At the conference over the past few days, we were asked to share our stories.
I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to even think the words to try and make sentences to start. Something big and heavy was buried. I didn’t know how to find it.
I knew I don’t know how to make friends or keep friends. I moved a lot. I am 32, and the longest I’ve lived anywhere, in one place, is 4 years (college.) Very early on in life I learned people and situations are temporary and adapted an “I’m ok” view of life. I was never good, great, bad, depressed. Just ok. Because if I got upset every time I moved and lost friends again, I’d always be upset. I lost pieces of me every time. It’s fine, I thought. Shut it down, push it away. Leave no trace, because you will have to forget them all soon anyway. I didn’t know I was doing this at the time, but I was learning how to make people forget me by being… absolutely nothing to remember or feel the loss of. I make no connections. I leave no trace. I make myself a ghost. Forgotten. Unimportant.
I didn’t know it then, but my relationship with my mom was as great as it was because she was the only person in this world I felt like saw me.
I lost my mom to a drunk driver on April 1st 2013.
I didn’t grieve. I didn’t get a chance. I was living across the country and, other than the phonecall to tell me she’d been killed, nobody, other than my husband, asked about me. I was living on the other side of the country… Nobody wondered if I was ok. So I made myself ok. 2 weeks to the day later, I found an empty classroom between classes. I allowed myself to cry for 30 minutes, and I stopped. That was it. 14 days. I decided if nobody is going to ask about me I am going to be fine and carry on.
Eventually I end up back in Texas and my husband worked away, out of state. Of our 10 years of marriage, he’s worked away in other states or cities for nearly 6 of them. 6 years for me to keep pushing it away. I still felt like nothing in my life was solid, or worth remembering. I had to start raising our daughter on my own. To pour what little I think I have left of a person that exists as a ghost into this perfect little human. I started calling people in rare moments of vulnerability, but I don’t know why. I say things like…
I feel like I’m slamming into a brick wall and I can’t find my way around.
I feel like I’m standing in a tornado and the whole world is spinning around me and grasping for anything. Something solid.
I feel empty. Like a vapor. Forgotten. Unimportant.
Through all of this I have the most supportive husband. He used everything he knew how to help me. When I found the HS community he encouraged me to plug in. Find people. Eventually, through the Twitch streams, I gained the tools to remember the truth. These feelings of being forgotten are a lie. I have the tools to remember this, now, in my brain. But not in my heart. My heart was still screaming “YOU ARE FORGOTTEN” while my head whispers back “lies! lies! those are lies!” I didn’t know how to tell anyone. I didn’t know how to explain that I know this is a lie, this is not a true thing, but it still hurts like a true thing. How can they both be real?
Twitch and my friends there start to help balance the lies with the truth. Eventually the lies are not so loud, but they hurt was still so real, so deep. I thought this was fine. This was progress. The hurt was nearly 30 years old. It will take a while… The gap between the truth and the lies was getting smaller, but the hurt never dulled. It never went away.
The Twitch community started to feel like the most stable thing maybe in my entire life, since I can take the internet nearly anywhere, my offline life still feels the same.
My husband takes a job that will allow him to be home every night, but it crushes his soul. He exists as a shell, not a person. He can’t live that way, so he quits and we move. Again. I was desperate, I would reach out, then dismiss, dismiss, dismiss. Push away. “You’re probably moving soon anyway. Don’t get close. You don’t need them. You’re fine, remember. It’s ok.” They were lies.
Because, at this time, I am not ok. I manage to tell my husband. We have to change something. I have to get some stability. He keeps telling me to dig into HS. Use the tools. Allow people to love you. He takes what he thinks is his dream job 7 months before covid.
My husband loses his dream job right as covid starts. We have to move in with family. Nothing is stable, everything is temporary. At this point the lies are loud. I struggled to hold on to pieces of the truth.
As the world shut down and we stayed home, I realize I had nobody. No family to contact. No friends to call. Nobody to set up Zoom calls with. When we moved in with my family I lost access to an internet connection strong enough for Twitch, so I lost that community, for a while, as well. So, again, “You’re forgotten. Unimportant. A vapor.” Eventually, this turns into thinking, “you don’t actually exist. You’ve left no impact anywhere.” These are lies. And I knew it. But that pain was very dark.
I joined the master class and used that as an excuse to drive to town during the classes and feel connected again. People start sharing their stories and I am inspired, but can’t find the words. I assume nobody even knows I’m in there. People speak sweetly to me, I exchange in kind, then we go along and nobody remembers. It’s fine. I’m ok.
This brings is to this weekend. I go to the HS conference. I met up with some HS friends, and got to meet some I’ve only chatted with online. They are all so dear to me, and one of the people I met was Megs. Her energy reminds me of the energy my mom had. The love and care and thought she puts into every interaction she’s apart of is amazing.
The last night of the conference, after everyone had left, I sat in the parking lot of the gym and had a breakdown that was 30+ years in the making. A pit in my heart that opened up to show me I never once took the time to grieve my mom. The one person who saw me.
It occurred to me that I have felt forgotten and unseen since April 1st, 2013. Despite having an amazing husband who always made sure to try and guide me to places and resources he thought would help when he was unable. Despite having a little 4 year old who loves me with her whole heart. Despite having the knowledge and tools from an amazing online community. Despite knowing that these cries of pain in my heart are shouting lies, I never knew they came from a place of truth, and just got twisted up along the way. Because, while I may have felt forgotten and unseen before my mom died, I had an achor to the truth. I just didn’t see it. Now, I have a loss I still need to tend to.
Thank you HS community, Master class, and Twitch family. I have tools now to work on this pain. I can treat the source. I can believe I’m with people that can actually see me now. I don’t feel forgotten or unseen.