It’s really hard to get through the days, and yet I also function. It’s weird. It’s almost like I’ve become a normal person and can box things up to some degree without it making me fidgety and forgetful. There are times, actually, when I know I’m feeling something really dreadful. I am in class teaching and I know I feel I don’t deserve to live in a very intense and yet the lesson goes on. I know. It’s sort of half-felt and things go on.

I don’t even really know what the pain is about. It seems to be a new piece of the memories, some bit I hadn’t quite grasped before. I think a lot about Grusha these days. Grusha, because I miss her. Grusha, because she organized us and did her best to keep us safe. Grusha, because she let Nata die. Grusha, because she was hard, but she loved us. Grusha, because she held me after and said I would understand later. But I don’t really what Grusha is reminding me of or if there is some other part of the story I need to tell myself.

I am glad at least I can go on with life despite the pain.

I had this odd thought today. I think it came to me as I was walking to class with my students, or maybe it was in class. It was about being an orphan, or about the sense of being orphaned at least. How it feels, if you have no real connections to anyone when you are a child, that you really don’t matter. You aren’t important. You aren’t important enough for anyone to care very much about. And I think I felt like that, very disconnected from others, alone, and also that I didn’t matter enough to have a proper family with a mother and a father that functioned like parents instead of as torturers.

I think the grief I feel now might have something to do with that. On the one hand, I had these parents who really did not care about me. On the other, there were all these other people who did. There are people who I think do now. I think C cares that much: she’s little. She doesn’t look after me. It’s not that kind of relationship. But I think she cares about me. Their care makes it clear that it wasn’t me.

I mean, it was possible to care about me. People did. So my parents’ total lack of concern for my welfare was about them. It was never about me.

I think we have this idea that children blame themselves because it’s easier to do that than to see the faults of their parents, but I don’t agree. It’s merely a different pain. It’s terribly painful to believe no one can love you. Children believe this because that’s what their parents believe. Parents who abuse their kids never believe there is anything wrong within themselves. Their bad behaviour is always the child’s fault, and they say this. Worthlessness is a part of the abuse. It’s not a thought constructed later. It is why the abuse is so painful. Fear of the pain or of bodily harm is only a piece of it. The bigger piece is the emotional pain of being worthless.

And, yet, as an adult gaining perspective on the whole thing, what you get to experience instead is the grief of accepting the total inadequacy of your parents, and the hole this leaves in your life. There are many great things in my life and many people who nurture me and have mentored me in the past, but I will never have parents. I won’t have the good parts of that or the bad parts. I had monsters. Now I have no one. That is just how it is. This is really how life is going to be for me. I am much more alone in the world than someone with a decent biological family.

When I can grieve though, I think it opens up the door to other relationships. I think it has. Not other relationships that might ever re-construct the family I don’t have, but something. Some connection. Some warmth. Some care.

I think before I began to really grieve these things, the doors were really shut on other supportive relationships. I had relationships that maybe could have been supportive, but the pain made it difficult to take full advantage of them.

Anyway, the bell will ring soon. It’s almost time for class.