I wish I could let go.
That’s the mantra of my life. I wish I could let go of all the little things. The things that:
- Occupy my mind
- Hold me back
- Prevent me from living in the moment
- Distract me from joy
- Fill me with sadness
- Fill me with anger
- Fill me with fill-in-the-blank emotion
- Make me resentful
I wish I could let go.
I’m not a hoarder of things. I don’t stack tissue boxes up in piles. I don’t accumulate and store. I don’t hide away in a mess of junk.
But I am a hoarder of thoughts. Mostly negative ones. They eat at me, gnaw at happiness, until I can’t ever fully enjoy what I’m doing or where I’m at. I get mad at myself for being this way, but maybe it’s my way of coping. Maybe I take comfort in the negative self-talk. It’s the way I’ve been my whole life. It’s routine. In a childhood without structure, without order, maybe these thoughts are at least my old reliable. The one thing I could always count on. Thoughts like these:
- You’re ugly
- You’re stupid
- Don’t say anything, lest you prove yourself to be stupid
- Don’t attract attention because someone might say something mean to you
- Why do you even try? You won’t ever be good enough.
- Everybody hates you
- Did I mention you’re not good enough?
For a long time, I thought these ideas originated in my own brain. That I conjured them up due to insecurity after being made fun of one too many times at school. Fueled by feeling the compulsion to lie about trivial things because that’s the behavior I saw modeled at home. “Sorry, you can’t come over. My parents are remodeling the house,” and “Of course, I take showers, not baths because our shower totally isn’t broken,” And “Of course I like the things you like even though I’d never heard of it before.” I was/am insecure because of school teasing, yes, but more so because of things my mother said.
The negative self-talk thoughts I mistakenly assumed started in my mind actually began as things that left my mother’s lips:
- I wanted to get contacts in the sixth-grade because I felt like the glasses I wore were causing breakouts around my nose. After getting contacts, my mom said, “I thought you said getting contacts was going to make your skin better?” She laughed, because that was oh-so-obviously not the case.
- I wanted to tell her something about my day, life, whatever and she was too busy to listen. Had to watch the same rerun of the same show for the ten thousandth time first because she hadn’t seen/heard every last little bit of the other times. She hadn’t watched it “right.”
- I did everything wrong. Nothing I did could ever manage to measure up to her impossibly high standards. Seriously, if a coaster in the living room was an inch too far from where she wanted it, I’d screwed everything up and pretty much ruined her damned day.
- When Matt and I started dating, I told her that he was my boyfriend. She smirked at me and said, “Does he know that?”
That last one really hurt. So I sold it as a short-short story to One-Forty Fiction. At least there may be profit to my pain. Ha-ha.
So yeah, things my mother said stick with me. They’ve bored into my brain and I can’t shake them no matter how hard I try. I’ve collected them, sorted them, and catalogued them. The hurt and pain and ugly words make up the hoard inside my mind.