I’ve been depressed most of my life. I’ve been an outsider, a loner. It has never been easy for me to make friends, no matter where I have gone.
And somewhere along the way, I forgot how to smile.
I don’t smile very often. Sure, I put on a “brave face” for work, since I deal with the public. But inside I’m not smiling. I’m not happy. And I don’t know how to find happiness anymore.
Looking back over my life I see a lot of hardships. While my life hasn’t been as hard as some, it’s been plenty hard. This isn’t a competition and you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that because I am talking about how hard my life has been that I am dismissive of the hardship of others. That said, let’s move on.
Growing up in California in the 1970’s was an interesting time. I don’t remember too much about it, save that my parents spent an inordinate amount of time hurting each other, either with words or fists. Why, one time my father even held a screwdriver to my mother’s throat and told my brother and I if we cried or made any sound at all he’d kill her. FUN!
So, yeah, I’ve always lived in house with conflict. I learned from an early age not to show emotion, because that’s when the belt would come off and the yelling would start.
After my parents split (Surprise! I come from a broken home! Are you shocked yet?) both my parents started dating other people. My mother dated several men, only one was a decent sort. The rest were trash and treated her like crap.
Things didn’t improve when we got to Georgia. Mom did her best to provide for us and we were all reasonably happy, I suppose. We had food, clothes, a warm place to sleep, and we were relatively comfortable. We were redefining the poverty line, but, at the time, I didn’t have any concept of such things.
When mom remarried we entered another house full of conflict. The early years of mom’s second marriage were some of the most tumultuous of my life. I suddenly had three stepsisters and a stepbrother, none of whom wanted anything to do with me. They tolerated my brother, though. He was always the most personable of the two of us.
Living in the house then was like a microcosm of the United Nations: constantly dealing with geopolitical maneuvering to “win” against the “enemy”, that is, the parent who wasn’t your biological parent. In my case, my stepfather was the “enemy.”
(To be honest, he still is, I suppose, since he is insistent on being a living shitheal, but that’s beside the point. Or maybe that is the point. Who knows?)
I should probably go to therapy, but I can’t afford it.