I need to tell you something.
Well that’s not right. I don’t need to tell anyone anything. I don’t need to speak. It might make more sense just to say nothing and exist in a void. But there I go, stopping myself. All my life, stopping myself from talking, from saying. At the same time, writing: a need to get out every little thought.
I get it now. All those years clinging on, trying to be normal and trying to be nice and trying to blend into the background. Stay quiet and you might be ignored. Don’t speak up or you might feel stupid again. You prick. You stupid prick.
I’ve worked in education for years, and before that, medical records. You work in jobs that you can learn about yourself from. I learned about children who were a little broken because something happened to them. I kept seeing something in them, something in the way they behaved, some sort of pain. Something I could see that other people couldn’t see. It was like I had a gift but it wasn’t a gift. It was a shared knowledge, a sense of the familiar.
Something happened. I don’t know when or even what, I just know there’s something there in that void from birth to four.
I get glimpses sometimes. Snatches of half-remembered scenes; horrible moments in dreams. But it’s not a memory so much as a feeling. A feeling of shame, and humiliation. Pain.
I get it now. I see what I was like in my early life and teenage years was the result of something – something, I don’t know what or when or how or even who. But something. That anger and fear that rises even today, the need to lash out, the hostility. Or not lash out: turn it inwards. Make the pain something that I can produce, to make myself hurt more. You hurt me, I’ll hurt myself. I’ll make it worse. I’ll outdo you.
I get it now.
When you get it, what do you do with it? I have been a prisoner for too long. Encased in those feelings that started before I could remember and carried on long through the time when I’d learned to hide them.
People say: you can choose. And you can. I chose to fight it, most of the time, but every now and then, when enough other things conspired, I got tired, and it started to beat me again. It’s amazing, looking back, I did as well as I did, which is to say, fucking a lot of things up, badly, repeatedly, but for some of us, that’s as good as we can do.
Some of us have bits of us broken and missing. You live with that damage and we did OK. It’s not easy but just existing is the biggest fuck you that you can manage.
Breathe in, breathe out. Each breath is one second further away from the time you were hurt. It lives inside you, but it doesn’t define you.
Time to live.