I stayed in bed until 7:30pm yesterday. I wasn’t any more unwell than usual (although I was unwell), I just didn’t want to face the world, and so I slept most of my day away, interspersing my escapes from reality with waking moments during which I watched YouTube videos until I lost the will to reality again. The events of the previous day had got to me. I felt guilty about the fact that I existed, about the wedge that my health and I had driven into our family and the clear dislike directed towards me by certain members of the household I grew up in. To put it simply – I wallowed. I messaged WR Uni Friend, and she said we all need days like that sometimes, and chatted away with me until we both concluded that I needed to leave the room before I slipped so far onto the downward spiral that I was beyond the point of no return. HK Uni Friend was one step ahead of us both there, and had invited me to wander to Hoxton with her later that night to collect a blender she had ordered.
So I found myself walking around sketchy areas of a dodgy estate in Hoxton late at night with HK Uni Friend. Imagine Dragons played in my ears, and I was too numb to feel any sort of apprehension about where we were. And then my music stopped playing and the familiar sound of my ringtone sounded in its place. The caller ID told me it was my mother, and I answered, too switched off to figure that I could feel any worse.
She said I sounded unhappy. I told her that I was. She asked me why… And I couldn’t even. I let the silence answer for me, and eventually told her that all I did was screw up and I couldn’t do anything right. She told me that wasn’t the case. It feels like the case, and it felt like the case, and she just kept asking why – the why was because of that family… my family, the people who raised me and taught me to hate every fibre of my being all at the same time. At that moment, it was because of her behaviour the day before.
I told her about the day before; in her mind the fact that she’d apologised made everything ok – the fact that I’d acted civil but so clearly not been happy indicated to her that I was fine. She seemed confused that I hadn’t outwardly shown my feelings, I’d just been normal me in her eyes. I wear that face so often that it is normal to her. I spent so long hiding the emotional pain and the shame of being me that to her that is just what normal me looks like. I told her that I did that all the time, wore a mask, acted ok because she got angry when I made an atmosphere or didn’t look happy. I told her I hadn’t been happy at “home” and she insisted that I had, smothering my reality with either simple cluelessness or denial. And that opened a whole can of worms. Because I don’t feel adequate. In that house I feel like less than dirt. I am belittled and criticised and ignored by a certain person and never anything else. And it all came out. I let it all out. And I walked through Shoreditch (with HK friend walking on ahead of me) eventually just crying as I talked, and pausing to listen to the long and painful silence on the other end. I felt bad. With every speechless silence guilt roared within me and I would apologise and say see?! I can’t even say sorry right! I made clear that it wasn’t a dig at any of them, that I was sorry I couldn’t be the person they wanted me to be and that no matter how hard I tried I was never enough. I told her how much I tried. She told me that the previous day she’d been worn down by me. I told her I’d been worn down by years of not being good enough, of being treated differently, being treated like less, being made to feel like an outsider and shouted at for every tiny thing by a certain member of our household. And I cried as I talked about those feelings. I didn’t give examples. I just said the same thing over and over until it sunk in, until she finally let it hit home. While she was listening, I let it all out – that I was done with trying to fit in that family, that I was done with trying for any sort of relationship with the man that I call dad because he even looks at me like I’m filth. And I just cried until I almost couldn’t talk. I walked along forcing out words, telling her things she’s heard before but never listened to. Telling her that she never listened, determined that she would this time.
I didn’t want to make it a criticism of anyone. It was a criticism of myself, I was so broken down that I agreed with them, I felt like the utter dick they make me out to be and I hated myself as much as I feel hated by a man I once idolised. I didn’t give examples. I didn’t mention specific incidents and especially not the ones she knows nothing about. My heart has been broken by a family member that she loves a lot, and I don’t need to change her view of him. It would be selfish to. She told me again that I was asking her to choose. I told her it was very, very simple. I wasn’t asking her to choose, I had made a choice and chosen for her. I was done. I said it wasn’t immature, it was necessary for me to carry on, for me not to have a breakdown and for me to stay whole. I spoke about how the attitudes directed towards me in that hose made me feel like I didn’t deserve to live, how to continue living I’d had to stop caring about what someone thought of me so that his behaviour couldn’t hurt me any more, how I know that now it might make me look offish but that I didn’t regret it and wouldn’t apologise for making no further efforts to have a relationship. When somebody has hurt you so much and injected years of poison and that look into your mind, how do you come anywhere close to holding them dearly in your heart? I told her I couldn’t go back to that house, for the sake of my soul, and when I tried to explain why I just broke down and ended up walking with my hands on my head saying, I can’t… I just can’t go there… I can’t… I can’t ever go back there again as my mind just fell apart and I surprised myself at my inability to say anything but that seven or eight times… In the middle of Shoreditch… Out in the open. I was too distraught to care. I had carried these feelings since I was a child.
“I’m sorry for everything
Oh, everything I’ve done
Am I out of touch?
Am I out of my place?
When I keep saying that I’m looking for an empty space
Oh, I’m wishing you’re here
But I’m wishing you’re gone
I can’t have you and I’m only gonna do you wrong
Oh, I’m going to mess this up
Oh, this is just my luck
Over and over and over again
I’m sorry for everything
Oh, everything I’ve done
From the second that I was born it seems I had a loaded gun
And then I shot, shot, shot a hole through everything I loved
Oh, I shot, shot, shot a hole through every single thing that I loved
Am I out of luck?
Am I waiting to break?
When I keep saying that I’m looking for a way to escape
Oh, I’m wishing I had what I’d taken for granted
I can’t help you when I’m only gonna do you wrong”
Imagine Dragons, Shots
There was so much that needed to be said. She needed to know. At first she started trying to argue back at me, and eventually as I stood outside the 24 hour Beigel shop in Brick Lane with HK Uni Friend, she told me she didn’t know how to make it better, that it wasn’t all on my shoulders (hallelujah!). But it feels like it is. I feel like the knife in their backs, the spanner in the works. I have been made to feel like it is all me for so long and for so many reasons that I could see no other view. I submitted, I held my hands up, and I just apologised. I wanted to make it better. I told her he didn’t even need to say anything any more – my mind generated the self hatred spontaneously now. And I remember crying and saying I thought I’d got away from that feeling, I thought it was away. I thought I was away from it. and her behaviour towards me reminded me how awful I am. She didn’t want to hear it, a couple of times she told me what I was saying wasn’t fair as her own denial prevented her from admitting reality, but I didn’t want an argument.
I then cried at her because they have my dog, and I really really want to see him but I genuinely just cannot be near that house or my “family” at the moment. Especially narcissist nephew or “Dad” because… Yeah.
After the phone call I bought a smoked salmon bagel and an apple puff pastry (actually, HK Uni Friend paid) and we walked to Old Street, London stretched out before us and around us. I didn’t talk much, just listened to music at first before my brain could human again. Usually when I get upset my mum brushes it off, she tells me I’m being ridiculous or she doesn’t want to hear it or that it isn’t the right time when I try to tell her what is going on and how I feel. This time there was no need for anything that was going on. All that was left were the emotional scars that she had re-opened and dragged to the surface.
It’s weird that the only people anywhere near close to hating (or even disliking me) are my parents. And it hurts. I look for family everywhere but in my household. I know I will never find or feel part of one there. That hurts too because all I want is to belong or to feel part of something. I feel so lost. I guess I just let go now, I cut off the dead wood in order to try and grow from this.
My mum sounded pissed off when she hung up, but she messaged me apologising for upsetting me. She apologised for the whole situation, and I pointed out that it was nobody’s fault (I mean, it is, but we won’t mention the aggressive elephant in the room 40 miles away). She told me she is off work today is I want to talk or whatever. I don’t. There’s nothing between me and them, I put a wall up in their presence and I get a defensive guard, I can’t relax, I’m on edge, waiting for whatever I did wrong now. Because I always screw up. Always. I am already dreading Christmas because I have to be with a certain member of our household.
I carried on, because why wouldn’t I? When I got back at midnight I sat up making notes for today’s lectures. I hardly slept, and was up, showered and making more lecture notes before my alarm even went off this morning. I sat through lectures, made notes in between, and calmed my friend who has a slightly botched tattoo and thought she had sepsis or at least a staph infection (as someone who has had sepsis multiple times I assured her that she didn’t have sepsis as there’s no way she’d have been able to lift her head off the pillow let alone go to lectures, plus there was not temperature). Healthy people amuse me with their melodrama around health. On group chats people freak out and tell each other to go to hospital when they have a simple cold. I think they just like drama. To shut up the whole situation I told her to feel my pulse, which at that point was very weak and far from regular. She was a little alarmed, but eventually settled.
I saw a student with a very young golden labrador (not quite fully grown) wearing a service dog vest on my way to my last lecture, which was like rubbing salt in a wound. On the subject of health stuff, I just got a very worried message from HK Uni Friend who saw two ambulances parked outside the front of our uni, automatically assumed they were for me (especially in light of my state today) and F R E A K E D O U T. It’s kind of nice to have been thought of. Also highly amusing.
I FaceTimed my little brother for a couple of hours last night. He’s the only person in that house that I want to talk to. He was sat with Narcissist Nephew playing video games, but my conversation was for once preferable to a games console, and he just sat and talked with me for ages. It was so nice. He was concerned about me going to Hoxton late at night, which was super cute. He was wearing some of the new clothes he bought when we went shopping and showed me his outfit because he’s so happy with his new clothes (bless him). He asked me to call him again today when he gets in from school… So I’m going to go do that. Sorry for whatever this was. Yeah.
I’m free now. I finally have room to grow into whoever I am. When I can stop hating myself (which I had, until my family struck again).
“Don’t throw stones at me
Don’t tell anybody
Trouble finds me
All the noise of this
Has made me lose my belief”
“I know it’s gotta go like this, I know
Hell will always come before you grow
Trouble found me, trouble found me
I’m going back to my roots
Another day, another door
Another high, another low
Rock bottom, rock bottom, rock bottom”
Imagine Dragons, Roots
No way but through.
I’m free now, I feel. It hurts so much that I have to be alone and away to try to be happy when I all I long for is to surround myself in family, but I think it needs to be done. All the cards are on the table now, ready to be blown away by the wind. And then we can all go our separate ways.
I also feel it isn’t as simple as that…