Guard down, guard up

Sometimes, I let my guard down.

Then, I am quickly reminded of why I shouldn’t.

It’s a complicated thing. The fear of trusting anyone, yet the seemingly innate pull to open up to someone. The desire to be alone, yet the need to be in contact with others. The want for a family, even when family has continually been nothing but toxic.

I made a mistake. I should have seen it coming; looking back, I don’t know why I even put myself in that position. But it’s that seemingly continuous push and pull of two opposing wants that seem to lead to these mistakes.

It was the right timing. I was vulnerable. I had just left to go across the county. I left everything and everyone behind. I was disconnected, not only physically, but emotionally as well. And I wanted so much to reconnect to something or to someone.

And I did. I got a friend request on Facebook from a distant cousin — my mother’s niece. Years ago, I would have immediately deleted it. In fact, I may have even had her and others blocked. But over time, I let my guard down. I let my fear dissipate. But, given the circumstances, I felt okay enough to accept her request. After all, I was nowhere near her or my mother physically. After all, this was someone who hadn’t seen me since I was 14 years old. After all, this was someone who my mother avoided having any physical contact with, someone who my mother spoke ill of (along with her sister and others in her own family). So how much of a danger could it have been? I added her.

I soon learned that was a bad decision. In response to my last blog, she posted several comments, all of which focused on how I was loved and cared for, how I chose to leave the home where I was loved and cared for, how my mother loved her children and wouldn’t ever molest them…you get the gist. I did, too, because I heard it before. Almost word-for-word, in fact. Because they were my mother’s words, her defensive speech. We’ve all heard it before.

I was trying not to engage, but I eventually gave in and defended the truth. I reminded her that she was barely in our lives, how the last time she saw me was when I was 14, and that she really couldn’t have had any realistic idea of what was going on. I told her that I could connect her with people who witnessed the reality first hand — not just of the physical environment we lived in, but of my mother’s inappropriate words and actions. I suggested she be open to hearing both sides, as it seemed she was taking my mother’s word for truth without taking any initiative to find out what existed outside of my mother’s words.

But my words to her didn’t get very far, because when I woke up the next morning, her comments were deleted and so was she.

I had a tiny bit of hope that a friendship could have existed before all of this happened, that I could be connected to a part of my family, even if it was just in this small way.

I’m not that hurt over it. I got over it quickly. I think what stuck out to me the most was just how gullible people could be, how easily they could drink my mother’s Kool-aid and believe everything she says just because she says it. I’m fortunate enough that many people didn’t fall for her lies. I just wish that more of those people were family.

I find the timing interesting. Adding me as a friend a week before my freedom anniversary. Waiting until that very moment to let it out. I highly doubt it was all just a coincidence. But it doesn’t even matter. My lesson has been learned.

In her last comment, my cousin talked about how my mother was sick and suffering.

Good. I’m not going to lie. Good.

And that’s even if she is really sick, because I really don’t think anyone is close enough to her to truly know.

But, I will not feel bad about my anger or my grief. She is in her 60s. She got to live. I am 32 and can barely make it a month without a stay in the hospital, dealing with health issues that people my age (or anyone really) shouldn’t have to deal with. I’m not going to feel bad for being angry at her. I’m not going to feel bad for hating her. And I’m not going to feel bad for not caring about her, because she sure as hell never cared about me.

1,000 Days of Freedom, Part 2: The Lies

I am hopeless. I will never be safe. It’s my fault I’m sick. I abandoned my family. No one will love me. No one will believe me. I was just confused. She had to rape me to save me. I am just like her. I will never get better. I am ruined. My father died because I left. I am an abuser. I deserve a gravestone.

These are the lies I believed as truth — some believed for years, others believed for decades.

I found the heaviest, blackest stones, and wrote a former belief on each one. I carried them with me to the beach this morning. I walked right up to where the ocean meets the sand. I picked one stone at a time, read it to myself, and then tossed it as far as I could into the sea. They are all there now, somewhere buried in the sand beneath the waters. They are no longer weighing on me.

I am hopeless.

I spent most of my life this way. My childhood. My adolescence. My 20s. I didn’t expect to live very long. I didn’t expect to ever get out alive. But I am still here, alive, and free. There are still times that I lose hope, but I am not hopeless. Even as I struggle in nearly every way, I keep trying to rise above. I have not given up.

I will never be safe.

It’s a hard belief to shake when you have spent most of your life without a safe place. Home was a battleground, a prison, a hell — it was never a safe place to be. Yet she taught us that it was the outside world that was dangerous.

Every aspect of my life was controlled by her. Even when I was outside of the house, I still was under her control. She was everywhere. She knew everything. There was no escaping her, until I finally did. And even then, I struggled with the fear of her coming to get me, the fear of her finding me.

I still have that fear, and it’s a valid one. There’s no doubt in my mind that she knows where I am. But I can’t live my life always in fear. I can be vigilant, and I can be proactive. The fear of her won’t go away, even in her death. But I can still embrace the small moments when I am surrounded with supports, in a secure place. It’s in those moments that I am safe.

It’s my fault I’m sick.

I put a lot of the blame for my medical issues on myself. The truth is, it’s not really my fault. Dysautonomia just happens. Ehlers Danlos is hereditary. My lung problems existed long before I started smoking, from living in a home that was environmentally unsafe. It’s not my fault. And neither is my PTSD or my DID. None of this is my fault.

I abandoned my family.

I did not abandon my family. They abandoned me a very long time ago. There was no love, no nurturing, no support provided by my mother. My father was absent emotionally. My brother was lost in his trauma early on. I never had the connection to them. Aside from DNA, they were never my family.

I ran away from my abuser; I did not abandon my family.

No one will love me.

She would tell me that so many times, especially when I was a teenager. She treated me like I was the ugliest person, constantly pointing out any flaw she could find, and making stuff up when she couldn’t. For a while, I believed she was right. I couldn’t connect with anyone, but that’s because I never learned how, and never had the right people to connect with. Now I do. Now I have people who genuinely care about me.

No one will believe me.

I spent my whole childhood believing that lie. I spent my teenage years believing it, too. And then in adulthood, when I finally came out and tried to tell people what happened, they didn’t believe me. I thought it was just like she said, that no one would understand, that no one would believe me. It turns out she was wrong. People were just blinded by their own stereotypes. They didn’t want to believe. Trust me, I didn’t want to, either. But people know the truth now. People understand because they’ve lived the same pain, too.

I was just confused.

Years ago, a social worker told me that my mother wasn’t abusing me, that she loved me and was just showing that in the best way she knew how, that I was just confusing it for abuse. It made me second-guess myself. So many moments I had to step back and ask myself if I just misunderstood what was going on. How could a mother hurt her own child? It’s inconceivable. But it’s reality. There’s no confusion about that.

She had to rape me to save me.

There could never be anything wrong with someone who would justify raping them. There was nothing ever wrong with me. It was just a lie. She wasn’t helping me. She was hurting me. She didn’t save me from anything. I needed saving from her.

I am just like her.

I know enough about sociopathy to know that there is somewhat of a genetic link. That sat in the back of my mind for a while. I thought that maybe my emotions weren’t mine — after all, I was never allowed to have them for all those years. I had to learn about them from watching videos. Maybe I just learned to copy them. Maybe I have no empathy.

But I have real emotions. Sometimes they suck, but I have them. And I have empathy. Maybe a little too much at times. I’m not a sociopath. I’m nothing like her.

I will never get better.

After 17 years of off-and-on therapy, I start to wonder if I will ever get better. Then I am quickly reminded that for most of those years, I was still living with my mother, still being abused. No amount of intervention or therapy would have helped until I was out of that situation. So, I can’t really count those years as much of anything in terms of trying to get better, because at that time, I was just struggling to survive.

It’s difficult, especially in the last 15 months (10 of which were spent in intensive outpatient therapy), to see myself getting better. Other people are able to get over their traumas and move on. Yet I’m here, fresh out of IOP, still having emotional breakdowns and flashbacks and thoughts about dying.

My therapist reminds me I’ve been through “a lot of fucking trauma”. It’s going to take time. A lot of time. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

I am ruined.

I used to think I gave off a vibe where people just knew — maybe they could tell by looking at me, or the way I walked, or something that let them know that I am ruined. I felt like others could sense my shame more than I could. I thought they could tell that I was dirty and worthless because of what she did to me.

But there’s no vibe, no invisible stamp on my forehead that tells others I’m somehow ruined. I’ve got damage, but I’m not ruined. I can be repaired.

My father died because I left.

My father did not die because of me, as much as my mother would like to throw that blame on me. He wasn’t heartbroken when I left; he couldn’t wait to sell all the stuff I left behind. He didn’t care I left.

My father had multiple heart attacks, strokes, and blood infections. He had a plethora of medical problems for over a decade. That’s what killed him.

I am an abuser.

I’ve written a few times over this past year about how I have been working on overcoming my fear of children, which stems back to incidents in childhood that had me believe that I was an abuser. I am not an abuser. I am not a predator. I am no longer afraid of being near children. I don’t freeze or panic when I am near them, because I know that I would never hurt them.

I deserve a gravestone.

My mother thinks I deserve a gravestone. She always said I would never get away from her. She always threatened that if I told anyone, I would get hurt. I’ve gone against her rules in the biggest ways. She’s used to being in control, and she’s not anymore.

I don’t deserve to die because I ran away. I don’t deserve a gravestone because I told the truth. I took control of my life. I did what I had to.

These are the lies I let float away.

Take it all away


These are the gravestones my mother sent to me. I carry them with me, just like I carry the fear with me, every day.

There is no safety here, no sense of security. The very small amount I may have had is lost now. I spend every day waiting for her. I check for her behind the unlocked doors of the house I live in. I look for her down the street wherever I’m walking. I see her in my nightmares. I hear her voice in my head. She lives here, now more than ever.

Part of me wishes she would get it over with already. Punish me for my sins. End my life.

I was never supposed to tell.  And I spent so many years not telling a soul. But then I started to speak, only to be shut down.

I already knew that was happening. You’re just confused. You’re misinterpreting her love. Mothers don’t do those things. She’s not that kind of person. Your mother loves you.

My mother was right. No one understood. No one believed me. So I gave up the fight¬† . And then I escaped and I believed that I was free. I found my voice and I told the world who my mother was and is — I committed the ultimate sin, the most horrendous crime against my mother. And the punishment for that is death.

I wonder when she comes for me, will they all stand and watch, just as they stood and watched her abuse me? Will they cover their eyes and pretend like they can’t see anything, just like they covered their eyes and pretended they couldn’t see the scars? Will they turn and walk away, just as they turned and walked away from me all those times they knew what was happening?

Or will they see me on the ground, bloody and broken and dying, and give me a band-aid so they can say they tried to help me? Your bunnies, your prayers, your positive thoughts did nothing to save me. Bunnies didn’t stop the rape. Jesus didn’t stop the beating. Affirmations didn’t stop the pain. I needed help — not material things or spirits or empty words. I needed help and I got a band-aid. You can’t put a band-aid on a hemorrhage.

They want to hide me. They tell me they help me find safety. But they don’t understand that I will never be safe. They don’t understand that no matter where I run away, she will always find me. I will never be safe for as long as she is breathing. She cannot be stopped. She is a criminal free to roam, a monster in plain sight. No longer a captor of my body, but always a captor of my mind.

The damage is done. No one can help me now. The fear is a part of me; it runs through my veins. The pain cannot be healed; it lives on in every scar. That can never be taken away or erased. It’s permanent.

My mother thinks of my death as punishment, but I think of it as a reward. Killing me is the best thing she could do for me, the greatest gift she could ever give to me. It’s the only way the fear will end, the only way to stop all of the pain.

She’s already taken so much life from me. She shattered my mind, she murdered my spirit, she drowned my soul. There’s nothing left to take but the life from my body.

Take it all away.

There’s no goodbye forever to that

I came home from work today and checked the mail. There it was: the packet I knew would eventually get here. I knew nothing of what was inside, other than a letter.

I came inside and did what I normally do. I washed the dishes, fed the cat, and took out the garbage. Then I came upstairs, changed, and checked my e-mail. I wasn’t feeling any type of way. I was in a good place. I had a good day at work. I felt okay enough to open my mail.

There was a brown envelope inside. I pulled everything out. There was my birth certificate. My old social security card. And a bunch of cards and notes from my First Communion. It was sort of an odd assortment.

Of all the things that were supposedly saved, of all the things that could have been sent, I get a pile of religious bullshit. I’m not a Catholic. I was never a Catholic at heart, only by parental indoctrination.

Then I see papers folded up with my mother’s handwriting. I waited a few minutes, then I started reading the letter, part by part, along with my friend.

Here are the important things you will need in your life no one was keeping them from you and you never asked for them. They were kept in a fireproof box so if there was a fire they wouldn’t get destroyed.

As for the story of your lip I was working that night as almost every night at Kmart till 10:30 PM. That night there was a really bad storm you walked into the door of the bedroom dad called me at work but Kmart would not let me leave so him and R drove to St. Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken at that time we had HIP insurance and that’s the hospital you had to use. The HIP health center was in West New York, NJ cause that was the only place close they had. No one was trying to hide anything to doctors because no one had anything to hide you weren’t abused you were at doctors for checkups as a child needed you never were rejected health care. And no one lied where you were born. You were born in St. Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken, NJ cause as I said that was the hospital used on the HIP health plan.

You have nothing to fear I’m not coming after you I have no desire too. You made your decision to disown your family and thats your decision and if thats what you wanted then so be it. I know your plans were encouraged by your friends and a certain family relative who’s name I will not mention because if certain family members knew this they would not be happy and I am not out to ruin peoples lives so that secret I will die with. But do tell me why did you come to the hospital to visit me while you were telling people how happy it was with me not in the house and how they recommended you toss my stuff out to the street. Was your visit to see if I was dying??

You broke your fathers heart when you left because of the way you left and the lies you told him when you did walk out. He didnt care much about himself or anything after that.

As for your brother and the truck its not paid for by your father’s life insurance. You failed to forward the registration to him when it went to your new address and motor vehicle would not renew it unless you were there with your ID. The loan company’s advise was to take you to court and sue you for title take over is that the way you would have wanted to go. He went to car dealer and they suggested refinancing so he did in his name alone. The jeep is considered paid off because the one dealer paid the finance company off but your brother still has to pay what was left on the jeep plus the other truck. Instead of it being repo’d and your credit n his being ruined cause he wasn’t going to pay for something he couldn’t drive. This way this benefited you it shows on your credit report the truck was paid off which gives you a better credit score and your not attached to the family anymore which you wanted. But you did not forward him the registration and this was the only sensible thing to do. So you are totally free from your family now no strings attached this is what you wanted.

I asked (my friend) to forward these things to you because I don’t want your address or anything from you ever.

So you dont have to worry anymore with anyone coming after. No one has that desire to contact you especially not me

Have a happy and good life. Good bye forever

Your Mom,

Lori

P.S. Your Dad was your real father there was never anyone else in my life but him.

You have your freedom as you always wanted and the responsibilities in life that come with it.

And the finance company gave the dealer your number and address that they had on record not your brother.

Not entirely what I expected from her, I will admit. I expected a lot of heavy and outright denial and anger. Instead, it seemed like a lot of random defenses to things that were and are really unimportant. I thought this letter was going to crush my emotions. I didn’t even cry; I actually laughed at some parts. The letter is such a textbook example of a narcsoc.

Here are the important things you will need in your life no one was keeping them from you and you never asked for them. They were kept in a fireproof box so if there was a fire they wouldn’t get destroyed.

Important things? My birth certificate, okay. But nine or ten First Communion cards? Why do I need them in my life? They serve me no purpose other than a reminder of someone I was forced to be, a person who I have not been for a very long time now. And I have nothing against religion. But being religious isn’t about going to Church every Sunday and sending your children to the best Catholic schools and nailing up crosses in your child’s bedroom to remind them that Jesus is watching. By the way, if Jesus was watching me (supposedly) be bad, was he also watching my mother rape me?

Those cards could have burned in a fire, along with everything else. I don’t care.

As for the story of your lip I was working that night as almost every night at Kmart till 10:30 PM. That night there was a really bad storm you walked into the door of the bedroom dad called me at work but Kmart would not let me leave so him and (my brother) drove to St. Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken at that time we had HIP insurance and that’s the hospital you had to use. The HIP health center was in West New York, NJ cause that was the only place close they had. No one was trying to hide anything to doctors because no one had anything to hide you weren’t abused you were at doctors for checkups as a child needed you never were rejected health care. And no one lied where you were born. You were born in St. Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken, NJ cause as I said that was the hospital used on the HIP health plan.

I knew it! I knew I walked into a door. It makes all the sense. Let’s be real. Your child suffers a pretty severe injury and your job wouldn’t let you leave so you stayed there? Your child is supposed to come first, last time I checked. But that was never the case, so why would this instance be any different.

It’s really helpful to know that we had HIP insurance and that I went to Saint Mary’s hospital. Because it was important enough that it seems to be the focus of an entire page of the letter. Why so much focus on the unimportant details of the situation? Deflection. The hospital didn’t matter to me. The insurance plan didn’t matter to me. THAT’S NOT WHAT MATTERED.

And yes, I did go to the doctor. Because physicals are required to attend school — I couldn’t go otherwise. That doesn’t mean I was medically neglected. I was. There is no doubt about that.

And I was abused. There is no doubt about that, either.

You have nothing to fear I’m not coming after you I have no desire too. You made your decision to disown your family and thats your decision and if thats what you wanted then so be it. I know your plans were encouraged by your friends and a certain family relative who’s name I will not mention because if certain family members knew this they would not be happy and I am not out to ruin peoples lives so that secret I will die with. But do tell me why did you come to the hospital to visit me while you were telling people how happy it was with me not in the house and how they recommended you toss my stuff out to the street. Was your visit to see if I was dying??

I disowned my family, yes, but it was well after my family had symbolically disowned me. Because you sure as hell don’t treat family like I was treated.

My plans were supported by the people that truly loved and supported me, the people that wanted better for me. My amazing support group. Great therapists. Awesome friends, both online and offline. And yes, some members of my family did support me. But I want to make it clear, these people supported my decision. It was my decision to leave. Not a family member’s. Not a friend’s. It was my decision.

Not out to ruin people’s lives? She already has. No favors are being done here. Anyone in their right mind would support my decision to leave. They would be happy to know I was supported. I never disowned the people that didn’t hurt me. None of this is a secret. It never has been.

Out of the month or two my mother was in the hospital, I visited her once. Because my father made me go. I just got out of my third inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. I didn’t want to be in a hospital at all, let alone near her. Trust me on that.

My mother referenced a post I made on my Facebook. Creepy. She really had to have someone dig for that one. A lot of effort. Sad. They certainly did recommend that. And many were also hoping for my mother’s sickness to progress. I won’t deny that. I wanted her to die because I didn’t think I would get my freedom any other way.

You broke your fathers heart when you left because of the way you left and the lies you told him when you did walk out. He didnt care much about himself or anything after that.

I didn’t kill my father. My father had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, a history of blood infections, lymphedema, three heart attacks, and congestive heart failure. He had been dying for a very long time, and honestly, he lived a lot longer than he should have, given his conditions. He had given up on life long before I left. He talked about wanting to die every time he ended up back in a nursing home. I didn’t break his heart. His heart was already broken.

I left in a way that was safest for me. I left with two bags, and I left most of my belongings behind. That was hard for me. I wish I could have just said “I’m moving” and taken all of my things, but that would have never been allowed. I lied to live. Don’t dare put his death on me.

As for your brother and the truck its not paid for by your father’s life insurance. You failed to forward the registration to him when it went to your new address and motor vehicle would not renew it unless you were there with your ID. The loan company’s advise was to take you to court and sue you for title take over is that the way you would have wanted to go. He went to car dealer and they suggested refinancing so he did in his name alone. The jeep is considered paid off because the one dealer paid the finance company off but your brother still has to pay what was left on the jeep plus the other truck. Instead of it being repo’d and your credit n his being ruined cause he wasn’t going to pay for something he couldn’t drive. This way this benefited you it shows on your credit report the truck was paid off which gives you a better credit score and your not attached to the family anymore which you wanted. But you did not forward him the registration and this was the only sensible thing to do. So you are totally free from your family now no strings attached this is what you wanted.

I’m not even going to attempt to try and understand half of what this is supposed to mean. How is this important? Of all things to care about, the jeep is not on my priority list. But yet, over a page dedicated to the jeep. My mother and brother didn’t do me any favors. They didn’t take me to court to sue me for my own jeep. Congratulations. Such great people. There’s no mention of the attempt to fraudulently sign my name to the papers. Let’s just focus on how much of it is my fault and how they helped me out so much by doing this while still being burdened by paying two vehicles (yet not having both) and not with my father’s insurance policy (right). Okay then.

And his credit was already ruined, which is why the jeep was in my name in the first place. He had no credit. No one in my family had credit. This was not a martyr action. This was not moral.

It’s what I wanted? No. It’s not what I wanted at all. I wanted a family. I wanted decent parents. I wanted a fucking mother. I wanted a fucking childhood. I didn’t want this shit. Fuck you. This wasn’t for me. You’ve done nothing for me; you never did and you never will.

I asked (my friend) to forward these things to you because I don’t want your address or anything from you ever.

So you dont have to worry anymore with anyone coming after. No one has that desire to contact you especially not me

Have a happy and good life. Good bye forever

Well, we all know this is a bunch of lies, considering the gravestone posters she mailed to me not that long ago. None of these sentences are true. She searched for me specifically to send those gravestones. That’s contact. Where’s the goodbye forever?

And I am having a good life, as much as I can. I have great care for the first time in my life. I am surrounded by people that love and support me. I may not be happy all the time, and that’s okay. I am trying to have the life I deserve, the life I was never allowed to have before.

Your Mom, Lori

I don’t have a mother, nor did I ever have a mother that deserved to be spelled with a capital M. I am my mother now. My friends are my mother. Not this person.

P.S. Your Dad was your real father there was never anyone else in my life but him.

You have your freedom as you always wanted and the responsibilities in life that come with it.

And the finance company gave the dealer your number and address that they had on record not your brother.

I know I have my freedom. I deserve it. What I don’t deserve is the struggle. I don’t deserve having to go to therapy multiple times a week because of how fucked up I’ve become because of the shit I went through. Because of her. Not me. I am the one paying for her mistakes. I am the one being punished for her sins.

And there we go, the final sentence. About the jeep. A sentence that doesn’t even make any sense. Because my brother had my phone number, and so did she. I’ve had the same phone number I’ve had for years. I never changed it. That was the point. They told people they tried to contact me, but I had changed my number. I never did. They lied. They’ve always lied. They are still lying.

And this letter shows that. In so many ways. I don’t think she understands how obvious it is in her writing. Her deflection. Her avoidance.Her focus on unimportant details. Her lack of acknowledgement. Her denial. Her displacement. Her distortion. Her playing the victim. Her blaming the real victim.

I wish I could say goodbye forever to my pain, as easily as she said goodbye forever to me. Unfortunately, while she may be gone, I will forever have to live with what she did to me.

There’s no goodbye forever to that, is there?

The Stones She Thinks I Deserve

I don’t believe it’s coincidence.

I’m sure she knows. I’m sure she reads this blog.

The gravestone poster she sent me, mailed the day after I wrote here about the stones I gained, lost, and gave away. It was the stone she sent to me. The stone she thinks I deserve, maybe.

She always told us she would hurt us, that she would kill us if we told anyone what she was doing. Telling was the ultimate sin. She instilled so much fear in us that we knew no other way. But children grow up, and while my brother still sees the world through her glasses, I saw the truth in all she had done. I found my voice. And I told. I told those close to me. I told therapists. I told my doctor. I told my friends. And now, people know. Family knows. Her associates know. Everyone who stumbles upon this blog knows. And in a few weeks, everyone who reads the Grief Diaries will know.

And you know what? I will not stay silent. I will keep using my voice, because it is mine to use. It has always been mine. I will no longer be made afraid. I will no longer be silenced. I have spoken, and I will not stop.

I deserve a gravestone? For speaking the truth? For finding my freedom? For trying to heal? No. I don’t deserve that.

I didn’t deserve a sociopath for a mother. I didn’t deserve to live in constant fear, anxiety, and pain. I didn’t deserve to be hurt and abused. I didn’t deserve to be beaten and burned and violated. I didn’t deserve to be threatened and cursed. I didn’t deserve to be used and manipulated. I didn’t deserve to be broken. I still don’t deserve any of those things.

I deserved a childhood. I deserved decent parents. I deserved love and respect and care and affection, and attention. I deserved safety and security and trust. I deserved to be nurtured and kissed and hugged and taken care of. I still deserve all of those things, and I am just starting to get them.

And I deserve to live. Not only live, but thrive. I deserve a life without struggle, a life full of love and support, a life with purpose.

I sure as hell don’t deserve to die. I don’t deserve to be looking at gravestones. No one I love has died. I haven’t died (and I’m not planning to die any time soon).

There are no gravestones needed here. These stones have been misplaced.

She knows

I checked the mail today.

A few pieces of junk mail. A credit card bill. And one envelope with my name and address handwritten on it, in familiar handwriting.

I told myself, this couldn’t be. She doesn’t know where I live. She said she doesn’t know anything; that’s why she gave my friend that letter to give to me. It’s just a coincidence.

I hesitated for awhile. But then I opened it.

There was a single piece of paper inside, with pictures of gravestones. No letter, no note, no explanation. Just a paper with different gravestones for me to choose.

I looked at the envelope again. My mother has always had a distinctive way of writing certain letters of the alphabet. The writing was the same.

My mother wrote out that envelope. She knows where I live. She lied to everyone.

Whose gravestone am I supposed to be choosing?

I am scared. My hands are still shaking, and I can’t stop crying for more than five minutes before I break down again.

She is coming for me. And I don’t want to die.

I’m sorry.

Disaster

I envy my mother.

She hid who she really was so perfectly. She was (and still is) a brilliant actress. No one suspected she was abusing her own children. They only saw what she presented to the world.

She was a true Catholic woman who went to Church every weekend.

She was a devoted mother who was involved in all of her children’s activities.

She was a kind, good-hearted, charitable person who never hesitated to give what she could to others.

The truth was that my mother only went to Church because membership was requires in order to get discounted tuition for the Catholic schools she sent her children to. Her stoic Catholicism  disappeared once her children finished school. The schools she sent her children to, not to give them a better education or strong faith, but because it made her look good. Bad parents don’t send their children to private school, right?

The truth was that my mother was involved in every activity not because she was devoted, but because she needed to be in control at all times. She was a Girl Scout troop leader not because she believed in what the organization stood for, but because it put her in an easily obtained power position.

The truth was that my mother brought gifts and donated to charities because it made her look good. She would buy lavish gifts for friends and extended family with money she didn’t have to spend. We’d often sit at home with no power because she spent all of the money she had buying things, and had no money left to pay the bills. But that didn’t bother her, because no one saw that our power was off, but they did see the nice things she bought for them (and for herself).

As an adult, I envied my mother’s ability to present whatever she wanted to the world, even when it was a lie. I could never do that. I wore the truth on my face without even trying.

But I’ve come to realize, I am pretending just like she did. I am hiding behind a false presentation I give to the world.

People see that I have it together. I go to work, I go to school, I write. I’m functioning so well. People read my articles, they see what I’ve done and they look up to me.

The truth is I am fucked up. I can barely get out of bed most mornings, and even though I manage to make it to work, it sucks up the little energy I have. I don’t even know how I’m making it through school because I have no fucking clue what’s going on. I know I’m reading English, but it might as well be Chinese because I just can’t understand it. I write articles that give people with DID hope, showing them that they can live a normal life, when I am spending so many of my days in a black hole of hopelessness, questioning if my life could get any more fucked up than it already is. I tell people to accept their diagnosis, while I wake up and tell myself I don’t have DID. I’m a fucking hypocrite.

And in the moments that someone sees that I am not together, I pretend like I am. I don’t want them seeing the mess that I am. So I tell them I am okay. I put on a smile. I do my work. They think I’m okay. There’s nothing to see here. Please go, and care about someone who matters.

People see that I look better. I’ve lost so much weight, but they assume it’s okay because I’m overweight. They give me compliments about my appearance, and tell me how great and healthy I look. I smile and thank them.

The truth is I am not healthy. I’ve lost so much weight because I starve myself. No one thinks anything of it, because they only think eating disorders happen to skinny people. It’s just like childhood. You don’t look like you’re starving. Oh, but I was. And I still am. The only difference is now I am the one in control, not my mother. I learned to shut off my hunger like a switch. If I don’t feel it, then it’s not a problem. I am in control now.

And in the moments that someone shows concern about my eating, I eat for them. I take their offers of food. I act like I enjoy it. Then I go in the bathroom and throw it all up. But they don’t see that. They see me eat and they think I’m okay. There’s nothing to see here. Please go, and care about someone who matters.

People see that I am planning a future. I’m working hard. I’m continuing my education. I’m going to therapy in order to heal. I must be working towards a better life.

The truth is that I’m just going through the motions. I am not planning my future any more than I am planning my death. I’m working because I have to. I’m going to school because I need the money. Therapy isn’t going to heal me. You can’t heal a person that’s been broken so many times, just like you can’t repair a shattered mug. I’m not working towards anything. I’m just waiting for the end.

And in the moments when someone sees my hopelessness, my depression, I tell them I’m fine. I tell them they’re wrong. If I were so hopeless and so lost, I wouldn’t be working,  going to school, or going to therapy. If I were so hopeless, I would have killed myself already. I make valid points. They think I must be okay. Please go, and care about someone who matters.

I am just like my mother. I’ve become so good at acting normal, that no one can see who I really am.

A fucking disaster.