Hide Your Truth

My first real breaking point, the one that actually made mom say, “This isn’t normal. You need help.” was when I was nineteen.

I already had the cloud of shame thick on me. I knew by this point about my father, and I’d never allowed myself to forget or forgive myself for letting the other happen. Maybe someday I can say it. But not tonight. Tonight is for a different scar.

My doctor sent me to a therapist. He was afraid I was going to hurt myself. I was shocked. Because I had been certain I’d hidden that effectively. Guess not.

Meds and therapy. Suddenly there was this stranger asking me how things made me feel. But the whole time I held most of it back. I am sure some of the whole “You’re not invested in healing yourself” comes from that wall.

It was built before I realized. Time to go. Mom would say, “Don’t tell those quacks anything bad about me.” Or someone would find out I was going to therapy and say, “Oh I tied that once. It was a waste of time.” and after, “Did you say anything bad about me?”

I learned how to feel shame from my mother that way. Hide the truth. Don’t let them know, they’ll use it against you. I also learned that from her. And Nathan, always so bitter when we fight. “Go tell everybody now. Make sure you turn everyone against me.”

These are people who, when I’ve done what they wanted, have said I am a good person. Loving. Kind.

And I convinced myself to hide the real me away. That the worst was true. So do what they want and think of them first so they won’t remember how awful I am.

Then he came back, and slowly stole through the cracks in my walls and I gave him every bit of me. My joys. And my shame. The beautiful and reviled both. And he said he loved me. He said he would always be here.

“I am here.”

And then he’s gone like he’d never existed. And they’re here, and I’m too weak without him and slowly the mire closes back around me and the skin, my walls, we’re already down and they’re in here and now I’m gone and “Don’t let them see, God please never let anyone ever see that deep in me again because I will disappear forever.”

You are not here.

“Don’t tell them anything bad.”

I suppose therapy really is snake oil if you hide your truths, so they weren’t exactly wrong.

My outsides match my insides now. I compared myself to Jabba the Hut today. It got a laugh, but I wasn’t kidding. No one could ever fall in love with me now. I am tarred black clinging to a dead form.

I had a cousin say to me yesterday, “You look pretty, Amy.” And I wanted to scream at her. It offended me. Kind words, especially about my looks, are patronizing and it makes me want to

I almost said die.

It’s a weird sort of narcissism. Knowing that you are hideous. Like the girl in the Library, having the clearest sight because she is both brilliant and unloved. Though brilliant is wrong. I just have been used to the worst reactions, and constant bombardment has made me wary, and often right.

I’m so tired now. I haven’t been this tired in a long time.