My #BeReal guest today is Adrianna Joleigh.
I hate you. Don’t leave me.
As a toddler, nothing quite says, “I love you,” like a good slap in the face by the person you trust the most. Some may think, “You’re a grown woman, old enough to get over it and move on.”
Unfortunately, that’s not as easy as it sounds. I find that every decision I’ve made in my life was to make my mother happy, or in some way accept me. You see, I share the same mother with my siblings, and at the same time, their mother is different than mine. Out of all of us, I’m the one that can make her snap; the wrong look, perhaps the pitch of my reply, not submissive enough, who knows. Her and my father divorced when I was eight, so a lot of the abuse ended there, but still some remained when I did get to see her.
I’m not sure which is worse, emotional abuse or physical. I’ve had more than my share of both and I have to say, they both haunt me to this day. What was only abuse from my parent turned into several abusive relationships with men, and emotionally abusive relationships with women. To this day, I sweat profusely when I’m around another woman. I know not to be afraid, yet, I am.
I am 36 years old and I am just now realizing the cycles I’ve spun around in my entire life thus far. The repetitive decisions I’ve made, resulting in the same outcomes, but naively searching for a happy ending. Could it be that I seek those situations so that I can somehow make it work, make that person love me and accept me for me, and in some way that will fill that void of acceptance from my mother? I don’t know.
I now have two baby girls who, I know, have saved me from this horrid cycle I created for myself. I know how I want them to be treated and to believe in themselves, and therefore, I see now that I deserve that as well.
When you’re a naturally depressed individual, it’s hard to accept happiness. It’s hard to allow yourself to feel peace or satisfaction. Somehow it feels undeserved, or perhaps too good to be true, and so you subconsciously search for a way out of it or purposefully sabotage any chance of happiness for yourself.
I am at my happiest when I’m sad. I found some wonderful medicines that do keep me level headed but I truly find myself missing the days when I would just cry, scream into my pillow, want to shut out the world, and feel that ache. That ache, that knot that sits at the bottom of my stomach is where I call home. Without that feeling, I’m an alien in a world of horribly loud silence.
I’ve ended several relationships based on me feeling bad for the person who had to “deal” with me. I saw what I did to people and it broke my heart. “I can’t allow that person to live with someone like me.” They have a life to live, to enjoy, to explore. The last thing they needed was to attend to my high emotional maintenance self.
I do NOT say that to gain pity from anyone but to be honest in how I perceive things.
My mother did what she did to me because I was difficult to be around, so I felt/feel. She left and wanted only my siblings because I was “broken.” If a mother can’t be around her own child, what should make me feel anyone else would be happy/willing to do the same? Sure, some will say, “I love you. It doesn’t matter, I want to be here for you.” But all I hear is, “I love you and I see you’re broken. Here let me spend my life picking you up off the floor and catering to your needs while I suffer by losing myself in this and wasting my life away.” No amount of, “You’re wrong about that,” will convince me otherwise.
There are several sides to me, as some of you may know already. I am a strong woman, determined, highly ambitious, outgoing, a fighter, intelligent, artistic, emotionally challenged (LOL), but I come with luggage labeled “FRAGILE – handle with care. Oops, never mind, label as damaged goods,” written all over it. Who would want to invest in a glass house on a cliff when they can get the beautiful cabin in the mountains.
I guess my point is: What you see isn’t what it appears to be. To every being, there are multiple layers and so much more to them. I have lovely friends who are supportive and always there for me when I want to talk or cry, and I’m grateful for you all. I also have acquaintances who comment how well I carry myself, how confident I am, elegant, funny…and so on. As darling as those words all are, that’s not what I feel at all. Regardless of all the beautiful petals, all I feel and see are the thorns. “Think positive,” you say? It hurts to do so. I feel sick and uneasy when I began to see myself through others’ eyes. A fear that perhaps they aren’t seeing the real me, perhaps I’ve misled them to believe I’m one way when I’m another, because the person I feel inside isn’t as lovely as the person people tend to think I am.
Earlier, I mentioned that my children have saved me. It’s so much more than that, only there are no words to express how much. When I do smile with them, because of them… it doesn’t ache. I light up at their little faces and I grow more and more proud of them with every new day. Where I have struggles with my depression, I see a way to be there for my girls during their dark times. I no longer see my depression as a weakness but as a strength. My demons are no longer something I run from, but something I embrace. I love myself and fear myself. I’m learning slowly how to peel away these layers and allow others to see all of me, but it will take time, perhaps a very long time.
Adrianna Joleigh is a European single mother of two adorable twin girls. She’s a two-time published author, a psychological horror writer, an editor and a successful international artist.