As a child I was left to my own devices much of the time. I remember being five years old and playing in the sandbox for hours. At one time I mimic'd my parents' planting flowers and planted 'flowers' (weeds) in my sandbox. I grew a nice crop that year. I spent a lot of time picking cherries off the tree in our back yard and eating them and even more time playing with my beagle puppy.
As I grew older I spent time with my dog or doing chores… everything from taking out the garbage to shining my fathers' shoes to weeding the gardens to picking up the apples that fell from the tree and scooping dog poop out of the yard. I was to set the table and clear the table and do the dishes. Saturdays were not for cartoons but for cleaning house. Dusting, vacuuming, cleaning of bathrooms with old toothbrushes, washing windows until they gleamed.
Somewhere in-between was homework and cooking and living – trying to be invisible.
I became very good at entertaining myself. Some would think I was a bit odd… I would sit and rock and stare at my image in a mirror and wonder why my parents hated me and why I wasn't good enough. I would listen to music and read and write and dream. I would save the screaming and crying and throwing myself down the staircase until those times when I was alone in the house. It never seemed to hurt. The bruises were already set in too deep.
I wish I'd figured out earlier in my life how to break this awful cycle before my childen had to experience it. I think they forgive me. I hope they forgive me. I can't expect them to forget. That's just not the way it's done.
I lived a solitary life and in many ways am still a very solitary person, surrounded by the bubblewrap of love that my husband and children have provided me. It keeps me sane in those times when the darkness threatens to envelope me again. I will not let it have me – not with the full immersion it held me in once. There will always be that glimmer of light that my family, and, yes, even you guys give to me. It keeps me whole. It keeps me sane.
*Re-printed from The Dark Madness
Five Days of Thankfulness: Day 2 – I'm so grateful that "god" (whatever that represents) felt my pain and sent me my beautiful children and husband. Without their love each and every day I couldn't laugh. I couldn't enjoy this life that's been given me. I used to teasingly tell people when I was in my teens and early twenties that I was insane. When they would ask, 'really'?… I would answer 'certifiably'. Although I was never officially diagnosed as such, I'm convinced without the people in my life I would be locked in a padded cell somewhere never to laugh again… well, unless it was maniacally. Even on my worst days they bring me joy.