To be an artist means pushing all the pain, heartbreak, joy, and laughter you have into your art. There are many of us who have scars from the things that the world decided to show us, but there will always be a greater number of people with invisible scars, where we use our art to show the world. Every day I survive, not with physical scars to the naked eye, but with the twisted kind of darkness in my soul. My parents never beat me, my parents never sexually assaulted me, and I don’t have a creepy uncle who wanted to play naked twister either. My childhood to me, was perfect and I will always cherish it as such.
The darkness in my soul comes from not learning how to trust. If there was ever any greater lesson I learned from my parents it’s that I have to be on my tip toes all the time. My mother stopped talking to me for 6 months over a disagreement involving her friends. As for my father, since I’ve developed boobs my father has not stopped talking about my sex life. Point is, I don’t trust them. I love them, god help me, they taught me how to be expressive and think logically and be me, but there is never a day that goes by that I can trust them to be there.
I grew up thinking that if I were to ever mess up in life, if I were ever to be out on the streets, attacked or god forbid just lonely. That you could back home, that your parents are genetically responsible to love you as you are unconditionally. I don’t think I can ever express the void inside me because I feel like I consistently and periodically fail at achieving that my basic roll as a child to someone. Because I know in theory and from experience that at any moment they can cut me from their life without a 2nd thought. After 6 or 7 months the only reason I began talking to my parents or that they began talking to me was because my grandmother begged them too. Bless her heart, I’d be lost without her, but she asked me to call and I did. I bit my tongue and placed my tail between my legs because my grandmother asked me too.
I have been kicked out of my parent’s home. I have been talked about sexually, socially and lied about. They will pretend I don’t exist if I step out of line and I have been called a whore, slut, bitch, and ungrateful more times to my face then behind my back by both parents. Maybe I deserved it, maybe I didn’t, and maybe I pissed them off or disappointed them, who knows? In school I was a good kid, straight A’s the occasional B, always leading some kind of club or idea. I brought home awards regularly, and after about 9th grade I stopped doing it to impress them. I began doing it, so I wouldn’t have to be there. I didn’t want to be the mediator between my parent’s marriage, the mom for my little sister and a friend to gossip to about my father’s penis to my mother.
This might sound like a bunch of white girl problems. It might even sound like just another American household on a Saturday night. But these times in my life are the invisible scars I live with. I usually don’t type about it. For 20 years I never spoke about it. Doing it now scares the crap out of me. I find that more and more people ask me how did I do it? How do I put up with the crazy? How am I not crazy? That’s because they weren’t there. I took showers in the dark because I didn’t want to chance seeing me in the reflection. I scratched my skin till I bled so that I could feel something else other than self loathing. I would hold my breath and tense up until I was red and shaking to hold in my anger so I could sleep instead of doing something about it.
It’s been five years since I’ve hurt myself, or had to hold my breath to fall asleep. It’s been two years since all the yelling and anger in me subsided. The truth is I don’t have thick skin; I don’t have a super power or answer to any of those questions about how I did it. What I do know is that everyone has scars. Some the world decided to show us and some we decided to show the world.
Writing is my art. The artistic ability of a writer is not to say what we are able to, but to say the things we can’t.