Why did it take so long for me to realize, my collapse, my stuttering, my moments of dear in the headlights was a fear response, primal, instinctual, frozen in the moment brought on by the yelling, by the cues that told me you were reaching anger? I’m angry. So angry that after the fear fades, that I was there, back there, again and worse, I am being blamed for it, for being human, for being me, for having instinctual responses, for failing to control it. I’m angry that when I reach out once the fear faded I’m met with failure and disgust. And three words repeated suck the life out of me. ‘I don’t care.’ Three damaging, damning words I grew up with constantly…when I was desperate to be loved, desperate to have worth in someone’s eyes even if those eyes were those of my abuser.
With open hands, I return and all I receive each time is ‘I don’t care’ and I collapse. If you don’t care, why should I? If you don’t care, why should I continue on, with you, with that relationship? The wind’s been blown out of my sails. I’ve run aground. You don’t care. It’s the only truth I can hold on too. You don’t care even when I do. You don’t care because it’s always been my problem. You don’t care. That’s all I know. It’s the only truth I know. You don’t care. And I stayed, working on myself, suffering the silences, begging, praying and worshipping a shrine of love that never materialized. Not from you. You don’t care. I sure as fuck do.
I care that my needs were ignored. I care that I settled for less than I deserved. Oh, did I settle! A lifetime, I wanted a lifetime. It was a part-time job (what relationship?) on my knees singing your praises. Each one of them honest and heartfelt but it means nothing because ‘You don’t care.’ I wanted so much that I allowed myself to settle for far less. I am unable to say I was blinded by your light. I know you, what and who you are. I wanted you, all of you, the good the bad, the flaws and foibles. But you don’t care and that’s the most important part to all of this. I’ve heard it said by lesser men like my father. I’ve heard it said in disgust. I’ve heard it and now I know the truth of it after all.
I care. Always have and now it is my turn to care about me and to make sure my most important people care about me as well. ‘Cause if they can utter those three words to me, about me, about us, then they have zero place in my future. Because I care!