Right now it only hurts. As if someone had poured petrol over my inside and then set it on fire. I’m sick, I can hardly breathe. Yesterday changed something inside me.
I met someone I hadn’t seen in years. A supervisor from the youth group that used to be the only place in the world where I felt I had the right to be who I was. Naturally we also talked about my problems, or rather just touched the topic as he started off with a statement that made my hands and feet go numb: “Sure I knew about it. I talked about it with the other supervisor a lot.” I wasn’t able to ask what he saw back then (I did that via email today and am still waiting for his answer) and I couldn’t say much about it either. After the meeting I was gone for hours. I try to explain why to you as well as myself.
When I was twelve, the thunderstorm inside my head started getting so loud that I wondered if I should get help. I answered myself by telling me that I would wait a little, that everyone always said puberty was hard and that it wouldn’t help to obsess about it. My wonderful plan was to get help as soon as someone noticed that “something wasn’t right” – things I could disguise were not “bad enough” to back up drastic actions such as talking to a counselor at school.
So I waited. And waited. I waited until I was bloody 21 and couldn’t pretend no one had noticed after a panic attack with curious bystanders that lasted for several hours.
All the time I spent waiting I was proud of my acting – to this day I wonder why I have never been nominated for an Academy Award. And all the time I hoped for a moment in which I would lose control. I visualized how I would start screaming until someone would take me to hospital, how I would cry until I would be taken away, how I would enter a room full of people, with bleeding hands or just say nothing at all and stare at the wall.
Instead I smiled. Every. Fucking. Day.
There were moments when people nearly glimpsed behind the facade: Pages out of my diary that were found, ex partners who were more devastated than could be understood after so short a time, injuries I couldn’t explain in time or in a plausible way. But nobody ever found anything unsettling enough to do something about it.
My house of cards never collapsed. I waited vainly for my big fit of rage for years. After a while I started thinking that there was actually nobody who saw it, that, no matter how bad it was, I would have been one of these people who take their one life “completely out of the blue”. One of these cases that make everyone wonder how such a thing can happen.
And then this conversation yesterday. A few simple words: “I knew.”
I can’t even begin to say what this does to me. Maybe there’s nobody who can understand why it is so terrible for me but this person never knew me as well as others. Others who are blind for emotions. Others who were ill. Others who like to pretend everything’s just fine. Others who are lucky enough to live in a family where “things like that” don’t happen. Others whose responsibility would have been to look after me before I was able to do it myself.
There are two options and I don’t know which is the one I find it more horrible to even think about:
All these people who were responsible for me and spent a lot of time with me never saw what a volunteer who was in charge of twenty teenagers was able to see.
All these peole who were repsonsible for me and spent a lot of time with me saw exactly what this volunteer saw but didn’t think I was important enough to act.
I would lie if I said I wanted someone to organize a therapy for me when I was 16 – I would have protested and refused. But it would have been the right thing to do. Somebody should have taken my hand and told me how what happened wasn’t “normal”. That it wasn’t a simple puberty crisis that passes but that I had every reason to feel bad and that it was understandable that I couldn’t cope on my own. Nobody should have believed that I was perfectly fine with no help at all even though it was a big success for me that they actually did believe it.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with all that. I’m angry with people who are white in my black-and-white world right now. People I love so much that my pretty little head can’t believe I’m angry with them. People I’m so angry with that my pretty little head doesn’t want to hear how much I love them. And before someone starts telling me that both things are okay and that the world is not black and white – I know! I know because I’m more than averagely intelligent. But unfortunately that’s very different from feeling it and my loose screw prevents me from doing so.
It’s probably some sort of progress when I feel anger that protects my inner child and that I tried to suppress for years. My therapist would probably do a little dance. I’m not so sure yet…