Pretty intensive counseling session today that revolved in part around my statement of “I hate myself”. Counselor asked why I hate myself and the circling answer was because I am me. Now I have the homework of defining what me means. What makes up myself that is so disgusting? The other topic that came up briefly was why I think I have to hurt myself seeing as nobody else does it. Good question.
Trying to wrap my mind around both of these challenges. Why do I hate myself? Because I am me. I hate my body. I hate who I am. Trying to unravel what lies beneath is hard. I dislike/hate my body because I don’t like the way it looks. And I realize as I am typing this that I completely separate my “mind” from my “body”. The body is “it” and not a part of “me”. The body that is fat, scared, was used. That is what I see, mostly, and what I think of when I look at my body. It was used. By men. It was used and discarded and people made assumptions about “me” by looking at the body. The body is only the outer shell for me, something that isn’t connected to anything else and only serves as a vessel for what’s inside. Yet looking at the inside isn’t so great either. It’s like looking at the moon surface. Craters. Nothingness. Bleakness. Inside is self-hate for not achieving anything, self-loathing for having been used and discarded. The s/a did more damage than I can ever fathom and the subsequent emotional torture that was part of my childhood didn’t help in developing into a well-rounded individual. Being told over and over again that I can only help myself, that no one is there and that, essentially, I am not worth being cared for. Worthless. Not worth being cared for… that’s what I felt like all my life (and I’m only 29!). Trying and trying every day to gain some acknowledgement, some praise for something well done. But nothing was good enough. I give 100% because I am expected to. Try to succeed – and don’t fail! You can try as long as you succeed but failing is not an option. Never an option. Yet even if I do succeed it’s nothing extraordinary. What does that leave? That it never matters what I do, I am always average and average is worthless.
It left behind loneliness, emptiness and a sense of being lost. Confused. Yes, confused most of all. In a world where my classmates interact with each other and understand each other I always have to hold something back because if anyone would know what is behind the mask/the role then they would be disgusted. I am disgusted. Always in fear that someone will find out. Always trying to understand people and trying to catch up to them but never succeeding. I scratch my head and wonder what I am doing wrong. And it must be me, it must be something inside of me, something personal. I am wrong. It’s me. I am wrong. Something is wrong with me. That makes me sad and there are tears of hurt and shame that I cry inside. I hate me for all of that. For being so different and so wrong.
“Me” is disappointment, ugliness, worthlessness, there to be used & abused. “Me”means never doing anything right, always being afraid and confused yet trying to keep it a secret. It means being lonely in a crowd of people because I am different and wrong. Something is inherently wrong with me. “Me” is someone who people can tell that she is fat, stupid, not talented.
All of that hurts. It hurt growing up. But showing emotions? Never. That was wrong, too. Except when it meant being happy or seeming happy. But never actually counting on people to be there or things to happen. Because when I am happy and looking forward to something then people know that and won’t do it. It won’t happen. So never never never ever let people know you care. That’s when they crush you, and laugh, and say “Did you really believe that?”… It hurts but that’s ok, right? Because that’s what I’m there for. To hurt. Verbal punching bag. Or physical. The body can be used, by anyone. It can be used for someone elses’ pleasure. If the body is in pain it doesn’t matter…
That’s “me”. Something “I” don’t want. Complete separation between “that person & that body” and the rest. Whatever the rest is. That small part that reads, listens to people, tries to be a good person… that tries but never succeeds. That is still never good enough but doesn’t have any illusion about the world. It takes the pain and cuts it into skin because that is what the body is there for. It denies food because that is the only way to match the cold & lonely emptiness that is in “that person & that body”. Because being empty and feeling nothing is better than the constant pain that is in the skin/the body.
The skin that prickles and hurts every day and makes the rest want to get out of it. Like shrugging out of an XXL wool sweater, constantly trying to move because the wool itches and is an irritating sensation.
Imagining “The Scream”, the painting by Edvard Munch. A silent scream that finds resonance in the hollow body. A never-ending scream… a scream that has been going on for more than 20 years.
One gets used to it. Ignores it. Has no feelings. Keeps away. Learns to show strength. Is “the lonely fighter”… envied by others. They don’t know the loneliness. They don’t cry themselves to sleep every night, after cutting skin, after imagining being whipped bloody. Insanity. Knowing that one is not sane anymore, crazy, that the thoughts and images that are so familiar cannot be what everybody else experiences and imagines night after night to be comforted.
This image: The body walking into a room where another version of the body is kneeling, head bowed, in shorts. Anticipating pain. Yet another, younger version of the body takes the whip and starts. No sound, no crying. Because that is what the body is there for. Just that. Just pain. Blood streaming down the back, the pain is there but no scream can be heard. Only the same sentences over and over again: “You are worthless”– “You did it again! DON’T trust people!” — ” You are stupid!!” — “You deserve to be hurt, that’s what you’re there for”. Night after night, the same scenario. And telling the young version of the body not to cry because crying is weak and useless. Don’t dare crying.
Finally, after an eternity, it is enough and reality slowly sets in again. In my bed, rigid, clenching my fists, grinding my teeth, skin prickling and hurting. The only sensation: Pain. And after that emptiness. Nothingness. Relief because that means sleep is not far away…
Re-reading this I wonder if I only seem crazy to myself or if others would agree with this assessment? Who imagines that as a way to comfort themselves? Who imagines being split in three different bodies; one watching/giving orders, one hurting, one accepting the punishment? Who needs this ritual night after night to be able to sleep?
I don’t know when that scenario came into being, I don’t know when my brain came up with that and I don’t want to imagine the pain I must have been in to come up with something so cruel in order to battle something even worse. S/a, being used, the pain of having someone much older and bigger doing things with your body you don’t want. And the shame of realizing that the body “enjoys” it. What kind of a person enjoys things like that? Only a really bad person, right? And that’s what I was told anyway. So it makes sense…
I hate myself because I am me. Because all of that is “me”. All of that disgusting stuff is “me”. I hate it because I can’t get rid of it. I hate it because I am afraid of it, of going crazy. More crazy than I already am. I feel like I am losing a part of my sanity every day. And I have felt like that for a long time. A long time. Too long. Hate for this body that I want to destroy, get rid of. Just hate.
Yes, I still have to conjure up that scenario at times to go to sleep, to relax, to clear my mind. To clear my mind! To calm confusion, to process the events of the day. Especially when not understanding people and their actions is too much. When everyone around me seems to speak a language I don’t understand and I can’t catch up. That’s when going to sleep means imagining blood and pain. And submitting willingly, passively, because I deserve it. Because I know I deserve it. Somehow. Why? I don’t know. Because that’s the way it is. That’s the way it always was. Crazy, right? No wonder my brain is broken.
Exhausted. Still there was the other question: Why do I deserve punishment? Do I really? I don’t know what’s right or wrong any longer. I used to think I deserved punishment. For being so wrong in so many ways. For being disgusting. Now I am just immensely tired and would love to find a place to rest. A peaceful place to rest and not think. A place where someone just holds me. Where someone touches my skin and the only sensation is warmth. Something that I don’t even expect anymore. A place where I don’t have to be anything… most of all not strong. Knowing that this place doesn’t exist, will never exist, that no one would want to touch this body… hurts. But it’s ok. It’s part of life.
Seeing people love someone, seeing the love in their eyes and their gestures doesn’t make me jealous anymore. I don’t try understanding it anymore. I just wonder what it would be like to feel loved and remember that my love is just as worthless as I am.
Being made fun of when quietly telling someone “I fell in love with you”… being laughed at and called disgusting, being beaten up because apparently when you tell someone you love them they have the right to hurt you physically. And to spread lies about you. Strangely enough other people don’t experience that – but they have the “right” kind of love. People tell them they look “cute” together. And you watch them, try to understand the difference, try to find the nuances that are different to be able and avoid what happened before. But it’s the same with the next person. The second one. When you finally, after a year, approach the subject because it hurts to pretend and you think the other person will understand – when you finally tell them, scared, “I… uhm… I… fell in love with you” and their first response is to take a step back. Then they question you. They tell their friends. Must be funny to talk about that “disgusting” person. Yet you take it in stride because that is what you know. Love seems to be just another one of those things that equal pain. Ok. Nothing new. You don’t understand but you accept what is. You accept that a group of girls wants to beat you up, and does, and talks about you. Love is worthless. My love is worthless. I am worthless.
Do I deserve punishment? I think so. For being so stupid, for not learning, for not understanding. It’s alright, that’s life. My life. I wonder if other people experience it differently? So many people have it so much worse – I shouldn’t even complain. So I don’t. Because I’m not really worth any attention and hey, I deserve it!
I don’t know what’s worse: That this is all in my head, that it is my life, that I believe it – or that it is so normal for me that I don’t even question it?
Am I crazy or do I just sound crazy? Would someone hospitalize me for all of this? Do I live in a parallel world? What is wrong with me?