Suit Up

I am on the airplane. They say there is wifi, but it doesn’t appear to be true. That’s okay though. I generally need this time in the air to transition. I will write this in my notepad and publish it once I land.

Every time I fly from home to MO, or vice versa, I feel like I shed my skin. I shed a part of me, and pick right back up where the other part left off. 

Moving 5,000m away was the best choice I could ever make. The relationships are healthier and more whole. However, it also broke me out of believing all I experienced in MO was normal. Living far away, experiencing a life that is separate (with the exception of phone calls that started twice a day and are now down to once a week) it was so crucial for my development. But it was also a shock.

Last summer, I went back in July and my brother had one of his episodes. He was 23. He didn’t even live there but came home in an absolute blind psychotic rage. And literally everyone’s behaviour was the same – as if he was six, or eight or twelve, or sixteen – everything was the same, but we were older, and he is much stronger now. It was like watching the movie Groundhog Day – where the same day repeats itself. It’s like a movie where everyone knows their place and role. The violence and anger was the same, but everybody was bigger. I was suddenly the only one not playing along, the only one without a part.

After that 3am episode where I realized how truly fucked everything was (and the worst part was nobody else actually thought it was fucked up) I returned home, didn’t sleep for five days, and needed to be hospitalized because I wanted to jump in front of the train I commute on. I wanted to, I didn’t, but it scared me enough that I checked myself in. It was a reality check of massive proportions.

I never should have had to live in that environment. It is not my fault that that was normal. It is not my brothers fault that he was taught the way he was. It is not my parents fault that they tried their best. There was no parenting manual.

And yet, I ended up hurt. And I’ve stopped making excuses for them. I wish there was someone to blame.

It’s hard not to feel like the crazy one when everyone is walking around like a suicidal, wall punching, 22 year old is normal. Like him hitting himself in the face and pounding at my Dad and my Mom walking around drunk and my brother bleeding and trying to button up his shirt lopsided to look good for the nurses is normal. Like him screaming at me and telling me I don’t even care or love him, is normal. 

I remember him asking to go to the ER and my Mom looking for her keys like she was going to the grocery store. Absolutely zero urgency. I remember being like – “shouldn’t we call for help?” I remember my Dad being like “oh don’t worry, this happens all the time still.” And me, sitting there. I had lived somewhere where after four years not one night was interrupted by my brothers meltdowns or my Moms drunk rants – me sitting there, on top of that same set of stairs, realizing “this is not normal. This was never normal. Why the hell was I ever calling this normal. This. is. not. Normal.”

But when I return to MO, I am the only one who sees it. I am the only one who sees that this mess isn’t normal. And if I spend a long enough amount of time there, I can start to feel like the crazy one. Because they all still call it normal. They haven’t had the space, they haven’t had the growth. And I’m the one who isn’t falling into line.

So I will get off this plane and put on the personality suit I’ve worn so many times before. I will pretend that meltdowns are normal and being drunk constantly is okay. I will listen when they tell me not to pick a fight. I will stay when everything is screaming at me to go. I will let them blame me for whatever it is they think is my fault. 

Because I do love them. As fucked as it is, I love them. There has never been anything malicious about their actions and we are all a part of this codependent environment that is a product of generational traumas. It is a sinkhole. And until November 2nd, it’s my sinkhole. And a large part of me is comfortable in that sinkhole.

So that part takes over, it suits up and pushes the home me aside. I suit up, and leave myself behind for 11 days. I embrace the ‘normal’ because being different here is lonely – and too damn hard. 

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7 thoughts on “Suit Up

  1. Wow! Definitely NOT normal…

    But as I’m writing my comment here, I get to thinking that it might actually be ‘normal’. As in, family dysfunction is largely the norm. The dysfunction can vary widely in severity (and I think your family may take the cake in this regard), but in my 33 years, I’ve yet to meet a truly emotionally mature and healthy family unit.
    They have to exist, right? I mean, I’ve devoted myself to encouraging emotional growth and well being in my own young family… But it’s a lot of work! I get why most families are unhealthy. Like you said, there are generations of trauma and its effects to deal with… Who is to blame? We’ve all inherited some effed up patterns!

    That you’ve moved past blame is evidence that you yourself have already come very far in your quest for emotional health. Clearly, feeling like jumping in front of a commuter train feels very unhealthy, but you didn’t do it. To face all of the hurt and pain you’ve inherited is going to make anyone feel crazy. But crazy is as crazy does… Feeling overwhelmed and thinking abnormal thoughts is not the same as BEING abnormal. In your situation? I think it’s an incredibly normal and sane reaction ! A normal, healthy person would likely feel and think the same things if they encountered the burden of hurt you’re forced to unpack.

    You know how to deal with crazy… You’ve been surrounded by it for so long… But I know from my own experience that suiting up to live within it again comes at a personal price. Don’t forget to take care of yourself… You are going into a warzone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really liked the skin-shedding description. It’s like a different mask for a different environment.
    You shouldn’t have had to experience that, it’s not normal and it’s definitely not your fault. Please take care of yourself while you’re in MO; I’ll be thinking of you.

    Liked by 2 people

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