WE ARE Narcissus

I have tried to write my story many times and have never been able to get far. I always go over my words again and again, editing and polishing and getting caught in the obsessive intricateness of arranging lyrical phrases. I am hoping that writing this online and posting as I go will keep me pressing forward.


37. Untitled As Yet

exaggerations are often so much easier to live with than is the truth.


not that i believe in "the truth" as a thing anyway; that's one of those issues i used to debate with peers and even teachers in high school. i stalwartly defended the idea that there is an absolute answer to any question. how do you know it, and who decides what it is? well, god obviously. it wasn't something i understood or could really explain, but once i brought out the god card i could keep playing it over and over again, end of story. at the same time i was extremely annoyed one class period when a teacher tried to initiate a discussion about whether or not truth exists. she kept repeating endlessly, "that's your truth, but what if it's not my truth?" and i found the circular logic extremely tiresome. it may not have appeared so to outsiders, but i was listening while i argued. slowly, the beliefs i'd held onto for most of my life as unquestionable were eroded until i was left with a blank slate upon which to inscribe my own experiences and the lessons i learned by living. 


anyway, that's all one long digression. i don't really know where i'm going with this tonight.


i did want to add, just for the sake of completeness, that i forgot a detail of my rape story. this is something i told people that also actually happened; my oldest biological brother, who was probably about eight years old at the time, put an end to the closet scene by walking in on us. i did not hear the door open, but saw a of pillar of light broaden until it framed his small shape. reflecting on the highlights in his bowl cut brown hair. it doesn't change much, but it happened. i think.


it's easy to tell somebody in a flippant, shrugging it off kind of manner, that until very recently i lived with people all my life who made me scared to fall asleep because i knew they'd think it was fun to kill me. that's a complete invention of my imagination; it describes the feeling i have, but not anything that actually happened. it's not the same as sitting down with a friend - who, incidentally, has just been describing their heartfelt belief that the bond between a mother and a daughter is a sacred, unbreakable thing that's just built into people and mothers just can't ever hurt their children - and trying to break it down so that they can understand what a narcissist is. how narcissists will systematically torture your spirit, throw in your face the parts of yourself about which you are most vulnerable, assassinate any self esteem you try to cling to, simultaneously insisting that you're not being punished but if you were it's your fault, all the while convincing the outside world that you are crazy and they are god's angel watching over you so you don't hurt yourself. it's hard to capture it, just right, so that it makes sense to someone who's never felt themselves shrivel before a five foot two old woman, how dead inside you can become when you're fighting a struggle every day against an eating disorder and manic depression and she screams at you with tears streaming from her eyes that she liked you better when you were purging your guts out all the time, that you had more personality when your brain had completely shut down and you just babbled out whatever ideas popped into your head because the alternative silence was too terrible to contemplate, would give the monster inside you opportunity to break free. 


narcissists are the masters of conditional positive regard.


also, i'm aware that not all of what i've just written makes all that much sense. 


i think one of the defining questions i have to face as a human being living on this earth is whether or not i have some kind of mental disability. obviously, i come across as pretty intelligent in my writing. that has more to do with the fact that from a very young age i've used reading as a means of escaping from unpleasant realities than any natural aptitude. i read copiously, and my repertoire includes numerous classics such as "moby dick" and "war and peace," as well as your standard shakespeare, mark twain, and jane austen, so it follows that i have a good vocabulary. also, i firmly believe that the abusiveness of my upbringing, which instilled in me the message that doing well in school was mandatory basically on pain of death (because i was taught to know that not going to a top tear university was a fate worse than death), would transform any person regardless of their innate abilities into an honors student. but this doesn't have anything at all to do with the possibility that i may have brain damage. as my mom has hammered into me since time immemorial, she either dropped me on my head or "allowed me to fall," when i was a baby. i was rushed to the hospital, she held me in the ambulance, i almost died and the doctors or whoever registered some kind of brain damage but couldn't tell her what if any effect it would have on me growing up. 


my little sister who is also a writer included in her confessions that she believes our parents must have been worried about her, abruptly transitioning from being a chatterbox as a toddler to silence for a period of her life afterward. the funny thing is i remember something like that too, not about her, but about me. i had an eeyore phase, and i'm not sure i've credited my parents in my mind with caring, previously, but her assumption that they noticed her quietness and gave a shit has provided me with food for thought. i was old enough when she must have been going through this difficult time that i aught to have noticed, yet i have no memory of anything of the sort. maybe it's just that i've always been too self centered, or that inter-sibling relationships were basically nonexistent when i was small, or maybe both of us retrospectively like to romanticize ourselves as being special, having dark moods long before we understood our crazy environment. but i don't think i invented the picture of myself in my memories as a five or six year old budding manic depressant, and even though i don't remember it, it makes sense to me that my little sister took a vow of silence for a while. because she was made fun of, so much, every word that came out of her mouth sparking a wave of protest at how annoying she was from the golden child and whichever of our brothers and sisters currently formulated her posse. i didn't exactly support her then, but looking back i can project the hurt and insecurity i felt when i was treated in such a fashion onto her, even though she eventually learned to deal with it by acquiring a self deprecating sense of humor, and i just avoided. getting back to where i started, it's funny to think she believes our mom of all people actually worried about her emotional pain in any real way, because i remember clearly how much our mother has always enjoyed watching the golden child's razor sharp tongue draw blood, and because it was never the heckler who was rebuked as "mean" but always the person who was the butt of the joke, whenever he or she dared to try to throw up any kind of defense.


in our family, love really didn't mean anything. it was a completely empty term, because it was so far removed from any actual human feeling toward another person and so abstracted that all you really had to do to claim you loved somebody was tell god that you did. we were supposed to love our enemies, and in fact, as good catholics we had to "love everybody." i think that's absolute nonsense. i doubt highly that any person on this earth can legitimately claim to have love for every single other human being they know, much less every person who exists; it's not good enough not to wish anybody else great bodily injury or spiritual misery. 


but then again, i don't really understand why i can have so many conversations with different people in which i admit things my mother did to us as kids, the laying awake at night listening to my brothers scream because she's beating them with a metal tennis racket, and the person i'm talking to doesn't see anything wrong with it. they tell me about getting whipped with a belt or any number of corporal punishments their parents used on them, and how they needed it and that's just the way it is. how people express love in different ways. i don't understand how they aren't horrified, but they're not. maybe i'm just a freak or a drama queen for being so hurt by something totally normal.


when i cut myself, it's frustrating to me that it never happens like in the movies. there isn't a ripping sound and a line of blood doesn't appear immediately, with beads forming afterward that stream down the skin like watercolors. when i cut myself, i press as hard as i can, because i am no longer the teenager afraid that i'll accidentally open my veins and pass out from loss of blood before i can react. a thin streak of white, or just a fine indent, if anything at all, appears in the tracks of my knife to show where it's already been. sometimes i can't tell at all, at first, that i've accomplished more than i would by stroking my arm with a feather. it takes long moments before even a faint blush colors the wounds, then i feel it, a burning stinging sensation, as red scratches that hint of blood but do not gush with it gradually open up like volcanic craters on little raised mounds circling my wrist. i can pass over the same spot repeatedly and never achieve the dramatic effect self harm has in films, which i've only ever come close to approximating by tearing open gashes on my face. facial cuts always bleed so much more satisfactorily, but who would want to be thus disfigured by cutting scars? 


i am going insane. i'm losing my mind. after my appointment with my psychiatrist, on his advice i began taking a new antidepressant that was supposed to help me improve my concentration. i feel absolutely horrible. almost instantaneously after starting this psychotropic drug i ceased to be able to get out of bed. i basically have not done anything productive in over a week. i am mutilating myself, crying uncontrollably, and finding myself hauntingly attracted by the idea of suicide. i have lost all appetite. the night before last, i was awake until two in the morning, then last night i did not fall asleep until after three am. i did not stop binging and purging to have to white knuckle my way through this much pain. no more; it is always a temptation not to take my prescribed medications, because i feel the need to be superman and do this all on my own, but my decision not to put this drug into my bloodstream anymore is different. i just wanted to be responsible and explore all avenues that could help; but after a week of suffering this way from a medication that was supposed to make this easier for me, i feel i've given it a fair shot and i'm done. it's back to old faithful prozac for me.


i've been forcing myself to eat because i know if i don't then the morning i wake up and the cloud of depression lifts and i want my life back, there won't be a life waiting for me because by neglecting my health i'll have let everything go. still, it's getting harder to maintain faith that i will wake up one of these days and actually want to be alive. the days stream together and i cannot hear the sentences i try to compose in my mind. 

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