The scary thing is simply this: We were all young once. And innocent. And then, we aren’t.
We all began at some point, a point at which we were incredibly vulnerable and insecure.
We will all end at some point, a point at which we will be incredibly vulnerable and insecure.
Between these two point of utter vulnerability and insecurity, life happens. Life happens as we travel from birth to death. Whatever it involves, one thing is certain. It’s a grueling, confusing, painful process. For many of us.
A long time ago, but not that long ago, I was a newborn baby, laying in a nursery in the hospital where I was born. Hours old. Knowing nothing. Unable to focus or to comprehend what had just happened to me. Trying to take it all in. Cold and crying. Hungry. I had never been hungry before. There had been nothing for my eyes to see. Now, there was too much to see for me to take it all in.
This is where we all begin.
I didn’t know who the people were who were staring at me through the nursery window. I didn’t know about love, hate, fear, abuse, rejection, shame or disgust.
I learned. I learned too soon. I learned and grew. Aged.
I discovered how eating made the pain of hunger go away. I discovered my own hands and feet. Fingers and toes. Developed a sense of being. Of being me. Unique. A human being apart from my parents. I took my first steps. Stopped pooping in my diapers. Was awestruck by the lights and the magic of Christmas. Found out I could run. Enjoyed the wind, the sun, the stars and the clouds. Bonded with toys and learned how to play. I grew. Matured.
Didn’t bond so much with people. People were too dangerous. I learned that early. Very early.
Then, I went to school and another kind of learning began.
But before I was old enough to enter kindergarten, the bad things had already started happening. They had already started eating away at my soul.
My father had a side that was hidden from most people. A side few ever saw. A sick side. It wasn’t hidden from me, though I wish it had been. That side, that hidden side, was a big scary thing. He touched me in scary, wrong ways. He would also explode with anger and hit me – he said it was because I was bad and I deserved it. He taught me things that he said I needed to learn. About sex. But now, looking back, I’m not sure that any little girl needs to learn any lesson that abuse has to teach. I still knew my own fingers and toes…knew they were mine and mine alone. But I forgot what it meant to be a unique person. An individual. The sick father taught me I was nothing but an object to be used. He taught me that the reason I existed was to please him and my sick mother. The sick mother who rejected me, hit me and belittled me. I was supposed to please them both. To fulfill them. To satisfy them. To make them happy.
But I could never do or be enough to please them or make them happy. And there was no way I could ever fulfill them. I could never make their world okay.
So, when I went to school and started a whole new kind of learning, I was shy and fearful. Awkward. Different. Ashamed. I made a few friends, but I never fully connected with anyone. I was too afraid. Adults were especially terrifying to me. I knew I must please them or suffer the consequences – and the consequences were terrible. So I studied and got good grades. A’s, B’s, even some A+’s. But I was never good enough for my parents. Never did good enough for my parents. I was always expected to do and be more.
I always failed. Failed them.
I grew. I aged. Matured some more. Passed grade after grade with flying colors. Sick father and sick mother continued to teach me I was worthless, pathetic, and such a disappointment they could hardly bear it. They destroyed me. From them, I learned depression and despair. Brokenness. Emptiness. Hopelessness. Nothingness.
Now, I’m closer to death than to life. Youth is further from me than that point in time when I will cease to exist on this planet. That, too, is a scary thing.
The scary thing is, it all went by too quickly. Without my even realizing life was slipping through my fingers and toes. I let my parents tell me who I was…nothing. I let them warp my thinking until I believed with all of my heart that I was unlovable. Despicable. I tried not to listen to their message, but it happened, I did, and after a time, I couldn’t fight it. I took it all in. I believed them. Even though I knew they weren’t trustworthy. They told me abuse was love and I believed that too. They told me it was all my fault and I believed it. I still believe them. The message they placed deep inside of me when they raped and abused me bore much fruit. It was planted so far inside of me, I didn’t even know what they had done to me until it was too late. Until it was over. Until I believed. Until I became what they told me I was.
The most scary thing is that we all start out innocent and full of hope. But it doesn’t last long. Everything that happens to us after the moment we are born drains a little bit more innocence and hope out of us. Inch by inch, everything that makes us wonderful is destroyed. Until we give up. Until we are nothing but a zombie. Until we have nothing to live for.
The most scary thing is that, when we reach this point, life doesn’t matter. We’re too numb to care. All we can hope for is that we will be able to endure. All that we can hope for is that death will be merciful. The most scary thing is that the innocent child dies long, long, long before our flesh begins to rot. That it’s over long before it’s over. No matter how hard we try. No matter how hard we fight. We die years and years and years before we stop breathing.
That, that, yes that is the most scary thing. The scariest thing of all.