As I take inventory of the way I feel this morning, what I feel is: fed up. That sums it up, loud and clear. Fed up.
I’m tired of being silent, hands tied, gag in my mouth. I’m tired of hiding, being a speck, being invisible.
I want to move forward. I want to live my life.
But every time I try, it’s like there’s some kind of ricochet effect, or backwash, that threatens to destroy me. Like there’s some kind of loose cannon waiting to destroy me — and others — if I make one false move. And I’ll be the one responsible for lighting the fuse on that cannon when it happens. And it will be my fault. There will be massive blood and gore and devastation, and it will be my fault.
And so, when I try to live my life, when I try to speak, when I try to stand in my truth, to act and to live from that place and not from dissociation, I get scared. I see a finger pointing at me in judgement, putting me in the spotlight of Hell, condemning me, reprimanding me, yelling at me so loudly, “You did something really bad,” “You hurt innocent people,” “You have no right to move forward,” “You have no right to live,” “You must stay here,” “Your job is to stay down,” “You must stay small.” Invisible, a speck.
The yelling, pointing finger scares me. Terrifies me. Guilts me. Shames me. It scares and terrifies and guilts and shames me into submission. I am powerless and I am a nothing under the glare of that finger.
My father. That finger pointing belongs to my father.
He was an explosive, frightening, terrifying, verbally violent, threatening, controlling, dominating, paranoid, mysogynistic, cruel, abusive man. Almost all of the time. And the force, the intensity, behind his paranoia, his rages, was nothing short of awesome. He demolished me.
And every time, every single time, I tried to defend myself, he would have none of it. “It’s not me,” he shouted at me, time and time and time and time again, “It’s you.” And he twisted the words I used to try to reason with him into so many arrows that went straight into his body. Arrows that he condemned and reprimanded and GUILTED me for shooting. Nothing I could do or say could protect me from the force of him. Anything, nothing, escalated him, made it one thousand times worse for me.
My words never had the intended effect: they ricocheted. My words bounced off my father like bullets that went straight back into me. And into innocent bystanders too (my siblings), who were shattered by the violence of his rages at me. And I was told that this bloody, devastating pillaging of the village to which I was supposed to belong, my family, was my fault. All my fault.
And so, I was part of my family, but I didn’t belong there. I didn’t belong there because I was bad. Me being there wrecked the family. And everyone in the family thought the same thing, I was told. And so I needed to go away. To be small. Invisible. Not exist.
But this journey of mine has been so very, very long and lonely and hard already. And I’m ready for some change.
But I’ve been doing some reading. A lot of reading. And reflecting. And feeling. And praying.
I’ve been reading Harold Kushner’s, Conquering Fear. In it, he writes, “Fear constricts the soul and keeps us from being as fully human as we’re meant to be…. Many of the blessings of life are accessible only to those who are able to face their fears, see them clearly and stare them down.”
And, “God commands us not to be afraid, not because there is nothing to fear, because the world can be a pretty frightening place. But God realizes that we can never fulfill our potential as human beings if we are paralyzed by fear…. ”
“Don’t be afraid of being afraid. Our goal should never be the denial of fear but the mastery of fear, the refusal to let fear keep us from living fully and happily.”
And I’ve been reading about Carine McCandless and her re-telling of her famous brother Chris’s story Into the Wild in her own book The Wild Truth. Carine talks about how important it was to Chris to live in the truth. She wrote her book about his life for that reason, to set the record straight about why he did what he did. About why as a very young man he set out on a two year journey to live in the remote wilds of Alaska by himself, without telling anyone what he was doing. She reveals that it was domestic violence that led Chris to go away by himself and push himself to extremes. Ultimately, Chris McCandless died, alone.
I want to live. I mean really live, not just exist.
And so, I am telling my story. I am telling the truth. I am scared, but I am telling the truth.