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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Mongrel in Me

My friend has a dog that cowers every time someone place a hand over her head. Apparently the owner/breeder was not kind to her when she was a puppy, and even after so much love and in her ripe old age she still cowers. She is still bracing herself for the hit, even though it may never come again.

I am that dog.

I know things will be better. I know things have become better. I know my worth. I know my achievements and is very proud of them. I like who I am. I like how I smile more, how much happier and free I have become. I know I have come a long way. I know I have braced the storm. And I couldn't be prouder for myself for doing such a good job, for maintaining my sanity and dignity when all others are lost.

But I am still bracing for the hit.

A simple text message about his ex sent me into frenzy. I was ready to fight or flight: i.e. ditch the relationship or making him explain everything even if I have to hurt him, better him than me. Which is both crazy and stupid, because I like him a lot, and I'd rather hurt myself than to shred the person I like, or any person in that matter, to pieces over an insignificant reason. And since we've been together for only about a month, it's highly irrelevant. There are other things we still need to argue about and at a much later time. 

It is stupid. It is selfish. Yet at the same time, it is oh so valid.

Just because I feel better, just because I look better, it doesn't mean that I am wholly better. H. P. Lovecraft wrote: "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear." I have a lot of fear in my heart. I am scared my ex will bother and hurt me again. I am scared I will got hurt by my newfound love. I am scared I will get neglected and discarded again. I am scared that I will be considered insignificant again. I am scared that what my ex said is right, that I am not good enough for anything. And I am scared to say all of this to my newfound love for being seen broken and unattractive. 

Which means I am f***ed. How can I fix myself without any help?

Self-help book and such just love to say the magic phrase: "Only you can fix yourself". It is true that your willingness to get help and, subsequently, to change plays a great role in fixing yourself. The first step to treat mental illness is when he/she admits there is something wrong with him/herself. Otherwise it'll only be a waste of everyone's time. However, you simply can't magic yourself into self-acceptance and peacefulness, just like you can't magic yourself into 3 inches taller or 20 lbs lighter. 

There are many other things that you can do/fix by yourself. Your mental issue is unfortunately not one of those.

So here I am, bare and naked. I have been hurt so bad it made me scared to love. I have been broken so bad it made me crumpled and invalid. My confidence has been shot down. My trust has been destroyed. I have lost all my hopes, all my dreams, all the reasons I have lived for for the past 4 years. I may look well-groomed and happy now, but inside I am that dirty ugly mongrel that you found in the gutter, the one that whimpered so pitifully but growled so menacingly when you tried to help and picked me up. 

Is that all of me? Of course not.

I am fiercely loyal. I am kind. I am smart and funny in my own quirky way. I am fair. I will not hurt you unless you give me a really, really good reason for it. I am independent. I am resourceful. I am fun to be with. I am just a good person all round. But this happy-go-lucky person wont survive long if the darkness inside still prevailed, if the dark chasm is not lit and monsters still loomed inside. Regardless what people think, I don't even have to kill the monsters or groomed the ugly mongrel. I just need to somehow make sure they are loved and accepted.

That's why I need people.

I need people to help me loving and accepting this hideous part of me. I need people to lit up the darkness within me with their kind smile and genuine affection. I need to feel that I am not alone, because I really shouldn't be alone with the fear and monsters in my heart. Some might walk away, and it's okay. This is an optional war, so to speak. It is also an ongoing one with no clear description of victory. It might take me several months to healed, it might take decades. All I can do is trudge along, gathering (new) enforcement as I go.

And I am very, very lucky. 

I am lucky enough to be able to speak eloquently about my feeling. I am lucky enough to grasp the concept that it is ok to be a victim, that I wasn't in the wrong because my fairy-tale relationship was burned to the ground. I am lucky enough to understand that my feelings are valid, that all the fear and monsters lurking inside me is not a sign of weakness or craziness, but a mark of hardship that I bore. And it is ok to be hurt. It is ok to be broken. It is ok to not be ok. Most importantly, I am lucky to realized I need help.

Those who had to keep silent and endure your monsters behind the closed door, those who think you deserve such horrible fate, those who repeatedly told and believe that you are worthless, you are not alone.

As I said, I am lucky enough to have the means to get help, others might not. Be it for their own situation, their personality, or the fact that help is not readily or easily available, these people might not be able to get the help they needed. If you know one of them, please be kind. All we need is love and acceptance. If you are one of them, please remember that you are not alone. No amount of words from a stranger like me could fix you, but the promise of acknowledgement, the notion that you do not suffer alone, hopefully could ease your soul. We are not alone.

And may we all find peace and acceptance within us. May the burden lighter, the darkness lessen. May we all be happy and safe.

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