We get taught at a young age one of two things. It’s okay to cry. To feel. To express our pain and fears in a healthy, natural, shameless way. That sometimes we need to let everything out, to find our way back to where we were before it all went wrong. And crying, that’s just a symptom of being human. It’s OKAY. Or, we get told that it’s not. That it is not okay to expose yourself to vulnerability, or demonstrate weakness. That you should be tough and take whatever it is life throws at you, and since that’s going to be a lot, you might as well go ahead and get use to it now. But don’t you dare cry about it. Two scenarios. Two completely different routes that will in fact define a person forever. I’m a firm believer in expressing emotion and truth over the alternative, and so should everybody else. But, many if not most don’t. We live in a cold world, where compassion is perceived as a weakness and being heartless is glorified. When in reality, it’s precisely the opposite. I never thought much of how much I cared before. About my family, my friends, complete strangers… it was just a given. Even when I went through my first break up and was completely heartbroken, or lost one of my oldest friends to a horrible accident, it never occurred to me to shut it off: my humanity. And I always say it as more of a movie concept than something people actually do, which is blocking out how they feel. But it’s real, and apparently I’m not a majority. What I assumed was hearts similar to mine, only a little misguided, are a lot more screwed up than that. Not everybody lives with the strive to be better, or to even be a good person. I always thought that deep down people were actually good at heart, and that anything bad they’ve done or continue to do isn’t really them. Just a version of who they are, a version that hurts less. People put up walls and burn bridges and do whatever it is they think they have to do to avoid the inevitable. And that is, if you’re human… if you have a beating heart with blood running through your veins, you are going to be victim to pain at some point in your life. Some levels of pain higher than others, and there will always be something in your life that destroys you. Usually, it’s what you love most. People do what they can to avoid this mathematically certainty. They fight it. They kick and scream and run as fast as they can to get away from anything that could force them to be apart of this tragic life. And that’s the ultimate tragedy. If you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. But if you have something to lose, someone you care about, it’s almost too paralyzing to imagine what we’ll do once it’s gone. I cried to my capacity tonight. I’m sure I had more in me but right now, it felt like enough. It’s funny, how we fight it. The tears, the agonizing pain. We either push it aside fiercely, or if you’re more like me, you can’t help but watch yourself drown in it. I come up for air, sure. But that’s only because I continue to swim. I continuing moving my arms, kicking my legs, and push to stay above water while I continue searching for land. After years of this, I’ve grown really tired. But I would rather be exhausted than say I ever copped out of how I feel or who I am. I don’t run, and I wish less people would do the same. I think if they did they would find more happiness. I emptied my tears, and I feel slightly rejuvenated. At the same time, I suspect the pain will creep up on me again when I least expect it. And I hope when it does it doesn’t destroy me. Then again, I was told once before that “it wouldn’t be love if it didn’t.” We have to allow some things to destroy us. We have to allow ourselves to fall apart and lose ourselves for a bit to truly discover who we really are and find our way to something better. I believe that. Even in all the darkness I believe that. I have to.
Alexithymia, it means difficulty describing emotions to others. It can also mean having difficulty feeling emotions at all. Well, I for one certainly have no problem with the latter, regrettably at times. But the first definition however, I identify all too well with. Most words are never ‘big’ enough for me, powerful enough. I could be saying everything I needed to, with every word being interpreted the way I intended, and I wouldn’t even know it because I’m always too busy beating myself up over the lack of clarity I’ve convinced myself that I’m providing. I need everything to sound as eloquent and brilliant as it does in my mind, where diction and vocabulary aren’t pressures. My thoughts run smoothly inside of me, but once they overflow outside the body, I hardly recognize them. They are never perfect, at least, not as they initially appeared to be. But I do believe a lot of the problem is my obsession with perfection. It’s one of the main reasons I never get anything done, and why I’m unable to find peace in anything I create. More often than not I always feel like I can do better. That I can word what I’m trying to say in such a way that it will without a doubt touch someone who needed to hear those exact words in the exact way that I composed them. I need for my words to mean something, instead of just collecting dust in my closet or sitting in a ‘drafts’ folder on my computer.
I’m saying all this because I think I finally found a notable comparison to how he makes me feel. I’ve tried time and time again to describe the feeling that comes with the pain of not being able to have someone beside you when you need them, or feeling completely helpless to get them to even answer you. There’s a silent and lonely desperation in reaching out to someone who only ignores you in return. I never feel in control when it comes to him, he simply does what he pleases. It’s very similar to being trapped in a prison cell. One that he passes by occasionally only to make sure that I’m still there, that I haven’t escaped. The cell’s bars allow me to see everything I can’t touch or control, so I observe. And I obsess. I’ve done this for nearly five years now. I’ve cried more times because of it than I have about anything else that has happened in my life. Dead relatives, dead friend, losing my home, never ending domestic issues… the list goes on, and the numbers simply don’t compare. I’ve been locked in a cell. But more recently that cell has begun to feel more and more like a casket. The walls are closing in, and there is very little room to breathe. There may even be some soil coming in through an unidentified hole filling in the empty spaces little by little. I say this because regardless of which metaphor you care to use or what language you prefer to say it in, the fact remains: I am trapped. I am in a dark and tightly enclosed box screaming at the top of my lungs and he hardly even flinches. He turns a blind eye to my suffering, just as he always has. And I’ve grown immune to many aspects of this pain. But once you’re being deprived of oxygen to the extent that you’re growing more and more afraid… immunity is no longer a relative term. I’m being buried alive. And in all honestly, I’m starting to get too tired to scream or fight anymore. The desperation and claustrophobia continues to worsen my anxiety and gives me more reason to self medicate, which I do. I sleep as much as a I can to remain elsewhere, and I numb myself when need be. I do what I have to do to not lose myself, to give up, or break down entirely. I’m buried alive… and I can hear him up above unknowingly shoveling the dirt.