But oh, the places you will go...
A most useless place
God is good...not most of the time, not some of the time, not half of the time, not part of the time but ALL of the time. It’s just hard when I am wrong/bad not most of the time, not some of time, not part of the time, but all of the time. Thankfully, He is so good, that when asked, He forgives me and grants me mercy, not most of the time, not some of the time, not half of the time, not part of the time, but all of the time.
Is giving up on life when everything seems finished a question or is it just a desperate souls, grief stricken, despondent, lost, and depressed person’s ‘choice’, or frame of mind-something to sway ourselves of the guilt for questioning it or contemplating it? I believe the answer will differ for many...for everyone feels, processes, copes, deals, and experiences every situation and emotion differently.
I had a foster sister named Linda, that had one of the worst childhoods I could ever have imagined, raped, beaten, abandoned, and then shuffled from home to home, yet she overcame that childhood to become a social worker and made something of herself, only to take a gun and put it in her mouth years later, over a man. Then there is my sister Michelle, she was diagnosed at 3 years old with Leukemia and given 3 weeks to live, yet she held on, and defied all odds and lived 3 years.
What makes one person strong enough to endure hardships and sufferings and keep fighting to live, yet others so ‘damaged’ and ‘broken’ so deep in despair that they take their own life, or feel such despondency that taking their own life seems a viable alternative? I myself am not religious, but I do believe in God and I do have faith and faith always gave way to hope.
I know that I have been ‘talked from the edge’ several times throughout the course of my life, metaphorically speaking of course, but giving up and or giving in for any reason, was not ever a viable alternative, let alone an option. For what I gained from the loss of my sister and her hard fought battle to live, is that this life, my life, every life, serves a purpose, and what that purpose is varies for each one of us, but we may never know what that purpose is or was, if we are no longer here to serve it, whatever it is.
So whatever trial, injustice, suffering, hardship, or adversity you are enduring, facing, coping, or dealing with that leads you to question as to whether you should give up on life, comes from a place where neither hope nor faith can or will reside. Whether you believe in God or not, or some other ‘higher power’, that you believe in something, anything, that is good and kind and loving, something and or someone, that allows you to have faith or hope that even in your most darkest hour, you know you cannot, will not, ever give in. That taking your own life is not a viable option or alternative to what has brought you to that darkness-to that place, where hope and faith cannot and does not reside. Find it, hold onto it, if it is not an it, but a person, or a ‘hobby’, or a passion, something or someone you love and care for, and loves and cares for you, about you, even if that person is you, just hold onto that, whatever gives you or uplifts you or prevents you from giving up and or giving in. There is an inner strength in each of us, that even when we attempt taking our own lives, we instinctually fight to live.
The question as to whether or not we should give in when everything is finished is not really a question for me, more of a ‘choice’. I am just too stubborn, too mule headed, to give up or give in, even in the face of my darkest hours. I say mule headed because a donkey will sink in quicksand but a mule will not. Besides, I refuse to give my adversaries, whomever or whatever those adversaries are, or want to say or do, to me that would allow me to succumb or give in or give up on life. Why give anyone the satisfaction of knowing they got the better of me? Ever notice how enraged, incensed, and fuming a person becomes when you laugh at them, in their face, when they are attacking, mocking, ridiculing, making fun of, picking, bullying, and or torturing you, or whoever happens to be the target of his or her ignorance? The term ‘kill them with kindness’ comes to mind here, at least for me, for what could be more satisfying than being ‘in the face’ of our enemies or bullies, or adversaries, everyday, showing and proving that life and all its hardships and adversities, and them with all their hatred, bitterness, ridiculing, mocking, and ignorance, have not and will not get the better of us. Perhaps that is why when you laugh or anyone laughs in the face of adversity or in the face of our adversaries, people become so enraged, irritated, angry, and incensed.
Oddly enough, one of my favorite books is Oh the places you'll go by Dr. Seuss. Odd not because I was picked on and made fun of during my adolescence, up until high school, but odd in the sense that I was 20 years old when I read it for the first time. Growing up, I imagined and dreamed of the places I would go, or would visit, or take my mind to, in an effort to be any place other than where I was. I identified with the words and passages and imagined, even at 20 years old, what life had already done to me, the ‘places’ I had been or visited along the way, and had I given in or given up at any time throughout that ‘process’ I would never be able to ‘physically’ go to those places I had always dreamed of going, and actually visiting those places. The only place I never wanted to go, where I still don’t dare venture to go, is the ‘waiting place…the place where people just wait,’ the place where hope and faith cannot and do not reside-‘a most useless place.’
I was married in 1990, the same year it was published, I had no children of my own at that time, but my sisters did, and I loved to read to their children. When I read the book, I did so with them in mind, I wanted them to never feel as desperate or despondent as I had felt my whole life. I was too young, too gullible, too naïve, to understand or comprehend that during the years I was being tortured and tormented by my peers, while simultaneously being molested by my brother-n-law, that I never even realized I had a choice. What I could not have known was that all those experiences that caused me to contemplate giving up or giving in were merely preparing me for what was to come.
In 2008 when I discovered the love of my life, for the past 23 years, husband of 18 years, father to my two sons, was in fact, gay. I had suffered much over the years due to many forms of abuse, sexual, physical, and emotional, but finding out the only man I have ever truly loved, been in love with, trusted, and entrusted with all my heart and soul had damaged and hurt me in a way that I felt there was no coming back from. Where others before him had ‘taken’, and robbed me of so much…I had given him all of me, willingly. For the first time in my life, I had allowed myself to love and be loved, I had removed the walls I had so carefully constructed. I gave him a ‘gift’, a ‘gift’ I thought I was incapable of giving anyone. What they had ‘taken’ I had given him, and he wound up inflicting more damage and causing more pain and suffering than any one of my abusers and tormentors ever had or could have. To say I felt this was my undoing would be an understatement.
I had contemplated and ‘visited’ the ‘waiting place’ many times throughout my life, but this was truly the most devastating blow I had come up against, and I was ready to give up and give in. I was at a loss as to what to do or where to go from there. I didn’t feel as though my marriage had ended, I felt as though my husband, my best friend, my one true love, had died, and all I wanted to do was end my ‘suffering.’ To add insult to injury, he went out the very next day and went to a gay bar. I know because I received several calls from family and friends informing me of his whereabouts and activities. It had taken him nearly 40 years to come to terms with who he was…he had a luxury that my children and I did not, he knew there were doubts and questions as to his sexuality, we however, did not. Yet, he expected us to just accept it, deal with it, and make peace with it, just like that.
My grief was overwhelming, all consuming, but gave way to anger, hatred, loathing, and resentment, I was at a loss as to what to do, who to turn to, how to deal, how to heal…but it was my children and the love I have for them that would not allow me to give in or give up. I knew that as an adult, I was struggling with how to make sense of it all, therefore, I could only imagine how lost and confused they must have felt, at 16 and 13 years old.
I recalled the words of Dr. Seuss, “I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch. You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done…. You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV. Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t. I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you. All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot. And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on. But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are. You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)Kid, you’ll move mountains! So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”
Three years have passed since then, and I would be lying if I said I still do not harbor feelings of pain and hurt and resentment for all the years of lying and being misled, of the betrayal and infidelities, because I do. Yet, still I have accepted it and made my peace with it and with him. I have forgiven him and in doing so I have found myself and found my way, I found me, the real me, the woman I set out to be, the woman I was meant to be, becoming what I was meant to become. A strong willed person that managed to overcome many adversities and hardships, and I still have not and will not give up or give in. Every day I have hope, every day I have faith, every day I “tread with care and great tact because I remember that life’s a great balancing act.”
I'm not sure everyone can find strength, hope, or faith in the passages of Dr. Seuss, that everyone finds the faith, hope, or strength to hold on, even when all hope seems lost, or when everything seems finished, is my only hope. Life is short as it is; death is inevitable for us all, so why rush the process? You still have so many places to go...