Sunday, June 19, 2011


Everyone goes through life with a picture of his or her self.  Sometimes these pictures are elaborate paintings, sometimes they are stick figures, sometimes they are swirls of color.  People vary.  What is consistent is the sheet of glass over the picture that is protecting this core of self.  For most people, when they are children their parents carry this picture for them.  That's the purpose and work of parenting.  It's to protect this tiny little person as they go through the early parts of life.  My parents dropped my picture.  Many times.  They shattered the glass.  They did their best to scatter it to the winds so that I had no protection left.

On my bad days I feel like I am on my knees in the Sahara frantically digging, looking for the lost pieces.  There are some very large shards missing and I don't know what to do about them.  My picture isn't protected.  I'm not protected.  I'm scared.  I'm vulnerable to being destroyed.

On my good days I look at the missing pieces and I think, "Well... all I've got is a five gallon bucket of dry wall putty.  It's not really the best thing to use to fix glass, but it's what I have.  Maybe if I add some neat Rit dye it will at least look interesting."

I don't know who I was meant to be.  Yes, that hurts.  I often wonder what I would have turned out like if I had been loved and protected appropriately when I was a child.  But that's a door forever closed.

Today my Jenny told me that if she can read my story and feel bad so that I can feel a little better, it's worth it.  Because I'm worth going through some pain for.  I'm not sure how to believe that is true.  How could it ever be ok for other people to hurt because of me?  How in the world could I ever be worth enough that other people should suffer just to lighten my load?  My brother made it very clear that I was to shut my mouth because it is more important that other people not hurt.  I have no right to make other people hurt by telling my story.  The therapist I saw once before this trip told me that I have to be very careful about sharing my story because sharing stories like this traumatizes the listener and I shouldn't do that to people.  It's why she is completely against support groups.

Shouldn't I just shut up?  Shouldn't I try to pretend I'm just like everyone else?  Isn't that the right thing to do?  Thing is, I have these really big pieces of my protective coating missing.  I'm not like everyone else.  It is harder to know me than it is to know other people.

And I'm not sure how to believe that is ok.


  1. I read your story because it is not mine. I want to know what goes on inside of others in a way that the internet makes possible. We only knew each other in an informal way before I moved to TX, but I like getting to know you better through your words. Frequently those words are harsh because what you are experiencing is harsh. It's not your fault. If I have trouble with a post, I don't have to keep reading.

    ETA: my word verification thingy was culpa.

  2. I admit, I don't think about who I could have been, very often. I am who I am, missing bits and saran wrap replacing the glass here and there and all.

    But, y'know, what your Jenny said? She's totally right. It's also easier to bear someone elses pain most of the time, because it's less visceral.

    I know you're totally worth the effort to me. I just hope I'm worth the effort and pain I can cause, too.

  3. Remember that it doesn't hurt us to hear it as much as it hurts you to go through it. There's no "conservation of pain" rule. If telling your story relieves you of pain, that doesn't mean you're handing that pain directly to someone else. They may be getting a little of it, but not as much as it is (hopefully) relieving you of.

    I can maybe understand what your therapist meant, if support groups are all for people who are looking to relieve their own pain. I don't know how those kinds of people would react to your story (badly, it sounds). But we, your readers, are not those people.

    "Shouldn't I just shut up?"

    "Shouldn't I try to pretend I'm just like everyone else?"

    "Isn't that the right thing to do?"
    Not even close.

    Keep this in mind- we may feel a little bit of pain for you, but you are not harming us.

  4. Also, we are adults, responsible for our own actions. As vsherbie said, we can stop reading whenever we want. Whether we read your story or not is not your responsibility. Subsequently, if we feel pain from reading it, that is also not your responsibility.

  5. Its okay with me, you don't have to believe it because I say so, but my belief isn't going anywhere. I don't have to know every bit of you, and you don't have to be easy. I accept you for what I see you to be, with your past, and your amazing future, and your occasionally rocky present. And my glasses aren't rose colored.