Monday, March 29, 2010

Freedom and my dragon



Please be aware that this text may contain triggers

 Every night I dreamt of escaping...of getting away from my self-made prison.
  It wasn't always the same however, I always made it out. It was... so sweet, that false freedom. It was easy to be lulled into a sense of contentment, trading a wakeful freedom for a slumbering artificial substitute. That was my own double life. It was how I coped with the reality I had chosen.

  I came from an abusive home and as an adult, I chose partners who would continue that sense of sameness.  The abuse was not the same, the pain was and the tears plentiful.


 As a child, I wasn't allowed to cry. This was the 1st rule in our home. Oh, wait, make that the 2nd rule, the 1st was "Say Nothing". Sorry, these things were never written down-that would defeat the purpose really.

 I read somewhere recently tears are toxins leaving your body. So, it's actually good to cry.  Someone should have told my father that little factoid. Though he would haven't have given a damn about toxins. He had a very rigid, narrow view of children and their place in life. It is painful to admit that I married someone who is a lot like my father. It's tragically predictable, really.  I read a long time ago that an abused person will find a way to abuse themselves long after their abuser is gone. That's the STONE COLD TRUTH.

   This was difficult for me to write, it was excruciating to live.
I found my freedom though. I had it the whole time. I just didn't know I had the power to change my life. I thought I had to be rescued. Well, in the end, I suppose I was. I did it myself.  

  I never caught the cues. The little red flags, I was oblivious to them, the ones that said, " This person is trying to control you" or "this man doesn't love you". To be honest I never thought I could be loved. I had no tools to discern what a good or bad relationship was. I grew up with no relationships to speak of. They weren't allowed.

 Alone was all I knew. Saying "I do" was just a way of not being lonely anymore. I didn't realize how much more there was to it. Life has a way of teaching the things I need to know most. Its made me wise in so many ways and yet there's so much I still need to learn. To trust, to let people in.
  It's hard, but   I will show up every day,  I will be friendly, OPEN.
 I will be open, I will be friendly... I will not push people away... I will I will I will! That is my mantra.
  Which sure beats the hell out of the ones I was raised on.


    As children, we were raised in isolation. Our family slogan was "nobody in, nobody out" and "you're not a person, you're property."  My father wanted no one to know what went on in our home. He created an insular existence for us. As a result, aside from the emotional damage of his actions caused, came the collateral damage, the mistrust, the inability to let others in. This is the dragon I  battle now, TODAY. I must be brave and try. As a side note, I envy people who know everyone and make friends like dogs get fleas. I loathe them and am in awe all at once. How the hell do they do that?
It is beyond me.

 
 Anyone who grows up in an abusive family knows the counting game. You count down the days until you can get out. Not unlike a jailbird doing a stint upstate. You mark it in your inner calendar: three years,  42 days and I am outta here! Those sad, painful days were the beginning of my dreams. But what I didn't know, what I might not have been able to cope with then, was the reality that I was never out. I carry my past with me like some ugly scar. Every time I think I have finally healed it, it gets torn wide open. And I realize how far I have yet to go. Every time I push people away and hide I am reminded. I have done more years in counseling then I care to think of and still I go. I believe in it. I have done the work and put the time in, I have come to realize how much our childhoods mark us. It's a battle. I fight mine on the daily. Sometimes I win, sometimes not. Usually the day ends in a draw. It used to put me in a tailspin when a well-meaning trying to get to know me better by asking nosey questions that they don't want the answers to anyway. They really don't.  Now I say the truth. I say it gently, try to remember that they're just making small talk, an attempt to find a common ground on which to build a relationship. They have no idea the pain their casual inquirers can cause. The way it makes that puckered skin itch and burn. I. Some people sense it and move on to other topics. There are others who seem to get a perverse pleasure out of trying to pull the details from me. As if I am a puzzle set down in front of them to solve. A game. I don't like those people. The ones who don't acknowledge boundaries. Who think that their desire to know trumps my pain. I am just out here trying to survive, to fit in, and most of all I am trying to make peace. Peace with memories, with myself. To accept that I am damaged, that we all are. To live in this moment- this life. To enjoy my existence, instead of mourning what was, what wasn't.
These are my goals.... I will show up, I will be open, I WILL TRY.