I have been having a pity party all evening, because I was an impatient mother today.
That is all it took for me to feel guilty, I yelled today. I got frustrated, I yelled and told my kids I needed a minute to myself. No matter how true that may be, I feel selfish. The pity party doesn’t end there though. In my moments, where I feel defeated and like I failed my children, my own father comes to mind. It doesn’t take much to make me step back and realize I need to be a better mother tomorrow. Dear father, what would it take for you to feel that. How far would you have to go? Is that line even there for you? You have been gone for so many years, and I still have so many questions.
Sometimes I wonder what I would look like if the scars he caused me were visible. I think I would have a very different life if that were the case. I would look bruised, frail, burned, broken bones, disfigured, sickly. I know that sounds dramatic. I didn’t allow myself to feel much when it was happening. I do remember one feeling though. I had this feeling every single night, even at sleepovers. I would dream of getting cancer, or in a tragic car accident. I say dream as in day dream. I would daydream about being near death, maybe not even in a coma. I just wanted people to see that I was hurting, that I needed to feel supported. Laying in bed daydreaming about people coming to sit and talk with me as I was recovering gave me solace. In fact I either drifted off to sleep clutching the idea of someone holding my hand, or praying for the strength to survive just one more day.
I wasn’t suicidal, I just did not know how I was going to get through the next day until I just did. I would lay awake at night, not wanting to sleep, because I couldn’t bear the thought of starting all over at daylight. The craziest thing about all of this, I had not doubted your love for me yet. I don’t think I could have grasped that concept at that point. I hadn’t grown enough, I wasn’t strong enough. And when you died, I mourned you as if you were a selfless man. I know now that I was just mourning the idea of a father, not you. As harsh as that sounds, I have come to question if you ever loved me as a father should.
The first time I even allowed the thought space in my head, it rocked my world. All the walls I built to protect you, to protect what we went through were crashing down. I was crumbling from the inside, and it was seeping to the outermost parts of me. There are days I am a force to be reckoned with. Then there are days I can look at my children and come completely undone, unraveled. Those days are the bittersweet days. Those days are the ones I hold my children a little longer, and I torture myself inside. I torture myself with questions from earlier. How can you hurt those you love? Sometimes we don’t mean to, sometimes we hurt those closest to us the most. What is that line, when do you know you’ve crossed it? How much can you destroy someone before realizing you love yourself more than you love that person.
I can still feel the broken pieces inside me, that healed on their own. That didn’t heal properly, that need to be re-broken in order to truly heal. The questions I don’t want to ask, the answers I don’t want to hear. I have to ask them, or sometimes they ask me without preface. I’m not always ready for the question or the answer. They make me feel naked and vulnerable. But in those moments is when I learn who I am, and what lines I will draw. Each time I open an old wound, I dig you out. You found a way to feed off of my wounds, and I won’t allow you to live here anymore. It is painful, but I know I can’t heal if you are poisoning me from inside. I still hear your voice telling me I’m nothing, I’ll never become anything, that I’ll be a terrible mother, that I’m not smart enough, or pretty enough, or interesting enough. I am slowly drowning your voice out.
I hope there is a day where I don’t think of you. So far, that has not been true. I think of you every day. I carry you everywhere. You weigh me down. Sometimes I think of you when I look in the mirror in the morning, or when I smell a man with your deodorant walk by. The smell quite literally takes my breath away, because it’s better than throwing up. I think people think I’m mostly over it by now. I don’t think they understand the damage you inflicted. I never wanted to give you that much credit. But here I sit, at 1am, not wanting to sleep. I used to dread the days. Now I want every day to last as long as possible. I tell people I am a night owl. Before I would daydream to fall asleep at night. Now, you torment my dreams. You are there every night. I have nightmares each night that you are still here, usually holding my children. I have woken up from pain because I am clenching my fists so tight. I have woken up with swollen eyes from crying, because you were talking to my children. Sometimes I throw up because the nightmare was actually a memory, and in vivid detail. So I don’t like to sleep. Every night I stay awake, because I don’t want to start the nightmares again. You still control so much of my life. I am still defenseless, because it’s a dream and my subconscious is helpless at the sight of you.
I carry you everyday, on broken legs, with bruised arms, and a bleeding heart. I will never give up, and I will trudge through the pain. I will never be anything like you, and that will be my most proud quality. I know they say, never say never. But they never met you. And they wouldn’t believe half of what I went through anyway. You taught me that there is real evil in the world. I will to teach my children that there is real good in the world.