This is how adult life is.. running from point A to point B, back and forth, always rushing, always rushing to your next deadline, always a minute too late. You can’t waste time, but you always do. Of course, you do. When you were still a child, you always waste time, too. But you cannot say it’s wasted. You didn’t know it is, your wasted time is full of bliss.
Can you remember how the world looks in your childhood eyes? Well, I do. I always do. I still can’t believe I have become like this. My younger self will be very disappointed. In my younger eyes, the world is vivid. I can still remember the scents of each apartment we moved to and from, their scents when they were still empty, their scents when I am about to fall asleep. I still remember the 5pm light, how the wind gushes through me while I am running, running as fast as I could, running under the pink sky. I still remember how I hugged my mom with all my heart. My eyes were so alive. Man, I was once full of love. Where that love went, I don’t know. When did I lose it, more so.
I guess, as you grow older, the love inside you fades, bit by bit, without you knowing. All the while, you keep your eyes on your purpose: to play your roles right, to reach for the next paycheck for your next payment. Running around keeping your emotions locked up. You know too well, you’ve ruined your life by setting them free. Through the years, your heart is being pierced through and through by disappointments after disappointments, shame, hatred, failures. You are running around your world with your own bloodshed.
A few years after, you’ve gone dull. Your eyes went tired, you have seen it all. You can see through people, you can see through bullshit, you’ve heard enough lies, you’ve said your fair share of them. You’ve spilled enough blood. You try to cheer yourself up, but you cannot fool yourself anymore. It’s a non-stop trail towards black and white.
Now looking back, I would do everything just to grow backwards. And when I do, I will cling to that child. I will never let go. I will wear her eyes, I will hold her love, I will be living, I will be alive.
“You’re right! I am turning into this horrible person. Maybe I already am. I am always irritated, agitated, aggressive.. I try to stay calm. Don’t you know this is exhausting? It exhausts me. I’m.. I am being a mom, I am being your wife. I am juggling these roles. It’s just that, right now, I’m tired, Patrick. I’m sorry, I’m tired.”
“Okay. What’s happening right now is.. you are mad. I annoy you, okay.. but now you are crying. Wha – oh no, no.” His sarcastic face is there again, he knows how much I hated it. “Let me guess. You don’t know why? You just feel like crying?”
“Don’t look at me like that. I am trying, god knows, I’m trying.” I am shaking now. Living with you is very tiring. I’m tired. I’m already tired. I fucking hate you and I am fucking exhausted. I wanted to add, but I know, its.. it is something someone gone cuckoo would say. He already sees me as one, but I cannot.. Of course I cannot say it.
He just shook his head. Oh, and that sneer. He walked off in a huff. Wish granted.
But, he’s right. It has always been like this. How pathetic am I in his eyes? He’s been with me for six years, he had seen it all. I have seen it all. Six years, is that enough to drive each other insane?
Then there goes the narrator of my life, the inner bully. He talks with the same arrogance as my husband.
This is what happens when you live with someone who crushes your thoughts, your belief system, the way you look at yourself, all the while, being loving and caring and responsible husband and father to your kids. A trophy partner you can show off to your relatives and friends, the trophy partner you secretly hate. Oh, you wanted to break free? How can you reason to his realism? You are a depressed, delusional. His logic is nothing compared to the fucked up yours. This is what happens when you merge yourself into marriage without fucking thinking, now, let your freedom fly and your soul rot, idiot.
Have you ever felt this kind of hate? You’ve cut your own wings and now you are being mean, mostly to yourself. But you don’t want to show it, so it’s just deeply buried inside you. You don’t know when will all this stop. You thought, this hate will pass. It’s a part of every marriage. But no, it’s a downfall without a crash.
You can’t even describe it anymore, you can only feel it. There is this strong anger living inside your chest that you always suppress. You don’t understand it either, you can’t use your words right anymore. You try to reason to yourself, nothing is coming out. You just wanted to scream, to runaway, to stay still, to move, to sit, to dive… You don’t even know what you want to do anymore. You don’t know what to do to make it go away. Hate, rage, temper, anger, you don’t know what to call it. You don’t know what it is, but you know it is planted inside you. A bad seed. It seeps, it stays, you can feel its roots, it is becoming you.
Truth is, you are a bad wife, a bad mother, and a bad person. Added the narrator.
I stared at the black and white photograph, “Is this how unhappy I look like?” I hadn’t realized it before. I was never beautiful, but looking at this picture.. This is not me. This can’t be me. This is far from the remark of “Oh. I look so ugly”
I took the photograph, studied a bit more closely. Is this how people see me? Since when did I look this empty?
Day by day, for years, I’ve watched confidence fade away. I’ve cut my hair short. I’ve given up on any pity attempt to look pretty. I neglected myself for a very long time. I look so dull and wasted, tired and drained. This hopeless face can never be covered up. This depressing, decaying body cannot be dressed up. Look a little more closely, you’ll cringe. You’ll cringe at the person beneath this veneer body.
Hate reflects. I didn’t know it reflects. People can actually see through me. How can I not know? I’ve been hiding all of this. I’ve been hiding. I’ve been hiding all this time.
How can a decent photograph capture the image of a person falling apart?
How farther can I descent?
What will I look like next year?
Where will shame and insecurities lead me to?
Is this photograph my cry for help?
Look at what you’ve done.
What have you done to yourself?
“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”― Ted Grant
The photograph was taken by our Photojournalism professor. It will be shown at our university’s photo exhibit next week. It is a black and white portrait of me. I have seen the photograph just a few minutes before writing this. It is like meeting my self for the very first time. A revelation of how I’ve let myself down. A potential wake-up call to pull myself up.
I can’t believe someone could be that colorless. You’re right. I’d use the word pale. But that seems like an understatement. When you see her, you might as well grab a TV remote and ramp up the color intensity. Yes, that girl. Have you noticed how her skin glows? No, not that kind of glow. Her skin is so white, it glows. You know why we don’t see her that much? We don’t see her around that much. Yes, so I’ve heard. Did you see the slashes on her wrist? I can’t take it off my mind. The scars are even paler than her skinny wrists. It’s not a good sight. Do you know why we don’t see her that much? Well, seems like I know something you don’t know.
So listen closely. I’ve met her old friend, Anna. They were pretty close. Yes. Were. But I’ve got to warn you, this Anna is crazy. There is definitely wrong with her, but she’s fun to talk to. And when she talks, I can’t seem to look away from her.. nose ring. Don’t laugh at me. You won’t help it. It’s gleaming. And her eyes.. her eyes are hypnotic. Oh, right! Anna. I was talking to her when she passed by. Anna just stared at her old friend. “She should’ve just killed herself.” Yes, that’s what Anna said. “She’s walking around dragging everyone down, she’s painful to watch. She knows it herself, so she kept herself away, locked up in her house. Not getting out, until she’s better.” She even added.
Do you know what happened to her? She’s once filled with confidence. Almost proud. Her mom, is as kind as any moms get but she can’t control her daughter. They always argue. The way she talks to her mom, she’s going to be wait-listed in hell. She’s having problems with her rage back then. By the time she wakes up, she feels so angry to no particular person, no particular reason. Anger just fills her up. Her mom is still so kind to her that anger is often mixed with guilt. It is driving her even more crazy.
One night, when she’s having her usual argument with her mom,some misunderstanding. Anna was there, hanging out upstairs, inside her old friend’s room. She can hear her friend from the dining room. The argument went into halt. This girl, she walked up the stairs, stomping at every step, screaming on top of her lungs. She was so mad, she went straight to her bathroom. She didn’t bother looking at her friend waiting for her. She went straight to the bathroom door and slammed it. A few moments have passed and all there is is silence. Anna couldn’t take the ringing peace, and decided to check on her old friend. There, sitting on the floor, her right wrist were slashed, multiple times. Like she never stopped slashing it until she calmed down. Anna called 911. She thought her friend died during her watch.
She didn’t tell me how she felt, if she’s shocked or.. She just told the story like it is something factual, you know? I don’t know how she managed to tell the tale with a hollowed voice. She knew her friend had died. I think, Anna kind of did, too. They never talked after that night.
(This is how you lose your youth)
You started to wonder, how you’ve lost your voice
Was it the day you ceased speaking?
Or was it the day you started repeating,
repeating the chant everyone else is saying
You’ve lost your point of view, honey, it was all you.
You are always ready to bend and mold,
To conform, and nod. To find the truth
From different set of lies laid in front of you.
You always choose whatever it is that can fool you.
For years, you’ve been complaining about your lost freedom,
For twenty-two years you have been living,
Six years spent grieving,
Every persona you wore were lined up in a shelf
Six fucking years, spent building a prison for yourself
The next time rage fill you,
While you clasp and shake and grip the bars that surround you,
Remember this, the only thing that can set you free
Is the very thing that confines you.
The thing is, it’s a cycle.
You don’t know the reason behind the cycle,
but if you are going to observe it, there is.
For the past few months, you were doing good.
You thought you have finally became stable, okay;
ready to grab any optimism life has to offer.
You were so proud of yourself.
Then there’s this shift.
Slowly, or drastically,
it pulled you again to that pit,
that same pit you fought really hard to escape from.
But you’re at it again,
and this time you don’t know what to do.
It just swallows you.
You have no idea, there is no reason.
There is no clear reason.
You tried to talk to people, for normality’s sake, and it feels fake.
You don’t really feel like talking, but you have to at least try..
You can’t move, everything is forced.
At first, you thought it’s just a bad morning.
You just woke up on the wrong side of your bed.
Then it becomes a bad day.
Then you try to cheer yourself up,
you told yourself, tomorrow is another day.
Then the next day came, and you’re dragging yourself up again.
Then you hadn’t noticed it has been a month, it has been months.
You feel defeated without knowing what you are fighting against.
So you just wait…
With blank eyes, you wait.
Written in August, during the early days of the shift.
(Featured photo was from Pixabay.com)