Haven’t Slept A Wink

14 Oct

That’s not entirely true. I do sleep, but it comes in fits and starts. My hair and sheets are both in knots when my alarm goes off.

In my dreams, I plead my case. I try to prove to you that I am worth loving. I try to convince my mother than I am smart. I persuade the Easter Bunny not to murder me.

My waking hours are the same, I think. I have been trying since I could speak to show that I am good and also good enough.

When I was a little girl, I was never good enough to get out of a beating. I promise you that I tried. I promise you that I was very, very good.

Children carry their anguish and fear with them. At some point (maybe puberty? I don’t know) it turns into something else. And so my chest held a heart full of rage that, most of the time, I could keep at bay. I was furious with myself, with my childhood, with every single thing that moved in this world. I had taken enough and I couldn’t possibly take anymore. My sharp tongue was my only weapon and I was not always gentle. I remember feeling like two women, neither of whom I liked very much. One of me was awful and the other was weak. I didn’t like living in my own skin. It did not feel like home.

I reached a breaking point in my own mind and decided that it was time to set aside childish things. I confronted every ugly thing about myself and my origins. I spent time and money I did not have on help that I could not live without. And ever so slowly, the two flawed and frightened women that were me became one pretty good woman. I’m happy to be this woman almost all of the time. I have a kinder, more tender heart. I am no longer on the run from myself. I don’t see everyone around me as a potential aggressor. I still fight my natural instinct, which is to protect myself at all costs. I allow myself to be hurt if it seems worth the risk. I clear my mind before I lash out.

I have worked very hard to get out from underneath myself. I have made, and continue to make, a great effort to walk out the front door of my childhood. Sometimes I wish that it were easier or that I was just better.

I am immeasurably proud of the woman I have become and I am deeply ashamed that it took this much work to be this ordinary. I will never deny that I am flawed and have always been. I have made mistakes and I have hurt people beloved to me. I cannot flagellate myself every single day for the person I used to be.

I will not allow anyone else to beat me over the head with person I was. I will not take any more beatings for the trespasses of a truly sick and overwhelmed girl. I am better now. I have been punished enough. I promise you.

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