Twelve

Life with DID is difficult

Life Without Hurt

I haven’t written much lately.

I’ve been stuck between two worlds. Sometimes, I am 29 year-old, adult me. Other times, I am 12 year-old, child me.

This has been going on for a couple of weeks now, but more in the last week or so. It is confusing because I know that I am a grownup, but I don’t feel like one.

While I know that I am free from harm now, my 12 year-old self is still frozen in time and constantly in fear that mother is coming.

As a result, I am in an ongoing battle in my head between what I know and how I feel. I know mother isn’t coming, but I feel unsafe. I’m on high alert, just waiting for her to come through the door. I panicked in school the other night because I was scared she was going to find me. I’ve been…

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To My Best Friend on the Right

Art by Rob Goldstein
I am an artist because you said I am.

We met over 40 years ago when I was still in my teens.

You are my oldest friend and the friend I love most.

You invited me into your family.

You ushered me into adulthood.

You cared for me when I was at my worst; when doctors dismissed
me as malingering; you knew my pain was real.

Over the years we grew and changed but we never lost each other
and I never lost my love for our friendship.

When I tested that friendship with my addiction you went silent
but you didn’t go away.

You forgave me when I was ready to admit that I was ashamed, and
wrong and sorry.

I didn’t lose you but over the years we changed and spoke less often and
slowly drifted apart until we met again on Facebook.

And now I am baffled.

How do I reconcile the friend who was a civil rights activist with the friend
who believes that our first Black President is a terrorist despite the evidence
it isn’t true?

How do I reconcile the child advocate with the person who thinks that unfettered
access to all guns is more important than the safety and psychological well
being of school children?

How do I reconcile the person who thought that Nixon was a crook with the
person who supports a Congress that follows the dictates of even worse
crooks?

How do I understand the disciplined mind who thinks that a democrat is too crooked to be president simply because a well-known and obvious right-wing smear machine says she is.

I suspect that many intelligent and honorable people believe as you do and I suspect that they are frightened too.

Age returns us to a powerlessness that we are powerless to stop.

Each year brings us closer to an inevitable and uncertain end.

The question is not when but how.

Will we end as we began?

Will we again be at the mercy of the brutally strong?

Will semi-automatic weapons and the racist bluster of Donald
Trump give us safety as we enter our decline?

Are you as frightened as I am?

Then let me tell you these things:

I live because you helped me.

I love because you loved me.

I write because you called me writer.

I make art because you called me artist.

I live my dream because you showed me dreams are real.

You pulled a boy out of the housing projects of Charleston and he slowly became a man who understands honor and humility and the value of friendship and family.

It took years of fear and failure but I stand here an artist because you had faith in that little piece of poor white trash from the projects.

And you didn’t need guns.

And you didn’t need smear campaigns.

And you didn’t need the distracting babble of cynical ideologues who prey on fear.

All you needed was your heart.

You are my oldest friend and the friend I love most.

I share this water with you.

It’s the water you gave me.

Rob Goldstein 2016

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