Last day of 2023

December 31, 2023

Mood: Unravel OST - Missing Piece

Last day of 2023. It feels odd, just like any year that has passed before and will probably feel odd for the next ones to come. It's, however, the first time I feel genuinely curious and not either dreading it or going by the assumption that if nothing has changed by the end of next year, I'll take my own life.

In childhood, next year was something I somehow looked forward to, but I wasn't thinking about whether the next year would be good or not. I think I followed my parents on a "good" or "bad" year. It was more about how long I had spent without throwing up, as a then crippled emetophobic, and how far away I was from the teenage years which I believed would be my years of freedom, the age where I'd be listened to for real (because at the time I realized my brother was properly heard and not me, he was 13-14 already). Spoiler: I feel bad for her, she didn't know this wouldn't turn out at all like she thought.

In these teenage years, I have several eras concerning new years. Early teens were a blur about new years. I don't think I was really thinking about them, or perhaps I was already assuming things would only get worse. Past the age of 15, it was the year I'd finally get a girlfriend and "shoot my shot", while at the same time being repulsed by the idea of a purely sexual encounter. But for me, love didn't exist if I wasn't having sex with someone. Sex with a woman would cement that I was worthy, that I was on par with everyone else, and that I was really loved; had I been straight, I probably would've slept with a lot of guys in search for that elusive "love" and taken advantage of. I'm pretty sure I could've also secretly slept with those creepy older men who eyed me.

In my late teens, new years were a suicidal period. I especially remember New Year of 2018, where I had asked my friends around if I could come to their parties. None of them accepted. They gave excuses that there was not enough space, or that I wouldn't get along with their other friends, when things went perfectly fine once I met them later. I spent my NYE alone, with beer, and I was very close to attempting suicide. A K-pop idol that my friends liked had recently died by suicide, and this gave me very strange ideas. An idea that perhaps, if I got close enough, or even did it, my then group of friends would see how much pain I was in and would validate it. On that same NYE of 2018, I met a girl on Instagram who I had no idea would be a major contributor to my trauma just a few months later.

Past age 19, new year would be the time when I get out, move abroad, have a new life. But of course, nothing changed year after year. I was still sitting at my mother's home, hidden in my room, dissociating into daydreams, into the internet, without any outside help nor support. I was paralyzed because I didn't want my mother to know anything about my life, and being unsupported on the internet generally, for a good reason, but perhaps had I got more support and been on my own, I would've actually experienced more things. In my old journals from 2021 and 2022, I was writing that if I hadn't moved out by the end of the next year, I'd kill myself. If I hadn't moved to Kazakhstan or even gone, I'd end my life. Not very healthy, Aral, but I get why you were feeling that way. You were in a completely different headspace back then and the amount of kilometers you were willing to put between you and your trauma says a lot about how much and how badly it affected you.

Now, aged 24, I look at the next year without a particular plan. I just want to get my driving license, a job, move out, heal more trauma, get some more out of my comfort zone, have a more active IRL social life. I had the idea of celebrating next NYE in Portugal, but I know nobody here so far and am not inclined to really seek out people there just yet, so it's a sort of phantom idea kinda. It's not really a priority anyway. Neither is dating.

I don't even want a 2024 Valentine, not just because I still have this memory of my last and only Valentine that I was gaslit about later, but because... damn shit not now. Yes I do find some women attractive, but to say I would actually want a relationship would be a gross overstatement. I just want to be at peace emotionally and finally be able to rest, have fun, have joy, between moments where my inner critic attacks me relentlessly or when I'm grappling with memories and realizations that make me seethe internally or feel incredibly sad for my child and teenage self.

But also, next year, I want to make a change in the people I associate myself with. I hate saying that because I've been in that situation and I hated when people would say that, but... I don't want to be around depressed, very unhealthy, or negative people anymore. Those who don't make an effort to improve, that is. But except those others who are on a healing journey and are making progress like I am, even if they're not entirely healthy yet, I prefer to go.

I don't want to remain with fellow shut-ins, with mentally ill people, and with people whose best conversation topics are complaining, wallowing in self-pity, or worse, bitching about others, and/or are coping in an unhealthy way and are not even trying to change that. Hopefully I won't be a shut-in anymore next year, and I've already started going out a bit more already with the traffic law classes several days a week (even if the people there are much younger than me and just the fact they have constantly their phone on the table and text during the tests says a lot about how different we are, I feel), I went to record a broadcast of my favourite emission recently and had a whole bunch of fun, not only that but I got out of my comfort zone in a massive way and it was a huge stride in my recovery, I'm in two other communities which are very positive and uplifting (a Portuguese learning server and an all-female self-improvement community) and I feel like I can't really stay with negative people anymore. I've outgrown this. I'm done with stagnation for good.

For real, it reminds me of my mother who, every time we take the car pretty much, complains about how high gas prices are and how everything is pricey and how she feels like she's being held at the throat, when I'm just... well, dealing with it, what can we do anyway? But what annoys me the most is that she doesn't ever consider that things could get better. It stresses me out to hear her complain about this because what the hell can I even say to that? It feels like the people around me can't ever think things are not frozen in time, that they won't necessarily stay in the same place, that things can always turn out differently. They're set on the narrative that it can only get worse. One will tell me "but Aral, they're struggling, they're traumatized, they have depression" and other excuses. But you know what? If I could get myself out of that kind of harmful mindset, so can they. And there is never an excuse for refusing to improve oneself.

Mental health and neurodivergent communities are, I feel, prone to crab mentality, and this is also why I don't want to go or remain in either of them. It's similar to the eating disorder forums that existed back in the day and may still exist. There's an unspoken sort of rule that you must be suffering to be valid and to have a place there. You can't want to be better or god forbid, tell people that they have to do something, that no one can and should save them, and that "accepting" that nothing ever gets better and "accepting" a life of pain is basically giving up and being fatalistic, as softly as you can try to put it without seeming invalidating, will be badly received.

It's nice and dandy to cater to the poor souls and affirm them in their pain, validate it, but aren't we supposed to at least try and get better from any illness? Aren't we supposed to adapt rather than have the world adapt to us? Validating and pushing to get better aren't incompatible. You acknowledge the pain, but you don't let it define you. It becomes very dangerous when those things become your identity, because then you stop wanting to get better, your potential is thrown out of the window, and you're guaranteed to have a life of misery that you're going to either want to end prematurely or will forever regret. I don't recommend it to anybody. This is also why despite having been a NEET for years, I never joined a NEET community. It's just a massive circlejerk that keeps you stuck.

The truth is, I think in these communities no one wants you to get better. Misery loves company. And I was once one of these people. I was willing to sabotage another's healing because I believed I would be abandoned if they got better. In hindsight, it's not so much that they would abandon me: it's just that it showed that the relationship was built on common trauma and suffering rather than actual common ground. I had nothing in common with these people: we just were broken together. Of course there was the spiritual aspect, as there is with every connection, but this time around, apart from the brokenness, we had nothing to build upon. That doesn't make for a very good match, not for the long run at least, because as soon as one gets better, they will inevitably outgrow the one that lags behind. Or if none of them lags behind, the parting ways will come because of that lack of common ground. And it's probably for the better. I've had enough situations like this to say that it's a truth. A personal one at least.

Also, I no longer want to let offenses slide, or to stay in situations/relationships where I'm not happy because of a sense of obligation, a sense that I've invested too much, or simply because I'm too stubborn to let go. I hate abandoning a project or anything that I've started in the middle of it, but if there's something my heartbreak taught me, it's that there's a point where you can't go any further, and that you have to stop before you destroy yourself completely. Having endurance and perseverance is a quality, but one must learn how to channel it, just like any untamed skill.

Untamed creativity leads to delusions and a blurring between the fantastical and the real. Untamed determination can cause you to lose sight of your well-being and others', as well as the original goal you wanted to reach. Untamed endurance leads you to overexhaust yourself or otherwise continue when you know it's a dead end and nothing's ever going to chance. Untamed patience will cause you to endure, endure, until you break. There's always a moment where one has to draw the line. It's probably a lifelong learning.

Either way, it sounds like 2024 will be simultaneously a release and a welcoming of new things. A transitional year. I have a cautiously optimistic feeling that I may be headed towards better horizons.

Feliz Ano Novo, maltinha. Eu amo-vos muito. Obrigada por tudo.

PS: I'm thinking of moving this blog to Neocities or another host because Ichi doesn't support RSS, and I'm thinking of perhaps implanting this blog into a bigger site. I'll see if I do anything about it, but it could be good...