I have written this post 5 times, only become overwhelmed by the sheer weight of it.
That’s what being a survivor is like. The words to describe everything we’ve ever been through, all the seconds of our life weighted down by pain and hurt and betrayal, is far too much for even us who’ve lived it to describe.
I don’t know how I survived. Or rather, how I’m surviving because the future is not something I have ever let myself possess. I have been on the edge of suicide for so many years it’s all blurred together. I’ve been wishing for, needing death all my life.
I moved out of my mother’s house because it was either that or die from the sheer weight of all my secrets and lies. And if not from that, I was certainly going to die from the worthlessness; from knowing that my mother could care less what happened to me or what I was going through in favor of my brother’s comfort.
But I also moved out to die. I moved out knowing it wouldn’t get better. Knowing I was too fucked up, knowing that my secrets and lies followed me everywhere in my city, with everyone who knew me. Nearly every week I planned my suicide; picked a day, a method, knew that no one would b able to stop me now that I was completely alone. Days could go by without ayone wondering where I was or checking up on me.
As I write this, I’m on the train to Portland. I’m getting out of that fucking city.
I don’t know how this happened. I should be dead. I always knew I would be. I always knew that I was never going to have the skills to survive, never going to ebb the fear enough to face life, and never going to face the dark, fucked up parts of myself enough to accomplish anything I want.
And I haven’t. That’s the strange part. I know next to nothing, I spend most of my days simply breathing, because it’s the only thing I know how to do and can be sure I won’t fuck up. I can’t make a decision without panicking now that I don’t have my mother to tell me every little thing I should think. And the things I’ve wanted to die over since I was 11 still leave me cold in my skin, and I still am no closer to believing that I can deal with these things. I still know that I have to build up walls around everyone, let people in no further, sacrifice any illusions that anyone could ever get really close to me.
But it’s been 10 months since I moved out, almost to the day. And I am not dead. And I am doing something that at no point in my life did I ever imagine I could: I am getting out.
Life has been incredibly slow for me. I don’t know if it feels that way for other survivors, but I know for me, I feel like my life has crawled slowly through the pain. I have been tired and scared and in hiding all my life; I have experienced levels of pain to my threshold, where any new pain ceases to register because it would be like getting drenched with water after you’re already soaked to the bone.
Life has been so fucking unbelievably, incomprehensibly hard. This is where the 5 revisions come in – I can’t explain it, I can’t describe the entire scope of life as an abusive victim to anyone. You know it if you’ve lived it.
It’s been 10 months that I’ve been out of my mother’s house, away from the abuse. 10 months of confusion and suicidal thinking, of better nights’ sleep and no more constant reminders of my worthlessness from my family. It’s been being terrifyingly alone and being free. It’s mostly been reaching the limit of what I am capable of doing for myself, on my own, in that city, something that was the most frightening when it seemed like I was trapped inside my own destruction.
But I’m leaving. I think the act alone is its own kind of reassurance; I never was allowed to assume my life was mine to be able to do something like this. I have spent it feeling like there are laws of entrapment keeping me with my family and by extension, my city.
I don’t want to hope; hope has far too much baggage attached to it and too many years of failing me and proving futile. But these last few weeks I have felt the knot of dread and doom that I’ve carried around all my life starting to unwind. I am going to a place where nobody knows me through my attachment to my family, where I don’t have to (though still probably will) feel like my mother’s eyes are watching my every move; feeling like I still most perform to keep up the lie of what my family is because that’s how it’s always been. I don’t have to feel like the lone survivor, having to hide parts of myself for my own protection from non-survivors, never knowing another person I can feel less alone with. I don’t have to hide the basics of who I am.
So that’s where I am. Life is hard, it always has been; I’m fucked up and in pain and tired and ignorant and I have zero knowledge on the basic skills needed to survive in the world and no idea how to function outside of an abusive environment.
But I am alive. And I am getting out.
And maybe that means I have at least a small chance that I didn’t have before.