So, you might want to take your bathroom break, fix your coffee, put on your pjs, finish playing Ruzzle and get settled because you may be here for awhile. This one has the makings of being a long one, especially since I have been writing this since March 10th. After failed attempts of trying to publish, I just mentally blogged it...rewrote it....etc. etc. But something tells me that today is the day...
Today I came across an article about forgiveness that made my eyes water. It just spoke to my soul, not because it was deep, but because it exposed a simple truth that I had been dancing around for 13 years now. I have been stuck in time, stuck at the age of 23 because I refuse to forgive and let go. This refusal has stunted my professional, emotional, financial, mental and social growth.
How do you forgive someone for making a mistake so fatal that it caused your entire life to be turned upside down? Caused all the hope you had and represented to be blotted out over the span of 3 weeks. 3 weeks that haunt me faithfully every year.
But I am tired....not a good combination when they tell you that your time is running out.
I have no will to fight...but yet I fight because it is ingrained in me. It is what I do. It is what I know. I am the proud survivor of Chicago's Southside where fighters and achievers are made.
I am kinda an oxymoron. A real life contradiction. The things I want, I give away. The things I despise, I hold on to. It's like I am punishing myself. Punishing myself to remind me of that misstep of putting my trust in someone 13 years ago.
I wasn't always like this. I remember when I used to open my mail on a regular basis. I remember when I used to pay all of my bills and before they were due. I never believed folks when they told me bills started showing up in different colored envelopes when they were past due. Now, I am not only a believer but a collector of the rainbow threat letters. (shrugs) I remember when I took care in choosing my outfits even if they were slightly wrinkled. I remember when I was the rock for most of my friends and family, the one they knew without a doubt they could count on. I remember facing my problems head on, come hell or high waters I was digging in my boots and standing my ground.
Those memories seem like a lifetime ago.
Four years ago, I started this blog because I was tired of pining over a love lost. I was tired of trying to sleep and baking soda myself to death. I was tired of waiting for God to wake me up from this neverending nightmare. I was tired of feeling broken and full of hatred and despair. I was tired of suppressing my emotions and keeping folks at bay. I had given up hope on finding the one person I had been looking for and decided it was time to leave my exclusive pity party and get on with my life. I mean I had to. I had Chucky and Chucky's bride to care for.
That was four years ago and though I have made leaps and bounds and knocked mountains back down to molehills, I am still not where I want to be...still not walking in my purpose... still not fully me.
Many folks who think they know me don't even realize they know a shell of me...
Few know that I was raped.
Even fewer know that I was the mother of twins.
Twins that I fought for even though they were the product of a heinous crime.
Twins that made me stronger than I ever thought I could be....
Twins that made me lose hope in all humanity.
But that wasn't the problem. I had never really trusted humanity. Humans were dust like me.
When I loss those babies, I lost my hope and my faith in God.
That's a hard pill to swallow, especially for a God-fearing Christian like myself. God was my everything. My end all to be all. The source of my joy and the reason I had hope. I believed that God could move mountains and that He could and would do anything for those living their life right.
Then I had my wake-up call and my world didn't just crumble, it imploded. All at once. One day I felt that I could take on the world and achieve anything I put my mind to as long as I put God first, and the next day I just wanted to curse God and die. But I wasn't that crazy, so instead I just stopped living. Stopped participating in life and just put my head down and allowed myself to be tossed and thrown whichever way the wind blew. When I finally decided to look up, I was appalled at what I had subjected myself to.
I had engaged in unhealthy sexual escapades. Hooking up with dudes I didn't know and didn't care to know.
I had stopped paying my bills and was working jobs that didn't cover my basic needs.
I had stopped communicating with the Faithful 10 and was so disconnected I didn't even know how to get in touch with some of them again.
I hadn't opened a piece of mail in over 7 years.
I had missed a lot of important milestones in the lives of folks I really and truly cared about.
I had allowed myself to be wronged on many occasions and never spoke up.
I had a baby with a married boy cuz he surely wasn't a man.
I had allowed myself to be surrounded by negative, gossiping, self-righteous, fake people. And if you knew anything about me, you knew I was allergic to folks like that...it was like me putting on corduroy in 100 degree weather...a huge no-no.
I had not only dimmed my light, I had shut that bad boy off and was afraid to knock the dust off to see if it still worked. To see if I still possessed greatness because I was never mediocre.
Something had to give.
I wasn't happy and I wasn't dying...or at least I didn't know I was dying.
I just was tired of living the way I was living. I hated being unhappy and being around unhappy people. I hated walking around feeling so hopeless like a penny with a hole in it. (yeah you know the song) I hated that I didn't know myself when I looked in the mirror, IF I looked in the mirror. I hated using the fact that I was poor confine me to a mental prison. I hated everything about who I had become and just wished the old me would show up and rescue me, because that is what she did. She was Supersaveaho and here it was she couldn't even save herself.
I was tired and sick and tired of being tired. And you know they say that's when you finally get up and do something about your situation...when you get sick and tired of being tired. And I guess "they" are right. Because I did something.
I cut off my hair.
That's right. The last thing that identified me with the old me, I chopped off. Boy ole boy the reactions I got were astounding. I think folks thought I had finally snapped and lost what little sanity I had left. Folks were offering to send me to treatment. Concerts. Vacations. Whatever it would take to snap me back right.
Ha! But I didn't need them. I mean where were they the last 10 years I had been pining away. Why weren't they encouraging me to seek help then? All I needed, I already had.
I needed God and I needed me...but in the reverse order because I always do things backwards and well that's what works for me, so that is what I am going to stick to.
I cut my hair off to force myself to deal with me. To see me. To save me. To center me. I was going back to the middle. I was taking off the masks and doing away with anything else I could hide behind or disappear within. My hair was like a fail proof conversation piece...kinda like when you put a hat on an non-attractive baby (don't act like they don't exist). You are saved from lying about how cute the baby is by talking about how cute the hat or the baby's clothes are. The same with my hair. Folks were saved from focusing on how sad and dead I looked by focusing on how nice my hair was...hair that I had to get permed every five weeks due to the naps that appeared that didn't allow a comb to go through. Hair that sucked money from my already non-existent cash flow. Hair that I had been hiding behind for 10 years.
I cut my hair off and the first thing I noticed was that was my naps were curls. Duh, I mean after all I did have Indian in my blood. And not none of that 12 lines removed Indian either. My greatgrandmother was full-blood Indian and her husband was Indian and French. Why the woman that birthed me is high yellow with sandybrown hair and eyes. The next thing I noticed was my head wasn't as huge as I imagined. And that it was a shame that I had allowed fear to stop me from cutting my hair off for so long.
I now wondered what else had I allowed fear to stop me from doing.
Fear is a crippling thing. It will have your peeping behind doors and hiding under cars. Fear of being hurt ever again had me living the life of a bag lady. I had emotional bags. I had mental bags. I had physical bags. Ha, hurt my back, I was hurting my entire life carrying those bags around with me and honey, like I said, I was tired. My body was shutting down. I was having pains and experiencing paralysis that the doctors couldn't explain.
Something had to give.
So I went and talked to a Quack... lol, I love him so. He is so good at what he does when he says nothing and just lets me figure it out on my own because when he opens his mouth, lawd knows he be way out in left field somewhere. 9 times out of 10, we already know the answer, know what we have to do, sometimes we just need a little encouragement...sometimes we just need to know that we have someone in our corner. Even if it's because they are getting paid to be there. But that wasn't really the case with him....his money has long since stop coming for me and he is still here, being a thorn in my side. Though we are going on 4 years, there are only a few things that he has said that has really stuck with me...made me pause, reflect, meditate and act. I think the most powerful thing is what he asked me, said to me in one of our earlier sessions when I had slipped up and opened up to him.
"Do you think by holding on to the hurt, pain, frustration and every detail about the situation validates your experience?"
In other words, was I refusing to let go of all things and people that had wronged me or caused me pain because I felt that would lessen the validity of my claim that I had been hurt or wronged? That was deep. I had never questioned why I was dragging around accountings of what had happened to me when I was four, who did it, what they said, what they had on, etc. etc. People are going to be people and with that being said, people are going to lie. They are going to lie even if they caught on tape so what difference did it make if I verbally regurgitated play by play what went down some 20 years ago? The more I chewed on it, the more I realized that fear prevented me from letting go. Fear of forgetting who and what had wronged me and thus allowing space and opportunity for them to wrong me again.
I couldn't live in fear any more.
I planned a cross-country trip with the hopes of conquering one of my biggest fears of all-times. My fear of unsafe heights. If I could overcome that, I knew I could overcome just about anything. I thought the test would be driving along the top of the mountains, and though that was a challenge at times, the true test came when we walked along the top of the Grand Canyon. Jesus had to be a fence, a weight-holder, a pacemaker, and some more stuff. I thought I would be okay because we could walk at our own pace and didn't necessarily have to look down. Yeah, all it took was for someone to pass me and force me closer to the edge than was comfortable for me to set me off. Next thing I knew, I was off the beaten path, in the woods, on higher ground on all fours. That's right, I was crawling in the dirt like a lunatic. But now, I am faced with more problems because the Grand Canyon is in the desert which is also home to the rattlesnakes, which the tour guide had warned us about. And I am higher than the path so I can see straight down into the Canyon. So of course now my bronchitis kicks in and I am having a hard time breathing in the thin air. Oh, and of course now I have to pee. So I am crawling, panting and shaking from side to side. Yup, I am sure I was a sight to see, in fact I know I was because my cousin, who was still on the path was pointing at me laughing and stating to me the obvious that now I was higher up than they were. Duh, I guess that was why I could see the top of all of their heads. Any who, I decided that enough was enough. I was too grown to be about to pee on myself because I was too petrified to stand up and walk back down to the path. I also didn't want to have to fight no rattlesnake or scorpion or any other poisonous wildlife. I was tired of being a prisoner to fear. A fear that I had inherited and it was going to end right there. Either because I was attacked by wildlife and died or because I pushed pass, through, under, around my fear and got on with my life.
I prayed. Then I stood up and walked back down to the path and quickly through the next 4 or so miles of sightseeing magnificence to the waiting tour bus. I made it. It might not have been pretty, but it was done.
Next up was my mail. I was embarrassed about the bags and bags of mail I had in my house. I didn't want folks to think I was keeping bags of trash so I just didn't invite people over who weren't related to me. And even some of them couldn't get in. But it was time for me to tackle that...but I was afraid. Afraid I had missed important dates, had more bills I couldn't pay, etc. etc. You see how stupid fear will have you acting? Duh, it was 10 years worth of mail. Of course there were going to be bills and all kinds of stuff I had missed out on in there. Me not opening it wasn't preventing that, it was just prolonging me finding out the inevitable. So thankful for my cousin who volunteered to come over and get me started. We got through 6 bags in about 8 hours. The other four...yeah, that's not so simple.
So I had conquered my fear of heights and tackled my fear of opening my mail, which symbolized so much more because I stopped opening my mail the day after the second twin died. So what was next?
Next up was confronting the rapist. Yeah, I had figured I had been avoiding that long enough and I really didn't believe in taking baby steps. If I was going to take the band-aid off, I might as rip it all the way off. No need to be gentle. Being gentle had me existing in a zombie state for over about 10 years. I won't rehash that encounter because I know I already blogged about it....I will just say that a huge weight was lifted from my life when I did that. It didn't matter that he was a jerk and that his words confirmed that he was still a jerk. What mattered is that his words prevented me from escaping into the reality I had created about the situation. His words made me accept that what I had always known was true. That he had raped me and that it was nothing that I could have done differently outside of not letting him in. And well, I can't change the fact that I did.
Since confronting him, I have been able to get rid of most of my emotional, mental and even physical baggage. I have forgiven and I have let go. That's right because I know my HIM is coming for me and I want to be able to get on the bus with ease when he arrives.
I am the happiest I have been in a very long time but I am still not there. I still seek out shelter behind temporary masks. Whether it be big baggy clothes. Big hair. Big attitudes. What have you. I am still running and hiding from something...from someone.
Tomorrow marks the anniversary of a lot of things for me. It used to be the beginning of the end. The day may heart cracked...the day the doctor stated I would die. He was wrong. I died 3 weeks later.
Something has to change. I am tired. My body is tired. My soul is tired. And the doctors are saying I don't have that long to live. They say if I make it out of May I am doing good. Ha, I told them they need to recalculate because I have plans that I have already spent my money on in June. And I am not one to waste money. I have cancer. But I don't believe them, even though they recently removed a tumor from my body. (shrugs) I am bigger than cancer. I can beat cancer.
I am not sure I can beat me.
How do you forgive someone for making a mistake so fatal that it caused your entire life to be turned upside down? Especially when that someone is you? I was the cause of my downfall. I made the decision against my better judgment to let the rapist come stay with me. I made the decision to allow him to enjoy life while I suffered in silence for all of those years. I made the decision to not seek therapy because of fear of finding out that I had joined the ranks of most of my family and was now certifiably mentally unstable. I made the decision to eat all that baking soda which has deposited metal throughout my body and poisoned my bloodstream. I made the decision to have a baby with someone who was married and immature. I made the decision to stop opening my mail and paying my bills. I made the decision to allow folks access to my life that don't deserve to be there. I made the decision to turn my back on God because I felt I could make it just fine without His help. I did it. Yes, there were extenuating circumstances but I still made choices. I chose to give up rather than do what I was known for doing, holding up my guards and rolling with the punches.
The doctors say some of the tumors have been growing for about 13 years. Poetic irony don't you think? All I need to do to beat this is to take my meds and eat raw veggies for a period of time. But what if they are wrong? I have been wrong before and it cost me my life figuratively. I am not ready to lose my literal life. Not yet, not when I am have just reconnected with myself.
I have been punishing myself systematically for 13 years. I am tired. I am sorry. I did all that I could do and I lost. But how do you reconcile that your best wasn't good enough when your motto is 'failure is never an option' ? Well, running, hiding and avoiding the situation surely aren't the best options seeing how that hasn't worked for me in 13 years.
I have to make peace with myself so that I can make peace with God and something tells me that this may be my last shot. Games tied. Balls in my hand. Do I dribble or do I shot?
Tomorrow is when my heart broke some 13 years ago. Tomorrow is when I am choosing to finally mend that broken heart. I will be picking up the pieces the best way I know how. I will be living and embracing the pain and hurt and whatever else I may feel. I will own it fully and then I will let it go. I don't need it any more. I get it. I messed up. I went against my gut and lost. Life happens. I did something very few women are able to do even though many fantasize about it. I carried two babies at the same time. I was the mother of twins even if very few people know it.
Tomorrow I will be celebrating life and I will continue to due so over the next 3 weeks. Ending it with a private memorial service, for my babies and for myself. I know some are probably lost and wondering why I will do it for 3 weeks. Well, my babies came 3 weeks a part, one in April and the other in May, which is why it would also be poetic justice if I died in the month that I had figuratively died in some 13 years ago. But it's not going to happen.
It can't. I am too close to true happiness. Too close to finding my forever. I can feel it. I just don't know how to get to it. I am afraid to take that first step. But like I said, I am tired so I have no choice but to do it. Tomorrow, I will face fear head on and set the tone for the rest of my life.
I am done running and not just because I am tired. But because it is time for me to take my rightful place. It is time for me to return to the circle of life before my circle completes itself without me.
I am from the Southside of Chicago, where fighters and achievers are made. It is time that I start back acting like it.