L’appel du Vide
I remember visitations with you.
Watching your soft toddler flesh glide down the slide.
The way your dimples folded over when you smiled. Sunshine and bleached hair. To the smell of chlorine in July.
The dinosaurs and the playground sets.
I remember footsteps. Shouting. Crying. Leaving.
I recall depression that made me sick to stomach for years and the way separation split me in two.
Moving from place to place but never being at home.
To love from a father whose heart was big enough to call home.
Family members deaths and the feeling of numbness and a lack of understanding for what comes after life.
I remember anger and shame and all of the emotions I was left with at ten years old when I moved back to California to escape abuse.
I told my father five years later, but his emotion, pain and remorse made me regret the decision.
I called your house once when I built the courage up, but no one answered so I waited eight years before I wrote you a letter.
You didn’t write me back. You didn’t know me, but I loved you anyways.
I can’t tell you everything that has taken place in my life, but I hope you know I always loved you and your brother.
Now and then, I still struggle with anxiety and depression.
I use to pretend it wasn’t there, that if I shut my eyes tightly enough, it would all fall away and I could experience happiness.
It’s hard being an introvert that is perceived as an extrovert.
I always had to fight for friends with my transient up bringing.
Always drifting and never sticking.
I remember watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and imagining a life in which I belonged, to a friend, to a brother, to a family.
I use to hate playing house because I didn’t know how to do it.
Eventually having a family is all I wanted, but I’m still afraid of it.
I’m deeply afraid of commitment and letting someone love me and of loving someone in return, because what if it doesn’t work?
What if my children hear footsteps. Shouting. Crying. Leaving.
I guess I’m damaged, but that’s okay, because I’m stronger because of it.
I remember coming to terms with the fact that I was sexually assaulted after my best friend picked me up from his house when he refused to drive me home and the feeling that returned and swallowed me.
Anger, hatred, remorse, shame and all of the scars that preceded.
Sometimes I’m afraid of being honest because I don’t feel that anyone could love me, but everyone has a past and that’s what makes us beautiful.
There is a french phase that I have grown particularly fond of; L’appel du Vide, or the call of the void.
You know that feeling when you are sitting on a cliff and you think about how it would feel to fall? Not in a suicidal way, but you just wonder what would happen?
There is a a theory called the High Place Phenomenon that outlines this feeling.
Jean-Paul Sartre once observed, the emotion is so unsettling because of the way it “creates an unnerving, shaky sensation of not being able to trust one’s own instincts.”
It’s a reminder to perhaps not always let your emotions rule your behavior.
I’m working on this but it’s hard because I don’t understand myself or my intentions most days.
I’m confident that I’ll figure it all out one day and for now?
I’m perfectly happy with these memories because they no longer torture me, they simply reside in my mind and have given me some insight on the complexity of personalities and how damaged we all are from our pasts.
You’re okay, too.