This isn’t about sewing
October 6, 2008 Leave a comment
Just thought I’d give this one an appropriate title. I know most everyone who sees this blog comes from one of the crafting sites I post on, and in the beginning, this was a totally sewing and crafty blog, but tonight my soul is heavy and my fingers ache for release that can only be found through words. So I’m blogging to help the hole in my heart.
I’ve survived a lot in the short time I’ve been occupying space on this planet. Homeless and family-less at 16, with nothing to my name but the clothes on my back and a boyfriend who thought that the best way to spend an afternoon was shooting up and sleeping around until it was time to come home and take his problems out on me. I was an alcoholic before I left home, and even before I was a pothead, but they both became my comfort and my crutches over the next five years. I fought to be able to graduate high school without a support system of any kind. I lived in the worst of the worst, and my group of friends are people who are now mostly in prison or dead. There are two of us that I know of who are clean and sober. One of my best friends from back then committed murder and got put away for life. The boyfriend who was my life now has kids all over other states and is so strung out he could be a skeleton, and the only thing he can ever think to say to me is that he misses me and the only time he had a good life was when we were together. The only thing I can think of to say back to that is thank god it’s over and I’m ashamed I ever sank that low.
All of that is nothing compared to what I went through as a kid, but there’s nothing on this planet that could make me talk about that ever again. It’s done. It’s over. Isn’t it?
The point is that by this time in my life I should be stronger than ever. I should be made of steel and never have any weakness to speak of. I’ve been attacked with an axe, and lived; I’ve been shot at, and lived; I’ve been stalked and beaten by guys twice as big as I am, and lived, and laughed while I got my revenge. There’s nothing that should knock me to my knees anymore. But you know what it took to yank the floor out from under my sneakers? A guy with a warm smile and kind eyes who knew my name and remembered me from a past I live to forget.
We were in the grocery store tonight, my husband and baby girl and I, the first time we’d been shopping together in a few weeks. It was nice to just be relaxed and hanging out and buying food, even though I was burning up with a fever and refused to say anything about it, like the stubborn idiot I am. We were threading our way through the cramped aisle, looking at hot dog buns and loaves of bread, when I heard my name. My skin crawled as I tried to ignore it, but my husband heard and turned to see who it was, so I was left with no other options.
It’s not that the guy was a bad guy; that’s the problem. He’d known my parents since before they had me, so he’d known me my whole life, of course. He was so excited to see me, to ask how the family was, to find out what had happened to us all and why we’d just disappeared. It took everything I had to just smile and be polite, when inside I was wanting to ask, where were you when we needed you guys the most? It was stunning to realize I was mad. Furious, even, that he could stand there and intrude on my life when he had absolutely no right to, not when he hadn’t bothered to call my dad even once and check on us, not when we’d never heard another word from him or his wife after fifteen years of sitting within feet of each other three times a week and sharing dinners at least once a month. This was a guy who at one time I would have called Uncle, that’s how close we were.
And then he had the nerve to say, “You know, I was really disappointed with what happened with your mother.”
Oh, really? Because, you know, I was totally over the moon happy about the fact that she abandoned four kids and twenty years of marriage. We were so thrilled we had a party.
God. I just wanted to cry, honestly. Instead, I did what I do best; I became sarcastic and rude in self-defense. I got a lot of satisfaction out of telling him that for years he’d watched abused and neglected kids walk around and he’d never had any idea. It was sickeningly pleasurable to tell him some of the things that happened to us behind closed doors. But I think the thing that gave me the most enjoyment was telling him about my years of drug and alcohol and self abuse. I actually smiled when he turned white and hurried away. It was so wrong of me, and so not who I am anymore, that I actually got sick to my stomach over it. I haven’t felt that cold or bitter in years.
My husband watched me like a hawk. I think he was waiting for the emotions to catch up – probably expecting me to rant and rave, or cry, or have a full on panic attack like I would have a year ago. I just looked at him and told him it was over and I was fine. Later when we were alone he asked if I was really okay, and I just shook my head and pretended that was an answer.
It’s only when the house gets quiet and the tv and I are the only ones awake that I start to think. It scares me to realize how quickly I could go back to the way I used to be. It’s been two years almost to the day since I’ve had a drop of alcohol, but tonight my hands are shaking like they used to when I needed a drink just to function. It hurts to breathe, but more than anything it hurts to think. I thought that this kind of pain was over a few months ago, and I thought I was the one who’d brought it on and caused it, so I was in control. It is awful to realize that that control is a mirage and that there are always going to be those moments in life that can do this to me.
On the other hand, I didn’t crack. I didn’t cry, I didn’t freak out on my family, I didn’t run looking for a way out of my marriage or life the way I have in the past when things get to me too much. I didn’t even go numb. Which is strange, to be mildly impressed with myself that I can actually feel this much pain, but whatever, I guess it’s a sign of healing.
I did learn something from all of this…I have to watch my step every day, every time I turn around in this town. The past is always going to be there behind me, no matter what, in the form of a guy with kind eyes in the bread aisle or a red truck or a hay barn. It’s just how I deal with it that is going to matter and have an impact on my daily life now. So as long as I keep the booze and drugs and men away, and focus on what I have and love more than anything, I should be able to deal with anything that gets thrown at me. It’s a scary thought, but it’s one I’m more than ready to embrace.