Growing up broken was a feeling I used to carry with me. I don’t recall the first time I ever felt like I wanted to die, but it was one with which I became all too familiar. I felt so different and lost, and as I watched those around me interact. Plus, I envied the fact that other kids seemed to laugh with ease.
Childhood felt like one long struggle to fit in. If I think about it hard enough, good memories do come to mind. However, for the most part, I felt caught up in a world of loneliness and despair. I remember trying to escape that world quite often by delving into another world of imagination.
For instance, when I was a child, we lived with my grandparents for a while. I remember the whole family gathering around to shuck oysters and eat watermelon. Right across the street from the house (which was just a dirt road) was a small wooded area. I spent hours in those woods, building forts out of pine needles, tree branches, and rocks. Those woods were an endless oasis for me. Using my imagination to build forts allowed me to escape the feeling of growing up broken.
Unfortunately, I don’t have very many vivid memories of playing with other kids. I also don’t remember playing with my brother and sister very much, either. Perhaps because for so much of my life, I felt like there was darkness following me, a deep sadness within. That sadness created a deep desire to feel loved and accepted.
Thankfully, I do know my mother loved me. However, I cannot pinpoint specific moments where I truly felt it until I became an adult.