My head is swirling. Can’t. Won’t. I keep waking up in the middle of the night screaming NO. I keep dreaming of having glass in my mouth I cannot get rid of, I cannot spit out, trying to move it cuts me, having it there, chokes me. In the morning, my throat is sore, my eyes swollen.
I feel the weight of the insistence that I go to my mother’s side for her surgery. You are a good person, I am implored. You are. You are kind at heart. It is your nature.
NO! I’m not a good person. I am not kind at heart. I am selfish and self absorbed. I care only about myself. My kids. My family. My friends. Me. Only me. My stuff. My world. My needs. My loves.
I am horrible. I really am. I am wacky, out of control, nuts, in serious need of professional help… I am controlling and manipulative. I am all the things everyone has said about me. I poison the room with my mere presence. I do. It’s true.
I hate this. I hate how it feels. I don’t want to be tugged at, beseeched. I’m not gentle. I am not strong. I am not thoughtful. I want to be left alone. Leave me alone. Don’t touch me. Get away. I cannot stand having so many people needing me, greedy for my compassion, sucking my bones for strength. I’m weak. I’m useless. No good. Write me off.
My body physically aches and is sore, my muscles holding the memory I shut down for so long. I don’t want to feel the humiliation, the terror, to taste the glass in my mouth again. Going to my mother's bedside gives my muscles' memory eyes. I'd rather save that for my dreams when I can wake myself up screaming. What do I do when I am already awake?
I feel myself backed up against a wall, needing to scream when I am not against a wall. I can simply say no. I feel the pull, as if the bridge edge is sucking me over, and there is no bridge. My heart is pounding. I want to run. I want my childhood hiding place, deep in the woods, under a canopy of vines twisted around a fallen tree’s roots. Leave me alone. Don’t touch me. Get away.
No one ever found me there.
I have always felt I had to scream to be heard. It has to be the hardest, most awful reason in the world for me not to take care of someone else, especially my mother. No excuse was ever acceptable. It was my duty, my obligation, and my responsibility to be there when she needed me. Always. To do anything less was ungrateful. Disrespectful. The only out was if it was impossible. If I was broken. Couldn’t.
I’m broken. I can’t. I won’t. I don’t want to feel the wall against my back. I don’t want to feel the pull over the edge. Today, they are unbearable feelings I cannot sit with. I cannot see the other side. It is permanent. Pervasive. Personal. The need of everyone else feels like claws. Be a good person. Be kind. You know you are a strong woman. You know you can do this.
I’m not. I can't.
I will scream it out in my sleep again tonight. NO.
I can’t. I won’t.