Every life has it’s share of pain and problems. Mine is no exception. Sometimes I feel like I have more than my fair share. Maybe that’s why I’m aspiring to be a writer.
I read this quote from J.P. Donleavy the other day, “Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money.” Now I just need to learn the craft of spinning my words into mastery so that others will become entwined in them and not want to put my book down.
These past few weeks (actually months) have been really hard emotionally and physically. I’m used to dealing with the physical problems since it’s been thirteen years that I’ve had Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and a host of other medical issues. Emotionally on the other hand it has been challenging.
I think I buried many of the feelings when I got diagnosed with my life sentence of pain and disability because it would have been just too much. Now after thirteen years I’ve started seriously writing again and a lot of things are surfacing. I know it’s healthy, but it’s also painful cleaning out these wounds of years gone by.
My brother is one of those wounds. We haven’t spoken since October 2011 when he left a scathing, nasty message on my voicemail. It upset me so much I sought counsel from friends and my pastor and concluded that changing my phone number would be the best course of action. For years he has verbally and emotionally beat me up and I’m finally standing up for myself and saying, “NO MORE!”
Forgiveness doesn’t mean acceptance. What I mean by that is you can forgive someone for things they’ve done to you, but that doesn’t mean you need to allow them access to your life to do it again. I truly thought I had forgiven my brother, but when I came face to face with him last Friday at Valley Farm Market I felt the nauseous fist in my gut, and I realized that I hadn’t completely forgiven him. He made a spectacle of himself and me as he yelled from 30 feet away, “Hey, what the f— is up?” My heart dropped to my stomach as he approached. He had recently learned that I changed my phone number when he tried to call for my birthday and then asked my sister what was up and she told him I changed my number because of his scathing message.
Can anyone say STRESS! I replied casually, “Not much.” He followed me as I was getting my meat order and kept asking the same question in different ways, “So what the hell’s going on?” “So what’s up?” I just kept saying the same thing, “Not much.” As soon as my meat order was complete and he was distracted getting his, I just walked quietly away and finished my shopping as quickly as possible and got out of there. What I really wanted to say was, “REALLY!!!! AFTER WHAT YOU SAID TO ME, THAT’S ALL YOU HAVE TO SAY!!!! WHAT’S UP?!?”
The first thing I did when I got in my car was call my friend Derrick. I knew he could be a voice of reason in my frayed emotional state. I thank God for him in my life. He’s shown me what a GOOD man looks like and I am so thankful for that because in my family they didn’t exist. Derrick told me my brother is an imbecile and calmed my nerves so I was able to go on with my errands.
It took me a couple of days to ask Derrick why my brother hates me so much. I was honestly afraid to ask him that question because I thought maybe there was some major character flaw in me that I just wasn’t seeing. I almost cried when he said, “He doesn’t hate you, he hates himself and he’s just lashing out at you.” I was emotional for two reasons,
- Derrick didn’t say it was me and I was an idiot (something I’ve always felt inside of me from years of abuse) and,
- How sad that my brother is so unhappy in his own life that he needs to tear me apart.
I’ve never been accepted by my brother for who I am. I’ve never done anything right. My recent choices in dating have set him over the edge. I’ve finally found my backbone and have started protecting me and loving me for who I am and I’ve stopped trying to make my family happy.
Conclusion for Today: If they can’t love me for who I am, then I just can’t be around them. I will forgive others who hurt me to free myself from the pain, but I will protect myself from future abuse.