When you’re the mother
And I am the competition
All you wanted was for me to go away
All you wanted was to mock and humiliate
To make me small.
But I was already small.
You thought I took something away from you.
I stole your shine. I stole your limelight.
But I never wanted it.
I never wanted yours.
I just wanted my own small piece.
You hate me, you know?
You can’t even see it
Because you’re trying to be good.
Trying to be enlightened.
But you can’t be enlightened
If you never expose yourself to the dark.
Sometimes I fall into the trap of not knowing my own mind, after all this time.
I’ve found myself so intertwined and enmeshed in the personalities of others that I think I like what they like. Their friends should be my friends. Their interests should be mine.
And yet I find myself increasingly unsettled. If these people are my friends, why are they not acting like it? Because they don’t know? They don’t know we should be friends?
Why did I convince myself for years that I liked cheesecake? Because someone I admired and wanted to be close to liked cheesecake. Why do I insist on creating worlds that aren’t real? Why must I contrive circumstances that are false and then find myself disappointed when the facade falls away?
Why am I projecting my desires onto people who are only people? Why do I continue on the rollercoaster of expectation, disappointment and acceptance? Like a ride at the fair in a nightmare. I don’t want to get on. I have no choice.
How strange this thing is that I have done.
I’m not a good friend.
I don’t know how to be.
Sometimes I see acquaintances smiling at me, uncertain.
Like I’m a simpleton, or a fragile egg.
“Do you even want to be here?” “Are we an inconvenience?”
No, that’s not it.
It’s just that I’m just pretty certain you don’t like me.
And I don’t want to waste your time.
A bunch of stuff has happened to me in my life.
But the things I did, I did.
There’s no palming it off onto upbringing or environment.
It was all me. I just didn’t know.
I didn’t know I was the person I was.
Last night I dreamt about my parents
I was visiting with my kids and we were all walking by a large pond of water. The water was clear and I could see large objects, covered in green leafy matter, sitting on the bottom. As the kids ventured close to the waters edge I asked my dad
“What if there’s crocodiles in the water?”
My dad shook his head and said “nah, crocs would be on the surface.”
In an instant, one of the objects rose to the water’s surface. Not a crocodile but a huge basking shark. It’s mouth was constantly opening and closing as it ate anything and everything that was in the water.
I called my children away, warned others to stay away from the edge.
I called to my mother – “be careful!” It was suddenly so noisy.
“It’s fine she said, you’re over reacting”
“I’m just trying to be cautious” I pleaded. I was standing so close to her, shouting in her face. “That’s what you do for people you love, you look out for them. You be concerned!”
But she just looked at me blankly, and in my dream heart I ached.
Later, knowing she had hurt me, she offered me endless beautiful silk scarves and gifts she had picked up in her travels.
I rejected everyone.
It was too late. I was already packing our belongings to leave.
I was going away.
I was already gone.
I’m trying to be kind to myself.
I’m a good person, but am I?
Sometimes I don’t care about other people’s shit.
But sometimes I really do.
I don’t steal or lie or hit.
But maybe one day I could.
Maybe one day I will lose it and lash out.
And then all the goodness will come undone.
What do good people do?
Do they give to charity? Help old ladies across the street?
Do they knit scarves for homeless hamsters?
How many lives am I expected to live, to be able to fit in all the things I’m supposed to be doing?
There’s not enough time. There never seems to be enough.
I’m running out.
Self harm is an interesting beast. It bubbles up from nowhere parading itself as suicidal ideation, when in reality it is a sometimes more insidious beast.
Self harm wants us to strip down to our bones, to flay our skin, to twist and pinch and punch and slap. It wants us to feel crazy, then sated by the sight of our own blood, our own pain.
It’s a thing we hide. Shameful. We wear long sleeves to cover our own bruises from loved ones, and remain silent when our hairdresser notices large clumps of our hair is missing – like it’s been pulled out. It has been. I did this.
We feel childish and half finished, because we can’t find the words, can’t make ourselves heard. We can’t get through life like grownups do. Instead we punish ourselves and cry for help in secret.
Judge me if you must, but see by my bruises, my cuts and blood, that I already judge myself more harshly than you ever could.
Self harm is a whisper. Please help me. Please hear me. Please.