I thought that I would wait up till graduation to let it out. But I figured that He had other plans in store for me. The past few years have been the most testing ones for me. Be it physically, emotionally, academically and psychologically, it feels as though I have had to keep myself mostly on guard 24/7 lately.
I have every now and then thought about reaching out, talking to a friend, screaming it out even. But I am sure that it would not surprise you if I said that it did not help to lighten up a bit. Why? Well, we have all known responses like ''don't worry, you're strong'', ''stop stressing out'', ''At least, it's not like in my days'', or worst ''be positive'' among other typical dismissive and gaslighting statements, right? Truth is, I heard them all too and honestly, I am just as done and tired of it like you people.
Besides, if I were honest with you here (which is easier, given that it feels like journaling my thoughts), I have come to a point where convincing people about my stand being right or wrong is no longer a debate that sends chills through my system. But today, my need to voice out is not about that. Unlike what I initially planned to do, which is keeping my mouth shut and letting things just be. Keeping mum, however, did not seem to resonate with who I really was on the inside.
Don't get me wrong here, I am all in for the value of silence when I know that words could easily be twisted around by the diversity in perception and perspectives. Yet, deep down I was revolted and even more bothered by the silence. I guess, because choosing silence when something has been consuming me all up on the inside, while I had a lot to let out made me feel powerless and helpless. I hate it. I hate this feeling so bad. Reality check. Nobody likes to feel that way. So how could I?
Even worst, no matter how bad people treated me or no matter how unfair ghosting me felt like, I couldn't really afford to articulate my discontent, because yes at some point my truths were manipulated and it was easier for others to make me feel like voicing out how I feel about people who used me to their own advantage would be wrong. Or viewed as an act of immaturity or attention seeking. Looking back, I feel angry myself for how easy I let my emotions and opinions be guided by their convenience and their projection. Buf you know what? I am done being that version of me.
I know my worth and I definitely am not going to silence my voice because it is not considered or does not feel polite to call wrong, wrong or toxicity toxicity. You with me? So let's get down to what really happened..
6 August 2018, I was thrilled to be a new member of the UoM family. Obviously, who does not get excited about a new experience? So was I. But I was mostly excited about the possibilities of a new page when it comes to socializing and friendships. I would want to highlight the fact that I always pictured tertiary experience as that new leaf that would finally help me experience long term friendships. Or as per what I hoped for, true connections with my peers. I was really hoping that it would actually help me get over that phase where I was ignored, blamed and accused of things I knew I did not deserve nor was capable of doing.
I grew up valuing friendship and any form of connection someone might have with another being. Likewise, I have always prioritized honesty in whatever bonds I tried to make with other people. Undoubtedly, no matter how honest you might be with someone, you cannot always guarantee that people would recept the same honesty back to you. That, was the hardest pill to swallow for me. Not because I was not aware that people are not always sincere in all aspects of their lives. But rather because I cannot bring myself to understand how can people fake it so well that it leaves you confused and troubled with trust issues.
Would you believe me if I told you that it turned out the same for me? Yes, I was betrayed by the people I thought I knew best, yes I have been humiliated, shamed and sidelined too. By those I least expected the stab from. But if you've known a similar experience I am here to remind you that it does not define who you are. This is definitely not the end of the game for you. As a matter of fact, maybe this is your start to something greater than you once were.
I am sounding way too '' see the positive in the bad" aren't I? But don't worry, I am not saying this to make you feel like your experience didn't matter. Instead, I will share how losing the girl I thought I could really connect with and call my best friend, a sister helped me actually see clearer through the storm. I remember how we used to spend hours talking to each other, rooting for each other, we used to make the most of the short breaks we had after the hours spent assimilating the contents of the lectures. We laughed, cried, sang and even travelled places together. I still remember how magically blessed I felt. Having her around did make my journey easier at the academy. I would be a fool to deny that what we shared felt like a blessing from up above. Which it was, for what it's worth, and as long as it lasted.
But then I figured that just like the course of life, every tangible and intangible aspects of it is subject to change. So are we. Similarly, I remember feeling confused, hurt and angry when she decided that she has to let go. In the moment, I wondered why was this happening? I sure did feel the silence gradually settling in between us and the things left unsaid surely and deadly remained a struggle. At some point, I could not bear it anymore and I went on straight to ask her about what's going on, "was it something I said? Or something I did?" "Are you okay?" I asked, concerned. I was really seeking to understand how is she holding up, for she seemed quieter than her usual self.
I still recall how my question was dismissed when she said "stop asking me that, it frustrates me". An "Okay, I'm sorry" was all I could manage to say, voice breaking. I remember that she once said that life hasn't been easy on her and how she was having a hard time. At that point of time, all I really wanted was to hear her out so I could understand what was going on better. But every time I tried to bring that up, she would literally divert the attention or blame it on other things. One day, she even said that she had difficulties staying friends because of the health condition. I almost believed that.
Then one day, she came up front with the truth and decided that she does not want to be friends anymore. Reason given was that she suspected a transmission of bed bugs from me to her, since we were travelling together most of the time. Insulting, isn't it? Yet, you'd be surprised, and even I am surprised at how calmly I simply asked: Why didn't you tell me this earlier? But then again, dismissal was the best defense mechanism chosen. Maybe there was more to it than she dared to admit.
Despite everything that was said between us, I realised that nothing I would want to try or communicate would change her decision. Besides, even if I could have said anything to ask her to stay back, I don't believe in forced connection nor friendship. So I gathered my emotions and chose to let her be. To let her go wherever her sense of fulfilment and happiness led her. To me, what always mattered the most was her happiness. Quite honestly, I do not blame her for her choices either. It's her life anyway. Her path. Who knows maybe it was the best way she knew too. What bothered me though was how effortlessly she would portray me as the bad guy. Precisely, this where I felt the most confused and misunderstood.
I felt angry. Abandoned. But even in those moments, best I could do was to get down on my knees and pray. For the saying goes, you have never known hurting until you begged God to take the pain away. This is where the lesson part that I was meant to learn takes off. Upon resumption of classes, I hoped that I would have a new leaf turned and that I would be able to focus on the other positive aspects of friendship. Instead, I found myself glowing beautifully in a different way. I remember the first day, it felt awkward. In contradiction to our plans (hers and my own), we were brought together to carry out that group work. I anticipated that first after summer break encounter her cause I did not quite know what to expect out of it. But we managed to speak somehow. I remember smiling throughout the day.
I struggled a lot through whether I should or should not write about this experience. Not because I was afraid of what people would think of me. Nor to blame or judge her for what happened. I guess I needed to let my truth out, I need this weight off my chest so I can finally move on in my life too. This feeling of rejection is not something new to me anyway, but do know that you do not have to be scared of rejection or disapproval of others.
Know that no matter how good you think things are, no matter how kind you think of yourself. Not everything turns out the way you had it planned initially, and that's okay. The bright side of that painful situation for me is that I learned to be there for myself, which I struggled to do for a long time, I admit. We're prioritising honesty here, remember? I even manage to positive self talk through this at times. Surprised? It is a blessing for me.
The point is to really not give up on yourself at the end of the day. For, no matter how much you'll care, and how honest you'll be in your life and relationships to come. You cannot guarantee that the same honesty back and that's okay. But hey, don't forsake your honesty for that much. Not everyone will like you, approve of you or share your opinion on everything, but be your beautiful self anyway. Besides, there would not be any beauty in diversity, if everyone were to agree with each other, right? If anything, learn to be okay with people disagreeing with you, but speak your mind anyway. Don't be caged by the fear of questions and prejudices. So that was the lesson for me.
But don't lose hope, such experiences sure show you the threats, but being genuine and honest in everything you do, does attract good people and good things your way too. To end, always remember be yourself and leave the rest. ❤️