Personal Liberation: an Odyssey
Climbing into bed, giddy with excitement and anticipation. Having trouble falling asleep, as the morning would bring a sublime delight.
It’s called “anticipatory comfort.” Or “eager slumber.”
When we were children, the morning might have brought a school trip, Santa’s gifts, or the first day of the summer holiday.
Do you know of it, as an adult?
Some nights you’d go to sleep smiling, already dreaming of the next day.
The anticipatory confort might mean a nutrient-packed but somehow still delicious breakfast. A special blend of coffee to accompany it. Taking the time to enjoy it in a sunshine-invaded morning, when, lo and behold, you somehow have a day off in the middle of the week.
You’d fall asleep at ease, imagining how deliciously lush the morning would feel.
I have that feeling every morning now.
Thinking of how I would go out on the balcony for some photosynthesis, in my pretty apartment, my to-do list full of stuff to do to nourish the body, the soul, the mind.
A run, a special treat, a new book.
But in those days, the feeling would be broken by the reality of my life.
I would wake up hallucinating care and fondness, respect and nurturing, belonging and acceptance.
Or at least a pat on the back.
In the morning I would wake up at ease, smiling while brewing my coffee. The day’s potential still there, as a sweet message left unread.
A mystery filled will possibilities, all good thoughts.
But it vanished soon enough. The hours were wasting by in poor and bitter taste. The kick of disappointment on my tongue. All the good fuzzy feelings I envisioned, oozing down into my coffee.
The insane hope that some people were still worth the trouble would always reshape into emptiness.
I am now able to name this feeling. In my mind, it’s the weight of rejection and inauthenticity.
That’s how it feels when you’re not where you’re supposed to be. Begging for a place at a full table. Trying to prove yourself to uncaring eyes. Drinking the kool aid, pretending is not toxic skunk.
So, here’s the anthem of my freedom. How I knew.
I remember mornings when I would be rolling my eyes and scoffing, and wondering wtf was wrong with my world.
I wondered whether it hated me. Or maybe I was hating me. Why would I hold on to the feeling that something good was going to happen, when in fact, there was no proof to base the feeling on?
I was holding onto a hope without noticing how much self harm it did.
Every time I refrained from speaking my mind, turned the other cheek, worked harder, took insults in, walked on eggshells, smiled politely, apologized even though I did nothing wrong…all those times I was hurting myself. I wasn’t self-harming in a physical way, but I was shutting myself up, making myself small, giving up my space for nothing.
If people like you were ignorant (and abusive) jerks, then why was I trying so hard for them?
Because I was delusional.
And, even if many, many, many, too many times before, hope vanishing meant seeing the Darkness, this time I choose violence.
Most of it, I was finally, finally, starting to get fed up. Tired of it.
It’s humiliating to realize you’re clawing your way into impenetrable ground, only because you once believed a story that wasn’t true.
I honestly, truly wish I could say that I didn’t care anymore.
After all, saying “fuck it” and refraining from giving your energy to places and people who don’t deserve it should feel liberating.
I wish I could say I lost all interest after being hurt.
It truly did, to a point.
While it didn’t make me cut ties without looking back, it made me retreat. Build a wall. Close up in my shell, not giving what I used to give. Going through the motions and doing the bare minimum, only to have a leg to stand on:
“Hey, I didn’t leave, did I?”
But it was fake — hoping they might notice and ask and talk to me and understand they did something wrong, maybe show some remorse?
Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha fucking ha.
I should’ve taken the hint and move on forever.
Which brings me to the morning on the balcony, rolling my eyes at my end of that phone call.
Getting bored of that shit and physically feeling myself pulling away from it. Watching how my respect, appreciation, and care turned to dust. Slowly getting replaced and poisoned by resentment.
That time I didn’t get hurt, I got angry.
How dare you? Who the fuck do you think you are? What’s wrong with you? Who hurt you guys and turned you into into such selfish assholes, takers, bad news?
— I remember thinking.
“Wait a minute, there’s still some self-esteem here.”
I still resent all the situations and people that drained me. I fantasise about sitting some individuals down on a chair and revealing all the ways in which they’ve hurt and disappointed me. Pointing out everything that’s wrong with them.
(as they did with me so, so, so many times — friends, family, co-workers, lovers — they all had something to say. everyone else was always right, as I was, undoubtedly and without exceptions, wrong. in all the ways.)
I fantasise about hurling insults at your face, and you taking them in, wearing them as a leather jacket. I fantasise about getting to the inner you, cracking your self-esteem, letting the idea sync in: “you are a bad person, you are a bad person, you are a bad person.”
I read this book about taking a red pen and scribbling your truth over the stories people tell about you.
It was supposed to be cathartic, make you feel lighter, help you look younger, showing you a taller reflection, brimming with pride for being true to yourself.
There was a quote — if you aren’t scared, there’s no courage — pushing you into a more honest and authentic life.
The book talked about how people won’t listen to the truth and no 3rd act redemption will rise out of it, because everyone’s the good guy in their own story. The book made a point out of telling your story for your own sake, instead of willing people to change, understand, or acknowledge what you’re saying.
And you know what? I think this is the case with the me and all of the you’s in the story.
I believe I have to move on from the fantasy realm, take all these pages and force them down your throat. Force my mirror upon you and show you who you are. “you are a bad person, you are a bad person, you are a bad person.”
But…it won’t change anything, will it? In the best case scenario, it might awake some awareness in you, but that won’t be for me. It won’t benefit the girl who cried herself for hours into severe dehydration on the kitchen floor because her friend, boss, brother was cruel to her.
If it’s not ok for you to treat me this way, why am I letting you do it? How is your fragile ego better than my well-being? Why do I take your insecurities, wrap them into the blanket of my own love, then try and nurture them and you into a soaring eagle?
I’ll still be the same girl disappointed by your bad jokes, lack of consideration, and your overall narcissistic personality. It won’t pull me back in time, it won’t change what happened, it won’t heal.
So no, there’s no point in showing you who you are.
But there is a point in letting it go — for real this time.
There is a point in being that girl — going for a run, trying out new recipes, laughing her soul out, hugging her friends, loving her man, growing her plants, feeding her dog, nurturing, giving, loving people who love her back.
Reciprocity becomes a non-negotiable.
There is a point in finding the light in my eyes, without feeling the need to post it on the family group chat, or an IG story. There is freedom in breaking yourself from the toxic world.
There is love in cutting all ties with people who make you feel small, dumb, incapable of anything worthwhile.
But there’s also work that has to be done. It has to be done by me, not by you. You are a lost cause. I am not.
My protein brownies are baking in the oven and I got a good book in my backpack. I also bought new running shoes and there’s a new coffee place in town.
I have work to do.
There’s no more time to wait for you people to come around.
Because you won’t.
But I will.