Humane Scars


I woke up earlier than Kevin did this morning.  Mostly because Dante was laying on my chest staring at me and making these small sounds that only I can hear, at a pitch that easily translates to “please wake up or I’m going to pee on the carpet”.

“Noted. I’m up.”

I opened the door to heavy rain.  It doesn’t rain much in Texas even though North Texas is much like Ontario otherwise.  Green (no tumble weeds or skinny donkey’s walking down dirt roads).  Forget what you thought you knew about Texas.  It’s lovely.  Just hot as hell.

I used to hate rainy day’s and yet here in Texas, a good rainstorm is really embraced.  The lakes need it.  The lawns need it, and we need the break from the temperature.  I smile a little listening to some of my friends and family in Ontario complaining about the cold and rain because that used to be me.  Now I appreciate the rain, and the torrents making a river on the road outside.

I had to tap Diego on the butt gently with my foot to get him to go outside.  He was contemplating a little too much at the door.   Unlike Dante who went barreling across two lawns to chase one of the feral cats in our ‘hood.  Damned dog… Dante is like having “Dennis the Menace” around.  Lovable but constantly getting into mayhem.

I found myself staring out at the rain, and contemplating.

You know how they tell you it will get better with time?  It doesn’t.

You know how they tell you to “get over it” when your feelings have been hurt, or you have had your trust betrayed?

You won’t.

You know how they tell you that you should forgive people, even if they went out of their way to destroy your happiness?

You can’t.

I stood in the threshold of our door this morning staring at the rain.  Have I changed much?  Not really.  Aside from the transition to new wife, new step-mom, new Country, new car, new family … okay there has been some change.

But I haven’t changed much.

I realized watching the rain that a period of difficult transition was now over.  I was no longer living in my Mother’s house, in the thick of an emotional and financial dysfunctional relationship and war.    I was free of her problems for good.

And I smiled because Karma is the great equalizer, and while you shouldn’t take pleasure in the misfortune of others, sometimes… well, the sense that justice is being done is cause to smile a little.

When you are a malicious selfish asshole, chances are eventually, life is going to kick your ass.  Welcome to your penance, and the realization that when you deserve that penance, finding sympathizers is a little hard.

No one feels sorry for a jerk who is being served their comeuppance.

Self empathy is this thing that comes out of nowhere now that I am settled, safe and loved here with my husband and my step-sons.   Not self-sympathy to be clear.  I do not feel sorry for myself, ever.

But I just had this moment this morning staring at the rain where I realized that it all still hurts, and that it’s okay that it hurts.  Domenic (my bio-dad), Terri (my bio-Mom)… the tornado of my Step-Father and his mental health issues and their gambling and prescription medication addictions.   The dishonestly and malice of a very nasty Step-Mother.

I used to think if I had the perfect family that I would have been more successful you know?  A loving set of normal parents.    Some of the shit I’ve been through since the age of 18 would end some men and women emotionally.  It really would.

But it didn’t.  It made me stronger.  And I believe I have the same quality of life that I would have had.   It didn’t hinder me, but I am not without scars that serve as a reminder that I marched my way through anyhow.

But the only reason I did was to prove them wrong.  I turned the pain into an anger and a promise that I would show them… that I would succeed without them. In spite of their efforts to sabotage my life.

kahlil-gibran-scars-and-charactersToday, I think I am a far better human being than either of my parents have ever been, or could ever be.   Even if they tried (which they don’t).  For the record they continue to run their games… they just don’t have the option to run them on me anymore.   I ‘checked out’ of a toxic biological family to create a positive, nurturing family of close friends, mentors and acquaintances.

And I still love and am loved by a few members of our family who know how to love.

I’m not ever going to stop being jealous of people who have great parents.  Quietly.  Stand back and watch them bathe in the support, love and attention of parents who truly love their kids.

It always hurts just a little, and sometimes I turn my eyes away because the envy overcomes me quietly and feels like a knife.

I’m not ever going to forget what happened after I turned 18.  The drama, the violence, the manipulation and war that was not my choice to engage in.    What happens with that stuff?  I recall it from the child side, and make damned sure that my mood, my issues, my weaknesses or flaws do NOT impact the health, happiness and emotional development of my twin step-sons.

They get a happy, energetic, creative, loving, funny Step Mother.  They know I love them.  They’ll always feel the authenticity of that love.

And those scars I have on the places that people can’t see?  They are the most humane part of me now.  They remind me of the injury that can happen to others, when love comes last.

And so in my small life, love comes first.

Don’t you see?   Your scars don’t make you ‘damaged goods’.  They make you wise and strong, by reminding you of the injuries you survived.  Particularly if you came out the other side, a better person.

Don’t regret your scars, rejoice in them.  You won despite having the option to give up completely.

I’m learning to love mine too.