The Eternal Struggle

From a very young age I always remember being told to stop doing something, don’t do this don’t do that. Now many of the things I was told to stop doing, were definitely beneficial. For example I had a habit of running with scissors, pencils or paint filled paint brushes. I don’t recommend doing any of these things, so I can see that I definitely had to stop doing those things.

I however was never told to stop being happy. But somewhere along the way I stopped being happy. Somehow all the happiness I had in my life turned to ash, turned to anger, and from a young age I began to hate myself. Sad right? Wrong. I’ll tell you why a little later. For now I’ll tell you how I got here.

I never felt the pressure to be “successful” from my mother. She just wanted me to do whatever I wanted. I wanted to play hockey, but she was a single parent and there simply wasn’t enough time or money to make that happen. I understand that as an adult who now has to pay bills and pay taxes. I understood it as a kid too, but I really wanted to play hockey. Point is, my mom tried and did it all for me. So where did this pressure to be successful come from? And what was this success I was looking for?

It started because I started to care about what everyone else was saying. I started down this road because I felt like maybe I was doing something wrong. It started because for the first time in my life I felt heart break, pain and suffering. What kind of heart break can a kid go through? I’ll tell you. When I was 2 my dad died, I never got to know him. It never really bothered me but I’d always hear snarky comments from people about how “I’m like that because I don’t have a dad” or from the kids on the playground that my mom was a slut. Now to be fair, I had no clue what the word “slut” meant so I didn’t really let that bug me. But “the way I am?” That bugged me, was there something wrong? I was 9 years old and I remember thinking that something was wrong with me.

Right after that thought came across my mind, my dad’s sister and her husband paid us a visit. They sought me out so they could reconnect with me. Now I don’t remember a lot of what they had to say, I do remember them giving me 100 dollars, and telling me that they’d promise to call me every week. They never called. I’d come home sit by the phone and wait… and they never called. It hurt but I was a kid and I went on with my 9 year old life, went outside place with my friends, read books, pulled girls hair, normal 9 year old stuff.

A few months later my half brother David came and sought me out. I’d never had a brother, thought I never would. He came and talked to me, told me about our dad, gave me 100 dollars, a photo of him and my dad, he also gave me 100 dollars… and promised to call, promised to be a brother to me. Again, I came home everyday and waited for his phone call … he never called. I thought that on my 10th birthday they’d for sure call… I can’t explain it but all I wanted was that phone call, they promised. They promised me and as far as I knew if you made a promise you had to keep it.

Maybe there was something wrong with me, maybe thats why they didn’t call. I decided that I had to change that I was the problem. I didn’t know how I was going to change, but I was going to change. As I’ve been writing this I’ve been thinking how I changed and I must have changed a hundred times and hated it. I tried to be something, someone I wasn’t, and it made me angry, it made me hate myself, I was… I didn’t need to change. Middle school saw me get sent into anger management because there obviously was something wrong, I was moody, I was sad and I lashed out. I didn’t tell the councillors what was going on, how I felt something was wrong, how I was frustrated. I didn’t want them to tell me that I was crazy, because its defiantly how I started to feel.

I was so worried that everyone would see this struggle, that they’d see that I kept trying to reinvent myself, that I was failing and that it made me hate myself. I didn’t feel like I could do anything right, I didn’t feel like I could be myself. In high school I took drama, I’ve always loved it, because I’d get to play someone I wasn’t. I would get to be a character that someone made up. A character that someone else did the work on, which I got to portray. I excelled at it, I loved it. So I started creating my own characters, writing, reading, finding ideas, I loved it.

I managed to carve out a great reputation in high school. Rugby player, drama nerd, student body president ( I was impeached)  Student council rep, my friends and teachers loved me. I was popular, well respected and I hated myself. But why? Why did I hate myself? Because years before I experienced heart break? Because kids called my mom a slut? At that time I couldn’t put my finger on it. All I knew is that I hated myself, and I was sad all the time but I also knew that this feeling wasn’t right. I really had no reason to feel like this but I did. And I didn’t know how to ask for help, I didn’t want anyone to see this, see that I was struggling. I didn’t want to let anyone in because I was afraid they’d start to love me and just leave, leave the way my aunt, uncle and brother did. I was lonely even though I had so many friends, people that still to this day care about me.

Guess you’re starting to see that I have a fear of abandonment. I definitely do. I went away for university, I needed to get away. I needed to leave home and carve out a new beginning. I truly believed that leaving would help me find myself and it did. I went from  having many friends, to none. I went from being a rugby player to being an injured athlete with post concussion syndrome. I went from being a great student to a concussed kid who couldn’t face outside. That first year of university was the hardest time of my life and it only got harder. I wasn’t the person I was in high school. Yes, that kid hated himself but didn’t want to kill himself. Thats where I was at the beginning of February of 2012. So one day I went  to class (shocking) came home, smoked a ridiculous amount of weed. Then I took a needle and stuck it into my arm and pushed the plunger down and felt nothing, I couldn’t hear the voice that made me hate myself. I couldn’t see or feel anything. Now I wouldn’t be writing this, so you know the outcome. I failed.

The next year I started dating someone. Her name isn’t important but she is. I started dating this person, I let her in, I told her almost everything. I let her see that I was in pain all the time, I let her see that a part of me wanted to do better just for her. Thats what I thought love was. Wrong. There were so many things wrong with that relationship and it ended via text. Which quiet honestly just shattered my world. I thought things were fine and then they weren’t. Now after a break up, I recommend just taking your time, being positive …. Well I didn’t take my time, I couldn’t be positive. I became bitter, I wanted to win the break up, I wanted her to suffer… I hated her. I went back to school and let that hate consume me. Now I built a lot of great relationships while I was at school that year, but I was always angry. I was sad that she dumped me, angry that she dumped me. Everything I did was to spite her.

I promise I’m almost at the end, and I promise to share what I learned. I lost a friend right before my last year at university, he hung himself after a break up. I don’t blame his ex, I don’t blame him but it was very difficult. I remember thinking that this is what my life is going to be like, everyone I care about is just going to leave. At the same time I had started seeing a girl. I to this day don’t know why I liked her, she kept me on the perimeter and kinda just used me. I knew that but I kept thinking that somehow she’d make things better. She didn’t and it doesn’t matter what she did to me but I came home one night after a lengthy night of drinking and hung myself. I’m 0-2. You know, when I woke up I was a little mad because I was still alive, but also for the first time I was happy that I’d get another day.

Did you hear that? I was happy. I thought to myself that there was definitely a reason I was still here. That I couldn’t just be alive so I could suffer and be angry and hate myself. That year I went back to school, had the time of my life. Lived with amazing people, went out, was a student rep, I stepped out of my comfort zone and I experienced happiness. I embraced it because the way I was living was just draining. I graduated, I completed something that I thought was to hard. I did it, I made it and nothing makes me prouder than looking at that degree. When I look back on my University days, you know what I tell people? Only the great things that happened in that last year. Not because I’m afraid of what they’ll think but because of all that shit, all the hardship, the suffering something amazing came out of it.

This is where I’ll end. I’ve been working on this post for months, and right now I’m actually going through a break up. The reason was the best reason I’ve ever heard. She told me that I needed to love myself in order to be in a long strong relationship, she said she was naive to think her loving me would get me to love myself. She taught me so much over the course of our relationship. I stopped appreciating what I had in front of me, not by neglecting her but by becoming more and more negative. I couldn’t see the little things she did for me… I didn’t want to.  I wanted her to fix me, I wanted her to do all the work. I’m heart broken because by the time I decided that I was going to do something it was to late. I kept thinking negatively and well look what happened. This was the girl I thought I’d marry. Each day since then has gotten better, the next morning I woke up and went to the gym …. I didn’t want self pity, I didn’t want to dwell, I wanted to get better, fix myself, be happier than I was yesterday. So whats the point of this post?

1)My aunt, uncle and brother not keeping their promises hurt, but I’ll always keep mine.

2) It doesn’t matter what other people say. Everyone is going to have haters. If it makes you happy, do it. Make sure the things you do in life make you happy. Don’t do something because it makes others happy. If you have a passion for Art, don’t become a Lawyer.

3) Do things for yourself, keep yourself happy. If you take care of yourself everything in the world around you will be easier, brighter, and relaxed.

4) In life you’re going to face hardships, things are going to happen that you can’t control. But you know what, you can control what you do. Don’t meet things with a negative attitude, just embrace it and learn from it. Stay Positive.

Everything gets better. Everything gets better but only if you want it. Yes, it took a lot for me to get here but I’m on this path, a path where I can see the clearing of the forest. I look back and see how far I’ve come. How much I have going for me. I appreciate the things that have happened to me. Some where mistakes, but I’m not a bad person. I don’t hate myself anymore, I still get mad but thats a human emotion. I can get a little besides myself when people say things to me but I don’t let it destroy me. So I implore you to take time to see the little things, because in life there are so many little things that we over look. The little things add up. If you can’t find something little just take this for an example, you’re reading this right now, which means you woke up, which means you have access to the internet, and you can read, which means someone took the time to teach you… See? Its the little things.

Adel M.