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.


  1. Hi! I just found your site through Faith's blog. I just wanted to say that this really resonates with me. I actually discussed in therapy this week how sad and bitter and angry I am that I was robbed of my childhood. Now I'm almost 25, I'm married, and I have a child of my own. Every day I wonder how I got to this point in my life when I haven't even experienced what it's like to be a carefree child myself! I know that ship has sailed and it's something that has to be grieved.

  2. Hi Broken Girl, I posted a response to your comment yesterday, but now I don't see it... I guess there's always room for my techie growth too!
    When I read that you could really relate to this post, I felt glad for the kinship and sad that it does indeed resonate with you. I'm sorry that you were robbed of your childhood too. So very sorry. I'm finally connecting the repressed anger at the ones who earned it and not at myself. I have been angry with me for so long, I almost know of no other way to be. What's worse is that the anger has sprung from out of nowhere at the unsuspecting whenever I was triggered. I believe that will continue to improve as I continue my healing work, but for now, I feel awful- just awful.
    Waking up to the truth is so painful that I'm beginning to understand why I blocked it in the first place, but I'm ready. I'm ready to know; to feel; to grieve and ultimately, to heal.
    I hope you'll keep coming back, keep on sharing and keep on keepin' on!

  3. Hi Faith,
    I identify so much with the feelings you post. Goodnes. It's kinda like we are twins. As you heal, I'll have hope for myself. I very much look forward to your next posting. Take Care!