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Not Completely Emotionally Damaged, Just Enough To Be Normal

Not Completely Emotionally Damaged, Just Enough To Be Normal

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For the past few days, I have sat in front of my computer, trying to decide what I would write for this blog post; staring at a blank screen, wondering where to even begin.  I start this story in the middle, not for convenience, but for you to understand my current thought process; the thoughts that seem to roll through my head as if to taunt my sanity.  Issues that I have felt since I can remember are heightened and brought to the surface.  Last year, I shared a little bit of my story from my childhood.  The memories I had of my father and how he treated my mother and me.  This time around, I wanted to go in to more of the feelings that are tied to abuse.  No time like the present seems more fitting for me to convey the emotions that have been ripening from the milestones of my life.

I consider myself a strong individual, one who relies on my own opinions as my source for self-worth.  Too often, this isn’t the case and I place my value on the actions of others.  I allow my happiness to be dictated by someone else.  I know this is horrible and self-destructive, but I really believe that I am not the only one.  In fact, I would bet that most everyone is this way; you just may be at a different level than others.  There’s a constant need to feel accepted by the ones you love; whether it be a girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse, child, or parent.  When that love is reciprocated with betrayal, rejection, or even violence, it makes a lasting impression that can take years to overcome, if you do ever get over it.  This is really something that I am trying to overcome.  I have to make an actual effort every day to stop and tell myself that I am the one that is in control of my emotions and my happiness.  If I don’t take the time to make my own self happy, no one else is going to.  I’m sick to death of people, who are not me,  having so much power over my current state of mind.  Of my mood.  I can’t control the mistakes of others or the hurt that they caused, but I can control how I deal with it.  I know, I know… At this point I sound like a really cheesy motivational poster that you had hanging in your high school.  It’s so cliché, and it’s so true.

  • One emotion that I have to deal with is abandonment.  A sense that no matter how much you love someone, there’s always the chance they will walk out of your life.  I know this stems from having my father repeatedly show me that the bonds of parent and child were not enough to keep someone around.  To be honest, I really don’t know if there ever was a bond or if that was the Disney princess in me expecting my fairytale to be repaired at the stroke of midnight.  Looking back, it was probably best that my father was gone most of the time.  It’s better to be abandoned than to have to deal with an angry drunk.  Somehow a child’s feeling of being in their parents’ presence takes precedence over safety.  The negative attention in the home is better than no attention.  I look at my son, and I just can’t possibly imagine how anyone can do a child like that.
  • Helplessness.  I feel this all too often.  Just a feeling of lost.  Lost in your own emotions.  Lost in your own thoughts.   Not knowing what is around the corner.
  • Vulnerability, thou art a heartless bitch.  I don’t do vulnerable very well.  To everyone that knows me, I am an outspoken person.  I let you know exactly how I feel, but this isn’t the type of vulnerability that I’m referring to.  I’m talking about in the quiet moments when I share my true emotions, how I’m really feeling inside.  Very few people know me in this way.  Very few.
  • Ah yes, the good ol’ trust issues…  Do I really need to go in to these?
  • The hardest emotion to deal with is defeat; having your whole world feel as though you have just been a failure at life.  I don’t feel this way often, but every now and then it hits me hard.  A “life has kicked my ass since the beginning” feeling.  Every time I feel this way, I just let myself cry it out.  About five minutes into the cry, I’ll hold my head up and say, “This is stupid, pull yourself together!”  After that, I dry my eyes and go on with my bad self.  I’ve made it thus far, and I’ll make it another day.  Sometimes it’s okay just to try and make it through each day.

So many memories seep their way into my day.  There’s not a day that goes by that at some point I don’t remember things from my childhood.  They don’t always break me down, or get the best of me, but they were a part of my life for the first eleven years I was alive.  I can still vividly smell whiskey from time to time, the smell of whiskey mixed with vomit.  The feeling of shame that is associated with living as poor as we did.  The tension we felt from not knowing if we were going to have a place to sleep that night.  How thick the air got when my father came through the door drunk.  The pain of seeing things no child should ever see.

No matter how many of these emotions I’m feeling in any given day, they are always overshadowed by these:

  • Love.  Not romantic comedy love.  The kind of love I get from my family and friends who have stood by me through it all.  The ones that have proven to me TIME AND TIME again that no matter how tough the world gets, there is always SOMEONE who is genuinely good.  Someone who no matter your faults, appreciates the real you.  They welcome your insanity, and they love you for it.
  • Pride.  I am bad-ass.  I’ve made it through a shit ton of things, and I am still alive to talk about it.  I may have been knocked down, but I got my ass right on back up.  Hell yeah, I’m proud of that.
  • Security.  Secure in the fact that I’ll make it through whatever.
  • Self-importance.  Not conceited self-importance.  A “there are people who actually need me.”  If nothing else but to confide in me with their own experiences.  I can be their sounding board, help them to not feel alone.
  • Community.  Man, the community I have surrounded myself with is amazing.  So many strong individuals who not only understand, but feel your pain.  They always know just what to say.
  • Empathy.   Now I have a need to make the world a better place.  I know that if I don’t do my best, even as an individual, to try and change things I didn’t do my part.
  • Humor.  What can I say?  I’m hilarious.  I really should get paid for it.

I don’t know how my life will wind up; I have no clue where I will be in a few years… I do know that despite the things I had to go through as a child, I’m who I am because of them.   I’m tired feeling hatred and bitterness toward things I can’t change.   I had it lucky compared to a lot of people.

I have probably made myself sound like a huge old bag of crazy, but I’m not… “That’s exactly what a crazy person would say…”  *whispers* “Now look, she’s talking to herself.”  I don’t consider my emotions, or struggles, any rarer than other people’s.  I know that there is no way that I will every truly understand why things happen the way they do.  It is life, everyone has a sad story.  Everyone deals with their chapters differently.  Just don’t let the emotions of the past become who you are.  Learn to accept the things that have changed your life, there’s nothing you can do about them… Except grow from them.

October is National Abuse Awareness month:

If you’re in need of help go to http://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-SAFE

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About Nikki: Nikki was born and raised in Alabama. She became involved with UniteWomen.org in February 2012 following a series of legislation on women’s reproductive rights. Kicking ass and taking names, volunteering on the National Campus Team, Graphics designs, and working toward equality for all have been her contribution to the UniteWomen.org team. She is currently attending college and working toward a degree in Film and Photography Communications. Don’t be fooled by her southern charm, she is badass and witty as hell.

 

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