Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Post(er child) Apologies
I was the poster child for emotional confusion when I was a teenager. I hadn't really developed my self image because the understanding of what I was feeling inside wasn't even an option at that point. It didn't exist in the world I knew. There wasn't someone to talk to, because there wasn't something that I knew to talk about. I believed I was alone…and at the time I was.
Feeling isolated in this way could have set me off in many negative directions. But my way was to disconnect from any confusion, put on my clown suit, complete with a permanently smiling mask, and trudge through. Unfortunately this costume, my shield, meant that I was hurting the people around me instead carrying the weight of the pain alone.
I was mean to people. I bullied. I made life hard for other people who were going through their own struggles. I sought confidence and strength through other people's weaknesses. I projected attention off of myself with ill-willed jokes and onto those around me. I made people laugh, but it wasn't anything they should have been laughing at. I knew in my heart that if I let anyone close enough, if I shut up, they'd then be laughing at me. I wasn't about to let that happen.
The people I wasn't poking fun off of I was leaching emotional guidance and security from. I would separate from my core group of friends and those I was seeking to entertain, and I would come crawling with desperate need to the individuals I felt I could make a connection with, people who might force me to drop the costume and face my demons. People who might want to find the truth in me… people I desperately wanted to give my truth to. People who might understand without laughing, without judging.
All of the people who were dealing with me at that time deserve a form of apology. Believe it or not many of them I sought out years later and said my too little too late "I'm sorry" to, or "thank you for putting up with me at that time."
It was me who was being mean, but it was a me who was scared of silence, scared of the truth, scared of what it all meant. I didn't want to hear anything mean about myself. I didn't want to know that I might be different. I felt fragile inside, even though I was laughing on the outside. It was my farce. It was me who had to make noise to shut out pain. Me who needed to figure things out.
I've faced myself. And, I'm sorry. For those who knew me before I knew myself – I never meant to hurt them. In the end the shield that reflected my pain and shielded my confusion hurt me too, because I waited too long and I do feel bad.