Picture by Ryan McGuire

I have a little executive in my brain who runs things even when my body is struggling.  My Fitbit has definitely been reprimanding me for several nights of 3 hour sleeps in the past 2 weeks.  I am not depressed.  Well, actually, that’s like a diabetic saying she’s not diabetic.  I have depression always but I’m not in an episode right now.  I just think the executive took a smoke break for a couple days and I needed to hit the pause button so I could take the tape out and wind it back up so all it’s functions are re-calibrated.

Bear with me in this blog as it may seem a little disjointed because I have a few concepts weaving in and out of one another.  First of all.  After a ton of hard work, I made it to the playoffs.  I have been skating in fits and starts for years with no big wins but this year, I got super disciplined and never missed a practice.  So, in my little bubble world I was winning every game and got to the playoffs….where I got slaughtered in my first game and completely eliminated within an hour of venturing outside my little bubble.  I am not depressed but  I am having a lot of depressing thoughts.  I feel defeated.  I am overwhelmed by the mountain towering over me as I try to decide if I want to start over again with a whole new season of getting checked into the boards for as many goals as I may score.

I have always known I am screwed up.  I have been speaking in analyst terms my whole life as I describe myself and other people.  I have been in therapy since I was at least 6.  It’s my second language.  You get very comfortable with accepting there is something wrong with you…something that sets you apart from all the other kids when you are in therapy during the times you really want to just play Barbies with your best friend and have to lie to her about where you are.

But what abruptly slapped me in the face this week was the concept of damage.  Real, tangible, car wreck damage waiting in a yard to be scrapped.  Saying it out loud takes the wind out a little bit.  When I was kid, one of the neighbor boys actually punched me in the stomach.  I struggled to breathe.  I couldn’t stand up straight but I wanted to play it off as not hurting that much.  Yet, 35ish years later, the sensation comes back to me when I describe myself as damaged.  To me, damage means unfixable or at least severely disfigured in ways very noticeable which cannot be hidden with a little spray paint or pounded out with a hammer.

How did I get this way?  I know I had some terrible experiences in childhood but I also had pretty great ones.  I had really good friends.  I wasnt being hit ( only once when I was in high school.). My parents were not divorced, not even unhappily married.  They have always been happily married. I grew up in a middle class life with upper class experiences.  I went to the best schools.  I wasn’t sexually abused by anyone, kidnapped or the product of a derelict foster system.  But I am severely damaged to the point I am starting to feel like I must be forgetting something really awful happening to me because the damage seems like it is way over sized in comparison to just growing up with emotionally challenged parents.

On the other hand, I guess when you are little, there is a certain age when your experiences start to cement themselves into your body composition and form what your personality will inevitably become even if you can train your mind to believe something else.   I was never good enough.  I was always too much of one thing and not enough of something else….both sides being that I lacked positive qualities in abundance.  It was clear my parents would have preferred someone a little more like the neighbors’ kids and more like their other two kids.  Being different wasn’t being unique.  Being different was a mental problem my parents had no inclination to address on their own and certainly nothing they felt they could have in any way contributed to.

What the big conflict I have now is that my parents are pretty amazing at this stage in my life.  I think they see the damage and feel pretty badly about it now.  Me being different now isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It’s just something they wish were easier for me and whenever they can provide support, they do.  They listen a lot.  It’s sickening to me to have to re-process what they were like during my formative years.  I feel like a traitor when I think about those years in relation to where all this damage comes from.  And it’s shocking to see how much damage there actually is.  For everything they want for me in my life now, my little kid damage prevents it.  Yet, I forgave them a long time ago.  I guess forgiving doesn’t mean you can also forget when it’s become your DNA.

Most people will read this and want to “poo-poo” me with trying to tell me I am not damaged or it’s not as bad as it seems.  I get that.  That’s how I would want to respond to friends too.  You never want people you love to feel hopeless.  But I don’t feel hopeless.  It’s more that I am coming to a very hard realization about myself and trying to accept it.  The truth is, I don’t think I can ever get out of my own way or ever believe I am truly lovable and acceptable.  I am second choice, “wish she were more like someone else.”  Getting involved with men terrifies me because I know they can only go so far before they want to leave because I am too different, too difficult, too sensitive, not thin enough, not enough like “her.”  Therefore, I do what I can to accelerate the downgrade because it’s always coming and I’d rather it happen before I become emotionally attached enough for it to hurt like it did with my parents or with Bud in my 20s.

I am not upset about losing out on a recent guy.  I am upset with myself that I am still pushing them away with Herculean strength at this stage in my life and nearly 40 years of therapy.  My damage far outweighs any of my growth.  My damage is the strongest part of me….so strong I cannot out wrestle her.  I can’t therapy it out.  I can’t yoga it out.  I can’t bike it out.  I can’t diet it out.  I can’t Orange Theory it out.  I can’t meditate or spa it out.  I can’t Fergus it out.  Can’t beach it out.  Can’t travel it out.  Can’t write or drink it out.  Recognizing it and now trying to figure out how to accept it physically exhausted me to the point of sleeping almost the entire weekend.

I know you want some resolution or self realization at the end of this blog- some wrapped up lesson I can share.  I can’t give you that.  I am always trying to give you peace of mind in relation to me so you aren’t worried.  All I can say is this isn’t something to worry about because I am okay.  I am just a bit mellow…paused, I guess, as I try to understand how I really got this damaged and what my next steps are while having to embrace it.  And instead of thinking that when I meet people I have to somehow hide and mitigate the damage to reel them in, I just wish one ( that I am equally attracted to physically and mentally; I need to qualify that even when I pray because people do come out of the woodwork but aren’t who I am looking for) would come along and accept me with the damage, love me despite it.