Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Standing on the Outside

There was a time when the words came easily, and there was relief in writing. My emotions spilled onto the page and I felt cleansed by the release. Now there is only frustration - words seem empty and meaningless. There are so many thoughts racing around inside my head that I can no longer express them. I want to stand somewhere far removed from everyone and scream until my throat is raw. I want to feel free to relinquish control and be in the moment; to grieve, to mourn, to hurt. I am tired of being strong. I am tired of being calm. I am tired of smiling when I want to cry, of speaking softly when I want to shout, and of staying the course when I want to run away.

If only I could find words to express these feelings... But everything I write seems stilted and feels worthless. Years ago, I wrote a small collection of poems that brought out some of my emptiness and relieved the pressure when it became too great. I feel inarticulate and inadequate against the weight that seems to be crushing me and words are not helping... I can't explain why that matters so much. Maybe it's because through all these years of silence, the written word has been my only constant; I have been able to count on this medium for expressing the things I simply could not bring myself to say.

Ten years ago, I wrote the following poem, and I think it speaks for me now, just as it did then...


I don't care what you do to me
As long as you do something
Anything, just make me feel
Burn me -- freeze me -- hit me
Call me names, make me cry
I'm dead inside -- I'm hollow
I'm a shell carved from ice
Thin brittle skin wrapped around
A fragile core of nothing
Hold me -- hurt me -- hate me
Love me -- use me -- break me
Just touch me. Please.
Make me feel.

I'm so tired of feeling disconnected, of feeling separated. I want to belong in my life but I am still standing on the edges, watching. I am disengaged. Somewhere inside I want the things other people want - a home, security, a stable marriage, but I can never feel as if I deserve them. And so I settle for pieces of life and tell myself that it doesn't matter; it's okay if I come home hurting and lonely and there's no one here to lean on. I convince myself that I don't need anyone, because - let's face it - it isn't safe to need anyone, is it? Because it's when you begin to depend on someone that they are able to let you down. I tell myself that I don't need to be loved for who I am, just as I am. No human can provide that anyway, right? It's better to accept that I'm always going to fall short. Because if I open up that longing and I stare it in the face, then I must find a way to live around that hurt, the pain of knowing that I'm never going to be good enough for someone to look at me, my past, and my reality, and accept the person I am now. No, it's easier to be the person in the poem, so desperate to find connection that it doesn't matter what kind of connection it is. But what message am I sending to my children when I settle for less than I want? What am I teaching them about their own self-worth? Are they going to wake up twenty years from now and realize that they've become their mother, someone who needs to be loved so badly that she's willing to give up her dreams of a loving, stable marriage where both partners are always there for each other? Are they going to become the kind of women who say, "Love me, use me, break me", as long as they have someone in their lives? Even if that someone is a good and wonderful person...just not the kind of person who can make a lasting commitment?

I am so tired of feeling empty, of being hollow. Of believing that I am not worth someone else's love and commitment. This is what abuse does to you - it leaves you standing on the outside of your own life, wishing you could enter in and live, but unable to break through the veil and really reach for what it is you need, with complete faith that you deserve it. Instead, you feel inadequate, unworthy of the better things life offers.

1 comment:

  1. Oh boy, do I feel what you're saying. Standing outside your life, never able to find what you are searching for...and if you do not being able to trust it enough to make it real. It seems safer to hurt, at least then you're feeling something. Sending all my love (((Amy)))