Sunday, May 2, 2010

Potter's Closure

1140914183-65I realize I do not have closure on two key things in my life. I don't know exactly what "closure" means, but I hear people talk about it like it's a good thing, how it makes you feel good about bad things that have happened. I figure since I feel so lousy about these two certain things, I don't have this closure and any of the warm feelings it supposedly provides to ice-cold heartaches.

Breakup with fiancee. Relationship with my mother. If I thought hard enough and long enough, I'm sure I could think of other things that I don't feel good about, but these two things, they just stick out in my mind more than any other thoughts or ideas or mistakes or pain. This pair of a heartache, I feel its pain to my bones. You might think, "Okay, focus on getting over these two things. It's just two things." But it's not just two things. I mean, yes, I did name off two things, but these two things have countless other mistakes and consequences and pain hatching off of them, creating hundreds of diseased bugs crawling and infecting every crevice of my life.

It's not just a breakup. It's two years of someone knowing every single thing about me and my past, and accepting me, all of me. It's two years of becoming a part of a healthy, Christian family, someone else's family, who came to know me and love me and accept me in the same unconditional way their son had. It was seeing his mom in action, a real mom, who had her own painful childhood but grew into a wonderful mother and not some bitter, deceitful woman invoking pain and self-hatred and confusion to her young. The problem with all of this unconditional acceptance and love was that I didn't accept me, which is what ultimately ended our relationship. Well that and me with a broken arm, him being arrested, and me sleeping on a coworker's couch for 2 weeks until I could move into my new apartment.

Wow. So many memories are flooding back. Horrible, life-altering memories so strong it's like I'm back in that awful moment when I realize how ill-equipped I am to be in a relationship, when I find out that engaging in grown-up activities such as date night and holiday brunches and sex doesn't change the fact that I am in a volatile relationship, the moment when I say to myself, "You need to get help or you will die a miserable, unwed woman whose life revolves around your 8 cats and trashy romance novels." It's not just about the breakup.

Now, the subject of my mother. I don't even know where to begin. There is so much anger, rage even, over the shit she pulled. The shit she is still pulling. And I don't say shit to try and sound like the disenfranchised, emo-fueled daughter finding rebellion at the age of 27 by cursing. It really is shit; stinky, rotting, only-good-for-fertilizing-misery shit. And it's not normal shit. It's not even annoying, out of line, "I have a difficult parent" shit. It's mental illness, it's the abused becoming the abuser, it's deceit, manipulation, negativity, toxicity, even deadly. No, I'm not exaggerating. Deadly. I've reached many points in my life where it was all too much. I found myself wanting to leave the world and all of the pain it served me in the form of a mother's love.

The breakup. The relationship with my mother. Both heartaches have so much to do with one another. Really when you get down to it, each is just an extension of my childhood, and when I think of my childhood I think of my mother. I think of my rotten, useless, helpless childhood that I endured, not enjoyed. That was filled with crying and not laughing. That was blanketed with shame and not embraced with naive acceptance for the freshness of the world and all that it had to offer. I didn't want to become a ballerina or a firefighter or walk on the moon. I didn't want to become famous or rich. I wanted to be loved.

So here I sit, with a heart as heavy as a boulder, with the same jagged edges and heaviness and uselessness as every other over-sized, big dumpy rock in the world. What do I do? What do I do? Where do I go from here? How do I find this thing called closure from such pain and chaos?

I started off on a journey, not toward closure specifically but a journey toward a better life, toward a newer, healthier version of myself. I am seeing a counselor regularly. I have mountain_stream_005been on medication for several months now. I am reading inspirational books, I am praying, I am limiting my drinking, and I am writing. I don't know why I chose these specific activities to be a part of my journey or why I thought they might lead me to meet the better Kristin, but it just made sense. The writing part is what I am most proud of. I am being painfully honest in posts that are public. I've spent over two decades pretending I had a life that I didn't, faking happiness and sanity, I suppose to survive. But I can't be a phony any longer. I can't put on mascara and a smile and pretend my life is peachy perfect. With each post, I am saying to the world, "Hello, my name is Kristin, and I am not well." And with each therapy session I attend and each dose of medicine I swallow, I suppose I am saying the same thing to myself.

There is something freeing about coming clean, standing naked and transparent with every mistake and regret seeping through my skin to show its moldy sliminess to all who are strong enough to brave the stench. Writing extracts years of misery from my veins to relieve the stress of the negativity that has poisoned my life. I am assigning words to my pain, stealing its power and control in my life and transferring each despicable moment of my past into its own little text box. Once I hit "Publish Post", my pain is injected into cyberspace never to return to my body again. Sometimes I hesitate to let it go, feeling a bit of fear of what someone reading may think . But ridding myself of this hazardous material is surely worth any ridicule I may have coming my way, and really nothing can be as bad as what I already think of myself.
Closure. I wonder if it's like Potter Stewart's definition of pornography--I can't define it, but I'll know it when I see it. Is it a process, or a moment of clarity? Do you need it to be happy, or is it just icing on the cake? The things I am doing, the writing and the praying and the counseling, are these the avenues that will bring me closure? All I can do is continue doing what I am doing, continue the medicine and the therapy, continue praying and reading, continue writing and hitting "Publish Post". And if closure comes, you will be the first to know.

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