I am writing this today, now that I feel like a fuller person. A person at all.
But I am writing about the time I was not. I was a mere pump of hurt and sickness. I am writing about things that need to be not forgotten. Of the passing of storm.
I would rather do it on the secret blog, but I need this to be admitted publicly.
Because I was told people have felt what I feel. And have struggled for the lack of expression, lack of a co-sufferer.
I have been all these people. I have been a sufferer, a co-sufferer, a co-sufferer of co-sufferer, I have been the lack of expression, the expression and the lack.
I have been ‘I don’t know what this is, but I feel deep sadness, I want to cry’ ‘maybe you are just hungry’
I have been ‘I am crying because this was not fair.’ ‘There is always worse things to happen. What’s crying going to help’ and
I have been ‘I know what this is. I don’t want to feel it. Get me rid of it’
I am i dothis to myself no idonot iamallowed to be hurt but i am so done why cantimake itstopaaargh
I am writing this with more than the guts I have allotted myself for writing of things untalked.
My mother suffers through a mental illness and people don’t talk about it.
I have so much to say about it. I want to talk about the nights I spent peeking behind the wall to see why mummy papa were yelling at each other, the night she cut her hair and threw them in the dustbin, the blue walls of the childhood home, the cream ones of the first hospital we took her to. The screams, the phone calls from the next one, the screams, the white dress she wore. I have so much to say about the pain of a caretaker-of, co-sufferer-of, think-about-how-bad-it-must-be-for-them of people who suffer. I have a lot to write about the suffering of what follows a childhood with no explanations, of sudden disappearance and appearance of parents, of a tiny whole world on the verge of crumbling and not all the time. I am aware of the scare at the center of my chest of things falling apart with any word now.
So much I just want to write about so it is out of my system, but still on a page, safe. I used to cry every time a guest left. I would secretly wish for mummy to come back, wishing out loud was risking hurt to relatives trying to fill up a mum shaped gap in my soul, I killed my aching grandfather, in summers I read my cousin’s Enid Blytons secretly. I failed all my tests in school the month mummy was taken to the hospital. All the Mahabharata tales were told to me over phone by my mother. She was not allowed to talk long enough to complete any.
3 years ago, I read the whole Mahabharata. I know the ends now.
I thought I was done. Like I had whitewashed the wall off all the bullet marks and crayon scribbles gone for good.
But who was a fooling? It comes back. In dreams, in forms, in books, in screams, in theatre practices.
The depth of feeling it causes me continues to surprise me. How it hits me at the center of my being and leaves me unable to move for days. It hit me last on Wednesday. I spent the night crying in bed.
Thursday I left early from office because I could not hold the crying anymore. I took my bike and drove it to somewhere far. From what, I do not know. I sat at the university till the sun set. I switched my phone off to put off the noise of family not texting or calling. I drove out again, in a direction I don’t remember, numb as I felt, it did not matter. Maybe the cheesecake at the cafe I like would fix how cheated I felt. I drove more, maybe the chickoo milkshake would heal the past.
I sat in front of my old house
I smelt the old Raatranis
I smoked a cigarette
I borrowed a lighter
I drove till my back hurt
Then I drove some more
Friday I missed office
Saturday I put my head back and stared at the ceiling of my therapist’s clinic. I counted backwards from 10, 20 times. Till she hugged me. Then I cried and shivered. And curled into a bundle and cried. I remember words from that room. Orphaned I said. Unanchored she repeated. Sense of loss I said. A feeling of desolation she agreed.
With her I grieved things my fingers tire writing of
I have been mourning till now the childhood, the parent I lost, the parent of losing whom I live in the constant fear of. I mourned every PTA meeting I went to alone for. I am mourning still the times aunts picked their children over me and we shared awkward glances worrying about the obligation to be done or not. Scarring both ways, I mourned. So long the moment, so heavy when you stand beside a conversation only a mother and child can have. What do you do with all the space, the hands, ears you are suddenly so aware of?
But things have changed. These are happier times. Someone tell the 10 year old, who carried desolation in her satchel. Who is not sure who to count on.
My therapist told me to try to accept the love my relatives give me, my friend’s parents, aunties, uncles, my parents. And I yelled at her. She doesn’t know. She does not understand. This love goes. That love goes, it does not stay, it humiliates, becomes awkward at the end while going to PTA you are alone and will forever be.