Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Price

                                                                The Price

  I knew when I was very young that everything in life has a price. Something I had to pay, to sacrifice for those things that I needed. My parents instilled it in to me at an early age. There was a give and take and the price was steep. I spent most of my life believing the only way I could be loved, that I could be happy, was to barter my way through. And many people reinstated this belief system. Nothing good was free. I look back now and feel so sad for that little girl I once was. When you are a child there is very little you have to trade. And because I learnt that the only thing of value that I had was my body, I went on believing that was the way of the world. I had no self esteem and certainly no sense of value.
How could I? I did not value my body. In fact, I almost hated it. it had brought all this trouble. If I looked differently, if I was not ME, these things would not be visited upon me. It is ironic at the time we have the least control, we often blame ourselves as if we had orchestrated it all. And of course,  the people that I allowed in my life were happy to have me believe it.

  When ever I got down, when life got hard, I would reel off the many things I had caused. I started with my parents. My father's behavior, was clearly my fault. And the fact that my mother could not love me, blamed me for her own unhappiness, I took that on too. I was the most powerful five year old to ever life. When my father left my mother, well that was on me too. My first husband was unfaithful, I had driven him to it. I did not know how. But it had to be my fault. If it was my fault, I was in control. In charge of my life. I would rather see myself as at fault, then to admit the truth.That I controlled nothing. I developed OCD. I cleaned incessantly. I monitored my food intake I ran a tight ship. I gave myself no leeway. I was harsh and rigid. Cruel to myself. I had many rules for myself and could think of none for anyone else. I made excuses and overlooked. I kept forgiving and overlooking to the point I was nearly blind for not wanting to know the truth. I simple told myself, I did not need a faithful husband. I had no need of respect. I could live without affection. I gave so much of myself and asked for so little. Actually, I asked for nothing. Feeling myself unworthy. Not wanting to push my luck or to make demands. I kept writing those checks. Giving away more and more of myself. With no hopes of a return.

  I could subsist on so little. I always had. I look back on those years and I am breathless with how small I became. I kept myself so. If I was small, I could fit into a small corner of someone's life. And hope against hope that I could somehow make them love me. I did not know what loved look like. Not until I had my children. I began to realize that there should not be a bill to be paid in order to receive love. I had sold myself short. It is a hard habit to break. I still struggle with it. It is all part of that tired, old game of "If I do this, you will do that".  It was a losing game. It was rigged against me. I was bound to fail. Because, the day would come when whatever was required could not be done. When I fell behind in my payments and love would be rescinded. Our contract null and void. I would once again be alone. With nothing but me. And I knew I wasn't good enough. Not on my own. I needed someone to lean on to look to for all those things I had never had. It was a hole I was filling. A deep well, born of loneliness and despair. Of knowing I was not good enough, but never being able to puzzle out the why.

  So, it was my children that taught me that I should be loved just because. My parents should have loved me because I was their child. My husband should have loved me, because he had promised to. And most of all I should have loved me, because I was good enough. I was always good enough. it took so long to see it. And still to this day some will try and collect a toll. They will put a price on friendship or love. Taking more than they give. I refuse to pay. This is me. I am flawed. I am imperfect. I make mistakes and I too cast stones. But, I am just who I am meant to be. I grow and I change and I choice to love. I ask no sum to enter into my life. Only, that you are kind. That you are honest and that you not demand payment. My ledger books are closed. My debts have been paid and my accounts are laid bare. I give of my heart, of my time but I will not lessen myself to please another. I pray you choose the same course. You are worth far more than you know.

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