There is a part of me that has been locked away for a while. It’s for the best I suppose, but sometimes I really miss it.
There was a period in my life where I was very confused. I guess it was me coming of age. I don’t think it’s abnormal. It started in college when I left my long-time boyfriend and first love. My parents both lived far away so for the first time in my life I had no one I had to explain myself to. I partied and dated different men, and it was liberating and felt great. Of course I did stupid things, but I was shielded from guilt or humility by my own blissful ignorance. Somewhere in the middle of it all I was writing better than I had ever written. Poems just fell out of me, it felt so good.
When I got out of college and got a good, professional job I was surrounded by expectations. Home ownership, promotions, marriage, family.. it was all around me and I was only 21. At first I was proud of myself and I loved my job, and I still love the people I worked with there. Eventually though, the confines of that molded life became suffocating. I had issues I was still dealing with. The navy kept me and my father apart as a child, and when I became a young woman and he retired I could no longer blame the navy and circumstance turned into neglect and abandonment. I think those were my hardest times. Of course I looked to fill the void with other men. I went through an angry phase. I started hanging out with a rough crowd, I got tattoos (which I still love, they are a part of me) and started smoking cigarettes. I remember partying into the morning sometimes, letting the night take me anywhere. I wasn’t happy but I was free. I still had my work family to keep me grounded, and if it weren’t for those compassionate nerds I built websites with who knows where I’d be.
I wanna say it was May of 2008 when I found out that my father was arrested for child molestation. I think he had a lot of depression surrounding my little brother and I (he never touched us and he did love us) and the family he married into was asking too much of him. His father’s death hit him hard. Once he retired he had a lot of difficulty finding a job, and I think he was overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. He let himself slip deeper and deeper into depression and turned to alcohol. He had told me more than once over the phone how he wished he would die. I got the call about his arrest when I was at a Nationals game with my friends. They held him in suicide watch for a while before they sent him to the city jail.
Since those events happened I’ve moved to a different state and started a new life. I thought I was going to marry the man who was with me when I was last in Virginia, but I panicked and pushed him away. He loved me, I feel bad for hurting him. Now I am in a new relationship and I think I can finally rest on solid ground.
So here I am, and I feel numb to pain.
I felt nothing writing about my father. I remember being able to write poem after poem after poem when I left my first love. It was like someone had opened the flood gates. I could get lost inside myself. It was so therapeutic having a heart in turmoil, falling in love with men who didn’t love me, and letting the pain ooze out into words. I don’t have that anymore. I miss those days terribly. Now I have been forced to lock all my pain up in jail with my father. Even when I found my heart in turmoil again and again after moving to Fl, I couldn’t access the emotions that allowed me to write. My most cherished creative inspiration is locked inside a cell, sedated. I’m happy in my life now, don’t get me wrong. I love my boyfriend and I daydream about marrying him. I’m in good physical shape again and exercising regularly. I’ve got a stable job and a cute little apartment that I share with my love and though I miss him terribly when he’s gone, the pain just doesn’t compare. A part of me is dead.
Maybe writing all this will help. Maybe one day I will be able to pick the lock of that cell, and let just enough pain out to write a good poem before slamming the cell doors shut again so that I don’t fall to my knees in sorrow. If I can mitigate my darkest pain maybe I can feel whole again. I do not always want to be happy if it means that I am numb.