Indirect

There’s something I want to write about desperately and it feels unwise to do so just now. Let’s see if I can organize my thoughts while being all vague and confusing to other folks. Cause I’m all awesome like that.

Long time readers know that I struggle a lot with self worth. This is a pervasive problem that comes up over and over for me. Do I deserve to be alive? Am I a waste of resources/oxygen/life/etc? I read lots of books about developmental trauma so I’m well aware that my issues are textbook for people who live through the kind of early life I had.

Sometimes I need to step out of the box in which I live. I stepped out of my bubble last year. I went across the country. But I was in my box the whole time. The box that tells me that I’m not as good as people around me. The box that tells me that I am a worthless whore who should be giving up the good things I have to people who are better and more deserving than me.

That’s pretty much anyone. It’s why I give so much money away. It’s why I help people to the point where it is almost damaging to myself. I do not see myself as a person who “deserves” anything good.

But I have a lot of good in my life. I have a husband and children who adore me.

{Side note: after a screamtastic/difficult morning the afternoon and evening improved. I ended up having a conversation with my five year old that blew my forking mind. This morning during one of my shitty moments I said, “I’d really like to say screw you”. Kiddo asked what that meant and Noah… delicately explained that it is an adult colloquialism that means I don’t care about you and you should go away. Later this same kid flipped me off. I said, “Are you flipping me off?” [A few days ago the kids asked what flipping someone off was/means and we explained in fair detail.] In the afternoon kiddo said, “I need you to never say screw to me again. That’s not ok. And I’m really sorry I flipped you off. That wasn’t nice.” This is what my five year old child says. Holy shit. I hope I can grow up to be as wonderful as this person someday. I said that I was very sorry too. I really didn’t mean it. I care about my kid so so so much and I’m really sorry I lost my temper and said hurtful things. I said that I can forgive flipping me off. I have done much worse. We have had a few good snuggles this evening. Kiddo asked if flipping me off was worse than running away. I said, “No. Running away means you don’t feel safe in your home and you have to get away from people who are hurting you. Flipping someone off means you are feeling angry. It’s ok to feel angry. If you feel unsafe we are doing something very very wrong and you should be protected from us. I really hope you never feel so unsafe in your home that you have to run away.” Kiddo turned to face me full on, grabbed my face with both hands and said, “Mom. I feel safe with you. You won’t hurt me. Even though you get mad you just raise your voice. That’s not nice but it’s not hurting me.”

How did I get such a child?}

I need help to step out of this box I live in. The box that says absolutely anyone could be a better mother to my children because I am such a nasty harpy. Sometimes it is hard to view their devotion as anything other than proof of how little I deserve them. Because, as I was told over and over as a child… abused children are the most loyal. This was always said with the implication that if I was not yet loyal I needed to be abused more.

Sometimes I wonder what in me is so broken that I could severe what bond I had with my mother entirely. That’s a huge thing for a person to do. My mother lives 30-some miles away and I haven’t seen her in over five years and I may never do so again in this life. That’s a big fucking deal.

People don’t abandon their mothers easily. There are mountains of literature on this.

How could someone who abandoned their mother like that turn around and create true, lasting bonds with anyone? I wonder and wonder.

I’ve read a lot about attachment theory. Not being attached to your mother usually means there won’t be a lot of attachment for you in this life.

I was reading just this morning about how women like me usually can’t pay appropriate attention to an infant and we pass the damage down generation after generation.

Do you know how I managed to pay a lot of attention to my infants? I all but stopped all other relationships. I went into my little cave and I met every need. I held every gaze with love. Every squawk of discomfort was met with concern. “Hey little person. What do you need? I love you. I want you to feel safe.”

Through this process I hoped to heal myself. I hoped that by handing this love and care to another person I would be able to plug the hole at the bottom of my leaky bucket and learn how to feel the love that people pour into it.

I know I am loved to an uncommon degree by my friends. I have fucktastically loyal friends. They have weathered storms of emotion and drama and fuss. They love me, warts and all. They love me even though I make it so very difficult to love me. They show up. They show up in my life and my house and my adventures.

Why can’t I feel this?

My submissive and his slave both love me to a degree that is nearly palpable when we are all in a room. Why don’t I feel it more?

I can see it. I know it is there. Why don’t I feel it?

Why do I build these walls between me and Noah?

Why do I persist and persist and persist in not feeling loved.

Jesus. I’m a fucking asshole.

Or maybe I’m brain damaged.

Can I be utterly worthless and priceless at the same time? Can more than one thing be true? Can I be loved and not deserving of love at the same time?

Is anyone deserving of love? What does it mean to be deserving of love? Do you have to do anything other than exist?

I love you because you exist. Not because of what you have done for me. I may be grateful for what you have done for me. But the love is separate. The love just happens. Why can’t I feel it from other people. I can feel the love I have to give to you.

I feel it like a cauldron bubbling inside me. It is going to overflow the pot and cascade all over the counter.

Side note: I just got a message from one of the folks I donate to every month. I make a difference in her life and in the lives of her children. I don’t give a lot of money, when you are that poor it doesn’t take a lot to make a difference. It is so easy to say to her that I give her help because she deserves to get it from the universe and I wish I could do more.

Why don’t I feel that way about myself? Why don’t I feel like I deserve love or support or care? I don’t think I deserve it. I think I get it. But deserve is… orthogonal to getting.

They just aren’t on the same axis at all.

I need to get out of this box. This box that says I should die because I do nothing but hurt people.

That’s a fucking lie. I just got a god damn email like to fucking minutes ago saying that I do a lot to help this person. And she’s not the only person on my donation list. And I have a lot of people that I help in other ways. My god damn neighbors wouldn’t be inviting me in to tell me that they have a whole bunch of questions about life and they just know I’ll have interesting answers if all I did was hurt people.

I struggle a lot with the idea of grandiosity. Many disorders I don’t want to be diagnosed with involve feelings of grandiosity. I don’t think I’ll be president. I don’t think I’ll be famous. I don’t I’ll be important to massive numbers of people.

I just think that I’ll have maybe a larger than average impact on the folks I do touch. The dozens or hundreds or maybe thousands of them.

Is that grandiosity?

I don’t leave a large impression because I’m important. I leave a large impression because I’m unapologetically weird as fuck. That seems to be utterly shocking for folks. I stick in the mind because I really don’t want to conform and I’m fucking mouthy about it. I can’t be like you. I can only be like me.

It isn’t that I will never change. I will change and change and change again. But I will do so to be ever more like me.

Whatever the fuck that means.

I keep wondering if I should stop swearing. I read about how swear words are implicitly violent. That swearing in a conversation is a way of establishing dominance and intimidating people. Well, shit.

I don’t want to intimidate anyone. I just fucking talk like this.

Sometimes it feels like my unwillingness to change for other peoples comfort is part of why I do not deserve to live.

I tell myself over and over and over that it takes all kinds. It takes all kinds. It takes all kinds. It’s ok for me to be alive. It takes all kinds.

But I don’t feel it.

When I look at Noah’s face I see my past and my future. I see the weight of inherited money. A while back he shaved his face and did it in stages to see what different kinds of facial hair looked like. More than one variation (I won’t even specify which historical figures he looked like) were… creepy as fuck. We are the very people who populate stories of horror. Money is made through exploiting labor which means exploiting people. We have to make choices. What are we going to do with the disproportionate privilege and security we have in this life? In Noah I see the challenge to be more than a white trash whore ever thinks she can be.

Noah doesn’t see me that way at all. I can tell by how he looks at me.

How can I climb out of this box?

I’ve been in therapy for more than 30 fucking years. (Approaching 33!) I’ve worked on behaviors. I’ve worked on learning self soothing techniques. I’ve learned how to be less black and white. I’ve learned about tolerance of myself and others. What I haven’t managed to conquer is this distorted thinking. This pervasive sense of worthlessness.

This fucking box. I’d like to fill it with dynamite and watch it explode. The only problem is I live in the box and that means killing myself.

Killing myself.

Killing myself.

Why does it all come back to the fact that being alive is a burden meant for people who deserve support?

Deserve.

Fuck deserve.

I want to see myself as the person my children see me as. I understand that my children are still young enough to see me with the besotted, unjudgmental gaze of the prepubescent. I understand that their gaze will grow more critical. At this moment of time, eight years into parenting, it is difficult to believe that my children will ever feel about me the way I feel about my mother. I don’t know what I would have to do, but it would have to be something powerfully evil to push them away from me. I think I’d rather cut my arm off than do something so horrifying to my children.

Did my mother really do something so horrifying? No. She didn’t. But she turned her back on other people doing so. She sent me from house to house and she did not protect me. My mother could not protect me.

Why in the world do I think I will be able to protect more children? Won’t it get away from me? Won’t the control and the power to protect be diluted with more children and I will be less capable? But instead of a big sister like my Sissy my children will have my daughter. My shining daughter who will lecture me fiercely when I’m being an asshole to my kiddo and say, “It is my job to make sure my sibling is safe. You can’t talk to them like that. Stop it.”

My daughter will never tell a younger sibling that they weren’t wanted and they should die. My daughter will never say, “It is your fault I was raped for more years.”

Maybe everything will be different.

It isn’t my fault that my father raped my sister. It really isn’t.

But I still feel so bad. Like my very existence causes more pain. I hurt my mother by being created. I hurt my sister by being born and preventing my mom from leaving. I hurt my brother by taking away my mother’s attention so that he was left to roam the streets and get hit by a car.

My fault.

My fault.

My fault.

I hate this box. I hate this box so much.

I don’t hate the bubble I live in. This elitist as fuck bubble of hypereducation and tolerance. God I love the bubble I live in. Bay Area, never change.

But I hate this box. This worthlessness. This despair and hopelessness.

I spent last night reading yet another book about suicide. I think it would be more useful to someone who hadn’t already read almost all of the books this author cites. Yes I know that Shneidman is one of the best minds to ever write about suicide. I’ve read his work. Stop quoting him and tell me something new, mkay?

But the one piece that jumped out at me over and over through page after page. Hope. Hope is the difference between someone who will navigate their way through mutilation, ideation, suicidal gestures…. and never complete a suicide attempt. Hopelessness seems to be the absolute hallmark of completed suicides.

Hope.

I think hope is why I want more babies. In these precious little lives I see a self I desperately wish is true. I want to be the person my children see me as. I want to be their mother. I want to be the one who protects them and nudges them towards freedom.

After the apologies my five year old started talking about private parts and consent. (It was just post-bath so the kid was naked and thrilled with this fact. Like children do.) Kiddo said, “My private parts are just for me and you.” I said, “Oh no no no. Your private parts are not for me. If there is a medical reason you need help with your private parts you can ask me for help with that. But it is never ever ok for me to touch you without your consent. It isn’t ok for a doctor or your dad or anyone to touch your private parts without your consent. Know how you can’t ever remember me touching you there?” Kid thinks…. then says, “Yeah I don’t think you ever have.” “Oh I did. Before you were able to care for yourself. Once you could take care of your body, there is no need for anyone else to touch your private parts unless you invite them to. And really you should only invite people to touch your private parts if you need medical help or if you are a grown person who really freakin wants to invite someone to touch you there. Once you are grown you might want to invite people to touch you there. That will be up to you to decide.” “So once I invite someone to touch me then they get to touch me whenever they want.” I almost squeaked with indignation at that bit. “NO!! Consent is not permanent. Consent is always something that has to be actively given. If someone has permission to touch your private parts sometimes and you fall asleep… they no longer have permission. If you grow up and drink alcohol and you can’t make a good decision… they no longer have consent. Your consent has to be given at every moment when someone is touching you.” The kid sat and thought about that for a while. Then hugged me. Then completely changed the topic.

I wish someone had told me that I had the right to not have my father’s fingers inside me.

This is my chance to create in the world what I want to see. Who I want to see. Who I want to be.

There’s a line in a Rihanna song that I like a lot. Ok, more than one line:

All that I wanted from you was to give me
Something that I never had
Something that you’ve never seen
Something that you’ve never been!

I feel like that about Noah. About my life. All I want is to have something that I’ve never had, never seen, and no one I know has ever been. I don’t want much, do I?

I need something different.

I’m just a giant pain in the ass.

I need to go to sleep. Tomorrow is another day. I’m nervous. But… such is life. Just go do what you need to do.

2 thoughts on “Indirect

  1. Valia

    This might sound very woo-woo – but I hope you’ll bear with me.

    On the topic of killing yourself and getting out of/destroying the box …

    Well – why not some sort of ritual that symbolically kills the idea of the person that you WERE & the box that WAS … and then from there commit to the intention and hope to continue growing into the ME that you what to be? You state “I will change and change and change again. But I will do so to be ever more like me.” Incorporate that into the shaping of the new structure (not a box, but something more flexible & permeable).

    Does any of that make sense?

    Reply

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