Things people write….
May 22, 2011 1 Comment
Ever since I was little and taught myself to read at three years old, I’ve known words are important. They have power. They have meaning. The written word has built countries, forged families, started and ended wars, passed on heritage and the most important tool of all, knowledge. I have always known that lives – my life in particular – revolve around written words. I’m never at a loss for something to say when I can write it. Some of the best and most intense moments of my life have happened using nothing more than typed words.
But until three weeks ago I’d never really thought about how dangerous and harmful words can be. Hadn’t realized the full extent of the damage they can do to a person. And had never realized how utterly and truly weak and pathetic I am.
There have been people…times…hospitals and doctors and words that I heard that have brought me to my knees. That have ruined my entire existence and rebuilt it with a single breath. But there has always been a ‘but’ at the end of them. And that one but means there is hope, a chance. It’s not over as long as there’s a but, you know? If you still have time to fix it, or adapt to it, it’s okay. It’s not that bad.
Three weeks ago I found a letter for which there is no but. There is no second chance to fix it, to talk about it, to get it out in the open and discuss it, because the person who wrote it is dead and buried. Truthfully, even if she was alive I don’t know if I could have fixed this. I had no idea she felt the way she did so how could I have fixed it or helped her? I had no idea…and that’s the part that stabs me, relentlessly, in the dark of night or the brightest part of the day and makes my throat go dry with the absolute doneness of it. There IS no correcting it and no reason to believe I could have.
In thirty years of living I’ve never had a reason to give up hope. My mother walked out on us and left us to deal with the aftermath of a crazy tear in our lives. There was still a reason to get up and hope – I had sisters and a dad to take care of. The ‘love of my life’ slept with everything that moved, was so physically abusive I had to stay inside the house for weeks to hide the bruises, and eventually got to the point where sticking a needle in his arm and threatening to do the same thing to me was the best way to spend a night at home. There was still a reason to hope – he could change, I could leave, the sun would still come up. I have never felt this same feeling of hopelessness with any of the ups and downs in my life. I have never not been able to go back and fix it. I know, in my head, that there are plenty of reasons to still get up and have hope for other things…but at this moment, right now, losing the chance to fix this one thing has kind of kicked my feet out from under me.
Which is why I have had to come face to face with the reality of exactly how weak and pathetic I have been up until now in my life. Everything doesn’t always end up as sunshine and roses, but in my little world, I tend to push and prod and shift things around until that’s exactly how it looks, because I can’t handle the fact that sometimes things just end badly. It’s much easier to blame someone else and move on than it is to own up to what you did and grow from it. I have always had something or someone to blame. Even now, in this case, there is something to blame…she had cancer and was on a lot of drugs that made her think differently than normal, and she was a lot sicker than she wanted us to know. So the things she wrote can’t really be held against her. But…how could she have thought those things if there wasn’t a grain of truth to them? A reason for her to ever have stumbled upon such thoughts? And I, somewhere, somehow, gave her that grain that grew into into that thought. To know I caused my dearest friend pain in any way hurts. A huge, actually physical pain that has come out lately in several different ways, ways that I’ll wear the scars from always…ways that actually only add to the weakness. I want to avoid it at all, at all costs, and I’ve had to realize I can’t do that.
So every day, every step forward from this point out will hurt. I will probably bleed and scar and cry and fall before it’s over. But at least, finally, tonight, I realize what’s been so wrong lately. I can’t ignore the truth anymore, that this last, most horrible time has all been because of words I can’t fix or make her not write. I’m ready to deal with it and figure out what I can learn from it…no matter how it hurts.