Lonely Old Sun

Lonely Old Sun

 By Daniel Harrison

This ocean is far too deep for me, it is the mirrored pool within the centre of my being, and it is the hall of tears, of infinite sadness that has driven me so far away from home, down so many trails into the woods, the far off woods. Causing confusion, loss of self, loss of identity, loss of purpose, loss of soul, I do not like being here, I am afraid, so afraid and so lonely here, I am a lonely old sun crying tears into the ocean over my loss, this loss that I have been unable to face for so long, for so long I have run, run, and I still want to run from this, from my adopted family but always in front of me just like my childhood nightmare is the sawmill. I am stuck in between my adoption that I cannot undo and this pain.

All my life I have wanted to undo this pain at my heart, at my core, all my life I have wanted people to listen to what is inside me, this ocean, an ocean of pain, of tears, of fear, of anxiety, of sheer terror, of sadness, of heartbreaking, overwhelming sadness that I have been unable to rid myself of. All my life I have hidden this ocean, I have frozen this ocean, I have circled this ocean like a lonely old sun trying to figure out how to deal with it, how to journey homewards, how to find love, how to no longer ache inside, how to fit, where to fit, what to do, how to adjust, what to say, what to wear, how to belong, where do I belong, falling, always falling, always breaking down, always losing hope always running away from myself.

I am frightened of revealing too much, I am vulnerable, this is my wound at the centre, this is my wounded self, this is my beating heart, and this is the key to the door of my despair. I saw it as my fault that she left, my fault that she did not stay, my fault that I was wounded so painfully by her departure that I could not breathe properly, cyatic attacks, I have read my hospital notes. Ah yes the hospital notes, I have been running from the day I hit this earth, running as fast as I can from this wound at the level of my belly button but I can never let go of the umbilical cord that connects me to her so that I can live, stand on my own two feet. I built my life upon self-blame and self-hatred, I have gone out of my way to never reveal who I am because that would reveal the wound, that would reveal my secret ocean, the ocean of blood, the ocean of tears, the ocean of despair that I am so attached to, Blaming myself for her leaving is the only thing that got me through the darkest nights. Anger at myself, self-blame and loathing drove me ever onwards in my quest to fly from myself. I pulled myself back whenever I revealed too much, don’t be yourself, if they see you for who you really are they will reject you. Always the push you, pull me in between stuck place of the wound and trying live.

They don’t exactly give you a map to guide you through life when you are born, a map saying do this, do that and if an extreme emergency happens like the loss of your mother, of your entire family and then being placed with strangers who have daughters of their own this. No, it’s time to play Adoption Survivor, your mission if you can survive it is to get through those weeks in hospital and then adapt to a totally new family that does not look, sound or smell right and that may not have your best interests at heart. Do I have a choice? Wrong answer.

“How long are you going keep running from yourself Daniel?” Said my spiritual teacher, “When will you finally express yourself” said my writing mentor. Answer, not in a month of Sundays or Tuesdays or any day of the week for that matter. I mean being myself did not exactly end up making me King of the Prom did it, if being myself means losing everything that ever mattered to me at the very moment of my birth and then being placed with downright strangers who did not have my best interests at heart then one could say that being myself is not my strong suit. Being myself leaves me vulnerable, open to abandonment and abuse. But then again not being myself has led me to being vulnerable, open to abuse and has led to some very bad decisions on my behalf when it came to trusting people because as far as I was concerned I was trash, worth nothing because I had been thrown away by my family, by society, so if I was trash I was not to be trusted but everybody else could be because they had not been thrown away.

Okay, you got me, Mr Lonely Old Sun has got very low self-esteem and is very angry with himself and with his situation, my whole life has been driven by self-blame, self-loathing, self-hate, well if she gave me away there must be something very rotten with my core and as such I cannot afford to show anybody my true thoughts, feelings, indeed why even bother looking after myself, I am not worth it, it would not matter if I died. My low self-worth has of course created problems in my relationships with others, it has in effect turned me into a moving target, just like in villages where they have scapegoats, let’s go after the vulnerable, the weak, the lame, the hobbled. It has also led to my being an outsider looking in from the moment I was born. Think about it, I was wheeled away from my mother to a hospital ward, I became as soon as I arrived in the world the ultimate free floating individualist who was connected to no one, looking through the glass at all these people who appeared to be connected. Why wasn’t I connected? The search for connection has turned into a lifelong obsession but the patter of being alone and disconnected has remained. How can I truly connect with anyone when I have totally pulled the plug on any connection at all with myself?

Being who I am, connecting with myself to me meant rejection, connection meant death, meant a dive into that bottomless ocean of grief, of tears, of separation from the ancestral bone, from the ancestral womb, it would have meant connecting with a place that had been marked off from exploration by my adopted parents by society. No one even mentioned to me that this place existed; there was no discussion of its existence, of the existence of another life, of another family whatsoever. My brother ran around trying to burn his school down, driving people crazy in a bid to draw attention to this ocean, to what had happened. The reply was unequivocal, expulsion from Primary School at the age of five, to special school and expulsion, to Social Welfare and then he became a ward of the State, all this by the age of eight, he was a high achiever.

I knew also that something was wrong, in photos I look terribly sad, torn up, out there, inside I blamed myself, there is something wrong with me, that is why I do not know how to fit in, that is why I feel so isolated and so I kept looking for ways to overcome the gap, to leap into connection. My leap in the end came through overachievement. But you can, as I discovered, never achieve enough, never be good enough, never be A enough to make the pain go away. The ocean remains, it is always there, sinister, dark, waiting, just waiting for the fall, waiting for all the coping mechanisms to collapse into the sea, just waiting for the lonely old sun to falter in his endless search, in his endless quest for love, anything for love, anything for connection, anything to make the pain go away.

I of course fell for the unobtainable rejecting woman who threw me into the ocean, she represented to me all those years ago the middle class, acceptability in society, being straight, the straight and narrow road and I was willing to let go of everything in order to achieve this idyll. But history cannot be unsung, history cannot be broken, history, personal self-history will always come back to sing again its mournful tune, will always come back to haunt us. My history was one of leaving home at fifteen with a Chinese alarm clock in my bag. One last argument over access to food, I wet myself in fear, I had been banished to live in a caravan because they had built the new house with only room for their daughters. Things had been going downhill fast, he wanted me to leave school, achievement had been my only access to love and now he was threatening to take this from me although now I was not achieving I was surviving in a nightmare with shoes falling apart and all money that I earned taken. I was living the classic orphan nightmare, in one memorable argument I was accused in the summer sun by him of being the devil because I had gone into the kitchen and used the toasted sandwich maker. He believed that I wanted to burn the house down. If only I had. My sister sitting smugly in front of the TV inside the house while I once again was an outsider forced to labour on their newly bought lifestyle block for nothing.

My brother arrived home from Social Welfare, he was bigger now, I could no longer bend him to my will or beat him with impunity like I had when my adopted father told me to beat him up over breaking my pickup sticks. Once again he was goading us to fight. Hell had come in a hand basked. Sitting in a public toilet in the early days of puberty with a man trying to force his way in while strangers watched and did nothing, my father wondered why I did not tell him, tell him, and look to him for protection? The man who told me that he was going to force me to quit school and work in a piggery where I would die early from the fumes, look to them for protection, how they laughed as I raged at being forced to work n their land for nothing while their daughters did nothing. The mother who beat my hand with stitches in it because I had dared to go to a butcher’s shop where they knew people, and had slipped and cut my hand. People who took all the money that I earned to the disgust of my grandfather and told me that I should not work for the neighbours because I would embarrass them through my actions.

Suffice to say, my self-esteem had taken quite a battering at their hands as my adopted father did his best to flog of all the problems that his father had given him through multiple beatings and abuse, he did not of course wish to give these problems to his daughters, and it was duly noted in the adoption file that he did seem somewhat psychotic and unfit to raise children, indeed he seemed very angry but what the hell twin boys were hard to adopt. One could say that I had taken his beatings and repeated mantra that I was way too sensitive and that it was a mean old world to heart, indeed he gave me practical demonstrations of this truism.

So society told me that nothing was wrong with adoption and he told me that everything was wrong with my emotions. I did the only I could, I buried them and headed for the railway station in the dead of night telling my brother that he had to stay behind because I could only make it on my own.

Alone again, naturally and in the quiet of the railway station running scared (thanks Simon and Art Garfunkel) for writing a song about a key moment in my life (the boxer) I spoke to the guard on duty and he regaled me with childhood stories of running away and sleeping under trees. In the morning he put me on the train for free under the care of another guard. I went to my friends mothers house and there arranged a place to stay, a home for teenagers, nine months of bliss before the matron attacked me when we were drinking one night, she threw two heavy jars at my head, one connected, her elbow went through the window. I fled to the yacht where an older man who was to play a pivotal role in my life stayed.

The matron had told me, that he had been favouring me and that that was not fair, the head of the Anglican Mission had told me that I was manipulative and that there was nothing wrong with my situation at home. As for my adopted parents, well when I rang them from the Mission they told me that I had embarrassed them in front of the neighbors by running away,

The man that helped me sheltered me for some years, he was probably a latent homosexual, he liked to pat my bum as I walked up the hallway of the house that he found for us, by then my brother had arrived as well, his doing so made me feel deeply uncomfortable. So did my acting out brother whom I eventually got rid of by saying it’s him or me, he headed down South and really hit the drugs and alcohol which for years I blamed myself for and as a result felt guilty, when in fact it is my parents, biological and adopted who should have been taking the heat.

The dream of my birth family was that we would support each other, it never worked out that way, instead I did things like packing his bag when he was younger so that he could run away and I would win attention and maybe some affection. Staying in this house, however, eventually got me back to school and then University where once again I could ply the trade of being a highly successful A student.

But this success could never give me the love, the closeness, the relationships that I craved and so I threw it all away on the altar of a woman who would not love me back because my original experience of love was exactly that. History replayed itself the second time as farce. And on the altar of history my self-esteem plummeted through the floor, self-hate kicked in, I branded myself an unlovable failure who had thrown a dice, risked it all on love, on daring to be myself only to end up with a nasty, self-interested woman who would not love me in return and loved kicking myself esteem in the balls at every opportunity. Who confused me, dazed me, played with me and it became a narcotic for me, that led me out the door straight into the world of play acting again, given the fact that my University paradise had been destroyed, what else was there to do but ask her to marry me so that I could recreate a middle class dream of marriage and kids to shield and hide the hell that I had come from.

This of course meant lying to myself, something that I was well versed in, but even I could only lie so much, even I could only do so much to myself before the walls came tumbling down into the ocean at the heart of me that led me to the journey that I am on to this day.

Posted 19.12.2013 Within These Walls Facebook group