or... My Mother Told Me If I Ever Told Anyone, They'd Never Believe Me
...and now I have to tell the truth one more time. Now I am ready to really let this go.
My mother was right about nobody believing me, for a long time. Because I made sure she was right.
I've wanted to write about certain things for quite a while now. But I hadn't figured out a way to do it without being negative. I mean, yeah it's important to me to get things out there- mostly because it might just help someone else to not repeat certain things that are not so productive. But then, being negative is just not all that productive either.
So I think I've found a way to do this without hitting the 'oh feel sorry for me' notes. After all, that would defeat the purpose.
So here goes...
There was a time when I was very small, so small that I don't even remember anything before that time, that I first faced the choice. It was a choice between the truth and dangers that I perceived as even worse. I have always been a super fast learner. It didn't take me any time at all to see that lying was the only viable way to remain safe.
I wish that I could say that I didn't know any better. That I was under the impression that everyone lived the way that I did. It might have been easier in some ways if I had thought that way. But that would be a lie. Not only have I always been a super fast learner, I also have always had razor sharp perceptions. I knew things I shouldn't know for my age way before my peers. I knew and understood complex things without ever having them explained to me.
From the very first time that I lied to cover up the ugly truth, I knew it was wrong. Over the years, I felt myself disappearing into a hole where no one would ever be able to find me. And certainly never be able to help me. At the same time, I was continuously reminded of how fortunate I was to be living the life I had. At some point, I think I believed that I was too lost to ever be found and unworthy of anything or anyone. I hate to admit this, but I became brainwashed thoroughly enough that I finally gave in to the darkness.
I lied and lied and lied. With a smile on my face. I made certain that NOBODY ever knew what my life was really like. I performed perfectly on cue. It was Oscar worthy, really. When somebody got suspicious, that's when I pulled out the big guns. I made sure that every word, every motion, every nuance was perfectly positive in every way. I eventually fooled myself as well.
For many, many years I honestly believed that the life I had was all that I would ever have. I dreamed so small. I did crazy things to make sure that I stayed stuck right where I was. School was my only reprieve and I would count the hours every night until I could go back. The weekends seemed endless and summer break was a kind of torture. My charade was growing old and once in a while I allowed myself a close friendship, but never for very long.
It was not a real life. And as I got older and more mature I realized that sooner or later this would have to end. I just had no idea how to get out of the darkness, the insanity, the uncertainty. Still, in the back of my mind there remained a bit of hope that never quite died, no matter how bad things got.
I did have chances to tell someone. Over time I allowed more people into my world to some degree. But I just never could bring myself to tell the whole truth. I think I had actually forgotten exactly what the truth was.
I managed to move out of my mother's house and into an apartment with room mates. And then to get married- all without truly facing my demons. Why I didn't tell the truth at this point is beyond me. There was no longer a tangible reason to hold back. All I can say is that I had been well trained and complete control is a difficult bond to break. The mind can be a funny thing with all its' myriad locks and keys.
One day, I experienced a change. It was my 30th birthday. I never saw it coming. It was as if a dam had broken loose in me and the truth just would not stop flowing out. All those years of lies bubbled up like a volcano. I was done. I wouldn't have it anymore. It felt good and bad at the same time. I was so embarrassed that it had taken me so long to get to that point.
I had to fight harder than I ever imagined to complete the process. I needed to do things that I never imagined I would ever dream of doing. Harsh things. Things that cannot be undone. The lies came back to haunt me. My guilt was immense. I had wasted so much time and broken people I loved. Things would never be the same and I knew it. And yet, there I was in the rubble- finally free.
I will never be able to explain completely why I didn't stop what was going on much sooner than I did. I will never know why this one lesson was so hard for me to learn. I will always be sorry for the people I lied to. I will never be proud of how I took my husband down the rabbit hole with me. I am still sorry I resented people who failed to help me, even though I made sure they wouldn't. I hope that one day I am able to get over the fact that there were things I didn't see while I was still dealing with this that caused me to allow my nephew to be hurt.
I don't say these things so I can pile another guilt trip on myself. I say it because I'm being honest and that finally feels right. I started going through the motions of stopping the actions that were keeping me from being who I'm supposed to be 8 years ago. It's been a long and difficult process. And now, although it's not a perfect picture I present here, it's a real one. And that's all I ever wanted.