I am just going to come out and say that my father was a real piece of work. He was beyond abusive. He was evil. There are a lot of ways that abusers manipulate and control their victims. Turning siblings against each other is one of those ways. Only in this case the manipulation was is offering to spare one for the other.
For years my sister and I had no relationship. That is not to say that I did not follow around behind her and get into fights with anyone that tried to bully her. She is my sister and I needed to keep her as safe as I could. She was and is the diplomat. She reasons with people and uses great people skills to defuse conflicts. She has lived with my mother for many years and has put up with a lot. And used those amazing skills (which I think is her super power) to help my mother to modify some of those behaviors that made it so difficult for me to live with her.
Today we talked about some very painful stuff. We looked back on our childhood and talked about some of the hard stuff. None of which was easy. She has felt guilt for a long time about some of the things that happened to us. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say to the world (or whoever reads this) that though she may not know it she did more to keep us safe than she knows or remembers. And that no matter what my father told her she was a good big sister. She did work to keep us safe when there was no one else there to do it. She was that person who stepped up for as long as she could and did what she could.
Here, publicly, I want to say that it is an honor and a privileged to not only know you but to be your sister. I love you.
I wake up in the morning to a loud house. I have a large family and we make noise. Sometimes i just want to have quiet. I want people to not talk to me. I want to be left alone.
That does not happen unless the house is empty. I had a room that was my personal study space. Where I would do my work for college. All my lovely books were in there. And my desk with a comfy desk chair. Then a comfy chair appeared. I thought the chair appeared because someone loved me and wanted me to be comfortable while I studied. I was wrong. That chair was put there for my children by my children.
I found that with the arrival of the chair came the children. Who would sit and talk to me or just read. Mostly it was to talk to me. To tell me of their lives. Ask questions. And generally be with me. This room was not big. Maybe 7 feet wide and 10′ long. Me, the desk, the big comfy chair, the filling cabinet, and the books took up most of the space. When there were two people it felt a little close. More and it was crowded. Usually there were more. I asked what my chances of actually being left alone to work were. A sober faced teen told me that those odds were slim to none. I might get a few moments but that was about all.
Sometimes it hurt to have people talk to me. It hurt to listen. I just wanted to burrow down deep inside myself and hide there. I did not want light to come into the room. I could have yelled at them to leave me alone. They would have been hurt by this and then I would have felt even worse. So I listened to them. I held them and tried to help them. I reached outside of myself. It was insanely painful and hard. It still is when I feel that way. But being there for someone and letting them into your heart helps you reach out of yourself.
Sometimes the pain from past trauma can try to reach out and throttle you. Pain inflicted on you from others can so often reappear and try to reassert itself as the dominant part of your life. When we let it become the dominant part of our lives, when that is the only story we have, we start to lose the good things that we possess. We begin to listen to the stories of how unworthy of everything we are. But in truth, that is a huge lie! We are amazing and brilliant people. We have all that we need to overcome what we have endured. We need to remember our importance.
The point of the story of my study space is that to my children I am important. I am valued and they love me. And the thing is that everyone is valued by someone. We don’t always see it or realize it. And sometimes we need to be the ones to reach out and recognize them. Or we just need to reach out. When I am in the dark part of depression I don’t want people to talk to me. I don’t want people to be with me. That is what I say not necessarily what I truly feel.
But when someone is with me. Does hold me. Does talk to me I feel lighter. The darkness does not always get to eat away at my heart. At this time of year when depression starts to weigh so heavily on me that I feel as though I am drowning, I reach out. I call someone. Make cookies for someone. I go to the library and just be around people.
So the moral of this is. Do not turn down an invitation to be with someone. If you don’t want to go for a walk that is okay. Maybe tell then that you want to just talk. Or just not be alone. But reach out beyond the dark places. It just takes a little momentum to start an avalanche. One pebbles just needs to move.