I learnt to suffer in silence. I watched my mother swindle her joy and decipher her sanity in exchange for a building to call home. It wasn’t safe, nor was it welcoming. Grief was heard through the walls of this structure; my mother’s voice formed spirits that roared through the rooms in the house.
My mother got sold to marriage, she was persuaded by the idea that a man could save her from severe poverty. And money will buy the desired place, her own kingdom. She opened her legs to receive a stranger and soon after I was created.
My little eyes were unable to understand the trauma of childbirth. My mother risked her life because father thought it would be unholy if she went under the knife. I never understood his reasoning. Was the man dressed in white a witch doctor? Or was he a hired assassin? Mother was supposed to die from the blood loss, but I guess I was a miracle. My mother found strength in my smile.
Thereafter, her vessel became weak. Her womb got partially infected and it was difficult to produce any siblings. So I grew up, me, mum, dad, and a nanny. Nijel Cruss was hired as a caregiver and he was patient and childish like me. His company brought joy. He often bore his face in my carriage while I was asleep and awaiting my eyes to open. Actually, for most parts, I woke him up as a newborn baby. Mother was still healing from the scars, and father snored the night away. “That’s why I am paying you,” Father would speak to Nijel in a stern voice. So, off went Nijel walking towards a baby that was always ripe with tears.
Nijel was raising a baby by himself. A maid in training. His desire to work with kids at the city’s hospital drew him to work as a nanny. He will learn from his experience with me that a child needs compassion and tolerance. Each time I was in his arms, Nijel found creative ways to put me to sleep – singing, walking up and down, music, and warm embrace. It makes sense on how I became attached to this 19-year-old. He showed me the love of a father.
At three years old, I became aware that Nijel was not my father. And my real father was absent and preferred spending time in other homes. I was taught that my birth father wore glasses and had gray hair. Someone that treated me like a lost puppy. He was always in a rush to push me over to my mother or Nijel.
My mom gave me affection regardless of the hell she was in. Her body would never be the same. She had gained weight and father was not pleased. He called her a pig and mimicked sounds of a farm animal. Mother was tormented of a condition she could not control. The doctor said that “she is releasing a lot of cortisol hormones and she attempts to cure it with food”. The diets are ending up in a sinkhole, nothing worked.
“Tell the doctor about papa.” My little mind wanted to be the hero of mom’s story. She looked down to meet my eyes, ran her fingers through my hair and ignored me. Was that her survival tactic? Stay or live homeless? I learnt a lesson that day without knowing it: bleed in silence and make pain a secret.
I wish that I could have a conversation with anxiety. I hope that I could sit down and ask questions like; “why are you here? what are you telling me?” Often it feels as if I am constantly in a cycle of highs and lows. I want to rest, I want to be able to sit down and capture the moment. I want to cast memories in the present time. I have been sad and happy. I have dealt with confusion by eating into deep, loitered emotions. I couldn’t comprehend what my own body was turning into.
I wish I could see a screen. I could view an x-ray of the activities beneath my skin. I wish I could hold my hair back for a little longer so that I can finally reveal the shape of my face. But each time I lay down to rest, my mind wonder. I begin to think of scenarios that haven’t existed. I whisper thoughts of discouragement as I fathom words from my breath.
I wish I could be held by someone I confide in. The taste in my tongue has grown sour. I have licked dust from my experiences and the tone of my voice grows heavier. I pray to lay and rest. I pray to lay and not weep. I pray to kiss the warmth of the sheets and be steadfast in my restful state. But I am still weak and fragile.
The hunger that has carried me through, the sorrow that has stained my voice with dusty words, I am in lost of words to describe my feelings. Anxiety. Let down your guards. Let me come home. Let me be home.