I was in third grade. Yes. You read that right.
It was a Saturday. In the afternoon. My mom had just spent the previous hour screaming at me, accusing me of taking her best jewelry and losing it. I spent the previous hour telling her I had not touched it and had no idea where it was.
Her and my dad left to go somewhere. I don’t remember where. My sister was outside playing with the neighbors across the street. I sat in the house sobbing. Tired of being yelled at. Tired of never feeling good enough…Loved…Wanted. Tired of being blamed for things that were not my fault. I was 9. I didn’t take her jewelry.
So I decided I was going to make her sorry. Sorry she blamed me. Sorry she yelled at me AGAIN. Sorry that she hadn’t loved me enough. So I went into the kitchen, took down the bottle of tylenol, and took about 5. Yup. 5 Tylenol. Chewable Tylenol because I didn’t know how to swallow a pill yet. Then I laid down on the couch, closed my eyes, and waited to die.
Of course, I soon realized, that 5 Jr. Tylenol were not going to kill me. And I understand that some may see this as a kid being stupid and attention seeking. I get it. However, to me, it was more than that. At that moment, I KNEW what I was trying to do. At age 9, I had already had enough of what life was offering me.
Now, keep in mind, I didn’t have what most would consider a rough childhood. I grew up in Suburban America, with two parents, a sibling, and a dog. We lived in a very average neighborhood with block parties, 4th of July Fireworks, and Christmas Carolers. I didn’t want for much. I was fortunate enough to have a nice home, a good education, and parents with enough money to provide almost everything I could have wanted as a child.
The only thing I lacked, in my mind, was the approval of my mother. The full, unconditional love that I so badly craved. I am not saying she didn’t love me, and that I didn’t love her. It just didn’t seem like “enough”. I always felt second best. Not good enough. Unworthy.
That day, as I lay on the couch waiting to die, I remember thinking that she would come home, drop to her knees next to my lifeless body, and proclaim how sorry she was. Scream to the world how much she loved me, and how wrong she was to blame me for something I didn’t do.
But, I woke up. And she came home. And miraculously remembered that she had put all her best jewelry in a box under her bathroom sink to hide it, as we had some burglaries in the neighborhood in the weeks prior. And, upon her discovery that SHE had hidden her jewelry, and that I had not touched it, I waited for her heartfelt apology. 31 years later…I am still waiting.