Saturday, November 6, 2010
foster care success story
When people call me a foster care success story I cringe. My soul splits and cracks just a little bit. I like that people think I am successful, but I also hate it. I feel like they are not really judging my on my skills and talents and accomplishments, but are judging me on what I am NOT. They are judging me as a success because I'm not a failure. Because I'm not in prison. Because I'm not a total fuck up in life. I makes me feel like a loser that the standards have been set so low for me.
Maybe they view me as a success because I was so good at school. Nothing could be wrong with a girl that gets straight A's right? That girl must have a great head on her shoulders. She must have it all figured out. She must have a great support system. I went to 25 elementary schools, two middle schools, and seven high schools. How on Earth did I freaking manage to get good grades? I don't know. I used school as my escape. I thought if I was good at school someone would love me. Hours and hours of homework left me with little time to think about my life and myself. I had school. I had school and NOTHING else.
Today I live my life but I don't really feel like I'm the one in control. I feel like I'm a passenger along for the ride. Who is driving the car? Who is navigating my life for me? It's not me. Not really. I watch life happen through a little window. I peek from behind a curtain but I never fully expose myself to the outside world. I don't know if I have truly ever been myself since I was 12 years old or maybe I stopped being me at 9. I don't know if I will ever feel comfortable in my own skin. I have never truly wanted to be alive. I have never truly enjoyed life. I have little moments of joy here and there, but they always feel tainted. My joy will forever be tainted. Behind ever smile is a lot of pain.
Am I really a success? Would you consider me a successful person if I had a great childhood and family? I highly doubt it. I know people don't mean to offend me when they call me a foster care success story. They are trying to make me feel good. It doesn't make me feel good at all. I feel like it diminishes the pain I carry around all day, every day. It makes me feel like my pain doesn't matter because I can function in life. My nightmares don't matter. My panic attacks don't matter. My flashbacks and dissociation don't matter. None of it matters because I am a success. My poor brothers and sisters must have been through so much. They are struggling so much more than me, so they must have suffered more than I have. Maybe people view me as a success because I don't wear my pain on my sleeve like my siblings do. I'm good at hiding it. I'm good at pretending to be normal. I'm a master of emotional trickery. I can laugh when I want to sob. I can smile when I want to scream. I can stick my hand in a bonfire and pretend like I feel nothing if I need to. I feel it all. I feel it strongly, and then I turn it off. I store it for later, but later never happens. I have a huge storage shed in my brain. It is now overflowing, but I'm afraid to go through what belongs to me. I'm afraid of what's in there. Now I have a growing leak and I can't fix it. My crazy grows stronger and stronger every day. Maybe if I completely lose my mind, people will see what's really going on in my heart. People will truly see me for who I really am and not for who I am not.