The average person uses different methods to escape from their problems. Some run marathons, some play basketball, others listen to music or strum their guitar. Whatever the means, we all try to lose ourselves in something. Me? I read. Losing myself in the pages of my books is as simple to me as is breathing. It might seem trivial to most people but it helps. At least I think it does... Talking doesn’t help. Pills don’t help. I need reading to help. I feel hopeless. I guess I’m a lost cause. I can’t be.
I always saw our minds as intricate mansions. With walls made out of emotions. Some of us glide our hands across the ridges in the walls constantly, but most of us dare not feel what they hold. We use a multitude of layers of wallpaper to shield ourselves from the eyes of outsiders. The mansion’s windows are cracked, like our spirit, every blow fracturing them more and more, until the window is only scattered shards of glass on a cold windy room’s floor. We keep the doors of the rooms holding our memories under lock and chain, of which only we have the keys. We brush our past underneath carpets and rugs so no one can see. An attempt to hide our past to make our present look perfect. No one can see.
I lay in bed at night, staring at the blank ceiling, waiting for my eyelids to close, awaiting my escape into the land of dreams. 1 sheep, 2 sheep,... Some find their escape in their slumber. I would say the same if Phobetor didn’t replace Morpheus when I shut my eyes. A shimmering blue haze covers most people during their sleep but all I see is darkness. I can’t see.
Trusting people used to be so easy. When you are young, your heart is infinitely big. But as time goes by, it shrinks. You assume that people are inherently good. I followed those girls. “The nice girl”, that’s what they called me. We are so desperate to build connections because we need people to lean on. Sometimes youth makes you blind to people’s true nature.
I trusted them. Those boys, those girls. All of them. I thought I had stopped people from hurting me. People always told me to ignore bullies. That thing about pain I was talking about? You don’t control who inflicts it nor do you control when it will happen. When I sleep, I think I can see the shimmering blue haze. I was wrong. So wrong. The darkness is coming. Open your eyes! Nightmare.
I’m ready to unlock that room’s bolted door. You can do this.
That summer evening, my smoky eyes didn’t see what was coming. He zeroed in on me. I thought that this seemingly routine trip to the bathroom would be just that, routine, nothing out of the ordinary. If only. My dress was being torn as I tried to escape his grasp. His cold hands on my shoulders, pinning me against the wall. Fight back! I could feel my nails puncturing the different layers of his skin. He covered my mouth with his cold bare hand, trapping all sounds. You have no voice. I could see his face as a kaleidoscope through my tears, as he dragged me to the dark room. Everyone says that when you are in situations of great danger, your instincts kick in... What they don’t tell you is that some people’s instincts are stronger than yours. No! I pleaded. I begged while he ripped the clothes off my trembling body. What was that? The door was opening. Help. Please help me. It was a girl. No, it was one of my girls. She’ll help, she’ll stop him. “No ones coming, I made sure that we wouldn’t be disturbed.” No. Hands dancing across my body in a perverted piano four hands. I can’t feel anything. I guess my brain’s escape in that moment was to separate from my body, leaving me numb. They’ll hurt your body, not you. I remember smelling mint laced with cigarette smoke while he thrusted. I tried to send their voices to the background. I could hear the music. I tried so hard to focus on the music. No more, please. Whenever she would violate me I looked away. Her betrayal somehow felt worse than what he was doing to me. “I told you, she’s our bitch”. It was dark. The darkness. I remember trying to wave my hand in front of my face. It was right there but I couldn’t see it. Heartbeat fastening. I can’t breathe. I was being attacked and I couldn’t see it. I can’t see. I couldn’t see what was coming next. “Almost”. The numbness faded long enough for me to feel his tight grip around my neck. You are going to die. In that moment, I believed that I would draw my last breath and that my life was going to end. Someone was going to find my cold mutilated body in a dark alley’s dumpster. My parents were going to answer the door and receive news that would destroy them. Shut your eyes, it’ll be over soon. I lost all sense of time. What was minutes, felt like lifetimes. Open your eyes! My legs moved without me knowing. In seconds, I was out of the house. Something was wrong but my brain was still numb. Keep walking, don’t look down at the blood. I could feel my hands closing so tightly, my nails were piercing my palms. Turns out boys and girls will hurt you just the same. Walk down the street and turn left. You can do this. Keep going.
I remember the blood trickling. I remember the bruising. I remember the skin piercing. You try to talk to someone. Anyone. Petrified, I taught myself to sob soundlessly into my pillow because burdening someone else with this evil felt wrong. Every night the darkness would come. I wondered when the shimmering blue haze would come back. I needed an escape. Sleeping wasn’t helping. Talk to someone. Afraid to talk to my own parents meant that I resorted, like many, to talk to professionals. So many professionals. Drugs will help. It feels like I’ve tried thousands. This one will work. Pills weren’t helping. Why does it still hurt? I can’t do this anymore, it’s too much.
Endless circle. That summer evening is far now. I wish it would disappear under the sands of time. That’s what they want you to say, people want to believe that time heals you completely and that you can move on from trauma. But you can’t control pain, remember? Phobetor will replace Morpheus. Dreams will become nightmares. No, memories. Blazing flashbacks of their hands across my body. It’s not my fault. Why are their actions affecting me? Why would I have PTSD for something I never saw coming, something I never wanted? It’s unfair. It’s unfair that I didn’t get justice for my agony. But you can’t control pain. Too many of us suffer from anxiety and depression. Some people reduce the darkness to an invisible cloak we choose to put on ourselves. Diminishing those walls inside our mansions to toothpicks. I’m not lying, why won’t you believe me? Just like the windows, I am in pieces. I am slowly coming together again but I will fall apart once more. I want to break the infinite cycle of breaking and mending.
You try to forget. You ween yourself off of coffee to reduce the occurrence of your daily flashbacks. You learn how to go through your days sleep-deprived. I will not sit here and pretend it is easy to move on because it’s not. But, if I’ve learned anything, we are not fragile. I don’t need to be manipulated with caution nor do I need to be bubble wrapped. I don’t need to be treated like a wounded doe. I need someone to walk through the bolted door with me and turn the lights back on when it gets dark. I’ve finally realized that I can’t simultaneously fix windows, peel off wallpaper and replace lightbulbs by myself. I just don’t want to burden them...