Call Me Lily
Most people would never know this about me, but I’ve lived most of my life in pain. Now, I don’t mean my back hurts or a whiplash kind of pain. No, what I’ve had to endure is what I like to call a pain in my soul. You know (or maybe you don’t) that hurt that runs so deep that it feels like it’s nowhere and everywhere at the same time? A pain that feels like if you have to take one more breath in the midst of it you’ll completely fall apart. Well, take that feeling, mix it with a cup of depression, and dash of regret, three quarters of a cup of empathy and a heaping tablespoon emotional abuse and there I am….well, there I was.
Have you ever thought about the things you remember as a child? For instance, there was this perfume my Grandmother always wore. Now don’t ask me the name of it because I haven’t a clue. But I do remember it was in the small glass bottle with a gold ribbon around it and a gold top. The liquid itself was dark as midnight but the smell; I could close my eyes right now and smell that scent. That’s a happy memory for me, one that I’ve often used as comfort and protection from darker memories. My Grandmother was one of my few safe places, and since I did spend a great deal of time with her growing up, we had a strong bond. But even in this seemingly innocent and natural occurrence, I was punished or ostracized by others in my family. I was Grandma’s favorite.
Much of how I am now is very consistent from my youth. I have always craved love and affection. Not only that, but I hated bottling up my emotions (maybe that had something to do with being an empath). Unfortunately, there were a few key people in my life that couldn’t accept that part of me, so as I grew up I began believing that sharing how I felt was somehow a bad thing. Communication, understanding and emotions were all bad things. This toxic feeling was one of the catalysts for the difficulties I’d have later in life with expressing and embracing myself.
When I was in high school a friend of mine, who was also the quiet type, introduced me to the wonderful world of romance novels. She showed me a world that I eventually used to not only escape from the toxicity running through the veins of my family, but also to escape from inevitably and unintentionally asphyxiating myself. I was literally beating myself up for being emotional, forgiving, loving and wanting those same things in return. In the end books, and writing, saved me. I like to think that everything was aligned perfectly so that all the damage that was done to me early on already had buffers in place that would help me to find my way back to who, and what, I was always meant to be.
Now, writing all of this does bring up a well of painful emotions; emotions that I harbored for such a long time. It’s like that perfect glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. You never forget how the ice cubes kiss your lips, or the way the sweetly sour liquid courses down your throat to quench an incessant thirst. The pain isn’t necessarily the same today as it was then, but remnants are still there, as are the memories.
Pain is lasting to the mind. To this day my twins hate going to the doctor because they’re afraid of the needle. But even with all that I’ve been through, I was able to not only survive….but thrive outside of my traumas. My pain has become my platform and allowed me to create the most beautiful quotes, prose, sonnets, soliloquies, and stories. I honestly look back and think, if I hadn’t endured years of hurt and tears, would the light within me now still be so bright. I may never have the answer to that question and I am okay with that. However, what I have learned is that I am well equipped and well able to handle whatever comes my way, and if I need to cry I cry. If I need to scream I scream. If I need to pull out my notepad and pen and write my feelings for days on end, I will do just that. If I know nothing else I know that I am well equipped and well able to face the storm. And when the sky has dried and the clouds are gone, I will grow and bloom, a well-nourished lily of the valley.