She pushes people away. She knows it. Sometimes, she feels herself doing it but, if history is any indication, there’s not much she can do to stop herself. She doesn’t know why, but she has some theories:
Dad. Funny little title that one. She got to use it for the first 11 years of her life. On the day that it started leaving a bitter taste in her mouth, she also found out that he wasn’t actually her father. No. There was a mystery man out there who left her even before she was born. On that day, life served her a double portion of daddy issues – the dad who left, the dad who was not her dad but who was leaving.
She didn’t realize it before but lying in bed that morning she thought, “There must be something wrong with me.” Think about it. All those movie dads who go out of their way to protect their little girls; protect them until the day they walk them down the aisle to a half-scared-out-of-his-pants groom and say, “you take care of my little girl.” All those movie dads that go batshit crazy when a boy even glimpses at their perfect angel. Those dads, they have perfect daughters. Daughters worth loving. Daughters worth protecting from the “bad” men out there. She clearly was none of those things. She was a bad apple.
Why else would he leave? Why else would he never once want to see or know her? Why else would he choose his other family over and over? Lie to her time and again? Fly into the country and never once think to meet her?
And if the man from whose loins she came didn’t love her, didn’t care for her, how could another man? How could another man claim that she was the stars, the moon, and the sun? If the man who was first supposed to love her didn’t, how could anyone else after him?
They had to be lying. They had to want something from her. They had to know that she craved this attention. Yes, that’s it. She must run away from them.
She didn’t want to be right about her, but she was. She slithered into their lives – the long-lost sister – and before long, she had wreaked havoc in her perfect little life. That was when her daddy who was not her daddy left. So how can she trust anyone? How can she be sure that they won’t stick a knife in her back the moment she turns it? People are inherently bad. Better to stay away from them.
Good Ol’ Fear
The fear that anyone she lets in will see beyond the bold, confident, stony, rude, headstrong exterior to the little girl cowering in a corner waiting for things to be “normal.” Ha! Normal. Another funny little word. Nothing was normal about half of her life; the things she felt, the thoughts she had, the experiences… What if people thought she was weird? She didn’t really care about that. She had made her peace with that.
It was the thought that someone could hurt that little girl again. Find her and hurt her. She was tucked away so far that even she forgot about her sometimes. That little girl that laughed without covering her mouth. That loved the body she was born in. That fit in and had friends and loved school and enjoyed being outside. That girl that believed in the goodness of others and who had all the scars to show for it. That girl who had wild, wild dreams of going to space, and falling in love, and seeing the Eiffel Tower, and dancing in the rain, and laughing and living like there was no tomorrow. That girl that was so broken now she could barely move. Surely letting someone access that girl would be dangerous. One more cut and she could bleed to death. No. Better to shut them out. Completely.
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another: unevenly…”Anais Nin
There. These were just her theories about why she pushed people away. But whether she thought she was unworthy or feared betrayal, she knew there was no solution to be found today. On this rainy Tuesday as she looked at the defeated look on Greg’s face, she knew she had done it again. Another one lost to the madness. She reached out to hold his hand and he pulled it away, tears of hurt in his eyes. She sighed and got up.
Well, better luck next time.