I must be getting a bit mystical because I asked for a dream last night. In Hebrews 11 it talks about all the rather horrid ways people have had to live and even more horrid ways they died; searching for the country they believed it but never saw with their own eyes. I never even believed. So I wanted a dream: a dream to tell me the meaning of specific horrific icky things that are happening to me. And I got a dream.
I woke up at 5:45 a.m. from a dream about some nebulous time between high school and my second or third university degree. And all the people who had looked down on me and bullied me in school were there. There was an opera and dance performance prep and they had recruited some people to help from the school. It was a simple move based on fencing that the “background dancers” (me) were supposed to do. But no matter how many times I did it, I was wrong. And the director said “We’ll work on it later” in that tone which means I wouldn’t be working on it later but I would be seeing the stage director later. And the stage director would be telling me that it just wasn’t working out and that I could be just as valuable working behind the stage. Only no matter what I tried behind the stage, that just didn’t work right either. And people were getting tired of waiting for me to get it right, which I never did.
I guess some of that could have come from the fact I had a strong case of the dropsy’s and hand tremors yesterday. But I interpreted the dream simply as: Failure. That my life has been one in which I have failed: mostly in meeting the expectations of others. I failed to get straight A’s, always a B somewhere. I failed to go to the wife molding religious college that had already reserved a place for me (without even submitting an application). I have held dozens of jobs but failed to begin a significant career. I’ve lived in the woods for long periods of time while working or going to university because I didn’t have money for tuition and rent. I’ve also squatted in unheated buildings; in places without bathrooms, where McDonalds and bladder control got me through the nights. I took up fencing to help me with mental control regarding PTSD; until I had sold all that I could to keep paying for what is/was a very expensive sport/hobby. I was, with a single exception, disliked at my club. I even threw a fencing club party to which no one came. Actually, I’ve thrown several parties but when people found out I was holding them in where I was living, in unfurnished and unheated, concrete floored sections of unfinished basements; in the end, no one would come. I have done many things, some adequately, but never fulfilled the expectations of those around me; because in the end, I would move on, looking for the next thing rather than dedicating my life to the double bass, or the newspaper, the art journal, the mathematics, the marathon, asylum seekers, Christian Religious Theory, or the great outdoors.
And the irony is that now, I suffer and will eventually die because my body and my autonomic system is failing. I will die, due to failure. This is the time when I ask myself: Have I been a good partner? A good daughter? A good friend? A good person? I guess that for most of those questions, my life circumstances would answer “no.” There isn’t a single person from high school through the 14 years at university that still speaks to me (indeed, after ‘coming out’ the day AFTER I passed my Viva, my references rescinded). Nor this week, with the exception of Linda, has a single immediate or extended family member spoken to me. Most of that is because I said things, things that people didn’t like to hear. And because I guess they thought they had a relationship with one person and it turns out it was with someone else. I don’t think that living and yes, having sex, with Linda is wrong. A lot of people do. Even non-religious people would say, that “it is their generation” or “not something I am comfortable with.” I spoke about sexual abuse I received from people who went to my church. And even more, I spoke about how the church itself was set up so that sexual, emotional, physical and other abuses were carried out with regularity and when the reply from the “Elders” was that this was a “test from God” instead of “call the police.” When I talked about the abuse in my family I did not realizing it would mean my parents choosing between their grandchild and me. As for my extended family; they didn’t approve of my parents’ religious choice so I simply had no contact with them except a few times as an adult. Though most of them living very near here, I don’t think any of them know that I am sick, and since I am “living in sin” I doubt they would care. I mean, they never cared about their own sister trying to escape from a physically abusive husband (she lived for a while in the woods too).
A good daughter; no I am not. I have never lived up to my mother’s expectations; even the emotions I have are wrong (or so I am regularly told). But since she spent her life trying to live up to her mother’s expectations, I am simply glad I don’t have a daughter (stop that cycle). I don’t think my Grandmother ever said she loved me….or to her own daughter. The one thing I know from my mother is that I am going about my illness all wrong: I wear the wrong clothes, care about the wrong things, feel the wrong emotions, and so when I am not verbally overruled, I am simply avoided. My mother has a good relationship with Linda. When she wants to tell me something, she relays it through Linda. So in that regard, I guess more of a monster than a failure; monsters are things you avoid because of fear or disgust. Yet I think we are so close in many ways that I would die happy if we fell down Reichenbach Falls, I don’t know if I would even strangle her, just lead her to her death by her desire to strangle me (Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty fell to their death strangling each other over Reichenbach Falls) .
But is that all I am? Failure. Probably not, but some days, I really do have to wonder. I rarely have ever drunk alcohol and only once in excess and I have never done drugs. I have however, run until I bled. I’ve cut myself thousands if not tens of thousands of times. I’ve attempted suicide from starvation, dehydration, alcohol poisoning, pills, walking in front of traffic, lying down in snow, and many other ways I can’t remember. The starvation took the longest, and probably came the closest to succeeding; months of wanting to die every single day. And in the end I was a failure in that too. Yesterday someone asked me what a person feels that makes them want to cut themselves. Sometimes it is just because you feel so much of nothing that having any feeling, even pain would be a relief. Sometimes, you want to strike out against your anger, your frustration, your helplessness but don’t want anyone to be hurt, or damaged; only yourself. Sometimes it is just the fear that the risk in hoping or trying is so terrifying that you need to remember who you are: An object; something to be used and discarded. I wonder why people think I would hurt someone else when I would do almost anything to myself from the fear of even disappointing them. I’ve punched myself in the face, left welts.
So that’s it, that is the great vision, that I’m a failure; that I die a failure from a body system failure? I was sort of hoping for something I didn’t already know. I’m not convinced I was sent the right dream. Linda says that if each trouble in my life were a pebble, my bucket would overflow. Linda always has these farm analogies that confuse me. I think that either means I have had a “tough row to hoe” or I am really good at failure (Linda read this and say that because “you have been stuck in so many fires, you are such a strong person” – did I mention her analogies confuse me). Linda is still worth all of them (the immediate and extended family). I just wish that either I could have been who they wanted me to be; or that they could want the person I am. My mother told me this year that she wished everyone could experience the pain of knowing someone like me.
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