Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In Your Youth



I knew I loved you before you were even born, and I instantly took to mothering you as my own.  You were my dear, sweet little boy -- blonde hair and bright blue eyes, chubby cheeks and joyous laugh.  You were cherished by everyone that surrounded you, and you returned their love -- in your youth.  You offered smiles and hugs; you wrote me letters and drew pretty pictures.  I adored you and you admired me -- in your youth.  I tucked you under the covers and read you endless bedtime stories.  I remember you first fumbling over words, then becoming more confident, until together we had mastered that first book -- Ten in Bed.  And the little one said, “Roll over; roll over,” those sweet words repeated in my head, happily inflated with pride.  You learned from me and you accepted my love -- in your youth.  
 

I was determined to protect you from everything bad and ugly in this world -- boogie monsters and bullies.  I could look under your bed and tell you no monsters dwelled there.  I could peak in your closet and holler, then announcing I had scared the beasts away.  I would protect you from dangers both imagined and immediate.  
 
I still remember him cursing and shaking you -- a frightened five-year-old.  He was angry, frustrated, irrational in his reaction.  I cursed back and pushed him boldly away from you.  I held you and rocked you.  You didn’t have to go to school that day if the kids were picking on you, and he wouldn’t be allowed to pick on you either because I was there to provide protection.   We stayed home and snuggled back in bed, and I again felt insurmountable pride for having kept you safe and sound.  I wanted you to feel secure and loved.  I could offer you that security and protection -- in your youth.
 
But then you grew, and we grew apart.  I learned I couldn’t protect you from everything bad and ugly because sometimes the monsters aren’t outside.  They can’t be defeated with fists or fights. They don’t live under beds or hide in closets.  They don’t push you on the playground or rage irrationally when you refuse to arise from bed.
 
The worst monsters live deep inside of you.  Those demons that dwell within you are familiar to me as well; I too have lived that hell.  They reside in the relentless, looping thoughts determined to convince you of your worthlessness.  They delight in the anger that boils up in your belly and trickles out of your mouth in wicked, unintended words.  Those monsters are liars and scoundrels, but you believe their blasphemy and let them conquer you.  In their reign, they have eradicated your childhood contentment.  You have forgotten the easy pleasures of your youth.
 
If I could, I would restore your youthful joy that I might see you smile sincerely once again. I would don armor and slay those monsters, but you keep them too well hidden to be defeated.  I could help if you would only take my hand, but the hatred that accompanies those beasts prevents this.  I’m not disappointed or angry, though, because I know.  I know how hard it is to ask for help.  I know how hard it is to fight those damned demons, but I also need you to know that I still adore you as you once admired me -- in your youth.

 

33 comments:

  1. Powerfully written and emotionally felt.

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    1. Thank you, Bill. I'm glad the emotion was evident.

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  2. This was very powerful. I know those hidden monsters are the worst.

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    1. Yes, they certainly are. Thank you, Marcy.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you. I hope the individual I wrote it for finds it beautiful.

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  4. Angela, this piece was heartbreaking. I admire the honesty of your voice here.

    Karen

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    1. Thank you. I still feel there's a bit of hope here though because love is still there.

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  5. Hits close to home. Heartfelt, and very real.

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    1. Thank you. Sorry, however, that it hit so close to home.

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  6. Very strong, but thoughtful. I read the time you put into this. I wish it were fiction, it reads a bit that way, but I understand fully it is not.

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    1. Thank you. This was a bit more difficult piece because I didn't want to make the subject of the work too evident as not to offend or embarrass him. It would have been easier were it fiction.

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  7. "the worst monsters live deep inside you". Yes, Yes, they do. This was a gripping read. Thanks for showing bravery in posting this.

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    1. Thank you; how wonderful to have my words described as "gripping" given that my husband said I was only "more than adequate."

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  8. I'm a little teary reading this. It reminds me of someone close to me...

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    1. It probably reminds most people of someone they know. It's hard to read in that sense, but I appreciate your comments.

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  9. Ah. This is heartbreaking. Beautiful share.

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  10. oh honey. this was so very raw and honest and beautiful and hard. so hard. and sad. thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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    1. Isn't it true? Prayers for whatever you're dealing with that this hit so close to home.

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  12. He still has your love inside him, protecting him in ways unseen. Beautiful post.

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    1. Thank you for your comments on the post, and your kind words about the power of love to protect in ways unseen.

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  13. Since we don't talk nearly openly enough about mental illness in general, it means that we haven't given parents a place to express their fears about things like heredity. Aside from being well written, this is an important post for that reason alone. And it describes so well kids' tendency to create distance as they get older, compounded by a struggle you unfortunately know too well. Sad but lovely.

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    1. Yes. Oh, Karen, your words are spot on in summarizing this post. Thanks for all your kind words all of the time.

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    2. Angela, I'll say "you're welcome," because I truly mean it, but I also want to say, "It's easy, because you deserve it." You write well, you're funny, you tackle tough stuff with an honesty that is not so much brutal as flat-out powerful. Yours is a voice that should speak a little more loudly than those of us who are hanging out, writing bodily function jokes. Not that I ever do that. Well, no more than twice a post.

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  14. Wow. Beautiful and powerful post. Actually gave me shivers as I read it -- thank you for sharing what must be a very difficult story.

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  15. Like a punch in the gut-- good writing makes me FEEL.

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    1. Thanks, Christie! I am so glad to have such emotional responses to this post because I surely felt it when I was writing it.

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