I feel like I should start with “I am sorry!” Not that I need to apologize…I have done nothing wrong! But I am so conditioned to show you my remorse, to offer penitence, for being extra…for BEING more than you wanted and yet NOT BEING ENOUGH to make ME worth your trouble. I have waited decades for you to absolve me of a crime you cannot name.
Do you know how many voices have whispered, and screamed to me…you are a writer? My own voice would not dare agree. I know that there are always words, bubbling inside my belly, like butterflies or botulism, and sometimes I think to spit them out…but they are all wrapped around a cord…the cord that attaches me to you…and if I say them..if I write them? They can never be unsaid. The cord will be cut and the dream of you… wanting me… will die.
So, I set aside writing and instead went to living…and along the way I lived a few stories and read a few stories and heard a few stories and then retold them to my children…and my friends…and teachers who asked to grade me on essays. And each time…they said to me…you are a writer. And I would laugh and demure and say that cannot be true. I cannot write the words, the real story. My story is all tied up in you. In order to tell my story, I will have to tell yours and all the stories of the others who told me to be silent.
“SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH! NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR YOU”
You lied to me. The truth is…YOU did not want to hear me. YOU did not want to see me.
I was an embarrassment to you. It has taken me a lifetime to figure out what it was that was so embarrassing about me!
You told anyone who would listen that I was a liar, before I had a chance to speak, so there was no point. I did not speak.
I think now…I get it sort of.
I was the extra kid..the unnecessary kid…the girl that was supposed to complement the boy…the son that you got in the ordinary way. But you did not need a girl…a pretty little girl with a dead father and a runaway whore for a mother…that girl might inspire empathy and empathy might cause her to take attention away from the real child…the ordinary boy…the normal family. So…you set about making sure I knew that I was not special. I was not extraordinary.
I think you could have forgiven me if I had been exceptional…but I was clumsy in the ballet classes and a genius at reading music, but that is not the same as talent. I could not do anything at all..except weave words together. And you would not let me weave words together…
“SHUT THE HELL UP, GOD DAMN I! NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY.”
You won! I agreed with you and remained silent. I wonder why it was so important for you, that no one ever hear me. What were you afraid I would tell them? Were you afraid I would tell them about what goes on behind closed doors? Were you afraid they would find out that your husband watched me, closely, in the way a man looks at a lover…not a daughter? Were you afraid I would tell them that you called me a slut before I knew what the word meant? Were you afraid I would tell them about your hand print on my face? Were you afraid that I would tell them that you did not want me?
I spent my life with a graveyard of words… held… putrefying into ulcers. I self-medicated by telling stories…everyone’s story but my own. The stories made people feel close to me, without ever really knowing me. I could not let them know me, because you convinced me! No one would ever want to know me.
This blog has been ready to go for weeks but I could not bring myself to write…because you might read it or hear about it. Every word I typed had to be run through the filter of “what will she think of me?” I have wasted a forest on paper that was wadded up and thrown away, because you might read it. You might find out that I disobeyed you.
“JUST KEEP YOUR DAMN MOUTH SHUT! NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR YOU! YOU ARE SO GOD DAMN STUPID!”
Maybe you were right…I was stupid! All these years worrying what you would think of me…knowing damn well that you do not think of me at all. I am invisible.
I am over it! I know you expected to love me. And all those years you were so angry with me,because you didn’t. And now that I am older and more honest with my truth….I did not love you either. I did not know how. There had never been anyone in my life long enough for me to learn love. I did not love you…I just so desperately wanted you to love me. I still do.
The words are coming out now. I refuse to be buried with them inside of me. I will not apologize. I was waiting for you to tell me who I am…but now I know.
I am a writer…and I am about to tell my story!