Today was the a perfect example of why I dislike coming "home". And honestly, it hit me hard. I wasn't in a place to really cope and bounce back quickly, I guess. Every time I start to write this blog, my eyes just well up, and then I feel lame and like I should just shut the heck up, get over myself, and try to sleep it off. And maybe I won't type this all tonight and just see where I'm at in the morning. But while I feel that a lot of the frustration of today was stupid in and of itself, it brings up so much crap that I can't ignore it, especially as a blog topic.
So, it's now days later...and I'm returning to this because it did throw me for a loop. We went shopping as a family, a fairly common occurrence. I was excited...my dad and I had discussed getting some stuff for school and hitting up the post-Christmas sales. I had some things I was hoping to at least look for. But I will say it started off weird. My mom didn't want to go and wouldn't really say it. She just came along, silent and glum and resentful...as if we were forcing her or torturing her by bringing her with, though she wouldn't admit to it or like just stay home like she wanted. *Sigh* That made it weird for my sisters and I because we were enjoying browsing and talking and stuff, but Mom was distant and unapproachable. So, we didn't want to seem too excited for fear of like rubbing it in her face or something. Like we didn't know how to show her things without like making things worse or whatever. Then seemingly suddenly, my dad blew up at all of us. He said that we all made him feel like he was dragging us through the store when he was there for us and now we acted like we didn't. He said we were being ungrateful and cynical and stuff. I had no idea what the Hell he was talking about. In hind sight, it may have been much more of a Mom issue than I'd realized at the time, but that wasn't conveyed. Mom was just distant and silent, Dad yelled at us and stormed away and angrily finished his shopping as if trying to punish us with every movement. If it hadn't been my father, I would have laughed at him for angrily biting a piece of Canadian bacon. But instead, I was praying that I wouldn't cry and be bold enough to not entirely lose my voice. I mean, it's remarkable. When Dad gets like that, I feel myself instantly want to shut down, throw up every wall I have, and just try to survive it...to try to protect myself...I wanted to hide or run or leave 'cause I just...I didn't know...was asking a question going to result in some personal attack? Was I supposed to try to keep up with his ridiculous storming down the aisle? Or was I supposed to hang back with my mom and sisters? He wanted to know that we appreciated the trip and were enjoying ourselves, but was laughing going to demonstrate that or make everything worse? (I assumed the latter) I was so pissed 'cause I didn't what the Hell to do. I couldn't escape, but I couldn't make it better, and I didn't know how to avoid becoming a target. We get in the car and he makes some speech about gas and how we'd better have somewhere we want to go next. My sisters all opt for the "where ever". I knew that was going to result in trouble threw out a, "I had hoped to go to Old Navy." That was satisfactory and we went there and then to the mall. But my sisters and I had to like walk on eggshells...we needed to productively look but not too long...we needed to be aware of our glaring father standing near the door and try not to say anything while he road raged from store to store. I cried briefly in Old Navy while I texted with my sister about how much we hated when he did this...how it's some of our clearest childhood memories of our father...how we wish he knew how much it hurt us...how it drove us to fear conflict -- upsetting friends, boyfriends, etc. It's played a role in making us who we are and has driven at least the oldest two of us to maladaptive behaviors and counseling.
I had a hard time recovering from that day. Partially cause I tried to wall myself off from everything and everyone so it wouldn't hurt so much and so I wouldn't cry. Partially because I don't even know how to describe how I felt. I was hurt, but that word is so insufficient. I felt like a pawn -- unimportant, negligible, invisible in some ways but exposed in others. I felt like a punching bag -- everyone gets to throw a shot when they have a bad day...cause that's what I deserve or something...or cause I'm there...or because I put myself in the positions for that...regardless it's where I end up...it's how it goes...It made want to never try...It made me think about every relationship I have and have had. Am I ever good enough? Can I be a friend? Or am I really selfish? Do I make people angry? Is that why I get yelled at and marginalized and hurt? I was really nervous about New Year's as a result. I didn't know if I could not be lame and questioning everyone's motives...I didn't know if I could not cry. I almost didn't go. I mean, on top of all that were my friends from high school. Some of them I still love dearly and others...it seems like I don't exist to them...even when I'm sitting across the table...All that matters is that now they're happy...who cares what's going on in my life...who cares how they got there...I was a part...now, I'm a forgettable one. One in particular acts like they know me sooo well...I'm never "myself"...I'm always "compromising" "living a lie"...I should be living like them. Fuck 'em. If you know me so well, you would know how much it hurts me to feel invisible and replaceable...I mean, if I show up to a lunch with "everyone" it's an extra like the cheese on the wrapper on a hamburger. You appreciate it, but you didn't necessarily order it or think of it before you saw it. Neat how I can be an extra, so...forgettable...*sigh* It's hard because I didn't feel like I was in the depths of despair like I have in the past when I'm home like that or when these things happen. Instead, I felt my defense mechanisms kick in...and the lies that have been whispering in my ear for a month and a half found their foothold...it was weird, though, because it was so different.
I wanted to isolate myself and protect myself. But I love my friends so much that instead I took chances. Maybe not everyday or maybe not with everyone or maybe not grand ones...but they were definitely bold moves in my book, with my track record. It was weird because instead of becoming despondent and depressed. I was down but fighting? Or something. Like a part of me was keenly aware of all kinds of shit. And a part of me was resolved that shit had no place in my life...
It was hard because it made me realize that I'm not ready to be home for any length of time. It's too hard...I don't live out of the freedom I have in Christ when I'm home. I'm a slave to so much, or at least I am mighty tempted to be. I want to be an older version of who I was...senior me...with more experience. I wish I looked that way, I wish I had those friends still, I wish that I could enjoy those same things...but I can't. I can't live that life anymore. That's not who I am anymore. By the same token, I feel trapped by past transgressions, mistakes that happened on that corner, in that parking lot. I could give you a tour of pain I experienced in that town...that's where I ____...where I realized _____...where he _____...And those things haunt me in away. Those are special lies that want me to think I haven't changed...I haven't learned anything...I don't know any better and that's all I'll ever be...nothing more.
It's hard...'cause I don't know what to say about it all. I mean it was almost surreal to feel those lies come for me, to feel defense mechanisms and old wounds triggered, but to feel more like I was riding them out. Clinging to hope of love and forgiveness and grace and truth...Trusting that in Christ I would keep standing no matter how hard the rain fell, no matter what tried to wash me away. I felt two-faced. One part of me was in so much pain and doing terribly, but there was another part filled with hope and love and awesomeness...maybe that's what joy is...being awesome even though part of you is still awful...Happy with an undercurrent of sad was what I kept telling people...but...maybe...maybe it was more than that? I don't know.