I never met a story I couldn’t tell until it was time to tell the story of my life. But, is my story worth writing about? The answer for that is often met up a degree of uncertainty. The last time I wrote about anything that wasn’t addressing travel or food was in January 2022. I stopped writing so I could have an experience, assuming that with that experience, a window of creativity would open up. Overall, I was bored writing about the many trips I went on or the restaurants I visited on the weekend. Churning out travel blogs, restaurant reviews, or talking about my favorite candles was never the intent of this blog. When I sat out to show case my writing on WordPress, it was to rework my short stories into digestible formats to introduce the world to my prose.
Perhaps I wasn’t persistent enough, but 2 years after starting this journey, I’d garnered an audience of 2 other bloggers. But, one time, I carelessly presented a blog titled, “Travel: How I got a Job that (kinda) Helped me to Travel.” Shockingly it was received very well, with more views than any previous posts. So, months after that, I decided to change the format of my blogs and rename it, Mauby Tales & Travel. Note that I purposely used the word “tales” first because I wanted this blog to stay true to storytelling.
While it may seem like I am unmoved by my latest body of work, I found some joy in the few times I got to research and write about stories such as Broke Back Mountain, In the Realm of the Senses, and various other topics of interest. It’s apparent that I connect more with pieces that display a range of complex emotions, but mainly with those touching on repressed emotions and the hidden nature of humans. My topic of interest for this post is fear and how it has played a role in my lifelong depression, self-worth, and constant existential crisis.
Warning, for the first time in a long time, this post will be about me. Perhaps this isn’t the type of writing expected, but I desperately want to tip the bucket over to prove that looks and behaviors can be deceiving. I’ve been writing and re-structuring this piece since late March 2022 and decided to throw it in the ring. This warning is stern, as this isn’t a masterful piece juxtaposing my amateur love for flare with pontificated sentences. Instead, it is logged as a regurgitation of thoughts, memories, and ideas activated by deep hurt.
Birth of Fear
I’ve questioned my existence as far back as the second grade. While it may seem odd for a child to wonder why they were born and their true purpose on earth. For me this was normal, but it was something I could never say out loud. I will assure you that I had these very thoughts at a young age, and they drove me crazy. Thinking about dying, giving birth, or what my life would be like as an adult drilled me with a layer of anxiousness that created a vague fear of the life to come.
I was an emotionally sensitive child who lacked parental warmth and grew into a deeply sensitive adult. I am an adult who is unsure of myself with reduced self-esteem, driven to perfect everything that orbits me. I’ve learned that having low self-esteem is the idea that someone could possess a deminished or overhyped views of themselves. If a person falls on any end of the spectrum, they unrealistically see themselves as lesser than or over estimate their self worth. I just happen to be on the lower end, where I often feel unworthy of my life. My accomplishments never spark joy as I push them aside only to set other milestones but never celebrating the last. Moving me into a cycle of feeling like everything I do personally, academically, or professionally has to always be one step above my past experience.
As a child, I wanted to die and frequently pondered why I had to be born. My existence didn’t make sense to me. One of the significant reasons for questioning my existence was religion. Being forced into Roman Catholic School and other religious programs, I was spoon feed the idea that if you are good, good things will happen, and God will protect you. As a child, I tried to be studious, obedient, caring, and forced myself to share with others. But I didn’t feel protected or safe. Hence, I believed dying would be better than suffering at the hands of others while on earth. As children are often viewed as weaker human-beings, unable to protect themselves. I found that I had no voice, freedom, or ability to avoid or fight off my enemies. Facing such obstacles as a child made me not want to exist, so silently praying for death became comforting. In that comfort, I often thought of heaven, and all my catholic faith told me about the happiness that waited on me there.
Astonishingly these thoughts weren’t inspired by the media or by similar events in my environment. At the time, I knew no one who took their own life or even knew there was a word for such ideas. My faulty logic simply assumed that this was my only escape. I bet readers are wondering what intense turmoil a child in the first, second, or third grade could be experiencing to have these thoughts fester so pervasively.
To start, I was born to a mother who never had a mother herself. Her mothering skills were dismal as she gave little encouragement or kind words. Most of the time, I was met with silence, indifference, or with moods that riddled me with anxiety and the notion that I was doing something wrong. I was often told that no one liked me, I wasn’t special, I was stupid, and the most common adjective was ugly. This all came from the home front, and when I entered primary school, this type of judgment was amped up by children teasing, isolating, or beating me up for one reason or the other. To say that this lasted only in primary and high school is a wish I could utter. Adulthood bought its own challenges, as I found disrespect from other adults through covert remarks, isolation, and passive-aggressive behavior. Just as I did in childhood, I adsorbed it and dealt with anything from abusive relationships to friendships with motives. To this day, this continues, but in isolated blocks. I’ve had to spent years avoiding people who may present this type of danger. This meant avoiding the fun things people did in their youth such as partying a lot, going to clubs/bars, sleeping around, and even romantic relationships. Too often, a lesson learned due to bad relationships, whether romantic or friendship, led me down the rabbit hole of self-isolation, harmful thoughts, and forced regulation of my emotions which can last for months or years.
Psychologyist say that children are informed first by their family, followed by community, school, and church. My first view into who I thought I was; came from the one person I was forced to spend the most time with. I was always afraid of my mother, and this fear often manifested in dreams where she was trying to kill me. As a child, I often had a reoccurring nightmare of being afraid of crossing the main road in my village. On the other side of the road, my mother stood beckoning me to come to her while a truck was coming at the same time. I recall there was fear in my little heart, but I was deadly afraid of disobeying her. So, I crossed knowing that the intent was for the truck to run me over. The second most common dream I would have was of me making her upset over something silly like slipping tea or playing too loudly. For that, I would be beaten mercilessly and forced to eat dirt. While these were only dreams, one can imagine that I often awoke sad or laid in bed quietly sobbing, filled with self-pity. Dreams are just dreams when they come from the logical mind, but as an adult remembering them, I knew there was something wrong. I later discovered in my twenties that something did happen to me when I was a baby. An older cousin professed that she walked in on my mother trying to suffocate me with a pillow because she said I cried too much. So, my dreams and fear of my mother weren’t unwarranted. The birth of fear was deeply engrained in me as a survival mechanism. As an infant only a few months old having to struggle for oxygen it set the tone for the way I would be tamed in this world. So, the first information I received from my mother was that I was never wanted. After being pushed out into the world as an adult, the same message prevailed in friendships and relationships.
I understand now more than every that there are millions of people like me languishing or succeeding in this world. There is nothing special about my experience or emotions, and I may possess the tamest story of a child who grew up in an adverse situation. I have met people who were sexually abused for years or left for death in situations that only a few could survive. Thought I realize my whining about my past life and trauma isn’t unique, it would be unrealistic to disregard it as a minor happening in my life. As it would be a true crime to deny those who suffered or is currently suffering, the ability to speak about what happened to them or just be silent about their pain.
While I can detail a laundry list of all the adverse side effects of being a child who was abused. I cannot overlook the negative, but there are a few benefits. The first is the altered sense of perception regarding danger. Some children who experience maltreatment tend to be able to point out cues in their environment that look similar to the abuse they suffered. While other might run to the same danager. They can perceive similar situations and better identify others who might be suffering from similar trauma. In some cases, terrible childhood can breathe a level of appreciation for creativity and the process of being creative. Of course, this is where the idea of the tortured artist may arise. For those who survive, learning resilience in the face of adversity is something that may become natural. But, we all know too well that imbalances in life stirs distrust, harmful thoughts, risky behavior, and a host of other elements that hampers how we experience the world.
…end of Act I…