Never explain yourself. I thought I would never have a motto in life but somewhere along the way, I found myself saying that. I’ve said it to myself so many times that I added it to the rules I live by. It seems very simple, those three words, but it took me a long time to master it. There are plenty of things I do that I consider pointless. There are pointless things that I like and pointless people that I happily spend some time with. But when it comes to matters that triggers frustration, I always look for the point. The point of having an argument with someone. The point of telling the whole story. The point of telling my side of the story. Every time I feel the urge to defend myself, I ask myself “What’s the point?”
I’ve been judged my whole life for doing things that do no harm to others and for occasionally choosing my own sake over taking responsibility of the mistakes of irresponsible people. What I learned over the years is that no amount of reasoning, truth, and effort can make people value your perspective as long as they do not benefit from it. There is no amount of words that could change people’s minds even when you’re right. So what did I do? I moved away. I lived alone and every time I come across an abusive person, I don’t bother. I just don’t bother anymore. Every time I get the feeling or I am informed that some people are making judgments about my decisions, I let it go. What’s the point?
I remember buying my mother a card when I was a kid. Our neighbor thought it was sweet so I was excited to give it to her hoping that it will make her happy. My mother said, “This is a waste of money!” I didn’t think much of it before but looking back, I realized that was the beginning of my self-inflicted isolation.
It has been more than a year since I stopped seeing my mother and pretty much all of my relatives except for one of my brothers who occasionally stays in my place with his wife and son. Before I stopped visiting, I spent at least another year and a half visiting only on holidays or some birthdays. My mother has spread a lot of drama against us especially me. After all, I am the daughter who stopped visiting and responding to her calls and text messages. I am the daughter who gave my relatives (cousins, aunts, etc.) a mouthful each time they attempt to suck me into the hell hole the whole clan has dug for themselves. For me, it wasn’t just a choice to distance myself from these people, it was a necessity. It’s like choosing not to drink a slow-acting poison. I did it because I didn’t want the torture and I wanted to survive.
I wanted to live what’s left of this life. For decades of existence, I felt like I never lived. After I moved away, I felt alive and I started to see the potential of having a great future, a future I can write for myself. I felt unstoppable and that I have no other step but forward. Before I moved away, I had no dreams for myself. All I wanted was to someday buy a house for my parents and give them a rich life. My mother crushed that dream with her constant “That’s gonna take a long time, now. We’ll be dead before that ever happens.” That dream eventually died. But before it did, it gave birth to a new one. A new dream just for me. I realized everything that I want.
I want to build an establishment or perhaps, a school, that teaches and trains people to gain the skills necessary for us to advance into the future. I want a new kind of literacy, not just read or write. A new literacy more fitted to the future. Aside from that, I want a house and a farm, or a village of my own. I want my own home office. I want my own business. All of these dreams, I could not have entertained if I didn’t leave the people holding me back. If I never left, I wouldn’t have found a purpose. And that purpose grows each day I dream and work towards my dreams. That purpose grew a spine, enough to stop me from ever going back to what killed the old me. And as time goes by, I no longer feel the pressure and no amount of relatives and harassment can ever make me go back to that past. I have moved on but I still remember. I have to remember. But it’s just like remembering a past life. Surreal and makes no sense in my present life anymore.
I am filled with dreams and yet people find me so cold. Aloof, hard to read, closed off, and detached. I believe that every one of us has their own back story. A series of events that made us the way we are. Every one of us has their own shell. Each one is different, forged with a variety of pain and struggles. I told you a small part of my story. I would not tell you the whole story because what is the point? You’ve made your judgment by now. You’ve probably said to yourself that my struggles are nothing compared to others’. Or maybe you’re one of those rare kinds of people who understand that you have to live through another person’s life to see the whole picture. Maybe you’re nothing like the people I share my DNA with.
There was a time when I sent money for my father’s surgery which is probably one of my mother’s lies to get more money from me because after that, people have seen him drinking alcohol in the middle of the afternoon. Do they know how hard it was to earn that money? Do they know that afterwards, I had to gather coins just to have enough money to buy myself a small pack of biscuits and a can of tuna to eat for two days? Do they know that I had to borrow money just to get through the rest of the week? And the time they constantly guilt-tripped me for breaking up with a guy they thought was rich. Do they know that he borrowed plenty of cash from me that he didn’t pay and even got money from my ATM without my permission? Do they know how I felt working so hard, earning so much, and yet ending up starved? Do they know that the same abuse they inflicted on me since childhood, he inflicted on me, too? Do they know that he also tried to sabotage my career by constantly making an argument on how I earn more money than he does?
Aside from constantly telling me that I’m ugly, stupid, and would probably just get impregnated by some man and die poor, I guess my parents never really knew anything about me. And it’s too late for me to say anything because they never listened in the first place. They never cared unless it involves them having money. Now that I’m typing these, I feel stupid. That I’m a whiner. I whine too much about small things. I feel guilty because that’s how I was programmed to feel for the rest of my life. I’m too dramatic. I deserve to suffer, not to complain.
Would I rather be called all those things or be called “cold”? Guess which one I chose.