Ok, here we go. It has happened. Probably my greatest concern since starting this blog. I had a feeling this was coming. The greatest obstacle in my mind has finally emerged. I found a comment yesterday from a family member to “stop wallowing”. And followed up with “I love you”.
If you knew me, you’d know that my greatest failure in life was never dealing with the past. Whenever asked if anything was wrong my stock answers were, “nothing” “I’m fine” ” nothings bothering me” “would you please stop asking” “can’t I just sit quietly without something having to be wrong?”
For thirty-five years, with few exceptions, I NEVER SHARED WHAT WAS “BOTHERING” ME. I never wanted people to think I was feeling sorry for myself. I never wanted to be perceived as weak. I carried guilt that the feelings I was struggling with certainly didn’t measure up to many other people’s pain.
Who was I to be depressed?
It’s funny, all these years I’ve never stepped into a therapists office, yet I look around and it seems like every other person I talk to has been to one. To me that was a sign of weakness. I didn’t want to have to talk about myself. Talking about myself made me feel guilty. It still does.
Did I wallow when my adrenaline was on overdrive for years listening to a drunk walking in the door repeatedly and creating chaos? Hearing the screams of my toddler twin sisters because he put them in a baking pan and was pretending to put them in the oven?
Did I wallow when I’d see my oldest sister smashing a guitar over my brother’s head?
Did I wallow when I was promised to go to the zoo with my older sisters and then taken on a diversion which included the boyfriends stealing car batteries, then selling them, then purchasing beer and pot and watching them get high and drunk at the park instead?
Did I wallow when I came home from baseball practice to find my dad sitting by himself in the kitchen asking “where the hell is everybody?” I told him I was at baseball practice. He asked “who the hell practices at four in the morning?”
Did I wallow when I’d see the bedroom door daily that reminded me of when it was kicked in?
Did I wallow when the same guy down the street that twice made my oldest sister pregnant and resulted in two abortions (that I wasn’t supposed to know about) had me in his basement and made me take my shirt off? He told me that if I told anybody than he would hurt my sister and my dad.
And I told nobody.
For over thirty years.
He had unbuttoned my pants, but I don’t recall anything else other than running up the basement steps and out into the sunlight.
I could do this all day, but I won’t. That would be wallowing.
Here’s what I did do. I said nothing. I did nothing. I internalized and created a cauldron of anxiety and fear and depression. I pretended. I joked. I made myself a liar to myself.
Who the hell am I to whine about my past? What makes me so special that I need to write about this stuff when everybody else seems to be able to just deal with it? Many people have been through this and they seem to be ok. These are questions I don’t have answers for.
Perhaps these people have found their own ways to deal. Maybe they were offered help when they were young. Maybe they turned to alcohol or drugs, or marijuana. Perhaps other behavioral traits are their way of overcompensation. All I know is that whatever I was doing wasn’t working. Ironically, this very post represents a sort of victory for me. Just a month ago I would carry it around on my shoulders. Seething inside, I’d say “who the f..k is wallowing?” “This is why I was so worried about putting this crap down on paper for people to see”. I’d obsess over it and mutter and swear and justify and then do it over and over.
Now I can write it out and let it go. Or at least try to. And that is much better than what I had been doing.
I just read what I wrote, and I see I still need to work on my anger! LOL
The person who made the comment about wallowing to me sent an apology after I wrote her today. I’m removing some of it to prevent any issues with family. In fact, I’ve blocked most family from this in order to not hurt them if they choose not to revisit the past.
She said “I do believe that EVERYTHING IS SOMETHING GOD WOULD HAVE US LEARN, but somethings are downright hurtful and I am so sorry! Right now I can hardly believe I wrote that, just overwhelmed and angry with some other issues in my life that I can only do so much to help with. I love that you are writing the blog, and am sorry I influenced your making it private again. I usually believe everything happens for a reason, but what I wrote was unconscionable! I am proud of you and pray you find peace.”
In a weird way I feel so grateful this happened. I didn’t respond my old way. I wrote a sincere letter stating my feelings without resulting in my normal lashing. I told her I love her, but she is incorrect in her assessment of what I am trying to accomplish. In turn, she wrote this heartfelt apology which I really appreciate. Hell, a month or two ago I may have been the one telling someone else to “give it a rest already”.