The Breaking

Under the cover of the night, I bow my head slightly.  I feel as if the weight of the world is on my shoulder, and I want desperately to let it push me to the depths of my despair.

The sorrow.  Endless reservoirs of tears stored in the hidden crevices of my soul.  I trace the scars on my arm, slightly faded over time, but never far from my mind.  I no longer hide them, though I don’t flaunt them either.  I am not proud of them, per se, but I refuse to be ashamed.

Ashamed.  I am, though.  Not of my scars, but of me.  Revisiting old memories is like picking at a scab, opening a wound to let it bleed freely once again.

The redness of blood fascinates me.  It’s so rich and vibrant.  How can it come from such an arid place?  A thin smear of blood on otherwise white skin.  How I miss it, sometimes, the release that comes with the bloodletting.  In another lifetime, it was my friend, my comfort, my lifeblood.  Ironic, that.  Spilling my blood is one of the things that kept me alive.

My heart is full.  It’s aching with the exquisite agony that used to tear my soul apart on a daily basis.  I hug my arms around my body, trying to feel something, anything, other than the dull, aching, thud of hopelessness as it thumps gently against my ribs.  It used to grip me with such a fierce intensity, I feared that I would crumble and give in, because at my very heart, I am so very weak.

And I am tired.  I am exhausted.  It’s not just a physical thing, though that, of course is a part of it as well.  I am so. fucking. tired of the doubts that plague my mind.  I hate the ugliness that I see inside my soul.  I wish I could scrub it with a wire brush until it was shimmering with a radiant hope.  I am so. fucking. tired of not being able to breathe for fear that if I inhale too deeply, I will finally swallow myself whole, leaving no trace of me behind.

I am so. fucking. tired of always been on my guard, careful to not go over the line, whatever that line may be.  In addition, I need to know where the exit is at all times, so I can escape if the terror grows too daunting for me to contain.

I must watch and wait.  I must never, ever, ever be too sure of myself, lest I get taken by unpleasant surprise.  Fight or flight, fight or flight, fight or flight, fight or flight.  There are two options, or rather, there are three.  The third is to stay as still as I possibly can, desperately hoping that whatever darkness is out there will pass me by.

Darkness out there?  Darkness inside.  It’s inside of me, and I have to cope with it every single fucking day.  The monster that I thought I had conquered, or at least tamped down sufficiently, is rearing its ugly head once again.  It says to me:

“You’re fat.  You’re grotesque.  You’re a failure.  You’re a piece of shit.  You will never be anything more than what you are right now.  You suck.  You might as well not be here.”

Now, if it were just saying this once or twice, I could deal with it.  Unfortunately, it tends to wear a groove in my brain until all I can think about are my flaws.  Of which I have many.

The voice, it beats me over the head–from inside no less–until I am driven to my knees.  I am ready to give in, if only for the sheer silence that is guaranteed to come from eternal sleep.  Other times, the voice is more seductive.  She whispers sweetly in my ear how much better life on the other side is.  I can rest, finally lay down all my burdens and fade into sweet oblivion.  Oh, it could be so good if I simply gave up.

Death.  She has me marked.  I have no concept of what life actually entails.  Half-life.  It’s all I’ve had for so many fucking years.  Truth be told, I never thought I would live very long.  I still don’t.  I have a hard time picturing myself growing old, yelling at the kids to get off my damn lawn.  To be fair, I’m pretty damn crotchety right now, so it’s not like I’d have that far to go.  Still, when my mom turned 55, I thought to myself, “That’s when I’m going to die.”  Seems like a reasonable age to me.

I am a fake.  I am not a real human being.  Real humans feel something, anything, other than complete and utter misery.  Real humans know how to love, to laugh, to interact with other real humans.  I know because I’ve seen them do it with effortless ease.  Real humans get married and have children.  Real humans don’t have to use every ounce of willpower just to open their eyes every morning.  Real humans aren’t obsessed with being real.

Why is it that every time I make progress, the old life sings to me, wanting to claim my soul?  It’s so damn seductive and so damn easy to slide back into its waiting embrace.  It’s like an old lover who knows how to press the right buttons.  It’s a dance that I have danced for almost my entire life.  I know all the steps by heart, and I can do them in my sleep.

And though I loath to admit it, there is something comforting about wrapping the blanket of darkness around me, snuggling  down, shutting my eyes, and refusing to open them again.

It’s so fucking hard to become real.  It hurts.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s like shedding dead skin before the new one has grown in.  I don’t know if it’s worth it in the end.  I don’t know if anything is worth working this damn hard just to get out of the fucking bed every…whenever I get the fuck up.

I grieve.  I grieve for the girl I never got to be and for the woman I fear I cannot become.  I grieve for the wasted years.  I grieve for the wasted years yet to come (and yes, I am pretty pessimistic that I won’t waste even more years stuck in this awful place).  I grieve for my damaged soul that seems to be dying a bit more every day, despite my efforts to stop the decay.

I look at my life.  I see the emptiness and all that I have not accomplished.  I see the friends I have hurt and betrayed, and the lovers who have hurt and betrayed me.  I see the roads not taken out of fear, and I see the roads best left untaken, and those are the ones I deliberately chose to travel.  I see a big yawning chasm between how others see me and how I see myself, and I have no idea how to stitch together the two disparate halves to make a semi-coherent whole.

I have tried so many times to understand that I may never know why the fuck I am alive.  It’s not something I should think about for very long because it drives me to the edge of the abyss so that I only need a tiny, tiny push to topple all the way over.  There is no fucking reason for me to be alive.  I have to accept that and just move the fuck on.  There may be no bigger picture.  I live.  I die.  That is the very primitive cycle of life, and why should I think that I would be anything more important than one little cog in that wheel?

I want to let go.  I just want to fucking rest.  I want all the pain, sorrow, hopelessness, and despair to just disappear.  I don’t want to try any longer.  I don’t want to have to work so goddamn hard just to be human.  I don’t want to pretend that I can be someone.

I just want peace.

18 Responses to The Breaking

  1. Minna, I don’t know what to say, save that I think you’re real. I’m so sorry for your pain.

  2. Where does one start?

    You answer yourself here Minna. It is always EASIER to do what is known, and familiar. Especially when it is so familiar you can do it in your sleep or you know the steps by heart.

    The hardest thing I have done, it ignore the familiar and uncomfortable. I think you might remember me talking about playing my own version of the “Kastanza” game. I literally had to stop listening to what I had always known as my reasoning voice and do the exact opposite. Eventually if you listen hard enough on a different level, you will hear the voice the “reasoning voice” drowns out.

    I had to fake it till I made it. I became SillyWhabbit because it was the last thing I felt like. I then realized the rabbit is my totem animal. I grew into being who I am, and I still have to ignore a voice, but the first steps, were taking those roads I feared. The fear eventually has to lose it’s power. A certain amount is healthy, a paralyzing amount is not. We are strong enough to kick it’s ass. Think about it, if you’re strong enough to take it on as a seductive lover and still live 38 years, face it Chica, you’re strong. You’re just using it to your disadvantage.

    My daughter was doing this. When she told me, my heart broke. She has slowly stopped. My arrival in her life has helped. I wish it was as easy with you, I would play you the same Indigo Song I played for her just so you would know you don’t walk on that road alone.
    The giving up? You aren’t a quitter. There is no Palin gene in Hong family!
    I don’t have your answers babe, but I do know that I understand a large amount of what you are saying. I also understand that what I don’t understand, I at least know causes you pain, and THAT I DO understand.
    The battle we fight is not an easy one, but there are ways to find a life within that darkness and allow it to outgrow the darkness ans eventually, light can start spilling in. I can’t lie and say it happens overnight. I have battled since the 80’s, but it was only truly becoming aware of certain things and then working from there.
    It is a choice. It is a hard choice. It is like the alcoholic and the unmanageable life. We all have our bottom.Choosing to not listen to that familiar and seductive temptress is hard. VERY HARD, but it can be done.
    I am always here if you need anything.
    Peace Sister.

  3. Minna, you are MORE real than most humans. It’s the pain of your unflinching gaze at the real that is part of your suffering. It’s also one reason why I like you so much.

    I cannot get you to see yourself as others do, but I can tell you what I see. Seriously, no sugar-coating: You’re beautiful. You never mention that you have a stunning smile and beautiful eyes. You’re also smart, you’re brave, you think for yourself and stick to your principles. You’re ethical. You have a great sense of humor. You’re a very talented writer.

    I want to to stick around so you can be in my life as a student, and as a friend. As my friend Joe Brown says, ‘keep breathing.’

  4. I just peed all over your blog on another post. At the risk of offending you or a friend, I am sorry, but boy…was he a fuckwad.
    I hope you were able to read my entry this morning, I was cutting and pasting… and HTML tags and I argue. I was also trying desperatly to respond to you as I was trying to get dressed and not be late to work.
    Hugs! You’ve been on my mind all day long. I had to sneak in and check up on you.

  5. Minna, it’s always one step forwards and two steps back… never a straight line, never without backsliding.

    Choolie’s friend is right, though… keep breathing.

  6. Minna,

    It’s harder than hell to face your worst fears and win. I’ve been there and I still face mine every day. But your life and your experiences aren’t mine, and I fully comprehend that. I may not be able to truly understand what you go through each day, but know that sometimes, the best thing you can do to get through that pain is to reach out and hold someone’s hand.

    You can reach out to mine any time.


  7. Minna, no one who’s fake or unreal could reap this much love and admiration from so many fine and wonderful people. And me, too.

  8. Hi. First of all, I would like to thank you all profusely for being so support and concerned. It helps to know that I have people who care about me. It really does.

    whabs, my sister. I know you have been through that fire, and you’re emerging on the other side. You gave me some sound advice, and you made me laugh. “There is no Palin gene in you!” Heh. Palin as a synonym for quitting. I love it. Thank you for always having my back.

    Gregory, thank you for being there for me. I appreciate it more than you know.

    Choolie, I am so thankful that of all the taiji joints in town, I chose yours. Right from the beginning, there was something that drew me to you, but I didn’t know that I would be gaining a friend as well as a teacher. I’ll try to remember your simple, but profound advice of keeping to breathe.

    Alex, you rock. Thank you for reminding me that the road is NEVER easy.

    Kel, it’s great to see you on my blog (though sorry it had to be on this entry). I am so fucking glad that you asked to friend me on FB. I will gladly take the hand that you hold out to me.

    Thanks again, guys. Words fail me. Well, ok, obviously they don’t, but they are not nearly enough.

  9. Minna… I know that violence is never the answer, and I hope that this isn’t making things worse somehow, but if I could get my hands on that monster voice in your head, it’d be a flat splat of goo on the wall like all bullies should be. *Sigh*. I’ll shut up. You know what I’d say if I wasn’t floored and frazzled today. Just keep in mind that the bully is fucking LYING TO YOU.

  10. ira2, I am against violence, too, except imaginary violence against imaginary monsters. Thank you. I need people to remind me that the voice, it tells me lies. You are a true friend.

  11. Choolie reminds me of advice given to me by my best support of all supports. My mom.
    When I first left Jack, as in Ass, I seriously didn’t know how to breathe anymore. When I would speak it was in this little timid whisper of a voice. My mother would say “Whabs!” (seriously, everyone calls me that)”Whabs! Stop! Breathe! Use your voice! Use your air!”
    I swear I heard that for about three years straight.
    One day while taking some college classes, I had to give a speech. I really dislike public speaking. To me it is uncomfortable to have that much attention and that many eyes fixed on me at one time. No amount of naked visualization has ever worked for me. I had no clue what to talk about and this speech was 75% of the grade. I went to my teacher in a panic. She just kept telling me to talk about what I know.
    I went to my next class and was given a chance to get some extra credit in a Women’s Studies class by watching a film. I decided to check it out. It was called “Searching for Angela Shelton” A young woman named Angela Shelton Googled her name and found a bunch of other Angela Sheltons. She wanted to talk to these women and do a paper on them, along the way she discovered that an amazingly high percentage of Angela Sheltons had been victims of abuse. Her film changed and a story was born. The film is very powerful, or was for me and I had an epiphany while watching it. I realized that I SURVIVED Domestic Violence. In an instant, I went from being a victim to a survivor.
    I breathe now.
    I stand firm now (most of the time).
    I am ready and able to be there for others, including my child.
    If you have never had a chance to see Searching for Angela Shelton, I recommend it. I was able to find it at Amazon, and you can also get it at her site with money going to The Angela Shelton Foundation. I don’t think it matters what kind of abuse has touched a woman’s life, though the types were predominately domestic violence, incest, and rape. I would be more than happy to send you my copy if you would like to see it, drop me an email and let me have your addy. When you finish it, keep it, send it back, or pass it on, I just need to see if I can make a copy for The Girl. It WILL be an important tool for her and me in helping her see where she is coming from as well as where she can go.
    OK, sorry for going on so long, but I feel this is something worth sharing with you and all the other Angela Sheltons out there.
    By the way, I was able to give my 12 minute speech. I talked to a bunch of young twentysomethings about surviving Domestic Violence. It was hard, I was shaking, my voice was not strong at first, but as I saw that people were hearing me it got easier. When I saw a few young and knowing eyes look back at me, I knew I was doing the right thing. I walked away with an A-. I got dinged for improper heading on my outline.
    That was my first speech on Domestic Violence. It sadly, was not my last.

  12. Thank you very much for sharing, Whabs. I spent the majority of my life so far as a victim of abuse. But no more for me either. I am also a survivor. I will have to see that movie.

  13. whabs, thank you for that heartfelt post. It breaks my heart that you had to go through that, but I am fiercely proud of you that you have made it to the other side. Yes, you have the scars to prove it. Consider them your war wounds. I will find the documentary for myself because I want you to keep your copy for your daughter.

    Choolie, I admire you so much for how strong you’ve become after all the shit you had to go through in your childhood. I am proud to call you teacher and friend.

  14. I am so blown away it is hard to breathe right now. As I basked in the warmth and humor and understanding of your friendship today; as I passed that lithograph with the vibrant colors – colors your soul possesses my love and do not see – as I wondered what in me brought you to do that for me you were here and you were feeling this.

    How could this be?

    I can tell you why you are here Minna. You are here to be a beacon of light to people like you. To people like me. You are here to reinforce in yourself and us that we are beyond going through the motions, beyond superficial relationships and occupations because the demons we have wrestled have wrought such adrenaline laced emotions in us that we can’t feel fulfilled on a level on par with ‘normal’.

    Your pain is yours Minna, but I am you. And you made mine, make mine, less isolating, less insane.

    I am loved, I have a family to love me and to care for and to wear a costume of normality that make it easy to compartmentalize my activities from who I am inside. You, too, Minna have a family in me and I see in so many others who care for you and are cared for by you.

    You are worn down, tired and you are fighting/resisting this darkness and you will not succumb to it because you have me and others and most importantly, yourself. We are warriors, not without fear and despair, but with hate of self pity and ignorance and that is what will keep you going.

    And I promise you Minna, you have my word, that with time and the recognition that the pain so comforting in it’s familiarity will lessen it’s grip on you it is also a part of you and because you are smart and strong and caring you will learn to put it into context with the rest of your life.

    I believe, have always believed, that things happen for a reason and there are great things to come and work for us to do, not just on ourselves but for others.

    I mean, good God woman, look around you … no, not at us, at the people in charge. Think we, in our defects and flaws and phobias could do any worse? 😉

    Much love to you Mee-nah.

  15. Rubo, you make me smile, and you make me tear up with your words. It’s because of friends like you that I can overcome these fierce depressions more easily than I ever have in the past. Thank you for your grace, your humor, and your warmth. I appreciate you so much.

    As for your last point, true that. We can certainly do better!

  16. I sent Minna the link. I found a free copy online. She can post it for you or send you the link or you can hit my page and see it in the vodpod sidebar, just click view all videos.
    I am pretty sure no matter how far removed you are from whatever, or even if you have no issues, this can be watched without tissue by anyone.
    I watched it again last night and it still impacts me, but in a much better way now.
    Of course I still advocate purchasing a copy if you are into your momey going to a good cause.

  17. whabs, I let her know that you are linked over to the left of here.

    <====== Over there. I haven't watched it yet. I will have to gird my loins, metaphorically speaking.