Happily Ever Where?

I was born into a sturdy family of six. My growing pains included being pushed away from my siblings because I was much younger than them, living in an area with not a lot of people and being extremely shy and living with busy parents with a lot of personal emotional damage.

I remember being alone a lot.

But I was blessed with a vivid imagination. I built my own little world. I made little dolls out of either grass or string, made them houses and clothes. I’d spent hour upon hour just being there with those little creatures. I locked myself away from the screaming and the ever present sense of lack and failure. My parents had a tense relationship. There was a lot of emotional terror I simply couldn’t understand as a child.

I could acutely feel them all. I’ve always been able to tap into other people’s emotional climate. I’ve always felt the need to help fix it and I could never find peace until I felt them feel better. Over time I found that I could be of assistance to the broken-down way my parents chose to deal with life: if I played a happy little clown, I’d make them laugh and forget about the silence of emotional blackmail created by my mother. So that’s what I did for many years. Sometimes it was easier and other times I went to sleep crying because nothing seemed to work. I felt personally responsible for that.

I wanted to make them proud, especially my father. He always wanted me to become a translator. So I chose my future profession at the age of nine. I went for it blindly. And it made me happy to see him smile when we spoke of the future. I never even considered really thinking of myself.

I did that every day and for everyone I ever loved. The feeling of them being happy with me and being happy themselves was all I ever strived for. I swaddled myself in a false sense of happiness that was never mine. I did that with my parents, with my sisters and brother, with the man I married, his family and my friends.

I played my part so well: the house was spotless, we got a little doggy, I cooked elaborate meals for my family and friends … and was completely void of self and immersed into what I thought would make me happy: other people’s happiness.

The result was a seemingly content home. And me: riddled with anxiety attacks, depression, extremely low self-esteem and a huge void in my chest. I was a miserable ball of a perfect wife.

It took a quite a few blows to see all that: the primary source of the person I mostly wanted to be proud of me is gone. His death showed me that we live and die alone and with the choices we’ve made. Pride has much to do with living and its day-to-day proceedings, but very little with life on a grand scale. All you are left with is the primal self: my dad loved me. We never spoke of pride during those last days. Only love. So why strive for the meaningless when you can go for meaningful?

And I can’t do that anymore. I cannot only be what others want me to be. I was put here for a reason, I have to believe that. And I cannot imagine this reason being to only look out for others. I take full responsibility for my past. No one ever forced me into being who I was, I made my own choices. But there’s very little left of the woman from before. I now find myself exploring my very personal likes and dislikes, I get surprised by my reactions and the more I do that the more I realise how much of myself I’ve chosen to forsake.

Where do I go now?

My life is stacked-full of love in all shapes and sizes. So much so I feel myself getting lost in it again. All I want to do is give again and just fall. It’s a wonderful feeling because somehow this time it doesn’t seem like a forced fall against gravity and that I’m going against myself, but it’s like I’m falling towards the real me. This fall would be as easy as breathing.

But I am terrified of the out-of-the-comfort-zone life I’m headed for. There seems to be only so much I can handle and I’ve found myself putting pressure on the choices I make. I cannot give into it because I’ll only end up hurting myself again. I’ll be back to square one with a heart: already shattered, now also getting pulverised into nothing.

I have to take my time. I’m completely raw and I have to heal. I have to find love. Not for others, but this time, for myself. I don’t know where my Happily Ever After is, but this time I’ll take my time finding out.



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