I used to write all of the time.
I never claimed to be good at it. People started telling me I was good. And I liked the way it felt, hearing that. So I would show them more. I needed to hear that I was good at something. I was sad all of the time. Lonely, really. Lonely and alone. Even now, with so many friends, I still feel alone most of the time. I’m not one of those people looking for tragedy. I just feel like something is wrong even when it isn’t. And when something is, in fact, wrong, little parts of me explode over and over. They must regrow at a slow rate because I haven’t disappeared yet. I’m losing myself, so I know it’s not a fair exchange, but there is some fair amount of rejuvenation going on. I don’t know how much time I have left before the math stops working in my favor. But I’m still here. I’m still able to hold a smile up to the wind and claim victory.
Most people think I’m slightly off, but happy nonetheless. And I think that’s a different formula for the same outcome. I wander around looking for people to join forces with. I don’t want to feel alone, but then alone is really the only time I feel safe, understood. It’s just something I have to work out for myself. I just turned 40 years old not too long ago and I’m still having teenage dilemmas. I don’t think I’ll ever have it figured out. Maybe this sadness is what keeps me young. I could think of it that way and say I found my silver lining. My therapist would enjoy that. Until she moved on to why it was me being negative. There’s always some side I haven’t discovered. It’s never that easy.
So several months ago I decided to start this blog and this really is the first time I am writing on it. I just posted about an hour ago. It was a rant about a current event. And I felt like it wasn’t fair that I came here and did that, so I am writing this as a real introduction. I figure I could explain the purpose of the blog, seeing how this is like my 5th attempt at such an endeavor. The name, Reclaiming Tecla, comes from both my middle name and my grandmother’s name. She’s going to be turning 90 in May and she’s pretty much lost her mind. I was raised to adore her. Actually, I was raised to worship her. And I did. We all did in my family. And she kind of deserved it. She was devoted to us too. You couldn’t ask for a better grandmother when I was a little kid. But she was also power hungry and she ran our family like a dictator. It was in a loving way, but she really screwed us all up one way or the other. I’ll get into it, I suppose, over the course of my writing. I just don’t have the energy for it right now.
Let’s just say, she loved us all and took care of everything. But we were not allowed to have our own opinions. She could cut us down with a look or word and we all clawed at each other to gain her favor. Right now, she prefers to sit in our family home all alone and talk to the voices in her head than to actually visit with any of us. The doctors say it isn’t any problems most people deal with associated with aging or anything psychological. It’s just her coping with loneliness. But she is truly out there. And I’m not judging. I suffer from mental illness and have my demons. But I’ve been diagnosed, medicated and hospitalize multiple times. I’m even on disability because of it. But when she does it, it’s not a weakness or illness. Even her doctors are afraid of her. Mind boggling.
Anyway, I have a relationship with her that is very special. I still adore her, but I am afraid of her. I don’t visit with her anymore because she triggers a lot of my own mental issues. I’ve taken care of both my mother and father as they got sick and died as well as a partner. It’s not that I can’t care for someone I love. She just scares the shit out of me. So I leave her to her sons. I just don’t have it in me. But what I can do is this. I can write. I can keep this part of her alive. After all, we are both Teclas. No one else in my family knows what it’s like to be a Tecla, to hear voices, to have the burden of being left alone with such demons. So I am reclaiming the glory. I am setting the record straight. I am here to bear witness.
I might not be able to do much in my broken down state. My mind is warped, my body is falling apart. But I remember. I remember her stories, I remember the truth of how that house really worked and how they all kept secrets to make it hum. I remember how they only gave her what they thought she wanted so that the facade could be strong in the face of her judgement. And how, because it was all lies, it left her alone when she needed them most. Alone to create a world of formless voices who visit her behind closed bathroom doors and in the middle of the night. And now, with vision failing and knees weak, she creeps around what used to be her castle hoping she might see in the shadows a glimpse of what used to be. But that warm, loving, family home is now a hell we all try to avoid. And it is so very sad. It’s the kind of sick, sad that grows up around you like ivy and chokes the life out of you.
And I’m never going to let them turn their backs on the lies they told. She may be in her own world now, hiding from the pain of what they left her with, but I’ll be damned if they are going to skate away on the thin ice of a new day.
I am reclaiming Tecla for the both of us.