Today is my first day off of work in 8 days. I’m pleased. I’m excited. I’m lazy. Outside of getting dressed and possibly going to the library, my only plans for the day were to relax. And by relax, I mean veg out on the sofa with a bag of potato chips my mother sent me from Canada and watch Discovery Health all day. The only way Mystery Diagnosis could be any better is if they didn’t air the interview with the person all the junk actually happened to until AFTER the diagnosis was made. Knowing they survive kind of sucks the suspense out of it. But at the same time, I find myself grateful for the knowledge that people can survive through such medical haphazard.
When I find myself reading Violence Unsilenced, more often than not it takes my breath away. It reminds me of both the strength and weakness of the human race. Of the individual. And I admit I find it comforting that the person making the contribution survived. But I find myself wondering, are they living?
I only say this because I survived various torment inflicted on me by the world at large. There was a period of time that I woke up every morning not sure of whether or not I was thankful to see the sunlight again. I was standing still and the world was spinning on it’s axis. The voices and actions of the world I’d been exposed to had infiltrated my head and my heart. I lost my faith. I couldn’t understand. I collapsed under the weight of my own self loathing. I tried to hide it. I don’t think I succeeded very well. I was surviving, but I was not living. My heart beat. My lungs expanded. My nails grew. But I was a shell. It’s not a good state for a person to be in. And I wonder if the contributors on V/U are living, and if so, how long did it take them to get there?
If you’ve read my blog before, or if you know me personally at all, you’d know that so many things changed in my life right around the time I met Robert. I learned how to fight for happiness. I learned how to love myself. I learned so many things about life and love and how to deal. I regained my breath. My heart occasionally skipped a beat. I painted my nails. I began to shed the weight of the past and started moving with the world instead of standing still against it. But I would be lying if I said that the same small sad version of me doesn’t still exist somewhere inside of me. I admit that certain people and certain things feed into that former self and make my weakness stronger again. I’ve been criticized before of leaving places and people behind with not much explanation. There you have it. Whether the people or places like it or not, they are inherently tied into the version of myself I can’t stand in the least.
I don’t want my daughter to learn how to love herself by first having to hate herself. I don’t want her to have to endure the crippling self doubt and self loathing. I want my daughter to live. I want to give her life. I want to give her the gift of love, of confidence, of self-assurance. I want to do everything I can to protect her from becoming a shell. I don’t want her to abuse herself. I’m not so naive to think I can protect her from everything. Some boy will break her heart. Some friend will hurt her feelings. She’ll deal with what I can only hope is a normal level of adolescent frustration. I can only hope that I can bestow upon her all the things she will need. Love, strength, faith, assurance, security. The most frustrating thing is knowing it will take decades to know whether or not I am successful.
Because sometimes, Love isn’t enough. And that’s the scary part.
I want to make it 100% crystal clear that I do not blame my mother for anything. My mother is a fantastic woman and were it not for her, I would not be the person I am today. It is a clear cut case of bad algebra. Too many variables, not enough control. I can only hope for fewer variables for my own children.
This is so not how I envisioned my day off. Pass the chips.
What do you think is the most terrifying aspect of parenthood?