An odd word really, it conjures up a happy image perhaps when someone says they were left a legacy. The word legacy itself means a gift, or to have something passed down.
Yet, for an adult who suffered a form of child abuse, the legacy is far from happy. Often, at least I have found, the legacy I am left with is far worse than the experience itself.
Legacy, like a shadow I cannot lose.
I am sure I am not alone in this, that the gift that was passed to me, haunts me in my every days. Whether it is something as simple as smelling something, or seeing a story on the news that is triggering or a child walking past me that still has his innocent smile. There is always something.
I find because of this I pretty much alienate myself from everyone in every way possible. My family does not know the real me, they see smiles. I do everything; I function as I am meant to. As I said before, I have perfected the happy external image.
I don’t keep friends in my real life because I can’t talk and if I could, they would not understand. Maybe a day I am hugely triggered and I cannot do something that was planned, I have to cancel. I lost my high school friend this way, he got tired of me cancelling plans and perhaps the other way around I would have too. I am at university, but I do not make friends because I don’t fit. People talk to me of course, but I am more comfortable sitting with my head in a book and being lost in a fantasy world, than talking to real people. Yet sometimes I watch them from over my book, the way they are so free to laugh or be sad, to talk or cry. To do whatever it is that friends do. I wish in many ways I had that.
I think I do a good job of driving my online friends away too. I get quiet when I am not feeling good in my mind. Something’s I will say, but too often I feel like a burden, because these things in my head are stuck, but I don’t want to be that friend that people dread, because I never seem to be happy. Who really wants a friend that every time you speak to them, they make you feel depressed with their issues?
I had to go to the doctors this week, for a cough that I have had since October or November time, it got to the point that I can’t sleep, so I gave in and called. Doing that was hard in itself; I don’t like to go to the doctors. Not because I am afraid, but because it is so triggering, weekly my mother would drag me there with various ailments I was meant to have, all because she wanted to see the doctor herself.
According to her, I was ill so much because she was meant to be with the doctor as his wife and so fate, made me ill so that she might see him often and work on being in a relationship with him. She taught me that he was never interested in making me better, but more in entering into sexual relations with her.
This is what I think about when I need to go. When I am sat in the waiting room like, I did as a child and being made to tell her for the umpteenth time, that she looks good, and after, the grilling, I would receive. Did he look at her nicely, did he smile. Do I think he was happy to see her? And my answers dictated how the rest of my day would go. If I made her happy, I was fed, I could watch the television. My father wouldn’t beat me. So I sat in the doctors waiting room on Monday, probably looking like I was afraid to move.
Then there is the going into the doctor’s office itself, I hate to say how I feel, but I have to, and I have to remove my top so that he can listen to my chest. He put his hand on my shoulder, while he stood behind me and like any doctor, he listened to my breathing. My mind was going haywire because he had hold of shoulder and he was behind me, I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible, he said he wanted to try some antibiotics for a week, but perhaps they will have to x-ray. I sheepishly asked for the medication in solution form, because even more thanks to my mother, I cannot get myself to swallow tablets.
The doctor sighed and I know he wasn’t happy, he had that ‘tone’ like I’m being a pain and I couldn’t explain to him why I can’t take tablets, I just had to sit there and receive that look as if I was being difficult on purpose. He did what all doctors seem to do, he tells me, he’ll give me a solution, but because I won’t take tablets, I have to have this specific one that will probably make me vomit.
And there it is, a giant trigger for me, if anyone has read my books, medication that is likely to make me vomit is so huge for me. I took the prescription from him, thanked him for his time, but the prescription was in the trash can on my way out the door and I wondered why I just endured all that trauma.
I get home, and my children ask me what the doctor said, I just told them I have a cough and got medication and then I went to cook them dinner, they are content with my answer. Inside I am shattered from a simple trip to the doctors, that felt like retracing my steps through hell and there’s no one to tell.
The legacy of childhood.