***TW: self-harm, suicide, childhood sexual abuse
n. the feeling that no matter what you do it’s always somehow wrong—that any attempt to make your way comfortably through the world will only end up crossing some invisible taboo—as if there’s some obvious way forward that everybody else can see but you, each of them leaning back in their chair and calling out helpfully, colder, colder, colder.
-The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
When you are young things get decided and changed without you having a say—without you being asked—things about you and done to you. There may be those rare moments when maybe an adult tells you what they think you need to know but otherwise the choices are not yours.
Everything seemed nice on the outside. But there’s an instinct we all have that tells us when something is wrong. There’s a saying; evil only wins when good people do nothing. All my life I waited, I hoped, that someday someone would dare to look deeper than the surface and see even a glimpse of what I saw…what I went through. That one day someone would see me, understand and see straight past what was happening, put all the pieces together that I couldn’t verbalize, save me I suppose.
But they never did…
For as long as I can remember, I have turned my feelings inwards. Most of the time I could not (and still cannot) fathom for even one nanosecond that everything did not belong to me. I never learned to accept that the blame did not rest squarely upon my shoulders.
I cannot pinpoint the exact moment when I told myself I would be better off dead but I know the thought came and went throughout the years. I found a place, I decided the method and the means but I never made a date. I don’t know why I never did it, but it is obvious that my mind had its reasons.
I hate admitting that I have done things to harm myself. It feels like failure, like I somehow allowed my past to get the better of me and I let them win. I think it is the feeling of being overwhelmed that activated my thoughts of escape the most and I could only think that life is such a long wait for death in those moments.
I’ve always felt so deceived, so dishonored by ‘family‘, by those who were supposed to take care of me….gripped with revulsion for them…..for myself. I always knew that one day the secrets of my family would destroy someone. My only goal was to try my best to not let them destroy me.
I felt so many things growing up: childhood sucks; I suck; life was too hard. I often wondered what it would be like to feel anchored rather than orbited. I’ve lived with so much silence, secrecy and shame that it felt like it was mine and not like it was done to me—by others. The ache of hoping that someone would come for me and save me ran ancient and deep and would continually surface and sting.
Sometimes I’d wish I had tried to share more. I’d always feel like I needed to do more. More of what, I don’t really know. Just, more. The amount of ‘stuff‘ on the inside has always felt out of control. I tried to pay attention but it felt like I was like that little metal ball in a pinball machine. One moment I’d be rolling along and then ‘BAM‘ I’d get side swiped and launched towards something hard and it would hurt as I knocked in to it. Everything would be loud and the lights would be too bright. There would just be too much chaos. It was overwhelming and beyond frustrating. I wanted out as the human pinball.
I’d grow weary from the way it always seemed to feel; just exhausted from the sense of being overwhelmed so much of the time. It’d be like one minute you’d be doing okay, and then all at once you’d just get this sort of…I don’t know what to call it really…maybe a bit of understanding. An understanding of how hard it all was. And I’d just wanted to disappear; just, you know, go away. I didn’t know why or how it happened but at certain moments my mind just could not, for some reason, recognize that the past was the past. You couldn’t even see the difference between then and now.
My soul felt incomplete. I felt half-finished.
By the time I was twelve, I couldn’t take it anymore. Everything about me felt disgusting and was a reminder of them. I hated everything about myself. I was still being abused by my one cousin, I was absolutely terrified of my father and my brother had started raping me a year earlier. I decided it would be, ‘hurt them or hurt yourself’ and began with simple things like smoking cigarettes and taking shots of liquor while home at lunch. It gave me comfort from my own mind. The fire that burned inside felt out of control and I only wanted to escape from the hell that was my life. I was too afraid to talk to anyone out of fear of my father and out of fear of the things that they said they would do to me. The punishment I would have received would have been worse than living.
When I was fourteen I decided I would try to drink myself to death. I drank whatever I could get my hands on. It tasted horrible, but in a strange way it felt really good. I went completely numb. I thought it would have been the perfect way to kill myself where it would look like an accident and nobody would have to feel bad for not helping me. It didn’t work though and I was so angry and felt like a failure. I told myself I had no choice but to accept what was handed to me. Night after night I would cry myself to sleep.
I eventually moved on to making small cuts and burns; nothing that would be too noticeable to anyone and could easily be hidden under pieces of clothing. If I somehow bruised myself, I would keep pushing it to feel it again and again. The pain it caused gave me a new way to escape reality. I eventually tried drugs like hash and weed but I didn’t like the way they made me feel.
There was so much happening to my body that I didn’t understand. I didn’t know that periods were supposed to happen regularly and that it wasn’t normal to go months between them sometimes. I didn’t understand that, that much pain and blood was abnormal. I didn’t understand that something was very wrong. I didn’t put two and two together until I had my first miscarriage as an adult.
I refused to even have any full medical exams until I was almost thirty. I could never face having a conversation about my sexual history with my doctor. When the question came up as to whether or not I was sexually active I always said no. I instinctively lied every time. I didn’t know how to do anything else. I didn’t believe anyone could help me, just that it would get back to them that I’d told someone.
As a child I never imagined all of the real monsters in the world would be humans. We never talked about anything in my family. All I have is what I can remember and the fragments of memories I pick up along the way. There are still a lot of empty spaces, but maybe what I remember right now is enough.
These first three parts have been hard to write, but I don’t regret doing it. However painful. However horrific. Each and every line belongs to me.
These words tell my story of what got me to here…..
5 thoughts on “what got me to here–part 3”
I just wanted to say I’m reading along and you are brave to be sharing. I understand carrying shame that isn’t ours, and the frustration of blank spaces in memory. You are right that you remember enough, enough to know it was awful, and I’m glad you found your way to therapy and are working so hard to heal what you should have never had to carry. Thank you for sharing. 💛
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Thanks Em–for your lovely comment and following along…. xx
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Well done You!!!
You know what, I read this and relate for sure … thinking you are dam brave and a survivor for sure! You know what though … Most people do, would have and will, kill themselves over a small portion of the shit you have endured. I don’t think it makes them any less or more; I think it’s a thing that becomes Ours – our choice by our hand instead of some other filthy cunts hand.
I bow in honour of You for everything you have endured and everything you are doing now ❤
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T once said something very similar to me–'no one would blame you for walking away from it all and I want you to stay, but I would never stand in the way of you ending your life'.
To know we finally have the choice to make the decision about whether or not we live or die makes all the difference in the world.
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It certainly does … for someone like Me, choice, my choice, is everything ❤