Not There Now

It’s not just that often you weren’t there then. You weren’t there for me.

It’s not that often you wouldn’t handle things. You wouldn’t handle me.

It’s not that you needed something else. It’s that you didn’t need me.

This is a futile complaint about parents who are too old and too much who they were to change anything. But so much was done. This is a soft-spined rant about growing up stuffing, and hiding, and pretending. I learned well. I always did. The facade I presented became my definition of reality and any sense of identity dissolved into a TV-like fantasy life.

All commercials.

What’s visible to me is not to everyone.

What’s known to me is not to everyone.

What’s meaningful to me is not to everyone.

My forties are closing and I realize I waited longer than I wanted to. Of course than I should have. Isn’t that the way? I always said I’d fix these things. I really meant to. I never learned how to stand up for myself. I never took care of what my parents didn’t either. I never learned to be me. I didn’t stand up.

I didn’t know who was standing up.

I feel stuck. I have for years. But I’m not sure what I’m stuck in. Or from.

Becoming unstuck feels pointless. It has for years. It’s been so long.

Is this depression? Does that matter? It’s reality. It has been for years.

Everything is tainted by this. Infected. Covered in it. Soaked. Every day’s thoughts, actions, emotions. It’s the albatross. Leprosy. The scarlet letter. I’m branded. Defective. Disabled and aware. Aware and ineffectual. Knowing and unacting. Not knowing what will come of the nothing I have done about it. Knowing that I want to change because I don’t want to continue to live like this.

Knowing that I don’t know if I will change.

I needed someone to help find out who I was. You didn’t.

I needed someone to teach me why it was important to learn who I was. You didn’t.

I needed someone to let me be me. Someone never showed up.

My teenage and adult years are best characterized by a steady sense of aloneness. Being singular and separate. Being the one who takes what others can’t. Being the one who listens to that which others don’t. Being the strong one. The one who knows better. The one who does the right thing that others don’t seem to give a shit about. I never could not give a shit.

Except about me.

A child should never have to worry about the parent. You made me worry about you.

A child should be who they are free of a tortured imposition of duty and fear. You imposed.

A child should chase connection and growth and learning. You taught me not to chase.

Anxiety is a body-ache. A drowning cascade of swirling thought. A black-hole stone of lead in my chest. My heart beats like gate loose in a storm wind. Breathing feels like a rebel act. Move my arm and pain is a signal of trouble and life. Alarming. Welcome.

After pills and a beer, I breath again.

I hate these moods. I am nothing if not my heart.

I hate the lack of motivation. I always need the rest.

I hate the whining. These thoughts and feelings and words are constant.

Every action I think to take is evaluated first through the imagined thoughts and judgments of others. You must have taught me that. I can only do what I think others would approve. It only makes sense. Someone who doesn’t know an identity becomes a chameleon.

How can I please you today?

Tomorrow is a new day. Just like the 17,900 before.

Things can be different. Just like they always have been before.

I don’t have to live like this. I never did before.

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