I want to feel pretty. I want to feel loved. I want what every human wants: to be accepted for who I am, not judged for who I am not. It’s a struggle, with body and mind and self-acceptance. We are our own worst critics, and I know I am my own worst enemy. I set myself up for failure. I sabotage myself on a daily basis, or so it seems.
Living with an autoimmune system problem, it seems as if my own body is out to get me sometimes. And in reality, it is. It cripples me and limits my ability to live life like a normal person. I’m on a biologic medication, which gives me the immune system of an unvaccinated infant. It’s a scary feeling when you know the common flu could kill you. But on the other hand, if you don’t take this medication, your own body will kill you. Yeah, I don’t like it. But I deal with it, it is my struggle to bear, and I like to think I handle it with grace and dignity. I do so well people forget I am “sick” so I must be doing something right.
When I was a child, I was a social outcast. (Still am, but that is by choice. Punk rock!) Nobody liked to play with the kid the size of a grown up. Nobody liked the kid who was the smartest in the class. Nobody likes the awkward, shy, quiet girl in the back of the room longing for acceptance. My mother was abusive towards me. She was high on crank. She would rub my nose in the wet sheets if I wet the bed. She would beat me for making too much noise putting groceries away. And at age twelve, when I stood up to her and took the daily paddle away from her, she doubled up her fist and started punching me in the face. It was hell, walking on eggshells in the house, never knowing what I could say or do to set her off and have her punch me.
I also would lay awake at night, bearing the world’s guilt upon my consciousness. I cried, for all the kids being abused. I cried for all the people who lost their homes or lives due to natural disasters. I mourned the loss of my own childhood, which ended young with a cousin touching me in inappropriate places at a very young age. I thought all moms were mean and all kids got beat. I thought all dads were ignorant to what was going on and that yelling over the dinner table was a normal occurrence. I thought a lot of things, lying there all night contemplating life and death.
The concept of suicide hit me when I was 8. I saw it on a movie, and did research on it at the public library. I had a plan… I just had to find one of mom’s razor blades. I was going to take a bunch of aspirin and slit my wrists in the bathtub, so I wouldn’t make a mess for mom to be mad about. At eight years old, I had a suicide plan.
I was diagnosed as schizophrenic at the age of 23. Along with bipolar disorder and the never ending list of autoimmune disorders, I found out I was crazy. It would explain the guilt and perpetual self-hatred I had been burdened with my whole life. It made a lot of things make sense. In college, I did deep research on schizophrenia and other mental illnesses; psychology was my major. I’m pretty sure my mental problems come from nature passed down through genetics, but also nurture. It probably came from a place of self-preservation, in response to the overwhelming issues I had to deal with at such a young age.
I have been through counseling and I have done a lot of healing and forgiving. My mom got off dope (so did dad) my senior year of high school. My mom also got help for her own mental issues. The older cousin who sexually misappropriated me is doing life in prison for murder, I know he’ll never touch another little girl ever again and that there’s a special place in hell for pedophiles. I have a boyfriend who says he loves me. I have a good relationship with most of my family. There’s food in the cupboards and the bills are somehow getting paid. Life for me is pretty good right now; I don’t want to jinx it by bragging.
I just wish there was some way I could learn to love myself the way I deserve to be loved. Nobody has ever shown me what love really means, what love is, what unconditional acceptance feels like. I’m still that scared child walking on broken glass. I’m damaged goods, and I accept that about myself, but I don’t know how to love myself. Internet research says to make time for myself, so I do a spa day once a week, where I paint my nails and do girly shit all day. I can say I have pretty nails but I don’t feel it. I can have a good hair day or wear a pair of killer jeans and I still feel that sense of self-loathing that never seems to go away.
I blame myself. There’s no one else to blame, and only I can own up to my own fallacies. It doesn’t help that I beat myself up about it daily. But honestly, between you, me, and the internet, writing about it on this secret online journal helps. I feel like a weight has been lifted. Nobody in my family, circle of friends, or even casual acquaintances know I have a secret online journal. I am free to write about anything I choose and today for some reason, I chose to write about this. And it helped.
I’m not looking for pity. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. Everything I have gone through has made me who I am, and I wouldn’t change a thing if I had to do it all over again. I just wish I could learn to be a little less strict with myself, that I could let loose and let go and have the capacity to love myself and accept that things are the way they’re supposed to be. I’m tired of letting myself down.
Thank you for reading. You have been blessed, peeking into someone’s soul, my soul, a closely guarded soul that always has walls up and I have shared things today that it would take lifetimes of gumption to share with people in my life. And I have been blessed with this outlet of energy.