Tue. May 17th, 2022

The Ramblings of a Survivor

Scattered pieces aren’t meant to exist.

We all know that life has its moments that come at us full force. Most of us, if not all of us can tell story after story about various instances where we felt defeated, and still do. Not only does life prove to test us repeatedly throughout, but it takes its toll – it affects us in ways that we spend a good part of fighting silent battles that we don’t share with others. We lose confidence, we lose our sense of self-worth, we lose our voice, and we spend days and nights, crying, pissed off, hurt, and alone in times that we devote to tearing down and rebuilding. We fight battles that others have no idea about.

Myself, I have spent a lifetime standing against the depression that remains unrelenting. In more recent years, and through the decision to use medication to assist in helping with the waves that I seem unable to control, I have learned how to know myself better than many may know of themselves. I’m no expert. For the most part, I still wonder who she is inside of me. I’ve been lucky to be able to spend the majority of my days now as her friend.

Due to what I have experienced by way of love throughout this life, I have spent the last two years on my own, in almost entire solitude. This is time that has been needed for me, and for this girl that exists inside of me. I have had to take myself apart time and again, rebuilding me, taking out those pieces given to me that weren’t mine, and reconstructing who I am without them. This is not an easy feat, by any means. However, it is a necessary one.

I know my life has not had the same difficulties placed upon it as others. I know my problems are minute in comparison to others. I have never believed myself to be a level above anyone else, nor would I ever. I’m just a girl. I do my best. Though there are days I want to give up and bow out, I haven’t yet. I guess that makes me a success story, but I think it just makes me human.

I’ve experienced what a lot of people do not. I don’t consider myself to be a victim, as my choices to remain in specific environments were my own to make. I chose to be surrounded by those people that managed to suck the life out of me. They did it often and they did it well. I spent a lot of years at war with who I was told to be and expected to be with who I thought I really was. Towards the end of this relationship, I spent my time fighting to get this girl inside of me, hidden far below the surface, to come back up for air. It was hard to get her back. It was not easy to get her to see who she really was, not who she’d been told she was.

It took every ounce of strength left within me at the end of every day, to get her to understand. So, aside from what I stood against on the outside, what I dealt with, and who I fought with there, the internal struggle was by far the hardest.

I knew better. I swore for my lifetime before this relationship, that I would never be a person to be abused or hurt by someone that also said they cared about me. But as time passed, I started to realize, that person stopped saying he cared about me. He stopped showing he cared for me at all.  Who I was no longer mattered. His focus was entirely on my actions. I did what I was told. If I failed to do what was expected of me, then I was shown I was a failure, I was told why I was a failure, why I let him down, why I didn’t matter….Mind you, for years I had fought this very conversation with myself, on the inside, with this girl that resided there. I had begun to win that fight, until it became apparent I had to start it all over again. Only this time, that fragile girl inside of me got shoved deeper from the surface. The brevity and courage we had gained over time, on our own, was disintegrating. I lost her.

I spent years in this place with the wrong person and being the wrong person. I took what I was told like it existed on a plate with a fork at every meal. I cried often. I cried alone. I had started to believe that I was the person I was told. I was led to believe that my heart wasn’t as soft or as colorful as I’d known it to be. I stopped being carefree and started being meticulous. I became angry. I was angry often. Not only did I battle multiple monsters on the outside but I slowly became one. I hated my life. I hated the people that were in my life. I hated that girl inside of me for leaving me. I was bitter and it showed.

As time passed at its slow, eternal pace, at some point I started to pay attention. I’m not sure why or what had changed. I have no idea what made me take in everything around me vs. all that existed for me – there is a difference. As I spent more time alone, I found the more I coaxed the girl that had buried herself to come back, she slowly started to re-enter. It wasn’t easy. Living multifaceted never is. I learned to choose my battles, as I began relearning me.

I began to understand that the environment I remained a part of was never going to change. It existed exactly as it was. This was also something entirely out of my control. Likewise, I had to switch my focus. I knew every second of every day each instance that would gain me approval or disdain.

Sometimes I did as I should to allow for an easy flowing of the day. Other times, I just didn’t give a shit. It had become a game, and I was tiring quickly. But with every passing day, with a complete awareness for the reality of the outside co-existing with who I was on the inside, I learned more about me. I learned more about them. Predictability is a warning, though I never knew this before.

Not only did I begin to stand alone, but I remained alone often. While everyone around me existed together I knew it was a place that I didn’t fit. I knew it was a place I never would fit. Why did I stay?

After so much time had passed, and my understanding for reality started hitting me harder, I knew that although I was beginning to make progress inside, I lacked strength on the outside. While I hated the complacent life I was living, I had nothing else. While I hated the feeling of being trapped, I couldn’t muster the attempt to escape. I owned nothing. I was nothing. I existed merely as a part of the whole that surrounded me.

I started swallowing the words I was given with a fury. I already knew them before they were repeated daily. I heard them so often that I decided that how they’d felt when spoken were feelings that weren’t mine. They were full of a pain that was always going to be misplaced on to me. I would feel the pain of them as long as I let myself feel it.  I stopped letting it bother me. I stopped letting it define me. I could surely repeat those words here, but why would I?

Not everyone knows what it feels like to be physically overpowered.  Not everyone knows the confusion that happens in the split second you feel physical pain from a person that is supposed to be a protector and a provider.  Not everyone knows the imensity of the smallness that is given by the strength of two hands. But we all know what it feels like to be torn apart by words. What was handed to me was mine alone. I began expecting the physcial pain as a repurcussion.  I knew it would never leave. At some point I decided that just because these words were told to me, they didn’t define who I was. Maybe it was the girl inside rooting for me…to this day I have no idea what made me realize what I had failed to see for so long.

I began to hear more from the girl inside. Over time she started to get louder. I began hearing more of her than I did of anything else being said around me. We were becoming whole again, she and I, and I was left with knowing that while she’d come back into existence, that I was still the only one that would be able to make a move. I had to leave. I knew that if I did not, this world that now claimed stake to me, would consume me until it killed me. I had to make a choice. I decided to live.

Change is hard. Change is messy. Change is many faces coming into view at once. Each of those faces carries its own voice. Change is chaotic. While I felt her inside of me trying to be the better part of me, I had been spinning on the outside. I questioned leaving. I questioned restarting. I questioned who I was. I questioned where I would go. I questioned what people would think.  I questioned what I was told. I questioned people and their motives. I questioned if I was sure about who I could now become.

But once I had made the decision to leave, I’d promised myself to keep my feet moving forward. That no matter what I was told or felt, to keep making outward strides away from the life I had been stuck in. On the days I felt unable to continue, I remembered the promise I’d made.

Two years have passed, and I’ve survived so far. I haven’t looked back – not once. I knew the signs and the attempts that would come. I was well aware of the cycling that had taken place, and I was equally aware to avoid it. The attempts came. Each and every one, just as expected. I’m still here though. Living in the environment I have chosen is the most suitable for me. I don’t have a lot, but everything I have is mine. I am not completely repaired, but I am convinced that not everyone is.

That girl inside is beaming though. We still have our bad days, of course. Silence has its moments of taking over. Being alone isn’t for everyone, and some days I cry because of it. Alone is real. Lonely exists. But no matter how hard every day is that is bad now, nothing compares to the days that were bad before now.

Somehow I managed to learn how to set my own boundaries and to maintain them. I have learned that strength doesn’t come easy, but it also doesn’t scare easy once it arrives. I have been given a sense of pride that no one else could have ever given to me. I stopped existing on any terms other than my own. I’m still expected to be different. I’m still expected to give in. But I know that’s always going to exist externally, and that’s something I can’t control.

I know I have that girl back inside of me, and I know that I will never let her suffocate and drown again. After all of this time, she stayed with me, and I’m never letting her go. I know that depression is a beast that is a part of me as well. But I also know that I can only deal with it one day at time. Each day is different and each new day will come after the last. I know that I can only control what’s in my power to do so.

Instead of letting the pieces of me be scattered in existence, I’ve gathered them up and I have allowed them to be exactly what they are – nothing more, nothing less.

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