I wrote this paper for a class. It was supposed to be about me but everytime I read it, I don't recognize any part of it. I can't identify with anything about it. Maybe it's not about me. Maybe it is. I'm not really sure. I never did get to submit it for my class. And for the sole sake of having it fulfill whatever purpose it was supposed to have, I leave it here where, perhaps, it might hold even the tiniest truth.
As I stare at the half-sheet of paper in front of me which tells me that I must write about my problems, my fears, and my doubts, I find that I need to pause. To be honest, I have been putting off writing this paper for a few days now. And I know it’s because I hate to inspect myself. I hate to look back and say “This is my life. This is me.” Because no matter how I try to leave the grisly details out of my writing, I find that the shadows of the past will always creep back into my consciousness. But I guess now is as good a time as any to write it. I have done it a million times before, I can do it again no matter what emotions it stirs up.
What is it I fear? I fear for myself. I fear for my family. I fear for all the people who will end up like us. My mom and my dad separated last September. And although I understand my mother’s reasons perfectly, I can not help but feel the bitterness encroach upon what was once my sanctuary. I hate that they destroy each other now as if they had never known love for the other. As if they had not formed with that love, four children. As if they had not nourished with that love, a home that lasted for 26 years. As if they had not withstood with that love, the quarrels and the abuse and the pain that they both felt. I hate with the entirety of my heart the fact that they don’t even loath each other, that no spark of emotion is left except guilt and fear. Guilt. Fear. Detached emotions. Undoubtedly very strong emotions, but detached nonetheless. I wish to blame it upon one of them. I wish to blame it upon both of them. And as old as I am, I find that what the movies and what the books said were all true. You end up blaming yourself.
If only I had been stronger. If only I had done something. But I could never have done anything, in much the same way that I can do nothing now.
And all of a sudden, I find myself crying for no reason. I run to him asking him to listen, wondering if anyone else will see that I have been destroyed. I find that I can no longer deal with the stress of school. I can not concentrate. And where I was once unmotivated, I am now completely aloof. I ask for more attention than those around me can give and I cling to every ounce of courage I have just to keep from falling apart. During the few times that I find myself alone, such as when I write this now, I find myself crying from a physical pain that wrenches my chest apart. And when I probe my mind for the reason, I find none. I don’t know. I forget. And I find that all I want is to forget. I can’t forgive my parents. I can’t forgive the circumstances. I can’t forgive myself. And so I forget. I run into the laughter that will drown out the bitterness.
What I am afraid of is that one day the things I keep bolted up inside myself will wage war upon me and that I will not be strong enough to overcome the onslaught. And so I cry. And I pray. And He forgives them for me. And He forgives me. And once again I am brought to a place of refuge. And my soul which has become scarlet turns white as first snow.
But I am weak. And at times when I find myself thinking too much about the things that have happened, I lose my footing and I slip back into the brokenness that is my past. I am not driven by the same things that drive those around me. What I dream of, what I wish for, is not what they dream of and not what they wish for.
I wish to one day wake up and find that my parents are back together. I want my dad to change. I want my mom to love him again. I have nothing I want for myself. I have nothing beyond this moment except for the hope of being happy again. What I want is to be happy. What I want is to be able to have all the people I have in one room.
I want to be able to have all the people I have ever loved and who have ever touched my life in one room. Together. Happy.
But I cannot and so I try lose all the emotions I have hidden in my heart through my writing, through my dance, through my music.
They told me I was blessed to have to suffer at an early age because in the wheel of life it meant better days were coming. They told me that when I was in sixth grade, when my brother left home and my dad still hurt my mom. Better days have not yet come. And although I know that many others go through what I do, that many others have survived through much worse, I fear that I might not.
I want to be happy. I want to be at peace. I want to finally be able to look back and say without qualms or hesitation, “This is me. This is my life.”