We Live Damaged

There is no fixed – we live damaged.

Love does not conquer all – it just makes the damage worth tolerating.

There is no normal – no one is perfect.

Life is worth living for different reasons every day.

I love romance (partly) because I love tortured souls who get a happy ending. It’s a fantasy, but I love it just the same. You see, I come from a complicated family. My parents love each other, but the emotional abuse ran at a pretty high level in my childhood. Hello, co-dependency! Considering my roots, I don’t know how I managed to marry a well-adjusted and nurturing man.

My husband claims to have done good work with me, but we both know I’m cracked. We’ve been married for twelve years, together for longer than that, and although I’ve scored that happy ending (he’s fucking PERFECT!), occasionally I have to fight against my instincts.

When we fight, I want to take the car keys and walk out the door. He won’t let me. I want to clam up. He won’t let me do that either. My next instinct is to strike a killing verbal blow, one that will end the argument, perhaps our marriage. I don’t do it.

Thank God.

Admittedly, I’ve never been in therapy, so (for some) there may be a fixed. However, I think most of us live with a level of damage. We strive for fixed, for perfect, for skinny, for money… when what we really want is happy.

Fiction is fantasy. I write stories where two damaged people begin to find their fixed with each other. I like my lovers tied up with a neat little bow at the end, but I also like a looser knot, a more realistic union. I’ve read one book this year that did that kind of ending really well – The Lovers by Eden Bradley. Angst, hot f/f, m/f, AND m/f/f sex and an ending I like to ponder. It’s a brave book.

I believe happy is inside us and with a few mental adjustments, we could just have it. What is keeping me from my happy? My to-do list, varicose veins, not enough sleep, not enough protein, migraines, deadlines, bills to pay… (Holy shit, none of that is going to go away.)

Damage is different for everyone – every different damaged day. Damage is the new normal. So… (if any of you thought I could resist, you were wrong) what’s your damage? And do you think happiness can be achieved with a mental adjustment?

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21 comments

  1. Emotional abuse was in my family too. Actually, still is somewhat and I had to cut off talking to my dad. I too found a great guy 23 years ago, and it’s taken a long time for me to not apologize continuously, clam up or walk away, so I know how you feel. Confrontation is still unbelievably hard for me with anyone outside my husband and kids:(

    I think happiness can be achieved with the right person to support you, and by learning to take time to breathe, to figure out what relaxes you when stuff gets overwhelming. For me it’s gardening and writing.

  2. Thought provoking…

    I often stop and remind myself that being happy is a state of mind. I need to consciously choose to be happy because all the stuff that can weigh us down is always going to be there.

  3. “I love romance (partly) because I love tortured souls who get a happy ending.”

    This perfectly describes why I love reading about people with Issues (capital intentional).

    1. I love Issues. Big, meaty, angsty Issues! I’m learning to torture my characters more, but my love of Issues is in direct conflict with my personal desire to avoid conflict, lol.

  4. I would have to agree. I was damaged when I met my wonderful husband and he made me see the light. Well, he and his family did. I love my mother dearly but we didn’t have the typical mother/daughter relationship when I was growing up. Let’s just say that I accused her of wanting a Barbie doll and what she got was a daughter that thought for herself and was herself. Not a clone. I was critized until the day I got married and I finally grew a backbone and told her to finally back off. Its taken me years to get my self worth back from all the damage that she did. And with the love of my husband, I’m getting there. Again, make no mistake, I do love my mom and we get along better now then we ever did when I was growing up but yes, I’m damaged.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing Miranda!

    1. Thank YOU for sharing. I love my in-laws too. I just called my mother in law to tell her she’s a genius, in fact. I wanted to make a burlesque-style skirt to wear to a party at RWA11 and she (very nicely) told me to go buy something. No time for sewing in this life right now!

  5. I can certainly relate. I had a decent childhood and great parents, but my biological mom took off when I was 3…I was raised by my dad and step mom, who was a blessing in my life. There’s so much I’m striving for in my life right now and there are days when it feels like none of it will ever come together. Like today…..not having a great day here. So much going on that is completely out of my control..and I hate that.

    1. Ah, control. I am a woman of many mottos. When I come up with a new one, I print it out and slap it up on the wall. This week’s motto is “Channel excitement, not anxiety,” but the last motto to hit the wall was “You can control the product.”
      As writers, we can’t control the timetable. We can’t control the reviews. We can’t control our sales. But we can control the books we put out there, and that’s what I try to stay focused on. Writing the next good book. I’m sorry your day is sucking, but today is temporary πŸ™‚ In the words of the immortal Alexander, “Some days are like that – even in Australia.” Tomorrow will be different!

  6. Wow! I loved this post-so honest! And that you mentioned my book, The Lovers. I especially love that you said it’s a ‘brave book’-gave me chills to hear it talked about that way. This is what a writer lives for-to know we’ve touched someone in some way. Thank you!
    Eden/Eve πŸ™‚

    1. Wow! When I saw your comment, I wanted to Tweet “Eden Bradley just commented on my blog,” lol. But I’m cooler than that – not! It is my pleasure to recommend The Lovers – thanks for dropping by!

  7. Very lovely post, Miranda–I do love stories that handle realistically the idea of healing, and how that can be a vital result of a loving relationship. And you’re right–I think just about everyone is walking around with something “wrong”… if we’re fortunate, we have a chance to heal and to be with someone who will accommodate and be considerate of our damage.

    1. Thanks, Fedora. I love what you said about healing being a vital result of a loving relationship. That is definitely true in my life, although it seems to be taking a lifetime! πŸ™‚

      1. It’s a good thing that the best relationships DO last that lifetime then πŸ™‚ (Whether they are a romantic sort or the friend sort–I’m thankful for both DH and for those friends-of-the-heart who I know are there for me through thick and thin :))

  8. Loved your post! I was damaged by my mom. I suffered a lot of physical and emotional abuse growing up. Luckily, I had seen an old neighbor years later who put it into perspective for me and that was the day I started to deal with my damage. It is a daily struggle, but having my own daughter also has helped me to work on it, because I don’t want to pass any bad habits or issues on to her.

    And I LOVE books with damaged heros/heroines!! Maybe because I can usually relate in some way. I will definiteyl check this one out!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your tough childhood. It shapes us. I’m glad you have a daughter to nurture and help with your “damage.” I have daughters who help me too!

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