When you grow up as an abused child you learn very early to keep up appearances.
In my family we had to pretend to be the Brady Bunch. He actually told us that. Dad could’ve just finished screaming and yelling at us, or hitting us with his belt but is soon as we were in public he put on his charm everyone loved him and we had to be the perfect family. My mom the Stepford wife, us girls the Stepford children. And so it was until my parents split.
And then after that dad blamed Mom, he was the victim, and appearances were kept up. When he owned his business and it was failing appearances kept up and no one knew until the doors were closed.
I know that’s why he’s fought his diabetes, his leg amputation, and his finger amputation. Appearances are everything, if it looks good on the outside if you’re charming and nobody will know the truth.
That’s why for years no one knew how bad my anxiety was. I kept up appearances. I ran homeschool co-op’s, my kids were in karate, played soccer, play basketball, did everything. I was Susie homemaker the house was clean dinner was very rarely something simple like mac & cheese I was keeping up appearances. What seemed like a controlling, hard ass was really someone trying to keep herself from falling apart and letting people see her for who she really was, someone broken.
When I had my breakdown it was a shock the people closest to me didn’t understand where it came from but I think it just my brain one day got overloaded I didn’t realize I was depressed because anxiety was suppressing it.
And even now I’m keeping up appearances, I am devastated no more than devastated by the text I received earlier from that family member. I haven’t wanted to hurt myself more in a very long time then I did today. But you know why I didn’t? Appearances. I see my hand doctor on Monday I wouldn’t want them to see the marks on my arms and with as hot as it’s been I’m going to want to wear shorts so I can’t mark up my legs. I thought about my feet but my physical therapist makes me take off my socks often so that’s out of the question too. I have been unable to find an outlet for this pain except feel it and I can handle it but I have to keep up appearances.
Earlier I went outside and helped my husband move his derelict car from the barn to under the barn. I was hot, sweaty and covered in chicken dust, I had to go pick up my son at church camp where he’s been for the past week so I had to shower and put on clean clothes because I had appearances to keep up. But I did one thing to remind myself that my insides do not match my outsides…
I left the house in a nice outfit, clean and smelling fresh- with mismatched socks. From now on that will be the sign of my mental state. I know it’s a fad with kids these days but for me it’s a sign that I’m not Carol Brady, and appearances are only skin deep, the battles are fought inside- and mine is raging.