Goin’ In: Battle With Joy
Because you don’t see my scars does not mean I am not hurt.
Because I am not lying on a hospital bed does not mean I am not ill.
Because an IV is not plugged into my body does not mean I am not suffering.
Because you can’t measure my depression like my temperature does not mean I am cured.
How does one process being sexually molested and raped at the age of nine? I live with that trauma and it is excruciatingly unbearable. When you are growing up with a past you can’t forget, there is only only thing that always explodes – bitterness! How do you wipe clear those school days when you arrived home after being called a eunuch repeatedly, day after day, at the bus stop by schoolmates. Those remarks haunt me today and make me feel incomplete, inadequate and ugly.
Don’t tell me, “Oh, you’re sad? Don’t be. Be happy!” Depression is not a cloak that I can take off and put it away on a hook or a hanger. It hurts physically and food has become my worst friend and best enemy. Often, people give up on me, even family. But the worst is when I give up on myself. I am afraid to start good habits because if I can’t keep up with them, it frustrates me; even a small leak can sink a great ship.
Joy is light, fluffy, delicate like butterfly wings or bubbles. For a brief moment it lifts you and then drops you with double the force. Some have learned to gracefully catch their foot on the ground while happiness glides off. I have yet to learn that skill. If you don’t roll with happiness, it runs you over. And to be joyful one must understand the rhythm of happiness.
I have been looking for an answer so long that I have forgotten the question. Is there such a thing as enjoying your pain too much? I don’t know. But there are those days when I do. Sadness is heavy. It is like a rock. It is familiar. You know the pain and where it hurts. I would rather know the worse than wonder. When you have been joyless for a long time, you can’t be happy for a little bit.
Worrying about past deeds keeps me from going forward. I know I can’t fix what has been done before. But I can’t fix how it affects me today. Perfectionism has got me looking so hard for any flaws that after a while that’s all I see in me. When you are good at something there are always going to be people who tempt you into staying the same. Everyone wants to program you according to them.
Have you ever tried arranging a house of cards in a tornado? Spackle, prime, paint… I am tired of rebuilding, refurbishing, reinventing, redecorating, reinvigorating. It feels too much, too huge and overwhelming. Sometimes I am looking around for the jack hammer and the wrecking ball. I am not a bitter person but sculpted into one. At times that bitterness sweeps off innocence, kindness, intelligence and wisdom.
“Boundaries don’t keep other people out, they fence you in.
Life is messy, that’s how we’re made. So you can waste your life
drawing lines or you can live your life crossing them. But there
are some lines that are way too dangerous to cross. Here’s what I know.
If you’re willing to throw caution to the wind and take a chance,
the view from the other side… is SPECTACULAR!”
– Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy (Season 1, Episode 2)
Dead bodies are never a pretty sight; Some pasts are covered in dirt, buried but rotting and decaying, a vision in dirt and maggots. The smell of decay is not easy to breathe into. Digging up dead bodies and cleaning them doesn’t make them come alive either, but sometimes we need to know where we have been in order to know where we are going. Knowing that I will someday fall, I plan to be like a waterfall; one drop at a time, one drip at a time. One day, in that moment when the mist rises, will rise too the best of me. Wouldn’t that be joyous?
Never mind how open one’s horizon is, they can only see a piece of sky. Why must my wounds be deep for empathy? If I’m able to take care of myself it doesn’t mean others should stop caring about me. Dark clouds often hang over my head, and sometimes I try to ride them. I try to knock that pain cloud into rain, every drop accounting for every tear I shed, letting it fall into a clearer sky. There I hope to see the Sun.
I have tried to commit suicide eight times, and every time there was a power bigger than my wish for death that saved me. At times I am compassionate towards self, at times I feel sorry, at times I throw my hands up in the air and scream, “Why me?” Compassion is incomplete if it doesn’t include myself, so I strive to be more gentle to myself. I can’t say I am winning but I fight this battle for joy’s sake.
The grass is always greener where you water it. From time and again I will make efforts to crawl out of my cave and walk bare feet on the pastures. Next time you see me up the hill I might be there to fetch a pail of joy, so give me your kindest smile and I will be fine. Thinking about my struggles will make me heavy but your smile will help ease the burden. Even after all this, sometimes when a firefly reflects in the pupil of my eye, I glow with their glow briefly, and I thank nature for smiling back at me.
– Pratik Mamtora, Managing Editor