Onions and Silence
On Sunday morning, I had a dream that six of my front teeth broke in my mouth. So, upon feeling their weakness, I went to the bathroom, and spit them out on the counter. As I looked at them, they were all in pieces and intertwined with nerves. I then placed them all back in my mouth meticulously and without emotion. The only problem was that I had switched my top two (the main front teeth).
I really believed it was because of my overwhelming obsession with Smoke during my senior year of high school. So, for years, I fought against being gay because I didn’t want to be hated and be condemned to hell. I read every ex-gay book imaginable. I cut off my gay friends and any gay-affirming people. And even though I went to an all-girl’s college which was a lesbian utopia, I cut myself off from the environment. Thankfully, I finally came out with God’s help after many weeks of crying in the wee hours of the morning. Lesbianism wasn’t it. Layer one.
Then I thought it was my spiritual life. I’d been taught that whenever I’d feel distant from God, it was my fault. I didn’t believe I was praying enough or reading my Bible enough. I certainly wasn’t attending church enough, and eventually, I stopped attending altogether. I thought it was the fact that I’d never been “baptized in the Holy Ghost,” as my Pentecostal upbringing demanded I do for a closer, yet not full guarantee of Heaven upon death. But then, I realized that God is not limited to any denomination, any religion, or any place. When I found that God was more real when I was talking to my Wicccan friends, I realized that my spiritual life wasn’t it. Layer two.
And then, of course, I was convinced that it had to be my weight. Oh, this weight that has been upon me since childhood. I would finally be OK once it was gone. So, I have tried to eradicate my body over and over again, only to find that it became counterproductive since I’d fall off the wagon, eat something unhealthy, feel like a complete failure, and compulsively eat again. So, I have lived with feeling guilt after I eat anything. Anything. I don’t care if it’s an apple. I don’t care if it’s a raisin. I will feel guilt. In my mind, I do not deserve to eat anything until I get to be thin, because when I become thin, I would have repented enough. I would have done enough penance to have the right to eat. But in the past month, I have realized that if I were as thin as I could possibly be, it would still be here, pulsating deeply within me. Layer three.
And now I sit here with the knowledge of what it actually is. It–that deep pulsating growth in me–that vein-like nodule at the core of my entire being–that thing I have been trying to eliminate forever–is absolute, unequivocal Toxic Shame. It is the reason why I have fought myself since childhood. It’s the reason I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. It is the reason why I do all the things I do. It has been with me since the beginning, and the realization of this makes me feel like I have just taken the warmest shower on a cool summer night, as I watch the sun go down in the evening. This realization is quiet and sobering. I feel silenced. And nothing can come out of my mouth any longer. I don’t have anymore soapboxes. They have all been flipped right-side up, and they sit in a corner collecting dust. I have no more speeches. I have no more curtain, no more layers to hide this behind. It is. It is Toxic Shame. It is the reason why I never feel like I have skin.
On Saturday, Cod, SuckaMC, and I were in the family room watching Iyanla. The episode was about a mother and two daughters. The mother had been with men who had abused the girls during childhood, and the mother never did anything about it. So, of course, Iyanla was there to help them fix their broken relationships. Stunned, I sat in the chair so intent on hearing the TV mother’s explanation. I have asked Cod why she didn’t protect me throughout my life. So, we watched the show, and I sat in silence the entire time, because I had so much I wanted to say, but I needed to let the show finish. At the end, I turned to Cod and asked, “So, what is the reason why you didn’t know how to protect us?” If you remember, her response before was, “I didn’t know how!” Cod then said, as though we were first meeting, “Protect you from what?”
I continued, “From Nark. Why couldn’t you protect us when he abused us? You were always right there.” She never answered the question. Instead, she brought up topics that had nothing to do with the question. Then she told me (and Sucka) the story about how they met and what was going on at the time. Then she talked about how she was so focused on him that she used us (and she actually said the word “used”) to get out of the house through our extracurricular activities. As she kept talking and denying, I saw so clearly. She also has toxic shame. Thing is, I don’t care enough to have compassion. I am angry with her. I don’t even want to talk to her. I have nothing to say, as I said earlier in this post. My only issue now is not looking like a complete bitch by not attempting to continue this “perfect daughter” role around her. I don’t believe in ignoring people or being overtly (or covertly) mean. But I do not care about her issues now. I have realized that I have made up my relationship with her in my mind. For twenty-six years, I have gone to the dry well that is my mother, hoping every time that I would find water deep within. I denied that the well was dry, because I believed in my heart that there was no other well. This is how I have coped.
The reality of my Toxic Shame has me seriously questioning every single aspect of my life from birth to this moment. I have never been here. I am not present. I have left myself many, many years ago, and I have no clue where I am. I’m going to assume that I am still very deep within myself–probably encased in that pulsating growth–because I have cried everyday for the past five weeks, and only real people cry. So, I am here, hiding, or being hidden, and on this desperate search to find me, under this smell of rotted onion, because I deserve to be let free. My body, especially my face, feels like a brick wall holding back a deluge of tears. I feel like this brick wall is forming cracks, and as time goes on, more and more of it is beginning to crumble.
This is grief.
And although I am in pain, the relief of this release silences me. I am thankful to be wordless. I am thankful to be caving.
Song of the Day: Walking the Line by The Emotions