It always catches you unawares. Creeps on you actually. And when you least expect it at that. You hate how it makes you feel. What it makes you do. The tears that it makes dance in your eyes. The throbbing slow but sure heartache. The headache that painkillers don’t relieve.
And you hate that you can never anticipate it. That way you would be able to plan some way to reduce its intensity or at least its effect. Anything triggers it. A picture, a story, a quote, a memory, a person, anything can trigger it off. Including the church, the bible or a sermon. In simple terms, its not in your control.
Today its that book. You hated reading it. Yet you turned page after page. The main character was so unlike you yet so like you. It was a sad story. And you wanted a happy ending. Chimamanda always gives you those. But either way, you knew these things never end. At least not happily.
And now you are left destabilized. You know how it goes after this. You’ll go through various social media sites. None will quench the holes that I’ve been opened. You’ll then watch a series. Still, it will not have your concentration. So you will add games as you are watching the series. Still, nothing changes.
The pain will come in measured doses. You stopped calling it hurt because you can’t explain to someone why you are hurting. Every beat your heart takes is pain. Its this dull ache starting from so deep within you. You wish you could talk to someone. Anyone. But would they really understand your pain? And even if they did what would they do?
After some hours of the pain and nonworking distractions comes the anger. Anger at life. You get angry to the friends who just never understand why you are so affected by life as if anyone else has had it easy. You get angry at her for never leaving and him for never caring. You get angry at the world for normalizing things that kill you. You get angry for never really having someone who gets you except God. And at this point, you never really want to talk to Him. You want to ask where He was when you were dead inside. But you won’t. He has never given anyone an answer to why He allowed the things that happened to them to happen. And even if He did give you an answer, would it stop this often bouts of pain?
And finally you get angry at yourself. For being a weakling. For not being strong enough to come out of ‘normal life occurences’ normal. Instead, you came out broken. You get angry because you are the only friend you have during this times. And right now, you can’t find anything to help yourself with. You get angry because you always say you will see a counsellor. But they will be human. And as experience has taught you, humans expect people who have gone through tragic sudden one off things such rape to be the ones with internal problems. Not people like you who have had seemingly normal lives.
And that is when anger gives way to hopelessness. This is the part you hate the most. It can last for hours or days or weeks. During this phase, you wonder what could have been done differently. Could God have used just a little more clay to make you stronger than you are now? Why can’t you brush off your past the way others do? What did you or anyone in your family do to make you deserve this pain? Is it a punishment for never being good enough? What will ever exorcise these demons?
Hopelessness leads to despair. You remember all those days you had hope in the future. And how now that does not matter. Your pain has a way of canceling any progress made. Yesterday you were so happy. Because the day before you believed in everything He told you. How He said that everything shall work out for your good. How He said that He will be there for you. And you damn believed it. You don’t doubt it now either.
Its just that this hurts. Having pain whose source you can’t pin point. How messed up is that? Its like a small remainder of the sad life you’ve lived. You want to dispute it. But evidence proves otherwise. You question so many thing during this pain. Like do people truly ever get over their pasts? Is there a time you will ever be okay? Like just live knowing that nothing will trigger pain in your soul? Will you ever be okay? Will it ever be okay? Or will this pain be that constant remainder that ‘umetoka mbali’?
It always takes different things for this pain to go away. Last time it was a talk with God. The previous time was time off from home. This time you have no idea. But you hope that you will be alive by the end of it all. Before you opened up your past wounds and scars, you survived on survival mode. But the moment you opened those boxes ,that mode went away. Now, you simply survive. You wish for so many things. You want those happy endings Chimamanda always gives. But you know hers are always a little bit too exaggerated.
You are sad. Angry. Hopeless. In despair. You have to make room for it. Pretend you are okay because its the better alternative to showing you are not okay. Its back. Its getting too familiar. And you hold it in contempt. This pain.