I’m glad my Mami is bipolar,
she’s taught me how to fight,
fighting through eternity,
one day at a time.
Things. Take. Time. (r.i.p. LB)
Nostalgia: I met her in a movie theater somewhere in coral gables under the half-moon sky and with tears pouring down my eyes.
I saw her again in the lies of a lover, the deceit in our love; its eternal manifestation.
I let her stream through my ears via the words of great artists that I can’t call or text, even e-mail if it was still a transactionless mode of conversation.
I had coffee with her in a make-a-wish version of a Parisian cafe as we bonded over existentialism and emotional ruptures birthed generations before mine.
When I came face to face with her, all I could ask myself was why she was withholding tears from her eyes when the truth we came to know deep within poured out into realness.
When I’d seen her before, all I wanted to do was get lost in her, ask her the questions I couldn’t answer about my past, present, and future, and let myself seep in the emptiness of answers.
But this time, this time I felt her far away from my feelings and tribulations.
Have I forgotten? Am I this numb to it all? Did I really give up my consent to move on when she knocked on my doors and closed my windows?
When she questioned herself in front of me in regard to her morality and looked for a bite I could not produce, all I could do is question mine for thinking about the fact that I have not thought or felt this much distance between my thoughts and her aforementioned facts before this reunion.
How could I forget to remember, to feel the same pains that grew inside me even if just for a few hours, months, a year? A mirage of what life could’ve been with the liar, the ghost, the fool, and the null.
I love them all the same, but differently now. Even when I’m sitting here, having coffee with the same nostalgia that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
I wish I could just see it, hear it, feel how much they flinch when they hear my name, remember my soul, pay homage to my body.
All the possessions I always owned but was willing to grow in tandem with theirs.
Yet here I am, still alone, forgiving her for leaving me again.
Mostly identified as unspoken, silence, in my opinion, is the most emphatic of languages.
Silence has been my coping mechanism for a lot of 2018 as the most challenging times arose and then simmered as time passed.
Silence is like binary code, it’s an action-led motion, emotion, and emphatic feeling. It’s tap into the psyche and an escape out of the noise. Silence digests and feeds, it troubleshoots and rewires.
As I began this year, I began hopefull and filled with life. I came back to Miami with nothing but good intentions and lessons learned to reinforce and fortify with habits. I was so ready to take on the world, as I saw it, feeling invincible after surviving the reinsertion of my childhood trauma and failing to speak to my father, in simple terms, for closure sake.
However, I made the mistake of latching onto too much too fast and too strong. I fell in love deeply for the first time. I fell for someone who began to love the idea of burying their misery beneath my admiration but when confronted with my affection ran away faster than I could open and close my eyes one last time.
See, the thing about growing up in an abusive household under both physical and emotional abuse is that the thing you grow up fearing the most in life is abandonment; even when it comes from your abuser. And that exact feeling, under centuries of dependent and exhaustive relationships, triggers deep depressive states filled with loneliness and unquenchable sadness. And thankfully, gladfully, and obviously, this exact feeling overcame me this year, especially in the Spring while I attempted to fight my demons to not lose everything I had worked so hard to achieve for the past 5 years; graduation.
I was confronted with learning how to put myself aside to make room for someone else’s love, affection, but also all of their bad habits and manipulative tendencies. I did this gladly and patiently but I also began fighting for them (us) too. Just like I learned to do when I was little; like I learned to scream to be heard over men and boys of my family and friends, like I learned to defend my mom from the wretched attacks that my father aimed at her spirit. I began to use one of my coping mechanisms to project love for others the way that I was taught to love and what love was; what it meant.
I have lived in silence from a lot of things this year because honestly, it all took me by surprise. I had no reaction and I’ve had nothing to say about my life and what I’ve suffered because I’ve had no energy to fight back for myself – I drained it all fighting for the wrong people at the wrong time and under the wrong circumstances.
This year I had to fight myself for change, for growth, for shutting doors that were mistakenly wide open. So that’s what I’ve been doing, fighting internally to live and wanting to keep living because sadly, the first alternatives that roll into my mind when attempting to fight against low defenses are to turn to very depressive and suicidal thoughts for reassurance and familiarity. Yet, as my beautiful soul sister and friend put it briefly and gracefully today; Khalas.
Khalas for now, to the redirecting and distracting away from distress.
It’s all come down like a hurricane this year, leading me to regretfully be unable to write one word down onto this canvas for months, and almost all of this year.
Writing about abuse is at the root of my understanding of my mental health issues and coping mechanisms. Yet, at the very core, digesting trauma almost always turns abrasive and relinquishing as I use my memory as my blindfold. Most things I can no longer remember until I write, see, dream, hear, paint, speak, and cry.
And that is what this season has been, a systematic binary driven silence. And that is how I am. That is how I’m doing. I’m suffering in silence like my daddy taught me because I’m still working on quitting my attachment to dependency on abuse to cope too. As I often use menace and anger to fight myself rather than talk to myself as the noise gets louder.
And I’m learning. In the distance, while I survive this season in silence.
As this year ends, I hope to gift myself the closure that those who have hurt me refuse to grant and I close my eyes every night wishing that these cycles of pain reverse into cycles of (pretty much anything) but these feelings that isolate my creativity and put a hold on my life.
I miss my friends, I miss my family, I miss Ecuador, I miss traveling, but most of all I miss myself – the girl who left Ecuador sure of herself and her plans for the world. I can’t seem to find her at sunrise or in the waves that carry the sunset. Tell her I love her. She deserves to know.
My first love was invisible.
I fell in love with someone who made me believe in love again. Someone who wore their mind on their sleeve but kept their heart locked up in the safeguards of isolation. Someone who promised to tell the truth about who they were and what they’ve been through but used their leverage over my emotions to get what they wanted and skip over the rest. I fell in love with an illusion of what I now know I want the next person I love to be like, and what I know I’ve loved for years. I fell in love with a trap, a disguise, a magic trick.
To you, my love, I dedicate this letter. I doubt that you’ll ever know the truth; not because I’m afraid or incapable of telling you, but rather because you “told me so”, and thus I’ve decided that you don’t deserve it.
When we met it was like I had felt myself again, like I believed in who I was and what I believed in like you believe in your convictions and your beliefs. Since we met, we’ve had small periods of time to spare and get to know each other, and I guess quickly we vaguely did. I had never met someone who was foundationally unafraid to show me their intentions, share their feelings, and find existential meaning in words like you did. You could tie a bar to a memory, a recollection of feelings, a gut-wrenching anger for those who suffer. Yet you could also wallow in your privileged guilt and humble yourself to fire your passion for helping others with the opportunities you were given.
When I met you, my mind couldn’t stop thinking, processing, wanting you. Every meeting was filled with questions, concerns, doubts, but nonetheless passion. I was passionate about learning about you, who you like (or don’t like), what you deal and how you deal, why you believe and why you do not; in everything and anything. I had become the girl that went along, thought twice about letting fears and insecurities seep in, became less cautious and more outgoing. I became someone who pushed and showed interest in what I wanted.
Yet, when I made a move you sat there, gawking. Seeing me like I’ve never been exposed before, showing you the symbols buried in my skin. I took you as a sign and accepted your distance. Timing and distance weren’t in our favor, and now I know the reason.
I stayed thinking, listening, supporting, and helping you believe in yourself. Even today, I stand beside you selflessly and relentlessly fighting to believe in the one inch of courage I have to believe that my love for you was true, honest, REAL.
But I cannot, you see. I can’t believe your story, your words, your denial and rejection of me and us and you and me because when we were the most intimate, you were there with me. On the same frequency, on the same team, in the same room, on the same bed.
I never pushed you to care. Rather, I masked your intentions to use me and morphed them into what I wanted you/them to be; sincere interest, concern, maybe love. But it couldn’t have ever grown because with you I let myself fall. Fall behind on being critical about our relationship, about my feelings for you, about who you really are. So, since the last time I saw you, I’ve come to a few conclusions.
You’re selfish, you are mean, you lied to me, you betrayed me. You played me like you told me you have done to others, like you said you didn’t want to play me, like you said I shouldn’t be treated. You prescribed all the symptoms just as they occurred. Except I’m not who they were prescribed for, I’m seeing that now.
Even though I wanted to be everything, now I know I was nothing.
Maybe you’ll know who you are and hate me. Maybe you already do. Maybe we’ll never speak again. I’d wonder if I could.
Do you ever just get so tired of waking up early to be the first one at your job because you want to emotionally prepare to bare everyone’s weight as the day goes by?
Do you ever get tired of pretending to use the restroom in public spaces to breathe and cry?
Do you ever get tired of processing the trauma and abuse that makes up your existence, your memories, physical spaces, walls, your thoughts, mechanisms, insecurities, fears?
Do you ever? Do you ever just get tired of carrying the weight of your household? Of being the sole capable provider of food, electricity, and household necessities?
Do you ever get tired of struggling to juggle finishing a degree that will shape your future as a capitalistically productive being yet totally exclude you and oppress you just as much as the forces of your circumstances do because of your categorization under an oppressive state?
Do you? DO YOU?
Do you ever get tired of being manipulated into believing that you are the cause of all of the abuse and violence you faced under an abusive relationship? Do you ever get tired of internalizing abuse and becoming your own source of scrutiny and hatred?
Do you ever get so tired that you can’t remember most of your life because through all of the discourse and pain your consciousness has chosen to cope by choosing to suppress? To lie? To hide itself from you?
Do you ever get so tired of feeling so powerless that your purpose in this life seems to be nonexistent although through it all you still have the privilege of living and breathing and struggling?
Yeah, I’m tired. I’ve been tired.
Given that this year has been the most emotionally and mentally difficult for me to confront in a while, it’s bittersweet to feel different; whole, detailed.
Thinking back to all of the adventures, the first times, and the infinite amount of support that I’ve been lucky enough to have from the people I love, I feel ready to leave behind the hopelessness that stuck around while I fell deeper and deeper in the black hole that haunted my thoughts. If I had to describe 2017 in one word, it would be ‘transition’. And the biggest transition I endured this year was finding out who I am and where I come from.
I learned that it’s not okay to be treated like you don’t matter; like you’re a stepping stone for someone else’s opportunism.
I learned that while I was and still am too busy defending the wellbeing of the people I can’t live without, I forget to look out for myself and my sanity. I give a lot which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I also loathe in self-hatred and self-deprecation. This is not okay.
I learned to be more comfortable in my own skin and to take note of my digitizing nature when it comes to measuring my body and my growth. I learned that I can’t expect people to accept me for who I am but that I also can’t accept or normalize the unfounded cruel nature of people who are insecure and would rather take you down than drown in their misery.
I learned that second chances are earned, not given. That no matter what perceptions people have of my life and what I’ve been through, they truly don’t know what I am and who I am as a whole; thus, not being an opinion worth listening to.
I learned to forgive even through the most painful betrayals. Yet to never forget, because I repressed so much pain from the past that I became a prime target for pain in the present. Blind to it, refusing to accept the truth.
I came to terms with the superficiality of things. Materialism, peer pressure, group think, group anything really. I’m replacing voluntary social maneuvering with personal autonomy (still working on it).
And last but not least, I’ve implanted the thought of not settling for status quo in my head. I have a lot of projects and ideas that I want to develop and grow in the next year and I feel more eager and demanding of myself to get things done.
I can’t say this has been easy, decipherable, “enlightening” like most call it. All I can say is that it was painful, horrid, haunting, scary, suffocating, and nostalgic. And I think that’s the most honest description I can give you.
I’ve come to think a lot about the words “growing up” and what they actually mean. Given that I’ve come to hate measuring things to go up or down or big or small (in an abstract way of course), those words don’t mean much anymore. I spend my days thinking just about growing as a concept and a scale where I don’t measure the highs and the lows but instead measure what the intrinsic meaning of those experiences are, their origins, how to move on from them, and how I can change and improve.
Growing is more of a cycle than a scale and hopefully, the eclipse that is 2018 brings even more growth and a little less pain.
Your eyes are deceiving,
craving a reaction to spark a contraction
an infatuation with being wanted but wanting not,
raiding the feelings established to fall no more
crumbling them into manipulation,
a mere deception of who you really want to give in to temptation
it’s you again, you again
just you, more you, and no “I”