I stood in the rain and the sun but I never saw the rainbow
It's All About Our Lipstick - Women Rule the Economy!

I have Cried A Million Tears Across a Million Miles

A million tears
by Yvonne DiVita from Master Book Builders

When I originally started this post, it was about the trials and tribulations in my life that I've overcome. I have cried a million tears. Across a million miles. 

I've walked a million miles, dragging my feet all the way.

And all during that time, I was bereft. I was lost. I couldn't see the sunlight over the trees. I couldn't even see the trees. I only saw shadows.

I could describe the terrible things I've endured. I could go into my abusive childhood. How I lived in fear of being noticed and kept to my one little lane of life for over 40 years. Always smiling and making folks think I was okay. When I wasn't. 

But those days are gone.

I'm not that person any longer. I have learned to step out of the shadows. To even step on the cracks. Or into the road. 

I have discovered that much of the pain I felt was self-inflicted. There was a way out, I just never took it. I was too afraid.

I can breathe now. I can walk with my head held high and take risks. I can be who I should have been all those years ago.

What does one do when one has lost 20 years of her life? Yes, I believe my mother stole 20 years of my life. I believe her abuse kept me in fear and anxiety and worry for more than 20 years. 

Was that her purpose? I don't know.  She was a practicing narcissist. I was her punching bag - though she wasn't physical so much as psychological. If the world did not revolve around her, then it was spinning off its axis, and she didn't care. Actually, then I was supposed to fix it.

20 years Lipsticking

The woman I am now.

The woman I am now is free of the chains her mother put around her. 

I didn't break free. Nothing so dramatic. I slowly allowed the chains to erode on their own. I slowly began to learn that life was not as bad as my mother told me it was. That I was not as bad as my mother told me I was.

"You'll never amount to anything," she would say almost daily. With a sneer on her face.

And then, an hour later, pull me into a hug and mutter, "I love you." But, of course, I knew she didn't love me so my ears were blocked to those mutterings.

I know now that she did love me. She just couldn't help herself from the harsh words, the sneers, the laughter at my expense. She reveled in them; I saw it in her eyes all the time. 

How I managed to at least get out of the house, away from the daily abuse, is no big deal. I went to college. A two-year affair. When I came back, I got a job and an apartment. 

Yes, the apartment was above my mother's little corner grocery store, but it was out of her house. I was sort of free. 

Freedom has its costs

My job introduced me to people who didn't know me. Didn't know my past. Weren't aware of the Cinderella life I'd led (which many, if not most of my high school friends knew well - "Why don't you run away?" they would ask. "Where would I go?" I would reply, shocked at the suggestion. Me, out in the big, wide, bad, scary world? Not ever!). 

I learned that I had value. That my thoughts were appreciated. I was appreciated. I learned that I could be someone. I learned that it wasn't easy, but I could step out into the world and not worry that people would point at me and laugh.

I also learned that there are not nice people in the big scary world out there. There are men who think nothing of taking advantage of a young woman they admire. Men who were superior to me in my workplaces. Men who harassed me and asked for favors I was not willing to give.

I met a lot of people who confused me. My mother hadn't prepared me for being in the world. She'd never allowed me to learn how to turn away advances I didn't want. She'd kept me prisoner in my home and taught me that I would never amount to anything, so don't even try. She said I should never have been born, and that stuck. 

"Why, Mom?" I would beseech, looking up but never speaking out loud. "Why should I never have been born?" Oh, that secret would come out much later. 

Out there, in the world, where I discovered nice people who liked me, yes, Sally Field, they liked me; I began to question everything my mother had ever said to me.

I moved on.

I married and had children. It didn't work out. How could it? He treated me worse than my mother did. It's what I expected, after all. 

The divorce was amicable, as divorces go. Well, after a trial in court where he tried to say I would get nothing. Not the house. Not alimony. Not child support. I didn't deserve it.

He, who, while we were separated, took another woman into his bed. Because he was entitled. Oh, I'd heard that enough times to make me vomit.

I did get alimony. Small, and only for a year, but something. I did get child support, enough to help support the children. And we got to stay in the house. But split the profits if and when it would be sold. 

I moved on. I tried to take care of my kids. I think I was 'gone' a lot. I mean, they were independent souls, so I didn't mother them as I now wish I had. 

No looking back, I tell myself now. Only looking forward.

All those millions of tears I cried into my pillow, over the many years I struggled just to survive, I haven't forgotten them. I look back, and I tell that girl, that young woman, that mother, that she did her best. "You had so little to work with, but look...look at what you've achieved," I tell her now.

And all those millions of miles I walked, sometimes for hours as a teenager. Just to be away from home. Barefoot, from one end of our big neighborhood to the other, and then through the side streets. My feet were strong. My soles could walk on rocks. 

All those millions of millions helped me stay alive. I thought as I walked. I told myself I would grow up and be a writer. Fantasy at the time. Sometimes, I cried. But I never wiped the tears away because I didn't want the people driving by to know I was crying. 

Not so now.

Now, I am a writer. And I help other people write.

My mother, rest her soul, is no longer with us. I have made my peace with her. She must have had her own demons to deal with. 

Today, the person I am now is a product of that dark upbringing. But she's not beholden to it. Not at all.

And this weekend, as we celebrate Mother's Day, I will look to the heavens and hope my mother is there looking down. And I will say, "I love you, Mom."


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