I’ve been crying. A lot more than I used to. Twice a week, maybe five.
I’ve been crying because I don’t know how to process the experiences I endured as the year ended and a new year began.
I was looking forward to it. A new year. I always do. It’s as stupid as a change in the date but it feels new. It feels like it’s the first page of a new book. Fresh, crisp and giddy.
Flashback to November 2022, I was sitting in the living room, laughing at him. He cracked another joke that only I would find as funny. I paused and stared, “Is this the happiest we’ve been? Feels like we’re going through our best phase, aren’t we?” Because we were. We had never been closer. We had never been happier. We had never been more content. Maybe I jinxed it.
December 2022 introduced people to my life that I believed in my heart were nice and good. I’m not that person. I have always believed people are bad and selfish. I would often tell my sister, as long as you believe people are not nice by default, when someone shows you their true colors, you’re never shocked. It’s expected. But then if someone turns out to be good, you are genuinely surprised and happy. Much rather be surprised positively than negatively. I should’ve listened to my own words.
I believed the people were good. That they were here because they cared. That they were joining us to experience the abundance of love and joy that our lives had to give. Especially after the November we had had, I knew they could not ignore the insanely positive atmosphere that our house held. Despite my husband and I being sick in turns for the better part of last year. We had found our happy place. We were content and in love. Everybody saw it. They would too right?
I was wrong.
Ours was a whirlwind romance. On week two, when we decided to get married, I told him “I’ve been lucky. People always treat me differently. I am liked and loved by those around me and I don’t know how to not have that. I don’t know how to function in a world where people don’t like me. If you’re not comfortable with something, please come to me. Don’t just dislike me from a corner. I can’t take it.”
Perhaps dislike would’ve been a better energy than the one that came off of our visitors.
I discovered early that the people staying with us were not here with good intentions. But I tried to convince myself that wasn’t true. Because family cannot be harsh, can they? Family loves each other. They’re honest and straightforward. They don’t talk in the third person to share hatred or criticise. Do they?
Turns out they do. Turns out that family could do more. Turns out, family can pretend, be deceitful, and hurt. Turns out, family can destroy your soul while playing on your trust.
Turns out, families are no different from human beings around the world. And I didn’t take the advice I dished out so willingly. Human beings by default are mostly bad and selfish. Surprise yourself with the good, not the bad.
I surprised myself with the bad. And then they got worse. My mental health crashed and they ridiculed me for it and the worst was an understatement because what is worse than worst? I’d describe the end of my year and the beginning of a new one as that.
My life hasn’t been easy. It’s taken a lot of fighting and resilience and just the ability to claw my way out of really low points. But it all paled in comparison. Trauma became a word I had to acknowledge. How do you explain trauma as a result of a fight with family?
But trauma it is. It continues to grow. Every day. The bad people are gone but the broken pieces remain. My heart races at things I enjoy doing. But not with joy. With scattered comments that were hateful and harsh. My weeks are filled with small doses of panic attacks. Combined with a sense of humiliation for my stupidity. For believing people were nice. For trusting someone beyond my intuition. For giving someone the benefit of the doubt when I knew something wasn’t right.
I am ashamed for going against my gut feeling. For having real conversations that I shouldn’t have had with someone that would use it against me. For allowing all this to continue to torment me. But there’s no way out.
So I cry. It was everyday. It’s now every other day. I hope it slows down but I don’t know how it can. The things I would do to distract, the things I would do to switch this energy that somehow surrounds me every minute of every day have been tainted with words they shouldn’t have said.
Everything I touch feels like a reminder of a bully. The trauma remains, unwavering.
The world talks a lot about trauma and anxiety. There are different means to fix it. Google can give you ten pages full of solutions. I know what fixes me when I’m down. But nobody tells you what to do when the things you love are triggers now. What do I do when my mental health getting worse is a trigger in itself because it reminds me of the mockery of my anxiety?
I know I shouldn’t give their words the power. But it has gone past my control. I loathe the things I loved and find it impossible to laugh at his jokes like I used to. I’m left wondering if maybe I’m not good enough for that laughter. For that joke. For him.
Perhaps not all is lost though. It’s the first time I’ve written in a while. My words come from pain – the kind that’s wrapped around me like a safety blanket, leaving me feeling anything but safe.
My own family listen to me cry every day and continue to offer their shoulder each time. My cousins expressed rage at what they believed was unfair and unacceptable behavior from people who didn’t know me at all. My friends formed a circle around me, allowing me to fall back on them, reassuring me every time I fell that I am not who I was being described to be. That my emotions were not invalid. That my mental health was not “a sign of low emotional intelligence.”
My husband tries everyday to hold my hand and walk me out of this terrible spiral they’ve pushed me into.
In finding the bad, I realized the good around me. The people that made me forget that human beings aren’t all bad are reminding me of it again.
I’m trying to absorb it. Trying to do the things that have been tainted. It’s not working yet but I hope it does. I hope I’ll wake up one morning and do the thing I love and it won’t remind me of harsh words. It won’t send my heart racing. It won’t break me down.
I’ll wake up one morning and it’ll be better than November was. Than November could have ever been.
I’ve been crying. A lot more than I used to. With anxiety, with hurt, with pain. One day I won’t. One day I’ll heal. I’ll wear my scars as a memory of the battle I got through.
One day. Until then…