Keeping it Together

If you were to hear me talk about various things throughout my life, some of it is just not normal. I’m not going into many details, but this all comes off as very vague now that I’m reading it, so I’ll give a short description of the bad stuff I’m talking about. My parents are drug addicts, they have been my whole life. We were molested by a “family friend” for 6 years (who is in jail). My parents divorced, but that wasn’t so bad. My mom leaving my dad for her crack addict drug dealing nazi boyfriend was. She left me with my dad because I wouldn’t go. She took my sisters for years, as leverage in the divorce case for money, and to release herself from paying child support. In high school I was in a manipulative repeated date rape relationship, then proceeded to typical relationships with abuse, alcoholics, drug users, and all of the stupid things I could possibly let myself be convinced we’re worth the “love” of another person. And I was raped, a few more times (by women, so there’s a little help knocking that stereotype out of your head). Now, on to the important details.

People can understand bad relationships, and you can end up with various communities of people who had a significant other like yours. This is not where the problems lie.

Shitty things happened when I was growing up. There were times when things were OK, or good, but I knew, from being around other kids, that our life was not normal, not in a healthy sense anyways. I could go into how to define normal and all those basic needs a kid should have. I often say that I didn’t know any different, so how could I know bad things were happening, and for many things this is true. But bad things did happen, those things that either make a person stronger or completely tear them apart, and when they grow up, they’re these glued back together adults that are just repeating their parents mistakes.

I like to think, of my two sisters and I, that I’m the strong one. I keep it together. I graduated high school, never had a drug problem, didn’t get married a billion times, don’t have a bunch of kids running around. If I wasn’t sick, I could easily go back to at least two jobs that I’ve had. As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty damn successful considering everything we went through.

But, and this is a huge but, I can only do this if I ignore all of the feelings and emotions about that part of my life. We don’t talk about it. I get upset, sometimes my sisters do terrible things, talking about it causes hurricane like shit storms that wipe us out for days. So I lock it all up, like a little room of horrible emotions I cannot deal with.

I can sit here and tell you story after story, and laugh and joke like its OK. It might seem I went through years of therapy to be able to do that. I can tell you what happened, but I can’t tell you how it felt. If I open that door, I am so afraid I won’t be able to close it. That I will fall apart so quickly that I don’t even know if I could survive it. I don’t know whats in there. Only lately I can feel that door trying to burst open. I can feel pain, and anger. Its so overwhelming that I have to force myself to calm down, push it all back in. If they’re just stories of things that happened, just memories in my head, then I don’t have to feel them.

If I let those memories take life, let the emotions out too, feel like my chest is breaking open and my throat is closing, what will all of it do? Where will it go? I don’t want to share these things. They’re horrible, they’re too horrible for even me to know, and I was there. How can I properly tell anyone else and expect their opinions about me and my life not to change? I get sickened at the thought of anyone knowing my life and feeling pity for me, and I’ve lost friends for it.

Two things have been causing everything to suddenly try to break out. The first are several rape awareness groups that I follow online. Suddenly those emotions found a way out, and pushing them back in is harder and harder. I want to help and support these groups, but when they ask for others to share their stories to help everyone know they’re not alone, I find myself shutting down. Its one thing to tell people I was raped, its quite another to say details about those times. I begin yelling “No, no” at the computer and shoving it away from me, like the words will spill out without my control.

The second is just life. For example, watching Shameless brings back memories of my life. I joke that I like the show because at least someones life was worse than mine, pretending a team of writers isn’t making all of it up. Once in a while it hits too close to home. Other days I think about writing, about a story I want to tell, but how do I tell these stories about my life without those feelings that seem so desperate to escape darkening my pages. How do I write to my friends that were around then, knowing I at some point should ask, did this happen to you too, because you stayed at my house? Did being friends with me hurt your life?

I haven’t slept, and I feel sick, more than usual. My brain is cracking open and spilling out so much, too much to feel, to much to live, and so I must retreat back to my bed. I must find things to distract my mind until that door is locked again, and I have the key finally secure.

I refuse to take my xanax for this. I will not dull my pain because I have pathetically lost control.