"It's very difficult keeping the line between the past and the present."
- Edith "Little Edie" Beale of Grey Gardens
My life has never been one of luxury. I have never been one to take the easy route - or even known where that route might be if one such exists. The bulk of my life has been a succession of hand offs from whomever wanted me the least to whomever could stand me for the time being. There was never a lot of effort made to actually rectify the problem(s) as much as it was just "Here, you deal with him." As an adult, I am coming to understand just how much that really has shaped who I am and how I deal with things. Or, don't deal with things as the case in point and truth may be. I just walk away. Let it be and watch it fall all to hell and go down in flames. And always from a distance. Distance being key. Next.
So the grande finale of questions now is: "What do I do about it?" How do I stop the cycle? It's all I have known - starting with the funny farm; then my grandparents; my sister's father; my mother; my mother's husbands... Nothing was ever permanent. Nothing was ever dealt with. An endless series of shuffle the problem child. If they couldn't beat it out of me or shout me into submission, I was passed off like a hot and fetid potato gone to mush. Even in school they didn't know what to do with me. I was dubbed Gifted & Special (heavy on the special, I think) and handed off to the Retard Teacher(s)... Lot of good that did, too.
I know this now. I recognize it. It has destroyed what life I might have had up until this point and in its wake most of the relationships therein. I just haven't (had) the tools - or even the knowledge of the tools - to begin building something better. I've needed a raft and have been standing knee deep in the river and dying of thirst... Filthy and unable to scrub away the funk. Unable to float away from it all without the fear of drowning in it.
I often feel like I got beat down with the short end of a shit covered stick engulfed in flames. Like it was all denied me before I even got some vague modicum of a chance to have a go at it. I was described today as Gay (which I am - fine - sobeit) as a negative - in contextual comparison to unwed teenage mothers and cutters; and likened to all as being "trashy." It was a big slap in the face - and quite a wake up call. I forget that such is how people view me. Even, apparently, those closest to me. Just yet another in a string of black marks that I haven't much (if any) control over, I guess...
But perhaps, this new found knowledge - this recognition of it all - is my power. Perhaps this is my key. In knowing, maybe I can somehow stop it. No one wanted to deal with me then (not that anything's really changed in that regard). It's a harsh truth. But that was then.
This is my now.
Mine and mine alone.
I needn't anyone to deal with me any longer. I am my own man, standing (or trying to) on my own two feet - albeit a bit wobbly in my stillettos - but hey, you try standing on Size 12 feet in 8 inch heels. I am standing, damn it. (Okay, maybe I am just on hands and knees, and learning to crawl but it's progress.) The Child Called It became The Man Named Dave and he did alright for himself despite it all. He endured horrors not completely dissimilar to my own and came out on the other side. It was a struggle for him as well, but he prevailed. I believe - I hope - that somehow, someday, I can also.
I just don't quite know where to start. I do know now that I WANT to start. I want to begin to end all this horseshit and drama. First instinct, of course, is to start cutting... Break out the knives and start hacking away like a crazed and hungry hunter salivating over a fresh kill... But maybe all those melodramatic razor blade kisses of the past are part of the problem in the first place.
Who knows, really? I find myself in such a vastly different place for this part of the journey - for this leg of the race.
I have followed a hundred and two roads less taken for my entire life.
Perhaps now it's time to put on my waders and big boy britches and start trudging through the ruts that others have made in their own paths to salvation?
Perhaps if I want to get to the other side, the only way to get there is to go through it? Heavens knows all the bridges have been burnt at this point.... And I sure can't seem to get around the son of a bitch...
But, I'll tell you this: I am bringin' my own damn flashlight, though. That tunnel sure looks pretty fuckin' dark to me.
After a While
by Veronica Shoffstall
After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn't mean learning
and company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises.
And you begin to accept your defeat with your head
up and your eyes open,
with the grace of an adult,
not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all you roads on today
because tomorrow ground is too uncertain for plans.
After a while you learn that even sunshine burns
if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own
soul, instead of waiting for someone else to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth.