Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rip VanWinkle

One of the fairy tales I recall from my childhood is that of Rip VanWinkle.
Remember that one?
This young guy falls under a spell and sleeps away his entire life.
He wakes up years later only to find that he has become an old man;
complete with a long white beard. That’s what I recall most vividly.
Poor old Rip looking in a mirror with shock at the sight of that old face.
A boy inside an old man's body touching that long gnarly beard.

Call me Rip.
I’m in shock and I’m grieving.
I slept through most of my life too. I should be a teenager, but I’m not.
I look in the mirror and I feel shock and confusion too.
It’s not because of vanity that I can never remember my real age.
I have to consciously think of my husbands age, then subtract 4 years.
Even then I’m never really sure.
Dissociative identity disorder, (DID), saved my life and my sanity.
There is a price for survival. I missed almost everything.
What I have in my memory banks reads more like a scrapbook
or a youtube montage video. Highlights and snapshots, stories and fantasy.

I sat in my therapists office yesterday and it hit me. I’m about fourteen.
I don’t know too many fourteen year olds who want to be married
to a fifty-one year old man or who want the responsibility of parenting
teens and twenty-somethings. I’m overwhelmed and afraid.
I feel trapped and I’m angry. I feel ripped off.
I awoke to a face that isn’t mine and the body of a middle aged mother of three.
How did I get here?
Oh, sure, I can flip through the images in my memory banks
and I can see exactly how I got here, but I’m still confused.
I can see it, but it doesn’t feel real.