I’ve been gone for a bit, I have had a few moments when I have wanted to sit down and write but I kept putting it off.
I think the best writing comes when you feel the emotion pouring out fluidly like a stream of water filling up a glass; you hardly have to try to get it out because it just keeps on going so easily.
I have always wanted to love. I have memories that go back pretty far, some where I couldn’t be much older than 2 1/2 years old and it was always the same urge to love and be loved. Memories of standing up on my crib watching those around me, holding on to the side rail and wanting to capture someone’s attention; anyone to pick me up and hold me.
When I was twelve I decided to run away. I had several impulses to leave before then but this was the first time that I decided to methodically plan out my exit plan and timeline of goals so that I coul survive and sustain myself without falling into harm. I was in the seventh grade and my parents had bought me a neon yellow fleece sweater with a matching neon yellow and gray hiker’s backpack from Old Navy. When I was home alone I would put this pullover on and try to see how I could improve my packing skills so I could fit in jeans, underwear, tops, layered clothing and a loaf of bread with a jar of peanut butter. I would pull out some paper and write letters to each of my family members telling them how I felt towards them, what made me leave, the secrets that remain hidden from them; and then I would crumple them up and walk to the kitchen.
The flickering and tick tick of the pilot coming to life was a ritual for me; feeling the heat of the flames lick at my palm as I waved it closer and closer, longer and longer, over the fire; hoping to feel something, anything. Then tossing the crumpled letters in one at a time until all that was left was black as coal ashes that would stain the stove top. I would pull out the dish rag and scrub at the black soot until the surface was white and shiny again. And I would walk back to my room and look around, hoping for a sign that would prompt me to leave. Instead, I would inevitably find a toy of my baby sister and I would feel horribly rotten for thinking of abandoning her. I would slump down and unpack and watch my fingers, trembling with defeat, pull the blanket over me so I could sleep the reality away.
These feelings didn’t leave me when I got older. I postponed my plan of leaving and figured that I would find a relief when I went off to college and I concentrated my energy on doing well in school. But the twists and turns of life would always veer me off my road. The darkness of depression would weigh me down and I would sink into the black sea of inertia; finding other ways to feel, other means of escaping reality which made me lose my way.
And it was easy to give into a quick fix of feeling better; through relationships and compliments; through the idea of a family and an impromptu marriage. And soon the swelling of my belly gave me both hope and heavy sadness that I would live beyond 26 years old. It is easy to judge my decisions from your point of view; why fall into so many destructive situations time and time again? But would you really care if you “knew” you would not live beyond your 20’s? If you had the firm belief that eventually it would all be over anyway, would you really care that you were endlessly fucking up?
But through motherhood I found a vine that tied me down to this Earth and refused to let me go. When Iza came tumbling out close behind it forced me to wake up from the fog of life I had been perfectly accepting as the only reality.
I held a very painful battle within myself when I had my daughters and the only thing that kept me from falling deep into the abyss of suicide was the acute understanding that I would now be harming them by leaving them with such a bitter introduction to life.
I don’t know how I found the strength to shake myself into awareness of my surroundings and plan a real exit plan; a journey into a better life for my girls if not for myself. And I stuck with it and I left.
Failure at Marriage: I never thought I would marry anyone but when I did, even if at a moment of stupidity and pressure, I felt that I had to carry it through the end and when I didn’t, I felt the heavy cloak of shame slipping off my shoulders and baring what a useless person I was.
Every now and then I look back and I wonder at what went wrong. We were both attractive, young, so full of energy at the beginning; but it was too quickly drowned out by our heavy baggage of childhood memories that we dragged with us into our new life. And now I know that walking away was the best thing I could have done for the girls and I.
But I lay broken, disappearing as I couldn’t eat or sleep. I had no self-worth. The twisted thing is that I would have moments when I would look in the mirror and think, who is that beautiful young woman?; but that would quickly dissolve into a self mocking attack against my own psyche.
And I had quite a few missteps and I certainly found numbness along the way. I don’t regret the passage of time and I don’t hate myself for what I put myself through; let bygones be bygones. Live and learn and I did, I have, I do.
I am still finding my way in life, both through the stumbles and joys, but I do it at a much slower pace. I have learned to take my time, to listen to my instincts, to my thoughts, to what makes me happy.
And happiness is there for the taking. I never thought I would feel the kind of love that my girls give and show me every day. It is the most beautiful feeling in this world and it erases all of the pain and ugliness that I have experienced. Unconditional Love eases all but you can’t experience it unless you provide it yourself as well. Loving the two of them is the most honorable privilege and I try to be worthy day in and out.
And for the day that I can give a partnership a chance again, well that still seems off in the sunset but the belief that it is out there is still in me. I can and do love and it is freeing. It makes me smile like a fool and it brightens up an already beautiful day. Love for who you ask? Love for love given. Love for respect, care, admiration, appreciation, thoughtfulness, embracing the truth no matter how unappealing at times, love for reality. That is freeing. To be me. To be Loved for more than skin deep and to discover the limitless supply of love and strength inside me brings me an incredible high. And it is no longer numbness nor finding an escape; it is welcoming what is to come with the willingness to live not just to and keep going but to move forward in this path of twists and turns.
Man, this really hits home with me. We have the habit of appealing to unrealistic standards and our failure to meet such expectations is what bottles up our stress and frustration. Depression is strangely immiserating, it silently hides beneath the moments in life. I love how you put the ending, “Love for love given.” This is well written too Susana