Am I a Survivor?

I’ve never really tried to figure myself out before. I’ve tried to change myself, mostly to no avail, but not actually understand why I do what I do.

I peel the calloused skin off my fingers and feet to the point where I hurt. Then I go to great lengths to moisturize them and stop the disgusting habit.

I eat sugar. A lot of it. And sometimes I actually eat sugar right out of the bowl.

I feel that I do those things as an alcoholic would drink. These are weird, lifelong addictions that I must find a way to conquer.

I ask myself why I want to harm my hands and feet. I ask myself why I’d ingest way too much of a substance that is so bad for my health.

I feel that it’s because I hurt inside. Because I’m insecure and afraid. And don’t know how to be normal. I tell myself that a respectable, normal woman would not do these things.

I’m not saying my childhood was any worse than anyone else’s but I am saying it was bad. It was filled with trauma, violence, screaming, and things I can barely remember but haunt me.

I don’t know if I have to face all the specific incidences of horror in order to move on with my life or if I can simply say, “Yes, I’m damaged. I was harmed as a very young child all the way through adulthood. I have PTSD. I can nurture myself and get beyond it. Life is not easy.”

I kind of hope I can do the latter because facing the specifics seems daunting and too painful. I don’t think I can enter that arena.

When I consider the tiny baby that I was, born six weeks early to a mother who was too frightened to hold me. Her mother fed me with an eye dropper for several weeks because I couldn’t suck the bottle.

And for some reason as an older baby when I cried, I would hold my breath causing everyone to utterly panic as they shook me and watched me turn blue. The pediatrician recommended they put me under a cold shower so they tried that a few times. I was a bit high maintenance until I learned how to be invisible.

In my early twenties my mom took me to lunch to tell me how sorry she was about how she treated me from about the ages of 1-3. My dad fucked a co-worker and got her pregnant. My mom kicked him out and they began divorce proceedings. Mom says she took all her fear and anxiety on me. I sat there at the table just wanting her to shut up. I had no love for her then and still don’t, although I am a good daughter and I try to be respectful. I’m envious of women with a strong, healthy relationship with their mom.

I look at photos of my brother and myself. We were two years apart and it appears that for a time we did everything together. My mother favored my brother to such a degree that my sister and I really didn’t exist except to fight with on Saturday mornings.

Even when I was 20 with a baby and divorced, my mom would take my brother to brunch almost every Sunday. They’d drive to Newport Beach and drink champagne and come home and tell us all the amazing things they ate. I remember wondering why the fuck I’m never invited. I guess they figured they were the only two people in the house with culture or class.

Because my mom worked full time we were bounced around from babysitter to babysitter. Some of them were really odd people. Some of them couldn’t speak any English. I recall being made to walk through some pews in a large church to tidy up the books. I recall a male neighbor with really white skin. I recall being aware of men and sex far too soon. I began to drink by age twelve.

Somehow, I guess because I was pretty, I coasted along looking fairly normal even if I didn’t feel normal or behave normally. But today, at this point in my life, after rapes, beatings, divorces, addiction to pharmaceutical drugs, and many stays in the psych ward, I just want peace. I just want to be good to my body and soul and cradle myself somehow.

I’m worn out. But perhaps I’m stronger than some. Perhaps someone else in my situation would be a rip roaring alcoholic or would be abusing others. I could see how I could have gone that route. Perhaps in my own way I am a survivor.

I swam today and allowed myself to think a little about the pain of my life and then I decided to stop that and just swim. What I want for myself now is to continue to lose the rest of the weight I need to lose. Continue to exercise. Be kind to my loved ones and do the best I can to help them and survive.

Life is so short and so beautiful. I want to feel and live and experience all of it.

 

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2 responses to “Am I a Survivor?

  1. You have some really great goals and you’ve been working hard on them. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself, that’s a lot of crap to process.

  2. Thank you, Cynthia. It’s rather too heavy. Perhaps being kind to myself is all I need to do, rather than re-hash and remember all that stuff. I hope you’re well. xoxo

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