My life is at its lowest point right now. I don’t remember ever having felt so despondent, or so completely trapped in a situation of my own making, before. That’s the worst, isn’t it, when you’re eight feet deep in a shithole and you know it was you that dug every last inch of that hole and piled on every last pound of the poo. No job, repeated failure at exams I should’ve breezed through, no real life, no self-respect, no respect from others either … talk about it all going tit’s up, pear-shaped, shit hitting the fan and all that.
I remember fantasising a lot, as a kid. I was the only child of my parents, one too old and wrapped up in drowning out his miserable personal life by overworking, and the other mentally handicapped and incapable of taking care of herself, let alone a child. We lived with my dad’s mother, a woman so traumatised by her life’s events that she was exactly like one of those war veterans who just can’t seem to let their past glories go, and sink into deeper and deeper isolation. Obviously, nobody got along with anybody else, and I would often go sit in the corner of the room between the bed and the wall, hugging a pillow and reading a book or thinking about all the great things I’d do when I got out of “here”.
My strongest desire back then was to just be alone. No people around to keep fighting with, no people around to feel isolated from … my closest “friend” at school took great pleasure in showing me up and talking down to me, and I stuck around because that was the closest thing to intimacy I got those days. It’s funny how you can still feel so alone when everyone knows your name and respects you. Anyway, I shouldn’t really discount the relationship I had with our family maid – she did after all pay the most attention to me and take care of me almost like her own. But there’s a point where you stop relating to each other, and it happened faster here because of the language barrier and the sheer difference in outlook on life. The other relationship I really valued was with a friend from fourth grade, who had to move away, and came back only after the majority of my mental problems were ingrained. It’s only looking back now that I comprehend how big the loss of a “normal person” was and how different my life would’ve been had she been able to stick around.
Anyway, I digress. What I was recalling were those childhood fantasies that became so important to me because they helped me stay sane from day to day. It wasn’t your usual “astronaut one day, detective the other” fare, although obviously the fertile imagination of a child indulges in those to a necessary extent. I had more specific dreams – of a driver’s licence, a flat of my own with one cat, a job I enjoyed and was good at, and lots and lots of books to come home to and read to the cat. A seat near the window that I could watch the rain from. An English-speaking country, where I thought I wouldn’t feel so alone (I’ve had local language trouble wherever I’ve lived, so I assumed this was one root of the isolation). And tons and tons of books.
It turns out things aren’t so simple, after all. Where am I now – in a foreign country, like I always wanted, married to a man I love, which I discovered later that I wanted, and yet I am so frightfully unhappy. I have a lovely, high balcony in the flat that I want to jump from every time I look at the view. The city has an amazing train system I want to throw myself in front of. I visualise running into traffic every time I get out, and it becomes harder and harder to drive the temptation away. I fail, and I fail, and I fail again, at exams I need to pass to get a job. I am unemployable, and right now I don’t even know if I am capable of doing any job. I screw up every single thing I do, every responsibility I take on, and nothing I do is good enough or smart enough or just enough, to me or anyone else. I am more intellectually underdeveloped (i.e., plain stupid) than I imagined myself to be, and I have become the antithesis of everything that little girl yearned to be. I have no respect for myself, and am seeing more and more everyday the lack of respect in others for me. Day by day, I become more of a burden than anything else. Isn’t the logical thing in that situation to ease others of that burden?
What does one do next when the realisation of utter failure and non-achievement and absolute worthlessness hits completely? One apparently piles on yet another handful of excrement.