The things that build us
(an open letter to my Best friend who asked about why I enjoy being a “little”)
Do you remember when we were young? My father was always the one who would watch us after class. Until one day he couldnt, and no one was allowed to come over any more. Not because he was a bad man, but because he was a good man. He had to get a job. My mother had been working for 5 years as our sole income provider, and she couldnt do it alone anymore. So they left me to look after myself during the afternoons. I was 9 and stripped of my primary caregiver. There were noises in that house, things that would bump and creak during daylight hours. I was surrounded by dense forest on one side, and ambivalent neighbours on the other. Frightened I often felt like I had nowhere to turn. When I could muster the ability to voice my concerns to my parents they would yell at me for having an over active imagination (as if I could somehow just turn it off).
No friends were allowed to come over to ease my tension (I’m still not sure why it wasnt like any of us were bad kids who would make bombs in the basement). I felt abandoned and angry. I hated my mother in that time, I blamed her. I blamed myself. If it werent for me, they wouldnt have to worry. If I didnt exist they wouldnt have this problem. Child Logic.
I know you remember the summer I turned 15, you always give me lilacs. First my maternal grandfather passed away on May 5th, but my paternal grandfather was also in the hospital. I thought that no god in the universe could rationalize taking away both of my grandfathers so close to one another. All the same I prayed. I prayed to every god, in every sky, I am certain I made a few up as well.
On June 6th 2000, eight days before my 15th birthday, my paternal grandfather passed away. The world came crashing in, like those riptides we used to get caught in down by Fox Point. I was drowning, everything rushed towards me and left me empty at the same time.
I remember sitting outside of the funeral parlour under a lilac tree. Neurotically pulling bushels of lilac cones off of the low hanging branches. I would crush their soft, cold, perfectly formed flowers into my hot cheeks. Against my tears strained eyelids, flowers bits and stale tears sitting ontop of my numb skin. And for the first time in four days, I finally inhaled. We buried him that day. I havent seen his grave since. It has been 13 years and I havent been to the grave of my male role model once.
I dont know if you know, but by this time I was already depressed (and into year 6 of anorexia). Im not sure what a 14yo has to be chronically depressed about but I was. The passing of both of my grandfathers, had my sinking even further into that pit.
Nine months later Ben found me. I was minimally functional. I was crying my way through most of my classes, the ones I attended anyways. The ones I didnt attend I spent sleeping off, on the stage behind the cafeteria. He had no clue what was wrong with me, but he was willing to put up with my hysterical non-sequiturs through crying fits (every manic depressive should be so lucky). Even then I knew my hurt stemmed from my father “leaving me” and my graddad’s passing. My father was hard on, the more he pushed me, the more I pushed back, the less we had in common, the more alienated I felt, the worse the depression became. Ben was one of the only people Ive ever told or trusted enough to talk to. I feel like if I ever actually find a life mate I am going to have to sit them down with Ben, and have him brief them on me.
However saying that my father is the root of my unhappiness is unfair. I accept that my psychological tendencies are mine. Although my father was hard on me, and loosing my granddad was shaking for me, no one could have known how those things combined would alter my psyche. I learned early on that while my parents were there to feed and clothe me, the only person who was going to take care of my emotions was me – so I had to shut myself off from the rest of the world. Being a Little is one of my releases because it allows me to build a trust with another person that I stopped having at a young age, that I think everyone should have. It is a simple kind of love and trust. My little is 9-12 (depending on how crappy the day was (9 on the crappiest day, 10-12 the rest of the time)). It isnt about becoming the child I was, but becoming the child I am right now. Parts of my heart never grew up, I think that is something that can be said about everyone, and I need someone to shelter them so I choose a Daddy (Pikachu, I choose you!). A Daddy not all of my partners gain that trust from me.
I cried typing this post. I also have a sinus infection and a chest cold. So you can imagine how horrific crying was. If you are a nasty troll who is going to tell me I have psychological issues, or that my partner & I are disgusting… could you just like… not. Maybe grow some empathy. If it was good enough for the Grinch, it is good enough for you too.