Introspection and Epiphanies
Notice, I have named this. Every other thing written is unnamed. I had thought to be done with this, forever, but I soon realized the futility of such an attempt. I really don't know what exactly I need to say, but it will be said. I cannot just get over it and forget. Nor can I easily be so forgiving. Sometimes I wonder if there's anything for me to forgive anyway. I don't let myself wallow in self-pity. I really just can't. In my eyes, that would be weakness. If I allowed myself weakness then I might break down and cry for the rest of my life.
So on occasion I was beaten, no bruises were left to mar my young skin. So on occasion I had food withheld from me. So I was never truly allowed to live, always uneasy for the next bout of violence. I had no bones broken, I didn't starve, and I made through it all physically unscathed. I know people who have had it much worse than I. But the holds of brutal attention interchanged with thorough contempt-laced rejection have left their mark.
Even now, so much later, I still am affected. And I hate it. I wonder why I am so weak that the past holds sway over me. I don't strive for happiness, I don't dare. For me, the simple contentment of living free of that place suffices. I still wake up some nights, and I'm crying. And sometimes the events of those dreams escape me. All too often, they do not. Crowded places I am forced to avoid; too many people, too many variables of what could go wrong. I can't look people in the eye, because that means that their attention is focused on me, or that they're actually looking in my direction. Another more obvious thing would be that I cannot stand to have physical contact with others. Handshakes I avoid like the plague. Obviously it extends beyond mere strangers; I can't stand being closer than a foot away from my closest friends. If I desired to have a personal relationship that would be a problem, but I don't think I'm even capable of trusting another on that level.
I have thought yet again, of the fact that I named this. This really is just a sad attempt at confessional. I want all the bad things gone, as far away as possible. If someone else reads it, it is no longer my burden to carry. Or so I say. Maybe I'm just currying for pity and sympathy. No, I don't think it's that either. I abhor pity directed towards me. I've never told my friends any of this. Actually, that a lie. I told one of them nonchalantly, and then went back to talking about the weather. They didn't say anything and I never mentioned it again. Neither did she. I think the real reason for writing this is that I want someone to know. I want the comfort of knowing it's not just my knowledge anymore. Someone else knows. Perhaps while reading this, you truly don't care about me as a person. How could you? How could you not? You know my darkest secrets without ever knowing my name.
I never did get around to mentioning the significance in naming this. For me personally, the concept of names is shaky at best. My name is just a label other people use to avoid confusion. I don't really have a personal attachment to it, other than the fact that it was probably the one time my mother put real thought into my future, into who I was. And that is it. Naming signifies to me, caring. I care about the past, I care about the fact that I can't leave it all behind. Because literally, I did leave it all behind one day, walking out the door with my meager belongings.
Just call me Orpheus, or, Lot's wife. Because damn it all, I looked back. And what I thought, what I felt, it wasn't regret. It was just a house, the paint on the front porch peeling a bit. No grand waves of emotion overcame me, I didn't cry, I didn't gleefully think that it could be the last time I saw the place. Unlike others of myth, when I turned back there were no consequences. I just looked back for a few moments, studying the place with the objective eyes of an outsider, and left. The euphoria and panic hit hour later, after I'd crossed a half dozen state lines.
I was independent and I had no one. If I fell I would hit the ground and there would be no one to help pick me up. And that terrified me. At least before, there had been the pretense that someone would come to my aid, even if only for the bonds of blood. What nobody realized at the time was that I intended to burn every bridge I'd ever made. And I followed through with my intentions. I even lied to my family about which college I was going to.
And now, I'm an adult. I'm not even old enough to drink, and I don't even talk to my family. I ran away, hiding behind going to college. I have friends; you could say I'm getting on with living. Even so the bare bones of the truth, what haunts me, is that in the end I didn't solve anything. I didn't try. I just left. And sometimes I feel a bit of self-loathing, knowing I wasn't mature enough to deal with my problems. I try to remind myself, ineffective as it is that my family didn't even acknowledge that there were problems. My solution may be cowardice, but I don't suffer nearly as much this way. I wonder what they're doing sometimes, but I have no desire to be involved anymore. I will not sacrifice my well-being for the happiness of others ever again.
And I live on, content with that.