Maybe you’re right.

I used to live in a world of black and white, but now I live in a world of grey. I am the product of many years of maturity, growth and life experiences. Today, I see things very differently. I’m not the naive little girl that once lived in the protected bubble my parents created. Looking back now I see that it was more like a kingdom that they alone ruled and controlled. The years I lived in their care were some of the best memories of my life. We were always sheltered away from the realities of the world. I never knew the depths of depravity that ran rampant right outside our front door. I was unaware of the real life nightmares others around me were living. I thought my upbringing was how everyone was brought up and in my ignorance I judged others from the high pedestal I had been placed on. I thought we were the lucky ones who knew the truth, but it turns out that they all knew better than all of us. Now I see that the world isn’t as simple as my parents made it out to be. Sometimes the “monsters” aren’t the creatures lurking in closet or the boogeyman underneath our beds. Truth is, oftentimes the monsters are those we love most and call, “friend”. Sometimes the ultimate enemy isn’t something or someone attacking us, but instead, the cancer of self-destruction that lies dormant inside ourselves. I was taught to put all my faith and trust into my parents hands, and by doing so, I became emotionally paralyzed and incapable of doing anything for myself. Everything was always done for me and decided for me. My father provided financially and my mother stayed home and raised us. He met our physical needs, while my mother tended to our emotional. Being little girls, I don’t think they realized just how great the effect our father’s lack of presence would have in our lives. Since our relationship with him suffered all along, so did we.

I was taught to never trust anyone else but my immediate family and make my decisions based on doubt and anxiety. I was never allowed to venture outside my parents overly- protective reach, and in time our home began to feel more like a prison instead of the fantasy castle we once believed it to be. In time, the walls that once protected us, would become nothing more than impenetrable barriers we could never be free from. Although meaning well, my parents suffocated me and had me living like a drone, subjected to a way of life and thinking they thought was best for me. Anytime I challenged that notion or their stance in anyway, there were consequences. Sometimes those consequences were far to harsh for a young girl of my age. Really, I don’t remember living a day without fear of judgment or not feeling under pressure. Many times I felt my existence was to better and protect the existence of my sisters, and others around me. I was the “guinea pig” and the “black sheep” since birth. Dubbed my parents “love child” only to be referred to as, “the problem child” in latter years. I would come to pave the way for my sisters, but it would cost me plenty of psychological damage, physical bruises and emotional scars that would follow me for the rest of my life. My sisters only know so much, and then their memory grows weary. It’s possible they may have even forgotten how bad it got, but I never did. Sometimes I can visually imagine that “road I paved for them” solely made up of my blood, my sweat and bitter tears. Even now, I don’t believe that they understand how traumatizing it was to be me growing up, especially being a sensitive, people pleaser like I am. I’m not trying to paint myself as some sort of scapegoat or victim, but if you’re going by the actual definition of those names, and all of my countless years of therapy I had listening to a professional pick me apart and diagnose me, than those labels were exactly what I was. Naturally, I’d become super defensive and want to rationalize all the bad. I didn’t want to believe the reality of what I’d experienced and I was in denial of it for a very long time. In many ways I still think some of my family is in somewhat denial of it or they want to play it down. I’ve accepted that they will never understand it as I do, and really, I don’t want them to. As much I gained by fighting my way out and breaking free, I still remained a prisoner to the mentality I was raised in. And so began the arduous struggle between my truth, and that of my families.

I know I was close minded for a very long time, shut off and far removed from everything and everyone. I lived, thought, breathed, reacted, processed and loved in constant fear. I knew I was loved, but I was never shown it in the ways I so desperately needed in order to feel it. I never felt quite right in my own skin, and I remember the many days I dreamt of eventually becoming someone else.

I know that as a child, I thought that puberty not only changed your physical man, but also your inner man. Somehow I thought that one day I’d wake up as someone else with a different filter of emotions and mentality, but that never happened. Puberty came and went, but I was still the same old me. Only difference was, I became more and more aware of my inability to be what others wanted me to be. I would struggle my whole life to meet their expectations, but in their eyes, I would continue to fail miserably. I sometimes look back on my decisions and wonder how many were really mine, and how many were done for the sake of “keeping the peace” or as an act of pure rebellion. I guess I’ll never know and it really makes no difference now, since the past has come and gone. But the pain has changed me and molded me into a different person. I see the world through knowledgeable and understanding eyes. I feel and follow my heart and emotions more than I do my head these days. I have grown so much in the last few years and learned to separate the image others have of me, from the actuality of who I am. I’m not a robot that can be controlled and set aside when they’ve grown tired of me. I have cried enough tears for those that have claimed to love me. It’s time I dried my own eyes and lived for myself, and so I have. I’m no longer seeking the conditional love and approval of others.

Some of you have irrevocably damaged me, and gone about life as if it never happened, checking on me every so often, to help you sleep better at night. Although forgiven, I have not forgotten your heartless acts and I will never allow myself to be hurt by you in those ways ever again. If you burned me, just know I burned that bridge that united us when you betrayed me. If you destroyed me once, I promised myself to never let you have that chance to do that to me again. My mantra has become a “take me as I am” philosophy in regards to my life. If you don’t like it, keep it moving. I’m done begging, chasing, and holding onto people that only want to stray. As Robert Frost one said,

“I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

See, the thing is, you don’t have to like me, agree with me or condone my actions, decisions and behaviors. You don’t have to like who I am friends with or who I chose to date. You don’t have to tell me what you “feel” is right or wrong, or tell me how I should live my life. You’re sole purpose in my life is to love me in spite of everything I am and everything I’m not. You’re role is to encourage, uplift and try to understand. If I haven’t asked you for your opinion or thoughts, than honestly I couldn’t care less what you have to say. As much as I have tirelessly loved so many of you, I have reached my breaking point and I am at the end of my rope. I cannot do for you, fix you, make you happy, or be the person you want me to be anymore. I was a victim of my past, but now I’ve found my voice. I am more than my mistakes and what has been done to me. I am more than just a mother, a sister, daughter, aunt, niece, granddaughter or friend. I am an entity all my own and if you want to be a part of my life, it’s gonna have to be on my terms. I’m not censoring, filtering, or watering down any part of myself to accommodate anyone else. If you love me like you “claim to” love me then this decision will make no difference to you. I’m so fed up with being condemned and questioned. I’ve changed in recent years and I am not following suit like I used to. Others say they are overwhelmed with trying to keep tabs on me and feel helpless, but guess what? I’ve lived in that feeling for over 3 decades. Some of you can’t take this small portion of rebellion in the last 3 years! I have spent my entire life, saving others and always being there for them. I had a good run but now the emotions are too great to be bottled and my wings are too big to be held down. It took what felt like an eternity, but now I see that I am actually free. I know now that there is so much that I’m still getting wrong, but along the bumps in the road there are some fundamental truths, I’ve gotten right. And maybe that’s really what life is all about? Carving out your own path along the many that surround you. Maybe life is about taking chances and making mistakes while learning to stand on your own two feet. Either way, I believe we all come to that moment in life where we stand facing the fork in the road, and have to choose which road to take. Even with all the pain and loss I have felt, I can be honest and say that I wouldn’t do it any different. I wouldn’t take it back or erase on of my experiences, good or bad. Maybe you’re right when you say I’m nothing like the girl I used to be. Maybe change hurts but with it comes growth. Today, I choose to believe that all of that black and white throughout the course of my life, helped to soften me to reflect a lighter shade of grey.

Why I sleep naked.

 

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I like to sleep naked. When other people are around I prefer to wander the house in just an oversized t-shirt and underwear. When it comes to bedtime habits I like having the doors locked and being left to my vices so I can let my mind wander. I’m back to having to take sleep meds to help me turn my mind off at night. I feel like I sleep best when I’m all alone. Don’t get me wrong, there is a certain level of comfort and peace I have felt when I share my bed with someone I care about, but it is very different from the peace I find when I’m left alone.

I’m a very temperamental person when it comes to my sleeping routine, habits and patterns. I can’t fall asleep with lovers or be held all night. I always end up leaving or pushing them away. I feel frustration with how cold I can be when it comes to the way I sleep. I take my space and I don’t ask for it. If there is one aspect of life that I am completely selfish with it is this. Maybe I haven’t allowed another man to really hold me because I can feel their insincerity? Most of the time I push or go because I don’t feel safe being vulnerable in that way with anyone.

I can’t do spontaneous nights at random friends homes because I can never enter into deep sleep. I could be dragging from sleep deprivation and totally inebriated but still can’t sleep. I’ll lie in the stillness of the room and withdraw inward, turning cold to everything around me. All it does is make me want to run back to my accustomed surroundings because my anxiety won’t let me find rest if I don’t have all my familiar things around me. I need complete silence and utter darkness to drift off into my dreams. I have to have all my doors locked and the fan blowing full blast, regardless of what time of year it is. I need multiple blankets along with a overabundance of pillows. I literally sleep in a little fort I make around myself to keep anything or anyone from touching me. No T.V, no clothes, No distractions…And especially nobody.

It’s sad but I wasn’t always this way. The person I was before needed another body beside her to feel “safe”.  I found familiarity in the noise and chaos. I was more than willing to give up my wants to accommodate the needs of whoever I layed beside, just to ensure I had somebody sleeping next to me. I couldn’t bare the thought of being alone let alone going to bed alone. I needed the goodnight affection and attention while timidly hiding my insecurities underneath baggy clothes. I hated the idea of solitude. I also hated the idea of feeling suffocated so I routinely had the doors wide open.

It’s clear that a lot has changed in the last few years and tonight as I went about my nightly regiment of showering and preparing for bed, it dawned on me how far removed I have indisputably become from the person I once was for so many years.

It doesn’t take a shrink or therapist to see the meaning behind the drastic differences. I often joke and say it’s because I’m a “libra” and shift from one extreme to the other constantly, but no zodiac explanation could have prepared me for such a unforeseen shift of feelings and habits. The answer is blatantly clear to me and it scares me. I have grown to love my solitude so much more than anyone’s company. I’ve grown to love the nothingness more than anyone. I’ve pushed everything and everyone away subconsciously and emotionally. I’ve succeeded in hiding my truest self away from the world. It is evident in my behaviors and the reality is painfully obvious.

I am terrified of true intimacy with anyone or anything. I shut the world out and refuse to allow anyone to see me in my most vulnerable state. For me the most “exposed” would be allowing someone truly into my mind, my bedroom, my routines. It is only here in my safe haven that I allow myself to completely let my guard down, remove the clothes, the make up, the facade and allow myself to act, feel and express myself in whatever manner I deem fit at any given moment. Here in my little den of secrets I write, I sing, I reflect, I cry, I read, I laugh, I dwell, I reminisce, I love, I miss, I mourn, I dread, and I release when left alone. I refuse to let anyone really in physically, emotionally and mentally. I have not given myself fully or willingly to another and truly I have no desire to do so. I often feel bad about this fact but it doesn’t make any of my feelings any less true. No man, no woman, no thing, knows me completely and I have to say, I like it this way.

Some know certain secrets, emotions, thoughts, feelings and habits but not one person knows everything about me. I mean, how could they? I don’t let anyone in entirely. I am a hoarder of secrets and a teller of white lies. I abhor discord and confrontation so I keep a lot of hurt and pain to myself. I even have tangible and intangible things hidden all about my room that even if I died tomorrow not one person would be able to find or be able to comprehend every single little secret. I prefer to remain an attractive illusion, an unsolved mystery, a world of unpredictability to the people that surround me. Here in my tower of mysteries I am safe and unknown, still detected but unable to be defined. I’ve succeeded at shutting out the world but in doing so I have isolated myself completely from the love of self or of anyone else who could really change any of that.

For example, when I explained all this to my counselor she half laughed and then proceeded to ask me if I knew why she gave me such a odd reaction. I had no answer, so I just gazed back at her puzzled. When I finally asked her why she went on to say, “Of all my patients I have to say you’re probably the one that bewilders me and fascinates me the most. You have so many layers and hidden doors within the person you are. You’re truly an enigma, Vanessa. A total paradox and as much as it may frustrate the world, it is because of this truth that you are also so captivating and so irresistibly lovable.” I sat there for what felt like forever in silence until I finally responded by telling her how saddened that made me feel to hear that…

She tends to think I’m too hard on myself and can only see the goodness in others but never in myself. But I was being truthful when I said I hated being so complicated.. and I’ll tell you why.

I have wished my entire life to be like everyone else and just be content with whatever was handed to me. But I have never been able to adapt or change the fundamentals, my heart and morals of who I am. I have mastered the art of being a chameleon but at the end of the day I will always forgive, always love, always care. This is my true nature and how I was created and regardless of the offenses done to me I will wish nothing but good things for those that love or hate me. I may be an “enigma” but I am an enigma with a genuine heart. If I cared once, I still do and will forever. This is the essence of the beast inside of me. This is the pendulum that swings back in forth through my mind and this in itself is why I find myself in such a constant state of unhappiness. I understand when others say that “happiness” and “moving forward” is a choice, and it is to an extent, but what they fail to understand about me is that I am different from whatever version or idea of me they have in their head. I’m still the insecure little girl seeking nothing but love and approval from everyone around her. I crave acceptance and understanding more than anything in this world, so If I have to sacrifice myself to accommodate others by sharing or not sharing parts of myself to spare others I do it.

I do see how trying to please everyone can be confused for “manipulation”, questioned intentions or being “fake,” but if people could stare straight into the intentions of my heart, they would see that I am not a bad person that seeks ill will toward anyone. I just want to love people for who and what they are, while having that same love and acceptance given to me in return. My problem is that I will never ask for it, not openly at least. Instead I’ll try to show it by sacrificing my feelings or emotions for another’s peace and happiness. I do unto others what I hope they would be willing to do unto me. But that rarely is possible. Still I can’t be happy if those I am with are unhappy. What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is still yours as well. I don’t ask out of fear. I don’t ask because I feel like I am asking too much and maybe it’s because I am too much. This is why I give out small unique pieces of myself to those I genuinely love and care for, catered to meet them and their needs. Nothing makes me happier than bringing joy to others…but nothing hurts me more than having to hide or suppress parts of myself to accommodate whoever I am with at any given moment.

I guess I hope that if you take anything from my rambling thoughts or conundrum of emotions and explanations, it’s this..

Just like everyone else on this planet, I too have “skeletons in my closet.” but that isn’t the problem. My issue is that instead of the “skeletons” just being secrets and regrets from the past, the true skeleton in the closet is actually me.

 

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His Paper Doll

I was seeing someone for a short time around this time last year. For me it was nothing serious. We casually spoke and spent time together but I never saw a future for he and I. He got flaky and I did what I always do and just disappeared. No texts, no calls, no communication. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything at all. I know it was an asshole move on my part but in my defense he didn’t try that hard to reach me either. He let me walk away and because of that I stayed away. Months have passed and nothing has transpired between he and I until today.

He sent me a text saying he’d been thinking about me and wanted to know what he did initially to make me leave him like I did. Of course being put on the spot I didn’t respond. I was kind of thrown off. First by the fact that it had been so long and that it bothered him enough to reach out, secondly he sent me a link to a song I’d never heard before,  which I assume was his way of expressing his unresolved feelings towards me.  The song was “paper doll” by John Mayer.

I never did respond to his text nor do I have any intention to do so but still the song left me with these unsettled thoughts and feelings over what happened the time we spoke. I guess the uneasiness I feel hearing those lyrics is the undeniable truth behind them.

“You’re like 22 girls in one
And none of them know what they’re running from
Was it just too far to fall
For a little paper doll?

Cut the cord and pull some strings
And make yourself some angel wings
And if those angel wings don’t fly
Someone’s gonna paint you another sky”

He is more right than he’ll ever know and I’m more saddened by that then I’ll ever show. I still am here trying to figure out who I am while living in the same fear of love that I was left in over 3 years ago. All I know is this way of being and even though I try to force myself into a different mold I end up failing miserably. It was either detach or self destruct and take him out with me. I realize now it was unfair to him either way. Sometimes I wish there was something more I could do or better yet undo but some issues must remain unresolved indefinitely. My one regret?..

“I shoulda kept your undershirt..”

 

Purging

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard it in the last three years since. Each time it has left me more confused and annoyed than before. They tell me “love yourself.” Great slogan, but it’s so empty. Me being an inquisitive person, I ask them to teach me. They think they’re somehow helping or making some positive affect, but internally I just shut down. I’d rather focus elsewhere, because my heart genuinely loves understanding the minds and hearts of others. I know that leaves me susceptible to a lot of evil people and ugly situations, but I’m honest. I’m a mess and don’t try to fool them, I just deflect and keep my emotions to myself. I can be a quiet observer one minute, only to turn around and share an in depth conversation with a complete stranger about why I am drawn to certain people, places and things. My primary focus is the well being of others and their feelings, even when my actions appear to contradict that at times. I’m fighting battles people don’t know about, and I’m struggling to not make anymore mistakes, and get a tight grip on what is truly important to me, but I’m slipping. Instead of “finding myself” over the past few years I feel as if I’ve lost myself more than I ever have before. I’ve done things I never would’ve thought I’d do. I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t seen. I’ve said things I can’t take back, and allowed the wrong kind of people into my life to influence me. I don’t blame anything or anyone, but myself. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

I’ve willingly and knowingly let myself be swept away by my sadness and fickle emotions. I’ve lost the girl I once was, and have become the shell of the person I once knew. I am so terribly sad. I just want to go back to that “happy place” in my memory long before life gave me reasons to despise it. I wake up every morning hating myself more than the night before, and I just don’t know how to cope with this overwhelming pressure from everything going on around me. I keep fucking up and as much as I try to run from my mistakes, the more weighed down by them I become. I’m keeping to many secrets. I’m hiding too many things. I’ve opened doors I can’t shut now. But nobody would guess this is how I really feel, because I’m the one laughing the loudest at the party, I am the person surrounded by tons of friends and good family. On the outside I have it all..or so it would seem. I show you the face that is more appealing, but it is a shield to protect myself from you getting too close to me. It doesn’t mean that what I am showing you, isn’t the real me. I just feel like if I love anything or anyone too much, it’ll just be ripped away from me. Not only have I ruined myself, I think I’ve ruined others too. I should’ve kept more to myself, but again my impulsive emotions subdued me. I am a slave to my bad habits and reckless heart.

At this point I don’t know how to love myself, and I wish people would stop fucking saying that to me, and instead show me exactly what that means. I ask for explanations and they don’t answer my questions. They give me some feel good answers by telling me take up new hobbies, try new things, focus on myself and reflect, but I find all their advice to be meaningless. I have literally done all the bullshit attempts of finding inner peace and happiness. If anything I have learned new ways to abhor myself even more than I did before. I’m trying to be happy again but it has been so long and I don’t know if that’s even possible anymore. And really I have no excuse. I am loved, I am appreciated, I am desired and welcome everywhere I go, at least by everyone else except myself. I am more accustomed to the darkness, the deceit and the pain that I find myself drawn to the bad things over what’s right. It’s probably because as my hatred for myself has grown so has my recklessness. I just need everything around me to just stop and I need the time and space to get away and recollect my thoughts. I need to be shown this self love others speak of and learn ways to show that to myself. I can’t forget that ultimately the only love that is actually going to heal me is the love that I can only find in God and in myself.

Invictus
Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.