“I am a ghost
The ghost of a little girl
Who loved the world
And adored the cards she was dealt.”
~ Paola Rossi
Two years ago, on April 25th 2016, something happened to me which started a long chain of events that led to me becoming what I am today. And what I am is someone broken. I may learn one day to cope with all my issues, to live a relatively peaceful life, but I will never be the same again.
It sounds dramatic, I know. Maybe you’re wondering what happened. I’ll tell you.
My cat died. Actually, he was put down.
It won’t be what you were expecting. But circumstances are cruel, and my cat was the only true friend I had known throughout my life. My upbringing was largely to blame for this, but I’m not prepared to discuss that. So I lost the only friend I had ever known. And to put it bluntly: I lost it.
I often say Instagram ruined my life, when in truth, I ruined my life. I broke myself. I don’t blame it on my upbringing, not in the least. The reason I am broken today is not my parents’ doing. You could blame them, of course, but I don’t. Because blame is too easily put upon the innocent. I take full responsibility for my own actions. What destroyed me is simple: I got into a bad crowd.
Instagram, and all other social media platforms, have a dark side. And try as I might, I cannot get away from it. This is why I don’t use social media, ever. Not because of moral or ethical reasons, but just because it destroys me, quickly and effortlessly.
I don’t want to talk about all of it, but I will say that I got into four extremely toxic friend/relationships. These relationships caused my social and general anxiety. My discomfort around lighters, my aversion to shouting or banging. My skittishness around people my own age and a few years over. My reluctance to make friendships. And above all, my self hatred.
My mother didn’t understand, or maybe she just didn’t want to. We even had an argument about it very recently. She says that it wasn’t real. This, obviously, added tremendously to the damage I collected from everything that happened. There is something so undeniably horrible and soul-destroying about someone you love that much saying something that terrible.
Because if it wasn’t real, why did I self harm? If it wasn’t real, why do I have a crippling social anxiety? If it wasn’t real, why do I have panic attacks when I’m in crowds? If it wasn’t real, why do I hate myself? Why am I broken?
I am so lucky to have my sister. She is the only person who has never once treated me like… well, I don’t know how to describe it. She treats me like a human being, listens to what I have to say. And I am extremely willing to admit that she saved my life.
Because she validated me. She showed me that my opinion means something, that I am a person and I am worthy of more than what I experienced on the internet.
My sister, my blood sister, introduced me to Instagram. And when I told her that I was banned from it, without even knowing the circumstances, she told me I was too young for it anyway.
This lack of support seems to run in my family, I’m sad to say.
My blood brother is as supportive as he can be, and I love him dearly. He’s certainly a darn sight better than the other two, I know that. Everyone has their weak points, though. And when a girlfriend comes on the scene, it gets complicated.
My father tries. It’s not his strong point. I can’t say he hasn’t tried.
Mum… mum. Where do I begin. What is there to say. She’s the best mother in the whole goddamn world, and she’s a long way away from the worst, but she’s made her share of bad choices.
My parents, well, I love them. I love them more than anyone. But there’s a lot of things they just shouldn’t have done, and that’s pretty much the sum of it.
My lovely, messed up family. I love them to bits. I just wish they hadn’t said and done such shitty things.
In truth, 2016 was the worst year of my life.
I don’t know who I would be if it hadn’t happened, and I will never know. But the good news is it’s over now, and I hope I don’t have to go through a year like that again.
Finally, I have a sister, the truest one I’ll ever have. And I’m sure I’ll find a lot more friends in time.
I have a future now. And that is ten billion times more than what I had when I was lying on the grass in the middle of the night, in the pouring rain, screaming.
Now, when I cry, I cry about what I’m crying about, not everything bad that’s happened.
Now, when I go out in public, I give considerably less of a shit than I did last year.
Now, when I look around, I know I’m going to make something of my life.
I don’t want to be famous. I’m not naive enough to want to change the world, either. No, I’m going to travel, I’m going to write, to try and find love, to meet amazing people and undoubtedly some horrible people, to help who I can and leave who I can’t, and live my life for me, as opposed to anyone else.
It sounds horribly inspirational and optimistic, and I find myself nauseous reading this back, but after all this time, there it is…