Punk, my greatest apologies. I am going out of turn. Breaking our rules. I’m sitting in our clubhouse alone. I’m sobbing. You said I could hide here. I’ve retreated. To our place, our establishment… the place where we can write whatever is weighing heavy on our hearts and the hurricanes in our heads, seeping through my eyes. I want to write and bleed. I want to tell you why I have no fears. Why I don’t care. This is the place you created and here I am.
I never cared about the views, or the grandstanding. I’ve cared only about the words, the sentences, and connecting my thoughts onto a screen.
Maybe all I’ll ever have is this screen.
When Misfits Cry
I’m sitting on my bed. It’s not really my bed. My husband claims it at night and I’m vagrant in my home, sleeping on a love-seat, on a couch. Sometimes, I get to sleep in my son’s bed and it feels like the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had. I don’t want to leave the soft mattress and my legs stretch from one side of the bed plum near the other side. I never thought a full size bed could be heaven, but it sure feels like a cloud to rest my weary body on.
Almost every day I come home and there is another lie. Another secret. I’m supposed to submit. I’m supposed to allow my husband to finally become a man. That’s how we’ll save our marriage. Women have done it all for him. I proposed. I picked out the ring. I planned the wedding. I fought to be married before God, in a church. It was a favor granted by a good friend.
I begged for love. I begged a man to touch me. To want to lay with me. I pleaded. I changed. I tried to become every person I thought he might love.
One night, after a good fussin’ and hollerin’ match, he told me he’d have me killed. His best friend would kill me. They would never find my body. His friend knew ways and knew the places to get rid of my remains.
Even then I wasn’t scared. Death doesn’t scare me. Never did.
Well that friend came to our house on this particular evening. I waited patiently for all the people to shuffle out of the room. They went out onto the porch to smoke their cigarettes. I asked the friend, “He says you’d kill me? Is it true?”
Sincerity streamed off his lips, “No, Rachel. I’d never hurt you. Why would he tell you that?”
I don’t know. It’s been almost a decade since I sat across asking a man if he’d kill me. I don’t have any rational answers. Wisdom didn’t come with the years. Maybe there is no wisdom to be had in recounting such a story.
But, I believed him. All those things he once told me I couldn’t be, all the words he told me I would be… I believed. It boils down to one simple solution:
I let a man define me. I let him punch my validation ticket. I didn’t have love from a man. And I sought it out under any circumstances. I’m a damn fool.
The threats are still piling up: The lawyers taking my child away. Full custody. He’ll seek full custody. I won’t have anywhere to live. How will I be able to afford food? He’s got a pit-bull for a lawyer, and she’s waiting to tear me to shreds.
He’ll asked if I am scared.
“I’ve been beaten and raped. You don’t scare me,” I growl back at him.
I’m not scared. Maybe I am scared.
You know what scares me?
What if I never meet one man who wants to love me? What if I never know the love I’ve freely given, and hoped to have returned back?
Glorious Saturday mornings with sheets blanketing the sky and falling over naked bodies. A man loves me. He just loves me. He doesn’t make me beg. He wants to touch me. He thinks I’m beautiful in the early morning light with no makeup. He pushes the hair away from my eyes. No words. We sit there soul searching, gazing into each other’s windows.
There is my only fear.
I’ll never be loved. I’ll never be cherished for exactly the way God made me. God doesn’t make mistakes. He made me. I hope he made someone, just one person, who can love me.
This last 15 years, I don’t think it has ever been love. Breaks my fucking heart to admit those words. Love doesn’t hurt, it shouldn’t hurt. It doesn’t talk shit about you. It doesn’t make you the laughing stock at every Friday night poker game. It doesn’t threaten to take your child. It doesn’t leave you without a bed. It doesn’t deny you sex and passion and love-making.
Love is kind.
So they’ll say. I’ve never seen a drop of kindness in any love I known.
I’m screaming as only a Misfit can on this bed. Tears and mascara streaming dark stains down my cheeks. And I’m scared. But not of him. Not of any man. I’m scared of never being really loved. I don’t fear loneliness. It’s been the only home I’ve ever known.
When a Misfit cries, I hope people listen.
Misfit or not, I deserve better.
Rachel E. Bledsoe is a writer and an Appalachian Misfit Mama. She enjoys swimming, long walks on the beach, and Marie Antoinette biographies. She is the sole voice and writer behind The Misfits of a Mountain Mama. You can visit her on Facebook or on Twitter @MisfitMtMama.