Monday, August 27, 2012

Probably Not

Do you remember when I couldn’t breathe? Probably not. But I do.

 I remember the sensation of weight on my chest, weight on my eyelids, weight on my heart. Expectations were heavy, Responsibilities were unrealistic, Burdens were unbearable. You thought I was strong, you thought I was fine. But it’s only because you never asked. Were you too caught up in your own pain to see mine? Was your baggage so binding that you did notice the bags you strapped to my back every day?

When I think about that life, about those days in the big brick house, I feel the air slip out of my lungs. My chest tightens, and I feel heavy. I know there were so many good times. So many hugs and smiles. Christmas cookies, and back scratches. I wish those memories were sharper, and clearer, and brighter. But when I look back, everything is covered in fog. Heavy fog.

Do you remember when I hated myself? Probably not. I never told you.

 Sometimes I wonder if you noticed the blood through my sleeve and chose not to speak up. It’s easier to believe you never saw. Was your pain so raw that you never noticed me crying myself to sleep? Would you have been surprised to find me dead at last, my arm submerged in a bathtub full of blood, just like I fantasized a thousand times?
You try to tell me how beautiful I am now. But the part of me that needed to hear that grew up and moved out a long time ago.

Do you remember the day I learned I was evil? Probably not. But I do.

 I remember your words, immortalized in the pages of my diary, came to life and stood before my eyes like living demons. Liar, untrustworthy, lazy, selfish. You taught me to ask God for forgiveness. You promised me that He would make me perfect. But he didn’t, and that’s when I knew I was evil, wrong, bad, lost. Were you proud of me? Of all the time I spent on my knees hating my own guts? Did you mistake my self-deprecation for humility? Or was this your desired result?

I already forgave you for the things you did, on accident or otherwise. I have taken responsibility for my life and my feelings. But the marks remain, like sunspots from the glare of your unrelenting righteousness.  I don’t want to blame you for the depression, for the years I spent swimming against the current, trying to break away from the darkness. I don’t want to hate you for the anxiety I’ve experienced over every small decision.

 But some day I’d like to hear you admit that you were wrong, and mean it. If that’s selfish of me, I’m sorry.

You remember the laughter and the warmth. You remember your ups and downs. Maybe you even have regrets. But do you remember my daily struggle to be perfect for you? Do you remember how I felt when I failed every single day? Probably not. But I do, and I wish with all my heart that I could forget.


  1. I imagine there are SO MANY kids who totally relate to this. :(
    Thanks for sharing this...And, I believe this, "You thought I was strong, you thought I was fine. But it’s only because you never asked." is a good clue to parents...we need to be asking...we need to not have kids someday who feel this way and what we need to do is ask...and be humble enough to really care and mean it when we admit we've been wrong!

  2. So really took me back. I finally had the courage to tell my mother how utterly unhappy I was living at home as an adult daughter, the oldest daughter in a family with eight kids. I told her how I cried myself to sleep every night, that's how unhappy I was, and she snapped defensively that she never knew - as it that made it okay. And I said that of COURSE she never knew, we kids were all well-practiced in the art of showing only happy faces, regardless of what emotions we were truly experiencing.

  3. Thanks for writing this. I was a cutter too and I have a lot of scars.