It’s a curious thing to see people getting on with it. They go about their daily lives in a calm and orderly fashion, don’t they? So carefree, forgetting the things that hurt them and surrounding themselves with positivity, always striving for better. The human condition allows that, it also allows for the negative. It allows for rebirth but in order for this to make sense, we must also accept death. This post wasn’t supposed to be revised. I was writing in an unsettled state of panic and confusion. I don’t know what I’m doing here. The question “what are you doing here?” gets louder every day. It became “what are you still doing here?” a few years ago.
There are moments when I am sure. I know deep down that all feelings of uncertainty and numbness will pass and I will feel ok in the morning. I know that depression is a disease but I don’t understand why it picked me, why it continues to bully me. I don’t know how to stop the incessant thumping of time. Wanting to anticipate something you never can. I regret the nights I prayed to vanish in the world. The only regret below this is the one of never trying hard enough to fix my issues, instead wallowing in pity and arrogance.
People feel comfortable unloading on me. All their grief and frustration I allow to fall on my lap for a short time. I don’t take it home with me, I just help them take it off their own backs and put it down for a while. Allowing them the space to breathe and allowing myself space, not think of myself. I’m going to tell you where I go when the thumping of time becomes deafening. I’m going to say it on this here because I don’t want it on my shoulders anymore. I’m going to say it to you, the invisible person because I cannot say it to anyone close to me in fear they reject me, or pity me and tread gently around me. This would hurt more than any pain I’ve ever felt.
I am isolated. I always have been. I don’t know how to love beyond friendship. I do that well. I have to, because I fear my isolation can only grow deeper and I know in myself I wouldn’t be able to make it alone.
I grew up on an island. My mother, a single mother raised me and my brother. She lost two sons before us to cancer. I once held a picture of my late brother, Fitz, holding me up on his shoulder but I don’t remember them at all. There’s a lot I don’t remember. Some sense experience lost to time, some to drugs, some through my subconscious perhaps trying to save me from myself.
I always wanted to live in London, that’s what my aunt says to me, that’s what I remember saying to her when she called mami. I used to poke twigs in my brother’s hair as a game, he was patient with me always. I remember my mother beating me for something silly but hugging me tight when I almost set the house on fire. I did that on purpose, I don’t know why or recall how I felt to watch the flames either.
I still hate the man who watched me as I played, a six-year-old. I remember knowing something was wrong and not knowing what to say. I have a few fond recollections of visiting my father and brother in town, eating soup, the taste of the cheese and how his house smelt. The jar of his kidney stones he kept on a shelf. I remember loving to be in his room on the floor, incense and home.
I remember how she hit my teacher for pinching me. Her dousing the house in Holy Water and everyone praying over me the night before I left my mother, father and two brothers. I had so much love I had on that small island. How many hours I wonder, did I sit in that green bucket covered with leaves and water as the sun beat on our iron roof. Brushing my teeth with coal because we had no money for toothpaste. Being beaten in school. Eating plantain with my school friends. Sitting atop rocks with my single fishing line patiently waiting.
Coming to London, I thought I had everything. I had running water, my own room, a TV and three meals a day with snacks. For the first 14 years I hated myself the most. I was surrounded by all this wealth and I felt so empty. My auntie was doing my mother a favour, out of love for her, not for me. She’d remind me of this. I didn’t understand what family was anymore. I was in a blue abyss. I was outcasted.
I was going mad before I had ever touched a spliff. I would put posters on my wall when I was happy then the next day I would rip them off, scream and punch the walls ‘til my hands were swollen. I would go to church with her and feel disgusting. Hanging onto all my anger was not Christ like. Nothing about me resembled a good Christian.
My school friends were my only salvation. They are probably the only thing that kept me alive all those years. Those years in secondary where I’m sure I spent 30% of my time crying in toilets. I couldn’t stop crying, it became another ritual, like the posters on my wall. I would cry over spilt milk, anything would set me off, the crying usually turned into laughing. I think somewhere along those lines is when people started noticing there was something odd about me. I never had support from my teachers. All I would get was “oh you haven’t seen your mother, that must be so sad for you darling.”
My aunt resented me because all her hard-earned money was being spent on me, my visa situation was up in the air, my mental health was deteriorating day by day. I thought about my brothers a lot. I never called. They always called me. The conversations were repetitive. I never told them how I felt, just that school was good and I was listening to aunty. That’s all they wanted to know, I thought.
My brother would joke that I shouldn’t date boys, what he didn’t know was that most boys were disgusted by me. I was tall and lanky with nappy hair, a strange accent, my nose was too broad, my skin was hairy, my voice was too deep. I saw something undesirable in the mirror. I can’t count the amount of times I heard someone call me a monkey, or a beast or “sheman”. I never had fights, I kept all my anger inside in fear my aunt would really send me back home. Home became a place I started to resent. I started to feel like my mother was better off without me, she must have been tired.
I had close friends turn on me over petty arguments. I started to see that understanding people will save you and that, not all those you share your time with are your confidants. My femininity was threatened at 6, my choice taken at 18. I found that living in a man’s world is to live in brutality. I don’t remember ever being scared of anyone but my mother up until that day. I don’t remember ever wanting to disappear so badly. I never felt more isolated. After that point I began to spiral. I had smoked weed before but that year, it became an almost daily ritual. I began to go out, try a new poison and stay high, that was my goal. To stay high. All the pressure from my aunt was stifling and in sixth form I was fucking up every class… I couldn’t speak to anyone.
I failed college essentially and started working. I’m still working now and I still don’t know if what I’m working towards is an illusion. I still don’t know if I will make it. Part of me hopes God takes me before my paranoia of my world coming to an end, does. I’m not a risk. I am predictable. Tomorrow I’ll be laughing again, I’ll forget this feeling. There’s no need to hold on to it but there is a need to acknowledge it. There is a need to be ugly in your life to understand what beautiful is. To see the world in laymans terms.
The backbone life gave me can only be shattered by myself, I am proud of that fact. I know myself, I know myself because I like to know everything…my nature is to identify a demon before it approaches me. There is a message here for you, invisible person. There is no single truth but I believe that happiness is the feeling of knowing that you have left something behind for this world to heal it in some way. I think that is why I’m here, to endure, to learn and to heal.
Written by Sugamortis
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