I’m Not Sad Today.
I’m not sad because I am alive. I’m not sad because I have a family that loves me. I’m not sad because I am living in conditions which allow me to never feel true hunger, allow me to stay comfortable, allow me to access luxuries like the internet. I’m not sad because my life is on the track that I want. I’m not sad because despite my struggles, I am still here, and that’s not changing.
I am proud of who I am, the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons that I’ve learned from them. Even though I don’t always feel it, I know I am strong enough to make it through life’s obstacles.
In my early life, I was abused emotionally, physically and sexually by my father. He has harbored issues with his own life for at least thirty years, and drinks them away. My mom was in school at the time, getting her degree, and was away often. Dad would drink more when she was gone, and would lose his control over himself. I would hide my brother as well as I could, and take as much of it as I could, which was usually far too much. I didn’t tell my mother until about two years ago. At the time, I didn’t know that his behavior was wrong. I thought that was just how fathers were. But I’m not sad because he’s improved a lot, and though we can never work through this past because he doesn’t remember it, I have let it be in my past and built a good, working relationship with my dad. The abuse still affects me from time to time, but I have healed well.
Because of this childhood, I developed depression (and dysthymia - a less severe, but much more long term form of depression) very early in my life, and wasn’t professionally diagnosed until age 8. This was when my mother finally noticed and tried to do something for me. She didn’t know why I was depressed; she just knew that I was. Off and on for ten years, I have dealt with this condition. Anxiety, lack of sleep, fluctuating appetite, no interest in things, loss of concentration, body aches. It’s currently my hardest struggle, and has cost me some things that I love very dearly, but I’m not sad because I know I can conquer it. Maybe not permanently, but I can be in control. I will be in control.
Around the time that other little girls were beginning to “ooh” and “ah” over little boys, I was quietly noticing the other little girls. I didn’t know that there was a word for this inclination, but I knew it wasn’t normal, and that I should keep it to myself. It haunted me for a very long time, and I tried very hard to ignore it. I lost girl friends to my strange looks, and eventually lost many friends. I eventually embraced it, and, in a seemingly cruel twist of fate, I suddenly starting feeling attracted to boys, as well as girls. New confusion, new mockery, less friends. When I was in 7th grade, I accepted that I was attracted to both genders, and no longer hid it. I lost all of my girl friends, which wasn’t saying much by that point because most of my friends were boys at that point. (To an extent, that had always been true, and is true now, but it hurt to lose my few girl friends.) I was asked not to go into the girls’ locker room anymore, because of “complaints” from girls, and I was ostracized by many people. Eventually the intolerance became less and less active, and though I never hid my preference, I tried not to draw attention to it. Occasionally I hear a nasty remark my way, or a Bible shoved in my bag, but I’m not sad, because labels and genders do not limit me, and my friends now are all accepting people and love me just as I am, and these experiences allow me to help others who face bullying for their sexual orientation.
When I entered high school, I got my first serious boyfriend. He was much older than me, and had manipulated me. Despite all that happened even at this point, I was naive, and too willing to finally be accepted. He isolated me from my friends and family, and abused me physically, emotionally and sexually. He was a sickeningly good actor, and made sure no one believed my pleas for help. I was trapped; either be far too promiscuous with him in public or be hurt in private. I got very good with makeup. On what was supposed to be a lunch date, he raped me in broad daylight. I thought I was pregnant and thought my life was over. The reputation he gave me haunted me throughout high school, and I never regained the friends I lost. To this day, my parents don’t know the extent of the abuse. I couldn’t handle physical contact for many months and struggled with intimacy for even longer. But, I’m not sad, because that ordeal taught me a lot about myself, and helped me grow into the woman I am today, albeit in a terrible and difficult way. I learned what was good for me, and what behavior was not acceptable in a healthy relationship. I finally refused to be the victim anymore and took control of my life again, instead of letting that experience control me any longer. I’m not sad because I’m not a rape victim - I am a rape survivor.
Almost a year later, I entered the first healthy relationship I ever experienced. I loved him for over three years. He was my best friend. He made me feel beautiful, loved, deserving. When I went to college, I knew the transition and the distance would be difficult. Within two months, he cheated on me with more than one girl, lied to me and tried to act like he hadn’t done of it. Then I discovered he was cheating on me before I even left. At the same time, my parents’ fighting escalated higher than ever before and settled on a divorce. After all the healing I had done, I couldn’t handle the blow. I have entirely relapsed. My depression is worse than it has been in a very long time. But I’m not sad, because I am determined to face it and feel happy again. I am determined to do this without the attachment of relationship, so that I may be happy as me. I am determined to feel as good again as I did a couple years ago, when I had a stable relationship, real friends, and a comfortable home life. I am determined to be happy that I am alive, that my parents both love me even if they don’t love each other, that I have too many blessings to even be sad. I don’t often feel it, but today is one of those days, and I’m not going to let this strength go.
I’m Not Sad Today! ♥