So, okay. Here’s the truth of it.
Around four months ago, when I announced I’d be quitting blogging for good (an entry now made private, as it no longer makes sense in the context of my blog), I only listed a smattering of reasons explaining why. But the whole story, the real story of why I ran away from my writing, was one far more personal and terrifying.
Would you believe I was under threat? Would you believe I was actually told that if I posted one more entry or published one more piece online, or so much as leaked a single photo of myself out onto the Internet, that I’d be personally attacked to the point where I’d feel like dying inside? That I’d suffer a punishment so severe I’d want to kill myself?
I know what you’re thinking. “What the flarb?!”
But at the time, this person’s power and control over me was so strong that I felt I had no other choice. I can’t tell you the deep sort of depression it put me in to suffer through this psychopath’s brainwashing and exploitation. How proud and powerful this crazy person must have felt to know that they’d effectively “tamed” me in a way. Me. Usually so untouchable. Usually so self-confident. Usually so independent. Tamed by this monster.
Hm. “Tamed” is the wrong word.
Let’s go with, “held captive under threat”.
That seems like a more appropriate phrase.
I realize now how crippled I was by allowing someone who clearly did not have my best interest in mind to manipulate my actions. To rob me of my passions. To pull me away from the things that made me me, and to smother my inner light. When I look back at how this happened, I feel flabbergasted. I am shocked at myself. I end up replaying scenes in my head of friends and family who all stood by me while they watched me fade away, all fighting to help me pull myself together, all trying to shake me out of this stupefied lump of a human being I’d become who’d lock herself away in her room in tears, refusing to listen to reason.
But let’s not dwell on the past.
Four hard months later, four hard months full of focusing only on myself and what makes me happy, on surrounding myself with friends and family who care about me, on pushing myself to try new things even while terrified of what would happen if that psycho ever found out I was actually living my life — four incredibly difficult months later, I feel … I don’t know. Better. Stronger. Happier.
I feel like I can write again.
Holy shit. I’m writing again. I’m writing again!
Like I can be me again, and like everything will be okay.
I’m still scared, of course. Some small voice inside of me still shies away, terrified of this person, my heart pounding with dread just before I hit publish on anything. And I suppose, in that sense, this awful monster who manipulated me for so long wins in a way, because I can’t seem to shake this lingering fear. And believe me; I’ve been working on it. I’ve managed to crush my anxiety from the mountain it was down to a pebble thanks to a newfound focus on holistic wellness and embracing the idea that happiness is seasonal. But that pebble, as small as it is, still haunts me.
I don’t think there’s any real way to forget the hurt we feel when someone exploits us so thoroughly that it completely disrupts our lives. I don’t think there’s any real way to 100% forget something or someone that’s managed to change us in some way, good or bad.
But I’ll keep trying.
And I hope that by reclaiming a part of my life that I’ve spent my entire career building, I can take another step forward.
To everyone who’s been pushing me, motivating me, and reminding me how powerful I really am, thank you. You may not realize it, but you saved my life. You really did. Thank you so much.
And to my close friends and family who I’ve leaned on, who I’ve cried to, who I’ve texted in the middle of the night because I couldn’t seem to get to sleep, thank you especially. There are a handful of people in my life (if that) who I trust wholeheartedly, and I’ve told you enough times that you should count yourselves among them. I realize this doesn’t mean anything in the big scheme of things, that “Cheri’s Gold Star” sticker doesn’t really amount to much, but it means something to me. And I hope that’s reward enough.
God damn it.
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