Digging Up Bones

Ever have a pivotal personal moment in your life where you discover something that pretty much explains EVERYTHING about you and you didn’t know that’s what it was your entire life and now you are going through 10 million different feels trying to process that? And I’m not talking about a one off…one moment or a few. This is hundreds and hundreds of moments and experiences that I thought were just my not understanding people and them not understanding me because I guess I was just this broken freak. A weirdo. Maybe a trauma survivor. Just a broken person and I needed to hide that and just pretend I understood people and how things worked. And pretend I liked doing what others did. And a lot of times..felt like an alien not made for this world. Not comfortable anywhere but when I was at home or by myself or with the very few people I felt I could be me around and even then I wasn’t really myself around people. I was the version I learned to be to pass as “normal”. That’s how I felt inside.
That’s the weight of stuff I carried around with me my entire life. It’s not something I thought about every day. It’s just something I learned to accept there was no answer to besides that I was just different. That was most likely the result of childhood trauma because I don’t remember a moment when I didn’t feel it. Not one moment.

As a very young child I had horribly vivid dreams. One of my earliest memories is being held by my mother who was trying to soothe me. And I remember this very vividly. I remember how it felt. I didn’t know why I was upset I just know I felt like everything was wrong and I couldn’t shake off the feeling of the dream I had. I just could not get away from the feeling. I remember having many moments like this as a young child. Not understanding what I was feeling. And no answers. You just had a bad dream.

I remember big eyes after I said something. Always. At so many different moments. Or laughter after I said something. Or major disapproval. Whenever I opened my mouth it seemed to be wrong or bad or funny. Imagine trying to figure that out? Having such strong reactions when you did relax and tried to be yourself. It made me quiet a lot. It made it not worth it for a time to even speak when I was younger. People did not like my honesty. They wanted me to be this fake thing that lied to them. That’s what I learned as a kid. And I didn’t know how to do that naturally so I found people I thought were cool and people I admired and I mirrored (or miserably tried to mirror) these people. Their mannerisms..the way they talked..the way they stood..the way they dressed. One girl in particular was the preachers daughter. I thought she was beautiful and cool and graceful. She had red hair. Ya. She had red hair (go figure..even the hair color I have today was most likely me trying to figure out how to exist in this world and have an identity ) and she sang and one time in a bathroom she told me my mole below my neck was a beauty mark. It was one of the nicest things anyone had ever said to me (so weird lol) and from that point on I thought okay that’s how I should be. Which is normal for anyone at a young age except I took it to a whole new level with in the way I talked for a bit and copied other mannerisms. Absolutely creepy I suppose had she realized but I wasn’t in her group of older kids. I was just a young girl trying to be everything for everyone except who I was deep inside. Who I was inside was always wrong to everyone.

And that hurts. It hurts to think I can never get that time back and I wasn’t myself most of the time as a kid. My entire childhood and really adulthood was spent being something I wasn’t. And anytime I tried to be myself I was told it was wrong or weird or anti social or rude. The only time I felt okay was when I was home in my safe place. Or alone out in the fields behind my childhood home looking for my number one special interest..rocks. I did that until that house was sold and my parents divorced when I had my own children. A grown woman..out in a field for hours looking for rocks. Ya..totally normal. It kind of surprises me now that no one questioned that. My family never once questioned it that I know of. That’s just what “Annie” does. Now I look at that as a huge flag..a fucking banner…that I thought and did things differently. Not in a bad way..just in a really different way. It also tells me I was allowed to be that there and I am thankful for at least that. At least I was allowed that. I couldn’t do that anywhere else without people thinking it odd and anti social. At least I had that safe place for awhile.

So this is what I do now. I think about so many different instances throughout my life and so many realizations of what things really were. It’s a lot to realize what you thought or believed was one thing…wasn’t that at all. Identity crisis. I am feeling an identity crisis hard right now. I am feeling grief for the young me. The wanting to go back and change all those moments to moments where I am understood and I am diagnosed autistic and mostly that I personally understand what I am. To go back and change the way I felt about myself and ultimately the decisions I made believing I was not worthy or capable of more. To change the inner voice from “my god why do you always fuck shit up” to “you are autistic so you simply think different and feel differently and THATS OKAY”. Oh to have the opportunity to tell myself over and over “it’s okay”.

Now I untangle or try to untangle all that. Now I accept I can not change what happened but I can change it moving forward. Now I am kinder to myself. More understanding. And while I pick through each moment of “omg that’s what it was”..I am laying it to rest. I need to. I can’t stay in this place of constantly going back and wishing things had been different. I know that isn’t healthy. But because I am who I am and process the way I process..I do feel the need to understand it and I understand it by looking at it. Digging it up and turning it around in my hands and then putting it back. It’s hard…but I need to do this to move forward. Each thing I dig up..and look at in a different light and perspective is closure to me. I must understand it. I don’t know any other way to move forward without understanding every piece of it. It will help me figure out who I really am..well that’s the hope.

I Am My Mother’s Daughter

My mother married someone she knew, on her wedding day..she should not marry. She almost…almost told the few there who witnessed it to go home, that this was a mistake. I was one year old. My name was Anne Marie Hickey. She married him for me anyway. So I would have a home and a father. So her own father would allow us to live in his home. Regardless of what I think about her politics or religion…I can relate to the sacrifice of what my mother did that day. I can relate.

And on the day she divorced..she forgot paperwork she needed in her car and ran out flustered and emotional about this day and while coming back up the cement steps of the court house fell and badly scraped up her knees and ripped her nylons. She walked back into that room with bloody knees and in that moment ended years and years of emotional abuse. It’s the most symbolic thing that could of happened that day..standing there with blood pouring from her knees while the person she was divorcing…laughed with the people inside that courtroom like it was just another day. It was not just another day for her. This was years of suppressing her instincts about right and wrong. Years of being belittled for finally getting the mental health help she needed by the one person who should of supported her the most. Years of begging him to get help too so they could be on the same path together. Years of a church telling her that what she was doing on this day was the worst thing she could ever do.

Imagine being told the worst thing you could ever do was to leave an abusive relationship. But I guess this is what an abuser would tell you. She had an entire childhood of practice of being in abusive relationships. Of course she stayed as long as she did. Of course she was very strong throughout all of it until she couldn’t be any longer. And as she stood there with bloody knees and ripped nylons..she did what she should of done years and years ago before realizing she could. She stopped the cycle of abuse. She ended it. She did the one thing she tried so hard not to do. That she was told she should never do. The one thing she knew would rip her family apart. By then we had all begun or own dysfunctional relationships and cycles of abuse. There was no need to hold this family together any longer. He had begun to drink again. He wasn’t home the way he used to be. She was looking at the rest of her life now and how she was going to spend it living in that house she grew up in where the abuse began for her.

I understand it now. I don’t feel anger anymore. I can only relate. I am my mothers daughter. I am. I learned at a young age from my mother how to be dysfunctional and abused and do it well. How to manage it all and keep a clean and organized home..raise children and clean up after their father. And to take it. To cry and scream and wake up the next day like none of it happened. Until that next day was 8 yrs later or 4 yrs later or 10 years later.

I am my mother’s daughter.

Uphill Climb

I’m too sensitive for this world. I’ve said this a million times to myself over the years and it’s as true when I was a kid as it is now. I have yet to figure out how to not feel what I feel in moments of conflict or stress. But I am reaching for that information in ways I never have before and am in the process of finally understanding why things affect me more than others. Why I feel so much more.

I am going to be okay. I swear I am and this is probably the most positive self care I have ever done for myself.
But it’s not without ripping off bandaids and scabs and digging up bones of things I thought I had buried. It is work. It is not easy in any way. But it is the most necessary thing I have ever felt I need to do for myself with a wonderful bonus in that it could help my family too.

And in this process I am even more rattled than I have ever been. Things I normally could somewhat manage…or fake managing…are super close to the surface at the moment. I don’t know how many times I’ve said to myself just let me get through this with no distractions. This is not the time for unnecessary drama. This is not the time. And like clockwork this thought somehow signals the drama. Oh the irony.

Onward through all of it. I will not stop. I will rest when I need to but I will not stop searching and understanding. I couldn’t stop this if I tried to..to be honest. Once you know…there is no going back. I just hope…I can do this in a peaceful and supportive environment but I am accepting it may still be an uphill climb and there may be many events during this and many more misunderstandings. I just need to focus on myself and my journey. Bite on a stick if I need to but keep going. This too shall pass.

Stay True

An epiphany for me lately is truly understanding why it was so incredibly important for me to preach about “staying true” but at the same time not being completely true to who I really was deep inside my entire life. But I get why it was such a huge life motto for me. Why it was so important to me. Subconsciously it really was a deep yearning to feel okay with me and my things…preciously referred to as my “quirks”.
I’m now in the stage of accepting I was in survival mode for a very long time for multiple reasons..and not just the reasons that were apparent. There was much more to how and why I was in survival mode. I think the hardest part now will be in how to forget these tactics. How to learn how to be myself and who the hell I am minus all my many survival techniques. It feels incredibly daunting. A real identity crisis is what I’m feeling now. Who the fuck am I when the tough skin and layers are peeled back? Who was I before 2nd grade when I’m now realizing I first began to build those protective layers? When I am discovering I began to be aware that being me was something considered by others as something wrong and not worth it.

Oh ya…it’s getting deep. Years and years of signs and “omg that’s what it was” are flooding my mind daily. And I’m also recognizing things with my mother. So add that to the pot. And trust me..that’s a hard pill to swallow with my mother. But I’m already feeling empathy I never felt before for my mother. I am beginning to understand why she was the way she was too. And it’s a lot. To believe something your entire life only to find what you believed to be true is not…it’s a lot.