If you are reading this, before you go any further, I want to make sure you are aware of the intention I had in writing the journal entry. In now way am I trying to be Emo, navel-gaze, or inviting anyone to a pity party. This is merely something I've had on my mind off and on for quite some time and, as is my writerly nature, this is my attempt to do a purge in the only way I'm superficially capable. I am not looking for hugs, commiseration, or attention. The entry is simply what most of my other entries have always been on the Cliffs - one of many entries I've made over the years. That said, I'm cutting the rest of it out of courtesy to anyone who does not want to read further. No harm, no foul.
Even though I really did suck as a caregiver, because I do not carry that gene for maternal instinct, I did try my best with Aunt Tudi, most of the time. When she passed, it devastated me in many ways, but one way came as a surprise to me. I felt rudderless, that I existed unnecessarily. No one needed me. I had nothing of worth to give to the world anymore.
It's been one of the major issues in my life since August 2011. My efforts to keep Aunt Tudi as healthy as she could be for at least a fraction of time proved to be a laundry list of epic fails. I made no effort to conceal my exasperation or lack of patience. To this day, I can close my eyes and see the memory of her passing, her eyes half-lidded, glazed. Intellectually, I know she could not see anything but, in my heart, I see her staring at me in disappointment. The look says, "You could have done more. You should have engaged in more time with me, instead of keeping your nose in books and computers. I needed you and, often, you were not there."
Up until 25 August, 2011, my adult life had consisted of half-heartedly trying to live up to a standard that my genetics failed to comprehend, but honestly did not try that hard. After 25 August, 2011, I realised that I was no longer needed, for anything. I was a free agent who had lived in a situation that isolated me from current friends and prevented my making new ones. My only contact with the outside world was on the Internet, so I could be at home with Aunt Tudi in the way that she wanted.
But I wasn't there, not in spirit or mind. My body was present, but the real me was elsewhere, anywhere but at home. It was kind of a survival mechanism, self defense against a situation that had to be soul-sucking for anyone who never wanted to be a parent, but ended up having to take that role anyway, and with someone who was overly dependent.
When Aunt Tudi died, I realised that our relationship was primarily co-dependent. She needed me too much and, because her need isolated me, I grew to need being needed. Almost all of my physical friends had moved on long before Aunt Tudi passed. My carefully crafted Sith armour was gravely dented upon admitting to myself that I had become as dependent on being needed as much, if not more than, the one person in the world who ever needed me.
That added to the impact of the loss, and the pain was garnished with regret, guilt, and the exceedingly bleak conclusion that I was useless. I was a throwaway, an outcast, trudging down my own lonely path, away from the world, with no doubt in my heart that the world would never miss me or even realise I'd disappeared.
Over the past 3+ years, this feeling has only grown, when most everyone has said it should have diminished at least a little. I've watched others who have lost loved ones take steps to heal from the grief, who are brave and strong enough to embrace self-forgiveness, life change, and the promise of the cliché, "it gets better over time." For me, it has not gotten better. In many ways, it's gotten worse.
I can't lie and say I had not hoped, if only just a little, that the Mother Unit would need me in some way, even if it were for something most would find trivial. Instead, though, I'm pretty much nothing but a burden on her, which exacerbates my certainty that I am worthless in a world that carried on without me, when I was barricaded in the Duncan house with Aunt Tudi, and will continue.
Until recently, my only saving grace has been Smidgen and my friends - yes, all of you - that means you, too. Smidgen needs me, yes, but she's usually a very gregarious, laissez-faire kind of feline. I can't remove myself until I am certain she will be safe, healthy, and happy with her new human companion(s). I am not going to lie to try to boost my ego when it comes to my friends. I don't think I'm needed by anyone. I know my Tribe loves me, of that I have no doubt, but it wouldn't take any length of time for everyone to carry on without me, business as usual. Nevertheless, it was the presence of my friends that has stayed my hand on many occasions. My friends, my Tribe (ka-tet), in all their wacky, wonderful glory, have been my only comfort over the years. But that makes me feel guilty sometimes, because they have all given me so much, and I have nothing to offer in return.
I have no special skills for which anyone needs me. My writing can sometimes be skillful, but it's not something anyone really needs. I have a knack for making people laugh, but that's not a skill that would be categorised as needed. But there is one skill with which I was born - evangelism. I can remember as far back as the age of three, wanting to be a preacher. I would stand in front of the family with a Bible in my hand, and just testify up a storm. I was never encouraged to follow that dream, because of my gender. Around the age of four or so, I decided that maybe being a nun would allow me to bear witness, since girls couldn't be preachers. That was when I was informed I was not a Catholic, so that wouldn't work either. I think that, to a certain degree, my embracing Witchcraft was tied in with my desire to spread the word of peace and love, as well as working toward achieving status that would allow me to help others find their way to wisdom as they saw it, which would help me walk down my path by proxy - sort of like asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, so you can get some ideas on how to sort your own scattered life.
But you have to believe at least a little in order to ethically evangelise. When my faith crumbled in 2011, I could no longer share spiritual theories or ideas with others, because it would have been a lie and a betrayal. I even felt guilty for sharing what I considered to be a primrose path with others before I turned away from it myself. I don't even feel right giving advice.
To be honest, no one really needs an evangelist, even though one may convince you otherwise, using those big bad persuasion skillz, yo. Most of the time, though, people who evangelise about anything, not only religion, are insufferable nuisances, and who needs that?
So, as it stands, as long as Smidgen needs me, I'll be on the hunt for any skills at which I might excel, so I can help others, despite my misanthropy, and truly earn a place in this particular reality.