Abuse. Never a word I thought would apply to myself, no matter how many times I read and reread the definition of it from the yellowed pages of the dictionary given to me. But for almost fifteen years, I lived my life in a weird suspended state of consciousness. Numb, deaf, and mute. The sum of the entirety of my life was simplified to one word- silence. Silence. Plainly described as a complete and utter lack of sound. That was how I lived. In silence. It was only interrupted by the momentary loud bursts of skin breaking under a violent hit. The muffled screams hidden behind the closed doors. The quiet whimpers escaping between locked lips. The overwhelming and consuming sense of loneliness and isolation. The cold floor as it turns out to be the only comfort at the end of the day. Abuse. Silence. Hand in hand. A duo of trouble.
As a community, we are quick to talk about the appearances of those around us. However, many of us lack the ability to talk about the appearance of ourselves with pride and comfort. For many of us, it stems back to quiet whispers in our ears growing up about the ideal body.
Life is really fucking hard. We all find that out at one time or another in the span of time that we walk the Earth. Statistically, just about 20 percent of us will experience mental illness in a given year. And approximately 7 percent will deal with a major depressive episode in a given year. For something that we all fear to talk about, it happens a lot, honestly. But the stigma around it has made it such a hard topic for us to say anything about. Will it cost you your job? Your love? Your happiness? Everything? Only if you let it.
After over a decade of being surrounded by drastically toxic people, I had become broken and was patched up just enough to ensure my survival of neglect and abuse. No more, no less. Many of those that hurt me made the more than convincing argument continuously that I was unlovable, and that my love itself was like poison, surely to start killing the moment it was given. So when he carelessly waltzed in, radiating sunshine, laughter, and a distinct concern for me, it was mildly distressing. Would I break him? Would I drive him away? Would I lose my chance at having someone in my life who cared about me? Or was this just a game for him?
They say some things will come and go as time progresses. That we will learn to either cope or let go and forget. I chose to blindly ignore the pain and let it eat at me for years, simply pretending it did not exist. So many therapists have tried to pry these memories from the darkest parts of my brain. To teach me to that maybe this pain is temporary. But, frankly, this is not temporary. This is something that will weigh heavy on me and my heart for a very long time. And I may learn to cope eventually, but for now, this is the best option.
It's a Friday, the beginning to a hopefully enjoyable weekend. My boyfriend and I both get off work and decide to start the weekend off right. We have nowhere to be tomorrow so we begin to wander, driving around with no real destination. We stop at the mall and decide to walk around and window shop a little bit. We go to walk into this pop culture store and there you are. Standing there, flipping through CDs. It's like seeing a ghost. I immediately turn and walk out of the store and mumble something about coming back later. My boyfriend, confused, follows me and tries to make sense of the mumbles and haziness. I just keep walking like somehow increasing the distance will make me feel safer somehow.