Updated: May 25, 2021
Footsteps pounded the floor behind me; but, I was quicker and so escaped into my room with a brave slam of my door! The benefit of youth was my #1 advantage I held over my father’s heavy hand on my bottom. I knew I had earned that spanking but I was so tired of disappointing them and the fighting. Tired of being a disappointment. Tired of being out of control. Tired of being afraid that the door would be pushed open any second, I negated the possibility of attack by plopping on my un-
warmed backside with my back firmly pressed against the potential entry point. Tired of the fear that I had been the start of one too many fights. So certain he would storm out that door for the last time, never to return, leaving me alone with her: my mother. My mother whose needs never ended long enough for me to truly rest.
I hated her condition that created an angry child so out of control of her own world, she escaped into alternate worlds. Places I could be happy like the ocean writing to my heart's content...Free. Telling stories to myself was my favorite form of distraction from their epic fights as much as from the guilt that threatened to swallow me whole. I would stuff all that away with the tears and just take the story line of the book I just finished and take it beyond or insert myself into a favorite movie. Would have stayed there if I could. Must be why I never understood the characters who had a chance to stay in the magical world they found friends in only to return to the obligations of their dark corner of the world. Mine was smaller than most, as a caregiver to my mother who suffered from a rather nasty cousin to MS.
Many of you perhaps wonder what MS, also known as Multiple Sclerosis is, but I will only summarize it as this: think of those games of telephone we used to play as kids. Remember how messed up that one message would get? Now think of that one kid who did it on purpose as MS and all it’s cousins. These types of autoimmune diseases... disorders—however you wish to call them—creates lesions in the brain that keeps the correct message from reaching the body. For my mother, this resulted in her tiring easy which made her cranky and frustrated whenever her legs would let her down unexpectedly to the floor. By the time I reached my teens, anger and bitterness joined her depression. This in turn, both created and fueled mine.
Of course the bullies in school did not help as they left me no safe place even in school making it their sole purpose in life to cultivate my already rather negative self view. Which was also not helped by my shyness and my uniquely creative way at looking at things. Ultimately, I do have to thank the bullies for without their help I would not have such a highly developed imagination. If it were not for my imagination and sense of responsibility and the fear of what if...well lets just say I may never have gotten to the point to be able to tell these stories. In fact, there were many times as I sat against that door, with hands pressed against my ears, storytelling to drown them out that I had wished I had never been born. Too many times than I care to recount I may have even wondered if they would miss me if I were gone.
In time, I learned how to understand the Light in the darkness. I found hope and, since my mother had went home almost six years ago, I have begun to find myself. The woman beyond the caregiver and the writer I had been all along. Are you also on the other side of the storm? Or are you currently lost within your own storms wondering if there could possibly be any light? No matter where you are in your journey, I welcome you to the stories of mine and how I got through the storm. I am confident that you can too.