She asked, “is that from a song, or the name of one?” I smiled and only nodded, but when I said it, I was lost in thought. Confused by my lack of response, she ventured off in the other room, allowing me to be alone with my previous thoughts. There was something to be said for secrecy.
When I was a child, my best friend and I always seemed to have a secret to tell. We made a game out of whispering something in the others ear and then swearing that to secrecy as if someone’s life depended on it. Our pinkies crossed, we spit in our palms and shook as we saw the boys do. There, now we have a solid promise with double insurance.
What on earth did a couple of 8 year old little girls have to keep so private? I guess it was the first act of many that would prove the other trustworthy. It wasn’t that those secrets were so deadly, offensive or of trouble, but there was something in the process of swearing to God, the famous pinky promise and the disgusting exchange of slimy palms that just made it all so pensive.
Did we ever go back on our word? We shared a lot of those so called secrets over the years and I don’t recall any repercussions like my hand falling off, or my skin peeling away and we are still friends to this day, so I guess we shall never know, but can safely assume we did abide by that strict code.
I flash forward back to this present day and forget about the lyrics to that old song as I retrace those memories and wonder where they came from. What ignited the buried remembrances and why? Again I murmured under my breath this time, dirty little secrets, hoping to find the thread and rip it out.
My mind took control and before I knew it, together we were recapturing or more like trapping, the images that were replaying in my head. What do you want, I asked as if they had the ability to answer, but I waited nonetheless. No answer came and I was forced to watch what felt like a movie of my life playing only I wasn’t the star. Suddenly it had become clear what the fuck was going on.
I’ve lived a life this long and the story is so far from over yet for all this time, I have not been the leading lady starring in my own life. I got it, the message was clear. I am beginning to feel the cuffs are loosening, the chains are breaking and the bondage is slowly being freed…
I sat there on the couch, feet up, cuddled by the warmth of my favorite blanket watching nothing in particular on the tv, apparently it was for the background noise . The quietness outside competed with the sound of your car as you pulled into the drive. I took a semi deep breath and remained calm, both of which have been difficult to accomplish these days.
Typically you come by, with your usual demeanor, the inability to just be. I feel the energy coming at me before you enter the door, but this time you remained in your car. Curious as to what you were doing, I casually strolled past the window a time or two to take a glance, ah, you’re on the phone. This could be awhile, and it was. I took notice as I confirmed what had your attention. There was something different about you, but I’ll wait I thought. My intuition is pretty strong and my emotional intellect even higher. After all, you are my child, grown or not, I carried you in my body for 9 months. Little gets past me and even less surprises me.
Finally you made your way through the door and I was correct about your person although I wasn’t quite sure what it was, not yet. We got beyond the formalities of hi’s and hugs and found ourselves sitting now, a little awkwardly and I was eager to know why. Clearly you have a heavy heart, a burden you’re struggling to balance and even hold. You’d begin talking incessantly, this is never new to me, but there was a nervousness about you and I just listened. This has become our routine. You talk, I listen and soon it turns into a long threaded rant on nearly every topic from childhood to current time. Whew. Catch a wave pal, you’re drifting. I remain quiet, taking in what I can, paying attention to my own breath, facial expressions arms and body language. This child is working up to something heavy and deep as the words keep flying, but not much is being said.
There’s that moment when someone is trying desperately to unload something, but fear has stymied what is needing to be shared and so the conversation goes in circles and backtracks, then the trickles begin. The questions fly, do you remember when I was such and such and age and this and that happened? I’m trying to keep up, really focus on what’s being said or rather what’s being eluded to but not fully comprehending the message. I’m working on my patience. My unconditional love for this grown child pouring out from me while the fumbling keeps happening. This went on for 4 hours. God have mercy on this child and help the words just flow, please Lord.
At last the personal revelation and truth emerged from this poor child’s lips. I sit silently as I feel my shoulders relax and I grin, hoping my quiet response was loving and supportive. I nodded in agreement or maybe it was acceptance, but either way, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. At last we have a reason, the reason for all the peculiar, relentless, angry behavior that has consumed this child for nearly 25 years.
I turned my head for just a moment and you were gone. A panic washed over me as I frantically called your name. Pushing garments of ladies apparel aside, rack by rack, I could hear a faint giggle. You were only 2 and you loved to play games like that. Unbeknownst to you, the fear that arose in my chest, as you would grow accustomed to saying, “I got this mom”, and you always have. Somehow that would be your way of assuring me you would always be okay, no matter what.
I feel so lost without you now. You got this, right? Yet that all too familiar panic has risen up and taken residence in my heart. This time I blinked and tried again, but I don’t hear the giggling in the air. I can’t see your face. I can’t find you anywhere.
Before you could form sentences or even threw your binky away, I could tell there was a mystery about you. Over time it was the little things that made you cry, often inconsolably and I couldn’t figure out why, but you knew.
Years would pass. You were growing up, trying to find the place where you belong. Never feeling liked by the kids on the school ground, not knowing how much you actually were. Was it your hyper activity that kept you moving? Sports became an outlet, baseball, soccer, dirt bikes, skateboards, bikes and scooters. Anything that would occupy your energy and free your spirit, but still, you sought after anything that would grant you acceptance. You tried basketball, even wrestling and joined the school band on drums. Then one day you asked for a bass guitar. Please mom. Happy birthday sweetie. You joined brothers, forming a band, the 3 of you, so young and talented, you were more than good, you were amazing.
Sports and all “that” began to fall away. You’d found this passion deep inside playing bass. Self taught, you wouldn’t allow me to “waste money on lessons when you could teach yourself” and you did. Yet all those years I’d watch you on stage, self conscious and insecure, as if you were still searching for that place of belonging, because you were.
Your pain continued to haunt you. I couldn’t read it, put my finger on it, then he left and you were devastated. The dad you tried so hard to please, to be like and feel included by. This was a whole new level of despair while I was desperately working to be all I could for you 3, but somehow I saw it in your heart, for you this grief of loss was affecting you in some other way. It was different and deeper.
That same 2 year old resides within, still inconsolable, try as I may. “I love you” are all the words I have, with everything I know. Life was harder back then, but we were gaining everyday as we made our way through, just us 4.
We got this, right? Wrong… “We” crumbled. My turn. You’re gone. Here I sit. Motionless. Breathless. Helpless. Guilt. Hands in the air. Heart splitting in 2. Inconsolable. I’m still searching for that place of belonging, just for you.
I could feel the famine as my tastebuds were tricked into savoring and becoming addicted to the flavor from the essence of meeting my needs. The chains that held me captive, though heavy, kept me trapped in a belief that this was my worth and value.
My survival mode is what told me to remain with my broken pieces for if I broke the lock that was cinched so tightly, how would I be fed the morsels that kept me alive?
There was a point I was so deep within the struggle I couldn’t see another way. This was my comfort food, my nourishment that sustained me for 1 day increments. The rest of my days, I was starving.
The dungeon was dark, cold and despairing, but it felt familiar and safe somehow. The rituals, protocols and rules overtook me. I didn’t know I was in danger, mentally and physically being tormented as my soul cried out.
One day I saw a link that had rusted and became like glue, but looking closer, I noticed another that had cracked. This precious piece had been compromised as I wiggled it a little each day. Days, weeks, months even years had passed and though this once sturdy link, now weakened over time, gave me strength I hadn’t known before.
Could it be that if these restraints were all removed that I could withstand the release and experience freedom, have joy and peace, comfort and feel loved? Terrified I would die, remain lost and starve forever, I found ways to begin to break away.
Consumed with questions, paralyzed by my own answers and fearing the truth, I embraced the idea and took that first leap. What was about to happen I couldn’t know or see and where I was going to end up I couldn’t reach, not yet.
Day 1, I learned to take a big gulp of the new air I had never smelled before. Day 2, I felt new strength as my legs stood taller and walked a little farther down the path. Day 3, I tasted this sweet flavor that was clearing my palette that I’d never experienced before.
Day 150, my appetite has gone from destruction to reconstruction of my spirit. What I craved all those years was never going to be enough to make me feel full. Your fish are not that delicious, but my Fathers fridge is full! I haven’t been eating the wrong things, I’ve been getting them from the wrong source.
He has done for me what I couldn’t consider and by doing so, He created room to receive the truth, the peace, the love, comfort and joy. Welcome to my funeral for the rabble as I enjoy the new feast.
Did you know the child you birthed, may not be whom you thought they were? Can you understand they may be struggling with something more powerful, cunning and baffling than their own imagination? Do you accept what they perceive and actually know to be their truth, yet they’ve suppressed it for so long?
If you are further confused by what is seemingly bizarre and unexplainable behavior from a loved one, especially your own flesh and blood, the offspring you thought you knew, and you find yourself in constant concern, wonder and worry, you’re not alone, but they may feel as if they are.
Has you child come to you with a secret so deep they can’t muster up the words to speak so they stammer and stumble as they try to explain. You look at them perplexed, coaxing them to just say the words, assuring them it’s ok because you love them so much. You take notice the fear consuming them and yet you persuade them to trust you, hoping they feel safe. At last they just vomit the thing they wanted to share because in doing so they know, or at least can imagine, the relief they’ll feel once they open their busting heart.
Finally they blurt it out, the suppression they’ve been hiding behind, the one they could feel, but never knew why. They’ve felt crazy, like their own skin holding them together doesn’t really belong to them. They’re so uncomfortable they wish they could peel it away just to reveal what’s deep down within. Suddenly its out there and you can’t un-know the things you’ve been told and somehow you manage to take a gulp of air and exhale. You have little emotion, no true reaction yet as your heart begins to sing and you smile feeling their relief.
Terrified to tell you, but so desperate to get it out, they wait for you to say something, anything and the only thought to share is how much you love them. What else would a doting parent do? Reject this child or embrace them as you’ve always done? The choice is obviously the latter and so you choose that card and take the gamble. This child of yours is a sure bet so you feel pretty good about this decision.
For the past too many years to count, this child has been tormented inside, but by what? You pray for them and pour love into their souls. You cry over them, fret, worry and obsess over their very well being and still, until this blessed day would come, you continue to lose sleep and suffer for their pain.
They stray and stay away until they come back, wounded and confused, but you love them through it all. Because of you they can venture out to test the water and find their crooked way, but still you love them unconditionally because in a sense, they’re still yours. They face fear and they run, we watch and we wait, but somehow we find our way back to the other to touch home plate and feel that safety net wrap us up until we part another day.
Rest assured this path is their journey. They are never alone as we stand on the sidelines, cheering them along. They’ll find their way in the darkness and the light. Despite all the trials they will triumph in the night. Sleep well and take comfort they will be alright.
A loving, devoted mama bear. I share because I care.