Hopelessness Disguised As Strength

Is it really strength when you’re in pain and you still know you will get over it? Can you say that you have “hope” that things will get better? Are these thoughts a product of resilience or the hopelessness that comes after frequent disappointments? “This happened before. I got over it before, I will get over it now.” It sounds like something that would come out of the mouth of someone who is full of hope. But when you get fucked over and over again, you anticipate the pain and when it comes, you know it will pass. You are incapable of being attached to anyone or anything. It doesn’t mean that their absence or whatever pain they cause doesn’t hurt you. There’s just this impending doom in your mind. Everything is almost robotic. Nothing matters anymore.

Detachment, letting things come as they come and letting them go as they go, seems like a discipline that every wise man wants to practice. The thought that being detached will bring you happiness because the absence of anyone or anything you cared for wouldn’t bother you as much. Maybe I got it all wrong. My logical self would disagree with me. She would tell me how I got it all wrong. But my passionate side disagrees. I want the things and the people I cared about to kill me with their absence. I want to be euphoric when they are beside me and I want it to hurt really bad when I miss them.

I want to feel. I want to think. A consistent feeling. A consistent thought. I want to love someone or something with all my heart, without conditions, and without calculating thoughts. I want to go back to the time when I was into art, I was sensitive, and I was good. But at the same time, I don’t want to be a push-over again. I want to be smart. I want to have a good life. I don’t want to go back to needing someone.

I wish there wasn’t that much war going on inside me.

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Hopelessness Disguised As Strength

Maybe I Should Keep Fighting

I’ve never been depressed before. Although my views are pretty dark, I’ve always considered them as realistic – too realistic for the average person. A few months ago, I took something that messed up my hormones and even though I know that after some time I will go back to the old me and that whatever this is is just some sort of false emotions, the feelings feel so real and the thoughts seem to make sense. Every few hours within the day, I catch glimpses of myself, the logical one but most of the day, everything is just so dark. I feel unwanted. I feel like a burden. I feel like the people I hurt during this time would never forgive me and I can never get them back. Nothing will be the same again. Every day, this leads me to the conclusion that I should just disappear or let everything burn. I can never get them back anyway. If time is something I cannot control or turn back, my life is something I can end. That is all the control, the last control I can ever have. Maybe if I die, I can start over again or maybe it just ends there. Either way, it’s a lot better than living with the torture of regret and pain.

After torturing myself with all these thoughts and feelings I cannot control, I feel nothing. It’s like stabbing a demon inside me over and over again until it finally dies then I fall asleep. Tomorrow is another day, of course, another day fighting off these demons. Every word I say is so cliché and I don’t know how to explain myself anymore. I feel like an impostor with no real feelings, mimicking what a normal person is supposed to feel. I am unmotivated and uninspired until I walked outside the balcony and saw this.

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Flowers from this plant have been blooming for a few days now. I live on the 45th floor and have been trying to grow plants from seeds for more than a year. Most of them grow tall with beautiful leaves only to die eventually before they could ever bloom. Living on a high floor gives you the best view, great sun, and great wind. But too much sun, too much heat, and too much wind is not really an environment where plants flourish. I ignored the beautiful flowers this plant has been showing off for a few days now. I thought one of these days, it will die anyway but almost  every day, a bud opens up. Despite all the other plants withering, this one keeps blooming.

I can’t think of any better metaphor for my life. I will plant more of these. Maybe we’ll get through this together.

Maybe I Should Keep Fighting

Opening up Is a Mistake

It’s a lot better to let people think that you’re born evil than to tell them a portion of your story that they can easily dismiss as a small issue. It’s better for them to think that you were born the way you are – flawed, cold, and detached. People will always compare what happened to you to the worse things that happened to other people. The only thing that saves you from the pain of trusting anyone who ends up judging you is the thought that you only told them a small part of your story and their conclusions are invalid.

“You should be more positive. You should open up to people. You should try harder.” And yet every time I do, I get fucked over, over and over again. It’s exhausting. I don’t want to try anymore. I’m insane. I’m evil. Call me whatever but I’m also tired.

Opening up Is a Mistake

Humiliation

I may have been lying to myself for a few years now. In an attempt not to look dramatic, I avoided talking about things that happened to me in the past. To my rational mind, none of it matters because it’s all in the past and I’m in a good place now. I ignored the nightmares. After a few minutes of waking up, I forget the details anyway. I always thought I was just misanthropic without acting on it. I always thought that I just really wanted to be alone. I never felt lonely when I’m alone and I always wondered how that could be possible. Anyone else would have lost their mind, maybe I already lost mine. It’s the classic quote “I push people away” that I avoid thinking about because the line itself makes it sound like a teenage drama crap and I hate it. Now that I think about it, it’s true, I do push people away. I disappear, I change numbers, move to different cities, and now I’m thinking about moving to an entirely different country on my own. A place where nobody knows me. A place where I can start over.

I listened to a podcast episode this morning. Usually, I just play whatever as a background noise while I’m getting ready for work. This psychologist was talking about resilience and the correlation with childhood adversity (drunk parents, divorce, etc.). She said most resilient and high performing people have experienced a lot of childhood adversity but having too much can push you over the edge (some serial killers). I looked at my seemingly normal life and started paying attention to the things people told me over and over again that just didn’t register in my brain. As a compliment, they often tell me that I’m not normal. My age, knowledge, salary, and my very independent life – none of my peers have it. People of the same age, some even older, never had what I have. I almost feel like a fraud, that somewhere if god exists, I’m his favorite and everything seems to go my way no matter what. I walked the world as if everything I want, I can have. Anything or anyone that stands in the way will regret it, they always do. Even at work, whatever idea I set my mind into, no matter how seemingly impossible, becomes possible.

I started relating to what this woman is saying and the kind of people she’s describing. I didn’t get everything out of luck. Everything I know, I got through trial and error, maybe hundreds of them. I learned everything by making mistakes, not to the expense of the company, but on my own time and with my own devices. I remember the time when they wanted to host a new technology and asked me to learn it. That was the second time they threw me into something I have zero idea on and I learned it. I even trained people on how to do it including an “expert” on the technology that they eventually found. Every time I show it to them, they ask “How did you know all of these? It all looks complicated and there are very few resources on the internet.” I always just answered with, “I just played around with it”. To me it’s nothing but I can imagine that to most people, my definition of “playing around” is an exhausting process of countless of sleepless nights doing things over and over again, making mistakes, starting from the top again, again and again. Most days, I procrastinate. Some days, when my brain thinks it’s critical, I go in fight or flight mode where everything it life and death of my career and my life. But this is how I always survived everything, anything. This is how I gained confidence that no matter what goes my way, everything will be fine. I always had my own back.

I started thinking about my childhood. If I would look at my life from the outside, I’d say I experienced too much adversity that most people couldn’t handle at a young age and I can attest to that knowing that my two brothers are both addicted to something – smoking and drinking. I always thought that the things that happened to me are no big deal and it happens to everybody but it doesn’t, I just don’t talk about it. It makes me feel less human sometimes, not having any of these common addictions, to the point that I tried to self-destruct on purpose. I tried to be an alcoholic but I couldn’t do it. My mind knows when I’m having an addiction to something or someone and it rejects whatever it is. It worries me that maybe I have a different kind of addiction, maybe I’m the sickest out of all three, so I wanted to have something that one of them have so that maybe that would be it.

One of my greatest childhood adversities was the constant humiliation. My mother and other relatives calling me stupid and ugly is too minor compared to the shame my parents brought to our family. My father was rich and yet they decided to live in a place full of criminals near the train station where all the squatters lived. The neighborhood on our side was fine, the houses are nice, the people are also not poor but the land is owned by someone else. The neighborhood used to pay rent for where their houses are built but when the owner died, the collection stopped, and to the eyes of most people, we are squatters with fancy houses. In school, I got bullied a lot because of the place we lived in. Almost every night, there’s a fight right outside the house, sometimes bloody ones caused by the criminals. None of these criminals ever harmed me, they have stolen from us but they never harmed us because we are friends. If your family is friends with criminals and that has become your normal, you know you’re fucked up.

We tried to think that we are better than these people. We have dignity, we don’t fight on the streets like animals until my parents decided it would be a good stage play to bring family drama in the streets. How many times did my father and eldest brother fight in the streets? How many times did my father throw all our furniture, equipment, and anything else he can break out on the streets? How many times did my mother cried so loud and shouted dramatic pieces of shit for all the neighbors to hear? Did I tell you about the time that my other brother who is the calm peace maker totally lost it, punched my dad on the face, and ran together with my eldest brother as my father chased them with a rock? A real spectacle for the neighbors. They loved it. It didn’t matter that I was a scholar, have high grades, and about to graduate as a Cum Laude. All that matters is that from time to time, my family is a circus for everyone’s entertainment.

The gossips spread, of course. My father had a whore and left us before. Now, my mother is a whore who probably fucked the entire neighborhood. My brother had two kids with a woman who publicly humiliates him and he would never marry. Eventually, he got another one pregnant that he is married to now. My eldest brother is an alcoholic who is now turning 40 and never worked a single day in his life. He’s always drunk, peeing everywhere, it’s hard to sleep when everything smells like a drunk man’s piss. Sometimes, he would pull his shorts down and I would see his penis. He didn’t care or believed that he did all those things. Even before I had a boyfriend or saw a boyfriend’s penis, I saw his. All these scandalous shit and I feel like I’m the only one doing anything right and yet I get labeled as a demon who talked back to her parents when they are being irrational, a spoiled brat because I didn’t become a working student like my hero brother. It’s difficult trying to sail a boat while all the other passengers are poking holes on it or stabbing the shit out of me.

When the owner’s son or whoever it was, decided to demolish the houses, they offered a free relocation site for the people living there. I was actually sleeping when two men came into my room, shocked that there are still people in there because they are about to demolish the house. My parents know this but they chose to stay anyway hoping the demolition wouldn’t happen. I remember a guy holding the tarpaulin of me graduating as Cum Laude saying we should save it. The relocation sites are just for the squatters, the poor ones. My parents, opportunistic as ever, decided to claim one. One of the requirements is a family picture. All this time, being bullied by my school mates and telling them they are wrong, now my own family proved them right. Now somewhere, there’s a picture of me with my family in a list of squatters who applied for a free home. Of course, they didn’t qualify for it but my aunt thought it was a good idea to publicly upload the picture of a miserable family on Facebook for all the world to see. My parents didn’t stop there. They sold a land we owned and bought two lots from the squatters in the relocation site because they are selling if cheap (since they got it for free) and they said it’s good for business because there are a lot of people there (mostly poor squatters who can’t afford anything and robbed us over and over again, of course). We begged them to buy a house near my grandmother’s where it’s safe and peaceful but they didn’t listen. After a few months, we got robbed, no one was buying from my mother (she sold food) and she fell into a deeper hole of debt with some Muslims who have killed non-payers. Soon after, rumors spread that she’s fucking the landlord of the stall she’s renting out for her business.

Long story short, they live in a small apartment owned by one of my aunts. My father is going blind and still drinking. My eldest brother still hasn’t worked and still drinking. And my other brother only visits them for the kids.

Humiliation

When in Doubt

Every time you find yourself doubting something or someone, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What do I have to lose if I trust this person and he/she turns out to be a fraud?

2. What do I have to lose if I don’t trust this person and he/she turns out to be real?

3. After weighing out the two losses, which risk am I willing to take?

For number 1, you would say that the biggest risk is that you will get hurt or be put in danger. But the thing is I’m not talking about random strangers. I’m talking about people you actually know who can possibly be a part of your life. People who make you happy and probably deserve your trust. Maybe your past experiences don’t allow you to trust anyone. You can probably tell that these people have been very honest to you. You know they are trustworthy but your fear of betrayal is hard to let go.

For number 2, you would say that there’s really nothing to lose if you avoid having anything in the first place. If you let go of these people, push them away, you will fall right back into your routine, your comfort zone. Maybe you’re not necessarily happy, maybe you don’t need to be happy. Right now, you’re okay and that’s good enough. But these people, they can make you happy, very happy. There’s just the possibility that they may also betray you and just disturb the “fine” life you have.

Years ago, I would have taken risk number 2. It’s better that way, it’s easier. I never met anyone worth the pain anyway so why bother building relationships that are doomed to fail or lasting but boring as fuck. But I will answer now that I’ll take risk number 1. My argument? You’ll get hurt anyway. If you want to be more pessimistic, life is pain. You’ll get hurt whether you like it or not except there is something worse than the pain that betrayal brings you – regret. Knowing or not knowing that a person would have changed your life, would have made you happy, would have spent many years of his/her lifetime with you but you decided not to take the risk. You decided not to give it a shot. You decided not to live.

When in Doubt

Being Good

Some time in your life, have you ever believed that there’s an evil living inside you? And at some point, have you ever tried to kill it? Perhaps many times you tried to be good. You have good intentions but somehow it makes you feel like a fraud. As if evil is all you are and there’s nothing you can do to change it. I have, so many times. I’ve also failed so many times.

Just like everyone else, I was born innocent. I only wanted to do good and be good. But being a quiet kid, you get bullied a lot. Having abusive parents who turn on you instead of protecting didn’t help either. I felt like a snail without a shell. Alone, vulnerable, and hopeless to escape. When you’re on your own, no matter how good you want to be, eventually, you will fight back and this is where it all began for me. I saw the world as a land full of demons. People who hurt and intimidate the weak. At some point in my life, I was one of the weak. Until one day, my mother told me, “You’re a demon” and I began seeing things on a different perspective. I’m not a victim anymore, I’ve already turned myself into a demon.

Without anyone protecting me from people who constantly pick on me, I turned violent. I’ve become more aggressive than anyone could imagine from a fragile and quiet little girl who cries every time her father leaves the classroom. I made people bleed, broke some bones, vomit blood, and I was the grade school student who brought a knife in class. I have threatened to kill people and destroyed them with my sharp tongue. It is only when I’ve grown into an adult and looked back did I realize how fucked up I was. Little quiet girl in a skirt, a grade school uniform, bangs and bob haircut, carrying a knife in her backpack. I wanted to ask her, “What made you this way?”

I reached high school and turned into a war freak. I would make friends with the weak ones and try to protect them. I believed I was doing it to protect myself and the people who reminded me so much of my old self. But another part of me knows just how much I miss the feeling of hurting someone, that maybe I’m trying to find an excuse to do that. I was addicted to the rush, the adrenaline, the rage, that feeling of danger you feel in your heart that puts you into “kill mode”. The feeling of everything turning dark and just letting go. People feared me and my temper. I built a reputation that my anger knows no limits. This didn’t stop the bullies from provoking me.

I remember pinning two girls against the wall at once, each of my hand around their neck squeezing and pushing so hard they can barely breathe. I remember kicking a boy in the stomach and then hitting him with a metal chair as soon as he crouches down from the pain. Of course, I tried to change all these. I knew that they are bad, they are bullies, but none of that justifies me hurting them back. Being feared is good because almost no one tries to touch you and would avoid getting on your nerves but being feared made honesty elusive for me. You walk into a room and you know the smiles are lies. Every time someone tries to talk to you, you can feel their nervous smiles and their painful effort not to offend you in any way. I didn’t want that.

I tried to become less violent. My defense turned from physical violence to sarcasm. I tried meditation and practiced stoicism. I felt good for some time. I felt more in control with my emotions and avoided doing stupid things in the heat of the moment. But sometimes, people still provoke me. People seem to have a built-in detector that allows them to sense when you are trying to change yourself for the better and they are all so excited to screw it all up. They always push your boundaries like leeches thirsty for a negative reaction. The more you ignore them, the more they seek and try desperate to get your attention. And they don’t care however they get it. They don’t care how much you work hard to be a better person. They don’t care how much one burst of anger makes you hate yourself. They never want to see you be good.

I started acknowledging the fact that I am a demon. I just embraced every bad name that people gave me but I never picked on the weak. I never took revenge on others or bullied the quiet ones like what people did to me. I refuse to continue the cycle and create more fucked up people like me. You can say that I’m a demon who so desperately try not to procreate. During my time of trying to be good and inspiring others with my work, discipline, and morals, I helped so many. I’ve been called so many good names and even put into some kind of pedestal for being the way I am – calm, quiet, intelligent, and humble. But these same people I helped are often the same people who drag me down the wrong path all over again. Maybe it’s jealousy of some sort. Maybe they struggle to reach the same place I am so they drag me down instead.

All I know is it’s hard to be good, to be really good, not to pretend or show people that you’re good. Sometimes, it’s even harder as if people are ganging up altogether to destroy your plan. I know someday, no provocation will work anymore with me. I will try and work really hard to get to that point.

Being Good

Baggage

I don’t know when the transition happened but it did. The transition from self-loathing to self-love. All I know now is that it took two to three years of alone time to recover from the damage I got from the relationships I had with other people. It all starts with understanding the people who hurt you without rationalizing why they did it. I realized that obsessing with the “whys” and “hows” behind people’s behavior will drive you nuts because not everyone can be as rational as you. Even if they can, the entire basis of their justifications could be different from yours. What’s illogical to you may be logical to them. No matter how obviously wrong people are, no matter how much their beliefs and actions break all the rules of logic, they always fall under a support group. In that support group, you are wrong, they are right, and everyone else agrees with them.

The Earth is flat so fuck you.

I realized that the best way to deal with people is to view them as no different from animals because they aren’t anyway. If you want to be more specific, condescending, and expect the least of people – view them as insects (small and annoying fish food). If a snake bit you, sure you can ask yourself why, maybe you accidentally stepped on it and it bit you as self-defense. But you don’t lose sleep over whether it’s a valid self-defense or not. You don’t expect the snake to take a deep breath and contemplate on how it should respond when you accidentally stepped on it. It is normal to expect more from people since we are told that as humans, we are different from animals in a way that we can control our behavior and consider alternative solutions. Sometimes we step on other people without realizing it and they do something to hurt us as an act of self-defense. When I say “step on other people without realizing it”, I do not mean that we are all that insensitive. I also don’t say “an act of self-defense” to justify bad behavior. Like I said, what’s illogical to you may be logical to them and this is the part where humans use their thinking abilities the wrong way.

You don’t need to directly harm other people for them to see you as a threat. Observe that the most beautiful, the richest, the smartest, etc. receive the greatest number of unsolicited criticism from people they don’t even know. This is a very basic observation. It’s so obvious and yet it makes no rational sense. Even the most generous philanthropists are torn down for no logical reason. Just the mere fact that you exist and that you are of a higher status makes you a threat to them – you are stepping on them without realizing it. To defend themselves from your “attack”, they retaliate. People are funny and complicated like that. The question of why some of them view such things as an attack and why they have to tear you down for it is exactly the question that you should stop asking yourself because it will drive you nuts to find the logic in such irrational behavior. All of a sudden, the snake who bit you for accidentally stepping on its tail makes a lot more sense. Animals make more sense than people. When you start seeing people like animals, things will get dark but acceptance will be a lot easier for you.

I am not saying that people who engage in bad behavior should go unpunished or people’s intentions should not be questioned. I’m saying that we should waste no more time arguing with people who lack the same logic as we have. It’s perfectly healthy to have arguments with people who have different interests, beliefs, etc. because you get to view each other’s perspectives and if you have the same foundations of logic, you will find each other on the same ground. But arguing with people who are far from rational is a waste of time. It’s like asking people what is the result of 1 + 1. Most would say 2, some bastards 11, and the philosophical nerds would say 10. If you don’t follow the same rules or discipline, it’s impossible to go anywhere.

So if you find yourself hurt by people and you can do nothing to change it (it’s in the past), the first step is to understand the facts but do not rationalize. This is the only way you can be free of frustration and accept the situation as it is if you can do nothing about it. This also helps you get to the next step which is to stop playing the victim or stop pitying yourself for all the horrible things that happened to you. In most cases where there is no definite wrong (no one goes to jail for it), there are so many different perspectives that there is no way to give anyone the title of the villain or the hero. You will always be the hero of your own story and they will always be heroes in theirs. The only advantage you have is being aware of the fact that in another person’s story, you are the villain. Once you have accepted that, there’s no more room for shame, guilt, and defensiveness because it really doesn’t matter.

Maybe it’s hard to find the correlation between seeing humans as animals and turning self-loathing into self-love. If you look at it on the surface level, it seems like I just redirected the hate from myself towards other people. But seeing people as animals does not mean you hate them. I love animals. To me, it means to view people as innocent and even irresponsible. It’s giving yourself closure soon after a person harmed you. Asking yourself over and over again why someone did what they did, how irrational and hurtful it was, and how they could have avoided hurting you if they have just thought things through. All these thoughts, questions, analysis, all they do is frustrate you. You are abusing yourself with poisonous thoughts and prolonged suffering while the people who hurt you live their life as if nothing happened.

The more time you spend thinking about the pain and the people involved instead of crying it out and letting it go, the more likely it would turn into a baggage. Some sort of grudge you bring into your future relationships. Maybe someone broke your trust in the past, used you, cheated on you, etc. Maybe you assume that the new people in your life will do all those things too. Soon enough, you’ll be abusing other people without knowing it. You will mistreat them and punish them for the sins of the people from your past. It is not so much of a shield as it is most often a trap. But I have to tell you that if you can give yourself the love and trust that people almost took away from you then you are more than ready to give the same for the people you will meet in the future. They deserve a clean slate, everything that happened before they walked into your life is not their fault.

Baggage