You are minding your business in the line in a Starbucks and a woman catches your eye. She annoys you, though you know she isn’t meaning to. It’s you, not her, as always – you wish you could let this shit go.
There’s something about those pastel tees that grown ass women wear, the ones that flirt about how being underestimated is a cute challenge that makes your blood boil. Those perfect blow outs with balayage ‘lites and monogram coffee tumblers have no idea what it means to be forgotten, to be written off. Their costume alone makes it clear they expect to be noticed.
You know what it is to be the one no one mentions. Even when you were doing well no one noticed. Your parents never bothered to see if you had lunch money or to learn your preferences enough to buy what you wanted at the food store. At school you fronted that you weren’t hungry – the exposure that you were that kid would be too much to bear. Some teachers had a clue but only made vague inquiries.
So many red flags were flapping in the wind, nobody talked about what to do when the witnesses were not inclined to act.
You get it, your situation was so bad most adults wouldn’t know what to do, much less your peers. You had to find someone else who wasn’t afraid to act. You align yourself with an angry guy that gets you out. He treats you like you are special, until you’re not. After all this time there is no denying, he changed you. You used to tell yourself all of it gave you fuel to get where you are, but lately it doesn’t feel so inspirational.
Your interest in true crime isn’t pedestrian, is it?
We both know it’s only because of some twisted mix of grace and fate that you didn’t end up on a missing poster. You are riveted to the screen watching the latest missing’s family fight tears, talk about the searches they organized to “bring her home.” You aren’t so sure your parents would have done the same. Maybe you would be another topic on the never-ending list of things no one mentions. It’s kinda sick to be fantasizing about having some dead girl’s parents but you go there anyway.
Your life is far from that now but sometimes you still look over your shoulder. Or maybe stalk a certain someone’s social media to make sure they are far, far away. You chose your spouse after making the assessment he could kick that guy’s ass if he came back. It’s embarrassing to think he is still renting space in your head. You have the life you wanted now, shouldn’t that be enough to ditch these thoughts? Occasionally, he even hijacks your body – you get so upset, terrified over an echo of your former life. It is exhausting. If you could take a pill, get shocked, do whatever to erase those memories you would be the first in line.
After what happened you treated life like a dare. You funneled that heartbreak into a self-destructive season because no one listened.
In a late-night deal with the universe, you agreed to flee from all of it, clear you wouldn’t make it to 30 otherwise. No longer reliant on the unreliable, you became the respectable person you wish you had growing up.
Now you muster a polite surface level relationship with relatives, have coworkers that care about you, and can’t believe someone chose you to marry.
You would think you would feel better, redeemed even, but you don’t.
You have done well considering but you can’t shake the feeling that maybe the folks that caused pain were right. Maybe you were forgettable or flawed in some permanent way. What if someday the people you love now will figure that out?
So you keep moving because that thought tears you apart. Work, give, take care of business, repeat. You do the next right thing and accept this is just part of you. Or is it?
You are in a race with sketchy history, a fear of being found out, of losing everything.
The truth is that self-destructive season, no matter how much insight and distance you gain, feels like who you really are. The shame and hopelessness have never really left. The security you worked hard to build, the relationships that work, all feel like they are built on a sham.
Most don’t know your superpower of planning and risk management was born out having the worst happen, repeatedly.
How can you get rid of this familiar sense of dread, this belief that life never works out for you when it has been true thus far? It’s so familiar that you can’t imagine being you without the self-loathing, the flashbacks, this avoidance of being solo with your thoughts.
Besides what reason would you put on that questionnaire as to your goals for therapy – it isn’t something even you can articulate. Look up most mental health symptoms and they feel true.
You don’t fit into a clear clinical box.
You were force fed therapy as a teen – it sucked and just made things worse.
If we cut past the bullshit excuses you tell yourself, and let’s be clear we know you are bullshitting yourself – there is a hope that scares you.
A fantasy of being released and transformed into someone who is more than the smack you tell yourself.
Someone who is comfortable in their own skin.
Good therapy can do that.
Therapy takes you to places you didn’t know exist. It’s unpredictable but not in a “danger lurking around the corner” kind of way. I recognize that is a hard sell for you right now. At times it can be like the joy of an unexpected perfect moment.
What would it be like to take up another dare, the dare of transformation? To gamble that the cruel joke might be finally over.
If you have read all the way through this page we both know you are curious. Set up a consult, my friend.