One stair at a time

I think healing, and overcoming the damage done to my brain and soul, is something of a stair case. An immeasurably long and broken staircase that seems to wind and back track on itself somehow. On each landing is a door leading to some obstacle I have to combat and face. Im getting there. I really think I am but my gods is it a struggle. I wish I could just take the elevator.

And the emotions. The emotions are almost more than I can handle. Almost. I feel everything so deeply and so hard that it takes over my whole being. My anger is magnified, my caring/love, when I’m happy…it all feels very extreme. I don’t know if that’s because I’m not used to it all or if I’m making up for lost time or what. I spent almost my whole life a blank slate. I didnt feel anything really. I was numb but capable of acting out whatever seemed like it might be appropriate. Almost robotic if that makes sense. As the odd one out all I wanted growing up was to belong somewhere so you learn as a child how you think that might happen. You learn how adults expect you to act and how to act that way. You get good at pretending to be normal.

I think Im more stubborn than capable so now that I know what path Im supposed to be on I refuse to stop trying. It’s a lot. Somedays it’s too much. Just trying to figure out who I really am is a struggle. I am not the abandonment, or neglect, or abuse that shaped me but it really did shape every aspect of me and how I react to everything in my life. I can see it, even as it happens, I can recognize the reactions and their sources. Im just slowly learning that I can control those reactions. To a degree.

Im good at putting on a brave face in front of people. Ive always been good at putting on good show when there are others around. At pretending things are just fine, that Im just fine. I can spend the whole day out with friends and laugh and appear to be happy and together and then completely fall apart when Im alone. Those times are getting rarer though, so that’s good. I like to hope Im over the worst of it. I think hiding my real self away is a skill I picked up when selling myself was my best chance at something better. When I was trying to get a family of my own, trying to convince someone I was worth it and could be lovable I got really good at going through all the steps someone that was worth it and lovable would go through. I faked the hell out of it and still never made it. Maybe I was never as good at it as I thought. Or maybe I really am just not worth it.

How does one not equate the loneliness and heartbreak of a completely unwanted child into some sort of self image. How do you not make that part of your core make up and not take it on as just a fact of who you are. That is still my biggest hurdle and I havent quite figure out how to not keep circling back to that one fact. And it is a fact. No one wanted me. No one still wants me. Odds are no one will ever want me. I just need to learn to accept that. It’s a tough pill to swallow.

The trickle down from that one small fact is insane. It speaks to my value as a human, as a woman, as a friend, as a spouse, as a parent, everything. Every part of who I am is a string that stems from that one idea. Every time something happens I end up back circling the drain of being that unwanted child I just seem to refuse to actually succumb like I used to and head into that dark place but the feelings still linger.

All the stuff Im learning about my own brain has led to so much more self acceptance than Ive ever had. I wondered my whole life why I cant really remember the abuse I dealt with. Why I can remember bits like what housecoat men wore. What the room looked like. But not what actually happened. Bits and pieces, yes, but I could never remember a full event from start to finish. For the past few years I attributed that to the passing of time but for years prior I always kind of thought maybe it wasnt all that bad. Despite Staff Sgt. Brown having told me it was the worst abuse he’d ever dealt with and that’s why he still checks on me periodically even decades later, I still thought, ‘well I cant remember it so maybe it’s all just a story I was told’ or ‘it wasnt all that bad’. Apparently that is how a traumatized brain deals with it. It buries the event so that the victim (I hate that word) can function otherwise it would tear apart their psyche. Im glad my brain buried it. Ive got enough other issues to deal with. So much of my self loathing stems from that abuse. It defined me as a sex object and I’ve fought that image my whole life. I spent years wondering if I should ever have said anything. Clearly it wasnt that bad if I couldnt even remember it and if I’d kept my mouth shut I would have had a family. Now Ive gone the polar opposite. While I still dont know how bad it really was my hatred of pedophiles runs so deep that if I ever go on a serial killer spree those will be my targets. Without hesitation. No child should go through the mess of emotions and damage that mans desires caused. Ever.

Now that’s not to say Im not actually still happy. I am. Mostly. Im in a far better place mentally than I was a year ago, or the year before that, or the year before that but it’s a struggle. I’m not happy happy, I feel much more sort of level, if that makes sense. So I am making progress and Im so proud of myself for it. I am taking those steps, one at a time and opening the doors as I come to them and facing my demons. One at a time. I might not win every fight but Im winning more than Im losing.

Ive got this. Dont worry. But Im so tired.

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