These days everyone is a little more addicted to their phones than they'd like to admit. I know as a college student, I always have my phone on me, and there rarely passes an hour where I don't check it. Our phones and computers have become a fight for our attention, with social media, ads and constant reminders of what the rest of the world is doing. In no way am I trying to paint the Internet as this evil thing, because I think it serves many great purposes, like keeping us all connected and more informed. But everyone needs a break. Having information and entertainment constantly at our fingertips creates a need in our brain to be occupied with something at all times. This can create a shorter attention span and make it more difficult to focus. I myself find it hard to simply watch a TV show without being on my phone scrolling through some form of media. Taking a breath from the digital world that we are all so engulfed will give you new freedom. It will give you your independence back and release the Internet's hold on your attention and brain space.
Road trips are fine and all, but it was beginning to feel very lonely. I wasn’t actually feeling particularly lonely, just very alone. At first it was invigorating, driving without a destination in mind, no one telling me where to go, but I missed authentic conversation. Then again I didn’t mind having all this time to myself. I hadn’t had any time to myself until this adventure began. I was becoming very bored with the food choices though, I can only enjoy Taco Bell so many times. I had been driving for 19 days. I already had been through the mountains covered in reaching trees, valleys with sweeping grasses, prairies with wild animals roaming as they please and now I was by the ocean. When I left I was looking for a fresh start, but now I was looking for anywhere that felt like home. I thought I had found that place a few times, once far away from any other city in the middle of the woods of Montana and once in a small town in North Carolina. Those were both missing something though, and I could almost reach out and feel it, but not quite.
As an introverted person, I have often been told by my parents or teachers or relatives or anyone who has anything to say, I am too shy and need to talk more to more people. That is, however, completely against my nature. This is like telling a child with ADHD to simply sit still and pay attention. It is contradictory to the person I am. It takes time for me to warm up to people and I am often uncomfortable with public speaking. That's why coming to college was scary and definitely a challenge for me. I was afraid I was not going to make any friends because I was too quiet to talk to anyone. But what terrified me the most was my Communications 101 class. This meant public speaking, something I have shied away from as much as possible. When the time came to give a speech longer than five minutes, I spoke too quickly, was shaky, and continually looked at my note cards for reference to be sure I would not forget anything. When my grade came back for that first speech, I found I had done pretty well, except my professor had marked me down for "looking nervous." I was horrified and it gave me that stark realization that I had much to improve on in my public speaking. Throughout the semester, I have gotten better at public speaking purely through practice, but there are other things that can help.
According to Psychology Today, emotional abuse is defined as attempting to control someone using emotions rather than physical harm. The person that is the one emotionally abusing is not usually aware they are doing so. Emotional abuse often comes from being insecure in a relationship. Emotional abuse can be putting unnecessary blame on a partner, accusations that a partner is doing something wrong, hurtful critiques, shaming, withholding information, gaslighting, name calling, harsh language directed at a partner, mocking, humiliation, ignoring, consistent lying, being derogatory, withholding something (affection, time together, etc) as a punishment for something, refusing to communicate, and isolating a partner from friends or family are all examples of emotional abuse. There are many ways that one can emotionally abuse, but these are some of the biggest signs.
It feels like my heart is tearing into a million little pieces that will be rinsed away by my tears. There is no stopping it, they flow from my face like those hateful words you spewed at me. I knew this would happen again, I knew you had not really changed. But I believed that lie you forced out of your throat, promising to change, promising to treat me better. But the truth is you never really wanted to change. You wanted to see the hurt in my eyes. You wanted to see what it was like for the light to slowly begin to drain out of my eye. You wanted to become the thing I loved and hated the most. You made it impossible for me to want to leave, dragging me in with sweet words after pulling me out of the hole you threw me in. I think of all the best days we had in this moment. This moment where I should call you and tell you we need to talk. But instead my memory goes back to the times I laughed until I cried, when I felt completely safe in your arms, when I was completely okay with only seeing you. My brain shoves back the memories of all the times you made me feel like I was nothing more than the dirt beneath your shoes. All times you've called me names with a smile on your face like it was all a joke, but your eye told a whole other story. There was always a fear in me. A fear that I would say something, something so small, that would send you away from me. Send you to a dark place to completely ignore me and no matter how many times I would say it, you still wouldn't believe I was sorry. I was always sorry, always apologizing for something I had done after you had hurt me. The number of times you hurt me can't fit in my hand, and I had even tried to escape once, after an especially eye opening experience. I told you I didn't want to hurt like that ever again and I didn't believe you when you said it wouldn't happen again. You came back a few days later, immense apology in hand, and it broke me all over again. I felt responsible for your pain, completely ignore the part of my heart you had ripped out. I let myself fall back into you, and now I'm here again, angry at myself for letting this happen again and angry at you for not being a better person. There is only one option that will result in my health increasing, but it's going to hurt like hell. The range of emotions you give me is enormous, the highs keep me coming back, but the lows break me every time. My brain knows what to do, and my heart feels it right too, but every fiber in my body wants you to hold me again, for you to become the person you said you would for me. But that hasn't happened yet, so why would it happen now. Eventually the tears will wash away the pain, and I will be a part of myself again.
Breathing seems harder than it used to. Not that your lungs hurt, just that your brain struggles to accept the fresh oxygen delivered by your reluctantly beating heart. Laying there motionless is the easiest thing to do even though your thoughts drown you. Then again, your thoughts are always screaming.