight to the core.  Which probably explains why it’s so hard for me to simply make it through the day.

Secrets

Shh.  Can you keep a secret?  Really, really keep a secret?  From everyone?  No exceptions?  Think before you answer.  For most people, it’s not an easy thing to do.  Consider it for a moment or two.  Then answer.

I can. I know for certain, because I did. For years and years and years, I was silent, keeping horrible secrets, living a lie. Yep, I have a proven track record.  In fact, I’m so good at keeping secrets, I can’t talk about the things I have hidden away even when I want to.  Which seems to be a problem now…

I learned at a very early age not to talk about the things that happened at home.  Not to talk about home, period.  Certainly not to talk about the things that happened to me.  I can remember my father telling me that my mother would kill herself if she knew (about him sexually abusing me) and it would be all my fault, so I couldn’t even talk about the things that happened in my home while I was in my home!  Of course, everyone knew anyway, but not talking about it allowed my mother in particular to pretend that she didn’t know what was going on.  There were times my father molested me right in front of her…holding me on his lap while my mother read a book, sitting in a chair beside him in the same room.  But “don’t talk, don’t tell” was firmly in place by the time I was old enough to begin to grasp that what was happening to me was bad.  And I played by the rules.  I learned them and learned them well.  They imprison me to this day.

Part of the reason I didn’t talk is because I knew I was bad from an early age.  Made sense; if I wasn’t bad, such painful and frightening things wouldn’t happen to me.  Eventually, I realized the things that were happening were bad too.  And that made me feel even more ashamed. It was my fault. I was bad and I attracted bad things.  I made the bad things happen, right?  And since it was my fault and I was so ashamed, I kept silent.

It’s not like I really understood what was going on.  It was terribly confusing and crazy-making.  In fact, I was in high school before I accidentally discovered the word “incest” in the dictionary.  I was stunned to realize there was actually an official word for what was happening to me!  But I did comprehend early on that what was happening to me was shameful.  And that I was shameful.  I was not like anyone else I grew up with.  I was different in a very, very, very bad way.  I had secrets.

The secrets weren’t just about the abuse.  I kept secrets from the world about my parent’s horrible fights, about how dirty our house was, about how they hit me.  We were very isolated as a family.  There were times when a visitor (usually a relative) would come to our house and my mother would hide, desperately begging me to tell them that she was gone or unavailable.  You just didn’t talk to other people about those kinds of things.  But I kept secrets from my parents too.  I didn’t tell them when I was sick…until I was so sick I couldn’t keep it a secret any more.  I knew it didn’t matter.  I can’t count the times I was warned that I had better be “sick enough” to warrant a trip to the doctor.  So I worked very hard to make sure I was sick enough before I said anything.  I rarely had friends over…heck, I didn’t have many friends.  But our house, particularly before I entered junior high school (when I was old enough to clean it myself), was embarrassing.  There were paths through the paper, clothes, toys, magazines, trash, that allowed us to walk from room to room.  The floor was literally stacked full of stuff. Not neatly stacked.  Like a hurricane hit.  Stuff all mixed together, piled to above ankle height.  You couldn’t step over it because the piles all ran together.  So the only place you could walk was in the paths.  At first, I didn’t know this was different than the way other people lived, even though my grandparent’s house wasn’t like this.  But after visiting a few friend’s houses, at some point early on it began to dawn on me that this was also something to be ashamed of.  There were many, many, many things to be ashamed of.  But I was most ashamed of myself.  Because somehow, it was always all my fault.

I kept those (and many other) secrets my entire life.  Part of the reason I’m blogging now is because I’m trying to come out of hiding in some small way. So I can be a real person.  I’ve been a lie for so long, I’m not sure I CAN be a real person.  But I’m trying to find my way.  Secrets block the path.  Telling them is hard.  Almost impossible.  But I’m trying.  Because I really am tired of living a lie.  I’m very tired of not being able to talk about so much of my life because it’s taboo.  Tired of pretending everything is fine.  I’m extremely tired of not being able to be genuine.   Talking is hard, even when no one is listening.  Still feels like everything is hidden.  But it’s a step.  A step away from all the secrets. Shh…

The Red Room

I dislike the color red.  I won’t wear it, won’t buy anything for my house that is that color, nor will I buy a red car, even if it’s the best deal on the planet.  I won’t put a red collar on my dog, buy a red blanket or plant red flowers in my yard.  No red computers, phones, or birthstone (ruby) rings.  It puzzled me, this avoidance and revulsion.  It also started me thinking.

It’s a certain color of bright, clear red that bothers me.  I like burgundy.  A dark red is okay.  Ox blood doesn’t bother me.  I have auburn hair and I like that color. But bright red…the color of flowers and McDonald’s and Wendy’s and Christmas bows and the “K” on the box of Special K cereal…oh, yeah, that color I pretty much intensely dislike.  It’s that American Red Cross red, ambulance red, fire truck red, tail light red that bothers me.  Definitely bothers me.

Weird, right?  I thought so.  Found it perplexing.  Until it sort of dawned on me. And knocked me to my knees.

The red bedroom.  My parent’s bedroom.  The room where a lot of the sexual abuse took place.  That’s the color of red I don’t like.  It was my mother’s favorite color.

It’s interesting to me how we transfer our feelings from one thing to something else so we can handle intense emotions that might otherwise overpower us.  The abuse was completely overwhelming.  I was lost in a nightmare that had no end.  But instead of focusing on the situation that I couldn’t control, on how awful it was, how much I hated it, feared it, wanted it to stop, I transferred the feelings of intense dislike to the color of the walls that trapped me.  And buried the emotions there.  In the red walls.  Of my parent’s bedroom.

I can’t feel the anger, the pain, the terror of what happened there.  But I despise the color red.  It’s all in what it stands for.  Violation.  Rape.  Abuse.  Shame and humiliation.  Degradation.   Devastation.  Demoralization.  Destruction.  Painted on the walls.  Of the red room.  Frozen in time.  Memories of the anguish, ruin and shattering.  Fragmented pieces of my fragmented soul.  Isolation and horror.  Brokenness and torture.  Too overwhelming to deal with; locked away. All securely wrapped up in red.  A harmless color I can safely and intensely dislike without having to touch what lies beneath the paint.

Fairy Princess

Wearing a Fairy Princess Dress

I have a huge weak spot for what I can only think to call “fairy princess” dresses.  You know what I mean?  The really girly, frilly, lacy, fancy kind of dresses that have all those neat little touches and details that reach into your heart and say, “you have to have me!”  “I’m special and amazing and if you wear me, you will be special and amazing too!”  When I was very small, I can remember clearly standing in the Sears store in Springfield, MO, where I grew up, staring at the racks of beautiful fairy princess dresses, drooling over them, knowing I would NEVER get to even try one on in the store, much less take one home with me.  My parents never bought me things like that.  But my heart so longed for one!  Just one!!!  And I remember thinking to myself before sadly walking away, “by the time I’m old enough to buy myself a dress like this, they won’t even make them any more; it will be too late for me.”

I wanted to be special.  I wanted to be beautiful.  I wanted to be “oh-ed and ah-ed” over.  And to me, a fairy princess dress stood for being special and cherished.  If you had a fairy princess dress, you were WANTED.  You RATED.  And I knew I didn’t rate, so I realized I would never have such an extraordinary dress.

To be fair, I was born a clothes horse.  As a baby, I actually and truly grabbed new outfits my grandmother made for me in my teeny hand and crawled around the house with them because I loved them so much.  When I was in 6th grade, I saved enough allowance to buy myself a pair of coveted go-go boots and I slept with them every night.  I can still recall the smell of the hot pink foam lining!  Now, I have a closet full of clothes, all purchased when on sale or “pre-owned” from eBay, and I admittedly have way more clothes than I need or will ever be able to wear out.  I still love the sweet details and frills and extra touches and they still reach out and grab me by my heart.  Yes, I loved clothes as a baby, as a young child standing in Sears, as a teenager and I love them to this day.  How I dress reflects how I feel and it masks the lack of value I believe I have.

You see, clothes have a deeper meaning for me.  I don’t know why; I only know that they do and always have.  They mean you’re distinctive, that you have worth and significance, that you are special and pretty and…NORMAL.  They let you fit in.  They let you be somebody when you’re really nobody.  They give you a presence.  They make you unique.  They make you look like a real person.

I didn’t really want to be a fairy princess.  I just wanted to be loved.  And I wasn’t.  Never have been and still am not.  I just wanted to matter.  And I didn’t.  Never have.  To me as a child, being a fairy princess meant you were so wonderful and desirable, entire kingdoms would fall at your feet and swoon, so great would be their love for you.  I wanted someone to cherish me like that.  No one did then and no one does today.  So clothes still help me to feel normal enough and worthy enough of breathing air to face the day.  Clothes are my substitute for being loved.

No fairytale ending to this story.  No one is living happily ever after.  But I do have a fairy princess dress or two.  And they at least let me pretend like I’m somebody special.

Silence

I live in a world of silence.  My dog occasionally barks.  My phone occasionally rings…mainly when a pesky phone solicitor calls in spite of the fact that I’m listed on the state and federal “do not call” list. Sometimes I play music (Pandora – love it!).  Rarely do I watch a movie.  I never watch TV.  Really.  Never. There is no one to talk to, well, other than my dog and I suppose she listens as well as anyone.  But she hasn’t much to say.   So there are no conversations, dangling or otherwise.  No laughter.  No friends who want to get together.  I read books, eat and throw up, play with the dog, play around on the computer, post to Facebook, Twitter, my blog.  You can hear the keyboard tapping as I type, the birds chirping outside the window providing some relief to the deafening silence.  But there is a prevailing quietness to my existence that presses down on me, forcing the air out of the room.  I am painfully aware of how very alone I am.

Some silence is actually a good thing.  I can take a fairly hefty dose of it.  But it can become oppressive incredibly quickly when that’s pretty much all you experience.  It becomes crushing.  And crushing is painful.

Silence is actually very noisy.  Noisy in the sense that it weighs on you and beats on you, creating a vacuum that is quite painful to hear and to feel.  You’ve no doubt heard the term “deafening roar?”  Silence is like that.  It roars.  And the roar is enough to cause one to cover their ears.  It is crushing and oppressive.  It tears one apart.  It causes terror and incredible pain.  There is no escaping the overwhelming silent emptiness.

Whoever said that silence is golden likely didn’t have it as a near constant companion.

The World Through My Eyes