Something I've repressed for a long time came to the surface this weekend. Everyone has their issues and I don't believe in bringing people down by delving into some of the darker parts of my past. However, I've known the dilettantes for so many years now that I trusted I could share this particular baggage, and that maybe by sharing, I could begin to heal.
Feeling very vulnerable, I told them all how for three years when I was a teenager, I was forced to sleep on a cot. That's right. A cot.
My parents bought a beautiful home in Virginia Beach when I was in ninth grade. It was a ranch house with four bedrooms -- three on the main level and one on the opposite end of the house over the garage -- it was the only room on the second floor. This room was huge and had its own full bath en suite. Had I been my parents, I would have made this room the master bedroom -- it was much larger than the master and set apart from everything else. However, they decided that my (one year older) sister should have this. And bought her a new king-sized bed to go in it. (They also cried when she went off to kindergarten AND college; AND finished her baby book. Not that anyone's keeping track.)
I was relegated to a small room on the main level -- right across from my parents and right next to the same-sized guest room. A guest room that had two twin beds in it. Even though we had company about once a year, we had a fully outfitted guest room with two beds in it.
It was at that point that my parents ran out of either energy or resources, because they stuck a cot that used to be in my grandmother's attic in my room. It was supposedly temporary, but somehow I ended up sleeping on that cot for THREE years until my sister went to college and I finally moved up to her old room.
Sure, I tried to mask the pain by saying things like, "it's past my cot time" and joking about how my mother required me to "make my cot" before I went to school in the morning. But keeping up the charade got harder and harder. I'd start to dread Christmas every year, with the inevitable telling of "A Night Before Christmas" and pretending that I knew how it felt to be "nestled all snug in my bed" like all the other kids.
It was very therapeutic, talking about this and not having to live with my awful secret anymore. The dilettantes were extremely supportive. And by that, I mean they laughed in my face.