Fiction logo

I remember damage

I just want to cry and not answer the questions.

By Annaelle ArtsyPublished about a year ago 14 min read

I am so fragile.

I think of myself to be this tough woman that has everything figured out. I like to think of myself that way.

But, in reality, I am just a fragile little girl embodying the image of this new era type of independent woman that can conquer the world.

I am fragile.

Am I fragile because this is really who I am, or am I like this because I don’t really think of myself to be able to become that woman that has it all, that knows it all, that is wanted by all?

I am shadowing from my own self for fear of acknowledging my true self because that would put me on the vulnerability treadmill where I don’t think I can resist. It’s too fast-paced. It’s making me dizzy. Thirsty for safety. Thirsty for giving up. To go back to comfort.

I have many masks. I seem to enjoy one in particular. The one in which I play dumb for fear of expressing my real thoughts and my true emotions. I also very often play the tough girl/woman card. As if I am a self-confident high-esteem highly accomplished independent woman.

I am just calculating my every step to make sure I portray this Instagram type of image of myself in society: happy and successful.

I don’t allow my flaws to be visible. I don’t allow my weaknesses to be seen. I don’t allow myself to be shown weak in front of the others.

I don’t allow my vulnerability to guide me to ask for help.

I don’t ask for help for shame of what others might think of me if I am such an independent self-confident woman. I don’t accept help when offered out of the blue because I don’t want to owe anyone anything and I don’t want to make others feel they need to help me when they don’t want to and maybe they were just being polite.

I don’t really allow myself to be who I am. And that’s how I lost myself.

I don’t even do the things that I used to do when I was alone with myself anymore. I used to enjoy do stuff like listening to music, singing, reading, browsing or flipping through magazines. I used to just enjoy my company day dreaming. I used to love collecting digital stuff in my folders and bookmarks. I lost my Chrome password and I lost it all. All proof of inner self gone. Poof. I did not know where to start with again. So, I just implemented the adult card into my life. I started stressing out about work, complaining about what I did not like about it, forgetting about what I actually love and making less and less time for the things I did remember I enjoyed from before losing my Chrome bookmarks. I was just hiding myself behind this adulthood life mask. It was easy to pretend. Everyone else was doing it too. Like in a play where we all know our roles. Filling in on each other’s roles from time to time. Helping us out between ourselves. The adults in the room. Only these adults never really wore the inner children’s clothes. They don’t fit anymore.

Isn’t it weird how when I was younger I had so much more time and more energy to do so much stuff than I have now, when I am more experienced with life and all? I now have the comfort of my own home, the safety of a marriage, the responsibility of a pleasant easy job, all which are things I actually desired and wished for when I was younger when I was doing so much more than just this adult life?

I have grown lazy. Comfortable. Complacent with the status-quo. I am taking it for granted. I have forgotten how much I wanted this which I have now. I have forgotten how much I struggled for this exact moment, for this exact peaceful cup of tea, for this exact independence and for this safety and intimacy I can now finally enjoy. It was supposed to be my fairy-tale’s happy ending.

I have grown ungrateful, complaining all the time for this and that, caring more about the outside world than of my inside world, which used to be my safety net, my comfort zone, my energy nest, my everything.

What happened to me?

I have grown ungraceful. Mean. Judgemental. Self-righteous. Annoying. Undesirable. I am becoming something I do not like. I am not who I dreamt and worked for to become.

I am the opposite of that.

What happened to me?

Have I forgotten my struggles, my traumas, my bad experiences all from which I determined myself to overcome and never go back? It seems like I am sabotaging myself to fall back to where I have risen from.

I feel disappointed with myself. With how I carried on the story I initiated 15 years ago.

I am not sure I know who I am or who I really want to become anymore. I am lost.

I have lost my head in the game.

I want to get back in the game but the bad habits make me procrastinate things, or they make me tired or feeling unhopeful.

I really have lost faith.

I sometimes imagine myself just jumping out the window and I visualise myself there dead, trying to foresee what everyone would think if I actually did kill myself.

“She did not accomplish anything in life”

“She was just a mediocre girl.”

“She did not have any personal style or personality”

“She was such a shy and introverted girl”

“She was married???”

“She was so young”

“Her husband must have killed her”

“Why would she kill herself?”

“Maybe she just slipped”

But it was in the middle of the night. I slipped in the middle of the night.

For whatever reason, probably soul fail, I remember that meme on TikTok with "Don't do it girl, it's not worth it!", "Nah, I am not going to do it girl, I was just thinking about it..." And then she did it.

I did it a million times in my head.

I usually day dream positive things but in the last couple of years I have surprised myself with really rather dark stuff. Death. Pain. Drama. Damage.

“I remember damage,” says the narrator in “Station 11” book.


I am damaged goods. Trying to pretend I am fine or brand new. I am pretending nothing happened. Or maybe the trauma is coming back to be healed because it was not healed when it was supposed to be. I usually avoid conflict and run from it. It finally caught me. By surprise.

Last night I dreamt that I was working with 3 of my previous employer's colleagues in an imagined working environment and we were washing cheese and bacon in a small basin with soap. One of my colleagues said this:

"They should be punished for eating all this and not going vegan." I somehow agree in my dream with their decision but at the same time I think to myself that washing the animal products won't change a thing. Then, I am teleported in an open field type of environment where I see a barn. I feel in my dream I need to reach it immediately. I run towards it but the more I run the more I feel slowed down like I cannot evolve.

Then, in the empty field a creature appears and it has a very big mouth that can eat me. It's trying to eat me. I close my eyes and think to myself "I am dreaming, wake up" so I wake up in that barn I was rushing towards. I don't wake up from this dream. Not yet.

In this barn, I spot another creature that it's not evil nor good. It's like the entity named "Il Separatio" (translated as The Separation) which is based on a legend that speaks about the separation between light and dark, representing perfect and absolute neutrality. This creature it's taking the people me and my friends judged for eating animal products by washing it with soap, and it's choosing based on our judgements to send them to prison or freedom, to a bad place or to a good place. The Separation entity it's like our choices reflected back on us because with each judgement onto others, we send those "culprits" to a sort of prison in time, to the darkness.

I realise this and I am thinking that I am wrong judging others for their choices and their beliefs. I am wrong making a statement about someone else. Including myself. When this happens, I drag everyone in that darkness. I am responsible for their darkness too.

My dream continues deranged by this vision and looking up in that barn, I spot 2 owls looking down on us. One is white and the other one is as normal ones we all see grey with black and white. The way they glance me gives me chills. It's like they are saying:

"You send yourself to the dark place by tempting the dark thoughts and actions."

"I am not going to do this anymore!" I shout out in my dream.

And I wake up.

I realise the owls represented somehow my inner & subconscious self. I have 2 owls in my soul barn I guess because the white one has a different symbolistic meaning compared to the grey one. I went on google for this.

The white owl is a symbol for happiness and wisdom (I am potentially thinking of this one as wisdom due to happiness) whereas the grey one, translated as in the traditional significance of the owl represents death.

It's like I am torn between my own owls, not sure how to integrate them.

I should be so happy with my life. Why am I not? There are so many people who would die to be in my shoes. What’s wrong with me?

But I do remember damage. From time to time, I remember it but it happened so long ago that at times, it seems just like a nightmare I woke up from.

I have watched so many good series this passed year. I remember I used to contain my tears if it was something very emotional in a movie or a series back when I was younger. I would watch it so detached. I wasn’t really paying attention. Or I was, but not being empathetic about it. Last year, though, I cried at everything I have watched. I felt the pain. I felt each character’s struggle as if my own because I could relate to the trauma.

Trauma isn’t just a shocking event that happens once in a lifetime earlier or later in that someone’s life. Trauma can happen everyday for some people through a series of small events that just build up in time a very tall and wide emotional wall filled with indecision, fear and anger. And then those people re-act to everything that occurs to them. They re-act. They cannot act. They never learned how. They were always in defence.

I am one of those people in defence. I have to always think through to make sure I don’t put myself in a situation that will harm me in the future, even if it’s just about a decision such as going out to lunch with office colleagues. I cannot trust anyone. People always hurt me. One way or another, people always hurt me.

They hurt my expectations.

I can never give in. I can never let my guard down or I am caught by surprise. I cannot be vulnerable. I am like my barn dream owls. Always watching over myself. Strategizing.

I don’t want pain because “I remember damage” and it’s been hard to escape it.

I guess now that I am more relaxed and safer, my brain is flooding me with events that had not been sorted out and it’s trying to organize my subconscious for better present life management. My unhealed trauma, my forgotten damage is coming back. My dark owl wants to make peace with the white owl.

I remember damage. That’s why I am so fragile. Even though I like to think of myself as someone tough and put together.

I am just not crafted that way. I was broken. My imperfections are making their mark. I feel weaker. Hopeless. Naked. So, I dress up with whatever mask I find to be more suitable for the day. I pretend because that’s what I know to do best.

I pretend I don’t hurt when in reality I am torn apart. I pretend I am not offended when in reality I feel ashamed. I pretend I did not hear this or that, when I very much know what I have heard and I even believe that of myself too sometimes. I pretend this is not me when it’s only me.

I am simply fragile. I was born this way. Sensitive. Attention-seeker. Needy little girl. Demanding. A brat. Sometimes arrogant. Sometimes humble. Often feeling inferior. Often feeling superior because of what I deserve because I think I deserve some bandage for all my bad experiences. But in reality, I am not worthy. How can I be? I pretend so much I have forgotten who I am when I am not pretending.

I am not worthy because I do not give what I expect to receive because I think I deserve it. I expect too much from the outside world. I expect too much from others because I expect a lot from myself. But don’t get me wrong, I expect too much of myself because I have high expectations of me. And it feels like those high expectations were born out of lack of self-esteem trying to be levelled up by accomplishing some big steps to prove to myself I am worthy.

I am damaged. I am just calculating my every step to make sure I portray this Instagram type of image of myself in society. To make myself fit in. Truth be told, I don’t fit in. Maybe I am just my own "Il Separatio": sending my potential to a positive or negative spot based on my lack of integrating my 2 owls.

"I am not worthy of that."

Because I judge myself so much, I am obviously sending myself to a dark spot.

Why am I trying so hard to fit in when I know for a fact, I am not like everyone else? I am just pretending to be like everybody else. I am pretending to be normal because I want to be normal. Why can’t I just be grateful for what I have and enjoy my life?

Why am I just imagining myself to die? Or hurt myself? Why is my white owl not taking charge of the situation?

I guess I want to punish myself for not achieving all that I dreamt to accomplish once I had hit this stage of life I am now that I really needed so much back when I was so much younger when all the damage occurred. I am in a vicious circle because of my trauma.

I remember damage. I was worthy of that.

Maybe I am just not worthy of peace. Maybe I am chaos.

I am not depressed.

I am just sad because I remember damage. I heal parts of it every time I find myself crying over any type of emotional baggage scene in a movie or Netflix series. I am made to remember my damage.

I just want to cry and not be asked “Why are you crying? What’s wrong? Is there anything missing in your life? You have so much to be grateful for and you are crying here for nothing. Why are you crying?”.

I just want to cry and be hugged in silence. I just need to unload this emotional damage. I just want those owls to stop observing me so that they stop having data to judge me.

I just want to cry and not be judged for it.

"I am fragile and I want not be ashamed of it. Maybe this is my white owl speaking to me."

I remember damage and how I escaped it. I just never had the time to process it. I had no time to process the damage or the feeling of escaping it.

I just want to cry.

I am fragile… I just want your hug to feel safe while I am escaping the remembrance of damage.

I need connection because I am fragile. I need a hug because I am fragile. I need love because I am fragile. I need safety because I am fragile. I need to be taken care of because I am fragile.

I just want to be free of this self-imposed tough image of myself. I want to break free of this fearful self by being fragile and letting myself seen as fragile.

When I was younger, I wanted to be free in terms of space, of people I surrounded myself with, I wanted to be independent of my family, which meant freedom to me. But maybe I misunderstood that need for outer freedom with inner freedom.

Maybe I was just wanting to let my emotions free.

Maybe I just want to free my mind and my heart. But the symbolism of dreaming those barn owls tell me that I should explore the depths of my soul, and face my darker parts to uncover my truth.

My truth is that I am fragile.

Short Story

About the Creator

Annaelle Artsy

Me, myself & I

Slow living in the reading

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.