Around noon yesterday I headed to the toilet and saw in the mirror some dark, wet splashes on my T-shirt. Didn’t know until that moment that I’d been crying. I continued to cry…hot, heavy tears that literally leaked out of my eyes.
I was mourning the death of my dreams.
Step back: yesterday I had my one-one-one language lesson. Or should I say I sat in one a one-on-one conversation. The other student showed up, having been told that she didn’t have to pay for the lesson. I had to pay or I’d get kicked out. She gets a free ride. A bit of reverse discrimination that doesn’t sit well with me. It was obvious my teacher preferred talking to the other student. So little was said to me that I actually didn’t even have to be present or try to weave coherent sentences together for answers. And I heard two things. One, I need to calm down. Two, everyone is bloody well convinced I’m a fucking genius and with that conviction comes the expectation for me to do more.
Nothing – and I mean nothing – could have sent me back into 17 year old mode me like that. It’s not something I expected or was even aware of. It was my tears that tipped me off: I’ve been triggered, and I’ve got something going on.
This burden I feel to do more, be more, simply because I catch on quickly or register high on an IQ test is overwhelming. Making mistakes isn’t good enough: I’m too smart for that. Doing average isn’t good enough: I’m too smart for that. Doing only what’s expected of me isn’t good enough: I’m capable of more because I’m so fucking smart.
Oh fuck you fuck you fuck you!
Constant nagging. Constant expectations – and constant disappointment in those around me when they judge I haven’t lived up to their expectations.
I. hate. it.
It was like a memory bell going off in my head – aha! Yes! Now I remember. Now I remember why. And thoughts of teachers mingled with memories of my mother, and I heard echoes of those terrible words: You can’t. You can’t keep writing in English and master Dutch. You can’t be an actress or a musician because you’re too smart. You can’t do what you love because. Because.
I was told I need to establish boundaries. Yeah, says my brain, if I was capable of establishing boundaries I doubt I would count the rapes I experienced as three. Three times I’ve been violated. Plus the guy who liked to hit me, the stalker, and so much other sexual harassment and lack of boundary issues that it’s bloody well evident to ME that I have a real problem saying “no”.
And my heart and chest felt full. Congested, like your nose feels when you’ve got a cold. I found it difficult to take a deep breath. The full force of that terrible day – the day my mother quashed my dreams – came back to me. I felt every bit of me break. And finally the word I have so much trouble saying came screaming out at me in full lit-up neon letters:
You want boundaries? Here it is – and if you try and cross it again I’ll rip your goddamn arms out of their sockets.
…And why do other people need boundaries? Don’t they know how fucking rude they are? How wrong it is to harass, harangue, belittle, scold, or shame another person? Have other people NO empathy whatsoever?
Did I not say I was a writer? Did I not make it clear how necessary this is to me? Did you not see my face light up and my eyes glow as I spoke of my work? Did you not grasp that this is my reason for living?
*scoff* Put it aside! Like that’s gonna happen.
Ended up talking to my bro, getting it out of me. Went to the gym and burned hard; passed the 2km mark at 15 minutes. Spent the evening quietly, soothing my brain every time this issue resurfaced (and boy, did it resurface!).
What’s really bugging me is this insistent belief I have that I can do it all. Write my plays in English like a madwoman and turn around and ace Dutch. I’ve just been easy on myself. Lazy. I can do more. And the truth is, I can do more. I have, many times in the past. But…I also become a raging lunatic. Crazed. Angry all the time because I’m always doing something I have to do, or feel obligated to do, or shamed into doing, rather than doing what I want to do.
I mean…who’s life is this, anyway?
In the midst of all this desire to achieve, I’m in real danger of losing site of my main goal: happiness. I want to master Dutch. I want to write plays. I want to get in better shape. Goals aplenty; I’ve never had problems with that. But drive me too much, work me too hard, and I forget the basic axiom: be happy. I consider it a personality fault. A weakness. I’ve seen other people do more with less. Though, to be honest, I can’t speak as to their level of happiness.
All I’m really left with is a desperate wish that people would stop telling me how smart they think I am.
Stop expecting so much from me. Why is it you can be delighted with the offerings of morons, yet look on my contributions and efforts with a ‘eh, you could have done better’ attitude? Don’t I deserve a little cheerleading?
Don’t you see how much work I put in to look so smart?
…This is nothing I asked for. I was born with it. And, like so many of us, I pay the price for what I was born with every damned day of my life. And. it. sucks.
That much is evident in the tracks of my tears.