Out of Context.

“When exactly did it start?”
“I don’t know.”

A simple combination of words that make up nothing more than a question and its answer, so vague that you can do nothing but deem insignificant once read out of context. Actually, scratch that: I apologise if what I’ve said might in any way sound ignorant, for I’ve suffered from ignorance and its repercussions myself (and thus I know how terrible it is to endure it), it wasn’t intended to be that way. You see, my problems are like a trampoline; make me jump from one conclusion to another without thinking it through properly. So let me ask you this instead: what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you read this? Which start are you being questioned about and why can’t you pinpoint the exact moment of the gunfire that signals a start?

Gunfire.

Was it because you’ve jumped the gun?

I keep repeating that word—gun, gun, gun—as if it means something. My metaphors always lean towards gunshots, just as much as the voices in my head want to kiss it goodbye. And by that, I mean I’ve dodged the bullet. And by that, I mean I really didn’t want to—maybe even shouldn’t have.

Do you want to know what the first thing that comes to my mind when that question’s asked or have you figured it out by yourself already?

Don’t worry, love; this is not another romanticized suicide note. But fret if you have to, because if it’s not that, then I have no idea what it is just yet.

“When exactly did it start?”

Do you mean the nightmares where I stopped running from grim reapers or the moment I realized that the only thing scary about these dreams wasn’t the thought of death itself, but the fact that I wasn’t running to escape them; I was running to avoid confronting that part of me that always tripped on purpose or slowed down when I could’ve ran faster, because I genuinely didn’t want to.

Do you mean the times I listened to my stomach growl out of hunger because of spending an entire week starving myself under the excuse of an empty appetite? When the truth is my appetite for pain was just stronger than any other crave for food and—like a friend of mine once said in her poem, triggering the truth within me— I was never brave enough to hurt myself any other way; the sight of blood reminded me of the night my friend killed himself.

“When exactly did it start?”

Do you mean the night I realized that sedatives are capable of calming every overthinking voice in my mind the same way a warm hug can? Or the night I realized that I didn’t really want it to slow down my thoughts as much as I wanted it to slow down my heart rate?

It’s slower now.

Getting slower now.

But never slow enough to stop.

Do you mean the night I wanted it to stop?

But what do you mean by ‘it’ exactly? Because even that can be taken out of context, and even then my out of context is not a circumstance that could be taken lightly.

Are you talking about my anxiety?

I remember my mum once telling me to “breathe, calm down; panic attacks make you feel like it’s the end of the world, but I assure you, it’s not.” And I don’t think you understand that that’s the problem, mum. If my panic attacks make me feel like it’s the end of the world, then they would be assuring me that there’s an end to this. That is a thought I can sustain. It’s the fact that after minutes of feeling like I’m about to die because of an overwhelming sensation of fear that I couldn’t handle, it’s all back to normal again, it’s all back to having to live with it—every single second of it, for the rest of my life—now that’s a scarier thought. My panic attacks don’t make me feel like it’s the end of the world, mum, they make me feel like there’s no end to it, and there’s nothing in the world that terrifies me more than the fact that you cannot escape infinity.

Do you mean the nights my father yelled at me?

How it’s not the hits that bruise, but his incessant need to hold me in place? Or how I think I’m claustrophobic because of the years he spent hiding me away? Or how it’s because of him that I’ve become a storm? But isn’t it ironic how something as rebelling and uncontrollable as a storm is not disobedient, just disruptive? You see, storms are formed when two opposing forces combine; when a center of low pressure develops with a system of high pressure surrounding it.

Wait. Let me try this again.

You see, storms are formed when two opposing forces combine; when someone who’s spent most of his life wanting to become a father does nothing but treat you like you were a mistake. When he claims he wants you to become something great, yet scorns every achievement you’ve made. When he brainwashes you into thinking that it’s how you fit in society that makes your worth have value and then continues to call you worthless. When he teaches you to never lay a hand on anyone, but continues to beat you nerveless. When he tells you that you’re old enough to do things on your own whenever you ask him for help, yet controls every step along the way, even when you plead him to “stop, I can’t breathe when you’re doing that. Stop, I can’t breathe when you’re doing that. Stop, I can’t—”

“When exactly did it start?”

Which part of it?

All of it.

I still don’t know.

Hell, I don’t even think I want to know; I’m more interested in knowing when exactly it stops.

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