Tuesday, July 25, 2006


So I'm thinking (big surprise) about how much pain we go through when we're trained, for lack of a better word, to dislike and mistrust ourselves.

I've been reading some posts about the hard stuff that some really good and insightful women have been going through, and mulling over the feelings that these posts brought up for me, and one common thread really stands out for me: Each of these women were taught as children that they deserved what they were getting. And what they were getting was shit. And I'm remembering what that feels like, and it's been on my mind anyway because I'm working (as you know) on moving past some things in my brain that I just feel I want to leave behind.

This post isn't going to make a lot of sense, I can tell already. Please stick with me. Or, well, or not. If you've been where I'm going, you're going to know what I mean, I guess. So there's that.

When I was a kid and living with my mom and her husband, he treated us like shit, her and me both. The thing is, when somebody treats you like shit, and you're healthy, you do one of several things. You say, "Uh huh, well, Fuck. Off." if warranted. Or you say, "Look, you may not realize this, but you are treating me like shit and you need to stop." Or you just walk away. Or something, you get the drift. So a really primo Shit Treater has to try and keep you from being healthy, right? They have to make you as sick as they are, so that you end up thinking you deserve what they're handing you. Who are you to leave, or tell, or stand up to them? You're nothing. You're weak. You're unlikeable. You're stupid. They love you, which is more than you'll get anywhere else, but how can you expect them not to treat you like shit because, man, you just bring out the worst in people. It's especially easy to talk kids into this line; when you're a kid, you're supposed to believe grownups, especially if they are one of your parents or step-parents or whatever.

I'm not dwelling on this, but I'm just remembering how my mom's husband used to say horrible things to her until she cried, and then he'd call her names for crying, and say he was just joking with her and why was she such a cry-baby with no sense of humor. And I remember hating her for being so weak. But I loved her more than anything, you know? I went a long time when I would not cry over anything personal. I'd cry at movies and crap, but if I was afraid or upset about something personal, I wouldn't cry. I would either get very blank, or I would smile. The Chica and I still sort of joke about it because if something totally freaks me out, I still do that. My jaw clenches up and I'm sure I look like death with this horrible grin on my face, but I swear I cannot do anything else. I have to be either really freaked out or really, really angry, but it's still there. And even when I cry, I have a hard time just crying--I have to sort of make it into a joke so you don't think I'm really crying, or so you can see that I know how stupid I am to be crying. And I'm a crier, so you'd think I'd be used to it by now.

I remember the first time someone said something that made me think that maybe I was looking at things a bit askew. I was telling my high school counselor, who I started seeing because of fun stuff like loosing my shit in the middle of English class and scraping glass up and down my arms, that I was really afraid that my friends were going to figure out what a horrible person I was and run for the hills. And she said, "You must not think much of them." And I said, "What are you talking about? My friends are amazing, they're wonderful." She said, "Well, that's not what I'm hearing. Either they're so stupid that they can't see what you're saying is obvious, that you're this horrible person, or they know it but they're just stringing you along and pretending to like you, which is pretty bitchy. So which is it?"

I will always love her for asking me that. I think that's the only thing that could have made me start thinking that maybe, just maybe, somebody was full of evil stagnant black shit but that it wasn't me. She could have told me that up and down and I wouldn't have heard her, but to turn it around and make me look at it that way got through somehow, even though hello, that was 20 years ago so obviously I'm a slow worker.