Pull My Batteries
I remembered something today. And it was reality altering.
When I was maybe 5 or 6 I had asked my mother where I had come from. Seeing that I was too young in her opinion to learn about the birds and the bees, and also because she was frustrated with me for some unknowable-to-me reason; she opted to tell me that I came from where all babies come from. That my parents went down to the local pick ‘n pay supermarket and picked up a doll of the shelf at random. She told me that all parents had a pair of special batteries, one per person, and that they would put each of their batteries in the dolls back. And the doll comes to life.
Whenever she was frustrated with me she would tell me that she had had enough. That she was going to pull my batteries out and return and replace me at the supermarket. Because I was obviously defective. Broken. Damaged merchandise.
I don’t remember the instances. Or what I was doing. Or where we were. But I remember the feeling of change as I was made aware that there was something wrong with me. That I was different compared to other kids in my parent’s circle of friends. Broken. Damaged.
I remember the thought permeating my entire being. The obsessed thoughts hounding my every waking moment. Relentlessly attacking me with feelings of existential inadequacy and fear that my existence is going to end on a whim any time now.
This was the first time I was assaulted with this type of thing. I remember this because at the time I didn’t yet understand or know what it was. Whatever it was; it felt like it was part of my dysfunction.
It felt like I couldn’t tell anyone about it. Because if other people found out I was defective they would take me away. And I would cease to be.
That constant barrage of anxiety and self deprecating thinking eats away at a prepubescent young lad. It wore me down. Eventually evolving. Growing. Turning into this thing that I now today understand to be my mental illness.
But it got me thinking. Did this thing even exist before that event? Or was the seed of it planted into me. And out of innate fear and anxiety did I nurture it and allow it to grow into the thing that I know it as today? Or was I just blissfully unaware of my dysfunction before it was pointed out to me?
It is a safe bet that at the time she probably never considered that I would be lamenting about this 30 odd years later. Linking it with the beginnings of something that dominated my entire life and turned my existence into a fight to the death for control and balance.
If she were alive it probably wouldn’t even register with her as something that happened. A moment so insignificant for her that it might as well not have happened.
Which then in turn causes me to look back and think about anything that I said off the cuff that caused someone to fucking sit and obsess about it decades later. Discovering it to be the root cause of a cataclysmic series of events.
I am sure there is more than a handful of people that I have hurt with my words. Or my actions. Dozens I would say. At least 200 odd. I don’t know how they see it. From my corner of existence everything was a reaction. To survive. To make it through this thing and onto the next fucking thing.
I am not angry. Or sad. The fucking thought occurred to me while taking my morning shit today. It peaked my interest. As a thought. How one insignificant moment for one person translated into a lifetime of pain. For myself and the people I have hurt along the way. The unintentional casualties as I left nothing but ash and scorched earth in my wake.
It took me a long time to shake off the shackles of the label surrounding the word “broken”. I myself can say with all honesty that I am indeed broken. But not in the way that They meant it. It took me years. Decades. To unlearn all the fucked up shit they filled my head with. To find and carve out an identity for myself. Discover myself for myself. And not to take stock in the words of others so much. Not when it came to me.
That is the thing about an awakening of that type. You are awakening. Not awakened. It is an ongoing process. One that requires work.
The damage that others can do to you is extensive. If you allow it to be. Through pure ignorance I chose to hold onto grudges and anger for so long they became the only driving force in life as I had let every other motivation to live die out long ago. Pure fuel. Pure adrenaline. Pure intensity. All the time. It is exhausting. If you can. Avoid it.
I crossed more than my fair share of existential lines along the way. Most of which there is no coming back from. The price I paid was much higher than ever anticipated. But what I got out of all of that was priceless for me.
By the time I got to the point of having my world blow up for the fifth or sixth time that was the only way I was going to learn anything and pick myself up. The most powerful learning moments in my life. The moments that I am grateful for most. Are actually, existentially speaking, my worst and most horrific moments. The moments that hurt so much it changed me. Life teaches me the most when things go wrong.