A Tough Journey
She smiled with quiet determination. The journey was tough but so was she. Has she always been this way? Maybe deep down she was, but she never dared to show it.
Growing up in a traditional surrounding where being normal and fitting in were the top priorities, she had learned to always keep up a facade so nobody would think there was something wrong with her, or even worse with her family. When people were telling her about how lucky she was to be the only child and therefore getting all the attention, she would just nod with a smile and keep the truth inside. A truth that consists of parents who were rather busy with themselves, always expecting her to function and in case of disapproval, punishing her with ignorance and coldness until she would change her ways and give in. Their picture perfect marriage was nothing more than a collection of constant fights which made psychological and physical violence a part of her daily routine.
Moving on, entering school, nothing got better. She never was a popular child or teenager, rather a misfit, an alien, the odd one out. Being too different to fit in, the bullying got heavier with the years. It seemed like with every year that passed, she was more alone and everyone knew but nobody cared. Teachers would tell her to be more sociable, to try to fit in more. Did she ask too much by wanting to be accepted the way she was? The bullies went on ruining her reputation and she became a liar, a person that could not be trusted. But again she made her way through it, skipped some lessons in secret when she could not bear it anymore, manipulated her reports so her parents would not be disappointed and add even more pressure on her already fragile shoulders. The years passed by and finally it was over, she graduated. Not with best marks but she did not bother as long as her personal hell would finally come to an end.
Completing her studies was a piece of cake, she even was one of the best students, proud, content, happy. Finally she felt like she had found her place in life and that she could use her potential. Nobody would have expected this to change so soon as she always seemed to be so skilled and strong, but they could not have been more wrong. Making her start into professional life, everything fell apart again. She was back to being weird, strange, a threat to the well-established routine. They accused her of being selfish, lazy, not motivated enough and in the end they were right. All she would feel was fear, sadness, despair and it killed off everything else. The cheerful woman was gone and this time she was not coming back.
Depression kept her in its cage and the key was hidden somewhere out of reach. There she was, a wreck, empty, alone, lost. The perfect target for others to push her around into directions that were most convenient to them. She became a puppet doing whatever she was told in order to get better. It was never about her, only about getting things back to normal as soon as possible because repression was the fastest way to happiness. Of course things did not work out this way and she broke down again. But this would not be the journey of a tough woman if the story ended here, right?
She got up again, is fighting now. Not to find a new job or to please others, but to find herself and her true happiness, the most challenging and exciting journey she had ever faced. All those years she had forgotten about the most important person in her life ... herself. She had just lived up to others expectations in order to please them, to be accepted, to be loved. But was this sympathy and affection ever truly real or was it bound to certain conditions that had to be fullfilled?
Taking a break and freeing herself from those expectations made her feel like a puppet on a string that had finally decided to cut its threads. Discovering and accepting herself the way she really was, felt like finding a long lost treasure burried under expectations that were not even her own. At last she was able to embrace being different, it was a good thing not to be like the others who had put her through all this. She was determined to find her way out of the cage, even if it would still take a while. In the end, she was sure about this, she would make it.
She ... that is actually me and this is my story. I am still on my journey, feeling like this will be a lifelong mission. And I am still getting lost sometimes, struggle, curse my life. But still I am never giving up and I hope you will not do that either.