Enough Was Enough

by Samantha T
(United Kingdom)

This Was It.

The lights were blinding yet curiously reassuring. Strange really as she’d always been able to describe most significant events, especially the most awful ones, as vivid out of body experiences. Her mind’s defence mechanism perhaps? The inevitable question reared its ugly head - was this her last? Was this it?

Dear God, she was sick to death of thinking. Too many times recently, she’d been accused of overthinking. But what the hell did they know? She challenged any person to have walked in her shoes and not reach this point without submitting to even just a smidgen of self-analysis! A year ago, it was all she could do to remember what she’d done that week, managing – as she did - a life filled with a hundred and one jobs each day, trying to meet the needs of so many others around her. But since those fatal friend request acceptances last Autumn, her life had literally become a minefield of memories. The use of “fatal” seemed a tad dramatic, but they had certainly signalled the end of an era for her.

At first, the reminiscent conversations had flattered her, excited her, made her feel special. But once they had become intimate, the shame had crept in. Why had her attitude to life been so f**ked up back then? Only now, lying here, possibly breathing her last breath, did she truly understand. As a pre-school child who had been physically and emotionally abused by equally f**ked up parents, all she’d ever known was that it would always be just her against the world. But when the sexual abuse by others had started, those intense feelings of horror and disgust had bone chillingly manifested themselves into a mind-set of self-loathing she had never been able to shake off.

Looking back, she knew now that her life had been an understandable quest for acceptance and affection. Wasn’t every girl entitled to be someone’s princess once in their lives, whether as a child or a woman? But no. Back then, her self-preservational pride hadn’t allowed her to let anyone in. What was the point when all she’d ever been told was that she would never be good enough. Yes, she’d acted like a sl*t in her teenage years – any affection was better than nothing. Yes, she’d pushed good people away before they had the chance to hurt her. Yes, she’d drank to forget before finally ended up in the most physically abusive relationship possible with an older man – all before 18. She’d automatically assumed that by allowing such, it was her well-deserved physical punishment for all that she’d let happen before.

Oh Lord. That deep sleep was threatening to take hold. She took a deep breath. So what had been her salvation? Quite simply, the unconditional love of her first born. For someone who had received so very little love as a child herself, Mother Nature had thankfully kicked in and given her the strength to find a meaningful purpose in her life. Later, an established career and grown up sons to be so proud of had blocked everything else out, even her husband’s persistent adultery. It wasn’t until she taken herself to counselling to try and make sense of her past, did she finally realise she’d been suffering from PTS.

Counselling. Peculiarly perplexing. Talking had helped to rationalise her timeline of horrors and had served its purpose of allowing her to finally accept that she hadn’t been to blame. But how the hell did anyone grieve for a lost childhood? Hearing that week after week had certainly pissed her off. As did the look of pity in her counsellor’s eyes as her story unfolded. Always one to look for solutions, that haunting look had made her determined not to be a victim and show the world that any cycle of abuse could be broke; to prove that someone so deprived of love themselves, could genuinely care for others. Perhaps the challenge of justifying her own self-worth hadn’t totally disappeared but it had certainly pushed to use her experiences to turn this shit into a positive by nurturing the most vulnerable children in her community and sharing her trauma to help others come to terms with their own suffering. Sadness washed over her. If this was it - the end, who would continue her work?

For the first time, she allowed herself a sliver of self-pity. If this was it, her chance to be loved, just once, was gone. Tears threatened to spill through the sleep filling her eyes. Only recently had she had the opportunity to appreciate what love might actually feel like, even though it had been ironically unrequited – a ridiculous state for a woman of her age but as Lorca once said in Blood Wedding: “To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves”. F**k it! Nobody was putting this Baby in the corner anymore. If she did wake up, she would let herself fall in love again and shout it from the rooftops! Oh Hell! That poisonous shameful snake of self-hate started to slither into her mind again.

“Should I say it or keep my mouth shut? Shut.
Do you think of me the way I do you? No.
Will I give you my heart or is it too much? Too much.
I think about you before I sleep and after I wake. So?
I long to show you my affection but afraid you’ll run. Run.
I have fallen for you but know it will never be. Sorry.”

Holy Mary, Mother of God, blessed are those amongst women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Not sure one Hail Mary was enough to protect her but she was so tired now. Enough was enough. Thank God she’d set her affairs in order. She looked up to see the surgeon standing over her. Why on earth was she trusting a complete stranger? As her eyes closed, unable to fight the medication flowing through her veins any longer, her last thought was for her boys. For them, she had to come through this. When she woke up, as a new person with a new body, she promised herself she would make every future moment count. She would because she could. She would because she was good enough. She would because she was not to blame. Some day she would be loved for such. This was it. She deserved it.

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