I’m not suppose to be here. I catch myself saying that time to time when circumstances let me know otherwise.
My mom was told she couldn’t have children. My Dad and she still tried anyway, and after numerous miscarriages, she finally gave birth to a baby boy weighing seven pounds, two ounces. “A miracle baby” that wasn’t suppose to be here.
My childhood was the white suburbia middle class fairy tale. I grew up going on vacations and was instilled with the love of travel ever since I could walk. Every summer we crisscrossed the country, eventually seeing every state west of the Mississippi. I also went hunting, camping, and fishing with my Dad every weekend. I was attached at his hip for the first ten years of my life. My Mom cooked dinner every evening, and we always ate at the dining room table, where we discussed everything from what was happening in the news to how our day had been. My Mom has a masters in English, so I was taught to read at an early age, and was encouraged to constantly have my nose in a book (some things never change). I did well in school, played sports, and everyone was sure that one day I could be president. My childhood was ideal, except for “the incident”. I wasn’t suppose to be here.
I call it “the incident” because I really haven’t come to terms with it, I still get uncomfortable whenever I try to talk about it, and I can’t create or find a title that puts in words a day that changed my entire life. I was ten years old and had gone to a Boy Scout camp for the weekend with my Cub Scout troupe. I had been asked one evening to help in the dining hall by a man, and to this day I can’t remember his name or his title. I wasnt suppose to be here. What I can remember is his face, the tone of his voice, and the smell. For some reason I am still haunted by the smell. Sometimes I will be somewhere and the faint smell of bleach mixed with green beans will creep up on me, and out of nowhere I’m ten years old again in that storage room of that dining hall, scared to death. I can’t go into details about “the incident” because I still haven’t learned how to talk about, I still feel a sense of shame, a sense of guilt, and all of that has kept me from telling anyone about what exactly took place. I wasn’t even suppose to be there, or anywhere. I repressed most of this for years until one day I had lunch with my youngest daughter at school, and standing in that cafeteria, scenes started rushing back. That’s the way it still is for me at times, like someone is changing the channel on my tv getting nothing but bad reception, and all of a sudden they turn it to a channel that can be picked up clear. I am constantly scared that the scenes will rear their head out of nowhere, and going to sleep sometimes is a nightmare of epic proportions. Most times I don’t remember my dreams, but when I do it always seems to be the ones that relate to what happened. Shit, I’m not suppose to be here.
I never told anyone at the time about “the incident”, and I wonder how right or wrong that was. I know that it would’ve wrecked my Dad probably. He loved me so much it would’ve broke his heart to think that something like that happened and he didn’t protect me. Not to mention the fact that he would’ve literally killed the man. That’s not me being dramatic, it’s just the truth. So, on one hand I’m glad my Dad never knew, but on the other hand the man was never punished. I often wonder how many kids I could’ve saved from suffering the same thing if I had only said something. Also, if I had started dealing with this when I was ten instead of thirty four, maybe things would’ve been different. Maybe I would’ve been different. But… I wasn’t even suppose to be there. I wasn’t even suppose to be there
So, instead of starting therapy at a young age and learning how to recognize and deal with my feelings, I taught myself how to bury them deep, how to turn cold, how to not show emption, how to not face any problem head on, how to cringe at a strangers touch, how to avoid conflict as much as I can, how to avoid talking to people, how to not ask anyone for anything, and how to lie to people because i think the truth will be more painful, only to end up hurting them more with a lie. Instead of learning how to cope with my bouts of depression and my daily anxiety, I let them consume me to the point where suicide is a constant thought that dances around me. I taught myself how to numb the pain first with drugs and alcohol, and then sex with a stream of women that I can’t even remember most of their names. I’ve learned how to sabotage every relationship I’ve ever been in, and how to hurt the ones in my life who have loved me the most. I’ve taught myself how to not only be unhappy, but stay unhappy. Not only that, but I’m not even suppose to be here.
So, here it is thirty years after “the incident”, and I’m still trying to get my footing. I’m still trying to cope in my life with the actions of some man I never knew. Some man that probably doesn’t even remember or ever thought twice about what happened. I’m sure he just went on living his life, and I had no bearing on him in any way. I’m sure my face doesn’t wake him up at three in the morning along with a terror gnawing at his heart. I’m sure to him I was nobody, just some kid to do with as he wished. But to me, he was somebody, a somebody that took so much from me that I will never be able to fully measure it, or get over it….but I’m trying. I’m really trying. And just think, I’m not even suppose to be here, and I damn sure wasn’t suppose to be there.