That burning through your veins that you can’t help but drink every time you wake up and piss out like blood on your lunch break. It’s that lump in your throat you try to clear at 3 o’ clock and that paralyzing fear you feel when any man puts his hands on you, in you. I was going through so much that year, my dad dying was the beginning of a quest for self-worth, that up until then, hadn’t been a priority. When I was a child, I always felt like an outcast, a kid just trying to understand why no one gave a fuck if she lived or died. I tried to speak loudly but was never heard and so that’s when I started to block things out, to create a silence of my own. The really bad things that happened to me, that when I’m asked to recall, I don’t know where the dark hole I banished them to is.
To back track, my relationship with men hasn’t been the healthiest. You can call it whatever you want, but it was/is definitely some sort of complex. My first boyfriend took me to a place that I thought I belonged in, a familiar dark and damp cave with no breathing room. I stayed because I needed something to believe in and I was oblivious to the fact that I was in fact that person I needed to believe in. My dad always taught us to be strong and never accept anything less but he acted in the exact opposite way when it came to my mother. He treated her like she was nothing and she believed it, always looking for validation but never truly getting it up until his last breath. Her ‘shriveled-flower’ existence made me hate him, and I vowed that her protecting and keeping her safe was my purpose and that in turn made me a better person.
Next, my sister showed me how men outside of the fun house that is our family, could be, the good and the evil they truly possessed. She almost drowned, trying desperately to see and feel the difference, trying to recapture what our dad seldom showed us; love and hope that there was someone who deserved us and our scars. She was deep within a world that was so dark and isolating, I couldn’t recognize her anymore and she was left to be a blur to herself as well. The monster within had surfaced, her skin was cursed with a self loathing so rare and pungent, it was like watching a beast eat itself, trying to rid and find themselves at the same time. Her crazy rants and hopeless eyes made me thicken the armour around my heart and I vowed to not only keep both her and my mother safe, but I learned that I mattered even less, that I didn’t need to be anywhere unless I was there, for them.
I needed to fight against everything I saw and life was no longer something to be lived or experienced but to be battled, conquered, and won. I learned quickly that men meant nothing but a species to avoid, fear and hate. I learned them to be strange martians, put on this earth to test our strength, take it and also have the power to leave me feeling worthless, empty and a shell of a girl. I promised I would never feel like that or let myself be exposed to that type of rape or anguish ever again. My second boyfriend proved to be a beautiful and imperfect love that, for the life of me, I could not accept as a result of all this protection I built up. I twisted and turned and writhed to be someone worthy of love, but I was not enough, the mask grew thin and I was left with something imperfect and begging to be loved, naked with shame and fear. Our relationship proved to be fruitless and I, again, had to face the wrath of dim days and endless nights weigh on me. Sleep wasn’t an option but neither was being awake, so I was cursed to dance in limbo, never stopping, always searching.
At the same time, my sister slipped deeper into men and used drugs as a way to cope for her lack of self-love and my mother started to see things and feel like her skin was crawling and bleeding black and blue. Her brain started to work against her and life started to slip away. My father, struggling to hang onto his last breath, died and as if by magic, propelled my sister into life and pushed my mother to find her own voice. Pouring myself into others didn’t award me a life of true fulfillment, so his death left me wanting more and realizing how less I was actually getting. I was lost, drowning, flustered and I was angry, burning for someone to blame. I was frightened that I was never going to heal and was too hurt, discarded, damaged and felt like I would never free myself from those chains.
I’m still struggling. Everyday, heartache and grief is something I feel like I have to battle and fake friends, a revolving door of boyfriends and a sense of feeling less than, plagues my mind. My mother and sister are on their journeys to self-love and healing and I feel like that little kid that’s been forgotten. People speak of God and a higher power and sometimes I know what they’re talking about but other times, I don’t know if any of that bullshit applies to me. I wake up everyday, burning, drinking from that cup and I fall asleep, hoping and praying to whatever the fuck is out there, that this is all a very bad dream. So I’m not going to pretend that life is on the mends, but I do know now, that to love truly and accept it with a full heart, an empty heart, my shell of a heart, must offer itself first. In that moment, I think I can finally begin to heal.