When I was a kid, my mother pretty much demanded that I be honest. She wanted me to be truthful, even though every time I was, I still got punished. But I had to speak truthfully, no matter what.
My mother, however, was under no obligation to be honest with me.
I’m not the only one; this blog post by Libby Anne, dealing with racism, touches on this. It’s a great read, but one passage hit me squarely in the gut:
Trust me—I’d like to make it stop! I sometimes feel like I should have become inured to this pain by now. But learning that you were lied to your entire childhood is not something one gets over in a day. I was a child. I was young, I was impressionable, I believed what I was told—isn’t that what children usually do, at least at first? We tell our children that the earth revolves around the sun, and they believe us. The trust of a child is such an incredible, profound thing. To take that trust and dashing it—those scars don’t just disappear.
Every. Single. Word. Of. This. Holy. SHIT.
Now, you may or may not know that when I was younger, I was repeatedly told that I was an only child. I heard this constantly as a child. My mother said it; I never thought she might not be completely honest with me. She was an adult; didn’t they always tell the truth? Wasn’t that something they always did? Parents insisted on honesty from us kids, so why wouldn’t they be honest?
I was so innocent then. Or naïve. I’m not sure which.
Fast forward to November 2010.
“You have an older brother.”
Those were the words my mother spoke during a phone call. I was blindsided, to say the very least. Then came the shock.
The rest of my emotions? They just happened to be the five stages of grief. That lasted a while. A long while. There were days when I was at Walmart and I would crack a joke with a customer, only to think to myself, “If I climb to the roof and time everything right, I can land in front of the bus as it’s leaving. It’d be relatively quick.”
No, I was not in a good place, mentally. I wasn’t in a good place mentally for a long time. My lowest point was when I had a breakdown in the bathroom at home, sobbing and demanding to know if anyone really wanted me or if I had been born simply to fill a gap in my mother’s life.
It was a bad night. A very bad night.
I’ve slowly gotten better as the years have passed but I’m not over it. And I will never be over it.
That is the truth. The absolute truth. I will never completely get over this. I have learned to live with it, but I’m not over it. The scars are still there. They will always be there. Because everything I thought I knew about myself, my family, everything, was a complete lie. It shakes the very foundation of your existence when you hear something of this magnitude; that’s not an exaggeration. It’s damned difficult to live with something like this but not a lot of people understand that.
Truth be told, I’ve lost at least one friend over it. But I’ve also learned who my actual friends are, thanks to this. But it’s a hell of a way to learn. That’s putting it mildly.
Libby Anne mentioned that she’d probably make headway on her issue if she got counseling or therapy. For all I know, it might help me. I haven’t looked into it yet because I have no idea if we have any secular counselors in my area. I’m also a bit skittish about discussing such things with what amounts to an absolute stranger. Blogging seems to help a bit, as does talking to the cat; so maybe I’m coping with it decently enough.
But I’ll never really be normal. That’s the absolute truth.