I had a good family. They didn’t know better. My mother loved me. I can’t live without her. I am bad; I am evil. I am just crazy. I am worthless. I deserved to be hurt. There is no hope for me. It was all my fault.
These were the beliefs I carried with me for so long. These were the beliefs I held on to because I had no other choice. I didn’t know any better. I couldn’t know any better.
And those beliefs weighed on me. They kept me from moving forward. They kept me stuck. Even after I ran away and found my freedom, I still carried those beliefs with me, every day. But as time went on, I realized those beliefs were not the truths I thought them to be. They were just lies my mother wanted me to believe. They were lies I needed to believe so I could survive without breaking.
I realized I had to let those false beliefs go. I didn’t want to carry them anymore. I had enough weight to bear already.
I wrote one belief on each big stone. Each stone was heavy on its own, but as I gathered the stones together, the weight was tremendous. I wasn’t going to carry these stones with me; I needed to send them away.
So on my 500th day of freedom, I took the stones to the beach. I walked out to the ledge of rocks where the waves were breaking. I watched as the tide washed everything away. I wanted it to wash my beliefs away. I picked each stone out one by one. I felt the weight of the stone in my hand. I read each belief to myself, and thought about how each affected me.
I had a good family.
The wish, the belief that my family was good, was one my mother provided for me. It was all an act; they only played a good family in public. It’s why I couldn’t think any differently. Everyone would say what good people my mother and father were, and I took that in and believed that it must be true. It wasn’t true. It was never true.
They didn’t know better.
I’d tell myself maybe they just didn’t know any better. Maybe they were hurt, too. Maybe they think this is normal. How can I be mad at them if they just didn’t know? But how the hell couldn’t they know? Any person in their right mind knows you don’t beat a child bloody. Any person knows you don’t sexually abuse your own children (or any child). It doesn’t matter if that was their normal. It should have never been my normal.
My mother loved me.
Mothers love their children. It’s what society says. It’s what movies and books says. The bond between mother and child is special. Maybe this is just how she shows her love. But love isn’t supposed to hurt like that. You can’t tell someone you love them and then turn around and break them over and over and over again. That is not love.
I can’t live without her.
She told me no one would ever love me. She told me I would never survive without her. I became so enmeshed with her that I lost my self in the process. And that’s exactly what she wanted. She planted the seed of insecurity in me and then she fed off its leaves for decades. I thought I could never get away. I thought I could never live without her. But I have been living for 500 days without her now.
I am bad. I am evil.
It’s why she always had to hurt me. I was a bad child. I had to be punished. I had evil inside me. I had to be cleansed. It’s the only way her hurting me made sense. I believed what she said because no one else was there to say any different. But I am not bad. I am not evil. I am good. I have a kind heart. I have empathy. I was not the bad one. My mother was.
I am just crazy.
It’s what she’s told everyone for the last 15 years. Don’t believe her, she’s crazy. She lies, she’s crazy. She’s bipolar and crazy. Just don’t listen to her, she’s crazy. I was not crazy. I was dealing with things a child should never have to deal with. I was struggling with emotions I wasn’t allowed to have. I wasn’t crazy. I just wasn’t being what my mother wanted me to be.
I am worthless.
I don’t deserve to eat. I don’t deserve nice things. I am a piece of shit. These were things my mother told me, and I believed them. Because mothers don’t lie to their children. She knows everything, so she must know I’m worthless, too. That’s why she treated me that way. If I could just be worthy, maybe she would love me. But I’ve had worth this whole time. She didn’t want to see it. And she didn’t want me to see it, either.
I deserved to be hurt.
She’s hurting me because I am bad, and evil, and worthless. That’s why I deserve all of this. I was put on this earth to be hurt. This is God’s way. She is trying to help me. But she wasn’t helping. And I never deserved to be hurt. There is nothing a child can do that would ever warrant the abuse that she unleashed on me. I deserved to be nurtured and nourished and loved, not hurt and abused.
There is no hope for me.
I need to just die. I can’t live in pain like this. It’s never going to end. She is never going to stop. I just want to get out of here. Please, just end my pain. I believed I was never going to get out. I believed my mother was going to abuse me until the day I finally succeeded at killing myself. But I got away, and now she can no longer hurt me. I don’t need to die anymore. There is hope for me.
It was all my fault.
It’s what my mother wanted me to believe. I ruined the family. We couldn’t do anything because of me. She couldn’t pay bills because of me. She got in trouble because of me. She was hurting me because of me. She got angry because of me. Her life was ruined because me. Her life was my fault. My pain was my fault. Everything was my fault. But none of it was. It never was. It was her fault. I was just a child.
One by one, I threw each stone out to sea. I cried, not because I was sad about losing them. Rather, I cried because I was sad for the little girl, the teenager, and the young adult me that had to carry these beliefs for so long in order to survive.
These stones are no longer weighing me down. They no longer belonged to me. They are lying at the bottom of the Atlantic now. They belong to the sea.
They are the stones I’ve lost.