Big Girls Don’t Cry

My heart hurts so much lately.

 

Sometimes I feel selfish because amidst watching my brother battle cancer, I’m wallowing in my own self-pity. It’s a never-ending battle for me to remember I am lucky not to have to face the things he’s facing right now versus feeling sorry for myself for so many reasons. Nevertheless, I’ve never been very strong, and I’ve often viewed myself as selfish, so here we are.

I hate having to face all this stuff alone.

Loneliness is the best depressant I know. Now, I know that most of you are going to respond by saying “You’re not alone! I’m always here! Just call me!” and I know and appreciate that fact. But the loneliness I’m referring to is not having a partner to share my life and subsequent sorrow with. Having to come home and cry silently to myself on the couch or in my bedroom because there’s no one there to talk to or just hold me until I fall asleep from exhaustion. The loneliness that haunts and breaks my heart day after day, never ceasing.

I have this innate need to care for other people and my whole life I’ve clung to those who needed me in some capacity to fill a void. I enjoy being the rock that others can stand on for support. I have never needed to be cared for myself, so much as I do right now. I just wish I had someone who wanted to be there for me. Someone who loved and cared for and chose me. It utterly breaks my heart not having someone, now more than ever. I worry so much that because of my weight, because of my depression, because of my inner impulse towards self-destruction, and attraction to men who will never want me, that I will end up alone, forever.

I’ll pause here briefly to say – I know. “No one can love you before you love yourself” or “It will happen when it’s meant to happen”. These are nice sentiments, and they may be true, but that doesn’t take the ache away. That does nothing to help me get through the next night that I cry myself to sleep or the next time I attend a friend’s wedding alone, watching everyone I know find their forever partners.

I think some of my fear stems from the fact that my aunt has been my biggest role model my entire life. I’ve never met someone I admired so much as her. I am an asshole and I find fault with everyone relatively easily and it was always hard to find with her. Most of the faults I found in her were selfishly driven — things like, she didn’t spend enough time with me or prioritize my graduations over her church functions. They were never about her character. She was such a strong, confident, genuine, LOVING, and truly special woman. Like me, she had been overweight her entire life, but I had never known anyone more beautiful than her. I used to love watching her get ready, curling her hair, doing her nails and makeup. I was captivated by her and everything she did.

She was not alone in the world and she had a husband who she loved with every part of her soul. I remember times that I would cry over boys who didn’t love me, and she’d tell me that God would give me someone, just like he gave her husband to her. She’d comfort me telling me how similar we were and that she knew what it was like to be overweight, but she knew how much her husband loved her. I think even though I’ve pretty much disliked her husband my entire life, I wanted to believe that could be true for me too because she was the person I wanted to become when I was older. I watched their marriage for years as an example of someone who looked like me finding “true love” and happiness.

To sit here now, a mere 7 months after she has died, and see that her husband has totally rid himself of her memory, their marriage, her belongings, their home – I’m left feeling so hollow. She passed away in January and I got a phone call in April that my uncle had feelings for another woman. He spent 45 minutes trying to convince me this was ordained by God and asked me to still love him, and I said maybe 4 words on the phone before he hung up. He hasn’t spoken to me since that day. A few days later, he left his wedding albums and my aunts wedding dress on my uncles’ doorstep without a word to anyone. He’s since become “Facebook official” with his new girlfriend, a woman who was not only married, but knew my aunt and called her a friend, and has plans to marry her from what I’m told.

What makes this all worse is to hear him speak about my aunt now. He has told her best friends that this all stems from the fact that he’s a man and he has sexual urges and because of the issues my aunt had (her cancer was originally some type of cervical/pelvic/ovarian cancer, though thanks to his manipulation and censorship I still don’t truly know which one) it had been a while since they had sex and so he needed to move on to fulfill that need. He would later go on to tell her friends that he only slept with my aunt of “duty as her husband”, not attraction.

To hear these things come from the man I watched my aunt devote her entire life and heart to is so painful I don’t know that I can even describe it with words. The love I have for this perfect woman knows no end and I am breaking apart to think of how she would feel if she heard him say these things. It’s sickening and beyond appalling. This is a man who claimed to be devoted to her, called her precious, and had the world convinced he found her to be beautiful and loved her. Here he is now, speaking the truth of his ugly, manipulative ways and showing the deceit that these words were.

Aside from the anger and pure heartbreak this gives me, it leaves me with fear and sadness for myself. If my aunt, someone so perfect, kind and beautiful, inside and out, could be fooled and discarded this way, what does that leave for me? People have told me to look up to her as an example, including herself, because of the love she shared with her husband, so what am I supposed to do now? Is this what overweight women deserve? Someone settling for us because of where we can take them in the world. To be discarded when we’re through providing service to a man who never really loved us but used us for what we gave?

When I think of everything that’s happened since her death, I am just left so defeated. I have never liked my uncle, and he wouldn’t be shocked to hear that. I’ve always found him to be arrogant and self-serving, and his views about people and the world have always gone against what I know to be true in my heart. But I loved my aunt, greatly, and I saw him as a father figure because she has and always will be the mother I didn’t deserve. It’s hard to explain how it’s possible to hate someone and love them at the same time, but I did, and his behavior hurts me as the daughter he referred to me as when he spoke about me in public. I’m not sure I ever believed that he thought of me that way – I think so much of what he said was a lie – but even as a niece, to watch your uncle discard your family so quickly is painful. Maybe it’s selfish or dramatic to extrapolate this situation into my own self-pity or sorrow, but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t have an impact on me and my view of the world. It’s a crushing blow and I’m running on empty lately,.

So, I’m sitting here tonight. Sad and angry and alone. I’m making plans to visit friends in October for their wedding and though I’m so excited for them, I teeter on the edge of trying to run away from going because I don’t want to have to go alone, again, to another wedding, and watch everyone with their partners and pretend like I’m happy. I’m not happy. I’m terrified that if I don’t lose weight, I will spend the rest of my life alone or left with someone who settles for me and chooses me out of duty, not love. I am scared that I will always be second choice for someone. I have feelings for someone who isn’t married, or my best friend, or horrible for me for the first time in what feels like a lifetime and they weren’t interested in me and found someone else. I sit and wonder how much of that is because of my outward appearance? It seems like I always have such great personal chemistry with people but I’m never the girl they choose. I wish I knew why  – why am I never the one people want to love? Why am I always the one people want to talk to or laugh with, but never, ever, love.

When I think about this, I’m just so overwhelmed with emotion and everything else going on. I am scared for my brother’s future and wish I could hug my aunt and ask her how to get through it all. I am tired and broken and so incredibly alone for all of it.

And I know, I have the best friends in the world, who support and love me despite all my depressing posts and words. I have parents who’ve helped me move and take care of my brother and co-workers who’ve done so much for me.

 

But despite it all, I cannot escape the loneliness.

Twins

What do you see when you look at me?

Sometimes I wonder what people would say at my funeral.
Is that weird?
Probably.

You see, I’m too scared to know the truth of this world I live in.
I wonder what would people say if there was nothing left to fear, no moments left to change the course of our lives, no self-esteem left to protect.

Can you see the girl inside
broken and bruised but still struggling to survive?
The girl disgusted by her anger,
tormented by her lack of self-control
exhausted with holding on each day
wanting desperately to let go
to embrace the easy way out, for once
to rest for just a moment
to put down her responsibilities and just live.

Or do you see her twin?
The sarcastic heroine always there to put a smile on someone’s face
The determined worker who pushes to finish the job
even when others have gone home
The confident and stubborn will that fears nothing and no one
the warrior who won’t back down
the winner who gets back up
the daughter who always shows up.

I’d wager most of the world sees my twin
a bright and shining spirit even amidst her muddled, messy life.
But inside still lives the bruised and tired sister
a mere shadow on the side of the light you see burn so brightly in her smile.
She’s harder to find
more difficult to talk to
and impossible to believe in.

I wonder who’d remember her when the other girl is gone.
I wonder what things people would say if they knew there wasn’t another day.

I’m made up of two parts, you see
and I sometimes worry that I’ll one day leave this world never knowing which twin the world saw
Never knowing what people wished they had said.

I worry more that if I asked right now,
you’d see the broken, bruised shadow

And still say nothing.

Ghost

My heart is a ghost.
It haunts my dreams with visions of things past and those yet to come.
I chase my ghost in my dream, longing to know the face of my nightmare but I only find memories of you and dreams I know will never come true.

Years go by and still I search, plagued by fitful dreams of loneliness.
Loneliness has left me longing to meet my ghost once more because at least then I wouldn’t be so alone.

Dawn comes and reality sinks in, it’s weight crushing my chest.
My heart shatters again as I realize for what feels like the millionth time that..

My heart is a ghost.
You haunt my dreams each night because you are my heart.

But you are gone.

2 AM

It’s 2 AM and the air seems to shift.

Silence with us has grown comfortable but there’s always a change the longer we sit on this old, green couch.
The light from your laptop illuminates your face as we talk from across the cushions and I can’t imagine any place on earth feels more like home than this.
I shift casually closer to you as the night progresses, hoping you don’t notice.

I know you notice.

You shift too – not closer, but down into yourself as though you know you’re vulnerable and may say too much.
Your hood goes up around your face and your chest curves in as though it’s become too heavy, filled with the weight of a thousand unspoken thoughts.

You laugh.

Not your usual, cocky and animated laugh – a child-like giggle followed by a groan as you seem to hold yourself together.
I smile at you and roll my eyes asking the question I already know the answer to, hoping maybe this time you’ll say something different.

You don’t.

You smile again turning your head away and inch down more, closer and more vulnerable as you try to hide from the world.
Lonely and frustrated, you’ll ask me the question you always do and my heart will shatter but I stay on that couch because I can’t break apart so close to you.

What if our broken pieces got mixed together? Touched? Leaned on each other?

I laugh, I joke, I feign annoance as I tell you again the words you long to hear from someone else.
It’s 3AM now and you’re leaning closer or at least not moving away.
I’ve crossed the miles of couch that separated us at midnight and I can feel the buzz in the air, the tangible shift of tension.

I swear you can hear my heart beating.

I turn to my left and you turn to your right.
You grin the way you always do, reveling in your attempts to feign arrogance but I can see so far into the depths of who you are that I know if I got any closer I might actually drown with you.

You grin again and my heart swells.

I could lean closer, stroke your hair like I’ve done before, raise my eyebrows at your grin and challenge the boundaries of the electric air surrounding us.
You could move away or tell me to go, but neither of us dare to act on what we could.

It’s been 2 hours since I said I should go home.

It’s 4AM and we’re drifting to sleep so I get up and leave, immediately woken to the harsh snap of reality as the air changes back in the room.
I start my car. I arrive home. I go to bed.

Tomorrow I won’t wait for the shift before I leave.

The shift will make me stay.
Your grin will make me stay.
Your laugh will make me stay.
Your eyes will make me stay.

I spend years trying to walk away before that shift.
We change each year but somehow that couch is always the same.
The air in that room knows us and always pulls us back.
But time is cruel and soon we move to different couches in different states with different air.

It’s 2AM and I can’t sleep, but no one is here on this couch.

It’s 2AM and my mind can’t stop thinking of the groan that reminded me I had someone to talk to.

It’s 2AM and the glow from my phone stings my eyes and feels too harsh.

It’s 2AM and my chest aches from the hollow depths longing to be filled by that devilish grin.

It’s 2AM and I sink in my chair and look to my left but no eyes greet me.

 

The air in the room does not shift.