The hurt. The pain. The darkness. It drags you to its depths, to the never ending abyss. Drowning in sorrow. In broken dreams. In the life that never was. When you think you’ve buried the pain for good it comes back. Strong and merciless. To show you it will always be there. Lingering in the dark corners of your mind. Waiting for the perfect moment to come out and crush you once again.
Then the pain lets go. And goes to its corner. You get back up. Move on like nothing ever happened. You know it’s there. You can feel it staring at you. Looking at every step you make. You know it’s coming back. You are one thought away from the dark. And next time it might not let you go.
This is a story of conformism. A story of not standing up for yourself, for your own beliefs and desires. Story of fear and shame. Story of anger and regret. My story. The life I never lived.
I will not start at the very beginning as I do not remember it. They say your earliest memories start to form around 3 years old. I am pretty sure this all started before that. When did I realise I was different? It seems now that I have always known. I had little to no interest in what other kids were doing. I spent most of my childhood in my own imaginary worlds, in stories of love and adventure.
I did my best to not get into trouble. I had to be well behaved, the best in school in order to get some kind of kindness/attention/affection from my parents. I tried to be the best in order to be noticed. It almost worked. They would brag about my school grades to strangers but not hug me for it. I wanted to be hugged so badly. But it happened so rarely that when it did I would freeze.
My parents never told me they loved me. My mother cried when I packed my bags and left so she probably loved me. But the word ‘love’ was absent from their vocabulary. Thus it was absent from mine. I felt awkward and uneasy trying to say it to the people I thought I loved. I am not sure if I know how to love. Not receiving love leaves you incapable to recognise and to show love. This had ruined practically every relationship I have ever had. This ruined my relationship with me. Growing up feeling you’re not loved makes it impossible to love yourself.
So I created a fake “me”. I started an act. I was acting in front of everyone. Giving them the version of me I thought they’d like best. Desperately wanting to be liked and accepted. I ended up with so many versions of myself that somewhere along the way I lost the real me.
I no longer knew what music I liked. What was my favourite food. What my hopes and dreams were. What I aspired to become. I would change and fit the answers to those questions based on the audience. The worst part? Even when I was alone I was trying to keep up with the act. Reshaping my life to fit with what would please the audience.
Somewhere along the way came the darkness. I don’t know when was the first time she appeared but I do have childhood memories of her. Maybe she was there with me all along.
She would talk to me when I was alone. When I had no one to act for.
“Why do you keep trying?” she would say.
“No one ever loved you. No one ever will.”
“Give up already…”
And so on.
I would agree with her. I would curl up on the floor sobbing and thinking of the easiest way to end it all. To end her. To end me.
Then when I had no more tears left she’d leave. I never did what she was asking of me. I was too afraid of what the audience would think if I did. Too afraid this would reveal the real me. Too ashamed of what they might find out. So I kept going.
What would it have been like to have had the confidence to be me? What would it have been like to have felt support and unconditional love? What would it have been like to live my life?
Is it too late?