Thursday, September 5, 2013

hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary lives

I didn't grow up normal. I didn't grow up with two happy parents. I didn't grow up in the same house or even the same city.  I didn't spend my childhood thinking my dad was the greatest thing on Earth.

I grew up in three different states, at least seven different homes, and five different schools (I think).  I was raised by the strongest woman I know, but my mother had some pretty wicked vices of her own.  I grew up with a father who, when not in prison, was full of booze and one drug or another.  I grew up fast.

When I see little girls, they are usually bright and outgoing and talkative. Sometimes they are shy, but they almost always warm up.  They are happy.  They like to play with their friends.  I liked to play by myself.  I didn't like other people.  I guess some things never change.

One of my first memories is of being awakened late at night during a sleepover at my grandpa's and having to huddle behind the couch, covering my brother's ears, as my dad and uncle beat each other bloody.  I grew up surrounded by yelling and harsh words and ultimatums and doors slamming shut in the middle of the night.  I grew up in a world where people yell if they want to be heard.  Today I would rather be run over than have someone raise their voice to me. It would hurt less.

When bad things happen I never cry.  Grandparents die, dogs die, friends leave, boyfriends cheat, girls say mean things and I come up with a plan to deal with it.  I am a planner.  Not a doer, just a planner.  My counselor told me somewhere I must have realized that too much emotion just ends up hurting other people so I taught myself not to feel at all.

Not feeling at all is awful though, but my switch was rusted into the "off" position. I needed some source, any source, of emotion.  So I planned.  And I took apart a disposable razor until I got the thin blades separated, I broke one in half, and I cut my thigh.  Over and over and over. Every week, almost every day.  It's all I ever thought about because, you have to understand, it's the only thing I really felt.  Until I got caught, and even then I never really stopped.  Would you, if it was the only thing that made you feel anything besides absolute melancholy?  82 scars are still visible to anyone who looks close enough when I wear shorts.

God saved me once, or twice really.  I used to really, really be in love with him.  I was head over heels in love with my God.  I was also really, really in love with Sky, and J, D, and Derek.  I think I'm head over heels for anything that breaks the melancholy.  But I always, always ruin it. Even God.  If there were competition, I would win first place for how to ruin relationships.  So where does it end?

I'll let you know when I get there.  But for now, just try to understand.  Or at least try to be accommodating. Because there will be times you need me and I just can't be there.  And it's not going to be fair, but it's going to be me and it's going to be real.