I have often wondered what it’s like to die. Not physically, but what happens to my spirit when the body fails to survive? I’ve many time’s pictured it as if the spirit steps to the side, into another realm. Still close, but invisible to the physical world. I don’t feel like we go very far away. I think that the hard part about staying close would be observing without influence. It would be hard to see events without being involved.
Every Christmas season, the church would put on a production of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. In this play, an old man named Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits in his sleep; the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. He has a chance to examine his life, and what is really important to him, and where his life may go if he continues his life on his current path. Ebeneezer has a chance to observe scenes from his life from an outside perspective. He was able to see the way that people in his life talked about him; how he was miserable and caused people to feel awful about themselves. After these “dreams” he woke up and decided to change his life and do good for others. It is meant to be an uplifting story with a message. Growing up, I related to the Scrooge character in the way that I thought I made people mad, that I was miserable and made others feel bad about themselves. I thought that others must talk about me and how miserable it is to be around me. I have since learned to push beyond this, and realize this is a paranoid way of thinking. The truth is that what other people say about me behind my back, is none of my business.
Around this time of year I do feel like an outsider, and it’s hard to feel isolated and want to feel involved, yet wonder why I’m on the outside. For so many years we were not deeply involved with family, and any friends we had were in the cult. Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I knew that our families were having parties and get-togethers, and that we would not attend. I feel now that I want to be involved in everything, especially big life events, yet when I’m there I sometimes feel a distance. They have years of tradition and family memories of which I was not present. There is a lot of lost time. I am grateful for the opportunities I have now to have loving familial relationships. My downfall is that I find myself getting frustrated when I don’t feel others share the same sentiment. Oftentimes I feel a desperation, while still knowing that I can’t control others. Some don’t want to be as close to me as I would like, and that has to be okay with me. I have doubts and thoughts in my head- do I make them feel bad? Is that why they don’t want to spend time with me? Is that why I am not included in some events and why my reaching out gets ignored?
There is another side to this- I am afraid. What if I am writing too much on the blog? What if the only thing that my family thinks I want to talk about is the years at the cult? I want to talk about it yes, but I don’t want it to be tragic for them. I want to be able to tell the stories that are real, and yet laugh at how ridiculous it was. I hate being looked at with pity, or like I’m broken. At times I feel like my story is unrelatable. I own this story. It’s not a secret. I’m a survivor, and I won’t hide that fact.
For my friends that understand- I know that social media can be awful. The pictures of the parties, events, and gatherings. I feel like everyone is having great times, and I am not. I feel weighed down; tired. I keep going forward for my kids. I want them to know that it is okay to own your feelings, and that I will do the best I can to provide holiday fun for them. I will be there for their big life events. Every day I go to battle. I fight for the kids, and I fight for myself.
I’m not giving up.