Love Me or Hate Me…

Finding old friends and reminiscing on ‘back in the day’ has got me thinking about sooo much. What I have survived, how I have changed, and all that I have accomplished. At one time, I was what appeared to be a confident, out-spoken, strong-willed, and fiesty girl. I guess I still can be, I let my opinions be heard but I am not the ball of confidence and strength that I once exuded. Life has changed all of that.

NOW:

I am timid around large crowds (more than 10 people), I shake and bumble when speaking to someone new, I am easily intimidated, I always feel judged, I rarely say what I really think, I am easy-going but I am not out-going.

What happened to all that? I’ve been searching through my life experiences trying to figure it all out. Back then, if you told me I couldn’t do something, be willing to bet I would do it and be the best at it. Now I just seem to let things go hoping no one notices that I have failed. I try to push things under the rug instead of deal with the issue upfront. I question my worth to those I meet, trying not to feel needy or desperate…but I am.

My first big life-changing moment, moving out…I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I went to this tiny little town where I would be starting school and couldn’t find a job, knew NO one, and had nothing. It was a very lonely time for me and I was hating life. Instead of sticking it out, I ran. I ran straight to the arms of a man that told me all the things I wanted to hear and feel. Loved, accepted, needed and secure. Only 6 short weeks later, I was married to him and my head spinning. He controlled my every move, my every breath. What I ate, how I dressed, the color of my hair, the jobs I held, the friends I had. For three years this continued, me none the wiser. Simply denying my misery and lack of engagement in what was supposed to be my life.

So what did I do next? I ran. I ran as hard as I could with little money and nothing from our life together. I tried it on my own again. Now living in Memphis near my family where could I feel safer. I even managed to get a great job, a nice apartment and my dad helped me with a car. Everything was laid out for me but still I felt empty and alone. All my old friends had moved on and gone different directions. I didn’t feel good enough for their acceptance or acknowledgement. Everyday was just another one like the day before. Merely 6 months later, I ran.

I moved in with a wonderful man that soon became my husband and eventually the father of my three beautiful children. He was someone I thought would accept me, take care of me, and love me no matter what. My faults, my tenacity,  my strengths, my weaknesses, they all seemed to be accepted unconditionally. The one thing I had been looking for what seemed like a lifetime.

Things became harder about 5 years later. My eldest son, being diagnosed with CF years earlier, had started to make noted declines in weight gain and lung function. Nothing seemed to work. It didn’t matter how hard I tried or how perfectly I followed his medical regiment, his little body was just not strong enough to fight even the smallest of colds. I became reclused, quickly losing self-confidence and strength. I had no confidence in being a mother, always feeling like it was somehow my fault that he wasn’t getting better. I felt like I was neglecting my other children in trying so hard for Colby, and losing touch with my husband in the chaos. My biggest worry being that we had already seen the best, that this would be the new cycle that our lives would sustain. In and out of the doctors, hospital stays two weeks at a time, continuous medicines and therapies with little time to breathe or spend time on anything else.

Again, the loneliness crept back in. My nerves were shot, my feelings raw and my walls growing taller. There seemed to be no oxygen in the air, no light to shine the way out, and no one there to hold my hand while I trembled in fear.

The next natural instinct for me? I wanted to run so hard and so fast from the pain. My children were my saving grace, though. Without them, I would have nothing and be nothing. My husband and I are having good days and bad days and I am trying my hardest to break through all the walls I have built, but there is alot of damage there that I don’t think he knows about. The daggers thrown to hurt me when I needed him to support me, the threats made of him leaving me when I needed him to stand strong beside me. The lack of trust and acceptance that seems to loom in the background. I still feel alone in this town that I am not a member of, a group that doesn’t accept me and a husband has forgotten the real me.

I want the person from way back when, before the running began. The woman that knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to go get it. The woman that strived to be the best, the woman that wouldn’t be told anything and the woman that believed in herself and the things she could accomplish on her own. I wonder where she is and if she will ever be found or will she forever be hidden behind these walls that seem to be firm in place.

My husband says I have changed, that I have distanced myself. I say, I have been left little choice. I have to protect myself from the return of previous experience, I have to be in control of my own choices and be proud of them despite what anyone thinks, but now it is not safe. It is no longer unconditional. No longer is it acceptable to be me…

I just want to be understood, needed, wanted and unconditionally loved……………..by anyone.

Written: April 25, 2007

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