I am a caregiver. I am opinionated, open, honest, loving, devoted and dedicated.
I was dedicated to a fault. I spent 20 some years dedicated to my family. I have taken care of my sisters, my parents and grandma. When I was taken care of everyone I was not taking care of myself. I was left with a shell of the person I used to be. My soul was crushed. I chose to take a year off; a year away. Some time to collect myself, pick myself back up and start taking care of me. When I took those first steps I felt like a new person. It was a wonderful feeling. I felt alive.
Since I have taken those steps away I rocked the boat. My family does not like to rock the boat no matter what. I had become an outsider. Outside looking in, I decided was not so bad. Soon the phone stopped ringing with cries of save me I've done something stupid again. Soon people realize I was not going to do what they asked. The phone went silent. Silence is freeing, silence gave me a chance to hear myself.
With the silence came resentment. Resentment from my family who do not understand they broke me. I was broke, hurt and felt alone. That phone only rang in the past when people wanted something never just talk to me. I was only wanted because they needed something from me. That hurts. Every time I needed someone no one was there. They would say I cannot help financially so I will not help at all. Sometimes all I needed was a hello, how are you. I got nothing. I was drained.
When I tried to come back, baby steps at first, they tried to suck me back in. Into the drama and back into my role as caregiver. I cannot take care of everyone anymore. It was not only draining me emotionally it was draining me financially. I work just as hard as the next person. I am not making Doctors money. I have to pay my bills too! I feel like a delicate ship being tossed around in the storm barely able to stay afloat with more people trying to climb on. Why does my family want to sink me? Why do I have to take care of people who are capable of taking care of themselves or that are not my responsibility, regardless of what it does to me? I do not want to go down because of my family's mistakes. I cannot carry everyone. I feel like screaming this at the top of my lungs—why don't they understand this?
The past has left me alone, with damaged relationships and a damaged life. I will not let this happen again. Again I walk away. I cannot take this anymore. I will not take this anymore. My life and my relationship means more to me, I mean more to me. My family may not like the decisions I have made but they are mine to make, mine to live with. I choose to live this way. I choose to love who I love, I choose to live on the outside of our family.
My family feels like a fire that is burning hot, so hot it can peel your skin with a single touch. I stepped too close to the fire once again and again I got burned.
I will heal from this burn but I will not heal the same as I was. It will leave a scar; one scar among many. Too many scars to count.