Tag Archives: need

Sleeping With Dogs

I have two of them. Two dogs.  Miniature Schnauzers, both.  Salt and pepper.  They came from the same breeder, though from different lines and they are the reason I get up every morning.  Really, really early.  Every single morning.

I am connected to them in ways I cannot explain; in ways I cannot connect with human beings.  They have a very special place deep within my heart.  One of them actually sleeps over my heart with her head resting on my neck, her nose tucked behind my ear.  The other sleeps nestled tightly to my side, her head laying on my stomach.  I love them so much, it hurts.

They adore me.  They furiously wiggle their butts and cropped little tails, jumping with unconstrained excitement when I come home from work.  They are a bright light in my dark and lonely world.  My reason for being. Their pint-sized hearts pump pure love into my life.  They make me laugh.  They give me a reason to smile.

Yet, it baffles me, this connection I have with them, these furry, four-legged, wonderful little creatures.  I am baffled by this meaningful bond that I can’t seem to forge with even one person who populates this planet.  It comes so naturally with them.  Why with dogs, but not people?  It baffles me mightily.

The oldest just turned 11.  The younger will be 6 in January.  Every second I have with them is becoming more and more precious.  I am aware time is running out.  That there will come a day when they no longer greet me at the door, wiggling furiously with joy.  And when their light goes out, my world will be far darker and fearfully empty.  My eyes will be filled with tears when my sweet girls no longer fill my heart with laughter.

I hold their warm bodies, count their soft breaths, feel their hearts  as they steadily beat next to mine.  It amazes me that they are autonomous, perfectly formed beings who carry within them the breath of life.  Their brains think independently.  They have their own unique personalities.  Their distinct likes, dislikes, quirks, needs and funny little ways of doing things.  I am overwhelmed by the miracle of them.  I am amazed at their innocence and vulnerability.  They are all in.  They are all mine.  And I am theirs.

I sleep with dogs.  Every night.  I hold them gently in my arms and in my heart.  I would rather die than hurt them.  I would do anything to protect them.

I would like to have a deep and strong connection with a human being.  A connection at least as deep and meaningful as the one I have with my four-legged children.  Not instead of the connection I have with my furry girls.  But along with, as well as, in addition to.  I want the other side of the bed to be used.  I want to listen to a person breathe as they lay beside me.  Feel their heart beat next to mine.  Marvel at their distinct personality and the miracle that makes them who they are.  Feel their breath on my cheek.  Sleep cuddled in their arms.  I want to belong by their side.  In their soul.

I long for someone to be delighted to see me when I come home.  And to be sorry to see me go.

I haven’t many more years with my oldest.  It terrifies me…the thought of her leaving.  There isn’t a thing I can do to avoid what is coming.  Dogs don’t live that long.  We are forced to let them go far too soon.  Even the younger one will be gone in the blink of an eye.

But when the eldest leaves me behind, I will have loved her well and hard and fully.  I will have known her, every odd little quirk.  All the contours of her soft, sturdy body.  I will have held her, physically and with every fiber of my mind and being, enjoyed her, cared for her, been bound to her.  She will always be a part of me.  She has given me a treasure that I will hold tight and never let go, no matter how many years pass after she is no longer lying faithfully beside me each night.  She will break my heart, even as she fills it.  I will never stop loving her.

I listen to them both snore softly as they rest upon me.  They trust me.  They know I will watch over them.  They know we are connected.  They are peaceful, without fear, because they are safe in my embrace.  We are content together.  We can plunge into deep slumber without distress or worry when we are snuggled together as one.

I sleep with dogs.  I bond with them.  I connect with them though I can’t connect with humans.  I am a stranger among my own species.  With those who are my kind.  But here, with my dogs, with their soft bodies cuddling mine, I am home.  And though I ache for want of more, I am eternally grateful to be the one who gets to hold their soft little paws in my hand as they warm me during the long, solitary nights.

 

Mixed Messages

The world is confusing.  It is especially so for a young child.  Antennas are fully extended.  Nothing is understood.  Everything is happening quickly and it’s being assimilated, sorted, processed and classified just as swiftly.  A massive amount of information is being filed away in their vulnerable heart.  In their curious mind.  Coming to conclusions.  They are feeling their way along. Trying to avoid anything that explodes newly laid foundations.  Trying to avoid anything that is too scary or painful.  Trying to chew before swallowing.

They listen to the words adults fling back and forth around them.  The adults who are parenting them.  Who matter the most.  Those words they speak carry much weight.  Much more weight than the words of others…at least while they are young.  They listen.  Catch those words.  Ponder them.  And learn.

Yet, actions speak louder than words.  Which is why confusion descends, wrapping them in a thick, unrelenting fog.

Sometimes, the mixed messages cause so much dissonance, the child fractures.

“We love you so much!”  But in the dead of the night, the daddy sneaks quietly into her room and uses her as a living, breathing sex toy.  Or the mother slaps her and drags her by her long hair because she didn’t complete every chore on a 2-page list between the time she got off school and when her mother arrived home from work.

“We prayed for a little girl just like you!”  But her brother is the one who gets dental care, who is taken to the doctor when he is sick, who doesn’t even have to do chores.

“If only you would…lose weight, make better grades, smile, be more popular, clean the house without being asked, like the clothes I want to wear…”  “If only you had…blonde hair, a better personality, a prettier face, slimmer legs, a smaller butt…”  There are lots of “if only” messages.  If only, then we could love you, accept you, like you, be proud of you, want you.

We love you…if only.  We love you, but oh, you’re not as mature as we thought you were.  You’re not as resourceful as we thought you were.  You’re not as worthwhile, valuable, nice, pretty, smart…as we thought you were, thought you should be, wanted you to be, expected you to be, needed you to be.

We needed you to be so much more.

We love you…you were supposed to fulfill our dreams and meet our every need, make our life wonderful and make us happy.  Instead…you’re too much trouble, too much work, you’re a disappointment, you’re a failure, you’re making things harder for me, you need too much, you aren’t doing everything we want you to do, you’re not acting like we want you to act, you’re not performing up to standard, you’re not living up to our expectations…

We love you.  We hit you because you deserve it.  We abuse you because we own you. Because you owe it to us to make us happy. We reject you.  Your needs don’t matter.  We love you.  Smile, dammit!  Do what I say.  Don’t tell anyone.  Don’t look at me like that!  What do you want from me?  We love you.  Not now.  Leave me alone.  I have too many problems of my own to deal with without having to think about you.  You’re not making my life better.  Or easier.  What’s wrong with you?  You’re so fat!  Clean your plate!  I don’t care what you need.  Or what you think.  Clean the house.  Keep the secrets.  We love you.  Do you know how expensive it is to go to the doctor!  You had better be sick enough to justify all that money being spent on you!  Mow the grass.  Clean out the refrigerator.  Mop the floor.  Dust the paneling.  Clean the kitchen.  Vacuum.  Wash the windows.  Make me whole.  Make me feel good about myself and how I’m doing as a parent.  Fix my life.  Why can’t you be more like her?  You’re making us look bad.  Keep your mouth shut.  We love you.  How dare you!  You’re so disappointing.  We can’t be bothered.  Go to your room.  We love you.

The child tries.  Tries to sort through the words.  Tries to comprehend the meaning of what they are saying.  These very important people who are shaping them. Tries to make sense of their actions.  Tries to get the pieces to fit together.  Tries to find a way to make it make sense.

“Love” is nothing more than rejection hiding behind sweet words.  It is abuse, using, hitting.  It means being tolerated if you remain silent.  If you perform to standard.  Yet the standard is constantly changing for the bar is steadily moved higher when you come close to succeeding. You have to earn it, this thing called love.  And the price is high.

Being loved means being judged and found lacking.  It means having no value or worth.

It is the only way to get the mixed messages to fit into one coherent concept.  It is the only way to resolve the distortion, the startling clash between opposing perspectives.  It is the only way those opposing perspectives can exist together in the same room.  Or be spoken with the same breath.

For the other alternative, the one that CAN’T BE TRUE NO MATTER WHAT is that what they are showing you, what they are doing to you, what they are asking of you and demanding from you…isn’t actually love…at all.

Can’t See It

I was watching that You Tube video again…the one about the blind man sitting on the concrete walkway with his little cardboard sign, begging for money.  He is getting a minimal response: a coin here and there, but certainly not even enough to buy him a cup of coffee. 
Then a well-dressed woman stops, picks up his sign, rewrites it, sits it back down beside him and walks on. 
And suddenly everything changes.
People walking by pause; read.  And they give him money. Quite a bit of money.  He has no idea what is causing them to respond with such generosity.  He’s clearly amazed.  After a long successful day of begging, he recognizes the footsteps and feels the shoes of the lady when she stops in front of him again. He asks her what she did to his sign.  She tells him she simply said the same thing he had said, but differently. 
She has reworded the sign to read, “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.”
(In case you haven’t seen the video:  Blind Man Begging)
I’m looking out my living room window as I type this.  It’s a beautiful day.  But I can’t see it.
No, I’m not blind.  Not physically blind, anyway.  But I am emotionally blind.  My soul is blind.  My heart is blind.  Because I’m so depressed, no matter what good there might be right in front of me, I can’t see it very well.  Not really.  Everything is completely overshadowed by a bleak, gloomy, gray film that cloaks my world.  I’m shrouded in a thick fog that hides the sunlight and prevents me from recognizing much of anything positive.  The fog covers my thoughts, my soul, and it is everywhere.  Depression does that to a person.  It sucks all the beauty and life out of one’s existence.  It makes me blind.
I truly do try to find beauty in the small things.  At this moment, one of my Schnauzers (Zoe) is laying on my legs, dozing, content, snoring lightly.  The other (Hannah) is happily chewing a stuffed toy on my lap, secure, safe, adored.  I love them both fiercely.  I take pleasure in them.  They are one of the few pinpoints of happiness I experience and they motivate me to get up in the morning…and to continue to live.   It’s not as if each day doesn’t hold some good.
Birds do sing outside my window.
Inside, I am alone.  I am surrounded by silence…except when Zoe and Hannah alert me to a bird flying by, a squirrel in the yard or to the arrival of my mail.  Or perhaps a rabbit has invaded their yard.  Mostly, I listen to the refrigerator hum.  The heater kicking on and off.  A jet as it flies overhead on the way to some distant airport.  The keys of my computer click and the hard drive hums quietly.  Occasionally, sirens wail as the fire trucks or ambulance rush by on the main road closest to my house.  At certain times of the day, I can hear a low, muted roar from distant traffic. There is no laughter.  No conversation.  The click of doggie toenails on the tile or their paws as they pad on the carpet behind me are the only other footsteps in my life.  There is no hand reaching out for mine.  No welcome hugs.  Excited dogs bring much needed life to my otherwise bleak reality.  I try to make that be enough.
My reality threatens to swallow me whole.  I fight the darkness.  I want to see.  I want to live.  But life laughs in my face and runs away into the fog.  It remains always just out of my reach.  So elusive.  Unattainable.  It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.  I can’t reach it.  Can’t touch it.  There is so much pain.  So much brokenness.  So many regrets.
It’s a beautiful day.  But I am alone.  It’s a beautiful day.  But I am without hope.  Without connections.  Terrified.  It’s a beautiful day.  But my soul has been nearly destroyed by childhood abuse and rejection.  By isolation.  It’s a beautiful day, but my heart is heavy, shattered, hurting.  I am unloved.  Unwanted.  It’s a beautiful day, but I have nothing to look forward to.  More struggles.  More loss.  More pain.  It’s a beautiful day, but I can’t see it.  My eyes strain to find the beauty.  I try to make the tiny things big enough to give me a reason to go on.  Yet I am overwhelmed by my wounds.  By emptiness.  By devastation. 
There is no magic pill for me.  Nothing alleviates the darkness of my world.  Nothing opens a door.  Nothing seems able to set me free. I have tried everything I know to try and done everything I know to do.  But still, I cannot see.
There is no way to write the sign in a nicer, prettier way; to say something profound that will evoke the help I need from those who pass through my shattered world.  My dilemma can’t be solved by coins tossed in a can.  Although the money would certainly help, no sum can solve my problems, allow me to escape this suffocating isolation or heal my broken heart.  The crowds pass me by without seeing me…as blind to my darkness and need as I am to the sunshine through which they walk.  We exist on different plains.  In different dimensions.  There is no portal through which I can cross over to the warmth and caring of their world.  No surgeon can repair the damage.  No psychiatrist or psychotherapist can put my fragmented soul back together again.  I haven’t any second chances.  No miracles appear to be waiting in the wings.  It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.  Can’t touch it.  Can’t get there from here.
There are things that could make a difference.  There are people who could as well.  But I don’t live in their world and they don’t want to believe in the existence of mine. It’s too harsh and cold in this place where I exist.  I would cause them too much inconvenience. Too much trouble.  I am never worth the effort.  The expense.  The love.  My flaws have robbed me of value.
I don’t mean to cast a dark shadow across their path. I don’t expect them to acknowledge me or throw a few coins in my direction.  No one has to read my sign as I sit, lost, empty, hurting.  I realize I am not their problem and they bear no responsibility here.  I am but a speck in the eye, easily blinked away.  The help I need is far beyond what most are capable of giving.
It’s a beautiful day.  I can’t see it.  I long to be set free.  But I can’t find the words that will magically make everything change.
 
 

Alone Again, Naturally

“…In my hour of need
I truly am indeed
Alone again, naturally

It seems to me that
there are more hearts
broken in the world
that can’t be mended

Left unattended
What do we do? What do we do?

 –Gilbert O’Sullivan – Alone Again (Naturally)–

In a couple of weekends, many of us who are fortunate enough to be off for Good Friday will have a holiday weekend.  A time when family and friends get together.  Share.  Connect. Relax.  Enjoy.  At least, that’s what genuine friends and healthy family members do to celebrate a holiday.  Close family.  Close friends.  It is a time to celebrate.  Together.

But I’m going to be alone.  Again.  Life happens all around me.  Not with me.  Not in me.

Most of my time after work is spent sitting on the couch with my dogs on my lap.  I am their bed.  Their protector.  I give them warmth.  They snuggle their noses under my hand and breathe heavily. They keep me company and I am glad they are with me.  But I am still very alone.  Again.  Naturally.  Just me and the dogs. 

I thank God for the dogs.

The TV plays endlessly.  I’m not watching.  Or even listening; not really.  It’s noise.  To keep me company.  To chase away the silence.  To distract me from the emptiness.

I feel so isolated.  So unwanted.   Life holds no meaning without connectedness.

The upcoming holiday is one that prompts us to reflect.  To reflect on the past.  To be grateful.  I remember.  But I do not want to remember.

The past holds no appeal.  It holds only pain and sadness. Abuse. Rejection.  Brokenness.  There is no hope there.  The past is the place of my demise.  The past is where I was destroyed. Fractured.  Fragmented.  Ground to dust.

But the future doesn’t hold hope either.  Only the promise of more of the same.  More rejection.  More pain.  More isolation.  More destruction.  More silence and emptiness.

I fought it.  I fought this fate.  But fate was not intimidated by me, nor impressed with my efforts to escape.  My past became my future became my past became my future.  A river with swift and dangerous currents that flow where they want.  Eroding the ground where I stand.  The currents sweep my feet out from under me and carry me away. 

I absently listen to the television playing endlessly.  Background noise.  I need the background noise. Distraction.

It has been rainy and it is predicted to be wet and gloomy over the holiday weekend.  I have been in this place before too many times.  I will watch the water painting rivulets down each window pane, my vision distorted; blurred.  I will try not to think about the emptiness of my life.  I will try to blur reality.  I will try to convince myself that what is isn’t.  But running takes energy and I’m almost completely drained.

I’ve been alone.  For too many days.  For too many years.  For too may decades.  It has been raining. For too many days.  For too many weeks.  I’ve been in pain.  For too many days and for too many long, sleepless nights.

They say more storms are coming.  Wind.   Violent weather.  My whole life has been a violent storm.  I have been alone through too many violent storms.  I am weary of the storms.  Of being battered and beaten by them.  I don’t know how many more storms I can face…alone.

Alone.  As I have been nearly every day of my life.  Alone.  In a vast universe.  A dot.  Nothing.   Alone. 

Life holds no meaning.  My life seems so empty…because it is empty.  I have tried to fill it up.  I have tried in vain.  My life, like the coming holiday, is hollow.  I am drowning in endless emptiness.   Desolate.

I talk in the silence to cover it with my words.  I turn on the TV.  I talk to my dogs.  I make noise to drive away the meaninglessness.  But nothing works.  Nothing.  I pretend.  I ignore.  I discard reality.  Deny.   But in spite of my pretense, there is one fact I can’t escape.  I am alone again.  As always.  I am alone and disconnected.

Alone again.  Naturally.

I dance to the radio to make myself move.  To force my limbs to life.  I dance alone as my dogs watch me, amused by my wild contortions and seeming madness.  They grab their toys and run around me, shaking them viciously, happily squeaking squeakers.  I dance on.  Alone in the midst of their joy.  I twirl.  Alone. 

Beating back the silence. Trying to beat back the silence.  Always trying to escape the silence.  And the emptiness.  Always trying to fill this yawning void that can’t be filled.

Alone again, naturally.

 

 

 

It Doesn’t Matter What I Want

I have learned this lesson.  Time, experience and life events have conspired to teach me.  They have taught me well.  Very well.

It doesn’t matter what I want.

I wanted love.  To be loved.  To be with someone I loved.  To be with someone who loved me.  To deeply connect.  It doesn’t matter.  Love was obviously not in the plan for me. I don’t know why.  But I know it…all too well.  Love is not within my reach.  The thing I desire the most is not to be mine.

What have I learned from this?  It doesn’t matter what I want.

I wanted security.  A degree of financial security.  Enough.  Enough to make it without having to worry, to panic, to struggle paycheck to paycheck. I worked hard for this.  Had it snatched away again and again, in spite of my diligence and focus; in spite of going above and beyond time and time again.

I also wanted a degree of personal security.  A feeling of safety.  That the world was not against me.  That there is solid ground on which I can stand without fear of everything repeatedly falling out from under me.  But life doesn’t care.  It doesn’t matter what I want.

I wanted to not have to work quite so hard, especially by this point in life.  But even when I was younger, I dreamed of not have to perform so perfectly.  I longed for a degree of mercy…that which is normally extended to most human beings.  Of being accepted even if I didn’t live up to rigid, demanding standards.  I wanted to be acceptable just as I am.  Even if I didn’t do everything just exactly right.  But it doesn’t matter what I want.

I wanted meaning.  Purpose.  The ability to touch the heart of another and to be touched by their heart.  Closeness with others; vibrant relationships.  Fulfillment.  The ability to contribute in a meaningful way. Contentment.  I wanted a reason to be alive.  To stay alive.  But. But.  It doesn’t matter what I want.

I don’t know why.  I only know the truth of it.  What I want, no matter how desperately I want or need it, simply doesn’t count.  Not in the least. Not even when I give it every ounce of my strength and work diligently to make it come to pass.

I wanted someone to stand up for me.  To fight for me.  Defend me.  Both as a child when I was being terribly abused by my parents, as well as in adulthood when I wasn’t being appreciated or treated well by employers.   I wanted someone to be by my side and say, “Wait a minute…this isn’t right!  No more!”  Or, “Let me help you.”

I also wanted a partner who would have my back and who would look out for me.  But I have ever and always been alone without a hand to hold onto or an arm to encircle me. 

It doesn’t matter what I want.  What I need.  My desires don’t carry any weight.  Life does what life does.  It goes however it goes.  Sometimes it gives.  Sometimes it give a great deal to certain individuals.  But that has not been my experience.  Mostly, it takes.  It demands.   It goes on.  One tormented voice, one heart-rending cry, does not distract it or cause it to deviate from its predetermined course.

I pray for something good to come my way.  For doors to open.  I beg God.  I plead for mercy and blessing.  But my need doesn’t matter.  My heart doesn’t matter.  My pleas don’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what I want. 

Honestly, there are times when I don’t always know what I want.  I don’t always know what is best for me.  Often, I’m open and I am rarely demanding.  But when it comes to the things that feel like basic necessities, I find it disturbing that so many of my needs and deep desires have gone unmet.  This makes me feel inconsequential.  Worthless.  Less than everyone else around me.

I want to matter.  But even that doesn’t matter.  Even that.

Life is not a place where dreams come true.  Not for me.  It is not a place of happiness.  It is a place of toil and struggle.  If anything good comes to you, you have been blessed indeed.   What we want…all the goodness that can be had if you are somehow fortunate enough to find the golden path…is of no consequence.  For God has some bigger, more important plan.  A divine plan.  The goal is not for us to be happy and fulfilled.  We are to learn.  Supposedly, we are being shaped and refined by all of our trials.  Supposedly, they will make us better.

I am tired of being shaped and refined.

What I have come to know is this:  In God’s eyes, it seems that everyone matters.  Yet no one matters.  And without question, I don’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what I want.   What I long and hunger for.  I’m supposed to be content to be a nothing and a nobody.  Forever seeking.  Never finding.  Broken and alone.  Unwanted and unloved.

Fathers Lost

My brother lost his father in 2010.  And he’s still struggling with the loss today.  This was the man he had always admired.  Looked up to.  Respected.  Believed in.  Wanted to be like.  His father actually died in 1998.  But it wasn’t until 2010, when I had a failed sinus surgery, one that was a nightmare, that things changed.  Because I just. couldn’t. survive. another. trauma. alone. This, in turn, caused the demise of my brother’s father.
My brother and I didn’t talk much at all for years.  Didn’t have a relationship.  I was the black sheep of the family.  The one who struggled.  Who tried hard but failed.  Who never quite got it right.  Mark, my brother, on the other hand, has worked at the same place for 33 years.  He was very successful.  Still is.  He is happily married.  He does well financially, especially with the combined income of him and his wife, who is a nurse practitioner.  No money worries.  House paid for.  Able to travel internationally a couple of times a year.  There is a big contrast between us, and though he is younger, I’ve always felt “lesser than.”
So perhaps you can get a small glimpse of how frantic I was for some help and what desperation it took for me to reach out to him.  To confess to my inability to go on alone any longer.  I was NOT making it. I had started to have horrible asthma symptoms as a result of all the sinus issues, almost dying once, collapsing in the ER.  I was constantly physically ill, having fought the sinus infection from hell for a year (my incompetent doctor created a super-infection – long story) and the surgery had failed because when the specialist entered my sinuses to clean out the infection, he discovered I no longer had sinus bones.  They had been eaten away by the massive infection  – the worst he had seen in 23 years of practice.  I had only a thin membrane between my brain and sinus cavities and my optic nerve and sinus cavities.  He needed special equipment for this delicate surgery.  So he had to stop almost before he started and he told me it would be bad until he could reschedule and do what needed to be done.  It was worse than bad.  On top of all this, I was fighting an eating disorder.  Having problems with electrolytes and had made a couple of visits to the ER as a result, once in an ambulance. I had been in counseling for 10 years or more trying to recover from the childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by my father and neglect and abuse of my mother.  I felt totally worthless, had recently been left by my husband of 22 years because he fell in love with another woman, lost my job, had accumulated massive debt as a result and couldn’t cope a second longer.  I was alone, scared and freaking out.  I needed a hand to hold.  I needed some support.  I needed my brother.
Part of what made everything come to a head was being dumped by a friend at the door of the hospital the day of the first surgery.  She was to come back and get me right away once the surgery was over, I explained at check-in.  The nurses were not happy.  Someone was at least supposed to come in and talk with them so they could explain what to expect and what care I would need afterward.  They finally relented and called my friend to make certain she would, at least be available to come get me.  So I sat in the waiting room alone, watching families huddle and hug, encourage and share their love.  I watched a few pray together.  I saw them surrounded by friends, family, church pastors.  And I sat alone.  Waiting.
 When the surgery was over and my friend had been called, I was put in the outpatient prep room.  I lay there, miserable, bleeding, hurting, unable to breathe and scared, listening to the nurses talk about how my friend had said it would be an hour or two before she could get there, that she was involved in something else.  They were throwing “well, I never” all over the place.  I heard.  It hurt.
 When she finally arrived, I could barely walk to the car.  She did agree to stop by the pharmacy so I could get my prescription filled and pick up needed supplies.  Alone.  I leaned on the shopping cart and was grateful for it.  When she arrived at my house, she didn’t even help me out of the car or to the door.  I got out.  She drove away.  I struggled with my purchases, finally getting in the house where I collapsed on the couch.
The night that followed was one of the most horrific of my life.  I was so tormented, I still can’t find words to adequately describe the torture, my panic or my overwhelming anxiety.
Because of that horrible night, I e-mailed my brother the following day and told him where I was in life, what was going on and that I needed him.  I totally expected the rejection I had encountered in the past. I was pleasantly surprised.  He responded in a positive way.  He reached back.
He reached back because my mother finally came clean.  You see, after my father died, our mother started talking about how he had sexually abused me.  In fact, she couldn’t shut up.  She told EVERYONE.  Without any discretion, with no filter, no holds barred, as they say.  Of course, she also told my brother.  He didn’t believe it.  But for some reason – maybe a miracle – when I threw up all over him about the sad state of my life, he heard and finally believed.  He came from 3-1/2 hours away and took me to the hospital for my 2nd surgery.  He cleaned up blood, got me soup and talked me through the hardest part of the healing process.  He also asked if he could visit with my counselor to learn more about me…what had happened, where I was, what I needed.  I gave the counselor permission to tell him anything that might be helpful.  And this is when his father died.
I feel horrible about it.  Mark had always seen what his father wanted him to see.  He believed.  He loved.  Admired.  Suddenly, the very word “father” was a curse to be spit from his mouth.  He was angry beyond belief…more angry than I have ever been.  He despised the man he had once adored.  He has told me repeatedly that it was a good thing he was already dead, because if he wasn’t, Mark swears he would kill him.  I am totally confused by this.  I don’t hate him…so why does Mark?  It’s perplexing.  It’s disturbing.  And I feel responsible for taking his father from him.  Because, you see, his father and my father, they are the same man.  The one who sexually and physically abused me loved, cherished and cared for Mark.  He was Mark’s hero.  And I destroyed his hero.  A hero I never had, certainly.  For I lost my father long before he died.  Mark didn’t lose him until years after death.  I’m not sure which loss was harder.
Not that Mark blames me; but I do blame myself.  I hurt for him.  But I can never give him back what he has lost, because, in truth, he never had it to begin with.  He loved an illusion.  And sadly, that illusion has been decimated.   Because of me.  
I have never been able to celebrate Father’s Day.  Now, my brother can’t celebrate it either.
I’m not sure if the loss of his father is a good or bad thing.  I’m not sure if his illusion was healthier than knowing the truth.  I feel as if I took something precious from my brother.
But in reality, I suppose my brother’s father, my father, is the one that is actually responsible.
And now, we both hate Father’s Day…together.  Because we can’t forget the father we lost at very different times in very different ways.
 

What I Would Not Give

Graduation DayWhat I would not give to be graduating from high school this year.

It wasn’t that long ago that I did.  Graduate.

(Okay, it was a long time ago.  I just can’t comprehend the passage of time.  I still feel 17.)

I worked hard to get there.  To make it to that moment.  To graduation.  I believed.   I believed I could change the course of my life.  I had so much hope.  My life was there in front of me.  Beautiful.  Exciting.  Wonderful.  I believed the right things would happen because my heart was in the right place.  I believed I could change the ending, even though the beginning had been set in stone.

What I wouldn’t give to have the opportunity to go to college.  To walk the campus of a university I would call home for the next four years.  Not knowing where my steps would take me.  But believing they would take me somewhere that was incredible.   Somewhere with endless possibilities.

Somewhere good.

What I would not give to be graduating from that college, having proven myself, having attained something others would recognize as being worthwhile.  Something that would give me a sense of validation, even though it really didn’t make me a legitimate human being.

What I would not give to have a purpose and direction.  Meaning.

What I would not give to be able to start over.  To go back to that place where I totally screwed up. Where all of life was before me and to be able to return to that point where very, very little lay behind.  Where possibilities stretched in front of me endlessly.  That place where hope and excitement prevailed.   In spite of the difficulties I needed to overcome.  In spite of the horrors of my childhood and all the damage it had done.  In spite of those terrible things that had wounded and shaped me thus far.  In spite of those things that had broken me.  And decimated me.  In spite of what my parents had done to me.  What they had made of me.

What I would not give for a chance to start over.  To do things differently.  To be wiser.  To make better choices.  To approach things differently.  To take care of myself and treat myself as if I mattered.  Or even as if I might possibly matter.  To someone.  To me.  Somehow. Some day.

What I would not give to be able to recognize I at least had a small amount of value, even though I was terribly imperfect. Even though I was terribly flawed. Even though I was horribly wounded.  Even though I was a mess.  Even though I was challenging to love.

Or impossible to love.  Even though I might be unlovable. Because of the damage.

I spent most of my life sleepwalking through the days.  I spent most of my life completely numb and sound asleep.  To get by.  To make it through.   I spent all of my life simply trying to survive the moment.  Sacrificing who I was.  Sacrificing all of my dreams.  Sacrificing my desires.  Because I thought I was nothing.  I thought I was worthless.  And it cost me everything.  I lost all the important moments.  I lost almost every single thing that mattered to me.  I lost my life, even though I am still technically alive.  I sacrificed myself, not knowing the cost.  Not understanding the price.  Not understanding what was going on.

What I would not give or sacrifice now to be able to start over again.  To make different choices.  To walk a different path.  To undertake a different journey.  To choose a different road.  To see things differently.

Oh, God, what I wouldn’t do to be able to have another chance.  One.  More.  Chance.

Can you really turn all these curses into blessings?  Can you really give me a future?  A good future?  Filled with hope?  Even though I’m old and my life is almost over?  Do You really want to bless me?  Can you truly turn all the horrible nightmares of my life into good?

Do you love me?  Me?  Worthless me?  Unlovable me?

What I would not give for that chance.  That chance to change the course of my life.  I have nothing much to give, truth be told.  But I would give everything…everything…everything to have that chance.

I have grown old.  I have frittered away all of my days.  All of my opportunities.  All of my possibilities.  I didn’t mean to be so stupid.  I didn’t mean to be so screwed up.  I tried hard to succeed and to avoid failure.  But it was not enough.   All my effort was not enough.  Everything I had to give was not enough.  I was never enough.

What I would not give to have the chance to begin again.

I’ve been around for quite awhile now.  For more years than I can comprehend.  More years than I want to admit.

I have nothing to show for all that time.

I would give anything to roll back the time.  To that time when there was time.

What I wouldn’t give to be able to start over again.

I would probably still screw it up.  But I would like to believe I could change my destiny.

I would like to believe things could have turned out differently.  Better. Much better.

What I would not give to have the chance to try again.  Just one more chance…

One.  More.

 

The World Will Spin Without Me

It will be as if I was never here.   As if I never had been. As if I never mattered. At all.

There will be no one to hold me when I die.  No one to mourn.  No one to miss me.

I will die alone.  No fanfare.

The world will spin without me.  It will go on.  The footprints I have made in the sand of time will quickly be eradicated.

Not that there will be many footprints left behind.  Not that there will be many…if any.  I haven’t left much of a mark.  Even though I have tried.  Even though I have desperately tried to leave a piece of myself behind.

No one will weep.  No one will hear the words I have written.  Or miss the words I might have written.  All the painful words  The honest and painful words I might have written.  I will leave no mark.  No permanent mark.  I will have no impact.  I will usher in no revelations.

I am a mere insignificant blip in the overall timeline of the expansive universe.  I mean nothing.  I am nothing.  I never have meant anything.  I never have been anything.

The stars will still shine at night.  The sun will still rule the daytime sky.  Clouds will still float as they are blown by the wind.  The seasons will still change.  The years will still pass.  My eyes will not see it.  I will not feel the heat and the cold and the wind and the rain and the snow.  It will continue, but I will not.  It will all spin.  Without me.

Time leaves us all behind at some point.  When we step out, when the door closes, when time ejects us from the stream, it’s over.  It’s done.  The world will go on.  It will spin without me.  The world will spin without me.

I will cease to exist.  I will cease to matter.  Not that I have ever mattered.

The one thing I wanted of life…the biggest and most important thing…was to be loved by someone.  Because if you are truly loved and cherished by someone, you are never alone.  You go on in the  heart of those others even after you are gone.  I wanted to leave a little piece of me behind.  I wanted the world to stop, even if just for one nanosecond, when I stepped off the planet.  I wanted to matter for that nanosecond.  I wanted to be someone.  Someone who left a mark.

There is no one here who will not experience that nanosecond.

We all know life goes on.  We all know we are going to die someday and that life will leave us behind.  But we want to believe the world will slow its spin and that someone will mourn our departure in that moment when we cease to exist.

But there is no one to mourn me after I am gone.  There is no reason to stop, or even slow, for a moment to grieve.  There is no one.  I am…alone.  Alone.

The world will spin without me.  The only thing I ever wanted is not to be.

To be young again. To have another chance.  To be loved.  Wanted.  Cared for.  To be able to do something that will make the world a different , better, more palatable place.  To leave something good behind.  I wanted so desperately to leave something worthwhile behind.

The world will spin without me.

It always has.

It always will.

Life goes on.

Whatever that mean.

The world will spin without me.  Long after I am gone.

 

Angry

I had a dream last night.  I woke up in the middle of the night because of that dream.  I woke up angry.

It surprised me. 

It made me think.

It made me wonder.

Am I angry?  Really angry?  Inside?  An angry person?  Do I hide it, even from myself?  Am I deceiving myself into believing that I’m not an angry person?

Is that why I’m so depressed?

I’m asking myself the question…about whether or not I’m angry…because when I woke up, the anger was very, very, very intense.  I was angry with God. With my parents.  With the world.

Especially with God.  Because He has all the power.  To help me.  To make my life better.  But He hasn’t.  He doesn’t.

I felt the anger burning inside of me.

It’s stupid.  To be angry with God.  I know.  But…

He’s supposed to love me.  He’s supposed to want to have a relationship with me.  He’s supposed to be there.  To guide me.  To comfort me.  To bless me.  To provide for me.  He said He had a plan to bless me and not to harm me.  To prosper me.  He’s supposed to make a way when there is no way.  To protect me.  To look after me.  To care for me.  To want me.  He promised these things.  I didn’t ask for them.  He promised.  He said He loved me.  That he cared.  That I mattered to Him.

That’s what love means, right?

Son.  Of.  A.  Bitch.

Not much evidence of this going on in my life.

I’m alone.  I don’t make enough money to cover my basic expenses, much less to take care of all the financial things I should be dealing with.  I’m old.  I’m without a mate.  I’m still broken.  I am barely, barely, barely making ends meet.  Barely.  I have almost no, if any, friends.  I have nothing…except for my dogs and a few possessions that don’t matter in the grand scheme.  And I pray every day that God will please, I beg you, please, please, please take care of my dogs because they are all that I have ; all that really matters and they are the only reason I’m hanging on to life. 

I pray that my car will start.  It’s an old car.  Old, like me.  I thank God every time it starts.  Every time.  I thank God every time I come home and my dogs are happy to see me.  Every time they are okay.  Dancing and wiggling with little stubby tails wagging.

I want to be a nice person.  A good person. The person my dogs see.  But maybe I’m not.  Maybe I’m just an angry person.  A very angry person.  And there’s nothing good about me.

All I wanted was to be loved.  By God. By someone special.  A partner.  All I wanted was to be worth loving.  By God. By someone special.

I married a man, a man who never loved me.  I married him only because I felt in my spirit God was putting the two of us together.  God spoke to me.  Asked me to trust Him.  I trusted Him.  And my husband never, never, never not once, loved me.  In all those 22 years.  He never loved me.  That’s what I got for trusting God.

Thanks God.  For NOTHING.  This is love?

Thanks for putting me with a man who thought I was worthless and unlovable.  Who didn’t want me.  Thanks.

Maybe I’m a little angry about it.

Maybe.

Maybe I have a reason to be angry. 

Maybe I don’t have any reason to be angry.  He is God.  Perfect.  Never makes a mistake.  Knows all things.  Maybe I am worthless and unworthy of love.  Maybe He was right to put me with someone who would reject me every day of those 22 years we were together.

Maybe He is right in destroying my life.  Taking away almost every single thing that matters to me (except my dogs).  Maybe He is right to put me in a job where I can’t provide for myself.  Where it’s hostile and ugly.  Where nothing I do is good enough.

Because I’m never good enough.

Wasn’t good enough for my parents. Wasn’t worth anything.  Except to be used.  Abused.  Discarded.

They couldn’t love me.  I wasn’t worth anything to them beyond what they could get from me.

Wasn’t good enough for my ex.  Ex husband.  The “husband” that God led me to.  Bound me to. 

Was never good enough.  For anyone.  For him.  For any of them.

Why? 

Because somehow, I’m less than.  Somehow I’m worthless.  Lacking.  Somehow unlovable.  Unwanted.  Because God never led me to anyone who could see anything good in me.  Anything of value.

Why?

I don’t know.  I know I’m not perfect…far from it.  But am I really so much worse than everyone else on the planet?

Really?

Maybe that’s why I’m so deeply angry.

Desperado

“You’re losing all your highs and lows,
ain’t it funny how the feeling goes…away.”  ~The Eagles (Desperado)

When I was 16, I felt it.  The feelings going away.  During that stage of life, I was actively trying to numb myself, stupid child that I was.  I was trying to push everything I felt down to the deepest places inside of me because the pain was so sharp and unbearable, it was as if I was repeatedly being pierced by a hundred knives. I wanted to tuck all the hurt away until it was safe to bring it out into the open and examine it.  To work through it.  To get over it.  I believed that time would come.  But until then, I had to push the unrelenting, ripping, tearing pain far, far away.

At that time in my life, wooed by the optimism of youth, I didn’t realize, once stuffed, it was unlikely those emotions could ever be easily accessed again.

When I was 25, the valve shut off completely.  That was when I found out it would never be safe to reveal the hurt, the painful feelings, my brokenness.  To anyone.  Under any circumstance.

The feelings shut off when my then husband told me he didn’t want to hear it.  It.  Me.  Didn’t want to hear my heart.  My thoughts.  Didn’t want to know who I was.  Didn’t want to know about the abuse and all the darkness I had stuffed deep within.

He wanted me to shut up and keep it all hidden away deep down inside.  He didn’t want me to bother him.  He wanted the world to be fun and light and happy.  He especially wanted it to be easy.

That was the day the feelings died.  The day he told me he didn’t want to hear “it.”  It.  Me.

Afterwards, I was no longer able to connect.  My heart stopped working.  The feelings…went away.  Totally, absolutely.  It took time before I was utterly numb.  Before I was wholly dead inside.  It took time because I tried to fight it.  I fought hard.  So it took years.  But it was a losing battle.  Because nothing I did to keep myself alive made any difference.

I stopped feeling the highs.  I stopped feeling the deep, dark lows.  The feelings simply…went away.

Oh, they were still there.  I only know this because, at the strangest moments, I would suddenly find myself screaming silently because of the incredible, unbearable pain that haunted and ripped apart my soul.  I would be wracked with equally silent sobs.  I would stand soundlessly screaming and sobbing for 3 or 4 minutes.  And then, just as suddenly as they had come, the crushing emotions would vanish.  I would look about in dismay, wondering how I could contain such agony and yet go about the business of life with my husband who didn’t love me and didn’t want to hear “it.”  I would walk out of the walk-in closet or leave the silence of the bathroom, the quiet place where the emotions had overtaken me, as if nothing had happened.  Safely numb once more.

It was he same as when I would exit the bathroom or bedroom of my childhood home years before, pretending that nothing had happened.  Pretending my father hadn’t just raped me or molested me or made me dance naked before him.  Or that he hadn’t force me to have oral sex with him or made me shower with him.  Or any one of a number of nightmarish things he might have just done to me.

I was very good at ramming my emotions back down my throat so I could walk out of dark rooms as if I hadn’t been touched by the darkness.  I was very good at going about the business of life.  I wasn’t very good at keeping my heart alive.

“…You better let somebody love you (let somebody love you)
You better let somebody love you before it’s too late.”  ~The Eagles (Desperado)

I knew, instinctively, that being loved was the only thing that would set me free.  It was the only thing that would allow those horrid, black, cutting emotions to flow from me.  To be released forever.  I knew it was what I needed to heal.  Love.  Acceptance.  Someone who found worth and value in me, in spite of all of my brokenness and deficiencies.  I knew love could, would, heal me. I knew loving and being loved was the only cure for my frozen heart.  It would restore me to life as only love could.

I believed in love.  In spite of everything.  I believed.

But it never happened for me.  I was never loved.  I was told to keep it to myself.  To keep my ugliness hidden away.  To walk out the door over and over and over and over again as if nothing was wrong.  As if nothing bad was happening.

I lost all my highs and lows.  It’s tragic how the feeling goes…away.  When no one loves you, when no one treasures you, when no one wants to know what lies in the depths of your heart or what is hidden away in the deepest places of your soul, the feeling goes away.  Numbness becomes complete. 

Only love can bring restoration.  But there is a point where all hope is lost.  Where, when love doesn’t come, when it isn’t given, the damage is to great to be overcome.

Love never came to the rescue.  Not for me. My prince, if indeed I was supposed to have one, never kissed me with love so deep and true that it awoke my frozen heart from frigid sleep.  And now, I have reached that point.  The point in the song where it’s too late. 

I have discovered that not every song has a happy ending.  Sometimes, when the final note is sounded and the song is over, it’s just too late.

As it is for me.  It has been too long.  The deadness of my heart and soul is absolute. 

It’s too late.  It’s too late for me.

I’m the ultimate desperado.  Who waited too long.  Who never found my way.  Who never found love.  Or redemption.