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Feel Angry

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I have been thinking about my anger lately. I once compared it to a giant knotted ball of string. It’s all twisted up inside of me. The beginning is hidden, the ending is hidden. At first it seemed impossible to unravel.

At first it was impossible to unravel. I was impatiently pulling and only making things worse. The best way to unknot a ball of string is to be patient, deliberate, slow. You have to loosen things up and work from different angles until it starts to make sense.

Is my analogy getting too thin? I’ll stop.

I’ve been working on and thinking about my anger for a long time. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to lose it. I’m still not really sure.

But I can’t keep hanging on to it. I have to at least lessen it. I’ll probably never be truly free from it. But I can try.

I always had this idea that my life would be fair. I know that sounds childish. Life isn’t fair. We all know that.

But I thought it would be balanced. Or at least have a point.

I thought, if I had this terrible childhood, I would at least have good friends. But I don’t have good friends.

I thought, if I had bad friends, I would at least have good boyfriends. But I didn’t have good boyfriends. In fact, my relationships have been worse than my childhood.

I thought, if I had abusive boyfriends, I would at least have mental and emotional health. But I don’t have emotional health. And who can blame me with my childhood and my relationships?

And I thought, if I had a terrible childhood, bad friends, abusive boyfriends, and poor mental and emotional health, I would at least have physical health. But I don’t have that either.

I’m not saying I am ungrateful for the things I do have. Because I am not. I know I have some great things in my life. And I do appreciate them.

But it isn’t fucking fair!

I guess, I thought… I don’t know… that the universe owed me… something. Which is stupid and immature and entitled. And it makes me feel angry.

I mean, who am I to expect anything from the universe. I am insignificant to the universe. It doesn’t even know I exist. My co-workers and family hardly know I exist.

And the thing is, if I believed there was a point to it all, it might make me feel better. If I thought there was some meaning or purpose to what I have gone through. But I don’t. And it makes me feel angry.

And the more I go through therapy and work through these issues. The more I can see my parents in a sympathetic light. The more I can see what impelled me to date the men I dated. The more I understand myself and my life. And it makes me feel angry.

But none of that makes me feel better. And it also doesn’t help with this feeling I have that I deserve something good in my life. That I deserve good things and people.

And I just realized that the longer I go without good things happening, the more unsure I am that I do deserve it. And the more afraid I am that my life is always going to be like this. And it makes me feel angry.

And I am so tired of my life being what it was. I am so scared to keep making the same mistakes. I am so afraid I’m never going to learn my lesson. And it makes me feel angry.

I have cried harder than I think I have ever cried in my life while writing this. This is what I am afraid to talk about. I am afraid that this makes me a whiny, selfish entitled jerk. And maybe I am.

But it feels so good to say. So good to get it out. I just re-read this piece, immediately after typing it, for typos, and actually am now laughing. It sounds so silly and immature. But I guess admitting it will help me to get over it.



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Something happened the other day that I am so proud of. I wanted to share it with you guys.

I’m not sure if anyone remembers but I have struggled with an eating disorder for almost 20 years. I have been trying really hard since my illness to stop being so uptight about what I eat.

As a result, I have gained a lot of weight. A lot. I actually am happier with my body than I have ever been. I would love to be thinner, but I am afraid to try to diet. I do exercise, but not obsessively.

Anyway, none of that is the point. The point is that since my illness and weight gain, my mother has made non-stop comments about my weight and size. It is incredibly hurtful to me and rude.

The final straw was when I called her for mother’s day. I mentioned going to a lunch meeting that I was super excited about. And meeting with the hospital where I had my surgeries. And then I mentioned that I was working out more and was even thinking of running again for a benefit.

And that’s when she proceeded to tell me that it would be great for me to run again as I really needed to lose weight. She has told me in the past that I get fatter and fatter every time she sees me (which is true). And that I would be happier if I weighed 150lbs (which is not true, I was miserable when I weighed 150).

In high school, when I was 100lbs thinner, my pediatrician told my mother and I that I needed to gain 20-50lbs because I was unhealthily underweight. My mother told him no, that I looked good. And the pediatrician told her that we were discussing my health, not my appearance.

The other issue is that I am one size larger than my brother, but every time she sees him she acts like he is one meal away from starving to death.

So, I called her the other day and told her I needed to talk with her. Then I told her off.

I told her that I didn’t appreciate her constantly putting me down. I told her that her rude comments were not helpful. I told her that my doctor, cardiologist, sex partners, and myself did not think I needed to lose weight. So why did she?

I also told her that she was my mother. If she loved me, then she needed to love me at any weight. And that if she didn’t love me, then I didn’t need her in my life.

She claimed that she had no idea she was hurting my feelings. She claimed that she was only trying to help me. She claimed that she thought I was trying to lose weight and she was trying to be encouraging.

But I know she and I have had this conversation in the past.

So I made it extra clear. I told her that I never wanted to hear a word about my weight again. Not if I lost weight. Not if I gained weight. I told her that if I ordered a salad, it would be because I wanted a salad (which I love) and not to lose weight. If I started running it would be because I love running (which I do and always have). If she buys me something that doesn’t fit, it’s because the clothes are not my size, not because I am too big.

It felt amazing. I felt so powerful. And I have decided to cut her out of my life if she doesn’t comply with my request. And I am trying to get my brother to confront her too as he hates her comments on his thinness.

Laughter and Shadows

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I guess it is time now for another story. I don’t know if these stories are doing anything for anyone else. They are helping me immensely to write down and share. I spend so much time trying to be positive, trying to not think about them.

I think it is good for me to focus on them and get them out. I worry that thinking about them too hard will damage me in some way. But then I realize that I am always thinking about them anyway. These stories are always inside me. Maybe if I let them out they will go away. Or at least be easier to contain.

I was 10 and we were living in a tiny house. There was only one bathroom and no dining room. My sister and I were in the kitchen. We were getting ready for school. It was still in that quiet grey light of dawn.

Mornings had been tense lately. My mother suffered from severe depression. And it was my job to get my sister and myself off to school.

A few weeks previously, my mother had called me into her bedroom and told me she wanted to die. It was science fair day. I had spent the whole day on the verge of tears wondering what to do. I wasn’t even really sure what she had meant. I wound up doing nothing, hoping it would pass. It did.

But this morning my sister was waiting to use the bathroom. My father was in there, getting ready for work. I was pouring a bowl of cereal.

She was wearing these slippers we had gotten only a few months previously. They were fuzzy dog slippers. When you squeezed the ear, they barked. She was 8 and was delighted with them. I secretly felt too mature for them, but knew better than to complain. Plus, I didn’t want her getting too cool too fast.

I normally was not very chipper. I wasn’t one for joking. I was so quiet and shy and secretive.
But that morning, I could see my sister was upset. She was getting impatient. And I could hear my father’s voice behind the door. He was agitated. My sister didn’t seem to recognize the danger. Not like I did.

I took the little plastic ring off the gallon of milk and threw it at my sister. It landed in her hair. She had thick, curly hair and the ring stuck. We both started cracking up laughing. Hard. It was the funniest thing that had happened in a long time.

I was on one side of the bar counter top and she was on the other, right in front of the bathroom door. That door swung open so wide and hard. I immediately stopped laughing. My sister didn’t.

My father stormed out of the bathroom. He saw my sister standing outside the door, laughing so hard she was almost bent over. He started screaming at us for being so loud.

I was too far away to intervene this time. He grabbed her by the wrist and shook her, hard. I can still see him yanking on her arm. She had always been smaller than me. She fell down and landed painfully on her ankle.

She cried out in pain and he took that as her talking back to him. I don’t even know what he was saying by this point. Scary things.

She started to cry and that seemed to satisfy him. He went back into the bathroom. My sister was bawling on the floor.

I went over to soothe her. Really, it hadn’t been so bad. He hadn’t hit her. Or thrown anything at her. She wasn’t bleeding, nothing was broken.

And that’s when she told me; she had gotten so scared she had urinated on herself. She had peed all over her slippers. They were one of her favorite things in the world. Part slipper, part stuffed animal and all little girl magic.

I tried to hand wash them for her. But couldn’t get the smell out. Her fear was soaked into the fabric of those sweet slippers. I wound up throwing them out and giving her mine. But I never saw her wear them ever again.

That day my father taught me that it didn’t matter what we did. It didn’t matter how good we were, how smart we were, how responsible we were. We were going to get punished if he felt like punishing us. He didn’t need to justify it to himself or to us. We were never going to be safe as long as he was around.

That day my father taught me to be a shadow. And I stayed a shadow for a long, long time.

Closed Doors

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I don’t know where I want this blog to go. I didn’t start it for an audience and I didn’t explain anything because it was always for me and I already know the stories and the background. Having said that, there is value in writing this stuff down. I was able to cry about it for the first time in my life. And I feel, in getting it out and sharing it, I am lessening the burden of remembering. And I don’t want to carry it around anymore. So there will probably be a lot more of this type of thing to follow. Fair warning.

I’m going to share another personal story on here. There was no awful backlash from the last one. Thanks to everyone for being so supportive. Your comments mean a lot.

I was 15 or 16. It was right before I got a job and had my own money and started saving up for my first car. I was still sharing a room with my sister.

My sister and I had always shared a room. My parents used to promise that when my older brother moved out, I would get his room. But when he finally moved out, my mother decided to keep it as her sewing room. Because “everyone deserves to have their own room” except, you know, me.

My sister and I could not have been more different growing up. She was outgoing and popular. I was shy and reserved. I was an OCD neat freak (due to my mother’s negative influence). My sister once left a cup of water in our room for so long that it grew mold.

And I liked to sleep with the door shut while my sister always wanted it open. My sister wanted it open because our house was stuffy and it improved air circulation. I wanted it closed because then I could hear my parents opening the door.

The latch turning was loud enough to wake me up in my heightened state of awareness and exaggerated responses. It gave me the few seconds I needed to prepare myself for whatever was coming instead of being surprised by it.

My sister and I were having a heated argument about whether to leave it open or closed. I guess we got too loud.

Suddenly my father was in the room. He ripped the door off it’s hinges. My sister and I were immediately struck dumb. Violence has a way of catching the attention of a room.

I was older and the responsible one. I protected my sister. I was always willing to suffer extra to spare her some of their anger and abuse. But she wasn’t on his radar this time.

My father immediately turned to me. He grabbed me and yanked me out of the bed and my mattress off the frame. I quickly stood up and moved away from him. I was taller and faster than him and could sometimes stay out of his range. But he wasn’t letting me go.

He pushed me out of the room. My sister was already crying by this point. But I wasn’t. I was too busy trying not to lose my balance and fall. Falling was unsafe.

I looked down and behind me, then I looked at my father. I had the presence of mind to know his intention seconds before he pushed me. It possibly saved my life.

He pushed me hard down our stairs. I fell only for a few steps. I had been ready for it. I caught myself on the railing. I landed hard and caught myself hard.

But he was angrier now that I hadn’t been hurt. I had thwarted his plans. That wasn’t safe either. He came for me again. I hurled myself down the remaining steps and out the front door into the night.

And I ran as fast as I could. I was a good runner. I still am. I thought for a minute about my sister. But I couldn’t go back. Not yet anyway. His anger was still too fresh. She was safer there than I would have been.

I had nothing on me. I was only dressed because I slept fully clothed. I didn’t have a dime on me. I was barefoot. I didn’t have a cell phone or even a jacket. It was after 10pm on a school night.

I didn’t know what to do. I ran for several miles. Just trying to put some distance between he and I. Watching traffic, searching for his truck. Wondering if he’d come after me, try to find me.

Luckily, it was a pretty safe town and a mild night. At one point a cop drove past and I hid in some bushes. I didn’t want to get picked up. They’d be obligated to take me home. My father could fool the police. He’d done it before.

I wandered around my home town that night for hours. I finally decided I had no choice but to go home. All of my friends lived miles and miles away. None of them knew about any of this stuff anyway. And I couldn’t call them for help even if they did. I was stuck.

When I got home, I saw that it was 2am. I didn’t even have a watch to realize I’d been walking around for four hours. I was exhausted. The next day at school my friends and I joked about my tiredness. My insomnia, always keeping me awake.

Nobody had been looking for me. Nobody was waiting up for me. At least they left the door unlocked so I could get in. I never cried during the whole experience.

My sister and I never fought about the door being open or closed. He didn’t fix it till after I moved out. Our fighting had lost us our right to the privacy of a closed door.

Not Sleeping

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I’ve found that the more I work on my issues, the better I feel, the safer I feel, the less anxious I feel, the better I sleep.

Growing up I was like a giant knot twisted in on myself. At first, it seemed impossible to untangle. At first, it WAS impossible to untangle. But it has slowly progressed and gotten easier.

I don’t get the insomnia as often now. And when I do, I can generally point to something to cause it. Nowadays there isn’t any pressing danger to my safety. It is mostly all in my mind.

But back then, I never knew when one of my parents would come into my room in the night. Sometimes they just wanted to talk. Other times I would wake up to them screaming over me.

If my mother found one dirty dish in the dish drainer, she would wake us up and make us wash every dish in the house. Even if it was a school night. Even if it was 2am. I remember this happening beginning in elementary school.

I hated being surprised that way by them. I hate surprises in general. I hated opening my eyes to find them in my room. Sometimes hitting me. Sometimes being so frighteningly angry or verbally abusive. But I shouldn’t say just towards me. Because they did it all to my siblings too.

I used to sleep fully clothed; shirt, shorts, bra (when I finally needed one). I even kept a few dollars in the pocket of my shorts. Being dressed made me feel safer. I became a lighter and lighter sleeper over the years.

I was functioning on a heightened awareness. I was constantly on guard. Waiting for the next incident to get through. It was like being in a war zone. It was hard to know what would set them off.

I suspected my brother of intentionally misbehaving to give them an excuse sometimes. Let a little steam out of the pressure cooker before it exploded.

I wasn’t like that. I was quiet. Shy. I grew more and more removed from them and from my life. I was like a shadow. Always in my room. Hidden away in a book. Quick to please, always trying to keep the peace. But there was never peace.

I remember times when there was no pretense of an excuse. They just needed someone to take their anger and abuse. The violence was always there. A numbing dullness that pervaded my life. I never thought I would escape from it.

And I almost didn’t. I almost re-created my childhood with someone else. With several someone else’s. But I got away from them too.

I don’t generally post specific stories about my past. For a long time I didn’t think I could talk about them. But now I am beginning to wonder if I can keep NOT talking about it. I feel like this blog is so much about how I feel about what happened to me. Maybe I should also be talking about what actually happened. I don’t know.


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I think about my mother a lot. I try to imagine her childhood. I try to understand the way her entire life stacked up on her to make her the person that she is.

I feel sorry for her. I can even see where she was coming from sometimes. I can understand the sad logic in some of her choices.

But I just don’t think I can forgive her. I have been in enough abusive relationships to know how hard it can be to leave them. And I imagine having children makes it even harder.

I will never have children. I will never have to make that choice. But I know this; a man abusing me is one thing, a man abusing a child is quite another.

I don’t know why she stayed with my father. But then again, I do. She grew up in a household with a violent, abusive father and an emotionally abusive, manipulative mother. Just like me.

I used to fear ending up like her. But I am ending that cycle. I won’t risk doing to someone else what happened to me. I won’t abuse a child. My life history will not repeat itself.

And I have dated enough abusive men to know it would have ended that way for me. But I am not doing that any more either. I would rather spend the rest of my life alone than spend one day with another abusive or manipulative partner.

The funny thing is that my mother did eventually leave my father. When I was 20. Long after it could have made any difference for any of her children.

I’ll never understand why she waited so long. It all just feels so senseless.

My mother is remarried now. I wish I could say to a better man than my father. But he isn’t. In fact, he reminds me so much of her father. I guess she will never be done repaying whatever it is she thinks she owes in her life.

But maybe my real point is that she can’t help it. When all you know is abuse, it’s hard to realize there are other options. Sometimes I wonder if it doesn’t provide some sort of cold comfort.

Maybe sometimes, some abused people become so acclimated to it. Like fish living deep in the ocean depths. They have learned to survive under so much intense pressure that they become dependent on it. They can no longer live without it. They literally die if you take that pressure off them.

But I don’t want to be a fish anymore. And I don’t want to be underwater. I have long called being abused being underwater. It’s from a short story that I have always loved. And I don’t know the name of it. It’s not Breathing Underwater which is a fantastic YA novel.

This is a short story about a girl that is underwater in her house and one day she comes home and her sister is underwater too. And they are kind of swimming around in it. And then she moves out and never finds someone that is quite right for her until she meets a boy that is underwater too. Does anyone know this short story? I’d love to read it again.

Lying to Myself

My brain doesn’t know when to stop lying to me. I’ve never been a good liar. And I guess my brain isn’t either.

When I get depressed, it starts out mild:

You are alone. And I think, well, that’s true.

You keep fucking everything up. And I think, maybe not everything. But it is hard to argue with that. I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

You’ll never find someone. And I think, well, I’m not sure if that’s true. But I’ve proven to be terrible at predicting my own future.

You’re ugly and awful and stupid. And I think, I may be unattractive (and awful). But despite having done my share of stupid things, I am not stupid.

You should kill yourself. And sometimes I think I should, and sometimes I think I shouldn’t.

You’re unhappy. And I think, I am unhappy right now in this moment. Maybe it’s because you are telling me awful things, brain.

You are always going to feel this way. And I think, now you’ve gone too far, brain. I have an excellent memory. And I KNOW I won’t always feel this way. Because I don’t always feel this way. You are a liar. And you can’t trust anything a liar says. You’ve probably been lying about everything. I don’t know why you do that, brain. But you’ve been caught. It’s time to stop now.

And it does for a little while. Until the next time. But luckily, my brain doesn’t know when to quit. It always takes things too far.