Unpacked anger

I have been quiet these last couple months. I am trying to re-locate myself. I have not written because my axis of belonging has flipped — X has become Y, and Y has become X.

If you read my blog, you will come across the same themes: displacement, sexual trauma, the frustration of being unable to create meaningful connections, shame, a sense of longing for home, familial tensions, etc.

All of these are edges of the web that still pin me down. I am still trying to piece together the “why” of who I am, and these are major elements of that. I recognize that I am angry because there are still unreconciled pieces.

In this post, I will tell you more about myself, and highlight the parts that I am (still) angry about.

When my family moved to a distinctly different culture than the ones we grew up in, we took no time to process the transition together. I am still angry about that. We were all trying to survive. While my mother and older siblings were working night shifts at casinos and fast food places, I was forced to learn ‘ad-hoc mothering’, babysitting my 6-year-old brother and 6-month-old niece before school, after school, and until the moment I would lay down to sleep. I had to grow up quickly. I am still angry about that.

I was not taught the specific behaviors that would allow me to be more easily accepted by people my own age. Through mistake after mistake, I had to learn that on my own; none of my family knew what I was going through, or gave me the space to tell them. I am still angry about that. When I moved, I was 12. Because of my impressionability at that age, I was painfully aware of my social shortcomings, stumbling into interactions stiffly, uninformed on which conversational cues to use to continue them, helplessly unaware of how to make people comfortable with me. The question I constantly grappled with from the age of 12 to even now, is how do I make them like me? I am still angry about that. I spoke English perfectly — but I couldn’t speak “the language”. I could speak — but I couldn’t communicate. I became silent because my real voice was not acceptable. I am still angry about that.

I am now 25-years-old. Assimilation has become a science to me as a result of painfully nitpicking at myself for over two dozen years. I am angry about that. Assimilation has become my way of survival in whatever arena I am in: work, friendships, romantic relationships… I become whatever the other person needs me to be. I am angry about that. I have learned to observe interactions between people so acutely that interpersonal dynamics start resembling process diagrams in my head.

Seeing patterns between people like this has recently started weighing heavy on my heart. I am constantly at intersections where I recognize and empathize with the pain of people I care about, and find myself ill-equipped to positively influence them. Yet, I blame myself for lacking the courage to try. Every day has become an emotional battlefield. I am angry about that.

I have lost myself at the over-exposure of my heart and my soul (or is it that I never really found myself, and I’m only recognizing that loss more intensely now?). I am angry about that.

The only way I am now able to relate to someone is through their struggle; everyone else who has anything other than pain to share with me, I reject. Unpacked, unprocessed anger is such a contagious emotion, and it’s especially hard to fend it off when I harbour it within myself.

How can I be free of a habit that I have used to survive all these years? How can I accept anything positive when I have fed off of the melancholy for so long?

A close friend told me recently that I deserve to ask myself why I am so angry — why I choose to stay in that place of anger. Maybe this post is the beginning of that.


Daily Post prompt: Relocate

Advertisements

Memorization is for basic b*tches

The first thing I could remember memorizing was my multiplication tables in the third grade. I spent three full evenings trying to cement those numbers in their neat little columns into my brain. I recited them like a mantra, for that was what brought me nirvana at the time — pleasing my teacher, Ms. Betty.

Since then, life has been a blurred montage of things to memorize: best friends’ phone numbers so I could call them right after school, addresses, birthdays, street directions, credit card numbers, my passport number when I am lucky enough to travel … all of these a random jumble of letters and numbers. We leave a trail of them as we shuffle through life, walking through doors that only these alpha-numeric keys can open. I look at my trail behind me and I see evidence of someone who has lost several credit cards, moved many times, owned a couple different cars, has had a few boyfriends whose birthdays she has cared enough for to remember. It’s a seemingly ordinary life, if you were to look at my record.

Just remember, it’s the stuff you don’t memorize that make your life incredible, precious, and uniquely yours. It’s the stuff you wrote down, like journal entries you’ll forget and look at twenty years later and chuckle at how much of a hot mess you were. It’s the stuff you felt with your own skin, like the very first time your newborn wrapped her whole hand around your finger. It’s the stuff you utter out of your own mouth, gone into the air and never to be said exactly the same by anyone else on Earth ever again.

Memorize the rudimentaries, but leave enough of your mind uncluttered to experience life at its most complex and messy and beautiful.


Daily Post prompt: Memorize

Denial: Give in or give out

I have never been a person of duty. Never have I let something as unimaginative as obligation weigh me down. What is this word, “obligation”? I do what I want, even if it’s irrational… even if it’s selfish.

See, when I deny myself something, it starts to fester — whether it’s dissatisfaction with my partner, a difference of opinion with my friend, or a long-dormant resentment towards a family member, it never fails to ooze out over time. I know I’ve let it remain under wraps for too long, when my demeanor towards them starts to change, through no fault of their own.

Denial is a slow-burning creature. It’s there. It stares you in the face. And when you turn to the other direction to avoid it, maddeningly, it will readjust itself to look you in your eyes again. It accumulates, the more real estate you give it.

The only positive way to handle denial is to succumb to it. It’s one of those things, where, the more resistance you give, the more it will push back. I always give in, in the end. I’ve taken the day off, and broken relationships, and dropped bombs on my family because I didn’t want denial to dominate my being.

Obligation is just the martyr-child of denial. It may be selfish to surrender to denial, but in the end it’s self-care.


Daily Post prompt: Denial

My sponge friend

ba455a17e02fa54d34c0c250f9d3bcda

* * *

I miss you.

I heard a friend today talk about the courage it takes to make that leap of faith of being with that person who loves you and terrifies you because of what they bring to your world.

It reminded me of you, and how you used to tell me that it hurt that I never believed in us enough… That it just hurt because I didn’t reciprocate that hope. I didn’t have the courage back then. I used to wonder how different my life would have become if I’d taken that leap of faith.

More so these days, I am simply missing you and your presence in my life. These days, I am constantly pushing myself to be the best communicator I can be, and this is oftentimes where my thoughts drift back to you — I think, wow, I was always so good at communicating with him. He always helped me be the best communicator I could be. 

When I spent time with you, I felt counted and real. I felt like a sponge, just absorbing all of life and participating in the grandest way.

I miss being your friend, and having someone in my life who just gets it. Gets me. Gets everything that comes out of my mouth. It’s nothing romantic — really, it’s just my soul going, “Huh. Well, there’s that thing missing. Wonder when we can resume that. Because it was awesome.”

So there. I miss you, simply you. I hope your life is copacetic. I hope we can be friends again soon.

* * *

ღ, ts