I don’t feel sad anymore
I felt like there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t handle the pain of not being seen and loved. I felt like I was inadequate because I would cry hysterically or get angry in reaction to someone treating me badly and accusing me of having feelings that I didn’t have. It made me doubt myself, it made me wonder if they were right in saying I was crazy.
It is like I keep trying to go to that sad place, and my body and mind won’t let me. Why do I want to go there? I think I have felt sad for most of my life so it is my comfort zone. It is the place where I can lick my wounds and build myself back up. My sadness gave me a reason to isolate myself, write in my journal, take long hot bubble baths and nurture myself. But now that I am taking care of myself every day, I don’t need the excuse of feeling sad in order for me to take the time replenish my soul.
I think sometimes that maybe you are tired of reading about where I came from. I mean, how much can I talk about the fact I grew up in abuse and chaos. Shouldn’t I be over it already? Sometimes I get tired of writing about it too. But the truth of the matter is, it is all I know. I can’t change the past, and no matter what I do in the present it will never change where I came from. It is a part of me, just like my arms and legs are a part of me. It is like saying, why don’t I just get over the fact that I grew up in California and stop talking about it. It would be weird if someone asked me where I am from, and I just said nothing because I decided not to talk about it anymore. It is the same with ‘how’ I grew up. I was taught as a child to look out for myself, guard my feelings, and not to trust anyone. And that is just a fact.
I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries as a child and take care of me. My mom considered that selfish, and rebellious. I get it more now, as she never was allowed to have boundaries herself, so who did I think I was to have them? My anger towards her has soften to understanding. I am finally learning that it is ok to take care of me first, something my mom never felt comfortable with. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone,I and I don’t have to feel guilty or selfish.
The sad lonely feeling that has been my shadow for most of my life is finally leaving me. My body feels happy and vibrant. My mind stops me all on it’s own when I try and take other people’s actions personally. I don’t have to take days or weeks to realize that I am not rejected, but rather certain things were just not meant for me. I am learning to not hold so tightly to people and situations so that I can feel validated or better about myself. I realize that when I did that in the past, I was just slowing down the inevitable anyway. I don’t have the power to control other people, or stop things from happening that I don’t want to happen. I can slow down my acceptance and acknowledgement of the truth, but that just prolongs the hurt as I chose to live in unreality for a while until I feel like I am able to process the truth.
This way of being in the world came from my upbringing. It came from being overwhelmed and having to make up my own reality in order to survive. I lived in my head, and thank god I did because it saved my life. It is a part of who I am, and who I was, and I am glad that my imagination and my ability to block out certain truths worked in my favor when it needed to. My body and mind were taking care of me, and softening reality so that I could find the strength to go to school, have friends and appear somewhat ‘normal’. Later in life, drinking too much alcohol, excessive exercise, being reliant outside validation and being too hard on myself were all symptoms of my need to not live in reality. For so long, I thought I knew how to navigate the world and get what I wanted but now I see I knew so little. I was working way too hard just to get the basics. I didn’t know that being loved, having boundaries and taking care of myself were just basic human characteristics. I woke up every morning and battled all day to get these basic needs met.
Now, I can write these words with a lightness in my heart and body, and with a pride of who I was. I don’t feel ashamed or stupid anymore. I don’t feel ‘less than’ the women that grew up in functional families, like I used to. I don’t feel like I am permanently damaged beyond repair. I am a human that was presented with a set of very difficult circumstances at birth, and I did the best I could. Actually, looking back, I can’t believe I functioned as well as I did given the fact I had so little social and emotional tools when I left home.
I feel my body and mind moving away from survival mode, and my frantic need to control. I feel it relaxing into my new life and accepting new challenges with a curiosity rather than fear. I feel my heart softening to my family and friends, and letting them get closer to me, and not being afraid to tell them how much they mean to me. I am at a place that I didn’t know existed just a few years ago.
I can’t change where I came from, but more importantly I don’t want to change where I came from anymore. I am not focussed on it anymore, it is just a part of me that I have accepted now. Not accepting it for most of my life caused me nothing but pain and anguish, and caused the little girl inside of me to get sadder and sadder. She was sad because I wasn’t acknowledging and thanking her for all she did to survive. I told her every day that it wasn’t that bad, or even worse some days I told her that what she went through didn’t really happen.
I felt like there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t handle the pain of not being seen and loved. I felt like I was inadequate because I would cry hysterically or get angry in reaction to someone treating me badly and accusing me of having feelings that I didn’t have. It made me doubt myself, it made me wonder if they were right in saying I was crazy. It made me feel like there was something inherently bad in me, and that is why I wasn’t loved. I longed not to care so much, I longed just to be numb. If that little girl inside of me and her demands to be treated better would just go away, then I could be numb. But she didn’t go away, no matter how I ignored her or how I found ways to shut her up for a short period of time. Today I am so grateful that she didn’t shut up, and that she had faith in me even when I didn’t. You don’t have to explain to anyone why you are taking care of a child, why you are listening and nurturing a child, and why you let her be sad and comfort her. No one considers you selfish for taking care of a defenseless child. That is why I don’t find it necessary to explain to anyone why I am taking care of myself first.