When I was a kid, I had this twisted obsession with smashing ornaments. Not just throwing them, but delicately releasing my fingers from the string and watching them shatter on the kitchen floor in slow motion. Something about the release and watching something so delicate and beautiful shatter into a million shards was so deeply satisfying.
Maybe abuse runs through my bones.
I remember how it felt to have shards of glass pulsing through my veins everyday. The entire house was saturated in anger so thick, it seeped into my bones, tore apart the fabric holding me together and stretched my sanity so thin, it eventually snapped.
It was an extremely difficult task; not turning into the monster I was fighting while living with my parents for a year as I sobered up. At least I had a way to express my anger through art and writing. My sister, being mentally challenged and shut down emotionally, was not so lucky. Instead, she took it out on her body by scratching it raw, until the blood ran clear. Of, course, as you could imagine, she was at fault…which, in the end, only made it worse.
To say I was angry that year, is an understatement. Beyond my comprehension, the mental, verbal and emotional abuse was at an all-time high. Eventually, it turned into the sickest trick of all – gaslighting. So, I turned to my blog to vent and furiously knocked out 6-7 pieces of art on average per day. I was attending therapy for alcohol abuse, which of course, stemmed from post traumatic stress from the past.
Overall, I was handling it quite well. Very well. I was healthy, I was making serious progress and I was rediscovering hidden talent that drives me forward. I was sober. I was safe. I was healthy. I was in transition to right my life. For most parents, you’d think that’d be more than enough to satisfy.
But mine? The daily therapy for 2 hours per day? They don’t remember me getting sober. And the poetry, the short stories and blogging? A pathetic hobby and waste of time. The art? Yet another lame attempt at a hobby that wouldn’t amount to anything…it was simply a distraction getting in everyone’s way.
If I didn’t have a job, weigh 150lbs, say all the right things and look the part, I was a piece of shit. But even when I did all those things, it still was never enough. No matter what I do, it’s never enough. And this year, I see that because I see myself.
I remember his words so clear. Running at me with hands about to choke me, “I could just kill you!” Or, “You’ll never change.” Or, “You’re just sitting here writing your stupid little poems.” Or, “You’re sick!”, because I finally found a voice strong enough to stand up to the abuse. Or sneaking downstairs for a cigarette and hearing him talk in his sleep, “Goddamn Motherfuck! Goddamn Motherfuck! Goddamn Motherfuck!” Or calling us “Fucking assholes,” as he buttered his bread every morning.
Then we fast forward. He won’t forgive me for the shit I pulled while under psychosis 3 years ago, as I traveled out to see family. He put a restraining order on me because he was scared shitless that I finally grew up and had a voice and wouldn’t back down anymore. He screamed at me over the phone the day after I attempted suicide, telling me I wasted 5 years of their lives. He blames his heart attack on me. He blames the fact that my mom aged 5 years … on me.Then I was 302’d for months, because I was the one with the diagnosis and you were the one with the career, house and cars. Let it be known, that I had that too, until it was taken from me from something beyond my control. Thankfully, I realized early on, that this wasn’t what made a human, human.
I can’t begin to tell you what it’s like to live in fear and silence for 38 years, finally find your voice in all ways and have it be completely rejected by your family because THEY are the ones afraid of change. This is so much more than just a family not getting along.
I’ve dealt with this my entire life and was traumatized after watching how my entire family butchered mental illness.
I’m the one standing up for what is right. I’m the one fighting stigma. I’m the one sweeping lies out from under the rug. I’m the one persevering through trauma, abuse, fear, psychosis and stigma. I’m the one fighting for those closest to us who suffer silently through mental illness and addiction. I’m the one changing. I’m willingly putting myself out there as the guinea pig to bring about understanding, a light and inspiration despite of it all.
Yet, I’m the lunatic and the black sheep who needs life-numbing anti psychotics, a life-time of therapy and anger management courses. Because a lifetime of bullshit brought me to the brink of insanity for 6 months? Sorry, but natural reaction, I assure you.
Needless to say, I won’t be home for Christmas. I’ve turned the other cheek and took the high road for 38 years. I can’t ignore it any longer. Maybe for Christmas, I should get everyone a big fucking mirror so they can hold it up to themselves as they fire their judgemental, false, hateful and wicked words in my direction.
I do not deserve that. You may be my family, but you don’t even know me.
You want a life without kids?
You got it.
I may be shattered, but I’m pretty fucking good at making mosaics.