On Beginnings

On Beginnings

How Escapism Led Me To Writing
91
views

Every now and again, we’ve to look back to our past and consider the lives we’ve lived. Up to this point, overall, I’ve not lived a bad life. Yet, who I am today stems from the moments of my life that I didn’t wish to face, whether it be due to pain, anxiety, or the desire to be elsewhere.

Growing up I had the good fortune of being part of a family who took great pleasure in vacationing. They didn’t vacation for the adventure of traveling, but rather for the indulgence of escaping a ordinary life.

It was never the destinations that drove them to a location; local culture, history, and art did not interest them. Instead, it was the prospect of complete service. The idea that they could spend money upfront to have others care for them. At least, when I think back to it, this is how it seemed to be.

Every now and again they’d sign us up for an excursion, but most of these vacations were spent around the pool, with me fetching them drinks, over-eating at the buffet, and sleeping.

Over the years, when the number of family-friends who joined in climbed, we started looking into different resorts, but the similar areas. For me, most of the time, I was on my own during these vacations to Mexico.

Being the youngest, I had to find ways to entertain myself, to get away from the feeling of being an outsider. Aside from being the youngest, I was a shy, heavy-set child. To do something alone was terrifying, yet to sit around the pool and watch all others laughing and becoming drunk would worsen that sense of not belonging.

I suppose I should’ve added that I began reading at a young age. Not necessarily because I wanted to, but because I was told it would help with my speech—for a number of years in elementary school, I was part of the speech therapy program. Through reading, I found a kind of pleasure in the act of fantasizing the material. Like many other children, I would daydream constantly, and I found that reading only served to deepen those daydreams. In a way, I read to bring about more intricate, enjoyable dreams.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when all the anxieties begin in life. When did walking into a room of strangers become terrifying? When did the shaking in my hands, the sensation of my body locking up begin? When did my dreams become nightmares?

At some point in my childhood, things changed. Fears began. Shame started to grow within me. Things that I had found joy in seem to lose the appeal they once had. Dreaming became a frightful act of violence. My subconscious had seemingly turned on me, and night after night I tried to stay awake, to keep away from dreaming. This was the time that night terrors began.

During these years, I stopped reading. Before, before the terrors, I would record my dreams down in a notebook. Now, I tried to keep away from them. Most nights when I’d sleep over at friends, I’d wake in the middle of the night, crying, demanding to go home—the only place I thought of as comforting.

It was also during these years where I began playing video games, and it was through video games where I found pleasure in escaping the present. It was a means to live a life that was not my own, yet, in some aspect, was my own. After all, I was the mind behind each character I played through as, guiding them through their world. I had become a hand of fate to these fictitious characters.

With the ongoing divorce of my parents, and the hard move away from my childhood home—a house that I always said I’d never leave—this is how I spent a large portion of my teenage years: hiding away in digital realities.

When I was nineteen, after working a year in a UPS warehouse, I landed a job at Barnes & Noble. They hired me because of my experience in that warehouse. Not due to my background or remote love for literature. In short, I had no idea what literature even was. I was in community college at the time, on academic probation for nearly flunking the spring semester. Life wasn’t what I thought it would be. All my close friends were away at universities, and I was struggling with community college, working at a Barnes & Noble for extra money.

The feeling of being an outsider was, perhaps, a feeling that never truly left me. There were numerous times, early in the morning, as I stocked the book aisles, when I’d think back to those days of my youth spent on vacations with my family, about the time wasted hiding away in video games, about the night terror—which were returning at this age after years of calm. I was nineteen, and I didn’t know who I was, or what I was supposed to do.

One day, relatively early on in my days at Barnes & Noble, I was shelving fiction books. I flipped through the first pages of the books I had heard about in high school—Slaughterhouse-Five, Frankenstein, Catcher and the Rye. After that shift, I bought three books. Among those three books was The Alchemist.

I didn’t know anything about it, or Paulo Coelho, only that a friend I worked with at that time, Janna, highly recommended it. It was in that book that I started discovering the wonders of language, the light that’s tucked between the pages. It was The Alchemist that allowed me to escape, yet with a purpose.

The next morning, after finishing the novel, I sat down beside the fireplace of my home at the time, opened a blank page, and began writing for myself. It was with these first lines, which grew into one of my first short stories, that taught me who I am, what I am, and how to become that which we’re meant to become.

Often the world works against us. However, every now and again, we manage to remain quiet enough to hear its whisper ushering us into a specific direction, towards the light that remains at a distance in the dark.

Cover Image Credit: Coty Poynter

Popular Right Now

To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
1712414
views

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

276
views

When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

Related Content

Facebook Comments