I got my hair cut today. This is because I called my dad and said, “I have ten dollars in my bank account and I need a haircut.” He took pity on me and not only bought my haircut, but came to my house and picked me up to take me to go do it. Does my dad know me or what? If he’d just given me money, it would have sat in my pocket for about six days, because I would have known it was for a haircut, but yet I would not have dragged myself away from writing long enough to do it. Here’s the thing, people. If you really want me to do something with you, come and pick me up.
I think this is because now that I’m older, I understand the implications of driving that I didn’t when I was a kid. It scares me more now than it used to, because when I was a teenager I had monocular vision and no morals.
I still have monocular vision, and now I can see how much damage I have the capacity to do. I limit driving by choice, not necessity. It’s not that I can’t see. It’s that I can’t see everything all at once. My field of vision switches between left and right, but does not bother to tell my brain when it’s doing it. So therefore, I hit curbs a lot. I hit everything a lot, but generally it’s stationery stuff right outside my purview. I’m telling ya, those poles at parking garages intentionally move when I’m not looking. For real.
So I guess that’s two separate issues; the first being that I’m a workaholic and the second being that I don’t actually want to go anywhere. It simplifies my life. I find that I have more room to be compassionate because I am not particularly scheduled. I do not participate in the day to day rush that most people do, even when I’m working full time. I don’t really schedule anything that occurs regularly during the week, with the exception of choir practice on Thursdays… and even that is a struggle because I am so antisocial. You would think that I am the opposite based on my writing style, but I fake it really well. I’ve been faking it for a lot of years.
Being a preacher’s kid is not something that I would have chosen, necessarily, because like being a politician’s daughter, people come after you. One lady went up to my mom and reamed her out for letting me wear false eyelashes. The problem was that they were my eyelashes. That is just one story out of about a million. Instead of having two parents, you end up having somewhere around a thousand.
My natural introvert personality was sidelined for the greater good, and I do not look back with regret. There is a certain comfort to “the mask.” It is a unique piece of yourself, but it’s not deep. Deep is what’s behind the mask, and few people get to see that, especially in person. It embarrasses me when I can’t pull together the mask, because it invites lots of people who ask, “are you ok?” They are genuinely concerned because I’m just “not like this.”
Ohhhhhh, yes I am.
The mask is hilarious. I love her. But she is not really all that “me.” She is an act I created out of necessity, especially once my abuse started, because it caused people to ask me if I was ok at twice the rate… and when you are actively being abused, whether emotionally or physically, you will do anything to protect your abuser. Anything. If being light and bubbly caused people to chill the fuck out, then I’d do it. Because all I wanted at that time in my life was to be left alone. It wasn’t because I didn’t want friends. I didn’t want people to get close to me. I didn’t want people to see the house of cards I had to construct to keep both Diane and me out of trouble. I liked the danger of being caught, and that is the most insidious feeling of all…. that you enjoyed abuse, so it couldn’t have been as bad as all these people are making it out to be………………….
Holding Camille Cosby in the palm of my hand today. Feeling her pain. Walking in it. Allowing myself to feel, because each time I care about her, I have more empathy for myself. More love for all the years I kept my secret, and horrified that she’s choosing to keep hers, but that is not my call to make. As I said on Facebook this morning, “there is no limit to what he (Bill) has done to her mind to make her believe that this is right and sane.” I don’t want to stand in judgment of her, because I can’t and won’t. Because of Diane’s actions, it took me years and years to unpack the fact that friendship and sex are not the same thing. It caused me to believe that I could only have one friend at a time.
Because of this, I cannot stand in judgment of anyone and the negative tapes they spin about themselves all day long.
I’m still fighting mine; you don’t get over an almost-25 year relationship in one or two. It just doesn’t happen. What has happened, though, is that now I see it for what it was. There are some genuine moments that I take with me, but at the same time, in my own mind, I had to get down to brass tacks. My intuition says that her abuse made her a predator, and an extraordinarily good one. Something in her mind had to have changed, because after she moved away, our energy was completely different, and that’s where some real roots had a chance to grow.
The more the real roots grew, the more I forgave the ones that crept around my neck.
So have some empathy for Camille. I guarantee that in some small measure, we have the same story. Maybe her genuine roots are stronger than the ones that strangle her. If they aren’t, she might figure it out one day… and we need to be there for her either way.
When people are trapped in the throes of abuse, they still need help. It would just take an Act of God to get them to admit it.