We all start as a clean slate, an empty canvas.
As we move through life, there are things, events, people, memories that shape us into who we are, little things like mom’s warm cookies or dances in the rain.
I was born blank canvas with thin bristled brush to paint my world with all the colors and as many endless swirls as I wished.
Each memory and person were given a stroke.
Memories of Floridian sunrises and backyard games of make-believe tuck my childhood into a cozy, safe, satin edged blanket.
Everything is warm and kind, gentle and light. Everything is simple and pure.
Something between the pure innocence of my youth and my preteen years shifted. Nothing clicked off like a light switch, making everything black. It wasn’t that fast, that clear, that obvious. Something changed over time and I had no idea I was slowly being unraveled. Pieces of who I was were unknowingly left behind my winding trail. I don’t know if I’ll ever find them all.
I first remember it beginning as simply feeling alone. I could be walking the through the overcrowded hallways or in my own home and be feeling utterly monachopis; the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place because I didn’t belong. I didn’t belong anywhere. Nobody took the time to understand me and I couldn’t understand myself.
I had been struck by exulansis; the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it. I convinced myself my problems were irrelevant, invalid, and utterly pathetic compared to others. Silence became my new “hello” and a wandering mind replaced my once attentive one. I couldn’t keep my mind on one thing and I couldn’t find anything to put my mind on, leaving it a hollow, empty space for myself and lingering thoughts of regret, self-doubt, and sorrow. I became numb. Unable to feel whatever came my way. I didn’t know what was worse; drowning in emotions or dying of the thirst.
My skin couldn’t stand the thought of being near another person’s body and my mind was catapulting full-fledged essays on why I should simply leave. Mauerbauertraurikeit; the inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends you really like was pumping through my veins and all I wanted to do was rip them out. I didn’t want to hurdle myself away from all those I loved and to shove them into something they didn’t deserve but I couldn’t stop it. This disease, this monster, this depression had taken control of me, as if I was a simple carnival ride and it was manning the booth.
I am still finding the pieces of myself I lost along the trail I’ve been along. I am not sure if I will ever find them all. I may never be whole in the way I was before. but I may be patched up. I may become a healed, broader, better person.
Now, I am overwhelmed by enouement; the bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self. I want to go and warn myself to be prepared, to watch out for certain people, to remember certain moments. If I could, maybe things would have turned out differently. Maybe I wouldn’t be so broken now. Maybe I could still wake up without regret and walk down the halls and feel at peace.
But maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe I would be ignorant and naïve and oblivious. Maybe I wouldn’t have the same people in my life. Maybe I wouldn’t be who I am now.
I can act like my past has never happened but I will never be able to erase it. I can paint over it and over it all I please but it will always remain there, underneath those layers of false healing. There is no undoing the past or reversing time; only accepting what has happened. I have found time can heal most anything, but healing is not synonymous with undoing. Sometimes, healing can simply mean acceptance and forgiveness.