Model Mormon girl
For anyone who doesn’t know, I was employed as a figure model at the school arts department. I took the job because it was easy on my leg and 6-9 hours a week which is better than nothing. I was so proud of myself for getting a job finally, because my disability has prevented me so far.
It’s amazing. I was moments away from suicide on Valentine’s day a few weeks ago, and I still came into work to model for this picture. Despite the intimacy the artists have with the shapes of my figure, the shapes of the spirit, don’t show on paper. I reflected on it as I sat there, staring off into the distance, about being a model.
Model is a word that describes putting something up as being superior to all else. Being the model requires unsurpassable excellence in all required areas. Being a performer, a dancer, I know all too well what happens when someone doesn’t have what it takes to be the model. Normally the people we force into that position of superiority end up feeling the rift tear open wide and have nothing to fill the emptiness that comes with trying to meet everyone else’s expectations.
I went to church today and if I am being perfunctorily honest, I feel so depressed right now I can barely walk. Even monitoring my breathing takes Herculean effort. I want to go home, lie down, take a sleeping pill, and I don’t care when I wake up.
The topic that came up today was perfection, which I have to say, for a perfectionist, was probably the worst topic that could have come up besides childbirth and marriage. People kept saying that selfishness of any kind was all evil “couples only have problems when one of them is being selfish” “God requires absolute and perfect obedience and if we don’t do it, we won’t get blessings.”
Let me tell you a story. When I was younger, my mom was severely mentally ill and my dad was too withdrawn to give me the love and affection I desperately needed. I honor my parents enough to insist that with the circumstances, they gave me all they could. But at the same time as an adult, I know now that a child requires so much more than what I had to be emotionally stable and feel safe.
From as young an age as I could remember, I felt responsible for the emotions of the people around me. I felt responsible to make my mom happy because she almost. never. was. It’s a heavy enough burden trying to find one’s own happiness but when it comes to trying to help someone with depression feel happy, it’s enough to crush your own heart. The voices in their head that call a depressed person worthless fat and ugly, they don’t go away just because your precious little girl reenacts a story from the bible for you, costume included. Or even when the little one crawls onto your lap and snuggles with you.
I have to be honest I feel like I’m dying. I am in agony. Nothing’s wrong externally except my leg injury being ornery, but inside I am dying. I am starving. I’ve been without connection for so long and I’ve been running into walls and I’m desperate and I have a friend I could call, a few actually, who would give me a hug and talk to me, but I’m hiding myself in the corner of a classroom building, typing this, because I can’t bring myself to be vulnerable.
Anyways people ask me why I left to go to Hawaii even though I was severely mentally and emotionally ill and my answers vary, but besides all the losses I experienced back in Arizona, I could not take care of my mom any more. She insists that she didn’t need me to but I cannot even begin to list all the small day to day sacrifices I made for my mom. I lied to her about quiz scores because my grades gave her anxiety. I would deal with bullying and gossip on my own in high school. I would try to get rides to practice because she hated picking me up, and in fact I ended up staying 2 hours after school got out just so mom wouldn’t have to drive me home and back. I wouldn’t beg her to come to track meets because I knew she wouldn’t want to drive all that way. I would skip my homework some nights to do chores because she hated the house being dirty and because it would upset my dad if it wasn’t done.
I would take out the bathroom garbage after my mom’s period because when she was anxious, many things slipped her mind. I would clean my sisters menstrual blood off the tile floor because she was too self-absorbed to care about helping around the house, and do it without telling mom. There were so many things I didn’t tell mom. About the nightmares. About how I was actually feeling. About my problems.
My anorexia, PTSD, and depression, they don’t need any extra help.
I realized that I could not fill the void of love and connection I felt at home and that my mom’s problems triggered and worsened my own. I left to get space to try to protect myself and handle my own problem.
Today, though. Before church I went for a walk to a place called Kahuaola, it’s a traditional Hawaiian kalo patch. I felt so peaceful. I felt answers come to my quiet ponderings. Finally I understood something. I’ve been strong and independent for most of my life, but now, the strength I need is to be vulnerable. I had a friend, KT. His full name is Kaha’owaioluokalaninamealohamauloa and he used to tell me it wasn’t weakness to cry, or want a hug and today I realized finally what he had been trying to teach me.
It’s thanks to him that I can tolerate any physical affection at all, and also thanks to him for my life, and many other things.
I tend to manage people. Same as my dad. I think about benefits, give and take, I make profiles in my head about what they like and don’t like. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I don’t connect. I do not let them attach to my affection. I’m too afraid of getting hurt. But that’s actually one reason I’m more vulnerable to sexual assault and violence than most is because touch paralyzes me and the only way to end that, is to be exposed to it. No amount of reading “The Sexual Healing Journey” is going to actually fix my connection issues.
It will be me. When I’m ready.
I’m depressed and I’m in a lot a lot a lot of pain, so I’ll leave it here for today, but I hope this helps someone. ❤