This was back a few years ago when people who I had considered to be family to me were suddenly requesting me to stay away from them. I initially believed it to be some type of misunderstanding. Being the uncontentious person that I am, I just let it be. I decided to give it some space and hoped everything would be fine. Spoiler alert, it didn’t turn out to be that way.
As time passed and things around me changed, I thought that would be but a horrible dream that I once had. Sadly, this nightmare slowly became my reality. People with whom I had recently forged relationships and with whom I had at last felt content would learn something from someone and choose to sever contact. I would beg them to tell me what happened, to at least reason it out with them. Maybe, hopefully, I’d have an explanation for it. It started to scare me, could I really have done something that bad? I made a concerted effort to remain tough, but this broke me down over time.
I got to the point where I used to cry myself to sleep each night. People at home would worry about my behaviour. What could I possibly say about something I was unaware of? I would wake up every morning, thinking that this day would be different, then cry until my pillow was wet again that night. Finally, I had had it. My head had given up, my heart had grown numb, and I had no more tears to cry.
This is my new reality, which I embraced. This is how it was going to be. I wasn’t going to beg people to stay anymore, not that it had helped so far. I wasn’t going to weep about how things were around me. I was not going to weep about what was going on anymore. I would simply follow the wind and not feel or think about it at all.
At first, it was lonesome, but as I became accustomed to it, it became my new reality. The people around me, the ones who were still here, were clearly affected by the changes in me, which saddened me after I had finally accepted my fate. My family and the few remaining friends I had who either had not bought into the rumours or had never heard of them, I still had to present myself to them the way they were used to seeing me. Even though I felt nothing at all, I began to smile and laugh again for them. They may have initially recognised its falsity but ultimately accepted it for what it was.
I did not feel anything again for several years. We were sitting there chatting about something unimportant on the day that you had kissed my hand. I recall trying not to react to what had just happened as my face started to get hot. I can still picture you making fun of me, and I can still picture myself grinning as I walked home later that day and experiencing genuine delight.
I had never thought about anything that had happened to me during that period. I felt as though I had been operating on autopilot before being granted control. But there was a price waiting to be paid for this gift of control. My heart felt as though a missile had just slammed into it. The years of numbing out all the agony and misery finally caught up with me. All of the exhilaration abruptly changed to fear. I did not feel like I had anything to lose all this time, but suddenly I had you.
Again, I did my best to maintain my composure, but the possibility of losing you constantly was killing me on the inside. You had begun to realise that I was continually bothered by something. I gave it a different name each time you asked, but you knew there was much more to me than you had known. You tried your hardest to remain close to me when I needed you. You likely understood that all I needed was someone around because you yourself had a difficult past.
In time, fortunately, all the love, support and my own will to get a hold of myself helped me reach this point in my life. I could finally keep my past aside and think about things more clearly. I was much more confident now and way stronger. I thought of this as a sort of a gift, a second life. I was really grateful that you happened to me. Sadly, you and I had gone our separate ways.
Although I wanted to leave the past behind, hopefully, forget about it and start afresh, a small voice always poked me to find out what it was that had made me travel the rough waters. One day, this voice grew too strong and I decided it was time for me to find out. I was both terrified but also weirdly excited to know what it was. I did what I could to find the closest link to this. When I thought I would finally know the cause of all this turmoil, what I found out was not what I expected. It definitely surprised me but left me in more confusion than before.
I should have known something was off when the people who had once asked me never to come near them were talking to me as if I was a long-lost friend. When I asked them about what made them dislike me so much, I should have known something was off when they were confused. Apparently, according to them, nothing of this manner had ever happened. They didn’t remember ever disliking me or asking me to go away. In fact, they apologised for anything they might have done to make me feel that way.
I was sure I had gone through hell. I vividly remember every painful moment and also every beautiful moment that I believed seemed to have resulted in you.
Have I been gaslighted or did I create my own suffering? Were you the one to help me get out of this suffering or was it me all along? Why haven’t you been in touch with me? Why did we stop talking? Come to think of it, why don’t we have any pictures together?